Progress in Filling MSPB Vacancies: Still No Quorum

President Biden has submitted a nominee to the MSPB. Where does the agency stand now?

President Biden has nominated Cathy Harris to be the next Chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board. Here is the summation of her bio according to the White House press release.

Cathy A. Harris is co-manager of the firm of Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris, PLLC, in Washington, DC. She serves as the Chair of the firm’s Sexual Harassment and LGBT Practice sections. Ms. Harris has practiced employment law, including before the Merit Systems Protection Board, for over two decades. She has extensive experience in the litigation and settlement of federal sector employment class actions, and also represents individual employees. She graduated from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC with honors in 1997, where she was a member and editor on the George Washington Law Review. She received the Michael D. Cooley award for most successfully maintaining her compassion, vitality and humanity during law school and was elected to give the salutatory address at commencement. Ms. Harris received her undergraduate degree from Brown University in 1994.

Prior to joining Kator, Parks, Weiser & Harris, PLLC, Ms. Harris was an Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office. She also served as an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University Law School from 2001 to 2004. She resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with her wife and daughter.

As president, Donald Trump had nominated two people to serve on the MSPB. They were not confirmed by the Senate and the agency has been without a quorum since Susan Tsui Grundmann resigned in January 2017. Cases before the Board have been piling up since that time.

Even if the new nominee is quickly confirmed, the MSPB will not have a quorum to be able to issue final decisions. Several thousand cases are reportedly pending and waiting for a quorum to convene at the agency to begin issuing case decisions.

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 on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47