39:0238(15)AR - - Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Billings Area Office, Billings, MT and NFFE Local 478 - - 1991 FLRAdec AR - - v39 p238



[ v39 p238 ]
39:0238(15)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


39 FLRA No. 15

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS

BILLINGS AREA OFFICE

BILLINGS, MONTANA

(Agency)

and

NATIONAL FEDERATION OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES

LOCAL 478

(Union)

0-AR-2001

(38 FLRA 256)

ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

January 30, 1991

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

This matter is before the Authority on the Agency's motion for reconsideration of the Authority's decision in 38 FLRA 256 (1990). The Union did not file an opposition to the Agency's motion. Because the Agency fails to establish extraordinary circumstances that would warrant reconsideration of our decision, we will deny the motion.

II. The Decision in 38 FLRA 256

In 38 FLRA 256, the Agency filed exceptions to an arbitrator's award. The Authority issued an Order directing the Agency to show cause why its exceptions should not be dismissed as untimely filed. In response, the Agency did not dispute that its exceptions were untimely filed under section 7122(b) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and the Authority's Rules. Instead, the Agency argued that it relied on the "advice and guidance provided by an agent of the Federal Labor Relations Authority who determined the date of timely filing . . . and complied with that date by personal delivery." 38 FLRA at 257. The Agency contended that its "reliance upon the misinformation provided constitutes extraordinary and equitable grounds" to warrant acceptance of its untimely exceptions. Id.

The Authority dismissed the Agency's exceptions as untimely filed. The Authority stated that the advice provided by the Authority's agent was inexcusable. Nevertheless, the Authority ruled that, although the circumstances were regrettable, the time limit for filing exceptions to an arbitrator's award may not be extended or waived by the Authority.

III. Agency's Motion for Reconsideration

The Agency contends that its good faith reliance on the misinformation provided by the Authority's agent constitutes extraordinary and equitable grounds for reconsideration. The Agency asserts that the legislative intent of Congress is to grant equitable relief in these circumstances and that not to grant reconsideration would deny it due process.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

Section 2429.17 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations permits a party that can establish "extraordinary circumstances" to move for reconsideration of a decision of the Authority. We conclude that the Agency has not established extraordinary circumstances within the meaning of section 2429.17 to warrant reconsideration of the Authority's decision in 38 FLRA 256.

The decision in 38 FLRA 256 cited and relied on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO, Local 476, 27 FLRA 852 (1987) (AFGE Local 476). In AFGE Local 476, the Authority held that it is not empowered to take into account equitable considerations to waive or toll the time limit for filing exceptions to arbitration awards. 27 FLRA at 853. In denying reconsideration of a dismissal of exceptions as untimely filed where the filing party allegedly relied on a representation of an Authority agent, the Authority also noted that all the information necessary to have timely filed the exceptions was readily available to the filing party.

The decision in 38 FLRA 256 also cited and relied on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Washington, D.C. and American Federation of Government Employees, Local 476, 34 FLRA 307 (1990) (HUD). In HUD, we noted that parties dealing with the Federal Government are charged with knowledge of and are bound by statutes and lawfully promulgated regulations despite reliance to their detriment on incorrect information received from Government agents or employees. 34 FLRA at 309 (quoting Cheers v. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, 610 F.2d 463, 469 (7th Cir. 1979), cert. denied, 449 U.S. 898 (1980)). We also noted that the agency in that case is regularly a party before us; that the agency is well acquainted with the Statute and our Rules; and that all of the information necessary for the agency to have timel