Bloomberg News reported last week that NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb may be considering “reorganizing the agency’s 26 regional offices into a smaller number of districts or regions supervised by officials who would report directly to the general counsel.” Such a change would certainly centralize authority and limit the power of more local officials in the investigation, prosecution and resolution of Board cases. Proponents of this type of consolidation might argue that it would provide greater uniformity of expectations for stakeholders, and could increase efficiency in the administrative process. When initially pressed for comment, the Board denied that a plan to restructure the Regional Offices “ha[d] been developed.”

Days later, attendees of an American Bar Association meeting with NLRB Chairman Marvin Kaplan indicated that the Chairman took the position that the General Counsel cannot effectuate such a plan Board approval. Bloomberg’s Chris Opfer reports:

Some board observers pegged the proposal as Robb’s attempt to consolidate his power as the NLRB’s lead attorney and reduce the role of directors who may not share his views. Others familiar with the proposal said it’s a response to expected budget cuts.

Kaplan also told the group that the proposal may require public input, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition that they not be identified. Robb attended portions of the meeting but wasn’t in the room when Kaplan made the comments, they said.

Kaplan said “the Board will seek public input and he understands that the General Counsel would seek Board approval consistent with the Board’s longstanding practice,” an NLRB spokesperson told Bloomberg Law.