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Federal Employees News Digest : Aug 5, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org What's Inside44 AUGUST 5, 2013 • VOL. 63, NO. 3 MSPB flooded with furlough appeals The independent agency responsible for adjudicating individual federal employee appeals has been hit with a flood of fur- lough appeal cases. The Merit Systems Protection Board normally has handled approximately 5,000 to 6,000 employee appeals per year in recent times, according to agency figures. But in the wake of this year's seques- ter, furloughs have been issued across the federal government---and close to 10,000 employees have appealed to the MSPB over these enforced, unpaid days off. "We are trying to get our arms around the universe of appeals we are going to receive here, ultimately," MSPB Clerk of the Board Bill Spencer told FEND. "A n d , next, we're trying to look at how we might most efficiently adjudicate them. "We have various options, and we're looking at them," Spencer said. Spencer noted that about 93 percent of the furlough filings were from the Defense Department or DOD agencies. Some observers have noted that MSPB has adjudicated waves of related appeals in a time-saving group basis in the past---and may opt to do so in the current circum- stance. The process, known as "consolida- tion," involves reviewing like cases as a group. Consolidation is a process whereby MSPB joins similar cases for adjudicating together. It is distinct from an MSPB class action, in which employees themselves file as a group. The Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Aviation Administration and others have all also had some furloughed employees file appeals with MSPB. A complicated stew Employees have taken more than one tack in their written filings opposing what they argue are illegal and unjust furlough days---but they all want the furloughs reversed and their financial losses reim- bursed. Flooded with so many appeals, and such a rich variety of arguments in pursuit of reversing the effects of the furloughs, MSPB's operations have been greatly impacted---and it has posted a special mes- sage on its website. "Due to the unprecedented large vol- ume of furlough appeals being received from employees of the military servic- es and Department of Defense activities (DOD)---and after much consideration---," the notice on www.mspb.gov reads, "MSPB has decided to delay the processing and adjudication of these appeals until we have a better understanding of the claims being raised, the work locations of the appellants, the MSPB offices in which the appeals have been filed, and whether or not the appel- lants are represented." A link to the furlough notice---and a FAQ on the subject---has been up since July 12, Spencer explained, but given the intense interest just this week the board posted the text in the middle of its homepage. Under the law, employees with grounds Trickle-down sequestration Ispent most of last week in Orlando, Fla. Not for fun (although there was some of that), but for the advancement of mankind. As in you. If you work for the federal government, Orlando was the place to be. First there was the annual meeting of Federally Employed Women, followed by the annual Federal Dispute Resolution Conference. FEW has been around forever, it seems. Although there are always some male attendees, most of the focus in on women in government, and issues such as pay equity, sexual discrimination, violence in the workplace, etc. Serious issues in the government, the military and in the private-sector workplace. In life. Normally FEW has a thousand del- egates at each meeting, depending some- times on where it is, the mood of Congress and agency budgets. Attendance usually is high, between 1,500 and 2,000 attendees (I got conflicting reports). This year: Less than 400, according to one source, a vendor who lost a lot of money because of the small crowd. FEW was followed by FDR, the meeting of choice for federal equal employment opportunity and human resources people. It has been around for two decades and is considered the premier session of its kind. Agency heads and top officials come to INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • 'Anti-fed' bills hit House 3 • Postal reform moves forward 4 • No DOD furlough decision 4 • In Brief 5 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
July 29, 2013
Aug 12, 2013