Maule v. Merit Systems Protection Bd., 86-1610

Decision Date09 March 1987
Docket NumberNo. 86-1610,86-1610
Citation812 F.2d 1396
PartiesArthur A. MAULE, Petitioner, v. MERIT SYSTEMS PROTECTION BOARD, Respondent. Appeal
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Federal Circuit

Karon D. Ramsey, Kansas City, Mo., argued for petitioner.

Michael Martin, Merit Systems Protection Board, Washington, D.C., argued for respondent. With him on the brief were Llewellyn M. Fischer, Acting General Counsel, Mary L. Jennings, Associate General Counsel for Litigation and David C. Kane, Reviewer for Litigation.

Before RICH, DAVIS and NIES, Circuit Judges.

NIES, Circuit Judge.

Arthur A. Maule seeks review of the final decision of the Merit Systems Protection Board, Case No. SL300A8610098, 31 M.S.P.R. 26, dismissing his appeal for lack of jurisdiction. We vacate and remand.


Maule, a GS-11 Computer Programmer Analyst employed by the Department of Agriculture (the agency) and an Air Force Reservist, was on active duty in Turkey from June 25, 1984, to July 7, 1984, plus required travel time, a period asserted by Maule to be sixteen days. Within that time frame, the agency had the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) put out public notices to recruit qualified applicants for six positions of Computer Systems Programmer, GS-12. Three positions were open during the period June 28, 1984, to July 5, 1984, and three (apparently increased to five) from June 27, 1984, to July 3, 1984. It was the role of OPM, in connection with filling these positions, to establish a register by open competitive examination of applicants whom OPM determined were qualified, and to provide the agency with a list, termed a "certificate," of names from the register. Per the notices, OPM's evaluation of an applicant's training and experience was the "examination for the position." The positions had to be filled from the OPM "certificate."

Upon returning to work on July 9, 1984, Maule learned of the posting of these positions and promptly, on July 10, 1984, as well as on a number of other dates in July and August, contacted OPM to submit his application. By OPM regulation, 5 C.F.R. Sec. 332.312, 1 which is amplified in the Federal Personnel Manual (FPM) Chapter 332, Subchapter 3-2e (1981), a reservist on extended active duty is entitled to be considered for an existing register or a register which is about to be established even though the application is not timely filed. Subchapter 3-2e requires that such a reservist must file the application "within 120 days after his/her release from duty and before expiration of the register established as a result of the examination." In this case OPM refused Maule's request to accept his application for reasons which are unclear, although facially Maule appears to be qualified for the position and for the extension.

On July 20, 1984, OPM issued, for each announcement, a certificate which was valid until August 20, 1984. As a result of OPM's refusal to accept his application, Maule's name was, of course, on neither list. The agency notified OPM of its selections from the lists on August 16, 1984.

Maule received a written determination by OPM confirming its initial refusal to reopen the register. OPM first justified its decision on the ground that Maule had only a five-point veteran's preference, which precluded him from qualifying under 5 C.F.R. Sec. 332.311. Pressed by Maule to consider his entitlement under the absent reservist provision, 5 C.F.R. Sec. 332.312(b), on reconsideration OPM without explanation again denied Maule's right to reopen.

Concurrently, Maule sought other avenues of relief. Before leaving for his tour of duty, Maule had filed a form (on June 22, 1984) with his agency to be considered automatically for any appropriate vacancy. On July 20, 1984, he filed a grievance asserting, inter alia, that the agency had failed to honor his standing request and had "preselected" certain term employees whom the personnel officer helped apply. Only such persons were in fact hired. The agency denied his grievance. OPM agreed with the agency and advised Maule:

[B]ecause these were examinations open for competition by the general public, the provisions of the agency merit promotion program were not applicable, and the agency was not obliged to insure that you received automatic consideration for these positions.

These facts are not directly pertinent to Maule's attempt to bring OPM into the case, but are necessary to an understanding of the MSPB decision.

Having exhausted all administrative procedures for relief, including a complaint to the Special Counsel of MSPB, Maule, pro se, appealed to the MSPB, naming the Department of Agriculture as his adversary but asking as relief that the MSPB set aside the selections and order reopening of the register to give him a chance to compete.

The agency moved to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction on the ground that Maule's failure to be considered and promoted by the agency was not an appealable adverse action. Upon receipt of the MSPB's order to show cause, Maule hired counsel who promptly responded and, inter alia, requested amendment of the appeal to the MSPB to make OPM a party, asserting that OPM's action in failing to accord Maule the benefit of FPM Chapter 332, Subchapter 3-2e and to reopen the register was appealable under 5 C.F.R. Sec. 300.104(a). 2

The presiding official ruled that the agency's non-selection of Maule for promotion was not an appealable adverse action and that the employment practice at issue, preselection, was applied by the agency, not OPM. The presiding official concluded, therefore, that the board lacked jurisdiction and granted the government's motion to dismiss. No mention was made of OPM's action in refusing to reopen the register. Maule sought review by the full board, again asserting that the pivotal issue was the appealability of OPM's refusal. The full board denied Maule's petition stating that

Appellant had no Part 300 right of appeal to the Board because his failure to be selected for the position was within the control of the agency involved and did not concern a matter applied to him by the Office of Personnel Management. Roeder v. Office of Personnel Management, [3 MSPB 467] 3 M.S.P.R. 387 (1980).

It is this decision of the MSPB that is before us.


Maule asserts on appeal that the MSPB's decision does not fully resolve the issue of its jurisdiction. Maule asserts that he is not seeking review of his non-selection. Clearly he is not asking that we second-guess the agency with respect to which of the candidates the agency should have hired. It appears that the issues may have...

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  • Kirkendall v. Department of Army
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Federal Circuit
    • March 7, 2007
    ...appeals concerning reductions-in-force (5 C.F.R. § 315.901), and reemployment rights (5 C.F.R. § 352.209)." Maule v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd., 812 F.2d 1396, 1398 n. 2 (Fed. Cir.1987); see also Hellman v. Office of Pers. Mgmt., 9 MSPB 839, 10 M.S.P.R. 639, 642-43 (1982). Other OPM regulations t......
  • Prewitt v. Merit Systems Protection Bd.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Federal Circuit
    • January 6, 1998
    ..."examinations, measurement tools, and qualifications relating to merit" referred to in 5 C.F.R. § 300.101. Maule v. Merit Sys. Protection Bd., 812 F.2d 1396, 1399 (Fed.Cir.1987); see Dowd v. United States, 713 F.2d 720, 723-24 (Fed.Cir.1983). However, an individual agency action or decision......
  • Galloway v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd., 2012-3203
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Federal Circuit
    • July 18, 2013
    ...process, if significant, may characterize the agency's actions as being "applied . . . by" the OPM. See Maule v Merit Sys. Prot. Bd., 812 F.2d 1396, 1398 (Fed. Cir. 1987) (jurisdiction proper where the OPM made a "pivotal decision" that denied petitioner opportunity to compete for position)......
  • Bush v. Office of Personnel Management, 02-3304.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Federal Circuit
    • January 14, 2003
    ...and qualifications relating to merit' referred to in 5 C.F.R. § 300.101." Prewitt, 133 F.3d at 887 (quoting Maule v. Merit Sys. Prot. Bd., 812 F.2d 1396, 1399 (Fed.Cir.1987)); see also Vesser v. Office of Pers. Mgmt., 29 F.3d 600, 603 (Fed.Cir.1994); Dowd, 713 F.2d at Under the broad and in......
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