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Agreement Between Passport Services and the - page 42 / 71

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c.  The Parties will attempt to reduce the costs of any arbitration, including expenses of the witnesses, by using teleconferencing and videoconferencing whenever possible.  It is agreed that normally where witnesses will be testifying less than 30 minutes, it will be accomplished by teleconferencing.  Where the Parties and the arbitrator agree, all or most of the hearing can be accomplished by videoconferencing.  

d.  There will be a mutual exchange of a list of witnesses normally fifteen (15) days in advance of the hearing.

7.  An employee of the unit serving as the grievant's representative, the aggrieved employee, and the employee witnesses who are otherwise on duty shall be on official time as necessary to participate in the arbitration proceedings. Employee participants on shifts other than the regular dayshift will be temporarily placed on the regular dayshift for the day(s) of the hearing in which they are involved. The parties will designate their representatives at the time an arbitrator is selected. Notice of change of the representative will be given to the other party as soon as possible. Employee participants on shifts will be temporarily placed on the regular day shift for the day(s) of the hearing in which they are involved.

8.  The arbitrator will be requested to render a decision as quickly as possible, but in any event not later than thirty (30) calendar days after the conclusion of the hearing, or the closing of the record, unless the Parties mutually agree to extend the time limit.

9.   ARBITRATOR'S AUTHORITY IN DISPUTES OVER THE AGREEMENT: The arbitrator shall have the authority to resolve any questions of arbitrability and interpret and define the explicit terms of this agreement and Agency policy as necessary to render a decision. However, the arbitrator shall have no power to add to, subtract from, disregard, alter or modify terms of this Agreement, or applicable laws, rules or regulations. In cases involving actions based on unacceptable performance, denial of withingrade increases, or adverse action, the arbitrator shall be bound by the applicable standards of proof contained in 5 USC 7701(c)(1). Reasonable attorney fees may be awarded by the arbitrator under the guidelines established by law and the interpretation of the FLRA.

10.  ARBITRATOR'S AUTHORITY: The arbitrator's decision shall be final and binding, and the remedy effected in its entirety, except when either party files an exception and/or seeks judicial review in accordance with applicable laws and/or regulations.

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