The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) currently has a backlog of 1,500 cases pending, as the panel potentially goes from one member to zero in the coming months. The acting chairman of the MSPB has stated that it will take a minimum of three years to process the current backlog of cases, and it appears as though the Senate will not be voting to place more members on the panel anytime soon.
The MSPB panel needs to replace three members of its panel, which is done through executive nominations and Senate approval. If the voting does not occur by the end of the year, the process must start over for 2019. Eleven federal employee unions sent a letter in July detailing their concerns and objections to the nominees currently on the slate for 2018.
Every month, another sixty to 75 appeals of administrative judge cases are added to the docket for the MSPB to review. If the process begins again with nominees for 2019, the backlog could be as high as 2,000 cases by the time the new panel begins its tenure. The board is not allowed to issue final decisions on appeal with only one member, as it has right now. At full strength, the MSPB has three members, although two members can reach a quorum and issue final decisions on MSPB appeals.
Purpose of the MSPB
The purpose of the MSPB is to hear and adjudicate cases involving federal employees and prohibited personnel practices. These cases include issues of firing, suspensions lasting more than fourteen days, reduction in an employee’s pay or grade, retirement issues, denials of grade salary increases, layoffs, and denial of reemployment rights. This current backlog of cases has the potential to drastically affect the lives and livelihood of federal employees who believe that they have been subject to unfair personnel practices in federal agencies.
Typically, a case can be appealed to the MSPB within a matter of months; however, with the current backlog of cases due to a lack of members it is estimated that the backlog alone will take a minimum of three years to get through. The effects this type of backlog has on employees filing cases with the MSPB can be devastating. Issues of pay and benefits are routinely appealed to the Board, and the backlog could mean years of time will pass where employees must manage on their own before they even receive the opportunity to appeal their case to the panel. This also leaves the system rife for abuse if employers believe that their employees will not file because of the backlog or because so many years will pass between the alleged offense and the hearing.
Contact Our Office Now
If you are a federal employee and believe that your employer has participated in prohibited personnel practices against you, our office of experienced employment law attorneys may be able to help. Call the office or contact us today at The Vaughn Law Firm in Washington D.C. or Decatur, Georgia to schedule an appointment to speak with an employment law attorney about you MSPB appeal today.