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Merit Systems Backlog of 1,500 Cases Likely to Grow

casesThe Merit Systems Protection Board hears federal employee appeals of contested personnel actions and could go from one member to none in Spring 2019. The current backlog of cases is 1,500 and could grow 25% soon.

“It will take, at a minimum, 3 years to process that backlog,” Mark Robbins, acting chairman of MSPB said. “It’s looking increasingly like the Senate isn’t going to vote this year.”

The board is responsible for resolving a variety of personnel disputes for about 2.1 million civilian federal employees.

Starting Over

President Trump will have to re-nominate the 3 people he’s picked for the board or choose new board nominees in 2019 if the Senate fails to vote this year. The process will then start over, beginning with the filing of required documents from the nominees and a new nomination hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Between 60-75 appeals of MSPB administrative judge decisions are added to the existing case backlog each month. “If you’re looking at another 6 months before a new board is in place, the backlog could be close to 2,000 cases,” Robbins said.

At full strength, the MSPB has 3 members. The board can’t issue final decisions on appeals of MSPB administrative judge rulings when it has only one member. With a 2-member quorum, the panel can issue final decisions but only if both members agree.