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• Mystery solved: Current member won’t remain on Merit Systems Protection Board
• New nominee’s experience as federal government attorney called ‘a plus’
Dennis Dean Kirk is President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the panel responsible for handling federal workers’ appeals of personnel actions.
Trump intends to nominate Kirk to be a member and the chair of the Merit Systems Protection Board for the remainder of a seven-year term expiring March 1, 2023, the White House announced March 8. The position requires confirmation by the Senate.
The announcement comes three days after the president indicated that Andrew Maunz was his choice to be the board’s vice chair.
The announcement clears up some confusion that arose over the nomination of Maunz by clarifying that Mark Robbins, the current vice chair, will depart his position. Robbins is currently the only member of the three-seat board.
The new board members would face a large backlog of cases. Robbins has been the sole member since January 2017, and the board can’t issue opinions without at least two members.
Trump has yet to name a Democrat for the MSPB. The board’s three members can’t all be from the same political party.
Kirk’s background will stand him in good stead on the board, attorney Cheri Cannon told Bloomberg Law.
Government experience “is always a plus when you are dealing with federal employment matters,” said Cannon, a former chief counsel to the MSPB chairman. Cannon is now a managing partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC in Washington.
Kirk’s first federal government job was as a trial attorney in the Interstate Commerce Commission’s Bureau of Enforcement. He was special counsel in the Department of the Army’s Office of General Counsel from 2005-2007. He was associate general counsel for Strategic Integration and Business Transformation, also at the Army, from 2007-2012.
Kirk currently is a contract litigation partner with the law firm of Schmitz & Socarras LLP in McLean, Va., according to the White House.