ACUS Adopts Four Recommendations to Improve Efficiency, Fairness, Transparency, and Public Participation in Government Programs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:  Harry M. Seidman
202.480.2085
hseidman@acus.gov

 

Washington, June 14, 2019 - At its 71st Plenary Session on June 13, the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) adopted four recommendations that will improve the efficiency, transparency, and fairness of administrative programs; reduce their costs to taxpayers; and enhance the public’s ability to participate in them.

Recommendation 2019-1: Agency Guidance Through Interpretive Rules. This recommendation addresses the extent to which the best practices for policy statements adopted in Recommendation 2017-5, Agency Guidance Through Policy Statements, should extend to interpretive rules. The recommendation lists steps that agencies can take to offer members of the public the opportunity to propose alternative approaches to those presented in an interpretive rule and to encourage, when appropriate, public participation in the adoption or modification of interpretive rules. Additional information is available here.

Recommendation 2019-2: Agency Recruitment and Selection of Administrative Law Judges. This recommendation addresses the processes and procedures agency heads should consider establishing for exercising their authority under Executive Order 13843 (July 13, 2018) to hire administrative law judges (ALJs). The recommendation proceeds from the recognition that it may not be suitable for all agencies to adopt uniform hiring procedures. It encourages agencies to advertise ALJ positions in order to reach a wide pool of applicants, to publish minimum qualifications and selection criteria for ALJ hiring, and to develop policies for the review of ALJ applications. Additional information is available here.

Recommendation 2019-3: Public Availability of Agency Guidance Documents. This recommendation offers best practices for promoting widespread availability of agency guidance documents. It urges agencies to develop and disseminate internal policies for publishing, tracking, and obtaining input on guidance documents; post guidance documents online in a manner that facilitates public access; and undertake affirmative outreach to notify members of the public of new or updated guidance documents. Additional information is available here.

Recommendation 2019-4: Revised Model Rules for Implementation of the Equal Access to Justice Act. This recommendation updates the Conference’s Model Rules for Implementation of the Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA). EAJA provides for the award of attorney fees and other expenses to parties who prevail over the federal government in certain agency adjudicative and court proceedings. The Conference issued Model Rules in 1981, and a revised set in 1986, addressing procedures related to the award of fees and expenses under EAJA in agency adjudicative proceedings. This recommendation makes appropriate revisions to reflect changes in law and practice, drawing in part upon the EAJA rules agencies have issued over the years. Additional information is available here.

The next Plenary Session will be held in December 2019. Details, including times and recommendations to be considered, will be posted on the ACUS website. Join our mailing list at www.acus.gov/subscribe to be notified instantly.

 

About ACUS

The Administrative Conference of the United States is an independent federal agency dedicated to improving the administrative process through consensus-driven applied research and providing nonpartisan expert advice and recommendations for federal agency procedures. Its membership is composed of senior federal officials, academics, and other experts from the private sector. Except for the Chairman, all Conference Members are unpaid.

The Conference is committed to promoting effective public participation and efficiency in the rulemaking process by leveraging interactive technologies and encouraging open communication with the public as well as making improvements to the regulatory process by reducing unnecessary litigation and improving the use of science and the effectiveness of applicable laws.  Learn more at www.acus.gov.