MSPB Nominees Testify Before Senate Subcommittee

Last Thursday, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) heard from President Trump’s three nominees to serve on the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) – the “quasi-judicial board that adjudicates adverse actions against federal employees to ensure compliance with merit system principles,” as explained by GovExec.

According to Eric Katz, the nominees told HSGAC “they would work expeditiously to address the largest backlog of cases in MSPB’s history,” a backlog that “has continued to grow since the board lost its quorum” back in January of last year. Current estimates put the number of appeals on-hold at 1,250.

President Trump’s nominee to chair the body is Dennis Kirk, who spent the majority of his career at a private law firm. Kirk promised that, if confirmed, he would “seek modernization of the workforce, enforce fair treatment and safety for whistleblowers and ensure a workplace free from prohibited personnel practices.”

Julia Clark, another of Trump’s nominees, is a former counsel for the International Federation of Technical and Professional Engineers. She told the subcommittee she would demonstrate “unqualified commitment to protect the merit system principles.”

Trump’s third MSPB nominee, Andrew Maunz, was a more contentious choice for some who cited a federal court’s finding that the office he previously ran was “dysfunctional and under the management of supervisors whose management skills and performance were deficient in many respects, including unfavorable treatment of older women working in the office, compared with younger women and male attorneys.”

During the hearing Thursday, Maunz said the MSPB “fulfills its mission best when it applies the relevant legal authorities as they are written and does not stray beyond its statutory mandates.”

“The job of the MSPB is not to favor one side versus the other,” Maunz said. “It is to protect our civil service system by reviewing the facts and applying the law in a neutral and fair way.”  

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