Friends of FMCS History Foundation

The history of dispute resolution, mediation and arbitration

August 2023 News Update

As of October 12, 2023 no movement on the FMCS Director Nomination.

The following news from the Senate seems to be less than favorable for the nomination;

Ranking Member Cassidy, Braun Urge Pause on Biden Nominee Amid Allegations of Discrimination and Retaliation


WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Mike Braun (R-IN) raised concerns to President Biden regarding the nomination of Javier Ramirez to be the Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) amid allegations of discrimination and retaliation under his leadership. Ramirez is currently the Deputy Director of Field Operations of FMCS.

In 2022, Acting FMCS Director Gregory Goldstein announced that FMCS would undergo a restructuring effort to consolidate agency operations and downsize staff. Following FMCS’s reorganization, whistleblowers revealed to HELP Committee GOP staff that multiple Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints had been filed against FMCS, and that Ramirez was named as a key wrongdoer in the complaints. Specifically, the whistleblowers claim that Ramirez directed and influenced the reorganization in coordination with Goldstein. They also claim that several FMCS employees of color may have been passed over for newly created senior management roles in favor of individuals more supportive of Ramirez’s “vision” for the agency and were told instead that their past performance reviews would be treated with little regard during the hiring process. On March 24th, Cassidy and Braun requested copies from FMCS of all EEO complaints and affidavits filed against Ramirez and Goldstein as part of the Committee’s constitutional responsibility to advise and consent on presidentially-appointed nominees.

Following extensive negotiations with FMCS, the agency provided the Committee access to documented complaints that further detail the whistleblower allegations. In one account, Ramirez reportedly told an employee that he was not selected for a position solely based on his answer to a question about FMCS’s “strategic plan,” despite a history of excellent performance reviews and nearly ten years of experience at the agency. In another account, an employee with 17 years of experience as a field manager and a history of positive performance reviews was allegedly passed over in favor of an employee with only two years of experience.

“The lack of neutral criteria appears to have cast doubt on the fairness of the [Field Operations Managers] hiring process, to the detriment of highly qualified FMCS employees of color,” wrote the senators. “The decision to institute an internal reorganization and hiring process with little regard for past performance or consideration of neutral criteria violates basic principles of equal opportunity.”

“In light of these concerning developments, our reservations regarding Mr. Ramirez’s nomination have only deepened,” continued the senators. “Until the allegations are resolved, it is our view that the Committee should not move forward with Mr. Ramirez’s nomination to be FMCS Director.”

Read the full letter here or below.

Dear Mr. President:

We write regarding the pending nomination of Javier Ramirez to be Director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS). Upon Mr. Ramirez’s re-nomination at the beginning of the 118th Congress, staff on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee learned from numerous whistleblowers of alleged Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints involving Acting Director Gregory Goldstein and Mr. Ramirez. The whistleblowers allege that Mr. Ramirez was heavily involved in the recent reorganization of FMCS in his capacity as Deputy Director of Field Operations and that, as a result of the reorganization, several FMCS employees of color were passed over for newly created senior management roles in favor of individuals more supportive of Mr. Ramirez’s “vision” for the agency.

On March 24, 2023, we wrote to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and FCMS’s EEO Director “requesting copies of all EEO complaints and affidavits filed against Mr. Ramirez and Acting Director Goldstein.” We emphasized that it was “critical that FMCS produce information regarding [the EEO complaints] so that the Committee may fulfill its constitutional role and properly assess the merits of Mr. Ramirez’s nomination, as well as his fitness to serve as Director.” The letter also sought answers to a number of questions, including an account of when FMCS informed OPM of its restructuring efforts.

On April 7, 2023, FMCS transmitted a letter, signed by FMCS’s EEO Director, in response to our request for copies of the EEO complaints and affidavits. In its response, FMCS confirmed that there are four EEO complaints filed and addressed to Acting Director Goldstein and that, in all four cases, Mr. Ramirez among others have been named as the management officials responsible for the actions or decisions that harmed the complainants. FMCS’s response also explained that it is usually “unable to provide unredacted copies of all EEO complaints and affidavits unless the complainants consent to their release.” However, in this case, “FMCS [had] received consent from all four (4) individuals” and would “make the documents available for review at a mutually agreed upon time and place.”

On April 10, 2023, HELP Committee staff emailed FMCS to confirm receipt of its April 7, 2023 letter and requested the production of electronic copies of the EEO complaint and affidavits. In response, on April 17, 2023, FMCS transmitted a second letter declining to fulfill our request for electronic copies of the EEO complaints and affidavits, citing the “highly sensitive nature” of the documents and “active litigation.” FMCS also claimed a responsibility to “establish and use controlled environments” based on the agency’s “Privacy Act Program.” FMCS’s General Counsel subsequently told HELP Committee staff that FMCS would allow staff to review the documents only in hard-copy form, with agency personnel present and in the room, and that these “controls” were necessary to comply with the Privacy Act.

On May 4, 2023, during a scheduled teleconference, HELP Committee staff asked FMCS to explain its decision to implement “controls” over the EEO complaints and affidavits. In addition to the Privacy Act, FMCS’s General Counsel cited several statutes and regulations, none of which allow an agency to refuse a request for electronic versions of documents and insist on being physically present in the room for the review. FMCS’s General Counsel also suggested that these “controls” were necessary in order to prevent the documents from being reviewed by third parties.

Under the Privacy Act, federal agencies may not disclose certain records “except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains.” Given that the individuals who filed the EEO complaints and affidavits provided written consent for their disclosure to HELP Committee staff, FMCS should have promptly produced electronic copies of the EEO complaints and affidavits as requested. However, rather than simply producing the documents as requested, FMCS chose to put in place a host of artificial barriers. 

Nonetheless, in the interest of avoiding protracted negotiations with agency counsel, HELP Committee staff agreed to review the requested documents under FMCS’s “controls.” This review occurred on May 11, 2023. Based on staff’s review of the documents, all four EEO complaints include a number of concerning allegations, including racism, harassment, retaliation, and a restructuring effort led by a presidentially-appointed nominee.

The complaints allege that Mr. Ramirez directed and influenced the reorganization of FMCS in coordination with Acting Director Goldstein. In July 2022, FMCS began an internal hiring process for six Field Operations Managers (FOM), a newly created senior management role. Applicants for the role were informed that the selection would be based entirely on a 45-minute interview with a panel of five senior FMCS officials, which included Mr. Ramirez, but did not include Acting Director Goldstein. The candidates were informed that their past performance reviews would be treated with little regard. The selection process also appears to have lacked any neutral hiring criteria, and was instead focused on the applicants’ responses to vague and subjective interview questions. These hiring criteria are inconsistent with FMCS’s Directive 5202, which governs mediator hiring, promotion, and transfer. Directive 5202 sets forth a host of neutral criteria for mediator promotions, including “[a] summary performance appraisal rating of Fully Successful or higher.”

The lack of neutral criteria appears to have cast doubt on the fairness of the FOM hiring process, to the detriment of highly qualified FMCS employees of color. One complainant with seventeen years of experience as a field manager was passed over in favor of an employee with only two years of experience. The complainant alleges that her interview consisted of nine questions, several of which were focused on her views of the agency’s “culture” and “vision.” Another complainant with a history of excellent performance reviews and nearly ten years of experience at FMCS was not selected for the FOM role. He similarly reported that his interview consisted of just nine questions, including how he would fulfill the “culture” and “vision” espoused by Mr. Ramirez and Acting Director Goldstein. Mr. Ramirez informed the complainant that he was not selected for the position solely based on his answer to a question about FMCS’s “strategic plan.” A third complainant with a history of excellent performance reviews was passed over in favor of a less qualified candidate. She similarly alleges that her interview involved vague and subjective questions about how she would improve the agency’s “morale.” After she filed her EEO complaint, FMCS offered to settle her claims with a lump sum payment of nearly $70,000, only to withdraw that offer hours later.

The decision to institute an internal reorganization and hiring process with little regard for past performance or consideration of neutral criteria violates basic principles of equal opportunity. Without neutral criteria in an internal process, hiring personnel are vulnerable to plausible allegations of bias and discrimination. In light of these concerning developments, our reservations regarding Mr. Ramirez’s nomination have only deepened. Until the allegations are resolved, it is our view that the Committee should not move forward with Mr. Ramirez’s nomination to be FMCS Director.

 

January 2023

Javier Ramirez’s nomination was sent back to the White House on January 3 due to inaction on his nomination in 2022.  The President renominated him for a third time also on January 3, 2023.  I believe this is the first time a nomination for FMCS Director has happened 3 times for the same nominee.  We await another Senate HELP Committee hearing and then a Senate vote in 2023.  Acting Director Greg Goldstein continues to lead the Agency until the Senate acts on the FMCS nomnation.

Passing of Earle Leonhardt

EARL LEONHARDT OBITUARY

Earl C. (Buddy) Leonhardt (76) passed away Friday, November 4, 2022, in his home in Madeira, Ohio. He graduated from Roger Bacon High School in 1965. He married his high school sweetheart, best friend, and love of his life, Mary Pamela Calder in 1966.

His cherished children are Stephen (Amy Compston), Laura Lienhart (Devin), Craig [deceased] (Carrie Russell), and Michael. He was the adored “Papa” to Blake and Ryan Lienhart, Ian and Claire Leonhardt, Meg and David Leonhardt, and Millie Leonhardt. He was the devoted brother to siblings Daniel [deceased] (Janet), Karen Brothers (LeRoy), Kerry [deceased] (Andrea), Peggy Remke (Chuck) and Mark (Pam). He is also survived by many amazing nieces, nephews, and a multitude of friends.

Earl started his career working at the Kroger Company Warehouse in Woodlawn, Ohio. His interest in “working people” began when he became a union steward at the Kroger Company. He then ran for a position in the Teamster Union and was elected business agent for Teamster Local 661. Several years later in 1977, Earl applied for a position as a Federal Mediator. He was commissioned to be a mediator with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in the United States government. He retired after 34 rewarding years. Earl had a gift. He could listen to both sides – union and management, find common ground, and reach settlements between them. He often referred to himself as a “peacemaker”.

Family and friends were paramount in his life. Raising the children in Madeira, he coached soccer, was involved with scouting, and supported his church, school, and all community endeavors. He provided mediation services for the Archdioceses of Cincinnati as a volunteer since 2012. His passion was golf. He never passed up an opportunity to play, especially with the men he’s remained friends with since grade school.

Buddy was a lover of candid photography, compiling hundreds of albums loaded with shots of friends and family over the years. He could often be seen on the sidelines of his children and grandchildren’s sporting events and school activities with his camera in hand.

In 2020, Buddy faced COVID-19 and cancer simultaneously. A year later, the cancer returned. He fought a valiant fight but lost the battle to this horrible disease. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Congenital Heart Alliance of Cincinnati, 4010 Executive Park Drive, Suite 100, Cincinnati, Ohio 45241.

Howard Solomon Obituary

Howard W. Solomon of Bar Harbor and Bethesda, Md., laid down his gavel for the last time Sept. 27 at the age of 91. A retired federal arbitrator and mediator, Solomon was known as thoughtful and fair, bringing a warm smile into day-to-day life. Unafraid to defy convention, Solomon could get the most bitter disputants to compromise, with clear reasoning, principled compassion and a well-timed joke. The son of prominent New York internist Dr. Harry A. Solomon and Ruth Solomon (née Wulfsohn), Solomon was born on the upper east side of Manhattan in 1931. He attended Friends Seminary, a Quaker institution, and was graduated from Yale in 1952. His patrician upbringing notwithstanding, Solomon defied convention with wide-ranging interests. An avid amateur athlete, basketball coach and American Youth Hostels bicycle trip leader of multiple groups to Europe in his late teens and early 20s, Solomon freely admitted that he joined the U.S. Army after earning his juris doctor from Columbia Law School in order to avoid having to pass the New York bar exam (passage was automatically granted after two years of military service). Solomon excelled in his service and received awards for marksmanship as well as the Good Conduct Medal. After the Army, Solomon joined the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service as a junior attorney, resolving labor disputes between unions and corporations through negotiation and compromise. In a letter to President Lyndon B. Johnson, a union president representing 23,000 workers in a 1967 dispute with tire manufacturer Uniroyal Inc. wrote that Solomon “worked feverishly in the public interest in attempting to aid the parties in resolving their problems and arriving at an equitable settlement” involving pay and worker protections. Uniroyal’s management also commended the young mediator in a letter. “Your quiet, unobtrusive and persistent involvement was a significant catalyst to resolving the hardcore and appearingly unsolvable issues remaining between the union and company.” Promoted from a field attorney in St. Louis to a federal commissioner in the Midwestern heart of manufacturing, Dayton, Ohio, Solomon met Dolores (“Dee”) Stuerenberg, a Cincinnati native who was society editor of the Dayton Journal-Herald and a former nationally ranked tennis player. They married in 1965. Dee urged Howard to accept an assignment with the U.S. State Department’s Agency for International Development in New Delhi, India, in 1968. The couple embraced the rich culture and kindness of their Indian friends and colleagues. Dee relished embassy social life on and off the tennis court while the couple raised their young daughter Beth and welcomed their son Harrison, who was born in New Delhi. Returning with the family to Washington, D.C., in the early 1970s, Solomon was given assignments of increasing responsibility in the federal labor relations sector, rising to helm the Federal Service Impasses Panel, a presidential commission charged with adjudicating major labor disputes. While the forward- thinking Solomon privately supported many progressive organizations such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, he was respected by colleagues across the political spectrum. Reagan Administration Secretary of Labor William E. Brock commended Solomon, writing, “You are indeed a credit to this Administration.” Tall and sinewy, Solomon was a lifelong environmentalist, taking public transportation to the office every day from the family home in Bethesda to downtown Washington, a lengthy trip. Howard drew barbs from his wife and his two sisters Nina S. Hyde, the longtime fashion editor of The Washington Post, and Loire Valley, France-based Marquise Suzanne de Brantes, for wearing running shorts during his commute to the office during hot summers. Solomon met those grimaces with a laugh. After retiring in his late 50s, Solomon began spending more time in Bar Harbor, eventually luring Dee first to a tent on the beautiful coast inside Acadia National Park, and later a house they built nearby, looking out on Frenchman Bay. The couple not only enjoyed Acadia’s natural treasures but actively worked to protect and enhance them for others. Indeed, Solomon and others founded the volunteer corps that built and maintained park trails alongside the National Park Service. Later, Solomon served on the board of directors of Friends of Acadia, supporting initiatives such as the launch of a substantial natural-gas-powered bus fleet to reduce car traffic in the park. Bar Harbor was Howard’s Eden. In his “retirement,” Howard studied jazz piano, eventually filling the lounge of the Balance Rock Inn in Bar Harbor several nights each week with the beautiful melodies of jazz standards sung by Sinatra, Ella and Rosemary Clooney. Later in life, Howard’s favorite Sunday activities were listening to Donnie McKethan’s landmark radio jazz show “The American Songbook” on public radio station WPFW while reading the New York Times with Dee on the granite rocks of Sand Beach in Acadia. After Dee died in 2016, Howard shuttled between Bethesda and Bar Harbor, spending more time at the piano than on the hiking trails and bike paths of Acadia. In his last days, when he needed the assistance of nurses at Suburban Hospital, he kept a twinkle in his eye. “How are you feeling today, Howard?” asked a nurse two days before he drew his last breath. “Fantastic,” he smiled. Trying to make Solomon as comfortable as possible, the nurse said, “Howard, I’m going to put my arm on your shoulder and pull you toward me, OK?” “I really like that idea,” he quipped. Near his last day, Howard was told by his family that his nurse’s name was Ryan, and that Ryan was doing a great job. “This is my lucky day,” he said. Howard took his last breaths with his family at his side. He is survived by his daughter Elizabeth (“Beth”) Solomon (Gero Geilenbruegge) of Naples, Fla., and Washington, D.C., son Dr. Harrison Solomon, beloved grandchildren Jessica, Sam and James Solomon, cousins Bill and Pat Middlemiss, brother-in-law Richard Stuerenberg and sister-in-law Linda Stuerenberg, and nieces and nephews Jennifer Hyde (David) Bronstein, Andrea Hyde (Andrew Weinberg), Roger (Nikola) de Brantes, Flore de Brantes, John (Marianne) Meyer, Steve (Maria) Meyer (d.), Mike (Melissa Huddleston) Meyer, Jay D. (Jena) Thacker, James (Sarah) Thacker and Tara (C.J.) Petrou.

FMCS and the Employee Viewpoint Survey

Best Places to Work’ Rankings Have Familiar Look, but Many Scores Slip

Published: July 19, 2022
More in: 
Fedweek

The new version of the “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” report has familiar names at the top and bottom, although overall many agencies slipped in the index the Partnership for Public Service uses to create those rankings.

NASA now has a 10-year winning streak as the most desirable among large agencies, with a rating of 85.1 in the index, which is largely based on selected questions from the annual Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. Following in order among large agencies were HHS, Commerce, the intelligence community and VA.

GAO topped the midsized agencies with an 89.8 percent score, followed by NSF, FERC, GSA and SEC. Among small agencies the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation with an 85.6 score was followed by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Office of Special Counsel, the U.S. International Trade Commission and the Surface Transportation Board.

The bottom three in each category were, in ascending order, DHS (also for the 10th consecutive year), Justice and SSA; NLRB, Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, U.S. Agency for Global Media; and FEC, International Boundary and Water Commission and National Gallery of Art.

Highly-ranked agencies commonly tout their status in their public outreach, including for recruiting purposes, while lower-ranked ones often find themselves called to Congress to explain why.

The VA was the only large agency to improve its score over 2020—and by just two tenths of a point, from 70 to 70.2. While those agencies are just 17 of the 71 ranked, they account for the vast majority of federal employees.

On the plus side, “The U.S. Agency for Global Media improved by 11.7 points for a score of 64.7, the largest increase among midsize agencies, while the National Endowment for the Humanities was the most improved small agency in 2021, jumping from 25th to second place,” it said.

However, the FTC fell from second to 22nd place in the midsize rankings and the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service dropped from 11th to 24th place, the largest drop among small agencies.

Working to drag down scores was a fall in a major component of those rankings, an “employee engagement and satisfaction score” which government-wide fell by 4.5 points to 64.5.

“This downturn came as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to disrupt the federal workforce during the survey period in November and December 2021. During this time, tens of thousands of civil servants faced uncertainty about returning to the office after more than a year and a half working remotely part or full time, while a sizable portion of the workforce remained on the front lines performing critical public services as the health crisis persisted,” it said.

However, it added that the figure is 14.6 points below an engagement index from the Mercer employee research firm for the private sector, which “faced many of the same workplace issues as the government.”

 

 

 

September 2022

Hello Friends,

Much has taken place since the last “Friends” email.   A major reorganization and realignment were announced by Acting Director Greg Goldstein and Deputy Director Javier Ramirez on June 10th, 2022.

All field managers positions have been announced and require current managers to reapply for the now reduced number of field manager slots.  As you can see many other changes are visible in the above chart.

The reorganization of FMCS is scheduled to be completed by Sunday, September 25, 2022.

SOME SAD NEWS

Tragically another active field mediator, Commissioner Stephen Kessler # 1042 has passed away.  He was preceded by the passing of Commissioner Catanzariti in 2020, and Commissioner Brady in 2018, all while still on FMCS rolls.

Here is Commissioner Kessler’s Obituary:

 

Stephen, 57 of Salinas, CA passed on June 16, 2022, at his home from an aggressive rare neuromuscular disease. His recent diagnosis progressed suddenly, and his loss was unexpected. The family is shocked and deeply saddened.

Stephen was born on March 21, 1965, to Leonard and Celeste Kessler in Grand Rapids Michigan . Stephen loved California and after graduating high school, Stephen moved to California where he attended school and graduated from UCSC. Later he received his law degree from Monterey College of Law. Stephen worked as a Federal Mediator at FMCS for the last 20 years. He loved his job and found joy in finding new ways to incorporate technology and innovative skills in his training.

Stephen also spent time volunteering and coaching for the different sport organizations that his grandchildren were involved with as well as volunteering for polling stations in local elections.

Anyone who knew Stephen, knew that he was brilliant yet humble, had a huge love for his family, wasn’t afraid to be silly and bring humor into life and always remained grateful.

He had an immense passion for sports, in particular those his grandchildren played. He loved watching and coaching them in baseball and was always there to cheer them on.

Stephen was grateful for having a great life and was always looking at ways to give back to the community. He frequently reminded everyone to choose kindness and he personally practiced that every day. Stephen’s positivity was contagious and radiated to everyone around him.

Stephen’s family and friends will miss him more than words can say.

 

Call for Mediator Class Pictures 

We are looking for mediator class pictures for the 2009 through the 1995 class.  For some reason these years are not in the NARA archives or in the public affairs office at FMCS.  If you have a class picture from that time frame, please send, or scan a copy of the picture and send it to rgiacolone@mediationhistory.org.  You can mail the picture to Friends of FMCS History Foundation at PO Box 9517, Chesapeake, VA 23321.  I will scan it and send it back to you quickly.

 

Visit to the George Washington University FMCS Archive

 

I visited the George Washington University Library on July 27th to review the Friends Archive.

I ordered 5 boxes for review from the vast collection of 325 boxes donated by Jerry Barrett, but also spent significant time talking to the archive caretaker about the collection and its future.

He was as interested in the collection as I was since he was not part of GWU when the collection arrived from Jerry.  I asked why they accepted the extremely large collection, and his best guess was, “it had some historical value”.  The five boxes I reviewed had a mix of items.  One had photographs (some of which can be found in the National Archives).  Others had files about the FMCS Mediator union organizing effort dating back to 1966. One box had disciplinary actions and reprimands (this should have been red flagged and should not have been made public).  Another had various artifacts like a hat from the cool school program and many bags from the various NMLC and National Conferences.  Vakil (the archive caretaker) when seeing some of the old stuff, (like the bags and hat) said this has no historical significance or value.

I also contributed to the collection by cutting my finger on broken glass found in the box with the artifacts, so a blood sample from the 19th Director of FMCS can be researched in box 283.

All kidding aside, (my blood was not a joke) the small sample review led to this finding.  The stuff Jerry donated does have some significant FMCS historical value, some questionable legal implications (like personnel records), and some stuff of little to no value.  I’m pretty sure that the rest of the collection if examined in detail, which you are free to do would lead to the same conclusion.

In my discussion with Vakil I learned that the Teamsters Archives which he leads is housed at GW including a large classroom decorated with Teamsters history and is available for visits and possible new mediator classes to view FMCS and Teamsters history.  He said he could also put together a traveling exhibit of FMCS history and label it properly and set it up at the NMLC or other events.  He said he had a budget to do things like that and would love to do more with the collection.

I mentioned that the Friends Board discussed the possibility of another location for the collection which might allow for more visibility and access to the collection.  (To see the collection currently if you are not a student or faculty member, you must request a box # and wait a week for it to arrive in the reading room at the Gellman Library, show ID, be escorted, and wear a mask to view the items).

I mentioned that Cornell ILR School may have an interest in the collection.  He was fine with talking to the ILR folks but did say “we don’t normally give or take from other collections out of professional courtesy”.

Article about the 1966 attempt to organize FMCS Commissioners found in the GW Archives.

 

2024 NLMC Scheduled

Please visit our website for interesting articles which are updated often. https://www.mediationhistory.org/

 

Executive Director of “Friends” and 19th Director of FMCS,

Rich Giacolone

 

Dear Friends,

Greetings, I hope this reaches you in good health.  I also hope 2022 is a year we move in a more positive direction with less news about COVID and more about the good in our world, nation, and, maybe even in our government.    Friends of FMCS History Foundation exists to honor a small segment of our government focused on dispute management and resolution.  It was developed to highlight the past and celebrate the future of FMCS and its predecessor DOL’s United States Conciliation Service (USCS).

 

Stepping in to follow Jerry Barrett this year has been both a challenge and an honor.  Jerry established the concept of “Friends” well before it became a legally identified tax exempt, nonprofit charitable foundation in 2006.  His history is well known, and his passing was a great loss for “Friends”.  His passion for “Friends” has roots back to his appointment in 1964.


Jerry Barrett is the 6th from the left in the Class of 1964 picture with then Director Simkin seated third from the right. My class of 1995-1996 class mentor Ken Evans is also in this picture (standing second from right).  And in the picture below he is standing in the far-right corner of the 1995-1996 class picture as class mentor.

These pictures are one of many that I have collected through the National Archives and other sources which I hope will be part of a permanent display at FMCS HQ, and on the “Friends” website, of all class pictures of mediators in FMCS history.  While I will not emulate Jerry in “climbing into dumpsters” to find FMCS history, I am prepared to help keep his passion and vision for Friends alive.

Step one on that journey is complete, the State Corporation Commission, the IRS, the Bank, the Website, fees and taxes have all been addressed and completed.  “Friends” had a total of $3,073.73 in the bank when I agreed to take over this year and I am happy to report that the current total is $3,244.79.  This year expenses included new checks ($16.95), State Corporation Commission Fees, Website Fees paid to Systems Management Technology Inc. ($596.79), and PayPal fees ($1.20).  Income this year was $786.00 all from donations from 6 individuals including yours truly.  See the website for other contributors names  CLICK HERE FOR THE WEBSITE.       





To reinvigorate “Friends” I will be reaching out to former colleagues to assist me in this volunteer endeavor.  Former Deputy Director Gary Hattal, former District Director Cheng and others have agreed to assist me in bringing the website up to current day standards and to connect with our retired FMCS staff.  In order to cover costs, we have made it easy to donate to The Friends of FMCS History Foundation through PayPal on the website or to send a check to Friends of FMCS History Foundation, PO Box 9517, Chesapeake, VA 23321.  All donations will be used to pay fees associated with the Foundation and expenses related to the upkeep and revisions to the website.

 

News of Note

FMCS Director Position

Former Director Giacolone retired in January 2021 and was succeeded by Deputy Director (with the duties of Director) Gary Hattal who retired at the end of 2021. The current Acting Director is Gregory Goldstein the Chief Operating Officer since 2018. CLICK HERE for Acting Director Goldstein’s Bio.  Commissioner Javier Rameriz has been nominated to be the 20th Director of FMCS.  The long process of confirmation is currently underway.

Javier Ramirez was announced by the Biden Administration as the FMCS nominee on June 9th, 2021.  He was voted favorably out of the Senate HELP Committee on August 3rd and was placed on the Senate Executive Calendar, No. 300.  Unfortunately, since the Senate did not act on the nomination by the end of the session his nomination was sent back to the White House.  On January 4th the White House did renominate Javier and sent his nomination to the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) on January 13th where he was reported out favorably 17 – 4.  His nomination has been sent to the full Senate for consideration once again, No 665.  This process of sending back a nomination is not unusual or unprecedented (but very annoying) for FMCS Director nominations.

 

The White House in an unusual move, announced through the press secretary on December 22, 2021, the following information:

 

President Biden on Wednesday designated Gregory Goldstein, a career federal employee, to serve as acting director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and demanded that the Senate act to confirm his nominee to fill the position on a permanent basis.

 The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service steps in to assist unions and management to reach agreement on contracts both in the private sector and in the federal government. When parties move to bring their negotiations before the Federal Service Impasses Panel for resolution, the panel often requires them to seek the aid of the mediation service first.

Biden chose Javier Ramirez for the post in June, and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee advanced his nomination to the full Senate by voice vote in August. But since then, there has been no action to grant him a final confirmation vote.

Ramirez joined the agency as a commissioner in 2005, and currently serves as the executive manager of its division of agency initiatives. Prior to joining the agency, he negotiated public sector union contracts.

 Until his designation as acting director, Goldstein served as the agency’s chief operating officer. He is a member of the Senior Executive Service. In a statement accompanying his designation, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the position needs to be filled immediately to address the growing amount of union activity in both the federal government and the private sector.

 “Because of the president’s American Rescue Plan and Build Back Better agenda, our economy has recovered more rapidly than predicted from the COVID-19 pandemic downturn,” Psaki said. “With tighter labor markets and more money in their pockets, workers have greater power to demand their fair share from employers in collective bargaining with unions across the country. These conditions have put a spotlight on the important role of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in facilitating productive collective bargaining relationships and labor-management partnerships.”

In addition to Biden’s efforts to encourage more collaborative labor-management relations at federal agencies, 2021 saw a wellspring of organizing at workplaces across the country, including coal miners in Alabama, and workers at Kellogg’s, John Deere and Frito-Lay all going on high profile strikes. More and more workplaces have seen organization drives, from news organizations like Politico to Starbucks stores in Buffalo, N.Y.

 Sad News:

KENNETH ELWOOD MOFFETT

Obituary for Former Director Moffett from Washington Post 11/28/21

 

Ken Moffett, a former federal mediator, and union leader, died on November 19, 2021, of natural causes. He is survived by his wife of 24-years Mary (Taddeo) Moffett; his children, Laura Tornell, Olney, Maryland, Ken Jr., Alexandria, VA and John (Antioch, CA); three grandchildren (Brian, Scott and Melanie) and three great-grandchildren (Isabella, Oliver and Eva)

Published by The Washington Post on Nov. 28, 2021.

Link to WP Article dated August 30, 1981 on Ken Moffett

From the FMCS Website:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) was saddened to learn of the passing of former FMCS Director Arthur F. Rosenfeld on May 16, 2020. Arthur died peacefully at home surrounded by family.

Former FMCS Director Arthur Rosenfeld

A native of Allentown, Pa., Arthur’s “labor of love” was his “love of labor law,” where he established himself deeply in a variety of labor law roles. He earned his law degree from Villanova University School of Law in 1979 and was subsequently admitted to the District of Columbia Bar, and later became a member of the Bar of the U.S. Supreme Court and several other federal courts.  He began his career in Washington as a labor attorney with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 1979 and from there practiced labor law in the Washington, D.C. office of Hansell & Post from 1984-1986.

Arthur served as the 16th FMCS Director from 2006-2009. He distinguished himself during his FMCS tenure by, among other things, helping to end a 52-day national strike by members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers against the Boeing Company in 2008.  Most recently, Arthur served as the Director of the Office of Labor-Management Standards at the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) since 2018.  His prior government service included serving as the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board from 2001-2006, serving as Senior Labor Counsel of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and worked at DOL in a number of capacities, including Counsel for Regulations in the Division of Employee Benefits, Special Assistant to the Solicitor of Labor, and Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor.

Arthur will be fondly remembered for his commitment to FMCS and his dedication in federal service to our Nation.  He will be missed, and those at FMCS extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

 Retirements, Resignations and Passing’s

Two members of FMCS passed during the last two years while employed, Commissioner Carol Catanzariti, and Budget and Finance HQ veteran Amanda Cobb.

Carol Jeanne Catanzariti

Carol Jeanne Catanzariti 74, of Honolulu, passed away October 14, 2020. Born August 4, 1946, in New York. Syracuse University alumna.

Her careers spanned from registered nurse in Colorado to law school at University of Hawaii; Legislative Aide to Council Chair Gary Gill; labor attorney for the Hawaii Nurses Association; and finally Federal Mediator. Her personality enabled her to bring parties together. She loved participating in the Honolulu Friends Meeting.

Carol’s short stories and poems won awards and publication, inspiring other writers through organizing collaborative readings.

Her proudest moments were spent doting on her grandchildren.

She is survived by daughter, Kymmie (Jared), and four grandchildren.

Amanda S. Cobb 

Obituary published by The Washington Post on Mar. 28, 2021.

On Monday, March 22, 2021, God called home Amanda Shenell Cobb. She was born May 14, 1963. She leaves to mourn, her beloved husband, Melvin S. Cobb, son, James S. Cobb, mother, Eleanor White, father, George White, two brothers, Andrew J. White and Kenneth White, a half-sister, Diane Quirley and a host of relatives and friends. Amanda was preceded in death by her brother, George A. White.

Retirements 2021 and Resignations

#953 Richard Giacolone, Director

#946 Gary Hattal, Deputy Director

#973 Peter Cheng, District Director

 

#1090 Commissioner Ken Armes, #1134 Commissioner Daniel Brahaney, , #1117 Commissioner Matt Cocroft, , #1160 Commissioner Richard Cunningham, #1182 Commissioner Kevin Farrell, #909 Commissioner Hank Groton, # 974 Commissioner Joe Mansolillo, # 1153 Commissioner Greg Tipton, #1197 Emil Totonchi, #1185 Randy Larson, HQ Margaret Hammonds

 

Please send this email to as many former, and current FMCS employees and supporters you believe that might have interest in “Friends”, so we can grow the “Friends” network (Please use private email address and not .gov addresses).  We have great plans for growing the Friends network including the possibility of a retiree’s event once the COVID situation allows.

 

Current FMCS Coverage Map

 

Respectfully,

 

Richard Giacolone

Executive Director

Friends of FMCS History Foundation

Updated: October 12, 2023 — 12:52 pm
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