[ v24 p94 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:
24 FLRA No. 12 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION AND SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION FIELD OPERATIONS, NEW YORK REGION Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO Charging Party Case Nos. 2-CA-40051 2-CA-40102 DECISION AND ORDER The Administrative Law Judge issued the attached Decision in the above-entitled proceeding, finding that the Respondent had not engaged in the unfair labor practices alleged in the complaint, and recommending that the complaint be dismissed in its entirety. Thereafter, the General Counsel filed exceptions to the Judge's Decision and a supporting brief. Pursuant to section 2423.29 of the Authority's Rules and Regulations and section 7118 of the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute (the Statute), the Authority has reviewed the rulings of the Judge made at the hearing and finds that no prejudicial error was committed. The rulings are hereby affirmed. Upon consideration of the Judge's decision, the exceptions to that Decision, and the entire record, the Authority hereby adopts the Judge's findings, /1/ conclusions, /2/ and recommended Order that the complaint be dismissed. In doing so, we note that the parties' dispute is one of long standing that involves differing and arguable interpretations by the parties over the requirements of their national agreement, which the Authority has recently found to be appropriate for resolution through the grievance and arbitration procedures of that agreement but not through unfair labor practice procedures. Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration and Social Security Administration Field Operations, New York Region, 23 FLRA No. 62 (1986). ORDER The complaint in Case Nos. 2-CA-40051 and 2-CA-40102 is dismissed. Issued, Washington, D.C., November 19, 1986. /s/ Jerry L. Calhoun, Chairman /s/ Henry B. Frazier III, Member /s/ Jean McKee, Member FEDERAL LABOR RELATIONS AUTHORITY -------------------- ALJ$ DECISION FOLLOWS -------------------- Case Nos: 2-CA-40051 2-CA-40102 DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION OFFICE OF FIELD OPERATIONS, NEW YORK REGION Respondent and AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO Charging Party Thomas H. Gabriel, Esq. For the Respondent Cecelia McCarthy For the Charging Party Alfred R. Johnson, Jr. For the General Counsel Before: Samuel A. Chaitovitz Administrative Law Judge DECISION Statement of the Case This is a proceeding arising under the Federal Service Labor-Management Relations Statute, Chapter 71 of Title 5 of the U.S. Code, 5 U.S.C. Section 7101, et seq., 92 Stat. 1191 (hereinafter referred to as the Statute) and the Rules and Regulations of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA), 5 C.F.R. Chapter XIV, Section 2410 et seq. On November 11, 1983, American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO (hereinafter called AFGE or the Union) filed a charge in Case No. 2-CA-40051 against the Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration and Social Security Administration Office of Field Operations, New York Region (herein called Respondent or SSA). On December 2, 1983 AFGE filed a charge in Case No. 2-CA-50102 against SSA. On January 25, 1984 AFGE filed a charge in Case No. 2-CA-40172 against SSA. On December 28, 1983 the General Counsel of the FLRA, by the Director for Region II, issued an Order Consolidating Cases, Complaint and Notice of Hearing, with respect to Case Nos. 2-CA-40051 and 2-CA-40102 alleging that SSA violated Sections 7116(a)(1) and (5) of the Statute by instituting a new audit procedure in its Mount Vernon, New York and South Bronx, New York Offices without affording AFGE an opportunity ot bargain over the impact and implementation of the changes. On March 5, 1984 the Director of FLRA Region II approved a Settlement Agreement entered into by SSA and AFGE, with respect to Case Nos. 2-CA-40051 and 2-CA-40102. By letter dated July 25, 1984 the Director of FLRA Region II revoked the above described Settlement Agreement. On July 26, 1984, the General Counsel of the FLRA by the Director of Region II issued an Order Consolidating Cases, Complaint and Notice of Hearing in Case Nos. 2-CA-40051 and 2-CA-40102. SSA filed a timely Answer denying that it had violated the Statute with respect to Case Nos. 2-CA-40051 and 2-CA-40102. The Director of FLRA Region II issued a letter dated August 23, 1984 revoking a settlement agreement in Case No. 2-CA-40172. On August 28, 1984 General Counsel of the FLRA issued an Order Consolidating Cases, Amended Complaint and Notice of Hearing in Case Nos. 2-CA-40051, 2-CA-40102 and 2-CA-40172. Respondent filed a timely Answer to the Amended Complaint denying it had violated the Statute. On October 17. 1984 the Director of FLRA Region II issued an Order Severing Cases whereby Case No. 2-CA-40172 was severed from Case Nos. 2-CA-40102 and 40051. A hearing was conducted with respect to Case Nos. 2-CA-40051 and 2-CA-40102 before the undersigned in New York City, New York. SSA, AFGE and General Counsel of the FLRA were represented and afforded full opportunity to be heard, to examine and cross-examine witnesses, to introduce evidence and to argue orally. Post hearing briefs have been filed and have been fully considered. Based upon the entire record in this matter, /3/ my observation of the witnesses and their demeanor, and from my evaluation of the evidence, I make the following: Findings of Fact Background Prior to the alleged changes in the subject case, the employees received audits twice a year wherein the employees received advance notice of the audits. Each employee had an opportunity, during this advance notice period, to review his pending cases and correct any errors or shortcomings. The employee's supervisor would then examine the cases in the employee's pending case load, which was at the employee's desk and, with the information readily available, the employee had an opportunity to explain any possible shortcomings. The change in audit procedures involved the replacement of this biannual (semiannual) audit with a continuous audit. The continuous audit consisted of the employee's supervisor reviewing the employee's work through the use of the employee's aged case reports, which the employee hands in once a week. The supervisor also utilizes other reviews, such as security audits and pending case reviews. Utilizing all of these reviews and lists, the supervisor audits the employee's performance for his yearly evaluation. Under the continuous audit procedure the employee is not given advance notice of the audit nor an opportunity to examine his pending caseload and correct errors. Also, because the employee is unaware of when he will be audited until he reviews his biannual progress reviews based on the audits, it is difficult to rebut findings because the case files may no longer be readily available to the employee. At all times material herein AFGE has been the collective bargaining representative for a nationwide unit of SSA employees including those employed in SSA's District and Branch offices. At all times material herein SSA and AFGE have been parties to a nationwide collective bargaining agreement. The employees that are the subject of this case, in the Mount Vernon Branch Office and South Bronx District Office, are included in this unit. AFGE delegated to the National Council of SSA Field Operations Locals (herein called the Council) authority to act as its representative for the purpose of collective bargaining with SSA for certain employees, including those that are the subject of this case. At all times material herein AFGE Local 3369 has acted as agent for the Council for the purpose of collective bargaining for, inter alia, SSA employees in the South Bronx District Office and Mount Vernon Branch Office. Case No. 2-CA-40051 -- Mount Vernon Branch Office Prior to October 31, 1983 unit employees at SSA's Mount Vernon Branch Office were evaluated under the biannual audit system. During the latter part of September 1983, Acting Office Manager Ron Sobel /4/ met with the AFGE representative for the Mount Vernon Branch Office, Drew Stein, and discussed the future implementation of continuous audits. Stein indicated that he approved of the continuous audit system because it would be fairer than the two audit a year system. On Friday, October 28, 1983 Office Manager Sgaglione advised Stein that they would soon be implementing the continuous audit system. Stein indicated that he thought it was a good plan and that it gave a better overall view of employee performance and that he had no problem with it. Sgaglione advised Stein she would have a staff meeting the following Monday, October 31, 1983, to announce the implementation of the continuous audit system. Stein did not object to the notice being given to employees and he did not request to bargain about the change or its impact and implementation. On Monday, October 31, 1983, just prior to 8:30 AM Stein told Sgaglione "off the record" that he had spoken to the President of AFGE Local 3369, Riordan, over the weekend and that the AFGE position is that there should have been some negotiation concerning the implementation of the continuous audit procedure. Because of the "off the record" nature of Stein's comment and because she had heard nothing "official" from AFGE Sgaglione held the staff meeting at 8:30 AM and announced the institution of the continuous audit procedure. Stein was present at the meeting and registered no objection. On November 4, 1983 Riordan telephoned Sobel, then on the labor relations staff at the SSA New York Regional Office. Riordan advised Sobel that Riordan had been advised by Stein that the management of the Mount Vernon Branch Office had told Stein that the continuous audit system was non-negotiable. Riordan told Sobel the system was negotiable. Sobel stated it was management's position that it was non-negotiable. In making the foregoing findings of fact with respect to the institution of the continuous audit system in the Mount Vernon Branch Office I credit the testimony of Sgaglione and Sobel. I find that their testimony was corroborative of each others', was consistent with the surrounding circumstances and that their recollections were reliable and precise. I find the testimony of Stein was inconsistent with Riordan's testimony in a number of instances and that their testimony was somewhat confused and unreliable. Case No. 2-CA-40102 -- South Bronx District Office On November 16, 1983, Riordan, President of AFGE Local 3369 and the acting local representative for the South Bronx, New York District Office, received the following letter dated November 9, 1983, from Vincent Hoist, District Manager of the South Bronx District Office. We will be adopting the continuous audit procedure for the new appraisal period which began on October 1, 1983. By letter dated November 18, 1983 Riordan sent the following letter to Hoist: This acknowledges receipt November 16, 1983 of your letter dated November 9, 1983, concerning your proposal to adopt "the continuous audit procedure." Unfortunately, you neglected to define what you mean by "continuous audit procedure." The Union has no understanding what you mean by this new procedure. Please supply us with a complete definition and description of your proposal. Is your proposal intended to cover all positions or some? After receiving this information the Union will consult with you on your proposal. Implementation of this new procedure prior to consultation and negotiation is an unfair labor practice. I request that you not implement this new procedure until this process is completed. In the future, in advancing proposals, it would be more helpful if you would provide us with an explanation of the change when serving notice to the Union. By letter dated November 28, 1983 Hoist replied to Riordan's letter of November 18, 1983 with the following: This is in response to your November 18, 1983 letter (received here on November 22, 1983). The continuous audit procedure is an ongoing review of an employee's performance. The procedure will cover all non-supervisory positions from GS-2 through GS-10. The basis for this procedure is Article 21, Section 7a and b of the National Agreement which refers to informal discussions including reviews of performance. The target date was specified in my November 9, 1983 letter; namely, the new appraisal period which began on October 1, 1983. It will be used for informal discussions, and progress reviews. We will be in touch regarding a date for consultation on this matter. Marvin Peck, a member of Hoist's staff. telephoned Riordan on December 6, 1983 to arrange a date for a consultation meeting as required by the national agreement. Riordan declined to set such a date because the unfair labor practice charge in Case No. 2-CA-40102 had already been filed. The record established that the continuous audit system was implemented in the South Bronx District Office in February 1984. /5/ The Settlement Agreement On March 2, 1984, the Respondent and the Charging Party entered into an informal Authority Settlement Agreement for the settlement of Case Nos. 2-CA-40051 and 2-CA-40102. This Settlement Agreement provided in part that, "The Respondent will discontinue the implementation of the new audit procedure to assess the performance of bargaining unit employees implemented in its Mount Vernon and South Bronx offices and will, upon request, negotiate with the American Federation of Government Employees concerning the implementation of the continuous audit review system for appraising employee performance and the impact of the change upon adversely affected employees." On March 5, 1984 the Regional Director for Region II of the FLRA approved this Settlement Agreement. On or about March 12, 1984, Respondent's Assistant Regional Commissioner, Field Operations, Alex W. Bussey, sent the following letter to John Riordan: In accordance with the referenced settlement agreement which was approved by the Regional Director of FLRA Region II on March 5, 1984, management seeks to effect compliance as soon as possible. Your request, to bargain, if any, is requested by COB March 26, 1984, and should be directed to Mr. Howard M. Feuer, Area Director, Room 305, 237 Mamaroneck Avenue, White Plains, New York 10601. Telephone (914) 428-4430. Should you not exercise your right to request bargaining by this date, management will consider its obligations in this regard fully discharged. In the event bargaining is timely requested, Article 4, Section 1 of the Master Agreement requires the submission of proposals within a reasonable period of time. Your proposals, in the event bargaining is timely requested, are requested by COB April 8, 1984, and should be directed to Mr. Feuer. Should you timely request bargaining but not exercise your attendant right to submit written proposals by this date, management will consider its bargaining obligation fully discharged. If for any reason you or your designated representative cannot meet the time frames described above, please contact Mr. Feuer to arrange for any extension of time necessary. Thank you for anticipated cooperation. By letter dated March 26, 1984, Riordan submitted a written request to bargain concerning the management initiated change to a continuous audit procedure. In this letter, the Union also stated that it would shortly forward to the SSA proposals for ground rules. This letter was sent to Feuer, and received by him on March 27, 1984. By letter dated March 27, 1984, Feuer responded to Riordan's March 26, 1984 letter and stated the following: As you know, Alex Bussey's letter of March 12, 1984 indicated that in the event that you wished to bargain on the impact and implementation of the continuous audit process your proposals are expected no later than COB April 8, 1984. The letter stated that, "In the event bargaining is timely requested, Article 4, paragraph 1 of the Master Agreement requires the submission of written proposals within a reasonable period of time." (April 8th). This is to advise you that I am awaiting your written proposals on the impact and implementation of the continuous audit process. If I do not receive your written proposals on the impact and implementation proposals by April 8th as stated in the ARC-FO's letter of March 12th, I will consider management's bargaining obligation fully discharged. Riordan, by letter dated March 29, 1984, replied to Feuer's letter of March 27, 1984. In this letter Riordan stated the following: In regard to the bargaining request made by me March 26, 1984, over the management-initiated change to implement the continuous audit review system and your reply of March 27, 1984, received today, your unilateral deadline of April 8, 1984 for the submission of proposals is not accepted. Instead, the Union will submit proposals within a reasonable time frame as set in the ground rules which we can agree to. I will be forwarding the ground rules proposals shortly. Your cooperation will be appreciated. By letter dated April 3, 1984, and addressed to Feuer, Riordan designated Local Vice President Cecelia McCarthy as the Union's chief negotiator and Local Vice President Evelyn Exman as a negotiator for the continuous audit negotiations. Riordan further stated that McCarthy would be forwarding ground rules proposals shortly and requested that SSA supply to the Union negotiators the names of its negotiators. By letter dated April 4, 1984, the AFGE's chief negotiator, McCarthy, submitted to SSA its extensive proposals for ground rules /6/ for negotiations and, in an attached letter, stated that the Union negotiating team could meet with SSA for negotiations for ten consecutive workdays from May 14, 1984 through May 25, 1984. The letter further stated that the negotiation team would be available to meet on April 23 and April 30, 1984 if Respondent refused to set aside 10 consecutive working days. McCarthy also stated that the Union would forward to Respondent substantive proposals a reasonable time before the first negotiation session. Also on this same date, McCarthy made an information request under Section 7114(b)(4) of the Statute for various documents pertaining to prior implementation of the continuous audit procedure. By letter dated April 13, 1983, Feuer replied to McCarthy's letter of April 4, 1984. He acknowledged receipt of the Union's proposed ground rules and further stated that the proposals and her proposed dates for negotiations were under review. On April 24, 1984, in a telephone conversation between McCarthy and Thomas H. Gabriel, identified in the correspondence as Thomas G. Hibschweiler, Senior Labor Relations Specialist for Respondent, McCarthy inquired as to when SSA would be responding to the Union's ground rules proposals. Gabriel responded that management would not be responding to the Union's ground rules proposals until the parties were at the table after the Union's substantive proposals had been received. Gabriel took the position that AFGE had to supply substantive proposals before the Respondent would set up a meeting to negotiate with the Union on the topic of the continuous audit procedure in the South Bronx and Mount Vernon Offices. In this telephone conversation, Gabriel informed McCarthy that Respondent intended to reimplement the continuous audit procedure at its Mount Vernon and South Bronx, New York Offices on May 14, 1985. By letter dated April 26, 1984, McCarthy wrote a confirming letter to the Respondent which recounted McCarthy's version of the April 24, 1984 telephone conversation between herself and Gabriel. In this letter, McCarthy noted that (a) the May 14, 1984 implementation date chosen by SSA had been given by the Union as a possible date for negotiations; and (b) SSA would not provide the Union with the names of its negotiators or dates to commence negotiations. By letter of April 26, 1984, Bussey outlined SSA's position concerning the negotiation of the implementation of a continuous audit procedure in the affected offices. This letter stated, in part: The message of April 23, together with the referenced conversation of April 24, also served to inform you that the agency will fully implement the continuous audit system in the two offices beginning May 14. At your request, you were informed that the May 14 date was chosen to permit management to timely discharge its obligation to conduct documented progress reviews as required by the National Agreement. Local 3369 has previously and repeatedly been notified of the need to expeditiously conclude negotiations associated with the continuous audit procedures. In this regard, the National Agreement, at Article 4, Section 1, Section 2, mandates the submission by the union of "written proposals if applicable within a reasonable period after notice of the proposed change." To date, the union has declined to submit any proposals addressing the impact and implementation of the change. Your attempt to unilaterally impose a modification of the referenced contractually-determined timeframe for submission of the union's proposals, as described in your letter dated April 4 to Howard Feuer, cannot be accepted. In the event the union chooses to serve negotiable proposals, bargaining will commence as soon as possible. This letter should not be construed as managerial consent to extension of any contractually-determined time frames, including the obligation of the union to serve written proposals within a reasonable period of notice of a change. By letter dated April 30, 1984 McCarthy responded to Bussey's April 26, 1984 letter. In this letter McCarthy stated the following: In reference to the "need" to implement the continuous audit system on May 14, 1984, which you allege is necessitated by the National Agreement, I addressed this point with Mr. Hibschweiler on April 24. He had initially claimed that it was a contractual mandate that Progress Reviews were due by May 1984. However, he could not reference which portion of the contract applies. In fact, if the offices in question will be conducting Progress Reviews in May, then, it would be appropriate to postpone implementation of the continuous audit system until all negotiations have been completed. In the interim period, the current system of performance appraisal in both the Mount Vernon Branch Office and the South Bronx District Office should be utilized for the proposed Progress Reviews. By letter dated May 4, 1984, Bussey responded to McCarthy's letter of April 26, 1984. In this letter SSA stated that the AFGE was at fault for any delay in the commencing of negotiations by its failure to submit impact and implementation proposals and to submit a timely bargaining request. Although the letter stated that SSA would designate negotiators upon receipt of substantive proposals and negotiate as soon as possible, the letter also stated that SSA reserved the right to contest the timeliness of the Union's request to bargain and of its service of proposals pursuant to the limits described in the National Agreement. By letter dated May 8, 1984, McCarthy notified SSA that the AFGE's position regarding the negotiations had not changed and it would place these issues before the Federal Labor Relations Authority. On or about May 14, 1984, SSA reimplemented the continuous audit procedure in its Mount Vernon, New York Branch Office and reimplemented this procedure at its South Bronx, New York District Office on May 18, 1984. By letter dated July 25, 1984 the Regional Director for Region II of the Authority revoked the Settlement Agreement alleging that Respondent's May 14 and 18 reimplementation of the continuous audit procedure violated the Settlement Agreement. Article 4, section 1 of the parties' National Agreement states the following: The Administration will provide the Union reasonable advance notice prior to implementation of changes affecting conditions of employment subject to bargaining under 5 USC 71. Upon notice from the Administration of a proposed change, the designated union representative will notify the designated management representative of its desire to consult and/or negotiate on the change. The Union will submit written proposals if applicable within a reasonable period after notice of the proposed change. Bargaining will begin as soon as possible, and will not exceed 10 (10) working days. All issues not resolved at that time may be referred to the Federal Service Impasses Panel for resolution under its rules. Discussion and Conclusions of Law The threshold issue to be resolved is whether SSA violated its Settlement Agreement. Soon after entering into the Settlement Agreement SSA advised AFGE, by letter of March 12, 1984, that pursuant to the terms of the Settlement Agreement SSA was advising the Union that if AFGE wished to bargain it should request to do so by close of business March 26, 1984 and, pursuant to Article 4, Section 1 of the Master Agreement, the Union should submit written proposals promptly, by close of business April 8, 1984. By the foregoing, SSA advised the AFGE of the impending change and that it should request to bargain promptly and then submit written proposals. SSA was in fact declaring itself ready to negotiate concerning any Union proposals. The record establishes, however, that, although AFGE stated it wished to bargain, AFGE engaged in conduct and communications more designed to forestall and frustrate negotiations than to facilitate them. The conduct of the parties must be evaluated in light of the actual circumstances and the situation. Thus, whereas SSA was trying to extract AFGE's proposals with respect to the impact and implementation, AFGE seemed more interested in delay and in raising obstacles than in prompt negotiations concerning the impact and implementation of the change in this audit system. In considering the conduct of the parties it must be recognized that collective bargaining is a dynamic and functioning relationship that must be judged in light of the overall circumstances present. The conduct can not effectively be viewed in terms of a series of per se rules and obligations. Thus, although normally when negotiating an entire collective bargaining agreement, a union might reasonably insist upon reaching agreement on extensive ground rules before it makes any substantive proposals and counterproposals, /7/ such is not the situation herein. In the instant case the parties were dealing not with an entire new collective bargaining, rather management was changing one condition, the audit system, and the parties in their national agreement had agreed upon a relatively expedited procedure for dealing with impact and implementation bargaining concerning changes in employment conditions. The parties agreed that upon notification of such a change the Union will notify SSA of its desire to negotiate and will submit written proposals within a reasonable time after the notice of the change and the bargaining will begin as soon as possible and will not exceed ten days. It is clear the parties were trying to set forth an expedited and a short procedure for dealing with changes. The Union, in the subject case, tried to comply with the language of the agreement by submitting extensive ground rule proposals, while frustrating the clear object of the agreement. /8/ In the subject situation, depending upon the Union's substantive proposals and the amount of negotiations necessary, extensive ground rules might have been unnecessary. Such a determination could only be made after the substantive proposals could be considered. Thus I conclude that, in the circumstances here present, SSA's insistence on receiving AFGE's substantive proposals regarding the impact and implementation of the change, before negotiating concerning the Union's rather intricate and extensive ground rule proposals, did not constitute a refusal to negotiate concerning the impact and implementation of the change and, therefore, did not violate the terms of the Settlement Agreement. Because I have concluded that SSA did not violate the Settlement Agreement, the Regional Director for Region II was not justified in setting it aside and issuing the Consolidated Complaint herein. /9/ Having concluded that SSA did not violate the Settlement Agreement, that the Settlement Agreement should not have been set aside and that the Consolidated Complaint herein should not have been issued, it is recommended that the Authority issue the following Order: ORDER IT IS ORDERED that the Consolidated Complaint in Case Nos. 2-CA-40051 and 2-CA-40102 be, and hereby is, dismissed. /s/ Samuel A. Chaitovitz Administrative Law Judge Dated: July 26, 1985 Washington, DC --------------- FOOTNOTES$ --------------- (1) We do not agree with the General Counsel's argument in its exceptions that the Judge's findings amounted to a finding that the Union had waived its statutory right to demand bargaining as to ground rules. (2) In so concluding, the Authority finds it unnecessary to, and specifically does not, adopt the Judge's comments (note 6) with regard to the interpretation of the parties' negotiated agreement. (3) SSA and General Counsel of the FLRA filed a joint Motion to Strike certain portions of the transcript herein. AFGE stated it did not oppose this Motion. Accordingly the Motion To Strike is GRANTED, and Page 7, line 11 to Page 8, line 6 and Page 30, line 11 through Page 33, line 8 of the transcript for the first day of hearing are hereby stricken. (4) The Office Manager of the Mount Vernon Branch Office, Marie Sgaglione, was on extended maternity leave. (5) This finding is based upon the credited testimony of employee Karen Albert and former employee Lester Guzman. (6) The ground rules proposals consisted of 2 pages and 10 articles. (7) Cf. Department of Health and Human Services, Region VII, Kansas City, Missouri, 14 FLRA No. 46 (1984); Department of Defense, Dependent Schools, 14 FLRA No. 40 (1984). (8) In this regard the agreement required the Union to "submit written proposals", not written substantive proposals or written ground rule proposals. Presumably the Union was to submit "all" its proposals. To break the proposals up and submit them at various times, etc. would not have complied with the requirements of the agreement. (9) In light of this conclusion, I need not make any conclusions with respect to the allegations that SSA violated the Statute by unilaterally instituting the changed audit system in 1983 in the Mount Vernon and South Bronx Offices.