By John V. Berry, Esq., www.berrylegal.com
Our firm represents federal employees before the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) in the appeals process. Following a federal employee’s submission of their appeal to the MSPB, there are a number of steps in the processing of an MSPB appeal. The typical first step is for the federal employee and the federal agency to receive an acknowledgment order from the assigned administrative judge setting forth the dates and timelines for the processing of the case. One deadline which is usually placed in the acknowledgment order is the agency’s deadline to file their response to the federal employee’s appeal, usually referred to as the Agency File or Agency Response. The deadline for the federal agency to file the Agency Response is usually within 20 days after the receipt of the judge’s acknowledgment order.
What is the Agency Response?
The Agency Response is the federal agency’s reply to a federal employee’s appeal. Usually, the Agency Response consists of 2 parts, a narrative legal response to the appeal that was filed, followed by a series of documents related to the appeal which are attached as exhibits. An Agency Response, in our experience, can run from anywhere from fifty to several hundred pages depending on the issues and facts involved in a particular case.
What does the Agency Response Contain?
Some of the more frequent items contained in an Agency Response includes copies of the personnel action being appealed, the materials relied upon in taking the action (e.g. if a disciplinary action is involved) and/or any related investigations that have taken place. The MSPB requires a federal agency to file copies of all documents "relevant and material" to the appeal which can cover a broad range of information.
Why is the Agency Response Helpful to Federal Employees
One of the most significant reasons why the Agency Response is important to federal employees in the MSPB process is the fact that it usually contains a fairly complete record of the action that led to the MSPB appeal. The information provided can then be used by the federal employee to prosecute their appeal and also may help lead to other previously unknown documents through the discovery process. We often find materials or references provided in the Agency Response which can lead to previously unknown documents or exhibits. These items can then be sought in the discovery process. Basically, the Agency Response is a good beginning point from which a federal employee can start to gather important documents for use in their appeal.
In sum, the Agency Response is a key provider of information for use in a federal employee’s MSPB appeal. Our law firm represents federal employees before the MSPB and can be contacted at www.berrylegal.com or by telephone at (703) 668-0070. Our Facebook page is located at https://www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.