By Keith Pierce

Old Dominion University alum Richard Giacolone was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on a voice vote on Aug. 13 as director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS).

Giacolone was appointed by President Trump to serve as the acting director of FMCS in June 2018 and received his original nomination in April 2019.

The former ODU baseball player earned a bachelor's degree in industrial psychology in 1979 and a master's degree in public administration in 1984. He has served on the faculty and regularly lectured at several universities on topics such as collective bargaining and arbitration.

Giacolone said his experience at Old Dominion "set the stage for opportunities throughout my career in government that led to my nomination and subsequent confirmation in the Senate. Most influential from my ODU days was Bud Metheny, who appreciated my baseball talent but was much more impressed with my academic achievement and convinced me my future was better served attending graduate school and not playing baseball after graduation. At the time, that was a tough pill to swallow, but it turned out to be a true blessing in my life journey."

Giacolone began his mediation career at FMCS in the Chesapeake field office in 1995. He is the former director of the FMCS International/ADR Department and special assistant to the director of FMCS. Before working for FMCS, Giacolone was a labor relations adviser for the Navy. He has an extensive background in labor relations representing management.

"It is an honor and a privilege to be confirmed by the Senate as FMCS' director," Giacolone said. "I am thankful for the opportunity to continue to lead this indispensable agency and am eager to carry on our mission in preventing and resolving workplace conflict during a time when labor and management issues are at such a critical point."

In the two years he has led FMCS, Giacolone has spearheaded a reorganization and other initiatives to modernize the agency to better handle current challenges and cases. Under his leadership, FMCS has expanded its core work and increased virtual capabilities to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic with no disruption in services.

"One of my visions is to see FMCS work be more robust and engaging in the federal sector," he said.

For example, FMCS signed an agreement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to mediate formal complaints pending hearings at the administrative judge level. The agency also agreed to work with the Social Security Administration to mediate its backlog of EEO cases in Boston, Washington and Atlanta, and hopes to expand that arrangement nationwide.

During his quarter-century career with FMCS, Giacolone has mediated thousands of domestic labor and employment cases, involving symphonies and orchestras, the transportation sector, the shipbuilding and repair industries and other businesses. Most recently, Giacolone helped bring an end to a lengthy strike at Bath Iron Works in Maine. He has also mediated numerous significant collective bargaining agreements in the federal sector.

Among his professional honors, Giacolone was awarded the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal for his contributions to the Navy and the Society of Federal Labor and Employee Relations Professionals Lifetime Achievement Award. He also was elected national president of the Society of Federal Labor and Employee Relations Professionals.

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