WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal judges have overturned decisions by the Department of Veterans Affairs to demote two senior officials accused of manipulating the agency's hiring system for their own gain.

The VA demoted Kimberly Graves and Diana Rubens last month. The VA's acting inspector general said the pair forced lower-ranking managers to accept job transfers and then stepped into the vacant positions themselves, keeping their senior-level pay while reducing their responsibilities.

Rubens is director of the Philadelphia regional office for the Veterans Benefits Administration, while Graves heads the Veterans Benefits Administration's St. Paul, Minnesota, regional office.

An administrative judge reversed Graves' demotion Friday, saying higher-ranking officials knew about her plans and did nothing to stop them. A different judge reversed Rubens' demotion Monday on similar grounds.