24:0091(11)AR - HHS, SSA and AFGE -- 1986 FLRAdec AR

[ v24 p91 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 24 FLRA No. 11
                                            Case No. 0-AR-1262
                        ORDER DISMISSING EXCEPTIONS
    This case is before the Authority on exceptions to the bench rulings
 of Arbitrator Justin Smith filed by the Agency pursuant to section
 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor Management Relations Statute and
 section 2425.1 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations.  For the reason
 stated below, it has been determined that the exceptions must be
 dismissed as untimely filed.
    This case involves a dispute submitted to the Arbitrator concerning
 official time for representational activities.  By agreement of the
 parties, a two-phase arbitration process was established to resolve the
 basic dispute and the resulting numerous individual grievances.  The
 first phase involved the interpretation of the official time provisions
 of the Statute and the parties' collective bargaining agreement.  In the
 second phase, the Arbitrator held hearings to resolve, by bench
 decisions when practicable, specific grievances pending in various
 regions of the Agency.  The exceptions in this case have been filed to
 bench decisions of the Arbitrator rendered at ex parte hearings held on
 September 11 and 12, 1986 at which the Agency declined to participate.
 The official transcript of the hearings was apparently served on the
 parties by mail on or about October 14, 1986.
    Under section 7122(b) of the Statute, as amended, /1/ and section
 2425.1 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, as amended, /2/ which
 amendments are applicable to exceptions pending or filed with the
 Authority on or after March 2, 1984, and under sections 2429.21 and
 2429.22 of the Rules and Regulations, which are also applicable to
 computation of the time limit here involved, any exceptions to the
 Arbitrator's rulings in this case had to be filed, that is, received in
 the national office of the Authority not later than the close of
 business on October 10 and 14, 1986, respectively.  However, the
 Agency's exceptions were not filed with the Authority until October 30,
    The Agency asserts essentially that because the instant arbitration
 hearings were conducted ex parte, no representative of the Agency was
 present at the hearing to be served with notice of the Arbitrator's
 bench decisions in question.  The Agency contends, therefore, that since
 its exceptions were filed within thirty days after it was served with
 the official transcript of the hearing, which is the date that it
 received notice of the Arbitrator's bench decisions, the exc