About the Merit Systems Protection Board

What is the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB)?

The federal Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) exists to protect the rights of federal civil service employees. The MSPB is designed to be independent of partisan politics and to provide federal employees with an opportunity to appeal adverse and unfair personnel decisions. In order to fulfill its role as an independent and fair system, the MSPB has been carefully organized and its board members have been appointed by the President of the United States.

Organization of the MSPB

In order to understand how your appeal will be processed and decided, it is important to understand how the MSPB is organized. The board members serve in the central Washington D.C. Office where the MSPB is headquartered. Many of the appeals and studies that are conducted by the MSPB occur in Washington where many federal workers are employed.

However, the MSPB recognizes that the federal government employs people in all areas of the country. Accordingly, there are MSPB regional offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. There are also field offices in Denver and New York. Administrative law judges hear and decide cases in these offices to make the MSPB process accessible to local federal workers and agencies.

Board Members

Board members are traditionally appointed to the MSPB for significant terms. The current Board includes:

Acting Chairman Cathy A. Harris: Ms Harris was nominated by President Joe Biden on Jan 4, 2022, and confirmed by the Senate as a Board Member on May 25, 2022. She was sworn in on June 1, 2022. Currently, Ms Harris is the Acting Chairman until the Senate acts on her nomination as Chairman.

Ms Harris previously worked as a partner of a law firm in Washington, and prior to that, worked as Assistant District Attorney in the New York County District Attorney's Office. Ms Harris is a graduate of George Washington University Law School and received her undergraduate degree from Brown University.

Although there was a lack of Board Members previously, as of now there are once again three Board Members in the MSPB. The other two Board Members currently in the MSPB are Raymond Limon and Tristan Leavitt.

Originally, the MSPB was made up of three board members, but the departure of the previous board members had left only one member to helm the board for years. In the event of a non-agreement among two or more board members, the initial judgement of the Administrative Judge will be upheld instead, for the case that is being looked at.

The Board is charged with fulfilling the mission of the MSPB - to protect the federal merit system and the employees of that system. The Board, together with the counsel, administrative law judges, central office staff and regional staff employed by the MSPB, all play a large role in implementing the MSPB procedures to achieve that mission.