Developments at the MSPB: On February 29, 2016, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) issued its Annual Report for FY 2015. This Annual Report, issued a mere 20 days after the MSPB’s Annual Performance Report (analyzed in this blog), provided more detailed statistics concerning its caseload in FY 2015.
The MSPB issued 24,940 decisions at the trial level–by far the largest component of which were the 19,522 decisions on furlough appeals from the 2013 Sequestration; this compares to the average of just 6,200 decisions per year that the MSPB averaged between 2008 and 2012. A similar furlough-related spike appears in the MSPB’s appellate decisions on Petition for Review (PFR): decisions issued almost tripled from FY 2014, with 2,137 of the 2,963 PFR decisions issued being Sequestration-related furlough decisions. With 97% of the 32,000 furlough appeals decided as of Januay 31, 2016, and so FY 2016 will likely see competion of processing of the Sequestration furlough appeals from 2013.
Case volumes in other categories were also up. Decisions on terminations of probationers were up 14%. USERRA cases were up 16%. Whistleblower reprisal “Independent Right of Action” decisions at the hearing stage were up almost 26%, and decisions on veterans preference cases under VEOA were up almost 77%. The largest increase was in appeals in overpayment cases for FERS retirement claims; appeal levels increased 154% over FY 2014 figures. Rates of settlements and decisions mitigating adverse actions were similar to those in FY 2014.