A-23389, JUNE 27, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 828

A-23389: Jun 27, 1928

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IS NOT APPLICABLE TO POSITIONS IN THE FIELD SERVICE OF THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT. THE SALARY RATES OF WHICH HAVE HERETOFORE BEEN FIXED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACTS OF JULY 16. IS APPLICABLE ONLY TO FIELD POSITIONS UNDER THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT WHICH HAVE HERETOFORE BEEN FIXED. THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IS JUSTIFIED AND AUTHORIZED TO INCREASE THE SALARY RATES OF EMPLOYEES GENERALLY IN THE FIELD SERVICES UNDER THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE METHOD PRESCRIBED UNDER. ANY DEFICIENCY INCURRED WILL BE FOR SUBMISSION TO THE CONGRESS. "IS APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES IN THE FIELD SERVICE GENERALLY OF THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT OR IS RESTRICTED TO THE CLASSES FOR WHICH SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS WERE MADE IN THE AFORESAID ACT OF DECEMBER 6.

A-23389, JUNE 27, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 828

CLASSIFICATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - APPLICATION OF ACT OF MAY 28, 1928 - FIELD EMPLOYEES OF NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT THE PROVISION OF SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1928, 45 STAT. 785, AUTHORIZING THE ADJUSTMENT OF SALARY RATES OF CERTAIN FIELD POSITIONS TO CORRESPOND SO FAR AS PRACTICABLE TO THE RATES ESTABLISHED BY SAID ACT FOR POSITIONS IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, IS NOT APPLICABLE TO POSITIONS IN THE FIELD SERVICE OF THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT, THE SALARY RATES OF WHICH HAVE HERETOFORE BEEN FIXED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACTS OF JULY 16, 1862, 12 STAT. 587, AND MARCH 3, 1909, 35 STAT. 754, BUT IS APPLICABLE ONLY TO FIELD POSITIONS UNDER THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT WHICH HAVE HERETOFORE BEEN FIXED, OR AUTHORIZED TO BE FIXED, ADMINISTRATIVELY, UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, 43 STAT. 704. THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IS JUSTIFIED AND AUTHORIZED TO INCREASE THE SALARY RATES OF EMPLOYEES GENERALLY IN THE FIELD SERVICES UNDER THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE METHOD PRESCRIBED UNDER, AND WITHIN THE LIMITATIONS OF, THE ACTS OF JULY 16, 1862, 12 STAT. 587, AND MARCH 3, 1909, 35 STAT. 754, AND ANY DEFICIENCY INCURRED WILL BE FOR SUBMISSION TO THE CONGRESS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, JUNE 27, 1928:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 19, 1928, REQUESTING DECISION OF THE QUESTION WHETHER SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1928, 45 STAT. 785, KNOWN AS THE WELCH ACT, AMENDING THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923,"IS APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES IN THE FIELD SERVICE GENERALLY OF THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT OR IS RESTRICTED TO THE CLASSES FOR WHICH SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS WERE MADE IN THE AFORESAID ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924.'

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1928, SUPRA, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THE HEADS OF THE SEVERAL EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED TO ADJUST THE COMPENSATION OF CERTAIN CIVILIAN POSITIONS IN THE FIELD SERVICES, THE COMPENSATION OF WHICH WAS ADJUSTED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, TO CORRESPOND, SO FAR AS MAY BE PRACTICABLE, TO THE RATES ESTABLISHED BY THIS ACT FOR POSITIONS IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

SEE DECISION OF JUNE 21, 1928, A-23263, 7 COMP. GEN. 804, FOR GENERAL APPLICATION OF THIS PROVISION.

THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, 43 STAT. 704, PROVIDED DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1925 FOR VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS AND OFFICES HAVING PERSONNEL IN THE FIELD SERVICES---

* * * TO ENABLE THE HEADS OF THE SEVERAL DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS TO ADJUST THE COMPENSATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES IN CERTAIN FIELD SERVICES TO CORRESPOND, SO FAR AS MAY BE PRACTICABLE, TO THE RATES ESTABLISHED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923 FOR POSITIONS IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. * * *

THIS ACT HAS BEEN EXTENDED THROUGH EACH SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR. FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1929, SEE SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 5, 1928, 45 STAT. 193. UNDER THE NAVY DEPARTMENT THERE WERE INCLUDED APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION, NAVAL ACADEMY, HYDROGRAPHIC OFFICE, AND THE MARINE CORPS, A TOTAL OF $48,930. YOU STATE THE REASON FOR NOT INCLUDING THE REMAINDER OF THE FIELD SERVICES IN THE ESTIMATES ON WHICH THE APPROPRIATIONS WERE BASED WAS THAT THE NAVY DEPARTMENT HAD SUFFICIENT FUNDS ALREADY ON HAND TO ADJUST THE COMPENSATION OF EMPLOYEES IN ITS OTHER FIELD SERVICES.

BY THE PHRASE "FIELD SERVICE GENERALLY OF THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT," USED IN YOUR SUBMISSION, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT YOU REFER TO ALL EMPLOYEES OUTSIDE OF THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, INCLUDING THE NAVY YARDS, NAVAL STATIONS, ETC. THE SALARY RATES OF EMPLOYEES IN THE FIELD SERVICE GENERALLY UNDER THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT HERETOFORE HAVE BEEN FIXED ON THREE SEPARATE AND DISTINCT BASES, FOR WHICH THERE EXIST THREE SEPARATE AND DISTINCT AUTHORITIES, AS FOLLOWS:

1. THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1862, 12 STAT. 587, WHICH PROVIDES---

* * * THE RATE OF WAGES OF EMPLOYEES IN THE NAVY YARDS SHALL CONFORM, AS NEARLY AS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE PUBLIC INTEREST, WITH THOSE OF PRIVATE ESTABLISHMENTS IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE RESPECTIVE YARDS, TO BE DETERMINED BY THE COMMANDANTS OF THE NAVY YARDS, SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL AND REVISION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY.

2. THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1909, 35 STAT. 754, WHICH PROVIDES---

* * * THAT HEREAFTER THE RATES OF PAY OF THE CLERICAL, DRAFTING, INSPECTION, AND MESSENGER FORCE AT NAVY YARDS AND NAVAL STATIONS, AND OTHER STATIONS AND OFFICES UNDER THE NAVY DEPARTMENT SHALL BE PAID FROM LUMP-SUM APPROPRIATIONS AND SHALL BE FIXED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY ON A PER ANNUM OR PER DIEM BASIS AS HE MAY ELECT; * * *

3. THE GENERAL ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY TO FIX THE COMPENSATION RATES OF EMPLOYEES UNDER THE NAVY DEPARTMENT WITHIN AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS.

THERE WAS NO PURPOSE OR INTENT APPEARING IN THE DEFICIENCY ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, AND THE SUBSEQUENT ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS EXTENDING THE PROVISIONS OF THE DEFICIENCY ACT, TO REPEAL, SUPERSEDE, MODIFY, OR RENDER INOPERATIVE IN ANY PARTICULAR THE ABOVE QUOTED ACTS OF 1862 AND 1909, AND IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE NAVY DEPARTMENT HAS NEVER HERETOFORE SO CONSTRUED OR APPLIED THE 1924 STATUTE AS EXTENDED. APPARENTLY IT IS ONLY RATES OF COMPENSATION FIXED UNDER THE THIRD BASIS ABOVE MENTIONED THAT THE NAVY DEPARTMENT HAS HERETOFORE ADJUSTED UNDER THE 1924 STATUTE AS EXTENDED. EACH CALENDAR YEAR THE NAVY DEPARTMENT ISSUES A "SCHEDULE OF WAGES FOR CIVIL EMPLOYEES UNDER THE NAVAL ESTABLISHMENT," WHICH INCLUDES THE SALARY RATES FOR THE ENTIRE FIELD SERVICE. WHERE A SALARY RATE IS FIXED UNDER THE GENERAL AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AND SUCH SALARY RATE HAS BEEN ADJUSTED UNDER THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, SUCH FACT IS INDICATED BY A FOOTNOTE. BUT THERE IS NO INDICATION IN THIS ANNUAL SCHEDULE, OR OTHERWISE, THAT THE SALARY RATES FIXED UNDER THE BASIC STATUTES OF 1862 AND 1909, SUPRA, WERE "ADJUSTED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924," OR WERE AUTHORIZED TO BE SO ADJUSTED, WHICH IS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO THE APPLICATION OF SECTION 3 OF THE WELCH ACT.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE SALARY RATES OF EMPLOYEES OF NAVY YARDS, NAVAL STATIONS, AND ALL OTHER FIELD EMPLOYEES UNDER THE NAVY DEPARTMENT WHOSE SALARY RATES HAVE HERETOFORE BEEN FIXED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACTS OF 1862 AND 1909, SUPRA, ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE ADJUSTED UNDER SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1928, KNOWN AS THE WELCH ACT.

WHILE THERE IS ALSO DOUBT WHETHER SAID SECTION 3 OF THE WELCH ACT MAY BE APPLIED TO EMPLOYEES UNDER BUREAUS OR OFFICES FOR WHICH NO APPROPRIATION WAS PROVIDED IN THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, WHOSE COMPENSATION IS NOT FIXED BASICALLY UNDER THE ACTS OF 1862 AND 1909, SUPRA, IN VIEW OF YOUR STATEMENT THAT THE NAVY HAD NOT INCLUDED APPROPRIATIONS FOR OTHER BUREAUS AND OFFICES IN THE ESTIMATES ON WHICH THE APPROPRIATIONS IN THE ACT OF 1924 WERE BASED BECAUSE SUFFICIENT FUNDS WERE ALREADY ON HAND TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS IN COMPENSATION AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT, AND IN VIEW OF THE APPARENT PURPOSE AND INTENT OF THE WELCH ACT TO EQUALIZE THE PAY OF THE FIELD SERVICE EMPLOYEES "IN SO FAR AS PRACTICABLE" TO CORRESPOND WITH THE SALARY RATES PAID UNDER THE CLASSIFICATION ACT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT ADJUSTMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED UNDER SECTION 3 OF THE WELCH ACT OF ALL FIELD SERVICE EMPLOYEES UNDER THE NAVY DEPARTMENT EXCEPT THOSE WHOSE SALARY RATES ARE FIXED BASICALLY UNDER THE ACTS OF 1862 AND 1909.

YOU REPORT THAT DURING THE LAST SESSION OF THE CONGRESS ITEMS AGGREGATING A TOTAL OF SOMETHING OVER $400,000 WERE INSERTED IN THE NAVY APPROPRIATION BILL FOR THE PURPOSE OF INCREASING THE SALARY RATES OF FIELD SERVICE EMPLOYEES UNDER THE NAVY DEPARTMENT. THIS HAS BEEN CORROBORATED BY REFERENCE TO THE BILLS, REPORTS, AND DISCUSSIONS BEFORE THE CONGRESS. IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE AGGREGATE OF THESE ITEMS WAS TO AUTHORIZE INCREASES FOR ALL EMPLOYEES IRRESPECTIVE OF THE BASIS ON WHICH THE COMPENSATION WAS ORIGINALLY FIXED. BUT THESE ITEMS WERE ELIMINATED EXCEPT A SMALL AMOUNT APPARENTLY FOR THE INCREASE OF DRAFTSMEN. THERE SEEMS TO BE A CLEAR AND POSITIVE RECORD THAT THIS ACTION WAS TAKEN IN THE BELIEF AND WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE SALARY RATES OF EMPLOYEES OF THE FIELD SERVICE IN THE NAVY DEPARTMENT GENERALLY WOULD BE ADJUSTED UNDER THE WELCH ACT. REFERENCE IS MADE TO CONGRESSIONAL RECORD DATED MAY 15, 1928, PAGES 9072 AND 9073, WHERE THERE APPEARS THE FOLLOWING:

FOR PAY OF CIVIL EMPLOYEES IN THE FIELD, THE FIGURE AGREED UPON IS $76,100 INSTEAD OF $406,501.69, AS PROPOSED BY THE SENATE, THE ADDITIONAL SUM BEING INTENDED FOR ADDITIONAL PAY FOR DRAFTSMEN ONLY, AND WILL BE SUBJECT, OF COURSE, IN ITS APPLICATION TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE WELCH BILL, IF THAT BILL SHALL BECOME LAW.

MR. O-CONNELL. I WANT TO ASK THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE IF IT IS THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL ARE EXPECTED TO RECEIVE THEIR INCREASES UNDER THE WELCH BILL? THIS IS WHAT THE GENTLEMAN HAS STATED. AM VERY GREATLY INTERESTED IN THIS MATTER. IN THE EVENT THAT THE WELCH BILL FAILS TO PASS, ARE THEY TO BE OUT OF LUCK, OR WILL THEY RECEIVE CONSIDERATION?

MR. FRENCH. I WILL SAY TO THE GENTLEMEN WE CARRIED RATHER SUBSTANTIAL INCREASES IN THE BILL FOR THE INCREASE OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES, BUT NOT TO THE EXTENT THAT WOULD BE RECOGNIZED, IN ALL PROBABILITY, BY THE WELCH BILL. WE FELT, HOWEVER, THAT WITH THE WELCH BILL UNDER CONSIDERATION AT THIS TIME AND HAVING PASSED THE HOUSE WE OUGHT NOT TO ATTEMPT TO DEAL WITH THE PERSONNEL QUESTION IN CONFERENCE. RATHER WE PREFER THAT THE QUESTION BE HANDLED BY THE TWO HOUSES ON THE BASIS OF A BILL THAT IS BEING CONSIDERED FOR PERSONNEL IN ALL DEPARTMENTS.

MR. O-CONNELL. I AM FEARFUL THAT IN THE EVENT THAT THE WELCH BILL SHOULD FAIL TO PASS, WHICH WOULD BE NOT ONLY UNFAIR BUT DEPLORABLE, THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL WOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED IN NO WAY AT ALL. I AM VERY MUCH INTERESTED, I WILL SAY TO MY FRIEND, THAT THIS CLASS OF OUR PUBLIC SERVANTS BE ADEQUATELY PROVIDED FOR. I AM FOR ANY BILL THAT WILL GIVE THIS CLASS BETTER CONSIDERATION.

MR. FRENCH. OF COURSE, THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL, IF THE WELCH BILL SHOULD NOT PASS, WOULD BE ON THE SAME FOOTING AS THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OF ALL THE OTHER DEPARTMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT.

THIS SHOWS THAT IT WAS THE APPARENT INTENT TO APPROVE INCREASES IN COMPENSATION OF FIELD SERVICE EMPLOYEES GENERALLY UNDER THE NAVY DEPARTMENT IRRESPECTIVE OF THE ORIGINAL BASIS FOR FIXING SUCH SALARY RATES. WHILE THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE BASIC LAWS AND THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923 APPARENTLY WAS NOT GIVEN CONSIDERATION, IT WAS EVIDENT THAT THE CONGRESS DID NOT DEEM IT NECESSARY TO PROVIDE SPECIFIC FUNDS FOR MAKING THE INCREASES FOR THE REASON THAT IT PREFERRED THE FUNDS TO BE LATER PROVIDED IN THE SAME MANNER THAT FUNDS WOULD BE PROVIDED TO PAY INCREASES AUTHORIZED BY THE WELCH ACT; THAT IS, ON THE BASIS OF DEFICIENCY ESTIMATES SUBMITTED AT ITS NEXT SESSION.

IN VIEW THEREOF, IT IS BELIEVED THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IS CLEARLY JUSTIFIED TO INCREASE THE SALARY RATES OF EMPLOYEES GENERALLY UNDER THE FIELD SERVICES OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE METHOD PRESCRIBED BY, AND WITHIN THE LIMITATIONS OF, THE BASIC LAWS OF 1862 AND 1909, ANY DEFICIENCY CREATED THEREBY TO BE SUBMITTED TO THE CONGRESS AT ITS NEXT SESSION IN THE SAME MANNER AS DEFICIENCIES CREATED BY THE INCREASES AUTHORIZED BY THE WELCH ACT WILL BE SUBMITTED. THE QUESTION SUBMITTED IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.