A-32811, MAY 12, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 519

A-32811: May 12, 1931

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

CLASSIFICATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - PANAMA CANAL THE SALARY RATES OF PANAMA CANAL EMPLOYEES IN THE CANAL ZONE ARE REQUIRED TO BE ADJUSTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF CLASSIFICATION AS EXTENDED TO THE FIELD SERVICE BY THE TERMS OF THE WELCH AND BROOKHART SALARY ACTS. THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN WHETHER THE PRINCIPLES OF CLASSIFICATION HAVE BEEN PROPERLY APPLIED. THERE WAS INCLUDED IN THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6. WHICH IS A FIELD SERVICE. THIS AUTHORITY WAS EXTENDED FROM YEAR TO YEAR IN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS. AS FOLLOWS: THE HEADS OF THE SEVERAL EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO ADJUST THE COMPENSATION OF CERTAIN CIVILIAN POSITIONS IN THE FIELD SERVICES.

A-32811, MAY 12, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 519

CLASSIFICATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - PANAMA CANAL THE SALARY RATES OF PANAMA CANAL EMPLOYEES IN THE CANAL ZONE ARE REQUIRED TO BE ADJUSTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRINCIPLES OF CLASSIFICATION AS EXTENDED TO THE FIELD SERVICE BY THE TERMS OF THE WELCH AND BROOKHART SALARY ACTS, BUT THERE MAY BE ADDED A DIFFERENTIAL OF NOT TO EXCEED 25 PERCENT OF THE RATES THUS FIXED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE GOVERNOR OF THE PANAMA CANAL, MAY 12, 1931:

IN THE AUDIT OF PAY ROLLS FOR EMPLOYEES IN THE CANAL ZONE, THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN WHETHER THE PRINCIPLES OF CLASSIFICATION HAVE BEEN PROPERLY APPLIED.

THERE WAS INCLUDED IN THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, 43 STAT. 704, 712, AN APPROPRIATION TO ENABLE THE GOVERNOR OF THE PANAMA CANAL, AS HEAD OF THE PANAMA CANAL SERVICE, TO ADJUST THE COMPENSATION OF THE PANAMA CANAL EMPLOYEES IN THE CANAL ZONE, WHICH IS A FIELD SERVICE,"TO CORRESPOND, SO FAR AS MAY BE PRACTICABLE, TO THE RATES ESTABLISHED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923 FOR POSITIONS IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.' THIS AUTHORITY WAS EXTENDED FROM YEAR TO YEAR IN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS, MADE PERMANENT BY SECTION 3 OF THE WELCH ACT OF MAY 28, 1928, 45 STAT. 785, AND MANDATORY BY SECTION 2 OF THE BROOKHART SALARY ACT OF JULY 3, 1930, 46 STAT. 1005, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

THE HEADS OF THE SEVERAL EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED 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 (43 STAT. 604), TO CORRESPOND, SO FAR AS MAY BE PRACTICABLE, TO THE RATES ESTABLISHED BY THE ACT OF MAY 28, 1928 (U.S.C., SUPP. 3, TITLE 5, SEC. 673), AND BY THIS ACT FOR POSITIONS IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: *

THUS THE PRINCIPLES OF CLASSIFICATION ARE NOW REQUIRED TO BE APPLIED IN THE FIELD, INCLUDING PANAMA CANAL EMPLOYEES IN THE CANAL ZONE, BY ACTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE.

THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, 37 STAT. 561, PROVIDED, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * ALL OTHER PERSONS * * * SHALL BE APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT, OR BY HIS AUTHORITY, REMOVABLE AT HIS PLEASURE, AND THE COMPENSATION OF SUCH PERSONS SHALL BE FIXED BY THE PRESIDENT, OR BY HIS AUTHORITY, UNTIL SUCH TIME AS CONGRESS MAY BY LAW REGULATE THE SAME, BUT SALARIES OR COMPENSATION FIXED HEREUNDER BY THE PRESIDENT SHALL IN NO INSTANCE EXCEED BY MORE THAN TWENTY-FIVE PERCENTUM THE SALARY OR COMPENSATION PAID FOR THE SAME OR SIMILAR SERVICES TO PERSONS EMPLOYED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. * * * (U.S.C. TITLE 48, SEC. 1305.)

THE EFFECT OF THE STATUTES EXTENDING THE PRINCIPLES OF CLASSIFICATION TO THE FIELD SERVICE IS A REGULATING BY THE CONGRESS OF COMPENSATION RATES OF PANAMA CANAL EMPLOYEES IN THE CANAL ZONE WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, SUPRA, AND, AS PROVIDED BY THAT STATUTE, THE COMPENSATION OF SUCH EMPLOYEES IS NO LONGER AUTHORIZED TO BE FIXED BY THE PRESIDENT. THERE IS, HOWEVER, NOTHING IN ANY OF THE STATUTES EXTENDING THE PRINCIPLES OF CLASSIFICATION TO THE FIELD SERVICE, WHICH WOULD PRECLUDE THE CONTINUED RECOGNITION OF THE LONG-EXISTING DIFFERENTIAL IN SALARY RATES IN FAVOR OF POSITIONS IN THE CANAL ZONE, NOT TO EXCEED THE MAXIMUM DIFFERENTIAL FIXED BY THE ACT OF 1912, SUPRA, AT 25 PERCENT HIGHER THAN THE RATES PAID FOR THE SAME OR SIMILAR SERVICES TO PERSONS EMPLOYED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. SEE DECISION OF AUGUST 7, 1925, A-9682, TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, AUTHORIZING POSTAL EMPLOYEES FOR THE PANAMA CANAL TO BE PAID 25 PERCENT MORE THAN THE RATES FIXED BY THE POSTAL RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1053, FOR THE SAME OR SIMILAR POSITIONS IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES.

THE PRINCIPLES OF CLASSIFICATION REQUIRE THAT THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES SHALL DETERMINE THE GRADE OR SALARY RANGE OF A FIELD POSITION, IN THE SAME MANNER AS IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ACCORDING TO THE BASIC QUALIFICATIONS OF THE SEVERAL GRADES AS SET FORTH IN THE CLASSIFICATION ACT, AS AMENDED BY THE BROOKHART SALARY ACT. THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THE ALLOCATION OF POSITIONS IS BY THE JOINT ACTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE AND THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD, WHEREAS IN THE FIELD SERVICE THE SOLE AUTHORITY TO ALLOCATE THE POSITIONS TO THE SEVERAL GRADES OR SALARY RANGES IS VESTED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE. THE SALARY RATES WITHIN THE PROPER GRADE OR SALARY RANGE AS THUS DETERMINED, FIXED FOR INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES ON THE BASIS OF PERSONAL EFFICIENCY AND EXPERIENCE, MUST INCLUDE THE DETERMINED VALUE OF ALLOWANCES FURNISHED IN KIND AS A PART OF THE TOTAL COMPENSATION, AS REQUIRED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 5, 1928, 45 STAT. 193. FOR THE PROCEDURE IN THIS REGARD, SEE 5 COMP. GEN. 957; 6 ID. 162; 8 ID. 628; 9 ID. 528.

FROM YOUR LETTER OF JULY 28, 1930, TO WHICH REPLY WAS MADE BY THIS OFFICE UNDER DATE OF AUGUST 4, 1930, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THERE HAS BEEN SOME EFFORT TO APPLY THE PRINCIPLES OF CLASSIFICATION TO PANAMA CANAL EMPLOYEES IN THE CANAL ZONE IN CONNECTION WITH MAKING THE SALARY ADJUSTMENTS AUTHORIZED AND REQUIRED BY THE WELCH AND BROOKHART SALARY ACTS, BUT IT HAS BEEN IMPOSSIBLE FOR THIS OFFICE TO DETERMINE FROM THE PAY ROLLS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR AUDIT WHETHER, AND TO WHAT EXTENT, THERE HAS BEEN PROPER COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF LAW.

IN VIEW OF YOUR LETTER OF JULY 28, 1930, AND THE REPLY OF AUGUST 4, 1930, THE RATES HERETOFORE FIXED UNDER THE WELCH AND BROOKHART SALARY ACTS NEED NOT BE DISTURBED FOR THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR. HOWEVER, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1931, THE PROCEDURE SHOULD BE FIRST TO DETERMINE THE PROPER GRADE OR SALARY RANGE AS PRESCRIBED BY THE TERMS OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT, AS AMENDED, FOR EACH CIVILIAN POSITION IN THE CANAL ZONE UNDER YOUR JURISDICTION BASED ON THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION, AND THEN TO FIX A SALARY RATE FOR THE INCUMBENT OF EACH POSITION WHICH COINCIDES EXACTLY WITH ONE OF THE RATES PRESCRIBED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT FOR THE GRADE OR SALARY RANGE THUS DETERMINED PLUS THE DIFFERENTIAL OF NOT IN EXCESS OF 25 PERCENT OF THE SAID RATE PRESCRIBED IN THE CLASSIFICATION ACT.

THE PAY ROLLS FOR PERIODS BEGINNING JULY 1, 1931, SHOULD SHOW FOR EACH POSITION AFFECTED EREBY: (1) THE GRADE OR SALARY RANGE, SUCH AS CAF-1, PS- 2, ETC.; (2) THE SALARY RATE WITHIN SUCH GRADE FIXED FOR THE PARTICULAR EMPLOYEE; (3) THE AMOUNT OF THE DIFFERENTIAL NOT TO EXCEED 25 PERCENT OF THE PARTICULAR SALARY RATE THUS FIXED; (4) THE DETERMINED VALUE OF ALLOWANCES FURNISHED IN KIND TO BE CONSIDERED A PART OF THE TOTAL RATE OF COMPENSATION; (5) DEDUCTIONS FOR RETIREMENT BASED ON THE TOTAL SALARY RATE THUS DETERMINED, INCLUDING THE CASH PORTION (CLASSIFICATION RATE PLUS DIFFERENTIAL), AS WELL AS THE DETERMINED VALUE OF THE ALLOWANCES FURNISHED IN KIND, ALL OF WHICH MUST BE CONSIDERED AS THE "BASIC SALARY, PAY, OR COMPENSATION" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 9 OF THE NEW PANAMA CANAL RETIREMENT ACT OF MARCH 2, 1931, 46 STAT. 1471, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1931; AND (6) THE NET CASH PAYMENT.