Attorney at Law
Arlington, VA 22201
Tel. (703) 841-1112
Email to the MSPB Research Group on Ideas for New Areas of Studies
March 26, 2014
Over many years, you've studied many things and your reports are well regarded by personnel management organizations and government executives.
I'd suggest you turn inward and study the MSPB.
More particularly, how can the Board more efficiently, economically, and effectively serve the public interest through—
More frequent and informal communications with stakeholders (unions, agencies, bar organizations, representatives of appellants and agencies);
More comprehensive information on the Board website relating to the decisional law of the Board (compare the Board's efforts to those of FLRA);
Experimentation with different types of adjudication, e.g., arbitrators hired as contractors for a voluntary arbitration program; a joint selection process by the parties of judges; use of outside mediators and compulsory mediation with minimum standards governing the level of participation in mediation;
Appointment of one or two MSPB AJs as ALJs, with OPM blessing, to reduce the cost of using costly interagency agreements to pay other agencies for the time and overhead of their ALJs;
Pre-screening of cases, so that cases clearly not within the Board's jurisdiction could be quickly identified, with informal guidance to the parties filing the misdirected appeals to obtain consented dismissals of cases without going through all the steps of the current adjudication process;
Mandatory status or conference calls between AJs and the parties on a periodic basis during the development of an appeal to increase the informal interaction between judges and the parties and their counsel rather than the customary adherence to written communications, other than the prehearing conference;
A clearly-defined and effective process for dealing with rulemaking and other quality-improvement suggestions made to the Board;
An effort to work cooperatively with EEOC to fashion joint rules governing mixed cases that make sense and avoid jurisdictional problems;
Similarly, an effort to work with Federal Circuit staff counsel to develop notices of judicial appeal rights that accurately and clearly reflect the governing (evolving) law;
A program designed to effectively recruit pro bono counsel for both Board representation and Federal Circuit representation, which would entail extensive discussion with practitioners (agency and appellant) to come up with a program that allows some control over what cases qualify for the representation and who will be on the pro bono panels (ensuring a level of expertise, adequate insurance coverage, fair distribution of cases among private counsel who might qualify for counsel fee awards through settlements or favorable decisions);
A more effective means of dealing with FOIA requests (all electronic or all paper, but not both for the same requester).
So, you get the idea---a focus by the Board's own research group on how to make the Board a more effective organization. Who better than you to develop these ideas?