20:0746(87)AR - National Association of Air Traffic Specialists and FAA, Washington Flight Service Station -- 1985 FLRAdec AR
[ v20 p746 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
20 FLRA No. 87 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF AIR TRAFFIC SPECIALISTS Union and FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION, WASHINGTON FLIGHT SERVICE STATION Activity Case No. 0-AR-1029 DECISION This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of Arbitrator Leon Applewhaite filed by the Agency under section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations. The grievance submitted to arbitration involved the five-day suspension of the grievant. The Arbitrator as his award in this respect found that there was not just cause for the suspensioN and directed that the grievant receive backpay with applicable benefits for the period of the suspension. Thereafter, the grievant requested an award of attorney fees. In a subsequent order the Arbitrator after quoting the relevant provisions of the Back Pay Act, 5 U.S.C. 5596, /1/ determined that the "application of these criteria to the instant case results in an entitlement to the requested fees," and consequently he awarded attorney fees in the amount of $6,790. The Agency has filed exceptions to the award of attorney fees. As one of its exceptions, the Agency contends that the award of attorney fees in this case is deficient as contrary to the Back Pay Act because it is not in accordance with the standards established under 5 U.S.C. 7701(g). Specifically, the Agency argues on the basis of the decision in International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and United States Army Support Command, Hawaii, 14 FLRA 680 (1984), that the Arbitrator failed to provide a fully articulated, reasoned decision as required. The Authority agrees. In Army Support Command, Hawaii, the Authority addressed in detail the statutory requirements regarding awards of attorney fees by arbitrators. The Authority acknowledged that the Back Pay Act requires that the award of attorney fees must be in accordance with the standards established under 5 U.S.C. 7701(g), 14 FLRA at 683-84. The Authority further acknowledged that the standards established under section 7701(g) "require a fully articulated, reasoned decision setting forth the specific findings supporting the determination on each pertinent statutory requirement, including the basis upon which the reasonableness of the amount was determined, when fees are awarded." Id. at 684 (citations omitted). In terms of this case, as has been noted, the extent of the Arbitrator's decision accompanying his award of attorney fees was to quote a portion of the Back Pay Act and to summarily conclude that the application of the statutory requirements resulted in an entitlement to the requested fees. The Authority finds that this decision and award of fees is not in accordance with the standards established under section 7701(g) as expressly required by the Back Pay Act. In particular, the Arbitrator has failed to provide a fully articulated, reasoned decision setting forth the Arbitrator's specific findings supporting the determination on each pertinent statutory requirement, including the basis on which the Arbitrator determined that $6.790 was a reasonable amount of attorney fees. Accordingly, the award of attorney fees is deficient as contrary to the Back Pay Act, 5 U.S.C. 5596, and that award is set aside. /2/ Issued, Washington, D.C., November 25, 1985 (s)--- Henry B. Frazier III, Acting Chairman (s)--- William J. McGinnis, Jr., Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ 5 U.S.C. 5596(b)(1)(A)(ii) provides: (b)(1) An employee of an agency who, on the basis of a timely appeal or an administrative determination (including a decision relating to an unfair labor practice or a grievance) is found by appropriate authority under applicable law, rule, or regulation, or collective bargaining agreement, to have been affected by an unjustified or unwarranted personnel action which has resulted in the withdrawal or reduction of all or part of the pay, allowances, or differentials of the employee-- (A) is entitled, on correction of the personnel action, to receive for the period for which the personnel action was in effect-- (ii) reasonable attorney fees related to the personnel action which, with respect to any decision relating to an unfair labor practice or a grievance processed under a procedure negotiated in accordance with chapter 71 of this title . . . shall be awarded in accordance with standards established under section 7701(g) of this title(.) /2/ In view of this decision, it is not necessary to address the Agency's other exception to the award.