Partnership for Public Service statement urging the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to quickly approve the nomination of VA Secretary-designate Denis McDonough

January 28, 2021

WASHINGTON – The nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service released the following statement from President and CEO Max Stier after the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing on Denis McDonough’s nomination for secretary of veterans affairs. 

“Public servants like Denis McDonough are rare,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service. “Denis brings a deep understanding of how government works, an ability to work across the aisle and an appreciation for the essential role of the career workforce in achieving the VA’s mission. He is a stellar candidate to lead the VA at this critical moment for our country.” 

Stier continued, “President Biden made an exceptional choice by nominating Denis to head the Department of Veterans Affairs. I urge the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee to approve and send his nomination to the full Senate for a swift confirmation so he can begin tackling the agency’s response to the pandemic, the recent cyberattacks and ensuring our nation’s veterans receive high-quality healthcare and critical services and benefits. The Partnership looks forward to working with the VA under Denis’ leadership.” 

During McDonough’s Senate committee hearing, ranking member Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) emphasized improvements in employee engagement at the VA during the past six years, citing the Partnership for Public Service’s Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings. The department’s employee engagement score rose 8.6 points from 2016 to 2019, and Senator Moran encouraged McDonough to solidify and build off of those improvements. 

The Partnership for Public Service’s Department of Veterans Affairs oversight snapshot provides a wide array of data and insights regarding the department. Some key data points include:  

  • Number of employees: 358,351 (as of March 2019) 
  • 2019 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government score and rank: 65.3 out of 100, ranking 6th out of 17 large agencies.  
  • Employee confidence in whistleblower protections: 65.8 percent, which is 1.3 percent higher than the government-wide score of 64.5 percent. 
  • Number of positions requiring Senate confirmation: 13 

The Partnership produces and maintains several other resources to assess and analyze the health of the federal government. These include a political appointments tracker with The Washington Post to follow the progress of more than 750 of President Biden’s Senate-confirmed political appointments, and the annual Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® rankings, produced by the Partnership and Boston Consulting Group, which measure employee engagement government-wide as well as at individual departments, agencies and subcomponents. 

During the past 19 years, the nonpartisan, nonprofit Partnership for Public Service has been dedicated to making the federal government more effective. We work across administrations to help transform the way government operates by increasing collaboration, accountability, efficiency and innovation. Visit to learn more. Follow us on social @PublicService and subscribe today to get the latest federal news, information on upcoming Partnership programs and events, and more. 


Publication Type: Commentary