The Merit Systems Protection Board is getting its arms around the sheer number of the furlough appeals that have been inundating the agency for nearly two months.
But that means the work has just begun.
Since July 8 — the first day of Defense Department furloughs — MSPB has been flooded with furlough appeals at an increasing clip. As of late last week, MSPB announced it had cleared the 30,000 furlough appeal hurdle — nearly six times more appeals than the board typically receives in an entire year. (This year is no exception; the board has received more than 5,000 other types of appeals.)
“In early July, I thought getting 300 appeals in a day was a big deal,” MSPB General Counsel Bryan Polisuk said in a podcast interview with FedScoop. But over the last week, MSPB has been receiving nearly 1,000 furlough appeals a day.
And roughly 98 percent of those appeals are coming from DOD. But only 16,571 of the 30,000-plus appeals have been docketed, putting any decision on the appeals on hold. The board announced it wants to docket every single DOD furlough appeal before adjudicating one.
“It would be inefficient for the board to begin adjudicating certain furlough appeals, only to discover that furlough appeals raising similar arguments, filed by similarly situated employees, remain to be docketed,” reads a statement on the agency’s site.
The agency expects to wrap up the docketing process “shortly after Labor Day” and will start start settling DOD furlough appeals “shortly thereafter.”
A small number of furlough appeals have been settled for other agencies — 16 in total as of Aug. 8 — but the newest release did not update that number.