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The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS)

Regarding ACUS

The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) operates as an independent federal agency situated within the executive branch. Its primary statutory mandate is to identify strategies for enhancing the processes through which federal agencies safeguard the public interest and determine the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of private individuals.

Since its inception in 1968, ACUS has put forth a multitude of recommendations aimed at enhancing the effectiveness, sufficiency, and equity of rulemaking, adjudication, and various other administrative procedures. These recommendations have led to significant reforms initiated by federal agencies, the President, Congress, and the Judicial Conference of the United States.

The Assembly, responsible for issuing recommendations, comprises members with specific roles: a Chairman appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, ten presidential appointees who, alongside the Chairman, constitute the Council, 50 Government Members designated by agency heads, and 40 Public Members selected by the Chairman and approved by the Council. It’s worth noting that, except for the Chairman, all members serve on a voluntary basis.

The Office of the Chairman maintains a full-time staff dedicated to supporting the Assembly’s initiatives. This team also engages in additional projects aimed at researching and enhancing federal administrative processes.

These efforts encompass:

1. Research Studies: ACUS consultants and staff regularly generate reports on a wide range of subjects related to administrative procedure.

2. Sourcebooks: ACUS publishes reference guides covering a broad spectrum of administrative procedure topics.

3. Forums: ACUS organizes gatherings that bring together high-ranking government officials, academics, practitioners, public policy advocates, and other stakeholders to deliberate on crucial administrative procedure issues.

4. Roundtables: ACUS convenes several bodies that meet at regular intervals to discuss subjects of interest to federal agencies.

5. Working Groups: ACUS periodically assembles working groups tasked with creating model rules, handbooks, draft legislation, and other resources for advancing administrative procedure.

6. Ongoing Resources: ACUS continually offers various resources, including annual reporting on the Equal Access to Justice Act, monthly Information Interchange Bulletins, and Updates in Federal Agency Adjudication, as well as periodic Summaries of Recent Administrative Law Reform Bills.

7. Advice to Agencies and Congress: ACUS offers nonpartisan guidance to executive-branch and congressional officials via both formal and informal channels. This includes submitting comments on proposed rules, providing technical advice on statutes pertaining to administrative procedure, and conducting training programs.

ACUS Organization

ACUS, an autonomous agency within the executive branch, operates under the provisions of the Administrative Conference Act. This agency consists of a membership of up to 101 individuals who regularly convene in plenary sessions to deliberate on and cast votes in favor of recommendations for enhancing federal administrative procedures. To develop these recommendations, members collaborate in committees, where they are joined by non-voting senior fellows, special counsels, and liaison representatives as appointed in accordance with ACUS bylaws.

The agency’s chief executive is a Chair, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, who serves a five-year term. This Chair presides over Council meetings and plenary sessions and assumes the role of the agency’s chief executive officer. The current Chair is Andrew Fois.

The Council comprises the Chair and ten additional members, each serving three-year terms following their appointment by the President. Federal agency employees may not constitute more than half of the Council. Among their various responsibilities, the Council members determine the scheduling, location, and agenda of plenary sessions. The President has the authority to designate a Council member as Vice Chair, who takes on the Chair’s role during their absence, incapacity, or vacancy.

The Assembly, formed by members meeting in plenary session, has the power to approve recommendations for administrative procedure enhancement and establish bylaws and regulations to facilitate ACUS’s operations. Plenary sessions generally occur biannually in June and December, and aside from the Chair, all members serve on a voluntary basis.

Government Members, up to 50 in number, are appointed by the heads of participating agencies, encompassing independent regulatory boards, commissions, executive departments, and other administrative agencies chosen by the President.

Up to 40 Public Members are designated by the Chair with the Council’s approval, selected in a manner that ensures a broad representation of private citizens’ perspectives and diverse expertise, including those from the legal profession, scholars in administrative law or government, and individuals with extensive knowledge and experience in federal administrative procedure.

ACUS’s bylaws permit the Chair, with the Council’s approval, to appoint senior fellows and special counsel and establish liaison arrangements. These individuals enjoy most privileges of membership but cannot vote or make motions during plenary sessions. They also serve on a voluntary basis.

Members actively engage in five standing committees, focusing on the development of proposed recommendations in the areas of Adjudication, Administration and Management, Judicial Review, Regulation, and Rulemaking. Additionally, the Chair, with the Council’s approval, may establish and assign projects to special ad hoc committees.

The Chair supervises a full-time staff within the Office of the Chair, which supports the Assembly’s endeavors and undertakes various activities aimed at fulfilling ACUS’s mission and functions. Key officials in the agency’s leadership team include Andrew Fois as the ACUS Chair, Harry M. Seidman as the ACUS Chief Financial and Operations Officer, Shawne C. McGibbon as the ACUS General Counsel, and Jeremy S. Graboyes as the ACUS Research Director.

Website link: https://www.acus.gov/

Phone number:  1-202-480-2080

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