One issue Congress likely will address early in its upcoming session is whether to repeal part of a reform enacted in Federal Aviation Administration personnel practices four years ago when FAA was given numerous personnel flexibilities, including an internal-only appeals process. The unique FAA personnel system is viewed as a potential precedent for use in other agencies, since it involves the type of agency-specific flexibilities that are in wide favor among would-be personnel law reformers. One change was that FAA employees must resolve personnel disputes through an internal agency process called “guaranteed fair treatment.” They can’t go to an outside body such as the Merit Systems Protection Board. Congress has actively considered reinstating MSPB appeal rights to FAA employees but that change has been linked to broader bills affecting the agency that have stalled in Congress for two years in a row. Leaders hope to try again early in the new session.
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