Lack of MSPB Quorum – What it Means

Susan Tsui Grundmann resigned as chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) on January 7, 2017. With Grundmann's departure, the MSPB, a quasi-judicial agency that oversees disputes arising from disciplinary actions and prohibited personnel practices involving federal workers, is now down to a single board member, Mark A. Robbins. While this may seem innocuous at first, Grundmann's resignation means that the MSPB no longer has a "quorum", or the minimum number of members necessary to issue decisions within their purview, until President Trump nominates a new board member. While the Board's Administrative Judges still have the authority to issue Initial Decisions, the MSPB cannot issue the following types of decisions:

      • Petition for Review Decisions;
      • Interlocutory Appeal Decisions;
      • Rulings on requests for an extension of an initial stay request filed by the Office of Special Counsel;

One clear impact is the inevitable delay in processing petitions for review from initial decisions issued by Administrative Judges. If you do file a petition for review after January 7, 2017, your petition will be acknowledged by the Office of the Clerk and processed according to MSPB procedure, however you should be prepared to wait. Please keep in mind that, even though the Board will be delayed in issuing a decision because of a lack of quorum, it does not toll your deadline for filing a petition for review.

For more information on this issue, please review the official MSPB FAQ about the Lack of Board Quorum here.