White House Nominates Two for FLRA Positions

President Biden is nominating two people for positions at the FLRA – one is for General Counsel and one is for becoming a Member of the FLRA.

The White House has announced its intent to nominate new members to the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). One nomination is for a new FLRA Member and one is for General Counsel of the FLRA.

Federal employee unions are undoubtedly very pleased with the new nominations. Both of the nominees have a background in working on behalf of unions and, presumably, forthcoming actions and decisions will reflect that experience and labor relations philosophy.

Susan Tsui Grundmann has been nominated to be a Member of the FLRA.

She is currently the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights. She oversees the administrative dispute resolution process and provides education to both employing offices and labor unions that represent employees in the legislative branch.

Grundmann was previously General Counsel for the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE). In addition to NFFE, she represented another labor organization, the United Department of Defense Workers Coalition. 

She was nominated by President Obama to serve as a Member and Chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Her last day at the MSPB was on January 6, 2017.

Kurt Rumsfeld has been nominated to be the General Counsel of the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA). He is currently the Chief Counsel to Ernie DuBester, the Chairman of the FLRA.

Rumsfeld has been Assistant General Counsel for Operations and Legal Policy for the FLRA’s Office of the General Counsel. In that role, he worked with the General Counsel and Deputy General Counsel in managing the OGC’s regional operations and providing legal advice pertaining to the administration of the FLRA’s governing Statute.

Both positions require Senate confirmation. There has not been a permanent General Counsel of the FLRA for the last several years.

Ernest DuBester was appointed as Chairman of the FLRA in January 2021. This change became effective without Senate confirmation.

DuBester was originally appointed by former President Barack Obama. He was also appointed by former President Donald Trump and was the only member of the three-member panel appointed by a Democrat.

The second member of the three-person FLRA is Colleen Duffy Kiko. She was appointed by President Trump and was the Chairman and whose term expires in 2022. She was instrumental in making a number of decisions while at the FLRA and underwent bullying by Democrats before ever taking office—presumably because federal employee unions preferred appointees with a background of working on behalf of a union. (See House Democrats Try to Bully FLRA Chair at Hearing and Freedom from Union Dues for Some Federal Employees.)

James Abbott is now a Member of the FLRA. He is also a Trump appointee and his term has expired.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47