Semiannual Report to Congress
April 1, 2000 through September 30, 2000


INSPECTOR GENERAL

NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD

WASHINGTON, DC 20570

I hereby submit this Semiannual Report: April 1 - September 30, 2000, which summarizes the major activities and accomplishments of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the National Labor Relations Board (Agency). The submission of this report is in accordance with the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended (IG Act). Section 5 of the IG Act requires that the Chairman transmit this report to the appropriate committees or subcommittees of the Congress within 30 days of its receipt.

OIG issued one audit report and seven inspection memoranda. In the investigations program, OIG processed 51 contacts, initiated 11 cases, and closed 9 cases. The investigations resulted in two personnel actions this period, and one referral for prosecution. We reviewed six bills, one Agency regulation, and one proposed standard. Details on these accomplishments can be found in the body of this report.

Outreach efforts this period included updating three brochures on OIG operations. These brochures and the audit, inspection, and semiannual reports for fiscal years 1999 and 2000 became the basis for an OIG web page as part of the Agency's official web site. The web page became operational on September 28, 2000.

I appreciate the support of all Agency employees in achieving the accomplishments set forth in this report. The Division of Administration was particularly helpful in a series of audits and inspections involving information technology, most recently the audit report issued this period. A new management team began an overhaul of the information technology program about 3 years ago that required the extensive backfilling of holes that had prevented effective and efficient operations. A significant amount of effort and progress has been made in the last 3 years, subject, at times, to the same budget constraints as other Agency programs. Clearly much remains to be done in the information technology area, and we look forward to working with Agency personnel to improve operations.

Jane E. Altenhofen
October 31, 2000


AGENCY PROFILE

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Agency) is an independent federal agency established in 1935 to administer the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The NLRA is the principal labor relations law of the United States, and its provisions generally apply to private sector enterprises engaged in, or to activities affecting, interstate commerce. NLRB jurisdiction includes the U.S. Postal Service (other government entities, railroads, and airlines are not within NLRB's jurisdiction.)

The NLRB seeks to serve the public interest by reducing interruptions in commerce caused by industrial strife. It does this by providing orderly processes for protecting and implementing the respective rights of employees, employers, and unions in their relations with one another. The NLRB has two principal functions: (1) to determine and implement, through secret ballot elections, the free democratic choice by employees as to whether they wish to be represented by a union in dealing with their employers and, if so, by which union; and (2) to prevent and remedy unlawful acts, called unfair fair labor practices, by either employers or unions or both.

NLRB authority is divided by law and delegation. The five-member Board primarily acts as a quasi-judicial body in deciding cases on formal records. The General Counsel investigates and prosecutes unfair labor practices before administrative law judges, whose decisions may be appealed to the Board; and, on behalf of the Board, conducts secret ballot elections to determine whether employees wish to be represented by a labor organization.

The Board consists of the Chairman and four members who are appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. Board Members serve staggered terms of five years each. The General Counsel is also appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate and serves a four-year term.

The present Board Members have served throughout this reporting period.

J. Robert Brame III, completed his term as a Board Member this period. He served under a mid-term appointment from November 14, 1997, to August 27, 2000.

NLRB received an appropriation of $206,500,000 for Fiscal Year (FY) 2000, of which $783,000 was rescinded, to fund 1,947 full-time equivalents. NLRB Headquarters is at 1099 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC.

In addition to the Headquarters building, employees are located in 51 field offices throughout the country. Three satellite offices for the Administrative Law Judges are located in Atlanta, San Francisco, and New York. As of September 30, 2000, the field offices included 33 Regional Offices, 16 Resident Offices, and 2 Subregional Offices. However, effective October 2, 2000, Region 33 ceased to exist and became a Subregion of Region 14.

Additional information about NLRB can be found on the web site www.NLRB.gov.


OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL

The NLRB established the Office of Inspector General (OIG) pursuant to the 1988 amendments to the Inspector General Act of 1978 (IG Act).

Resources

The FY 2000 OIG budget was $775,800 for operations, of which $65,000 was for contract services. In addition to the Inspector General, the OIG consists of a Counsel/Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, Assistant Inspector General for Audits, Special Agent, two Auditors, and a Staff Assistant.

Dave Berry was selected to fill the position of Counsel to the Inspector General, and entered on duty on May 22, 2000. Prior to his selection, he had served as principal advisor to the Staff Judge Advocate for the Commandant of the Marine Corps regarding disposition of personnel matters related to criminal and official misconduct by senior executives and managers.

Trevor Gray, a law student at George Mason University School of Law, was selected for a Student Assistant position. He entered on duty May 22, 2000.

In August 2000, the OIG hosted a student volunteer for one week. This Government-wide program was designed to give participating agencies the opportunity to promote public service careers and to better prepare students for eventual entry into the workplace. The Greater Washington Urban League Summer Youth Program and the Office of Personnel Management sponsored the program. The student assigned to OIG provided assistance in completing the inspection of the Agency's telephone certification process.


AUDIT PROGRAM

The Inspector General is to provide policy direction for and is to conduct, supervise, and coordinate audits relating to program operations of the Agency. We issued one audit report and seven inspection memoranda.

Reports Issued

Ongoing Reviews

As of September 30, 2000, the ongoing reviews were of NLRB's Fiscal Year 1999 Accounting and Reporting Systems, the Alternative Workplace Program, Procurement of Court Reporting Services, and Property Controls Over ADP Items.


INVESTIGATIONS PROGRAM

The Inspector General is to provide policy direction for and is to conduct, supervise, and coordinate investigations relating to the programs and operations of the Agency. OIG processed 51 contacts, initiated 11 cases, and closed 9 cases. The investigations resulted in two personnel actions and one referral for prosecution.

Case Workload   Contacts Processed
Open (4/01/2000) 14   Received 51
Initiated 11   Initiated Investigation 1
Closed 9   Opened Case -- Referred to Agency 3
Open (10/01/2000) 16   Non-Investigative Disposition 47

Although the investigation did not disclose evidence of fraud, a review of the United States Fire Administration's Hotel-Motel Master List disclosed that three of the hotels used by the subject are not listed as being in compliance with the Hotel and Motel Fire Safety Act of 1990. The subject was notified by memorandum that, while on official travel, it is his responsibility to ensure that he utilizes hotels and motels that comply with fire safety requirements. (OIG-I-270)

Hotline

Employees and members of the public with information on fraud, waste and abuse are encouraged to contact the OIG. A log of telephone calls to a nationwide toll free number or the regular office numbers and a log of information received via mail and facsimile are maintained. All information received, regardless of the method used, is collectively referred to as HOTLINE contacts.

The information received over the hotline is the basis for the initial review for potential investigations. The information is analyzed to determine if further inquiry is warranted. Most HOTLINE contacts are calls from members of the public seeking help on an employment related problem or issues outside OIG and/or Agency jurisdiction. As appropriate, OIG refers these callers to: the NLRB office; local, state, or federal agency; or private resource that is able to provide assistance.

During this reporting period, OIG received 51 hotline contacts, of which 32 were telephone calls and 19 were in writing. Four contacts resulted in OIG investigative cases.

To further publicize the hotline to Agency employees, the OIG designed an ad which was was included in the June 2000 edition of All Aboard. The ad is reproduced on the inside back cover of this report.


LEGISLATION, REGULATIONS, AND POLICY

The Inspector General is to review existing and proposed legislation and regulations relating to programs and operations of the Agency and is to make recommendations concerning the impact of such legislation or regulations. Similarly, we review Agency and OIG policy. We reviewed six bills, one Agency regulation, and one General Accounting Office(GAO) proposed standard.

Legislation

H.R. 4670 Chief Information Officer of the United States Act of 2000 and H.R. 5024 Federal Information Policy Act of 2000. Both bills seek to provide coordination of Federal information policy through the establishment of a Federal Chief Information Officer.

OIG provided input to a response addressing H.R. 4670 and H.R. 5024. OIG commented that the current structure of the Chief Information Officer Council provides the necessary Government-wide structure to oversee both resource allocation and management direction while allowing agency heads to be responsible for the management of information technology investments.

We reviewed the following legislation:

S. 3144 Law Enforcement Powers of Inspector General Agents;
S. 3030 Fraud Recovery Bill;
S. 2705 Presidential Transition Act of 2000; and
S. 2712 Reports Consolidation Act of 2000.

Regulations

The Rules Revision Committee continued to work on proposed changes to existing Agency regulations developed in the prior period. The changes implement the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) mandated requirements for electronic communications and clarify how FOIA requests to the Inspector General for OIG documents are processed.

GAO Standard

The Inspector General provided comments to GAO on the Advisory Council's "Preliminary Views" on possible revisions to the organizational independence criteria in the Government Auditing Standards. She stated that the proposed revision is unacceptable. While the proposed revision effectively treats Presidentially appointed and Senate confirmed inspectors general as organizationally independent, the revision ignores that Congress intended and created the same level of organizational independence for the inspectors general appointed by the heads of the designated Federal entities (DFEs). The revision fails to recognize that Congress provided all inspectors general with far more independence than could ever be afforded to public accounting firms.

GAO received similar comments from many Inspectors General. They agreed that the proposed revision needed significant change and that a DFE inspector general be appointed to the Advisory Council.

Policy

In April 2000, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) recommended modifications to the proposed records schedule which authorizes the disposal of OIG files. The Inspector General requested that the proposed schedule be withdrawn to allow time to properly review the modifications.

OIG also reviewed: (1) the E-Government Initiatives proposed on a website by Senators Fred Thompson and Joseph Lieberman, and (2) NARA's revised draft General Records Schedule for information technology records.


LIAISON ACTIVITIES

The Inspector General is to recommend policies for, and is to conduct, supervise, or coordinate relationships between the Agency and other Federal agencies, State and local governmental agencies, and nongovernmental entities. The Inspector General is to give particular regard to the activities of the Comptroller General of the United States, as head of GAO. Similarly, we encourage OIG staff members to participate in Agency programs and activities. OIG staff members are active in the inspector general community, agency activities, and select non-governmental entities. OIG met with GAO staff responsible for audits of NLRB programs and activities. The OIG Strategic Plan was incorporated into the Agency Strategic Plan.

Inspector General Community

The Inspector General is a member of the Executive Council on Integrity and Efficiency (ECIE), which consists primarily of the inspectors general at the Federal entities designated in the 1988 amendments to the IG Act. She participated in activities sponsored by the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE), which consists primarily of the Presidentially-appointed inspectors general.

The Inspector General is a member of an ECIE ad hoc committee addressing issues on auditor independence, and a PCIE/ECIE committee addressing one of the goals in the Strategic Plan.

The Counsel participated in the Council of Counsels to Inspectors General.

The Assistant Inspector General for Audits participated in the PCIE Government Performance and Results Act Group, the Office of Inspectors General Statistical Sampling Work Group, and the IT Roundtable.

Agency Activities

The Counsel is a member of the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) Committee. This committee was formed to ensure that the Agency meets the GPEA's October 2003 statutory deadline of providing a means for electronic transactions with the public as a substitute for paper. To date, the committee identified the transactions that may be accomplished electronically and established a timeline for meeting the October 2003 deadline. The Counsel is also a member of the Rules Revision Committee which develops changes to Agency procedural regulations.

An OIG Auditor is the NLRB Recreation and Welfare Association Treasurer. The Association sponsors a variety of social and philanthropic activities for Agency employees. In addition to serving as the financial administrator, he helped coordinate activities including a fishing trip and an excursion to Atlantic City.

Non-governmental Entities

The OIG Special Agent, as the Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, is the principal liaison officer to the federal law enforcement community. As DeputyAssistant Inspector General for Investigations, he attended the Association of Inspectors General for Investigations. He is a member of the Liaison Officers Association, and currently serves on its executive board. He was a member of the working group on Affirmative Civil Enforcement organized by the U. S. Attorneys Office in Baltimore until July 2000.

General Accounting Office

The IG Act states that each inspector general shall give particular regard to the activities of the Comptroller General of the United States with a view toward avoiding duplication and ensuring effective coordination and cooperation.

In March 2000, the Inspector General and Assistant Inspector General for Audits met with GAO Acting Associate Director of Health, Education, and Human Services Division, who has responsibility for audits of NLRB programs and activities. The Inspector General requested that she be informed of GAO reviews involving NLRB.

GAO issued two reports entitled:

These reports included no recommendations for the Board.

Strategic Planning

As recommended in a 1992 GAO report, OIG developed a 5-year Strategic Plan for FYs 1994 - 1999. Subsequent feedback from OMB and congressional committees indicated that OIG could be part of the Agency strategic plan. The Agency updated its Strategic Plan this period, and the Inspector General decided to include the OIG in the Agency plan. The Agency Strategic Plan for FYs 2000 - 2006, that included a chapter for OIG, was submitted to Congressional committees in September 2000.

In addition, the inspector general community initiated a project to develop a strategic plan. The Inspector General participated in the process to develop the plan and intends to adopt the final plan.


INFORMATION REQUIRED BY THE ACT

Certain information and statistics based on the activities accomplished during this period are required by section 5(a) of the IG Act to be included in the semiannual reports. These are set forth below:

Section 5(a)

(1),(2),(7) OIG identified significant problems, abuses or deficiencies relating to the administration of information systems security (see page 4). For the purpose of this section, we used the definition of significant as set forth in the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act.
(3) Corrective action has been completed on all significant recommendations which were described in the previous semiannual reports.
(4) One matter was referred to prosecutorial authorities. There were no prosecutions or convictions.
(5) No reports were made to the Chairman that information or assistance requested by the Inspector General was unreasonably refused or not provided.
(6) A listing by subject matter is located on page 22.
(8),(9) One audit report was issued during this period; the report had no recommendations on questioned costs or funds that could be put to better use. See Tables 1 and 2.
(10) There are no audit reports issued before the commencement of the reporting period for which no management decision has been made by the end of the reporting period.
(11) No significant revised management decisions were made during the reporting period.
(12) There were no significant management decisions with which I am in disagreement.


AUDIT REPORTS BY SUBJECT MATTER

Report Title and Number Questioned
Costs
Unsupported
Costs
Ineligible
Costs
Funds To
Be Put To
Better Use
ADMINISTRATION
Review of Information Systems Security, OIG-AMR-30-00-03 0 0 0 0


Table 1 -- REPORTS WITH QUESTIONED COSTS

  Dollar Value
  Number of
Reports
Questioned
Costs
Unsupported
Costs
A. For which no management decision has been made by the commencement of the period 0 0 0
B. Which were issued during the reporting period 0 0 0
     Subtotals (A+B) 0 0 0
C. For which a management decision was made during the reporting period 0 0 0
(i) Dollar value of disallowed costs 0 0 0
(ii) Dollar value of costs not disallowed 0 0 0
D. For which no management decision has been made by the end of the reporting period 0 0 0
     Reports for which no management decision was made within six months of issuance 0 0 0


Table 2 -- REPORTS WITH RECOMMENDATIONS THAT FUNDS BE PUT TO BETTER USE

  Number of
Reports
Questioned
Costs
A. For which no management decision has been made by the commencement of the period 0 0
B. Which were issued during the reporting period 0 0
     Subtotals (A+B) 0 0
C. For which a management decision was made during the reporting period 0 0
(i) Dollar value of disallowed costs 0 0
(ii) Dollar value of costs not disallowed 0 0
D. For which no management decision has been made by the end of the reporting period 0 0
     Reports for which no management decision was made within six months of issuance 0 0


Fraud Waste Abuse -
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Call the IG HOTLINE
800 736-2983

Or Write to the
Office of Inspector General
NLRB
1099 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20570