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MSPB gaining ground on furlough appeals

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The Merit Systems Protection Board is making headway in containing an unprecedented surge in appeals fueled by Defense Department employee furloughs.

As of yesterday, the board had docketed almost 16,600 appeals, or about half the total. It now expects to have most of the remainder done soon after Labor Day and then begin the adjudication process for the DoD cases, according to the latest update posted on its home page.

Challenges of sequester-related furloughs–most of them from Defense Department workers–have swollen the MSPB’s workload to roughly five times its normal level. Consider some numbers provided today by Board Clerk William Spencer. The total number of furlough appeals (docketed and undocketed) stood at 32,368.  Appeals of all other kinds: 5,346.

No doubt to the relief of the tiny MSPB’s 200-strong workforce, the surge is showing signs of ebbing. While he didn’t have exact figures, Spencer said that the influx of new appeals has dropped since the beginning of last week.

In its online update, the board apologized for any inconvenience to appellants, but added that it would be inefficient to start adjudicating appeals “only to discover that furlough appeals raising similar arguments, filed by similarly situated employees, remain to be docketed.” Going forward, the MSPB “hopes to consolidate and adjudicate as many similar claims as possible, and this cannot be done until the docketing process is near completion.”

 

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