Biden names pick for final MSPB slot

The Merit Systems Protection Board has been without a quorum for over four years and has a backlog of more than 3,000 appeals.

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President Biden announced his pick to round out the three-person Merit Systems Protection Board on Thursday, a step in renewing the board that's been without a quorum since January 2017.

Biden will nominate MSPB's current general counsel, Tristan Leavitt, to be a member on the board.

Leavitt previously he worked at the U.S. Office of Special Council as the principal deputy special counsel and on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary's ranking member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and for the House Oversight and Reform Committee when former Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) chaired the committee.

It's customary for two members of the three-person board to come from the president's party and the third member to represent the party out of power.

The selection follows nominations made in June and April for MSPB chair and vice chair, Cathy Harris, a D.C. employment and civil rights lawyer, and vice chair, Raymond Limon, currently working in HR at the Interior Department. So far, no nominee has received a Senate committee hearing.

Meanwhile, the latest nominee, Leavitt, has been running the board as its acting chief executive and administrative officer since 2019, the last time when the board had Senate-confirmed leadership.

The board, which hears appeals from feds on agency personnel actions, hasn't been able to decide appeals for years because of the lack of a two person quorum, although administrative judges are still able to issue initial decisions without a quorum. That's left a backlog of over 3,000 appeals, according to its FY 2022 budget justification.

At full capacity, the board has three Senate-confirmed board members; two are required for a quorum.