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FY19 Reports by the Merit Systems Protection Board Reports

The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) presented synopses of reports it plans to release in the Congressional Budget Justification for Fiscal Year 2019. These reports are Improving Federal Leadership Through Better Probationary Practices and Perceptions of Prohibited Personnel Practices: An Update.

Improving Federal Leadership Through Better Probationary Practices examines the use of supervisory probationary periods within federal agencies. This topic was also discussed in the January 2018 Issues of Merit. The MSPB has “found that agencies rarely use the probationary period to take action against unsuccessful leaders.” The MSPB found that many supervisors feel uncomfortable taking an action against unsuccessful management members in their probationary period for a variety of reasons, including not wanting to create conflict, not having a different position to place the separated employee, and a fear of losing the skills that made the employee valuable to management. In their report, the MSPB addresses that “the most effective way to improve the cadre of new supervisor is to reduce the likelihood of making a bad hire in the first place.”

In Perceptions of Prohibited Personnel Practices: An Update, the MSPB compares survey results from 2010 to 2016 on employee perceptions of prohibited personnel practices (PPPs). In its overview, the MSPB submits that 78% of employees stated they had observed no PPPs, but only 54% responded the same in 2016. More employees are aware of PPPs in federal service, and many additionally reported that “their agency’s non-disclosure policies and agreements did not include the required language about whistleblowing rights.”

While these reports have been completed, they cannot be released until the MSPB has restored its quorum, as they must be reviewed by the Board members prior to publication. In the meantime, the MSPB has been able to release other surveys and newsletters during the lack of quorum.