42:1105(76)AR - - HHS, SSA, Area II, Philadelphia Region and AFGE Local 1923 - - 1991 FLRAdec AR - - v42 p1105
[ v42 p1105 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
42 FLRA No. 76
Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.
I. Statement of the Case
This matter is before the Authority on a motion filed by the Agency seeking reconsideration of an Authority Order dated August 23, 1991, dismissing the Agency's exceptions to an arbitration award because the exceptions did not include a proper statement of service. The Union filed an opposition to the Agency's motion for reconsideration.
For the following reasons, we conclude that the Agency has not established that extraordinary circumstances exist warranting reconsideration of the Authority's Order. Accordingly, we will deny the motion for reconsideration.
In accordance with the Authority's Rules and Regulations, any document filed with the Authority must be served on "all counsel of record or other designated representative(s) of parties[.]" 5 C.F.R. § 2429.27(a). Service must be made by certified mail or in person. 5 C.F.R. § 2429.27(b). A signed and dated statement of service which shows that proper service has been made must be submitted with all documents which are filed with the Authority. 5 C.F.R. § 2429.27(c).
By Order dated July 25, 1991, the Authority notified the Agency that its exceptions were deficient because the statement of service did not include: (1) the name and address of the Arbitrator; and (2) a statement showing that the counsel of record or other designated Union representative(s) had been properly served. The Agency was also notified that failure to document proper service on all parties and to provide the name and address of the Arbitrator not later than August 5, 1991, may result in the dismissal of the exceptions.
Noting that the Agency had not responded to the Authority's Order of July 25, 1991, the Authority dismissed the Agency's exceptions by Order dated August 23, 1991.
III. The Agency's Motion for Reconsideration
The Agency contends that, although its July 15, 1991, submission to the Authority did not contain either the address of the Arbitrator or the address of the Union's representative, actual service on the parties was effected on that date. The Agency argues that both the Arbitrator's address and the Union representative's address "are known to the Authority and are contained in its computerized data base." Motion for Reconsideration at 2. The Agency also asserts that the Authority, utilizing its database, served the dismissal order by certified mail, return receipt requested, on the Union representative.
The Agency further argues that it did not timely respond to the Authority's Order requesting that deficiencies in the exceptions be corrected because clerical misrouting in the Agency's internal mail system prevented a timely response to the Order. The Agency states that it "did not become aware of the Authority's Order . . . until . . . August 23," at which time a response was prepared and delivered to the Authority on August 27, 1991. Id. at 4.
According to the Agency, the need for proper documentation of service on the parties is not in dispute. The Agency states, however, that "surely documentation of service is of secondary importance to the timely effectuation of service." Id. at 5.
IV. The Union's Opposition
The Union contends that, in accordance with the Authority's Rules and Regulations, the Agency did not file proper exceptions to the Arbitrator's award. The Union asserts that the Agency did not "properly file exceptions or follow pr[e]scribed time limits to take corrective action." Opposition at 3. The Union requests that the Authority dismiss the Agency's motion for reconsideration.
V. Analysis and Conclusions
Section 2429.17 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations permits a party that can establish the existence of "extraordinary circumstances" to request reconsideration of a final decision or order of the Authority. We conclude that the Agency has failed to establish the existence of extraordinary circumstances.
We note the Agency's argument that the Authority has, in its computerized database, the address of the Arbitrator and information sufficient to properly serve the Union's representative in this case. However, section 2425.2(e) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations requires that an exception be a "self-contained" document that includes the "name and address of the arbitrator[.]" Accordingly, the Agency's argument does not establish the existence of extraordinary circumstances.
It is undisputed that the exceptions did not contain information sufficient to document proper service on all parties. The Agency concedes that "neither the exceptions nor [the Arbitrator's] award state[s] the mailing address" of the Arbitrator. Motion for Reconsideration at 2. The Agency also concedes that "the Authority lacked on August 23 a piece of paper . . . documenting service to" the Union's representative. Id. at 3-4. The Agency argues, however, that "in the interest of justice, the Agency's clerical misrouting of the Authority's July 25 Order requesting documentation of service should not be used as a basis for dismissing these exceptions." Id. at 1-2.
In Department of the Army, Aberdeen Proving Ground and I.A.M. & A.W., Aberdeen Lodge No. 2424, 34 FLRA 521, 523 (1990) (Aberdeen Proving Ground), the Authority held that a delay originating in the agency's internal mailing procedures did not establish extraordinary circumstances sufficient to warrant Authority reconsideration of its decision to dismiss the agency's exceptions as untimely filed. Consistent with the decision in Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Agency's clerical misrouting of the Authority's Order requiring the Agency to document proper service on the parties and provide the name and address of the Arbitrator does not establish extraordinary circumstances, within the meaning of section 2429.17 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, sufficient to warrant reconsideration of the