Washington Post

3 min read

Important functions of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) and the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) -- both deal with disputes involving federal employees and agency management -- have ground to a halt because presidential appointees to these agencies are not in place. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has had a confirmed director for less than a year of President Trump's tenure. It oversees policies affecting 2.1 million federal workers and their families, while providing security clearance services to agencies across the government for staffers, contractors and applicants.


With voting underway in most states, the six-member election commission, which enforces campaign finance laws, has only three. Without a fourth, it has no quorum and cannot vote on various issues, including enforcement matters or approve public funding requests from presidential candidates.

The three member MSPB has none. The FLRA's general counsel office is empty. These vacancies are consistent with the Republican drive toward smaller government, its opposition to organized labor and the denigration of government staffers. The board has been without a quorum for the entirety of Trump's presidency. The authority has not had an appointed general counsel since Trump took office and without an acting general counsel since November 2017. These agencies cannot decide appeals, generally of management actions against employees, without people in those positions.


Appeals are backing up at each agency. The board's backlog is approaching 3,000 cases. The authority's general counsel's office has about 400 complaints needing action, according to an agency official. Not only are federal employees…
Joe Davidson
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