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50:0525(69)AR - - AFGE, Local 400 and Army, 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, NY - - 1995 FLRAdec AR - - v50 p525


[ v50 p525 ]
The decision of the Authority follows:

50 FLRA No. 69















June 21, 1995


Before the Authority: Phyllis N. Segal, Chair; Tony Armendariz and Pamela Talkin, Members.

I. Statement of the Case

This matter is before the Authority on an exception to an award, as clarified, of Arbitrator Fred C. Benedetto filed by the Union 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 Agency filed an opposition to the Union's exception.

The Arbitrator clarified his award by revising the number of days of backpay awarded to the grievant.

For the following reasons, we conclude that the award, as clarified, is not deficient under section 7122(a) of the Statute. Accordingly, we deny the Union's exception.

II. Arbitrator's Award

The Agency suspended the grievant for 14 calendar days. The Arbitrator reduced the suspension to 5 days and ordered the Agency to reimburse the grievant for 9 days' backpay. Subsequently, the Agency requested the Arbitrator to clarify the amount of backpay due because the 14-day suspension encompassed only 10 workdays and, as a result, the grievant had lost only 10 days' pay. In response, the Arbitrator issued a clarification stating that he had inadvertently computed the backpay and that, as the Agency had used a consecutive calendar day basis to determine the suspension, the backpay should be for 5 days, not 9 days.

III. Exception

A. Union's Contention

The Union contends that in the absence of a joint request by the parties, the Arbitrator was functus officio after he issued his original award and lacked authority to issue a supplemental award.(*)

B. Agency's Opposition

The Agency asserts that an arbitrator has the authority to clarify an award, on the request of one party, to correct an obvious arithmetical error, and in this case the Arbitrator appropriately corrected the obvious error involved in calculating the amount of backpay required for a 5-day suspension.

IV. Analysis and Conclusions

Although the principle of functus officio generally precludes an arbitrator from reconsidering an award after it has been issued, Overseas Federation of Teachers, AFT, AFL-CIO and Department of Defense Dependents Schools, Mediterranean Region, 32 FLRA 410, 414-15 (1988) (DODDS), an arbitrator may, under limited circumstances, clarify or correct an award after it has been issued. Id. at 415, citing Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Engineer District, New Orleans, Louisiana and National Federation of Federal Employees, Local 1124, 17 FLRA 315, 316 (1985). An arbitrator may clarify or correct an award to correct clerical mistakes or obvious errors in arithmetical computation, DODDS, 32 FLRA at 414, and may clarify an ambiguous award and restate the basis for an award which conforms to the arbitrator's original findings. U.S. Department of the Army, Army Information Systems Command, Savanna Army Depot and National Association of Government Employees, Local R7-36, 38 FLRA 1464, 1467 (1991). An arbitrator's authority to clarify an award does not depend on a joint request from the parties. Id.

In this case, it is undisputed that the Agency had suspended the grievant for 14 consecutive calendar days, which included only 10 workdays, and that the Arbitrator mitigated the suspension to 5 workdays. The Arbitrator corrected the obvious error involved in calculating the amount of backpay required in mitigating the suspension to a 5-workday suspension. Consequently, we conclude that the Arbitrator had the authority to clarify his initial award and that the award, as clarified, is not deficient.

V. Decision

The Union's exception is denied.

(If blank, the decision does not have footnotes.)

*/ The principle of functus officio means that once an official has fulfilled the function or accomplished the designated purpose of his or her office, the official has no further authority. National Treasury Employees Union, National Treasury Employees Union Chapter 33 and U.S. Internal Revenue Service, Phoenix District, 44 FLRA 252, 263 (1992).