International Encyclopedia of Public Policy and Administration - Vol. 2

By Jay M. Shafritz | Go to book overview

arbitration rather than take its chances with a strong bargaining opponent at the table. Empirical evidence of the chilling and narcotic effects has been found in several scholarly studies, but other studies have not detected them. It does appear that final-offer arbitration exercises less of a chilling and narcotic effect than conventional arbitration; this is attributed to the higher level of uncertainty involved in selection of a last best offer from one party or the other -- essentially, a winner-take-all situation.

As noted, mediation-arbitration is a technique for resolving impasses in which the mediator, if he or she cannot broker a voluntary settlement, is transformed into an arbitrator with the power to impose a solution. This technique, although promising, has not been widely adopted in the United States.

Another alternative impasse resolution technique is to let the voters of the jurisdiction decide the outcome of the dispute through a referendum. This type of ballot-box arbitration is used to a limited extent in Colorado and Texas. There are problems with it, however, including the timeliness and expense of organizing and holding a referendum, the difficulty in reducing complex labor-management disagreements to simple language, the tendency of voters not to educate themselves on the issues or show interest in the referendum, and potential bias against the union from the activities of antitax groups.

RICHARD C. KEARNEY


BIBLIOGRAPHY

Kearney, Richard C., 1992. Labor Relations in the Public Sector. New York: Marcel Dekker.

Lester, Richard A., 1984. Labor Arbitration in State and Local Government: An Examination of the Experience in Eight States and New York City. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University, Industrial Relations Section.

Simkin, William E., 1971. Mediation and the Dynamics of Collective Bargaining. Washington, DC: BNA Books.

Word, William R., 1972. "Fact-finding in Public Employee Negotiations", Monthly Labor Review 95 (February): 60-64.

Zack, Arnold, 1985. Public Sector Mediation. Washington, DC: Bureau of National Affairs.

IMPEACHMENT . The process by which the legislature may remove civil officials, including judges, from office for offenses that demonstrate the officeholder's unsuitability for public service. In addition to removing a public official from office, impeachment may include disqualifying the impeached officeholder from ever holding public office in the future.

In the United States, impeachment does not include fines or imprisonment for wrongdoing; however, an impeached officeholder may be subject to prosecution in separate criminal proceedings. In Great Britain, Parliament's power to punish an impeached officeholder is not only limited to removal and disqualification from office but also includes the power to impose other types of sanctions.

Impeachment is intended as a check on excesses by members of the executive and judicial branches of government. It originated in Great Britain as a limitation on royal prerogative and as a means for controlling abuses by ministers and justices of the Crown. Thus, impeachment be brought against a public official for offenses not rising to the level of criminal conduct.

In Great Britain, Parliament has sometimes used its power of impeachment to remove public officials for no reason other than disagreement with the official's policy judgments. In the United States, impeachment has been restricted to cases of official wrongdoing.

The United States Constitution specifies the following grounds for impeachment: treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors. Although this language suggests a criminal standard for impeachment, it is apparent from the debates of the Constitutional Convention that the framers, on one hand, intended that impeachment be allowed for a much broader range of offenses than purely criminal behavior. On the other hand, it is equally clear that the framers of the United States Constitution did not intend that congressional disagreement with the policies of a public official constitute grounds for impeachment. In 1974, while studying the issue of impeachment during the tumultuous presidency of Richard M. Nixon, Congress released a report describing its power of impeachment as being "directed to constitutional wrongs that subvert the structure of government or undermine the integrity of the office and even the Constitution itself" ( U.S. Congress 1974).

In the United States, Congress has the power to impeach any civil officer of the United States, including the President, vice president, and federal judges. The several states of the United States have separate provisions in their state constitutions for impeachment of state officials and judges. For the most part, the state provisions for impeachment parallel the federal model.

Constitutional scholars have debated whether Congress has the power to impeach one of its own members. Judicial and congressional precedent now support the view that Congress's power of impeachment does not extend to impeachment of one of its own members. Other constitutional provisions give Congress the power to expel one of its members for misconduct; however, the power of expulsion does not include the power to bar an expelled member from again seeking public office, whether the office from which he or she was expelled or another office. In Great Britain, Parliament has used impeachment against its own members as well as against members of the executive and judicial branches.

In both the United States and Great Britain, impeachment is a two-step legislative process: the first step involving the lower house, the House of Commons in Great

-1086-

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