[Federal Register: June 16, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 115)]
[Notices]               
[Page 32219-32220]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr16jn99-40]

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
Arbitration Panel Decision Under the Randolph-Sheppard Act

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of arbitration panel decision under the Randolph-
Sheppard Act.

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SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that on July 31, 1998, an arbitration 
panel rendered a decision in the matter of Donald R. Williams v. North 
Carolina Department of Human Resources, Division of Services for the 
Blind (Docket No. R-S/97-9). This panel was convened by the U.S. 
Department of Education pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 107d-1(a), upon receipt 
of a complaint filed by petitioner, Donald R. Williams.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: A copy of the full text of the arbitration 
panel decision may be obtained from George F. Arsnow, U.S. Department 
of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3230, Mary E. Switzer 
Building, Washington DC 20202-2738. Telephone: (202) 205-9317. 
Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf

[[Page 32220]]

(TDD) may call the TDD number at (202) 205-8298.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternate format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed in the preceding 
paragraph.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at either of the 
following sites:

http://ocfo.ed.gov/fedreg.htm
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To use the PDF you must have the Adobe Acrobat Reader Program with 
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have questions about using the PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing 
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area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at:

http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/index.html

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Pursuant to the Randolph-Sheppard Act (20 
U.S.C. 107d-2(c)) (the Act), the Secretary publishes in the Federal 
Register a synopsis of each arbitration panel decision affecting the 
administration of vending facilities on Federal and other property.

Background

    This dispute concerns the alleged improper denial by the North 
Carolina Department of Human Resources, Division of Services for the 
Blind (the State licensing agency (SLA)), of Mr. Donald R. Williams' 
request to acquire satellite vending machines at the Kinston Post 
Office. A summary of the facts is as follows: In September 1994, 
complainant Donald R. Williams, a blind vendor under the State's 
Randolph-Sheppard program, spoke with the SLA regarding his desire to 
have supplemental income in addition to managing a facility at the 
Caswell Center Canteen. Mr. Williams also informed the SLA that he 
would be looking for other sites within the city that would support a 
Randolph-Sheppard vending facility.
    In October 1994, complainant contacted the postmaster at the 
Kinston Post Office concerning the possibility of establishing a 
Randolph-Sheppard vending facility at that location. The site was then 
under contract with a private concessionaire.
    In April 1996, the concession contract at the Kinston Post Office 
expired, and the SLA became the new contract holder on July 15, 1996. 
Subsequently, the SLA determined that the location would be advertised 
as a separate facility and would not be added as an outside vending 
location to the Caswell Center Canteen.
    Mr. Williams requested and received a State evidentiary fair 
hearing on this matter on March 3, 1997. On March 26, 1997, the hearing 
officer affirmed the SLA's decision to advertise and award the Kinston 
Post Office location to another vendor. The SLA adopted the hearing 
officer's decision as final agency action, and it is this decision that 
Mr Williams sought to have reviewed by a Federal arbitration panel. A 
Federal arbitration hearing on this matter was held on April 23, 1998.

Arbitration Panel Decision

    The issue before the arbitration panel was whether the North 
Carolina Department of Human Resources, Division of Services for the 
Blind, was correct in awarding the Kinston Post Office location to 
another vendor instead of adding it to Mr. Williams' facility.
    The majority of the panel concluded that the SLA is charged with 
providing vending facility preference to blind persons in need of 
employment. Specifically, by awarding the Kinston Post Office facility 
to the current vendor, who was unemployed, the SLA acted in fulfillment 
of a specific requirement of the Act in 20 U.S.C. 107(a) and 
implementing regulations in 34 CFR 395.7(a), which states in relevant 
part that ``the State licensing agency shall establish in writing and 
maintain objective criteria for licensing qualified applicants, 
including a provision for giving preference to blind persons who are in 
need of employment. * * *''
    The majority of the panel further concluded that the SLA and not 
the complainant has the authority to locate and negotiate facilities at 
new sites. The SLA also has the inherent authority to determine if the 
site will be offered as a separate facility and not as a satellite 
location.
    Therefore, the majority of the panel ruled that, upon a thorough 
review of the documents, testimony, and arguments presented at the 
hearing, the SLA acted properly in awarding the Kinston Post Office 
facility to the current vendor.
    One panel member dissented.
    The views and opinions expressed by the panel do not necessarily 
represent the views and opinions of the U.S. Department of Education.

    Dated: June 10, 1999.
Curtis L. Richards,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 99-15323 Filed 6-15-99; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P
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