Veterans Administration Hospital, Lexington, Kentucky, and Veterans Administration Central Office, Washington, DC (Respondent)  and National Association of Government Employees, Local R5-185 (Complainant) 



[ v03 p873 ]
03:0873(126)UC
The decision of the Authority follows:


 3 FLRA No. 126
 
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL
 LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY, AND
 VETERANS ADMINISTRATION CENTRAL
 OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D.C.
 Respondent
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF
 GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES,
 LOCAL R5-185
 Complainant
 
                                            Assistant Secretary
                                            Case No. 41-6071(CA)
 
                            DECISION AND ORDER
 
    THIS MATTER IS BEFORE THE AUTHORITY PURSUANT TO REGIONAL DIRECTOR
 SEYMOUR ALSHER'S ORDER TRANSFERRING CASE TO THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS
 AUTHORITY IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 2429.1(A) OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES
 AND REGULATIONS (5 CFR 2429.1(A)).
 
    THE FUNCTIONS OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF LABOR FOR
 LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS, UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER 11491, AS AMENDED,
 WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE AUTHORITY UNDER SECTION 304 OF REORGANIZATION
 PLAN NO. 2 OF 1978 (43 F.R. 36040), WHICH TRANSFER OF FUNCTIONS IS
 IMPLEMENTED BY SECTION 2400.2 OF THE AUTHORITY'S RULES AND REGULATIONS
 (45 F.R. 3482, JANUARY 17, 1980).  THE AUTHORITY CONTINUES TO BE
 RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THESE FUNCTIONS AS PROVIDED IN
 SECTION 7135(B) OF THE FEDERAL SERVICE LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS
 STATUTE (92 STAT. 1215).
 
    UPON CONSIDERATION OF THE ENTIRE RECORD IN THE SUBJECT CASE,
 INCLUDING THE PARTIES' STIPULATION OF FACTS, ACCOMPANYING EXHIBITS, AND
 BRIEFS SUBMITTED BY THE PARTIES, THE AUTHORITY FINDS:
 
    IN JANUARY 1976, THE LEXINGTON VETERANS ADMINISTRATION (VA) MEDICAL
 CENTER IMPLEMENTED A POLICY REQUIRING VA SECURITY GUARDS TO ESCORT VA
 ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL CARRYING FUNDS FROM THE FACILITY TO LOCAL BANKS
 IN THE COMMUNITY.  SUBSEQUENTLY, COMPLAINANT'S PRESIDENT REQUESTED A
 LEGAL OPINION ADDRESSING THE "LEGAL RAMIFICATIONS" OF OFF-STATION
 ACTIVITIES OF VA SECURITY GUARDS, SUCH AS THE ESCORTING OF FUNDS.  THE
 COMPLAINANT WAS INFORMED BY THE VA GENERAL COUNSEL THAT THE GENERAL
 COUNSEL WAS NOT AUTHORIZED TO RENDER THE LEGAL ADVICE REQUESTED AND THAT
 NO SUCH LEGAL OPINION WOULD BE FORTHCOMING.
 
    AN UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICE COMPLAINT WAS FILED, ALLEGING THAT
 RESPONDENT VIOLATED SECTION 19(A)(1) AND (6) OF EXECUTIVE ORDER 11491,
 AS AMENDED, BY ITS FAILURE TO PROVIDE THE REQUESTED INFORMATION.
 
    ALTHOUGH, SUBSEQUENT TO THE COMPLAINANT'S JANUARY 1976 REQUEST, AND
 PRIOR TO THE FILING OF THE COMPLAINT HEREIN, THE VA GENERAL COUNSEL DID
 PROVIDE A LEGAL OPINION TO THE VA DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE AND SURGERY IN
 REGARD TO A PROPOSED BULLETIN WHICH ADDRESSED THE USE OF VA EMPLOYEES
 FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF FUNDS AND VALUABLES, NEITHER THE BULLETIN NOR
 THE LEGAL OPINION ADDRESSED THE COMPLAINANT'S FOCUS OF CONCERN, NAMELY,
 THE LEGAL LIABILITIES OF VA SECURITY GUARDS ENGAGED IN OFF-STATION
 ESCORT DUTY.
 
    UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE, THE AUTHORITY FINDS THAT
 COMPLAINANT'S REQUEST WAS FOR INFORMATION WHICH WAS NOT IN EXISTENCE AND
 THAT RESPONDENT'S LEGAL OFFICE IS UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO PROVIDE A LEGAL
 OPINION FOR SUBMISSION TO AN OUTSIDE PARTY SUCH AS THE COMPLAINT UNION.
 IN SO FINDING, THE AUTHORITY DOES NOT PASS ON THE ISSUE OF WHETHER
 RESPONDENT WOULD BE OBLIGATED UPON REQUEST TO PROVIDE AN EXISTING LEGAL
 OPINION TO COMPLAINANT.
 
    ACCORDINGLY, THE AUTHORITY CONCLUDES THAT THE RESPONDENT'S FAILURE TO
 PROVIDE THE REQUESTED LEGAL OPINION TO THE COMPLAINANT DID NOT
 CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF SECTION 19(A)(1) AND (6) OF THE EXECUTIVE
 ORDER.
 
                                   ORDER
 
    IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT THE COMPLAINT IN ASSISTANT SECRETARY CASE
 NO. 41-6071(CA) BE, AND IT HEREBY IS, DISMISSED.
 
    ISSUED, WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 31, 1980
 
                       RONALD W. HAUGHTON, CHAIRMAN
 
                       HENRY B. FRAZIER III, MEMBER
 
                        LEON B. APPLEWHAITE, MEMBER
 
                          CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE
 
    COPIES OF THE DECISION AND ORDER OF THE FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS
 AUTHORITY IN THE SUBJECT PROCEEDING HAVE THIS DAY BEEN MAILED TO THE
 PARTIES LISTED BELOW: