Federal Civilian Personnel:

Federal Labor Relations Authority and Administrative Roles and Case Processing

GGD-86-57: Published: Mar 26, 1986. Publicly Released: Mar 26, 1986.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO examined the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) to: (1) review the administrative responsibilities of the Chairman and General Counsel, FLRA; and (2) develop FLRA case load and case processing data.

FLRA has four major subunits: (1) the Authority, composed of three members and their staff; (2) the Office of General Counsel (OGC); (3) the Office of Administrative Law Judges; and (4) the Federal Service Impasses Panel. GAO found that: (1) the members of the Authority and the General Counsel disagree as to whether the Chairman or the General Counsel should control the budget and staff allocations for OGC; (2) Congress established OGC as a separate, independent office to prosecute cases, with the Authority as the adjudicatory arm, but failed to clarify their administrative responsibilities; and (3) the relevant statutes and their legislative histories do not resolve the issue of control of OGC funds. FLRA processes four categories of cases: (1) unfair labor practice (ULP) allegations; (2) representation petitions; (3) exceptions to arbitration awards; and (4) negotiability appeals. GAO found that: (1) the number of ULP cases decreased between fiscal years (FY) 1983 and 1985; (2) while the total number of OGC dispositions of representation petitions remained constant, significant declines in representation case-processing time and cases pending occurred in the Authority; (3) the number of arbitration case closures has more than doubled between FY 1983 and 1985; and (4) the number of negotiability appeals the Authority closed increased from 141 to 198 between FY 1983 and 1985.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: During the past year, there has been no indications of a shift in congressional intent relative to this recommendation. No further follow-up is warranted.

    Matter: Congress may wish to specify in legislation the Chairman's and the General Counsel's administrative responsibilities. The budgetary independence accorded to the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and the Special Counsel of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) could serve as useful models for resolution of this issue at FLRA. Both NLRB and MSPB have interpreted the legislative mandate for an independent prosecutor to mean that the adjudicatory body cannot assert control over the budget of the independent prosecutor.


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