44:0015(2)CA - - VA, Los Angeles Regional Office, Los Angeles, CA and AFGE Local 490 - - 1992 FLRAdec CA - - v44 p15



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44:0015(2)CA
The decision of the Authority follows:


44 FLRA No. 2

FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY

WASHINGTON, D.C.

DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

LOS ANGELES REGIONAL OFFICE

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA

(Respondent)

and

AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES

LOCAL 490

(Charging Party)

98-CA-10187

ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR RECONSIDERATION

February 20, 1992

Before Chairman McKee and Members Talkin and Armendariz.

I. Statement of the Case

This unfair labor practice case is before the Authority on a motion filed by the Respondent seeking reconsideration of an Authority Order. That Order dismissed the Respondent's exceptions to a decision of the Administrative Law Judge as untimely filed. Neither the Charging Party nor the General Counsel filed an opposition to the Respondent's motion for reconsideration.

For the following reasons, we conclude that the Respondent has not established extraordinary circumstances warranting reconsideration of the Authority's Order dismissing the exceptions. Accordingly, we will deny the motion for reconsideration.

II. Background

By Order dated January 15, 1992, the Authority dismissed the Respondent's exceptions to a decision of the Administrative Law Judge as untimely filed. In that Order, the Authority noted that to be timely the Respondent's exceptions had to have been filed on or before December 30, 1991. The Order stated that the exceptions were filed (postmarked) January 2, 1992. Therefore, pursuant to section 2423.29(a) of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, the Authority adopted, without precedential significance, the findings, conclusions, and recommendations in the decision and order of the Administrative Law Judge.

III. Motion for Reconsideration

The Respondent acknowledges that the Judge's decision informed the parties that exceptions had to filed by December 30, 1991, in order to be timely filed. The Respondent states that its exceptions were "presumed to have been mailed according to the certificate of service on December 27, 1991." Motion at 1. The Respondent contends, however, that due to the relocation of its office to another building during the winter holiday season, "multiple backlog[s] and delays" occurred in its internal mailing system. Id. at 2. The Respondent asserts, in this regard, that "[d]elays in getting mail in and out were common . . . ." Motion, Exhibit A at 1. The Respondent notes that "[a]ll mail is first routed through [its prior location] which still remains our official mailing address." Id. The Respondent claims that it only became aware of the "severe problems with pick-up and delivery of [its] mail" in the latter part of January 1992. Id. at 2.

IV. 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. For the following reasons, we conclude that the Respondent has failed to establish such extraordinary circumstances in this case.

The Respondent acknowledges that its exceptions were due by Decmber 30, 1991, and does not challenge the finding that its exceptions were postmarked January 2, 1992. Rather, the Respondent contends that its exceptions were presumed to have been mailed on December 27, 1991, and that backlogs and delays in its internal mailing procedures used during the relocation of its office to another site constitute good cause to warrant reconsideration of the Authority's Order dismissing its exceptions.

The Respondent offers no explanation for its failure to timely file its exceptions other than backlogs and delays in its own internal mailing procedures. An untimely filing that results from delays in a party's internal mail system does not establish extraordinary circumstances which warrant reconsideration of the dismissal of the party's exceptions. See Department of the Treasury, U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Customs Service Region IX, Chicago, Illinois, 34 FLRA 76, 78 (1989) (failure of the union's mailing procedures is not an extraordinary circumstance warranting reconsideration of an Authority order dismissing the union's exceptions to a decision of the administrative law judge as untimely filed).

Accordingly, we find that the Respondent has not established extraordinary circumstances within the meaning of section 2429.17 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations warranting reconsideration of the Auth