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MSPB braces for wave of furlough appeals

There is one small but important federal entity -- the Merit Systems Protection Board -- that is especially concerned about its ability to produce under the sequester pressure.

There is one small but important federal entity -- the Merit Systems Protection Board -- that is especially concerned about its ability to produce under the sequester pressure.

The MSPB is in charge of producing fair evidentiary proceedings and hearings that lead to just outcomes for aggrieved federal employees.

MSPB officers fear that it will become nearly impossible to meet demand given the onslaught of appeals of furloughs that the adjudication panel expects to if sequestration goes into to effect March 1.

“The possibility of sequestration is of unique concern to MSPB because of our statutory responsibility to hear appeals by federal employees of ‘furloughs of 30 days or less,’” Susan T. Grundmann, who chairs MSPB, wrote in a letter to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Government Executive made the Feb. 21 letter available on their website.

Grundmann noted in the letter that in fiscal 2012, her panel issued 7,585 decisions in employee appeal cases. The panel could become overwhelmed in the event of sequestration, which “could result in the furlough of ‘hundreds of thousands’ of federal employees,” Grundmann concluded.

For the moment, Grundmann’s letter asks the committee chairman only to discuss the matter -- requesting a meeting to “provide a more detailed explanation of the potential impact of the sequestration from MSPB’s perspective.” But the communication clearly reflects concern with the disconnect between the sheer numbers of potential appeals that might be expected under sequestration versus the panel’s usual caseload.



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