Saturday, February 2, 2019

Director of VA "Center of Excellence" investigated for misconduct

Complaint lodged against director of Waco VA Center for Excellence

Waco Herald Tribune
Tommy Witherspoon
February 1, 2019

A high-ranking research center official at the Doris Miller Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Waco is under investigation after a VA psychologist lodged a formal complaint against him.
VA officials have reassigned Dr. Michael Russell, director of the Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans, for at least 120 days while authorities investigate misconduct complaints against him by psychologist Bryann DeBeer, a Waco-based VA investigator and researcher in the fields of suicide prevention and post-traumatic stress disorder.

DeBeer hired Waco attorney David Schleicher to document her complaints in a nine-page letter to top VA officials dated Jan. 17. General allegations of misconduct in the letter include abuses of authority, misuse of resources, Hatch Act violations, violations of hiring procedures and gender discrimination, which DeBeer claims has driven away female employees.

Russell, a clinical neuro- psychologist who retired as a lieutenant colonel after 24 years in the Army, said Friday he is precluded by VA policy from discussing the complaint and deferred comment to his attorney, Jon Ker, who also is a longtime Army veteran and retired colonel.

Ker said Russell denies the allegations in Schleicher’s letter and warned others not to rush to judgment or read too much into the fact that Russell has been reassigned during the investigation.
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