Proposal To Change Statutory Jurisdiction of Merit Systems Protection Board

B-202515: Published: Jun 25, 1981. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 1981.

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The view of GAO was requested on a proposal to change the statutory jurisdiction of the Merit Systems Protection Board. The suggested statutory amendment would permit the Board to review agency-assessed adverse personnel actions only in cases where it is proven that the penalty is grossly disproportionate to the offense or the result of prohibited discrimination. The Board has issued an opinion and an order in which it concluded that it did have authority under present law to reassess sanctions imposed by agencies, but only in cases where the agency-imposed penalty is clearly excessive, disproportionate to the sustained charges, or arbitrary, capricious, or unreasonable. However, that opinion is subject to judicial review. GAO is not prepared to endorse the proposed statutory amendment. It believes that the process of judicial review should be allowed to take its course, and sufficient time should be allowed to determine whether the application of the new standard, which has now been adapted by the Board, would correct the problems perceived.

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