Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
Fiscal Year 2008 Performance Budget and Justification
Table of Contents
Fiscal Year 2008 Performance Budget
I. Introduction -- Mission, Vision, and Strategic Goal
II. Budget Request and Annual Performance Plan by Organizational Function
III. Fiscal Year 2006 -- The President's Management Agenda: A Performance Report
IV. Budget by Object Classification Category
V. Other Tables
I. Introduction -- Mission,
Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission
The Occupational Safety and Review Commission is an independent, adjudicatory agency created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Our sole statutory mandate is to serve as an administrative court providing fair and expeditious resolution of disputes involving OSHA, employers charged with violations of Federal safety and health standards, and employees and/or their representatives. The Review Commission was created by Congress as an agency completely independent of the Department of Labor to ensure that OSHA’s enforcement actions are carried out in accordance with the law and that all parties are treated consistent with due process when disputes arise with OSHA.
Our Functions and Procedures
Our Rules of Procedure (which are similar to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure) provide two levels of adjudication when an employer contests an OSHA citation for alleged violations of the Act or failure to abate such alleged violations. The first is a trial level, which affords an opportunity for a hearing before an experienced Review Commission Administrative Law Judge. The judge’s decision becomes final unless the decision is directed for review to the Commission. The second level is a discretionary appellate review of the judge’s decision by Commission members who are appointed by the President. Both before its judges and the Commissioners, the Review Commission provides fair and impartial adjudication of cases concerning the safety and health of employees’ working conditions in the United States.
Our principal (National) office is located in Washington, D.C., with regional offices in Atlanta and Denver. The regional offices are staffed with Administrative Law Judges who travel around the country adjudicating cases, most often in locales where the alleged workplace violation took place.
Our vision is simple, direct and performance oriented. In fiscal 2008 we strive to be:
We have but one strategic goal, and that is to ensure fair, just, and expeditious adjudication of disputes brought before the Commission and its judges. The Review Commission updated its strategic plan for the period FY 2006 through FY 2011, and submitted it to OMB and Congress.
II. Performance Budget Justification
Budget Request Summary
To continue our mission of adjudicating OSHA-issued workplace safety citations, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission requests an appropriation of $10,696,000 to fund essential agency programs in FY 2008. This amount is three percent above the FY 2007 budget request of $10,346,000.
The amount requested would allow us to fulfill our legislative mandate to serve as an administrative court providing fair and prompt resolution of disputes involving the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), employers charged with violations of Federal safety and health standards, and employees and/or their representatives. The request supports the goal in the strategic plan to improve service to the public. The $10,696,000 for FY 2008 would support 67 FTEs.
Our FY 2008 budget request includes:
Justification by Organizational Unit
The Review Commission has three main divisions which function in concert to achieve the agency’s overarching mission:
1. The Administrative Law Judge function;
Each office has staff and resources assigned exclusively to it, but all three work collaboratively to meet or exceed the Review Commission’s strategic goal. This separation of staff between the Administrative Law Judges and Commissioners stems principally from the nature of their functions, which must be apart so that each of these review levels is, both in fact and appearance, independent of the other. The Office of Administration function supports both the Administrative Law Judge and Commission functions and the Agency’s strategic planning efforts.
Funding and staffing by function is as follows:
Administrative Law Judge Function
The front line of our agency’s delivery of services to the American public rests with the Administrative Law Judges. Our judges travel around the country to conduct formal hearings and related proceedings in a fair, just, and expeditious manner. The function is directly related to the public service goal of fair, just, and expeditious adjudication of disputes brought before the Commission and its ALJs.
The Administrative Law Judges report organizationally, through the Chief Judge, to the Chairman. However, they act independently in arriving at case decisions. The Commission’s rules are similar to the Federal rules. In the absence of specific Review Commission rules, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are followed. The Commission’s Rules are constructed and administered to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action.
Proceedings before the Review Commission’s Administrative Law Judges
The events leading to the presentation of an OSHA case before a Review Commission Administrative Law Judge follow an established procedure and are designed to provide all parties with a fair hearing and swift adjudication of their case. To contest all or part of a citation, penalty, or abatement period, an employer must file a notice of contest within 15 working days from the receipt of the citation proposed by OSHA. The Secretary of Labor transmits the notice of contest and all relevant documents to the Review Commission’s Executive Secretary for filing. After the case is docketed, it is forwarded to the Office of the Chief Judge who assigns the case to an Administrative Law Judge and monitors the process. The case is generally assigned to an Administrative Law Judge in the Review Commission office closest to where the alleged violation occurred. Thereafter, the Administrative Law Judge has full responsibility for all pre-hearing and pre-trial procedures, including settlement, and is charged with providing a fair and impartial hearing in an expeditious manner, and rendering a decision promptly.
Administrative Law Judge Operations
Our agency strives to expedite the judicial process in a fair and impartial manner, and to strengthen its settlement procedures and case management responsibilities by constant monitoring of its Simplified Proceedings and Mandatory Settlement programs. The Administrative Law Judge function addresses a caseload that is becoming increasingly more complex, as reflected by the increasing complexity of OSHA citations. Achieving these ends is the primary responsibility of the Chief Administrative Law Judge.
Since FY 2000, OSHA inspections have remained relatively constant at approximately 38,000 per year, yet OSHA citations have risen approximately 9.5% since that time. OSHA’s emphasis during recent years has been on more serious workplace hazards, and the consequent increase in proposed penalties, has translated into more complicated cases and more costly trials (cases involving lock-out/tag-out, confined spaces, health care hazards, asbestos, lead poisoning, process safety, and construction industry hazards, etc.). These cases command a greater portion of the judges’ time. We believe this trend will continue in FY 2008.
The complexity of these cases is the result of the existence of one or a combination of the following:
Case processing is expedited by moving a greater numbers of cases into the Mandatory Settlement and Simplified Proceedings programs, an innovative methodology to speed the adjudication or settlement of pending cases.
Under Commission Rule 2200.120, where the parties consent thereto, the Chief Administrative Judge may assign a Settlement Judge to a pending proceeding to aid the parties in disposing of cases. Where the aggregate amount of the penalty sought by the Secretary of Labor is $100,000 or greater, the Mandatory Settlement procedure goes into effect. The Settlement Judge appointed by the Chief Administrative Judge has full control of the proceeding and may require that the parties’ representatives be accompanied by officials having full settlement authority. This procedure has aided the Commission in disposing of some extremely complex cases, with the approval of all parties.
The Simplified Proceedings process has been expanded to include cases where proposed penalties are not more than $20,000, and up to $30,000, when found eligible by the Chief Judge. The Simplified Proceedings process allows parties with relatively simple cases to have their “day in court” unencumbered by the formal Rules of Procedure and evidence, while ensuring that due process requirements will be maintained. Under this process, a business, with or without counsel, can present its case before a Review Commission judge and receive a prompt decision. Most paperwork, including legal filings, have been eliminated so that justice can be rendered swiftly and inexpensively. The process reduces the time and legal expenses to employers contesting relatively small penalty cases.
Simplified Proceedings Case Activity
FY 2003 through FY 2008
The Review Commission projects that more than 50% of new cases will be assigned to the Simplified Proceedings process in FY 2007 and FY 2008.
Anticipated Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Workload for FY 2008
Three major factors have an impact on the ALJs’ workload: (1) the quantity, magnitude, and nature of the cases; (2) the success of the Simplified Proceedings and Mandatory Settlement processes; and (3) the number of trials held, and their length and complexity.
OSHA projects it will conduct 36,500 and 37,700 inspections in FY 2007 and FY 2008, respectively. The number of OSHA inspections, and their likely focus affects the Review Commission’s caseload on the highest hazard workplaces – especially those with high injury and illness rates, fatalities, repeat offenders, and the most egregious workplace hazards, which frequently results in larger contestable proposed penalties. These inspections tend to result in more complex and contentious cases, which consume extensive time. The discovery process is lengthy and time consuming, motion practice is expanded, legal research and decision-writing time is protracted and, of necessity, the trial process is elongated and complicated.
*Provided by Directorate of Evaluation and Analysis, OSHA
Of the total 67 FTEs requested, 25 are required for the Administrative Law Judge function. This staff level includes the employment of 12 Administrative Law Judges, plus other staff attorneys and support staff. Given the number of inspections occurring in FY 2006, and the complexity of the cases received, we believe this is the minimum number of FTEs needed to address the expected workload and meet performance targets.
The Chief Administrative Law Judge manages the effort to meet the Agency’s GPRA goals at the Administrative Law Judge Level.
The Chief Administrative Law Judge:
Public Service Goal and Outcome Goals
The Review Commission’s Strategic Plan for 2006 – 2011 includes the following goals and objectives related to this function:
Our intent is to advance this strategic goal at the ALJ level through the following strategies:
To best serve the American people we revised our strategic plan for the period FY 2003 – FY 2008, and again for the period FY 2006 through FY 2011. The following goals are included in its performance plans for fiscal years 2003 through 2008:
The sole function of our Commissioners is to review and decide cases contested under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, following an initial decision by an Administrative Law Judge. This appellate level of review must be prompt, fair, and protective of the parties’ rights. Overall, this is our primary public service goal.
Proceedings before the Commission
Our Commissioners adjudicate contested cases independently from the enforcement and rule-making functions vested in OSHA. Disputed enforcement proceedings are tried initially before the Review Commission’s Administrative Law Judges. The Commission members may then review decisions by the Review Commission’s Administrative Law Judges.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 provides for Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation of three Commissioners, each with a six-year term. The Commissioners sit as an appellate review body to review any case decided by the Review Commission’s Administrative Law Judges. Each Commission member has the authority to direct for review by the full Commission any case decided by any Judge. Absent such a direction for review, the decisions of the Administrative Law Judges become final by operation of law. Once a case is directed for review, the Commission members have authority to review all aspects of a case, including judges’ findings of fact, conclusions of law, penalty assessments and abatement orders.
A counsel, who is responsible for providing assistance and advice on all pending matters, including the proper disposition of cases and motions and whether cases are appropriate for Commission review, aids each Commissioner. Each counsel also aids the Commissioner in researching and editing draft opinions submitted by the General Counsel after the Commission decides a case.
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) provides a one-stop legal office assisting the Commission in its compliance with the various laws, regulations and executive orders governing its operations. In addition to providing legal advice on FOIA, EEO, procurement, appropriations, privacy and a myriad of other legal areas, OGC has primary responsibility for preparing and presenting factual and legal analyses to assist Commission members in adjudicating appeals.
Our Commissioners strive to minimize the time for deciding cases and thus, the number of pending cases. Aided by improved case management technology, the Commission seeks to strengthen the internal processes by which a case is prepared for decision. Three external factors have a major impact on the operations of the Commission: the presence of a quorum, the size and complexity of cases, and the novelty of the issues presented for review.
As mentioned previously, the Commission consists of three members appointed by the President. The Occupational Safety and Health Act requires a quorum of two Commissioners. By statue, decisions can only be decided on the affirmative vote of two Commissioners. During periods when the Commission lacks a quorum, no cases can be decided. In addition, with only two Commissioners, it may be more difficult to reach agreement sufficient to dispose of some cases. In cases where such agreement cannot be reached, deadlocks result. As a result, action on important issues may be postponed and issuance of some pending cases will be delayed.
During the period of April 2005 through June 2006, the Review Commission had only two sitting Commissioners. In June 2006, a vacancy on the Commission was filled and the Commission now has its full complement of three Members. As a result of this third Commissioner assuming his seat, much of the Commission’s FY 2006 case decision output was concentrated in the last quarter of the fiscal year.
Historically, the number of safety and health inspections carried out by OSHA each year, the nature of those inspections, and the rate at which employers choose to contest the citations issued and penalties proposed by OSHA all have an impact on the number of cases before the Review Commission. In addition, OSHA’s emphasis during recent years on more serious workplace hazards and the consequent increase in proposed penalties has translated into more complicated cases, and more costly trials. Consequently, the complexity and size of the cases both at the Administrative Law Judge level and at the Commission level has increased significantly in recent years.
Anticipated Commission Workload for FY 2008
In FY 2006, the Commission had 40 pending cases at the beginning of the year. It received 13 new cases and issued 26 decisions by year-end. Thus, the Commission entered FY 2007 with 27 cases pending on review.
As mentioned above, a vacancy on the Commission was filled in June 2006 and the Commission now has three Members. However, in mid-FY 2007, the term of a Commissioner will be expiring, which could lead to a two-Member Commission for a period of time. Failure to have a full Commission in place necessarily affects the generation of decisions, particularly when a consensus cannot be achieved, and deadlocks result. Accordingly, the Commission anticipates disposing of 15 cases in FY 2007, ending the year with an inventory of 28 cases.
Solid case production focused on deciding and issuing decisions in older cases is projected to reduce further the Commission's case inventory in FY 2008. However, the cases that are going to hearings before the Commission’s ALJs are becoming more complex (e.g., imposition of higher penalties, or more complex technical issues), which could result in a higher percentage of cases being petitioned for review. We expect to receive 17 new cases and issue 20 decisions by the end of FY 2008
Office of General Counsel and Commissioners' Case Activity
Our FY 2008 budget requests a total of 31 FTE, including 9 FTEs for the three Commissioners and their immediate staff (each Commissioner has a counsel and a confidential assistant), 17 FTEs for the General Counsel’s office, and 5 FTEs for the Executive Secretary’s Office, for a total of 31 FTEs.
Public Service Goal and Outcome Goal
The Review Commission’s Strategic Plan (Updated) includes the following goals and objectives related to this function:
We will advance our strategic goal at the Commission level through the following strategies:
The following performance goals have been developed for fiscal year 2008 to support the FY 2006 – 2011 Strategic Plan:
Office of Administration Function
The purpose of the Office of Administration is to provide administrative support services for all offices of the Review Commission, to assure success in fulfilling our mission.
The Office of Administration function provides operational management for our agency. The Office of Administration includes procurement, information technology management, human resources management, information security, financial management, budget preparation/justification/execution, and administrative services. The day-to-day tasks of this office are led by the Director of Administration and include:
Anticipated Office of Administration Workload for FY 2008
During FY 2008, the Director of Administration will:
Our FY 2008 budget requests funding for 11 FTEs for the Office of Administration function to perform the duties and responsibilities outlined above. The Office of Administration staff has responsibility for implementing the President’s management and reform efforts, including implementing and monitoring strategic and performance plans and reports, budget and performance integration, human capital and competitive sourcing, and e-government.
III. Fiscal Year 2006
The President’s Management Agenda:
A Performance Report
Fiscal Year 2006 – The President’s Management Agenda, A Performance Report
The Review Commission’s 2003 - 2008 strategic plan focused on the agency’s general goals of reducing the time it takes to dispose of cases, disposing of all cases pending for more than two years at the Commission level, and improving the quality of decisions and case processing. The updated and revised strategic plan for 2006 - 2011 reaffirms these goals and the commitment to expedite the disposition of cases that come before the Review Commission.
In addition to the key programmatic goals, OSHRC’s revised strategic plan focuses on the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) initiatives to become a model Federal agency with highly effective processes; to develop and maintain a highly motivated, qualified and diverse workforce; and to implement modern information systems management, communications and administrative systems. A simple, but powerful example of these changes is reflected in the fact that the median response time for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests filed with the Review Commission has already been reduced from 30 working days down to two working days.
Strategic Management of Human Capital
The Review Commission began work to implement its new Human Capital Plan during fiscal year 2006, conducting a major agency-wide reorganization. The reorganization and ensuing personnel and cultural changes were guided by the agency’s need to modernize all aspects of its administrative functions. Higher performance standards were set, and rewards and sanctions were restructured to make them consistent with OSHRC’s priorities, goals and values as reflected in the agency’s Strategic Plan. For example, no Review Commission SES member had received a performance appraisal since at least 2001. During FY 2006, SES staff were not only appraised, but all received completely revamped performance plans in accordance with the agency’s revised, and OPM approved, SES appraisal system.
At the staff level, the Review Commission has hired selectively, recruiting a well qualified and diverse staff. The human resources staff has recruited and examined 364 applicants for 14 career or career-type positions that were filled during the fiscal year. The employees recruited provided new knowledge, energy and ideas. More importantly, especially in the administrative area, they brought to the Review Commission skill sets that had been lacking, but which are necessary for the transformation of the agency into a modern organization.
As mentioned above, the Review Commission completely overhauled its performance appraisal systems for both the Senior Executive Service and employees in grades 1 through 15. The emphasis is now placed on performance and results. The Review Commission has promoted a culture of achievement by recognizing employees based on performance. The new rating system is also providing more meaningful distinctions in performance. Accordingly, only about 50% of staff subject to formal appraisal surpassed the fully successful level of performance. A supervisory assessment tool for gathering employee feedback on Review Commission supervisors and managers was implemented, and leadership behaviors that promote an inclusive work environment were cultivated. In this regard, the Review Commission has rewritten all staff performance plans and many position descriptions, linking job functions to agency specific goals, as required by the President’s Management Agenda.
During fiscal year 2006, the Review Commission re-examined its competitive sourcing program. Although in previous years much had been outsourced (e.g., library staffing, document scanning, etc.), we looked for new opportunities to bring competition to bear on our non-core functions. Accordingly, the Review Commission’s FAIR Act inventory was updated to include as a commercial activity, IT support, which had previously been performed “in house.” As a result of this determination, certain IT functions were outsourced and the Review Commission is now receiving a higher-level of IT support than in previous fiscal years, at a lower cost.
We will continue to look for additional areas to compete. A copy of the Review Commission’s prior year FAIR Act inventories is posted on the agency’s website.
Improved Financial Performance
Since 2002, the Review Commission has contracted with the Bureau of the Public Debt, Administrative Resource Center, for accounting services. The Administrative Resources Center prepared the Review Commission’s FY 2006 financial statements. The principal financial statements include the Balance Sheet, Statement of Net Cost, Statement of Net Position, Statement of Budgetary Resources, Statement of Financing, and the Statement of Custodial Activity.
In accordance with the “Accountability of Tax Dollars Act of 2002,” during 2006, the financial statements were reviewed by the Review Commission’s independent auditors. The Review Commission received another “unqualified” financial statement opinion reflecting sound and consistent financial management practices.
The Review Commission is a small agency and does not have a separate Office of Inspector General. Therefore, the Review Commission’s management team assumes the responsibility for overseeing the assessment of the agency’s internal operations and determining if there are any material weaknesses that need correction. Two independent program reviews of internal controls take place each year: an audit of financial statements, and an audit of computer and information security.
In FY 2005, the agency contracted for an independent audit of its computer and information security, consistent with the Federal Information Security Management Act, signed into law as part of the E-Government Act. This independent evaluation revealed that there was a material weakness in policies and procedures, specifically in information technology Certification and Accreditation. Recommendations for improvement were made for the agency’s security program and plan. The agency is using the recommendations generated from the audit to develop management corrections.
The system of internal controls for the Review Commission is also functioning well. The system provides reasonable assurance as to the efficiency and effectiveness of programs and operations, reliability of financial and performance information, and compliance with laws and regulations. These controls satisfy the requirements of the Federal Managers’ Financial Integrity Act. As previously mentioned, the Review Commission contracts for annual audits of its financial statements, including reviews of the adequacy of the Review Commission’s internal control systems. The Review Commission has received an unqualified opinion for each audit conducted.
The Review Commission has also contracted with the National Finance Center for payroll and personnel services. In addition to the agency’s internal controls and procedures that safeguard assets and ensure that obligations and disbursements are made consistent with management’s direction, both the Bureau of the Public Debt and the National Finance Center have established practices and procedures that assure appropriate internal controls. The two agencies’ internal control systems are evaluated independently.
Expanded Electronic Government
The Government Paperwork Elimination Act and e-government initiatives require agencies to use technology that allows individuals to submit information or transact business electronically, where practicable. The Review Commission maintains an interagency agreement with the Government Printing Office to provide a secure website, accessible to the disabled, containing Commission policies, procedures, rules, guides and publications, strategic and performance plans, job opportunities, Commission and ALJ Decisions, links to related agencies and the OSH Act. The Commission's website, http://www.oshrc.gov, receives about 3,000 hits daily.
On August 1, 2005, the Review Commission revised its Rules of Procedure to provide that when all parties consent, documents and pleadings may be filed with the Commission in electronic format. To date, very few parties have elected to do so. In order to increase the use of electronic filing, we are exploring its mandatory use in certain instances. Because we are aware that many small employers may not have the ability to file electronically, the Review Commission will carefully evaluate the use of electronic filing on a case-by-case basis, particularly where the interests of small businesses may be affected. In sum, electronic filing is available and in place, and our future efforts will be focused on increasing its use.
The Commission continues to modernize its local and wide area networks using internal security management that includes integrated firewall, authentication, and caching services. Anti-virus protection is performed by a two-fold approach. One is at the server level using a product that scans all incoming data through our e-mail servers and data residing on the server. The second is through another vendor’s product on the desktop. Both solutions provide daily updates of signature files.
Budget and Performance Integration
During FY 2006, the Review Commission initiated a schedule of regular meetings of its senior leadership team in order to ensure timely program and budget execution. The Review Commission reviews and updates its operating plan, as needed, and makes adjustments accordingly. The program plan is now fully integrated into the performance management system, which is used to assess both organizational and individual employee effectiveness and results. The Review Commission has also fully integrated its budget, program and performance management systems, as required by the Government Performance and Results Act. Finally, the Review Commission’s staff and programs are aligned with the specific tasks and general goals of the approved Strategic Plan.
During the coming fiscal year, the Review Commission plans to explore the use of additional program and budgeting refinements in order to further align specific management practices with the agency’s strategic and program goals. The initial focus of this effort will be on the agency’s administrative support services.
Other Management Initiatives
During fiscal year 2006, the Review Commission completed a number of projects that ensured compliance with government-wide statutes and regulations. These include:
During FY 2007, the Review Commission plans to continue to review and update its system of administrative management directives and associated regulations, where necessary, in order to achieve a “best in class” Federal agency workplace.
IV. Budget by Object
Budget by Object Classification Category
The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission requests an appropriation of $10,696,000 for FY 2008. This amount is approximately three percent higher than the FY 2007 request (which is shown in the table below). The $10,696,000 for the FY 2008 request would support 67 FTEs. With the baseline funds requested, the Review Commission would support the same level of activities and services included in the FY 2007 request. The growth in the FY 2008 budget request, in part, will offset inflationary increases in salaries and benefits, as well as the affects of higher transportation costs. In addition, we are requesting $110,000 to fund our GS and SES bonus plans. The proposed budget for FY 2008 by object classification category is shown in the table below, along with the FY 2007 budget request. A narrative explanation of the amount requested for each object classification follows the table.
Object Classification Table
The request for FY 2008 includes $6,765,000 to fund the direct payroll costs of 67 FTEs. This includes general pay raises in January 2007 and proposed general pay increases in January 2008.
11.7 Other Compensation
The Review Commission is committed to the Administration’s initiative for the Strategic Management of Human Capital. As part of this effort, during the past year, the Review Commission has developed a new personnel management performance evaluation system for both senior executive and GS level employees which stresses a results orientation. Also as part of this effort, the Review Commission has completely revamped its system for employee recognition. Beginning in FY 2007, all employee performance awards will be directly linked to performance appraisals, and all performance appraisals will be linked to employee performance agreements, agreed to in advance, with managers and supervisors.
Accordingly, to fund this initiative linking pay to performance, the Review Commission requests $110,000 to recognize those employees whose performance is superior, or who perform special acts or services. Cash awards are a necessary incentive under the Review Commission’s new performance appraisal system, and form an important component of the continuing effort to improve the quality and timeliness of work product, which in turn, contributes to overall agency efforts to accomplish its Strategic Plan objectives.
12.0 Personnel Benefits
An amount of $1,351,000 is needed to fund the payroll-related costs of employee benefits in FY 2008. These benefits principally consist of the government’s contribution to the CSRS and FERS retirement programs, life and health insurance programs, the Transit Subsidy Program, and the Thrift Savings Plan.
The Review Commission requests $117,000 for travel. Travel of Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) to conduct hearings will require an estimated $108,000. Travel costs have risen substantially over the last two years due to higher fuel costs. It should be noted that approximately 92% of the Review Commission’s travel budget pays for ALJ travel in order to conduct hearings. By law, these hearings must be conducted as close as possible to the site of the alleged violation. Thus, only 8 percent of the Review Commission’s travel budget is discretionary in nature. Given the large recent increases in the cost of travel, the Review Commission is actively pursuing a strategy of holding some hearings, or parts of hearings, through electronic video teleconferencing (VTC) techniques.
22.0 Transportation of Things
An amount of $7,000 is requested to fund the cost of shipping materials between Review Commission offices and other locations, and the shipping costs associated with the purchase of supplies and equipment.
23.1 Rental Payments to GSA
The request includes $1,311,000 for office space rent. These projected rent costs are based on estimates provided by the General Services Administration (GSA) to the Review Commission in August 2006.
23.3 Communications, Utilities and Miscellaneous Charges
Telephone and postage costs are projected to require a total of $61,000 in FY 2008. Local phone service and telecommunications is expected to require $42,000; long distance service is estimated at $6,000. Postage for the required mailing of letters, cases, and other materials is expected to be $13,000.
24.0 Printing and Reproduction
The printing costs consist mainly of the charges for publishing proposed regulations and announcements in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the Federal Register, purchasing copies of the CFR and the Federal Register and other GPO publications. Together, these printing/publishing costs are expected to approximate $10,000 in fiscal year 2008. The balance of the budget -- $7,000 -- is needed for the production of compact discs, which contain the latest decisions of the Review Commission’s Administrative Law Judges as well as the decisions of the full Commission.
25.0 Other Services
A total of $362,000 is requested for Other Services. These funds will support: court reporting ($92,000); maintenance of the Review Commission’s automated data processing system ($51,000); evaluation and support for information technology security ($28,000); and on-line legal research ($35,000). The category also includes funding for other contractual services such as the annual audit of our financial statements ($31,000), the services of a librarian ($31,000), training ($18,000), and contracting for services required to support the agency’s mission ($58,000). This category includes funds needed for continuing maintenance of the Review Commission’s Internet website ($18,000), which is housed and maintained by the Government Printing Office.
25.3 Services by Other Federal Agencies
A total of $366,000 is requested for services provided by other Federal agencies. This area includes $30,000 for personnel and payroll services provided by the National Finance Center, $258,000 for financial and administrative services provided by the Bureau of the Public Debt, $41,000 for building security (estimated) provided by the Department of Homeland Security, and $37,000 for other interagency services.
Repair and Maintenance of Equipment
An amount of $56,000 is requested for repair and maintenance of equipment, including equipment used for printing and reproduction of cases, automated data processing equipment and servicing of building security equipment.
26.0 Supplies and Materials
The amount of $45,000 is requested for materials and publications. General office supplies will require an estimated $22,000. Automated data processing supplies, including software, will require approximately $20,000. Subscriptions to periodicals and other publications will require $3,000.
The amount of $128,000 is required for equipment in FY 2008. Subscriptions and other publications necessary to maintain our legal libraries will require $69,000, and $38,000 will be applied to computer acquisitions. This amount will enable the Review Commission to continue the replacement cycle established in earlier years. The expected life cycle of our automated data processing equipment is four years. Our automated data processing equipment includes personal computers, printers, a local area network, and associated peripherals. $21,000 of the amount requested for equipment will be used to replace worn-out or obsolete equipment. Within this amount we will also fund any furniture that may be needed.
V. Other Tables
Fiscal Year Request to Congress House Allowance Senate Allowance Appropriation
1995 $7,655,000 $7,595,000 $7,595,000 $7,595,000
Authorized Full Time Positions, by Function
FY 2006 FY2007 FY2008
Administrative Law Judge
AL-1 1 1 1
Executive Level III 1 1 1
ES-00 1 1 1
Total full-time equivalent positions 67 67 67
1 Reduced to $8,081,000 by P.L. 104-134
2 Reduced to $7,738,000 by P.L. 104-208
3 Reduced to $8,092,000 by H.R. 1664
4 Reduced to $8,470,000 by P.L. 106-113
5 Reduced to $8,958,000 by P.L. 107-206
6 Reduced to $9,610,125 by P.L. 108-7
7 Reduced to $9,863,000 by P.L. 108-199
8 Reduced to $10,510,240 by P.L. 108-447
9 Reduced to $10,404,900 by P.L. 109-149