Fedweek

The Senate has set aside, potentially for the duration of this Congress, a vote on nominees for the MSPB governing board, which has lacked a quorum for nearly two years and has been unable to issue decisions on employee appeals during that time.

Nominees for all three seats—the current member is on holdover status and would be replaced—came up for a vote in the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee last week but the panel deadlocked over one of them and chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., then held up votes on the other two. It remains possible, although seemingly not likely, that the committee will revisit the nominees before Congress adjourns for the year. If nominees are not confirmed by the full Senate by then, the process would have to start over next year in the new Congress.

Even though the board lacks a quorum, MSPB hearing officers have continued to issue initial decisions, resulting in a backlog that likely would take many months, if not several years, to work through. In some cases, employees have been appealing directly into federal court instead, even though that is a more difficult process.