[ v15 p607 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
15 FLRA No. 129 AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, LOCAL 225 Union and DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, USARRADCOM, DOVER, NEW JERSEY Agency Case No. O-NG-670 DECISION AND ORDER ON NEGOTIABILITY ISSUE The petition for review in this case comes before the Authority pursuant to section 7105(a)(2)(D) and (E) of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), and raises issues relating to the negotiability of the following Union proposal. Upon careful consideration of the entire record, including the parties' contentions, the Authority makes the following determinations. Union Proposal Collection action on any indebtedness where there is no evidence of fraud, misrepresentation, fault or lack of good faith on the part of the employee, will be suspended until notification of the final action on the application for waiver. The Union explains that the proposal is intended to defer collection action, until a requested waiver is granted or denied, on claims by the Federal Government against unit employees arising out of certain erroneous payments to the employees. Collection of claims by the Federal Government is addressed by 31 U.S.C. 3711-3719. Additionally, collection of claims against Federal employees by means of deductions from their pay is governed by 5 U.S.C. 5514. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 5584, claims against Federal employees may under certain circumstances be waived in whole or in part. /1/ The Comptroller General (CG) and the Attorney General are charged with prescribing standards governing the collection and compromise of claims by the Government. /2/ These standards (Federal Claims Collection Standards) are codified at 4 CFR 101.1 et seq. and apply generally to civil claims by the Federal Government for money and property. /3/ Among other things, the Federal Claims Collection Standards govern the suspension of collection action on debt claims. /4/ As relevant herein they authorize suspension only based on appropriate consideration of all of the following three factors: (1) There is a reasonable possibility that waiver will be granted, or that the debt (in whole or in part) will be found not owing from the debtor; (2) The Government's interests would be protected, if suspension were granted, by reasonable assurance that the debt could be recovered if the debtor does not prevail; and (3) Collection of the debt will cause undue hardship. The Authority finds that, given their scope and nature as discussed earlier herein, the Federal Claims Collection Standards are Government-wide rules and regulations within the meaning of section 7117 of the Statute. See National Treasury Employees Union, Chapter 6 and Internal Revenue Service, New Orleans District, 3 FLRA 748 at 751-755 (1980). Further, the Authority finds that inasmuch as the Union proposal provides for suspension without regard to consideration, as contemplated by the Federal Claims Collection Standards, of the three factors set forth above in making determinations on whether to suspend collection action in the face of a waiver application the proposal is inconsistent with a Government-wide rule or regulation. /5/ The proposal, therefore, is not within the duty to bargain. /6/ Internal Revenue Service, New Orleans District, supra. Accordingly, pursuant to section 2424.10 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations, IT IS ORDERED that the Union's petition for review be, and it hereby is, dismissed. Issued, Washington, D.C., August 28, 1984 Barbara J. Mahone, Chairman Ronald W. Haughton, Member Henry B. Frazier III, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- /1/ Standards governing such waivers have been promulgated by the Comptroller General and appear at 4 CFR 91.1-91.5. /2/ 31 U.S.C. 3711. /3/ 4 CFR 101.1. /4/ 49 Fed.Reg. 8889 (1984). /5/ Cf. National Treasury Employees Union and Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, 6 FLRA 508 (1981) (Union Proposal I) wherein the Authority found that a proposal which would require reimbursement for training expenses without regard for applicable statutory limitations was not within the duty to bargain. /6/ In view of this decision, the Authority finds it unnecessary to address the Agency's other contentions as to the negotiability of the proposal.