Workforce

Biden taps D.C. employment lawyer to lead MSPB

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Cathy Harris, a Washington, D.C., employment and civil rights lawyer, is the Biden administration's pick to lead the Merit Systems Protection Board.

MSPB, a quasi-judicial agency that hears appeals from federal employees on agency personnel actions, has been without a quorum to decide appeals since January 2017 and without any Senate-confirmed leadership since March 2019.

Earlier this month, Reps. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Jody Hice (R-Ga.) sent a letter to the White House urging swift nomination of a chairperson and two members to establish a quorum at MSPB.

When at full capacity, MSPB has three board members: a chairperson and one member from the party in power at the White House and one member from the opposition. Two board members are required for a quorum. There is no word yet on the timeline for nominating two new members.

Harris is co-manager of the law firm of Kator, Parks, Weiser and Harris, and specializes in employment law cases including cases before the MSPB, according to a bio released by the White House. She chairs her firm's sexual harassment and LGBT practice.

Separately, on the federal workforce leadership front, the nomination of Kiran Ahuja to lead the Office of Personnel Management cleared the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee on a party line vote of 7-5.

Correction: This article initially mistated the size of the MSPB board and the number required for a quorum.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial roles at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, New York Press, Architect Magazine and other publications.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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