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SEA Celebrates Restoration of Quorum to Merit Systems Protection Board

Wednesday, March 2, 2022   (0 Comments)




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March 2, 2022

Jason Briefel

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SEA Celebrates Restoration of Quorum to Merit Systems Protection Board


WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Bob Corsi President of the Senior Executives Association (SEA) – the leading professional association responsible for representing, convening, and cultivating members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) and senior career leaders across the federal government – released the following statement on the Senate’s March 1, 2022 action unanimously confirming two nominees to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB):


“Finally, the Senate has taken action to confirm two Board Members to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), restoring a quorum and enabling the board to function again. We cannot understate the impact of this restoration for the American people and the functioning of their government. For five years, the MSPB has lacked a quorum. For three years, the Board has lacked a single Senate-confirmed Member,” Corsi explained, “These vacancies have widespread negative impacts on federal employees, agencies, and taxpayers alike. In finally doing their job and confirming members to the MSPB, the Senate has taken a necessary and long-awaited step toward restoring trust and faith in government. While many Americans do not know about the impact of the MSPB, they have felt the consequences of its vacancies.”


“Restoring a quorum at the Board has been a top priority for SEA during these past five years. The relentless advocacy of SEA – in close coordination with civil society, employee associations and unions, and the good government community – was essential to keeping this issue alive and restoring a quorum. It is easy to forget the vital role the MSPB plays in government accountability. At times, it seemed the Senate and federal employee groups with adjudication avenues outside the MSPB were content with letting the issue linger. SEA worked hard on behalf of the whistleblowers and leaders in the federal government who rely on the MSPB to ensure that never happened,” Corsi furthered.


“Today, over 3,600 cases remain unresolved before the Board. This means, in over 3,600 cases, federal agencies lack finality for their personnel actions and employee rights are unenforced. Over the past five years, agencies have increasingly acted with impunity towards employees, allowing violations of employee rights to transpire because Senate inaction on qualified nominees neutered the oversight mechanism offered by the Board. Make no mistake, a government that will abuse its employees is a short trip away from abusing its costumers – the American people,” Corsi explained.


“The federal workforce is governed by the merit system principles. These principles include ensuring qualified individuals work in the federal government, ensuring all employees receive fair and equitable treatment, ensuring employees maintain high standards of integrity and concern for the public, and ensuring the federal workforce is used efficiently and effectively in service to the American people above all else. The MSPB safeguards these principles. At their core, these principles ensure the federal workforce provides every American equal access to government services and Americans cannot be discriminated against due to political persuasion or other characteristics of the spoil system of the past. The employment protections provided to federal civil servants do not protect their job security forever – they exist to hold government accountable and ensure it serves the American people,” Corsi continued.


“The MSPB ensures the government is honest about the way it treats its own employees. In 1883 our nation decided we wanted a federal workforce dedicated to the American people more than politics. Nearly 100 years later the MSPB put teeth behind that decision to ensure federal employees have protections that allow them to provide the public with government services and benefits without the influence of partisan political influence,” Corsi furthered.


“At a time when trust in the federal government is at an all-time low, this Board has been off the job, unable to enforce the laws and hold the government accountable for its actions. Still, when the Board is functioning it affirms an agency’s decision in over 80 percent of cases – making clear the government can be trusted when it has a watchdog to account for agency actions. Restoring the MSPB means restoring this vital watchdog,” Corsi stated. “In the other nearly 16 percent of cases, employees are reinstated because the agency erred or violated their rights. In these instances, taxpayers must pay to rectify the agency’s mistake. The back pay price tag has steadily increased each day the MSPB remained vacant. Not only was the hollowed MSPB a governance mistake, but it was also a waste.”


“Finally, with a quorum restored, the MSPB can start digging out from the historic and horrific backlog. It can begin providing finality to agencies and justice to employees. It can ensure taxpayer dollars are not wasted by allowing these matters to languish endlessly without resolution. It can rebuild trust. The MSPB is part of the modern civil service system the Congress put in place to govern the federal workforce and hold it accountable. The Senate has not been doing its job to maintain quorums and proper functions, at the MSPB, FLRA, and so many more critical government roles. The Senate’s failure to act has been to the detriment of accountability in the federal government. This must never happen again,” Corsi concluded.



The Senior Executives Association (SEA) is a professional association representing Senior Executive Service members and other career Federal leaders. Founded in 1980, SEA’s goals are to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity of the Federal government; to advance the professionalism and advocate the interests of career Federal executives; and to enhance public recognition of their contributions.

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