Memos to Nobody: Inside the work of a neglected fed agency

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inside a neglected agency, a lawyer reads through federal workplace disputes, analyzes cases, marks them with notes and logs his legal opinions, then passes them along to nobody because he’s toiling alone.

Mark Robbins is at 1,520 files and counting.

Robbins is a member of the Merit Systems Protection Board, which helps determine whether civil servants have been mistreated by their employers. The three board members are presidentially appointed and Senate-confirmed.

Robbins is the sole member now and acting chairman. The board needs at least two members to decide cases.

For nearly two years, while Congress has argued and the White House has delayed, Robbins has waited to be sent some colleagues to read his work and rule on the cases. No one has arrived. So he toils in vain.

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