43:1355(108)AR - - Treasury, Customs Service, Savannah, GA and NTEU - - 1992 FLRAdec AR - - v43 p1355



[ v43 p1355 ]
43:1355(108)AR
The decision of the Authority follows:


43 FLRA No. 108

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY

UNITED STATES CUSTOMS SERVICE

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA

(Agency)

and

NATIONAL TREASURY EMPLOYEES UNION

(Union)

0-AR-2171

DECISION

February 5, 1992

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

This matter is before the Authority on an exception to an award of Arbitrator J. Earl Williams filed by the Agency under section 7122(a) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute) and part 2425 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations. The Union filed an opposition to the Agency's exceptions.

A grievance was filed alleging that the Agency improperly rated and ranked an employee for a promotion. The Arbitrator sustained the grievance and awarded the employee priority consideration for the next available vacancy. For the following reasons, we conclude that the Agency's exception provides no basis for finding the award deficient. Accordingly, we will deny the exception.

II. Background and Arbitrator's Award

The grievant was an unsuccessful applicant for one of five vacancies for a GS-11 Senior Inspector position. The Agency's evaluation board gave the grievant the lowest score of the nine best qualified candidates. The grievant filed a grievance alleging that he was improperly rated and ranked in three evaluation factors and, when the grievance was not resolved, it was submitted to arbitration on the following stipulated issues:

Was the grievant properly ranked and rated by the Evaluation Board pursuant to the agreement?

If not, is he entitled to priority consideration for the next available vacancy?

Award at 2.

The Arbitrator noted that the parties' collective bargaining agreement provides that candidates' applications are to be evaluated against crediting plans. Based on his examination of the appropriate plan, the Arbitrator agreed with the evaluation board's conclusions as to the grievant's rating in two factors. In the remaining disputed factor, however, the Arbitrator concluded that the grievant should have been rated higher. This change increased the grievant's total score from 18.5 to 19.5.

The Arbitrator noted that, under the parties' agreement, the increase in the grievant's score entitled him "to receive priority consideration for the next appropriate vacancy for which he is qualified, if his rank order on the best qualified list is improved . . . ." Id. at 23 (emphasis added). The increase in the grievant's score, according to the Arbitrator, moved the grievant from last place on the best qualified list into a three-way tie for seventh place. Based on this change, the Arbitrator awarded the grievant priority consideration for the next available vacancy.

III. Positions of the Parties

A. Agency's Exception

The Agency contends that the award fails to draw its essence from the parties' collective bargaining agreement because the Arbitrator raised the grievant's score in written communication "despite the overwhelming weight of the evid