Comments: Integrating The Internet Into Conflict Management Systems

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John Ford   10/21/03
In support of the President's E-Government initiatives and goals, the Merit Systems Protection Board announces two new initiatives, e-Appeal and e-Filing. The e-Appeal process allows federal appellants to initiate appeals of agency actions online from the MSPB website, In a secure, online environment, appellants are presented with an interactive version of the MSPB appeal form that they complete, as if being interviewed, by responding to a series of questions. Their responses to the questions determine the course of the "interview," ensuring that MSPB obtains the information needed to adjudicate the appeal as quickly as possible, resulting in more timely decisions. e-Appeal also includes electronic links to MSPB regulations, guidance, and answers to commonly asked questions. Appellants may submit supporting documents to the MSPB by attaching them to the electronic appeal form. The process need not be completed in a single session. Appellants may sign off, saving a partially completed form, and return at a later time to finish the process. Chairman Susanne Marshall stated, "As a new product for our federal customers, the e-Appeal process should prove to be an important service improvement. Even if an appellant ultimately elects not to use the e-Appeal process, we believe that appellants, their representatives, and agency representatives, will find it a helpful guide to MSPB adjudication and related laws and regulations." The e-Filing initiative now gives parties engaged in proceedings before the MSPB the option of electronic filing. Parties may sign up for e-Filing with the appropriate MSPB office. Since a large proportion of the parties who appear before the MSPB are non-attorneys, MSPB constructed the e-Filing process so that it requires little in the way of specialized equipment, software or expertise. Parties may still continue to submit documents by conventional means.