Waiting for an MSPB Decision? Don’t Hold Your Breath

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By on September 21, 2018 in Agency News with 0 Comments

Close up of a wooden judge's gavel with a lawyer sitting at a desk in the background writing

According to a blog post from Bill Wiley, President of the Federal Employment Law Training Group, the Senate Homeland Security Committee has advised the White House it will not be taking action on nominations of the three new members of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB or Board) before the current Congressional session ends.

Nomination Process Will Start All Over

MSPB Acting Chairman Mark Robbins

MSPB Acting Chairman Mark Robbins

This all boils down to the nomination process starting over again with confirmation required for any MSPB nominees by the new Senate that will convene in January 2019.

Currently, there is one MSPB Member. That is the Acting Chairman, Mark A. Robbins. Wiley notes that Acting Chairman Robbins “turns into a political pumpkin at midnight on March 1.”

The “Political Pumpkin” at the MSPB

Robbins “turns into a political pumpkin” because his term expires as of March 1, 2019. He will then depart from the MSPB as his term cannot be renewed. He is currently serving at the agency in a one-year statutory carryover year.

Robbins was nominated by President Obama on December 5, 2011 to serve as a Member of the Merit Systems Protection Board for a term of seven years. He was confirmed by the Senate on April 26, 2012. On January 23, 2017, President Trump designated him as Vice Chairman of the Board.

The most likely scenario that will unfold is that, for the first time, the MSPB will not have any Board members as of March 1, 2019.

For readers who may have one of 1,300 or so cases now pending, there is a long line so don’t hold your breath waiting for a decision. The number will continue to grow, of course, as new cases pile up. Of course, when some decisions come out reinstating an employee, the amount of back pay that will have accrued should make for an interesting tax form to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service.

© 2020 Ralph R. Smith. All rights reserved. This article may not be reproduced without express written consent from Ralph R. Smith.


About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters onĀ federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47