This week, executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs were called to Congress to explain how a program to relocate workers got so out of control that executives were abusing it to their gain.

They got an earful from House Veterans Committee according to the Washington Post:

“How did this get so out of control?” asked Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) “Military brass gets less money for their moves. If you lose money on the sale of your home, there is no compensation for that.”

He said the relocation program — Halliday’s office also identified other senior executives who got similar housing help — “incentivizes this culture of corruption” at VA.

Too bad two of the culprits who spawned this hearing were no-shows: Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves.

We recently reported on this Thelma and Louise duo who gamed the VA’s relocation system to transfer into cushy jobs with less responsibility but still pulling down the same or higher pay plus all of their moving expenses covered free. To achieve their sinister ends, they coerced two managers out of their jobs so they could step into them.

According to the VA’s Inspector General report there’s a pattern of senior executives exploiting the relocation program to skirt President Obama’s pay freezes and bans on bonuses while reducing their workload. In total, we taxpayers footed a $1.8 million bill on 23 reassignments that included annual salary increases, relocation expenses, and additional money in unjustified relocation incentives.

Since we reported the story, the VA’s top benefits official Allison Hickey resigned under pressure, just days before this week’s hearing. Hickey approved Rubens’s and Graves’s transfer schemes as well as schemes for dozens of other senior executives in her department. Hickey was the gateway to the good life for VA executives dodging the rightly-deserved pay freezes that served as punishment following the detestable scandals that left many of our bravest on backlog waiting for disability aid.

Representative Jeff Miller, chairman of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs, blasted Hickey:

Although Allison Hickey deserves credit for her military service and willingness to work on behalf of our nation’s veterans, she was not cut out for the job of VA Under Secretary for Benefits. She leaves the department amid a damning office of inspector general report linking her to a scheme in which senior Veterans Benefits Administration officials abused their authority, resulting in the misuse of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars. And though VA statistics show the disability benefits backlog shrank on her watch, those figures must be taken with a healthy grain of salt in light of assertions from prominent veterans groups and even VA’s own inspector general that the department’s backlog numbers are not to be trusted. Right now, VBA needs a leader who will put veterans – not VA bureaucrats first – while working to end the backlog without sacrificing quality, accuracy or service to veterans. Unfortunately, Hickey was not that type of leader.”

The VA has 99 problems and a corrosive culture that extends to the highest levels of leadership. Hickey's  resignation is just one baby step on a beach of reforms needed for an agency that serves our nation’s bravest.