Title: POLICY STATEMENT--Policy Statement Concerning Alternative Means of Dispute Resolution [BM-16-JUL-92-03]
Issue Date: 07/27/1992
Agency: FCA
Federal Register Cite: 57 FR 33198
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FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION

[BM-16-JUL-92-03]

Policy Statement Concerning Alternative Means of Dispute Resolution


ACTION: Policy statement.

SUMMARY: On July 16, 1992, the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) Board adopted a policy addressing the use of alternative means of dispute resolution (ADR) that provides a framework within which to consider possible applications of ADR. The policy states that the FCA will consider using various forms of ADR to resolve disputes when settlement negotiations have come to a deadlock, that any such consideration will be based on factors such as the impact of the ADR procedure on the effective and efficient regulation of the Farm Credit System, that the FCA's Dispute Resolution Specialist will provide guidance to FCA personnel on the appropriate use of ADR, and that ADR can be initiated once all parties to a dispute have consented to its use.

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 16, 1992.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Frances Pedersen, Senior Attorney, Litigation and Enforcement Division, Office of General Counsel, Farm Credit Administration, McLean, Virginia 22102-5090, (703) 883-4020, TDD (703) 883-4444.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The text of the Board's policy statement concerning the alternative means of dispute resolution is set forth below in its entirety:

Effective Date: 16-JUL-92.

Effect on Previous Action: None.

Source of Authority: Administrative Dispute Resolution Act, Public Law 101-552, H.R. 2597, 101st Congress, 2d Session.

Whereas, the Farm Credit Administration (FCA) Board finds:

The Administrative Dispute Resolution Act (Act), Public Law 101-552 (November 15, 1990), addresses the concern that traditional methods of dispute resolution, such as litigation and administrative adjudication, have become increasingly time-consuming and expensive. The Act authorizes and encourages greater use of alternative means of dispute resolution (ADR), requiring each Federal agency to adopt a policy addressing the use of ADR.

ADR consists of informal, voluntary procedures used by parties who seek to resolve their disputes by consent. Such procedures include, but are not limited to, settlement negotiations, mediation, conciliation, facilitation, fact-finding, arbitration, and mini-trials, or any combination thereof. By emphasizing the common goals of the parties and fostering an atmosphere of cooperation, ADR can offer a less contentious and more expeditious alternative to traditional methods of dispute resolution such as litigation and administrative adjudication.

The use of ADR in appropriate circumstances is consistent with the FCA's mission as an agency. The mission of the FCA is to provide an effective regulatory environment that facilitates the competitive delivery of financial services to agriculture by the Farm Credit System, while protecting the public, the taxpayer, and the investor by using wisdom, sound judgment, and vision. In fulfilling this mission, the FCA seeks to employ innovative regulatory techniques that efficiently use agency resources. The appropriate use of ADR can promote the FCA's goal of effective and efficient regulation. By expediting the resolution of certain disputes, ADR can reduce the FCA's transaction costs, increase the FCA's productivity, and help the FCA accomplish its mission as an agency.

Therefore, the FCA Board adopts the following policy statement:

It is the policy of the FCA to resolve disputes in an effective and efficient manner. Many of the disputes encountered by the FCA are resolved most effectively and efficiently through settlement negotiations between the FCA and the other parties to the disputes prior to the initiation, or in the early stages of, more formal litigation or administrative adjudication. The FCA will continue to use settlement negotiations as a method of dispute resolution.

To the extent that there is a stalemate in settlement negotiations between the parties, the FCA will consider whether it is appropriate to use other forms of ADR. In assessing the advisability of using ADR procedures other than settlement negotiations, the FCA will consider whether such procedures are likely to reduce the FCA's transaction costs, increase the FCA's productivity, and help the FCA accomplish its mission of effective and efficient regulation. Section 4(b) of the Act, as codified at 5 U.S.C. 582(b), sets forth certain factors that the FCA will also consider in deciding whether it is appropriate to use such ADR procedures.

The FCA's Dispute Resolution Specialist (ADR Specialist), designated by the Chairman, as Chief Executive Officer, is responsible for the implementation of this policy statement. The ADR Specialist is available to assist FCA personnel in considering the appropriate application of ADR procedures. Before deciding whether it is appropriate to use an ADR procedure other than settlement negotiations, FCA personnel will consult with, and obtain the concurrence of, the ADR Specialist or his/her designee.

The ADR Specialist and those FCA personnel involved in resolving disputes are encouraged to attend educational and training programs relating to the theory and application of ADR on a regular basis, as the FCA budget permits.

Based on the voluntary nature of ADR, all parties to a dispute must agree to use an ADR procedure before it can be initiated.

Dated this 16th day of July, 1992.

By Order of the Board.

Signature date: July 21, 1992.

Curtis M. Anderson,

Secretary, Farm Credit Administration Board.

[FR Doc. 92-17601 Filed 7-24-92; 8:45 am]
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