MSPB Swamped With Furlough Appeals
The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), the tiny independent agency responsible for hearing challenges of “adverse” personnel actions, is being flooded with appeals from furloughed federal employees.
The MSPB usually handles around 7,000 cases per year. This year, the number of cases coming before the Board will surely eclipse that number.
Nearly 3,000 furlough-related appeals had been filed as of last week, many coming after Defense Department employees experienced their first of eleven furlough days the week of July 8.
Overall nearly 800,000 federal employees, including approximately 650,000 Defense civilians, will experience furloughs this fiscal year.
MSPB Chairwoman Susan Tsui Grundmann said in an interview, "We literally, on a daily basis, have hundreds and hundreds of furlough cases filed, with people dropping off stacks of paper in each office or using our electronic filing system."
The MSPB is working to determine how it will process all of the applications. One option is consolidating the furlough appeals into a group. This tactic was taken during the early 1980s to process air traffic control strike cases.
With the air traffic control cases, "We processed about 10,000 cases within a two-year period," Grundmann said. "Consolidation can work by facility. It can work by deciding official and certainly by the types of claims raised by appellants. Right now, the regions are seeking to consolidate within each region just to keep up with the influx of appeals coming in. Having said that, consolidation may not be appropriate in every case and, so far, as of this date, no nationwide consolidation has started yet."
At this time the MSPB is working overtime to keep up with new appeals coming in.
A FAQ section has been posted on its website to help answer questions federal employees may have about the furlough appeals process.
Posted in General News