24:0837(79)AR - ARDEC, Dover, NJ and NFFE Local 1437 -- 1986 FLRAdec AR



[ v24 p837 ]
24:0837(79)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


 24 FLRA No. 79
 
 U.S. ARMY ARMAMENT RESEARCH, 
 DEVELOPMENT, AND ENGINEERING 
 CENTER (ARDEC), DOVER, NEW JERSEY
 Activity
 
 and
 
 NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL 
 EMPLOYEES (NFFE), LOCAL 1437
 Union
 
                                            Case No. 0-AR-1168
 
                        ORDER DISMISSING EXCEPTIONS
 
                         I.  Statement of the Case
 
    This matter is before the Authority on exceptions to the award of
 Arbitrator Robert S. Weaver filed by the Union under section 7122(a) of
 the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute and part 2425 of
 the Authority's Rules and Regulations.
 
                          II.  Arbitrator's Award
 
    The grievant was removed from his position for submitting false
 travel vouchers for movement of household goods and transportation for
 himself and his family.  He filed a grievance protesting the removal.
 The grievance was settled by an agreement under which (1) the grievant
 was reinstated in his position without backpay and (2) the approximately
 six months he was off work was treated as a suspension.  Following the
 settlement agreement, the Activity sought reimbursement from the
 grievant of $6,941.73, the amount he received on the basis of the
 alleged false documents.  A grievance was filed and submitted to
 arbitration.  The Arbitrator framed the issues before him as follows:
 
          1.  Whether or not the Finance & Accounting Officer's demand
       for recoupment of money paid to (the grievant) for his Permanent
       Change of Station violates the Settlement Agreement dated February
       6, 1985 in FMCS File No. 84K/29968 in lieu of arbitration, and
       whether or not the Settlement Agreement resolved all outstanding
       issues.
 
          2.  If the answer to (1) is no, whether or not the Finance &
       Accounting Officer's claim is based on just cause, is fair (and)
       equitable.
 
          3.  The Employer raises the threshold issue of arbitrability.
 
    The Arbitrator found essentially that the question of repayment
 should have been considered as part of the settlement agreement on the
 removal grievance and, further, that the question of repayment was
 within the sole jurisdiction of the Comptroller General.  He denied the
 grievance as not arbitrable.
 
                      III.  Analysis and Conclusions
 
    The Authority has determined that it is without jurisdiction to
 review the Union's exceptions.  Section 7122(a) of the Statute provides,
 in pertinent part:
 
          Either party to arbitration under this chapter may file with
       the Authority an exception to any arbitrator's award pursuant to
       the arbitration (other than an award relating to a matter
       described in section 7121(f) of this title).
 
    As relevant to this case, the matters described in section 7121(f) of
 the Statute include adverse actions under 5 U.S.C. section 7512, such as
 a removal.  Review of an arbitration award relating to such matters must
 be obtained in accordance with 5 U.S.C. section 7703, that is, in the
 same manner and under the same conditions as if the matter involved had
 been decided by the Merit Systems protection Board.  American Federation
 of Government Employees, Local 1857 and Sacramento Air Logistics Center,
 McClellan Air Force Base, 21 FLRA No. 4l (1986).
 
    We find that the Arbitrator's award in this case related to the
 removal of the grievant, a matter covered by section 7512.  The issue
 submitted to the Arbitrator directly concerned the interpretation and
 application of the settlement agreement under which the grievant's
 removal was changed to a suspension of approximately six months.  In
 such circumstances, where the issue is not separate and distinct from
 the original issue of the grievant's removal, the Arbitrator's award
 relates to a matter described in section 7121(f) of the Statute.  See
 Veterans Administration Medical Center, Hines, Illinois and Illinois
 Nurses Association, Hines Local Unit, 20 FLRA No. 61 (1985).  See also
 Department of Justice, bureau of Prisons and American Federatio