U.S. Federal Labor Relations Authority

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15:0607(129)NG - AFGE Local 225 and Army, USARRADCOM, Dover, NJ -- 1984 FLRAdec NG

[ v15 p607 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

 15 FLRA No. 129
                                            Case No. O-NG-670
    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