VA CHCO resigns one day before IG releases conference spending report

Monday - 10/1/2012, 12:42pm EDT

This story was updated at 1:30 p.m. to include comments from Sepulveda.

John Sepulveda, the chief human capital officer at the Veterans Affairs Department, resigned Sunday — one day before the agency's inspector general is to release a final report on two human resources conferences last year that cost the department $5 million.

A VA spokesman confirmed Sepulveda's last day was Sunday.

Preliminary findings from the IG's office revealed attendees of the Florida conferences may have received lavish gifts. Among the gifts were spa treatments and concert tickets. The House Veterans Affairs Committee also released a 15-minute training video parodying Gen. George Patton that cost $52,000 to produce for the conferences.

John Sepulveda (Photo:VA.gov)

The IG began its review of VA's conference spending in April. The final report is expected to be released Monday afternoon. VA has said previously that the conferences were for legitimate training purposes.

Sepulveda told Federal Times he was resigning due to the IG report's release.

"I resigned because I did not want to be a distraction for the administration, [VA] Secretary [Eric] Shinseki and the VA, especially as they continue to work each day to address the urgent needs of our nation's veterans," he told Federal Times.

The release of the IG's final report is likely to spark more congressional hearings on agency conference spending. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, has told Federal News Radio he will, in fact, hold hearings, but the question was whether the committee could meet before the November elections.

This year, Congressional inquiries into conference spending have taken off following revelations that the General Services Administration spent more than $820,000 on a Las Vegas conference.

Email and voicemail messages left for Sepulveda's assistant were not immediately returned.

Sepulveda was sworn in as assistant secretary for human resources and administration in 2009. He previously served as deputy director of the Office of Personnel Management, working on diversity efforts, according to his biography on VA's website.

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