"Serving those who serve in government"
Call now for a free consultation 888-351-0424

MSBP board members role eliminated in new VA law

Legal actions often proceed slowly. This is generally not due to judges having a poor work ethic. Courts and other legal proceedings are often slow for exactly the opposite reason; because the judges and their staff are so busy. Court dockets are often booked months in advance, meaning when new cases arise, they are sent to the back of the line, and that line may be rather long.

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), which oversees the federal civil service's disciplinary system, has been rather busy of late. Last year's sequestration and the unpaid furloughs that many federal workers endured, generated 30,000 appeals to the MSPB, which almost four times the agencies typical years' workload.

A case involving a federal worker challenging an adverse job action or termination would usually proceed to an administrative law judge (ALJ), then to the three member board, and finally, to federal court, if necessary.

The new law affecting the Veterans Affairs department and more particularly, the Senior Executive Service (SES) eliminates the oversight of the board and the federal courts, while compressing the time for the remaining steps.

SES employees only have seven days to appeal a termination, and an administrative law judge has to issue their decision within 21 days. In a complex case, these deadlines would essentially deprive a SES employee of any right of appeal of their firing.

It will further disrupt the scheduling of all cases, since any SES cases would need to receive immediate attention from the assigned ALJ, sending their docket into confusion.

The federal civil service law was created to end the abuses of the "spoils" system, where federal jobs were given as political favors. With this new VA law, a VA secretary could remove all of the SES employees and again pack the department political cronies.

A larger concern is that this attack on the civil service system is but the beginning of a political attempt to dismantle the merit system, and deprive federal employees of their due process rights and job protection.

Source: The Washington Post, "Merit board head says with new VA law ‘we are absolutely in new territory’," Joe Davidson, August 10, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
American Bar Association Logo Best Attorneys Online Logo Elite Lawyers 2017 Logo Lead Counsel Rated Logo The New York Times Logo Avvo Rating 10 Logo State Bar of Texas Logo CNN Elite Lawyers 2018 Logo

We Understand That Your Federal Career Is On The Line
We offer a free consultation, and our fee structures are designed to meet your needs.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters.

Back To Top