39:0519(42)CO - - AFGE Local 1457 and Letterman Army Medical Center, San Francisco, CA - - 1991 FLRAdec CO - - v39 p519



[ v39 p519 ]
39:0519(42)CO
The decision of the Authority follows:


39 FLRA No. 42

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL 1457

(Respondent)

and

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY

LETTERMAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA

(Charging Party)

9-CO-90016

36 FLRA 253 (1990)

DECISION AND ORDER ON REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION

February 12, 1991

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

This unfair labor practice case is before the Authority on the Respondent's request for reconsideration of the Authority's order in 36 FLRA 253 (1990). That order dismissed the Respondent's exceptions to the attached decision of the Administrative Law Judge as untimely filed. Although the General Counsel filed an opposition to the Respondent's exceptions in 36 FLRA 253, the General Counsel did not file an opposition to the Respondent's request for reconsideration.

For the following reasons, we grant the Respondent's request for reconsideration. On the merits, we adopt the Judge's findings, conclusions, and recommended order, as modified.

II. The Request for Reconsideration is Granted

A. The Order in 36 FLRA 253

As discussed in 36 FLRA 253, to be timely, the Respondent's exceptions had to be filed in the Authority's docket room on or before June 4, 1990. Consistent with section 2429.24(e) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, the filing could be accomplished by either depositing the exceptions in the U.S. mail or by delivering the exceptions in person to the docket room by that date.

The Respondent mailed its exceptions to the Authority's Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ). The OALJ received the exceptions on June 7, 1990, and delivered them to the Authority's docket room on that date. As the exceptions were mailed to the OALJ, however, the exceptions were considered to have been filed in the docket room by personal delivery. Accordingly, the exceptions were considered to have been filed on the date they were received in the docket room, June 7, and were dismissed as untimely filed.

B. The Request for Reconsideration

The Respondent argues that its exceptions were timely filed because (1) the exceptions were deposited in the mail on June 4, 1990; (2) it was instructed by an Authority agent in a regional office to mail the exceptions to the OALJ; and (3) it was informed by an Authority agent in the docket room that mailing the exceptions to the OALJ would not prevent the Authority from accepting the exceptions.

C. 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 Respondent has established extraordinary circumstances here.

We note, at the outset, that the notice of transmittal accompanying the Judge's decision clearly and unambiguously states that, to be timely, exceptions had to be filed in the Authority's docket room by June 4, 1990. The transmittal notice set forth the correct address for the mailing of exceptions. The Authority's Rules and Regulations also clearly state that all "documents filed or required to be filed with the Authority . . . shall be filed with the . . . Docket Room[.]" 5 C.F.R. º 2429.24. Moreover, "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." U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Billings Area Office, Billings, Montana and National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 478, 39 FLRA No. 15 (1991), slip op. at 3 (citations omitted) (Interior).

The Authority may, however, extend or waive, for equitable or other reasons, the time limits applicable to the filing of exceptions to Judge's decisions in unfair labor practice cases. See 5 C.F.R. º 2429.23. See also Department of the Treasury, U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Customs Service Region IX, Chicago, Illinois and National Treasury Employees Union, 34 FLRA 76, 77-78 (1989) (Customs). Compare Interior, 39 FLRA No. 15, slip op. at 3. In this case, we find it appropriate to waive the time limit and accept and co