Cabaniss Quits FLRA: Remaining Member Gets Big Bucks to Do Little or Nothing

Dale Cabaniss, Chairman of the FLRA, has resigned. This leaves one person on the 3-member Authority which cannot issue decisions without a second member.

On Monday, July 14, 2008, the Chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA) emailed her staff as follows:

I have informed the White House that I will be resigning my position as Chairman and Member of the FLRA effective at the end of the day today, Monday, July 14, 2008.

Effective immediately, I am designating Catherine V. Emerson as the FLRA’s Acting Executive Director. This designation is in addition to the duties Cathy is performing as Director of the FLRA’s Office of Policy and Performance Management. As Acting Executive Director, Cathy will have the necessary authority to ensure that the agency continues to operate administratively while awaiting a new Chairman.

I would like to thank all of you for your dedication and hard work in support of the agency’s mission over the years that I have been a Member and the FLRA’s Chairman.

Dale Cabaniss
Chairman, FLRA

As with the departure of General Counsel Kiko and Executive Director Jill Crumpacker, no press release was issued or is anticipated according to FLRA sources. FLRA, a veritable black hole for news advisories to the community it serves, never mentioned the nomination of Chad Bungard of MSPB to be General Counsel this past April and gave us a three liner when the President nominated Thomas Beck to be a member and chair designee in 2007.

This resignation leaves two political appointees (one’s a Schedule C) to direct the leaderless civil servants. Of course, Member Pope, the "Democrat" appointee, is arguably at the helm. She’s got a job through next July but can’t make a decision without a second member. Based on recent decisions, agencies are probably partying hard over this turn of events.

So, how will she fill up her day? Maybe she will catch up on performance ratings, redecorate the office, go visit the regions (I’d bet they’re not too thrilled with me for suggesting that option), or maybe take a broader goodwill junket to the union recognitions in Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Thomas, Europe, Japan or Korea. Of course, there’s always Hawaii. Lots and lots of DOD employees work on Oahu.

On the other hand, maybe she is studying hard in the hope of convincing Senator Obama that if he is elected, she is something he shouldn’t change or if he does, to make her a Chair rather than being a Member of a regulatory agency that cannot issue decisions.

About the Author

Bob Gilson is a consultant with a specialty in working with and training Federal agencies to resolve employee problems at all levels. A retired agency labor and employee relations director, Bob has authored or co-authored a number of books dealing with Federal issues and also conducts training seminars.