Congress Approves Appeals Extension Bill while MSPB Awaits Appointments
The House unanimously passed a bill last week to grant federal employees more time to have their personnel cases heard while Merit System Protection Board’s (MSPB) hands are tied due to lack of political appointments.
Introduced a mere two weeks ago, the bill has now passed both the House and Senate. The law grants employees the right to obtain a 45-day stay on a personnel action before the MSPB if one is requested by the Office of Special Counsel.
As it stands, MSPB cannot approve OSC’s requests because only one of its three board positions is filled, and without quorum, the Board is only capable of performing administrative and executive functions.
“Without a quorum, OSC cannot seek extensions of formal stays (beyond an initial 45 day period),” the agency previously told Government Executive. “OSC also cannot ask for MSPB review of initial decisions.”
If signed into law by the President, then any one of the MSPB members would have the authority to unilaterally grant a stay during a period when the Board does not have quorum.
“The full MSPB board has been an essential check on rogue administrative judges, who are often more hostile to whistleblowers than the federal appeals courts,” Tom Devine, legal director for the Government Accountability Project said. “Without that full board, the pressure to conform with statutory boundaries will vanish.”
Posted in From the Hill