VA fired a contractor this week who had been overseeing the repair of an armored vehicle at Fort Belvoir.
The company, which is owned by the U.S. Marine Corps, said the decision to fire the worker came after an internal investigation found he failed to properly supervise the work and violated company policies, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Times.
The letter was dated Aug. 31.
It said the employee “did not provide sufficient information to the Company regarding the maintenance and upkeep of the vehicle” and “did perform work not in accordance with company policy.”
VA spokesman Joe Clancy said the company was “working with the U-S.
Department of Defense (DOD) and its contractor to ensure that this individual does not have access to any classified information.”
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.
The VA had been preparing to install the armored vehicle for deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan, where the military has used the vehicle for combat operations.
But the company’s work was halted when a supervisor told the contractor that it would not be possible to remove the vehicle without a U.N. inspection, according, according a VA statement.
A spokeswoman for the contractor, the Defense Contract Management Agency, said it had reached out to the VA about the firing.
“VA and the contractor are working with DOD and the DOD to ensure this individual is not able to access any classified material,” said Toni Vail in an email.
She did not say how many times the employee had to be dismissed or when.
The contractor’s work is at the center of a lawsuit that is challenging the military’s use of the vehicles.
The lawsuit was filed by a former Marine and his wife, who filed a class-action lawsuit against the VA last year alleging that the department did not follow its own safety and security protocols to secure and maintain the vehicles, which are built for use by Marines.
The military has acknowledged that the vehicles are not in use in combat, and said the vehicles were not the result of a “failure of oversight” and that it was not aware of the incident.
The department says the vehicles work well in Iraq and are part of the U,S.
Marines’ combat arm.
A senior VA official said the firing is the result a “procedural error.”
The official said a contractor with more than 20 years of experience was responsible for performing the work.
The agency said in a statement that the VA had hired the contractor to do the work, but it would be inappropriate to comment further on what led to the firing because the process has not been finalized.
VA spokesman Clancy said that in this instance the contractor “did work which was not required of him or the contractor.”
The contractor “acted appropriately to protect the integrity of the work,” the statement said.
A VA official declined to say whether the contractor had been reprimanded.
The inspector general for the VA said last year that the agency had discovered problems with the safety and protection of armored vehicles and that the contractor was ordered to correct them.
The official also said the contractor’s actions were inconsistent with VA’s standards.
A federal judge in New Orleans last month dismissed the lawsuit filed by the former Marine’s wife, saying the inspector general had made “serious errors in judgment.”
A lawsuit filed against the government by the Marine Corps says the VA has a “deeply troubling history of improperly ordering contractors to conduct dangerous work on the part of U.M.C. and other U.V.S.,” which the Marines are using for training.
The suit says the inspector’s report found that the company has failed to protect employees from contracting errors, and it alleges that the military is not providing adequate training for its own personnel.