Merit Systems Protection Board:

Case Processing Timeliness and Participants' Views on Board Activities

GGD-87-97: Published: Aug 20, 1987. Publicly Released: Aug 20, 1987.

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GAO reviewed the Merit Systems Protection Board's (MSPB) efforts to expeditiously adjudicate federal employee appeals of agency personnel actions.

GAO found that MSPB timely processed: (1) 82 percent of employee appeals in fiscal year (FY) 1982; (2) 17 percent in FY 1983; (3) 77 percent in FY 1984; (4) 95 percent in FY 1985; and (5) 99 percent in FY 1986. GAO noted that MSPB attributed the decline in FY 1983 to budget cuts and an increased work load resulting from former air traffic controllers' appeals of their removal from their jobs. GAO also found that MSPB headquarters timely issued: (1) 3.6 percent of petitions for review during FY 1982; (2) 16 percent in FY 1983; (3) 12.9 percent in FY 1984; (4) 51.7 percent in FY 1985; and (5) 53 percent in FY 1986. GAO noted that MSPB attributed headquarters processing delays to: (1) the lingering effects of a backlog in cases inherited from the Civil Service Commission; (2) MSPB policy to hold certain petitions for review pending a review of major issues which could establish precedents for similar cases; (3) FY 1982 budget cuts; (4) air traffic controller appeals; and (5) circumstances beyond its control. In addition, GAO found that: (1) about 50 percent or more of the participants in the groups it surveyed were satisfied with the actual time regional offices took to process cases, but not all groups were satisfied with headquarters processing times; and (2) generally, the groups representing agencies' interests rated the appeals process as objective, independent, and fair to a great or very great extent at both the regional and headquarters levels, whereas groups representing employee interests rated the process less favorably.

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