Developments at the MSPB: On January 18, 2017, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) issued its Annual Report for FY 2016. This Annual Report, which was signed by former MSPB Chair Grundmann a mere day before her departure from the MSPB to the Office of Compliance and the loss of quorum at the MSPB, provided detailed statistics concerning its caseload in FY 2016.
The MSPB issued 8,602 decisions at the trial level, including 2,235 furlough decision, bringing the MSPB to 99.5% completion of adjudication of the 33,000 furlough appeals arising from Sequestration in 2013 (as previously discussed in this blog).
With the near-completion of adjudication of furlough appeals, other categories of trial decisions remained broadly stable. Non-furlough adverse action cases were down 10% from FY 2015. USERRA cases were up 71%. Independent Right of Action (IRA) appeals for whistleblower reprisal and (b)(9) prohibited personnel practices were up almost 38%. Rates of settlement at the trial level were down, while non-furlough trial level decisions favorable to employees were generally similar to FY 2015.
The number of petition for review (PFR) decisions dropped roughly 2/3 from FY 2015, reflecting a decrease in PFRs filed in furlough appeals. With the loss of quorum, the MSPB has now stopped issuing PFR decisions after January 7, 2017, and will not resume until a new Board member is confirmed to restore quorum (although MSPB administrative judges will continue to issue decisions at the trial level).