MSPB Sees Appeals Backlog Building

The MSPB has warned that it will take time for it to get back on track as a result of the three-member governing board having only one member since early this year.

“The lack of quorum is contributing to delays in issuing final decisions in petitions for review and other cases filed at headquarters and releasing reports of merit system studies,” the agency said in its draft strategic plan for 2018-2022. “While work on these functions will continue, we anticipate that it will take months or longer to work through the inventory of cases and draft reports once new Board members are nominated and confirmed.”

The MSPB added that a quorum “is also needed to promulgate regulations to accompany new adjudication processes created by Congress.” It pointed to changes in law including a bill enacted earlier this year shortening the notice and appeal process for VA employees and lowering the standard for upholding certain types of discipline there; and various changes already enacted on in process to strengthen whistleblower protections.

The agency also said it foresees the potential for “increases in the number of RIF, furlough, voluntary early retirement authority and voluntary separation incentive payments appeals as a result of governmentwide reform and related budget and workforce reductions.” Also, it said, as the number of employees eligible for retirement increases, there likely will be an increase in the number of appeals related to retirement, including those contesting benefits decisions or alleging that a retirement was forced.