[Federal Register: May 10, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 91)]
[Page 30093-30094]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Arbitration Panel Decision Under the Randolph-Sheppard Act

AGENCY: Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of Arbitration Panel Decision Under the Randolph-
Sheppard Act.


SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that on March 16,1999, and August 13,
1999, an arbitration panel rendered decisions on both merit and remedy
in the matter of James E. Waldie v. Alabama Department of
Rehabilitation Services (Docket No. R-S/97-13). 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, James E. Waldie.

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. If you
use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you 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

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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.


    This dispute concerns the alleged improper denial by the Alabama
Department of Rehabilitation Services, the State licensing agency
(SLA), of Mr. James E. Waldie's request to bid on a full food service
vending facility at Fort McClellan, Anniston, Alabama. A summary of the
facts is as follows: In April 1996, the SLA informed licensed blind
vendors of an opportunity to manage a full food service vending
facility at Fort McClellan, Anniston, Alabama. Twelve persons bid on
the Fort McClellan vending facility including Mr. James E. Waldie. On
April 23, 1996, the selection committee, which included members of the
Elected Committee of Blind Vendors, met to make the selection for the
Fort McClellan vending facility. Following the selection committee's
evaluation, they unanimously awarded the Fort McClellan location to
another vendor. The decision to award the location to another vendor
rather than complainant was based upon the successful vendor receiving
the highest total number of points of any applicant, including
additional points for seniority.
    Mr. Waldie was informed of the SLA's decision to award the bid to
another vendor for the Fort McClellan vending facility. Complainant
requested that the SLA convene a full evidentiary hearing on this
matter, which was held on January 2, 1997.
    Following the hearing, the hearing officer affirmed the selection
committee's decision to award the Fort McClellan bid to the other
vendor, and the SLA adopted the hearing officer's decision as final
agency action. It is this decision that complainant sought to have
reviewed by a Federal arbitration panel. An arbitration panel heard
this matter on November 16, 1998, concerning the merits of the case and
on May 26, 1999, regarding the remedy given to Mr. Waldie.

Arbitration Panel Decision

    The issue before the arbitration panel was whether the Alabama
Department of Rehabilitation Services violated the policies and
procedures governing the Business Enterprise Program of Alabama during
the selection of a vendor/manager for the Fort McClellan, Anniston,
Alabama facility pursuant to the Act (20 U.S.C. 107 et seq.) and the
implementing regulations (34 CFR part 395).
    In ruling on the merits of the case, a majority of the panel
determined that the successful bidder should have been disqualified
since that vendor did not fulfill the training requirements for
managing a full food service operation such as the Fort McClellan
vending facility. In reaching that conclusion, the majority of the
panel noted that the SLA had sponsored a special 18-week program
dedicated solely to cafeteria operations and had stated that specific
cafeteria training was a prerequisite for any individual to be selected
for a cafeteria facility under the Business Enterprise Program.
    The majority of the panel further noted that Mr. Waldie had
completed this training while the successful bidder for the Fort
McClellan vending facility had never taken this or similar cafeteria
training. The majority of the panel concluded that, since the full food
service operation at Fort McClellan was the equivalent of a cafeteria,

[[Page 30094]]

successful bidder should have been disqualified for lack of training.
Similarly the panel ruled that the successful bidder lacked food
preparation experience and, therefore, did not meet the experience
requirements for managing a full food service operation.
    One panel member dissented.
    In ruling on the question of remedy, a majority of the panel
determined that Mr. Waldie did not prove under the facts of the case
that he was entitled to damages. The panel ruled that had the
successful bidder been disqualified, there was another individual with
a higher score than Mr. Waldie who would have been chosen as the
successful bidder for the Fort McClellan food service operation. The
panel noted both the Eleventh Amendment and the Eleventh Circuit Court
of Appeals decision in Georgia Department of Human Resources v. Nash
915 F.2d 1482 (11th Cir. 1990) barring the award of damages.
    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: May 4, 2000.
Judith E. Heumann,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 00-11593 Filed 5-9-00; 8:45 am]