Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bay Pines official blasted for inappropriate relationship with supervisor

A U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official who works at Bay Pines VA Medical Center racked up thousands of dollars in unnecessary travel expenses and used her personal relationship with her boss to relocate to Florida, a report says.

Katherine Adair Martinez, deputy assistant secretary for information protection and risk management in the department's Office of Information and Technology, was blasted in a 29-page inspector general's report released last week.

The report says that Martinez and her supervisor, former Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology Robert Howard, began an "inappropriate personal relationship" in April 2007.

In early 2008, Martinez asked Howard if she could relocate from Washington to a home she owned near St. Petersburg. She said the move was for family reasons.

Howard, who left the VA in January, agreed to let her work remotely in Florida.

He told investigators he had already planned to put senior leaders in field facilities, and that Martinez would be keeping track of what was happening with other technology employees at Bay Pines.

Martinez began working at Bay Pines in July 2008. In the first nine months, Martinez flew to the nation's capital 22 times, according to the report.

The cost to the VA? More than $37,000.

In fact, investigators found that Martinez spent more than 70 percent of her workdays away from Bay Pines and almost 60 percent of them in Washington.

Martinez, who could not be reached for comment Saturday, told investigators the trips were for business reasons.

She said she had to go back and forth for meetings and to sign documents she feared might get lost in the mail.

She said her relationship with Howard, which ended in February or March, had nothing to do with it.

Investigators didn't believe their explanations. They noted that Martinez's office at Bay Pines was in a remote location, and she seldom had contact with other technology employees.

"Furthermore, her justifications for frequently traveling to D.C., at a substantial cost to VA, were to accomplish tasks that she could easily do from Florida," the report said.

The report recommended VA officials "take appropriate administrative action against Ms. Martinez for misusing her position for personal gain."

It also said the department should reconsider its decision to relocate Martinez to Bay Pines.

VA spokeswoman Katie Roberts told the Associated Press the agency was concerned about the findings and would pursue a thorough review.

"VA does not condone misconduct by its employees and will take the appropriate correction action for those who violate VA policy," Roberts said in an e-mail to the AP.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. Kameel Stanley can be reached at (727) 893-8643 or kstanley@sptimes.com.

Bay Pines official blasted for inappropriate relationship with supervisor 08/22/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 22, 2009 10:42pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida joins other states in ending 'tampon tax'

    Blogs

    From our friends at the Associated Press:

  2. Rubio, Nelson propose expansion of federal judgeships

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson today proposed adding a number of federal judges to the state.

  3. Bar review: The Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg

    Bars & Spirits

    I've spent many evenings in St. Pete's Jannus Live courtyard, enjoying one of the best open-air venues in the Tampa Bay area. It's where I saw my first concert in Florida: Toadies, on the Rubberneck tour sometime in the mid '90s.

    The drinks at the Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg are about as cheap as you’ll find at any other regular downtown bar, a nice surprise.
  4. Local craft beer of the week: Two Henrys Belleview-Biltmore Blueberry Vanilla Wheat

    Bars & Spirits

    Two Henrys Brewing Company is a unique entity in the Tampa Bay brewing scene, due to both its status as the only brewery in Plant City, as well as its location on a 27-acre working farm, which also includes a winery.

    Photo by Justin Grant
  5. Trump vows to crack down on Manchester leaks, chastises NATO

    World

    BRUSSELS — President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to crack down on leaks that prompted Manchester police to withhold information from the United States about the investigation into this week's bombing. He also chastised NATO leaders for not paying their fair share to protect the long-standing alliance.

    U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by European Council President Donald Tusk as he arrives at the Europa building in Brussels on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Trump arrived in Belgium on Wednesday evening and will attend a NATO summit as well as meet EU and Belgian officials. [Associated Press]