Trump nominates long-awaited third MSPB member

President Donald Trump has nominated a third member to fill the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), potentially paving the way for the confirmation process to begin again after months of delay.

The president nominated Chad Bungard to serve on the board, which has been without any confirmed members for nearly two months and has lacked a quorum for more than two years.

Bungard, who currently serves as the deputy commissioner for the Social Security Administration’s Office of Analytics, Review and Oversight, has experience with federal employee law. He served as general counsel for the MSPB during the George W. Bush administration for more than three years.

He also worked in several capacities for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, including the federal workforce and agency organization subcommittee in the early days of the Bush administration where he handled federal personnel and organization issues.

In addition, Bungard served as general counsel to Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and chief counsel to SSA’s inspector general.

In his current position at SSA’s Office of Analytics, Review and Oversight, Bungard manages more than 2,000 employees, according to the president’s nomination announcement.

With this nomination, the Senate can, in theory, at last begin to fill the MSPB with confirmed members. The board has been empty since Mark Robbins, the last remaining confirmed member, left the agency when his carryover term expired on March 1.

The president initially named three nominees to fill the board about a year ago. Two of them cleared the Senate committee two weeks before Robbins’ term was set to expire, while the third withdrew his name from consideration. The chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), said he wouldn’t send the two nominees to the floor for a vote until the president had named a third candidate.

The Senate committee approved the nominations of Dennis Kirk and Julia Clark to the MSPB, but without a third nominee, they never made it to the floor for a full Senate vote.

The board has continued to operate with no board members since March. And although the MSPB will continue to function in largely the same way it has for the past two years when it lacked a quorum, there are a few activities that will cease until the Senate can confirm at least one member to the board.

The agency can’t issue studies and detailed analysis on the civil service.

Petitions for review, which federal employees and agencies can file when they disagree with the initial decision from an administrative judge, have continued to stack up as they have for the past two years.

More than 2,000 petitions for review and other cases have awaited action from MSPB members during this time.

With the president’s recent announcement, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will consider Bungard’s nomination before choosing to send his name to the full Senate. The Senate would likely vote on all three board nominees as a bundle. If they’re confirmed, the board members can begin to work through the backlog of pending petitions for review.

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