In June, I requested from the MSPB documents related to the hiring, disciplining, and management of administrative judges and administrative law judges. After some wrangling over unresponsive documents, the results of an appeal came in today.
Two of the items I requested were:
6. Any documents evidencing discipline of AJs and ALJs who failed to meet MSPB performance standards for 2002 to the present.
7. The number and types of complaints filed against AJs and ALJs and a listing of those judges for 2002 to the present.
Here’s what Chairman Susan Grundmann had to say in response (emphasis added):
I have not located any documents responsive to items 6 or 7. The Board has not disciplined any administrative judge for failure to meet performance standards between 2002 and the present. Nor does the Board maintain disciplinary records for administrative law judges, who are not Board employees. The Board does not maintain records tracking complaints made against administrative judges or administrative law judges. The Board either adjudicates complaints against administrative judges as part of the appeal process, or informs the complainant of any applicable appeal rights from the Board’s decisions. Accordingly, I am denying this portion of your appeal.
This is astonishing, considering that MSPB has issued 82,237 decisions between FY 2002 and FY 2011.* In all those instances, not a single complaint has led to a judge being disciplined?
Either the MSPB corps executes its duties flawlessly, or we’ve got an accountability problem. As Joe Biden would say: folks, follow your instincts on this one.
*Based on “Total decisions (Board, ALJs, RO/FOs)” for the years in questions. Source: mspbwatch.net/reports.