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October 21, 2015

Table of contents

Approval of July 15, 2015 minutes (5 minutes) – Ellen Herbst

Ongoing Matters (55 minutes) 

  • Status of SORN – Michael Toland [10 minutes]
  • Shared Services
    • Ellen Herbst [5 minutes]
    • Ken Kukovich [10 minutes] 
  • Status of Phased Retirement Rollout – Jamesa Moon [5 minutes]
  • Department’s submission to the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations on Use of Metrics for FY15 – Frank Milman [5 minutes]
  • Status of Meeting with OPM on FEVS – Jamesa Moon [5 minutes]
  • NOAA-wide LMR Council – Renee Desrosiers [10 minutes]
  • Updating the Forum’s Charter – Frank Milman [5 minutes]

New Business [50 minutes]

  • Approval process for conferences – Gay Shrum [10 minutes]
  • Migrating to vendor’s new webTA platform – Valerie Smith [5 minutes]
  • Report on Department’s results in the 2015 FEVS – Valerie Revelez [15 minutes]
  • Metric for Forum for FY16 – Frank Milman/Howard Friedman [10 minutes]

Other Business (5 minutes)

CALL IN NUMBER 866-453-8771; PASS CODE 2785164

Meeting Minutes

October 21, 2015

1:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 48019, Washington, DC 20230

Meeting called by: Labor-Management Forum
Program Manager: Mr. Frank Milman

Attendees: Vonda Bell (Census), Robert Budens (POPA/USPTO), Mary Saunders (NIST), Shannon Fitzgerald (IFPTE/NOAA), and Johnny Zuagar (AFGE/Census) participated by phone. See sign-in sheet for participants in attendance. 

Documents: Minutes from the July meeting of the Forum, DOC Forum Metric, Approved and Signed Charter, Changes to the Current Charter, Proposed Revised Charter, Management Forum Members List, DOC 2015 FEVS Highlights.

Type of meeting: Quarterly Meeting of the Forum
Note Taker: Ms. Mary O’Connor


Agenda item: Introductions/Approval of July Minutes
Presenter: Ms. Ellen Herbst

A motion was made to adopt minutes taken on July 15, 2015, and minutes were approved after a proposed revision is included. 

Agenda item: Status of SORN
Presenter: Mr. Michael Toland

The Effective Date package for the System of Records (SORN – Department 25) is with the Office of General Counsel (OGC)/Legislation for review and approval. Once approved, the package will be sent to the Federal Register for publication. The Office of Privacy and Open Government (OPOG) will send Frank Milman a plain language summary and he will send it to the Forum members.

A labor member asked if the SORN would be given to union under national consultation rights (NCR). The response was no since no change in conditions of employment. There was a desire for a working group to study the SORN.

It was confirmed that Federal Register comments were considered, and an analysis of the comments are sent to the appropriate offices, prior to going to OGC for review. It is projected that the final effective date notice will be sent to the Federal Register no later than October 29, 2015.

A motion to create an ad hoc working group to make recommendations on how to use the data collected and the impact on employees was made and adopted.

Agenda item: Shared Services
Presenter: Ms. Ellen Herbst and Mr. Ken Kukovich

Management will begin “project stakeholder engagement” on the shared services initiative in order to assess the readiness, and knowledge of initiative, of the affected employees. The Principal Human Resources Managers (PHRMs) will identify the target audience for the voluntary survey and provide those employees with a link to the survey. The contractor will process the information. Insights gained from effort will help provide a foundation for future change management and communication activities over the next several months. 

There will be two surveys covering acquisitions and human resources. One will be for the providers of these services, and the other for the customers of these services. Results from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Department of Commerce Human Resources Operating Center (DOCHROC) will serve as a baseline moving forward. 

A member asked who will be conducting the survey (contractor or the Department), and the Management Co-chair promised to get an answer.

Mr. Kukovich expressed appreciation for reviewing the initiative each meeting. In his study of the 5 models of shared services previously cited, he has not received a response from management why each case is a clear model. Mr. Kukovich will speak with NASA next. He wants to determine what the “before” and “after” are in these examples, and what the impact has been on long term career civil service. 

Mr. Kukovich spoke with national unions regarding OMB Circular A-76, and the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act, which provides a process for identifying the functions of the Federal Government that are not inherently governmental functions, and came to the conclusion that they still apply, but the manner in which shared services is evolving makes it difficult to compare a before and after state of the impact on the long term civil service workforce. 

The Management Co-Chair and Labor applauded the work of Mr. Kukovich, stating that it would make better outcome for everyone. 

A labor member asked if all agencies in the Department will be part of shared services, and the answer was yes. Another labor member expressed a concern with the potential impact of shared services on the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) due to USPTO being fee funded. However, management assured that there was an interest from USPTO in the initiative, and priorities would determine how funding was used. 

The Labor Co-chair (Howard Friedman) inquired if the National Council on Federal Labor Management Relations has been involved in the issue of shared services; the answer to this was no. 

A Labor member asked where in the Department shared services were currently in use and by what criteria were they chosen? The answer was that NIST was providing financial management services to BIA, ITA, MBDA, BIS, and the Office of the Secretary. The criteria involved looking for typical back-office activities of a repetitive nature often found in accounting activities. The Management Co-chair noted further that this shared service freed up other employees for higher value work such as analyzing the budget.

Agenda item: Status of Phased Retirement Rollout
Presenter: Ms. Jamesa Moone

Management will send a draft of the latest policy to all members of the Forum when the Department conducts NCR on this matter.

Agenda item: Department’s Submission to the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations on the Department’s Use of Metrics for FY15
Presenter: Mr. Frank Milman

The report is due to the National Council by December 31, 2015 but only for items completed by September 30, 2015. The report for the Forum will relate to the Forum’s success in moving forward towards 100% councils/committees at the level of recognition. The Forum was at 85% as of September 30, 2015. 

The Management Co-chair requested that the Department’s report to the National Council on Metrics for FY16 document the unions that do not have any interest in a council.

Agenda item: Status of Meeting with OPM of FEVS
Presenter: Ms. Jamesa Moone

Management is continuing to attempt to get a common date for OPM and Department representatives to meet. A labor member requested that any proposed meeting date keep in mind the need for 2-3 week notice to the Census representatives. The Labor Co-chair stated that this issue has gone on too long and it needs to be resolved now. 

Agenda item: NOAA-wide LMR Council
Presenter: Ms. Renee Desrosiers

NOAA has 20 bargaining units. There are councils at 10 of the bargaining units. Another six are in the process of moving forward to a council. The remaining four are unable to have a council due to lack of interest or due to need for clarification.

The Labor Co-chair indicated that is a big issue and suggested using facilitation (the labor member) to attempt to get NOAA and labor to move towards some common ground. He also suggested using a mediator from the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) to meet with the parties and use mediation.

A labor member stated they would like to see a NOAA level council. There was agreement that getting the “right people” together needs to happen to move forward; however, interest from NOAA leadership needs to be determined. 

Agenda item: Report on Department’s results in the 2015 FEVS
Presenter: Ms. Valerie Revelez 

The Department decreased on 71 out of 77 items from the survey. Last year the Department was above the Government average, or level with it, on every item; this year the Department was below the Government level average on two items. Front line supervisors are a strength at the Department, along with willingness to put in extra effort, alternative work schedules, and looking for ways to do a better job. Some weaknesses for the Department are related to pay raises and performance, and leadership. 

Agenda item: Approval Process for Conferences
Presenter: Ms. Gay Shrum

Ms. Shrum presented the requirements for getting different levels of spending for conferences approved. The Department’s Policy on Conferences can be found at: http://www.osec.doc.gov/ofm/OAP/TMD/Documents/DOC_Conference_Policy_FINAL_rev12Sept2014.pdf

Agenda item: Updating the Forum’s Charter
Presenter: Mr. Frank Milman

A draft of a revised charter was provided to the members for their review and comment. A labor working group consisting of Mitch McDonald, Robert Budens, Shannon Fitzgerald, and Ken Kukovich will review the proposed charter for labor.

Agenda item: Migrating to vendor’s new WebTA platform
Presenter: Ms. Valerie Smith

The current WebTA vendor, KRONOS, is no longer going to support current system, and is requiring all customers to migrate to a new platform. With exception to USPTO, the Department will be migrating to vendor’s new version in FY16, Q2. The new platform is supposed to be more user-friendly, and basically the same that we currently have. 

Members expressed the desire to capture more telework data, and management confirmed that this is already an action item. 

WebTA training will be an annual training requirement.

Agenda item: Metric for Forum for FY16
Presenter: Mr. Frank Milman

The LMF agreed that phased retirement will be the metric. 

Agenda item: Other Business
Presenter: Mr. Frank Milman

  1. The Co-chair recommended that answers to action items be sent out to the members in advance of upcoming meetings.
  2. A member expressed desire for minutes to be put on the website.

Action Items

Item Party Responsible Due Date Status
Correct the July 15 Forum minutes, send to members for review/vote. Frank Milman 11/9/2015 Completed 10/22/15
Send/draft minutes from September 15, 2015 Shared Services Forum meeting for review and comment. Frank Milman 10/30/2015 Completed 10/22/15
Who will be conducting the survey? PHRMs will identify the individuals being surveyed and provide them with link to survey and contractor will process
the information. Information sent to the Forum.
Frank Milman 10/27/2015 Completed 11/20/15
Reach out to OPM and schedule a date to meet on recommendations to the FEVS response from OPM Kevin Mahoney 1/31/16 Awaiting
Find out from NOAA leadership if they are open and willing to establish a NOAA-wide LM Council. No. NOAA leadership believes the existence of the Department Forum and the existing councils at level of recognition are consistent with the intent of EO 13522. NOAA will continue to work to implement
councils where none currently exist.
Renee Desrosiers 10/28/15 Completed 10/28/15
Send out link to policy/templates on the approval process for conferences once Gay Shrum sends it. Link is part of the draft minutes and the draft minutes were sent to Forum members on October 30, 2015. Frank Milman TBD Completed 11/5/15
Labor to obtain names of bargaining unit employees with interest in privacy, etc., to assist/be on a working group.
Moses Sterngast 
Johnny Zuagar
Eunice Byrd
Mitch Macdonald
LF members  TBD Completed 11/2/15
Send out a request to the LM Forum members requesting participation/interest in a LM team to work on the SORN related subject of how the information
collected is used and its impact on identified employees.
Reply: Moses Sterngast (11/2/15)
Johnny Zuagar
Eunice Byrd
Mitch Macdonald
Frank Milman 10/28/15 Completed 10/28/15
Send one page bureau level FEVS results to Frank Milman and he will send to LM Forum members FEVS results sent to Forum members. Valerie Revelez TBD Completed 11/3/15
Contact the NOAA FEVS POC to find out if they can drill down to NWSEO data and if so for them to provide info to NWSEO LM Forum members. The NOAA FEVS POC gave NWS management the report for them to provide to NWSEO. Valerie Revelez TBD Completed
Provide comments on the proposed updates to the LMF Charter comments LMF members TBD Awaiting
Provide comments on FY16 LMF metrics. Comments received from Howard Friedman 11/4/15. LMF members TBD Completed
A plain language summary will be provided to Forum members once OPOG provides OPOG Frank with the summary.  Mike Tolbert 12/6/15 Awaiting
Send copy of latest Phased Retirement Policy to Frank Milman and Frank will send to under members of the Forum when the Department review conducts NCR on this matter. The policy by PHRM was reviewed by the Principal Human Resources Managers on 11/19/2015 and recommendations were made. OPP is in the process of making revisions and will provide the revised policy to PHRM by the next PHRM meeting on December 3, 2015. Frank Milman TBD Policy
Find out why unions at NIST have no interest in forming councils. Frank Milman 11/16/2015 Completed1 11/16/15
Find out what percentage of represented employees have councils. 97.3% of bargaining unit employees are covered by a council/committee at level of
Frank Milman 11/5/2015 Completed 10/29/15
Report to the National Council on Federal Labor Management Relations on FY15 Metrics. Compiling results from Bureaus and Forum into single report. Frank Milman 12/31/2015 In process

1 According to Section 3(a)(i) of Executive Order 13522, agencies were required establish councils at the level of recognition or adapt existing councils or committees if such groups exist, to help identify problems and propose solutions to better serve the public and agency missions. NIST bargaining units currently have procedures in place per their collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) accomplishing this mission. Accordingly, NIST is deemed to have six (6) councils in place.