Merit Systems Protection Board


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Merit Systems Protection Board

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) ensures that federal civil servants are hired and retained based on merit. In overseeing the personnel practices of the federal government, the board conducts special studies of the merit systems; hears and decides charges of wrongdoing and employment appeals of adverse agency actions; and orders corrective disciplinary actions against an executive agency or employee when appropriate. The board's independent special counsel investigates, among other things, prohibited personnel practices and allegations of activities proscribed by civil service laws, rules, and regulations, and prosecutes officials who violate civil service rules and regulations.

The MSPB is a successor agency to the U.S. Civil Service Commission, which had been established by act of Congress on January 16, 1883. The duties and authority of the board are specified in 5 U.S.C.A. §§ 1201–1206 (1978).

The board has responsibility for hearing and adjudicating appeals by federal employees of adverse personnel actions, such as removals, suspensions, and demotions. It also resolves cases involving re-employment rights, the denial of periodic step increases in pay, actions against administrative law judges, charges of merit-system violations, and prohibited personnel practices, including charges in connection with whistle-blowing (i.e., the reporting of illegal acts). When President bill clinton reauthorized the MSPB and the Office of Special Counsel in 1994, he directed that federal employee whistle-blowers and other victims of prohibited personnel practices receive additional protections. Clinton instructed the agencies to follow appropriate procedures to protect the constitutional rights of such federal employees.

The board has the authority to enforce its decisions and to order corrective and disciplinary actions. An employee or applicant for employment who is involved in an appealable action that also involves an allegation of discrimination may ask the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to review a board decision. Final decisions and orders of the board are appealable to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

The board reviews regulations issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and has the authority to require agencies to cease compliance with any regulation that could constitute a prohibited personnel practice. It also conducts special studies on the civil service and other Executive Branch merit systems and reports to the president and the Congress on whether the federal workforce is being adequately protected against political abuses and prohibited personnel practices.

The Office of the Special Counsel is responsible for investigating allegations and other information concerning prohibited personnel practices; prohibited political activities by federal and certain state and local employees; Arbitrary or capricious withholding of information in violation of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C.A. § 552 et seq.) (1986); prohibited discrimination when found by appropriate authority; and other activities that are prohibited by any civil service law, rule, or regulation. The special counsel initiates disciplinary and corrective actions before the board when warranted.

The special counsel is also responsible for receiving and referring to the appropriate agency information that evidences a violation of any law, rule, or regulation; mismanagement; gross waste of funds; abuse of authority; or substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.

Since the late 1990s, the board has expanded the amount of information on its web site. Federal employees who wish to file an appeal may download forms and rules. In addition, the decisions of the board are now posted on its web site, <www.mspb.gov>.

Further readings

Merit Systems Protection Board Web site. Available online at <www.mspb.gov> (accessed November 11, 2003).

U.S. Government Manual Web site. Available online at <www.gpoaccess.gov/gmanual> (accessed November 10, 2003).

Cross-references

Administrative Agency; Administrative Law and Procedure; Bureaucracy; Merit System.

References in periodicals archive ?
The Merit Systems Protection Board members, in turn, are protected by the intermediate tenure protection.
White, whistleblowers had a 36 percent success rate for decisions on their merits made by the Merit Systems Protection Board. After Lachance, the success rate dropped to 7 percent.
Merit Systems Protection Board 1993, hereafter cited as MSPB).
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CSRA abolished the Civil Service Commission and established the Office of Personnel Management, the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the Federal Labor Relations Authority.
Expanding the Office of Special Counsels (OSC) authority to pursue accountability for Hatch Act violations against high-level presidential appointees before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) without running afoul of the Appointments Clause; Permitting the MSPB to impose a fine of up to $10,000 per Hatch Act violation; Requiring OSC to provide the President a written complaint outlining appointee Hatch Act violation(s) and recommended remedies, up to and including termination, and to make such statement available to the public; and Requiring the President to issue a public response within 30 days explaining whether he or she will follow the recommendation, and if not, providing an explanation for their lack of response.
Merit Systems Protection Board Case No.: 16-1313 Officials: ROVNER, WILLIAMS, and HAMILTON, Circuit Judges.
An EEO counselor's manual follows, which discusses their role and responsibilities, the initial interview, identifying and defining the claims, fact finding, resolution of complaints, interviewing techniques, the report, and alternatives of pursuing EEO complaints in the negotiated grievance process or before the Merit Systems Protection Board. The subsequent investigator's manual covers their role and responsibilities, investigative principles, determining the scope of the investigation, evidence types and collection, and reports.
Merit Systems Protection Board indicated that 35.3 percent of federal employees are engaged, 47.2 percent are somewhat engaged, and 17.5 percent are not engaged.
The Merit Systems Protection Board is charged with enforcing civil service laws and regulations.
Two other federal agencies with redress roles, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, have taken steps to address potential conflicts of interest when their own employees use their agency's respective redress processes.
Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) presentation shows, it began with efforts to provide small annual bonuses (incentive awards and quality step increases).