[Federal Register Volume 63, Number 243 (Friday, December 18, 1998)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 70260-70262]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 98-33536]



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Part V





Department of Labor





_______________________________________________________________________



Office of the Secretary



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29 CFR Part 44



Process for Electing State Agency Representatives for Consultations 
With Department of Labor Relating to Nationwide Employment Statistics 
System; Interim Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 63, No. 243 / Friday, December 18, 1998 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 70260]]



DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Office of the Secretary

29 CFR Part 44

RIN 1290-AA19


Process for Electing State Agency Representatives for 
Consultations with Department of Labor Relating to Nationwide 
Employment Statistics System

AGENCY: Office of the Secretary, Labor.

ACTION: Interim final rule with request for comments.

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SUMMARY: The Department of Labor is establishing a process for the 
election of representatives of the States to participate in formal 
consultations with the Department relating to the development of an 
annual employment statistics plan and to address other employment 
statistics issues. Section 15(d)(2) of the Wagner-Peyser Act, as 
recently amended by section 309 of the Workforce Investment Act of 
1998, requires the Secretary to establish a process for the election of 
representatives of each of the 10 Federal regions of the Department. 
This provision requires that the representatives be elected by and from 
the employment statistics directors affiliated with State agencies 
designated to carry out employment statistics responsibilities under 
section 15 of the Wagner-Peyser Act. The interim final rule addresses 
the election cycles, the tenure of the representatives, the process for 
the distribution and tabulation of ballots, tie-breaking procedures, 
methods of transmitting ballots and votes, and the filling of 
vacancies.

DATES: Effective Date: This interim final rule is effective January 19, 
1999. Comments: Comments are due on or before March 18, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Send comments to Cheryl Kerr, Office of the Commissioner of 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Room 4044, Postal Square Building, 2 
Massachusetts Avenue, NE Washington, DC 20212.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cheryl Kerr, Office of the 
Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor, 
telephone 202-606-7808, FAX 202-606-7797.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.

I. Background

    On August 7, 1998, the President signed into law the Workforce 
Investment Act of 1998. Section 309 of that Act amends section 15 of 
the Wagner-Peyser Act and assigns the Secretary of Labor the 
responsibility to oversee the development, maintenance and continuous 
improvement of a nationwide system of employment statistics. The 
revised section 15(d) of the Wagner-Peyser Act specifies that, among 
other activities, the Secretary of Labor, working through the Bureau of 
Labor Statistics and in cooperation with the States, is to develop an 
annual employment statistics plan and address other employment 
statistics issues by holding formal consultations at least once each 
quarter. The consultations are to relate to the products and 
administration of the employment statistics system and are to be held 
with representatives from each of the 10 Federal regions of the 
Department elected (pursuant to a process established by the Secretary) 
by and from the directors of the State employment statistics agencies 
designated under the Wagner-Peyser Act.

II. Analysis of Regulations

    Section 44.1 describes the purpose and scope of the regulations. 
These regulations pertain only to the process for electing the 
representatives of the States to conduct formal consultations with the 
Department of Labor. The regulations do not address the consultations 
themselves. In addition, this section identifies the statutory basis 
for the election process.
    Section 44.2 describes the election cycle and tenure of the State 
agency representatives. The Department will hold the first election 
within 30 days after the effective date of these regulations. This 
section identifies five regions where the initial representatives will 
be elected for a term ending January 1, 2000 and where subsequent 
elections for representatives of those regions (beginning in the last 
quarter of 1999) will be for two-year terms. Those subsequent elections 
will be held biennially in the last quarter of the year. The 
representatives elected from the other five regions in the first 
election will be elected for a two-year term with subsequent elections 
(beginning in the last quarter 2000) held biennially in the last 
quarter of the year. The effect of these election cycles is to stagger 
the terms of the representatives. The purpose of staggered terms is to 
ensure that at least one-half of the representatives will have the 
benefit of, and expertise resulting from, the previous year's 
consultations. This will provide important continuity to the 
consultation process while also allowing for appropriate turnover. The 
five regions identified in each category were selected to ensure that 
all turnover does not occur in the same part of the country at the same 
time.
    This section also provides that the terms of the representatives 
elected in the first election will commence immediately so as to 
facilitate the earliest possible consultation. Subsequently, the terms 
will commence January 1 of the year following the scheduled election. 
The section defines both the commencement of a term and the length of 
the two-year term by referring to the preceding ``scheduled'' election. 
Delays which prevent the election process from being completed in the 
last calendar quarter will not mean that those elected will serve any 
longer than if the election were completed within that quarter. No 
matter how long the election process may last, the election is deemed 
to be ``scheduled'' within the last calendar quarter, as provided in 
the regulations. Finally, this section provides that representatives 
may serve for an unlimited number of terms, thereby providing maximum 
discretion to the directors in each region in electing their 
representative.
    Section 44.3 establishes the process by which the election will be 
conducted. The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics 
(hereafter ``the Commissioner'') or his or her designee will conduct 
the election, consistent with the requirement of section 15(d)(2) of 
the Wagner-Peyser Act that the Secretary of Labor work through the 
Bureau of Labor Statistics in coordinating these employment statistics 
activities. The Commissioner will provide a ballot to each employment 
statistics agency director containing the names of all the agency 
directors in the appropriate region. If a State has failed to designate 
an agency pursuant to section 15(e) of the Wagner-Peyser Act, or has 
not provided the name of the employment statistics director to the 
Commissioner, the State will not be able to participate in the 
election. This section also provides that the Commissioner will 
establish a time period within which the votes are to be cast and that 
such time period will not be less than one week. The Commissioner then 
will tally all the votes received within the prescribed period and the 
director receiving the most votes will be the representative for the 
region. A plurality of votes will therefore be sufficient for election. 
If there is a tie after the first round of votes is counted, the 
Commissioner will carry out an additional round of voting using ballots 
containing only the names of the directors that tied with the most 
number of votes. If the tie remains after the second round, additional 
rounds of

[[Page 70261]]

voting will be repeated until a representative is elected.
    This section also provides that the Commissioner may distribute 
ballots through electronic mail or other appropriate methods and may 
also specify the methods through which the directors are to cast their 
votes. Finally, this section provides that if a representative does not 
complete the term, the Commissioner will fill the vacancy by conducting 
an election using the voting process described above.
    The Department believes that these regulations address the key 
issues relating to the election process. After the first elections and 
consultations are conducted, and after taking into consideration the 
comments received pursuant to this notice, the Department will consider 
whether these rules need to be modified or any additional rules need to 
be established.

Publication in Final

    The Department of Labor has determined, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 
(b)(3)(B), that good cause exists for waiving the public comment on 
this rule. Publication of a proposed rule is unnecessary since section 
506(c)(1) of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (20 U.S.C. 
9276(c)(1)) requires the Secretary to issue interim final regulations 
implementing the provisions of the Act.

Statutory Authority

    The Department of Labor is publishing these rules under the 
authority provided in section 506(c)(1) of the Workforce Investment Act 
of 1998 (20 U.S.C. 9276(c)(1)). That section requires that the 
Secretary develop and publish in the Federal Register interim final 
regulations relating to the implementation of the Workforce Investment 
Act not later than 180 days after the date of enactment.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of Labor, in accordance with the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 605(b)), has reviewed this regulation and by 
approving it certifies that this regulation will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The rule 
relates only to State Agency representatives and therefore does not 
affect businesses, large or small, or any other small entities as 
defined under the Act. The Secretary has certified to this effect to 
the Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the Small Business Administration.

Executive Order 12866

    This proposed rule has been drafted and reviewed in accordance with 
Executive Order 12866, section 1(b), Principles of Regulation. The 
Department has determined that this proposed rule is not a 
``significant regulatory action'' under Executive Order 12866, section 
3(f), Regulatory Planning and Review. Accordingly, it does not require 
an assessment of potential costs and benefits under section 6(a)(3) of 
that order.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of 
$100,000,000 or more in any one year. Therefore, no actions were deemed 
necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 
1995.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 and 
Congressional Notification

    The Department has determined that this interim final rule is not a 
major rule as defined by section 804 of the Small Business Regulatory 
Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (5 U.S.C. 804(2)). This rule will not 
result in an annual effect on the economy of $100,000,000 or more; a 
major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on 
the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-
based companies in domestic and export markets. The Department will 
submit to each House of Congress and to the Comptroller General a 
report regarding the issuance of this interim final rule prior to the 
effective date of the rule that will note that this rule does not 
constitute a ``major rule'' for purposes of the Act.

List of Subjects in 29 CFR Part 44

    Economic Statistics, Employment.

    Signed on this 14th day of December, 1998.
Alexis M. Herman,
Secretary of Labor.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department of Labor 
hereby amends subtitle A of title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations 
by adding a new part 44 to read as follows:

PART 44--PROCESS FOR ELECTING STATE EMPLOYMENT STATISTICS AGENCY 
REPRESENTATIVES FOR CONSULTATIONS WITH DEPARTMENT OF LABOR.

Sec.
44.1  Purpose and scope.
44.2  Election cycle and tenure of representatives.
44.3  Election process.

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 20 U.S.C. 9276(c); 29 U.S.C. 49 l-2.


Sec. 44.1  Purpose and scope.

    This part contains the regulations of the U.S. Department of Labor 
establishing a process for the election of representatives of the 
States to participate in formal consultations with the Department of 
Labor for purposes of the development of an annual employment 
statistics plan and to address other employment statistics issues. The 
representatives are to be elected by and from the State employment 
statistics directors affiliated with the State agencies designated to 
carry out the employment statistics responsibilities under the revised 
section 15 of the Wagner-Peyser Act (29 U.S.C. 49 l-2), as amended by 
section 309 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The revised 
section 15(d)(2) of the Wagner-Peyser Act requires the Secretary to 
establish a process for the election of such representatives from each 
of the 10 Federal regions of the Department of Labor.


Sec. 44.2  Election cycle and tenure of representatives.

    (a) Election cycle. The States located within each Federal region, 
as defined herein, shall elect one representative in accordance with 
the procedures specified in these regulations. The initial election for 
representatives of the States from all 10 Federal regions will be held 
within 30 days after the effective date of these regulations. For 
purposes of this section, the Federal regions shall be the Standard 
Federal regions identified in former OMB Circular A-105 (issued April 
4, 1974). For the representatives elected from the Federal regions 
where the principal office is located in New York City, Atlanta, Kansas 
City, Denver or Seattle, the initial term shall terminate on January 1, 
2000. Subsequent elections for representatives from such regions shall 
be held in the last quarter of 1999 and thereafter biennially within 
the last calendar quarter of the year. For the representatives from the 
Federal regions where the principal office is located in Boston, 
Philadelphia, Dallas, Chicago and San Francisco, the initial term shall 
terminate on January 1, 2001.

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Subsequent elections for representatives from such regions shall be 
held within the last calendar quarter of 2000 and thereafter, 
biennially within the last calendar quarter of the year. After the 
initial election, the terms of all representatives shall terminate on 
January 1 of the third calendar year after the preceding scheduled 
election.
    (b) Tenure. The terms of the representatives elected in the first 
election shall commence upon election. The terms of representatives 
elected in subsequent elections shall commence January 1 of the year 
following the scheduled election. Representatives may serve for an 
unlimited number of terms.


Sec. 44.3  Election process.

    (a) Process. The Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of 
the U.S. Department of Labor (hereafter referred to as ``the 
Commissioner'') or his or her designee shall conduct the elections. The 
Commissioner shall provide a ballot containing the names of the 
employment statistics directors in the appropriate region to the 
employment statistics director in each State who is affiliated with the 
State agency designated pursuant to section 15(e) of the Wagner-Peyser 
Act. If a State has not designated an agency, or has not provided the 
name of the employment statistics director to the Commissioner, the 
State shall not participate in the election process. Each director may 
vote for one director to be the regional representative. The 
Commissioner shall prescribe a time limit that will not be less than 
one week for the directors to mark and return the ballots. Only votes 
received by the Commissioner within the prescribed time limit will be 
counted. The Commissioner will tally the votes from the ballots 
received within the prescribed time limit and the director receiving 
the most votes in the region will be the representative for that 
region. If there is a tie after the first round of votes are counted, 
the Commissioner shall conduct additional rounds of voting using a 
ballot containing the names of the directors who tied with the most 
votes in the previous round until a representative is elected. The 
Commissioner will prescribe a time limit of not less than one week for 
each additional round of voting and will tally the votes received 
within the prescribed time limit. The director with the most votes will 
be the representative.
    (b) Method of transmission. The Commissioner may distribute the 
ballots relating to the election under this part by electronic mail or 
other methods the Commissioner determines to be appropriate and may 
specify the methods through which votes are to be cast.
    (c) Vacancies. If a representative does not complete the term, the 
Commissioner shall conduct an election to elect a replacement for the 
remainder of the term using the procedures described in paragraph (a) 
and (b) of this section.

[FR Doc. 98-33536 Filed 12-17-98; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-24-P