A-36266, MAY 9, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 514

A-36266: May 9, 1931

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CLASSIFICATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - SALARY ADJUSTMENTS THE RULE THAT SALARY ADJUSTMENTS RESULTING FROM ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF POSITIONS IS EFFECTIVE FROM THE FIRST OF THE PAY PERIOD IN WHICH NOTICE IS RECEIVED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE. IS APPLICABLE ONLY TO CASES WHERE THE FINAL ACTION OF THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD IS NECESSARY. IS NOT APPLICABLE WHERE THE PERSONNEL CHANGE IS BASED EXCLUSIVELY ON ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION. AS FOLLOWS: RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF NOTICES OF DISALLOWANCE IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING CLERK OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT FOR THE MONTHS OF JULY. THAT AN ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF A POSITION IS EFFECTIVE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD CURRENT AT THE DATE OF RECEIPT IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE ALLOCATION BY THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD.

A-36266, MAY 9, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 514

CLASSIFICATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - SALARY ADJUSTMENTS THE RULE THAT SALARY ADJUSTMENTS RESULTING FROM ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF POSITIONS IS EFFECTIVE FROM THE FIRST OF THE PAY PERIOD IN WHICH NOTICE IS RECEIVED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, IS APPLICABLE ONLY TO CASES WHERE THE FINAL ACTION OF THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD IS NECESSARY, AND IS NOT APPLICABLE WHERE THE PERSONNEL CHANGE IS BASED EXCLUSIVELY ON ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, MAY 9, 1931:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 1, 1931, AS FOLLOWS:

RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF NOTICES OF DISALLOWANCE IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING CLERK OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT FOR THE MONTHS OF JULY, NOVEMBER, AND DECEMBER OF THE FOLLOWING SALARY PAYMENTS ON THE GROUND THAT THE INCREASES IN COMPENSATION MAY NOT BE MADE RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE IN THE ABSENCE OF STATUTE:

NAVIGATION: LOUISE M. BRODKIN, PROMOTED NOVEMBER 14, 1930, FROM UNDERCLERK, CAF-1, $1,260, TO JR. CLERK, CAF-2, $1,440, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1930. ENTERED ON DUTY NOVEMBER 1 AND EXECUTED OATH NOVEMBER 19. ADDITIONAL POSITION, SAME AS E. JAMES, CREATED OCTOBER 15. DISALLOWANCE, 6.27; $0.23 RETIREMENT FUND ADJUSTMENT.

JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL: KADY ELVOVE, PROMOTED JULY 8, 1930, FROM JR. CLERK-STENOGRAPHER, CAF-2, $1,440, TO ASST. CLERK-STENOGRAPHER, CAF 3, $1,620, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1930, ENTERED ON DUTY JULY 1, 1930. EXECUTED OATH JANUARY 31, 1931, VICE L. I. MASON. DISALLOWANCE, $3.38; $0.12 RETIREMENT FUND ADJUSTMENT.

AERONAUTICS: MRS. RUTH J. YOUNGMAN, PROMOTED JULY 16, 1930, FROM JR. CLERK-STENOGRAPHER, CAF-2, $1,440, TO SR. STENOGRAPHER, CAF-3, $1,620, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1930, ENTERED ON DUTY JULY 1, 1930, AND EXECUTED OATH JULY 28. ADDITIONAL POSITION, SAME AS E. A. DAKIN, CREATED JULY 1. DISALLOWANCE, $7.24; $0.26 RETIREMENT FUND ADJUSTMENT.

AERONAUTICS: IRENE EDNEY, PROMOTED JULY 16, 1930, FROM JR. STENOGRAPHER, CAF-2, $1,440, TO SR. STENOGRAPHER, CAF-3, $1,620 PER ANNUM, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1930, ENTERED ON DUTY JULY 1, 1930. OATH JULY 19, VICE O-LEARY. DISALLOWANCE, $7.24; $0.26 RETIREMENT FUND ADJUSTMENT.

ENGINEERING: ELMER G. VIA, PROMOTED NOVEMBER 14, 1930, FROM ASSOCIATE ENGINEER (MECHANICAL), P-3, $3,300, TO ENGINEER (MARINE), P 4, $3,800, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1930, ENTERED ON DUTY JULY 16, 1930. OATH NOVEMBER 19, 1930, VICE HOWELL. DISALLOWANCE, $17.42; $0.63 RETIREMENT FUND ADJUSTMENT.

ENGINEERING: ROBERT J. RUTHS, PROMOTED NOVEMBER 14, 1930, FROM ASSISTANT ENGINEER (MARINE), P-2, $2,800, TO ASSOCIATE ENGINEER (MECHANICAL), P-3, $3,200, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1930, ENTERED ON DUTY JULY 16, 1930. OATH NOVEMBER 19, 1930, VICE VIA. DISALLOWANCE, $13.95; $0.50 RETIREMENT FUND ADJUSTMENT.

NAVIGATION: FERDINAND PRICE, PROMOTED DECEMBER 11, 1930, FROM UNDERCLERK, CAF-1, $1,320, TO JR. CLERK, CAF-2, $1,440, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 1, 1930. OATH DECEMBER 13. ADDITIONAL POSITION, SAME AS E. JAMES, CREATED DECEMBER 1. DISALLOWANCE, $3.21; $0.12 RETIREMENT FUND ADJUSTMENT.

SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS: MILDRED E. THOMPSON, PROMOTED DECEMBER 11, 1930, FROM JR. CLERK-TYPIST, CAF-2, $1,560, TO ASSISTANT CLERK, CAF-3, $1,620, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 13. ADDITIONAL POSITION, SAME AS E. JAMES, CREATED DECEMBER 1. VICE SMITH. DISALLOWANCE $1.45; $0.05 RETIREMENT FUND ADJUSTMENT.

SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS: MARY L. BRADY, PROMOTED DECEMBER 11, 1930, FROM JR. STENOGRAPHER, CAF-2, $1,500, TO ASSISTANT CLERK-STENOGRAPHER, CAF-3, $1,620, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 1, 1930. ENTERED ON DUTY DECEMBER 1, 1930. OATH DECEMBER 11, VICE PATTERSON. DISALLOWANCE, $3.22; $0.11 RETIREMENT FUND ADJUSTMENT.

SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS: JANE B. STANSFIELD, PROMOTED DECEMBER 11, 1930, FROM UNDERCLERK, CAF-1, $1,380, TO JR. CLERK, CAF-2, $1,440, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 1, 1930. ENTERED ON DUTY DECEMBER 1, 1930. OATH DECEMBER 11, VICE CARLEY. DISALLOWANCE, $1.61; $0.06 RETIREMENT FUND ADJUSTMENT.

SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS: KAYE B. GREENE, PROMOTED DECEMBER 11, 1930, FROM UNDERCLERK-TYPIST, CAF-1, $1,260 TO JR. CLERK-TYPIST, CAF-2, $1,440, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 1, 1930. ENTERED ON DUTY DECEMBER 1, 1930. OATH DECEMBER 11, VICE THOMPSON. DISALLOWANCE, $4.83; $0.17 RETIREMENT FUND ADJUSTMENT.

THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL HELD ON SEPTEMBER 8, 1924, THAT AN ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF A POSITION IS EFFECTIVE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD CURRENT AT THE DATE OF RECEIPT IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE ALLOCATION BY THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD. ON MAY 16, 1925, HE HELD THAT IT WAS NOT NECESSARY TO REPORT TO THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD APPOINTMENTS, PROMOTIONS, ETC., TO POSITIONS PREVIOUSLY ALLOCATED BY THE BOARD, AND IF REPORTED, IT WAS NOT NECESSARY TO AWAIT THE ACTION OF THE BOARD BEFORE TAKING ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION.

THE DEPARTMENT, IN THE INTEREST OF UNIFORM PROCEDURE AND TO GUARD AGAINST A POSSIBLE CHANGE IN THE CLASSIFICATION OF A POSITION ON RECONSIDERATION, ADOPTED THE PRACTICE OF SUBMITTING TO THE BOARD CASES FALLING WITHIN THE LATTER CLASS, ALTHOUGH NOT MANDATORY UNDER THE COMPTROLLER'S DECISION. LETTERS OF PROMOTION OR REASSIGNMENT WERE DATED AT THE TIME THE CASES WERE SUBMITTED TO THE BOARD, EFFECTIVE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD THEN CURRENT, BECAUSE THE ALLOCATIONS IN THESE CASES WERE ALWAYS RECEIVED DURING THE PAY PERIOD. THIS PRACTICE HAS BEEN FOLLOWED SINCE SEPTEMBER, 1924, AND WAS NOT QUESTIONED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE UNTIL THE ABOVE DISALLOWANCES WERE MADE IN JANUARY, 1931, ON JULY, 1930, PAYMENTS.

THE DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF JULY 22, 1929, AND OCTOBER 23, 1926, REFERRED TO AS THE BASIS FOR THE DISALLOWANCES, RELATE TO THE ANTEDATING OF APPOINTMENTS AND RETROACTING ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS, RESPECTIVELY, WHICH HAVE LONG BEEN UNDERSTOOD BY THE DEPARTMENT TO BE ILLEGAL. IT WAS NOT UNDERSTOOD THAT THESE DECISIONS APPLIED TO PROMOTIONS BY CHANGE OF DUTIES TO POSITIONS PREVIOUSLY ALLOCATED BY THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD, IN VIEW OF THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER OF SEPTEMBER 8, 1924, ABOVE REFERRED TO, THAT THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF A POSITION IS EFFECTIVE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD CURRENT AT THE DATE OF RECEIPT IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE ALLOCATION BY THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD. THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S DECISION OF AUGUST 19, 1926, ALSO CITED AS A BASIS FOR THE DISALLOWANCES, WAS IN A CASE SIMILAR TO THOSE UPON WHICH THE DISALLOWANCES WERE MADE, NAMELY, THE PROMOTION OF AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED FROM A LOWER TO A HIGHER GRADE TO FILL AN EXISTING VACANT POSITION, THE DUTIES OF WHICH HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN ALLOCATED TO THE HIGHER GRADE. THIS DECISION APPARENTLY AUTHORIZES THE ANTEDATING OF SUCH PROMOTIONS TO THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD CURRENT AT THE DATE OF RECEIPT OF NOTICE OF CONFIRMATION BY THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD BUT PROHIBITS THE ANTEDATING OF PROMOTIONS TO THE DATE THE EMPLOYEE WAS ASSIGNED TO THE DUTIES OF THE HIGHER POSITION.

IT IS PRESUMED THAT THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL AUTHORIZING THE ANTEDATING OF ALLOCATIONS AND REALLOCATIONS TO THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD CURRENT AT THE DATE OF RECEIPT OF NOTICE OF CONFIRMATION BY THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD WAS ON THE GROUND OF EQUITY, AS EMPLOYEES WOULD OTHERWISE LOSE A PART OF THE COMPENSATION TO WHICH THEY WERE ENTITLED DUE TO DELAY CAUSED BY THE PROCEDURE NECESSARY TO EFFECT THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION. IT WOULD SEEM THAT AS A MATTER OF EQUITY ALL PROMOTIONS OF EMPLOYEES INVOLVING A CHANGE IN GRADE WHETHER TO POSITIONS WHICH HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY ALLOCATED BY THE BOARD OR TO NEW POSITIONS SHOULD BE MADE EFFECTIVE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD, PROVIDED THE EMPLOYEE ENTERED UPON THE DUTIES OF THE POSITION PRIOR TO THAT DATE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, WHICH SHOWS THAT THE DEPARTMENT ACTED IN GOOD FAITH IN MAKING THE PROMOTIONS IN QUESTION RETROACTIVE, AND THE SMALL AMOUNTS INVOLVED, IT IS REQUESTED THAT THE DISALLOWANCES BE REMOVED.

EACH OF THE CASES LISTED INVOLVED ONLY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TO GIVE EFFECT TO THE PROMOTION EITHER (1) TO AN EXISTING VACANT POSITION PREVIOUSLY ALLOCATED, OR (2) TO AN ADDITIONAL POSITION CREATED ADMINISTRATIVELY WITH DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES IDENTICAL WITH THOSE EXISTING POSITIONS PREVIOUSLY ALLOCATED. THERE WAS NOT INVOLVED IN ANY OF THE CASES AN ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF POSITIONS AUTHORIZING OR REQUIRING THE ACTION OF THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD.

IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE NUMEROUS DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE THAT HAD BEEN PRINTED OR OTHERWISE GIVEN GENERAL DISTRIBUTION SHOULD HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT TO HAVE GUIDED THE OFFICERS OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT IN TAKING THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION. IT APPEARS THAT THE RULE LAID DOWN BY THIS OFFICE FOR SALARY ADJUSTMENTS RESULTING FROM ALLOCATIONS OR REALLOCATIONS OF POSITIONS BY THE FINAL ACTION OF THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD WAS ERRONEOUSLY APPLIED TO MAKE SALARY ADJUSTMENTS RESULTING FROM PROMOTIONS OF EMPLOYEES BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION. IN VIEW OF THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE ON THE MATTER IT IS NOT APPARENT WHY THE TWO CLASSES OF CASES SHOULD HAVE BEEN CONFUSED. THE RULE AS TO ALLOCATIONS AND REALLOCATIONS OF POSITIONS WAS FIRST STATED IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 8, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 280, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ORIGINAL ALLOCATION OR A REVISED ALLOCATION OF A POSITION HEREAFTER MADE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1488, IS EFFECTIVE ONLY FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD CURRENT AT THE DATE OF RECEIPT BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE. * * *

SEE, ALSO, 4 COMP. GEN. 721, DEFINING THE TERM "ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE" AND 6 ID. 202, ADOPTING THE FIRST OF THE MONTH AS THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD. THIS RULE IS APPLICABLE TO ANY CASE WHERE THE FINAL ACTION OF THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD IS NECESSARY, INCLUDING NOT ONLY THE REALLOCATION OF EXISTING POSITIONS BUT ALSO THE ORIGINAL ALLOCATION OF NEW POSITIONS. 9 COMP. GEN. 128; 10 ID. 284. THIS RULE IS NOT APPLICABLE WHERE THE FINAL ACTION OF THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD IS NOT NECESSARY; THAT IS, WHERE THE PERSONNEL CHANGE IS BASED EXCLUSIVELY ON ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION, WHETHER IT BE APPOINTMENT, PROMOTION, OR TRANSFER TO A VACANT PREVIOUSLY ALLOCATED POSITION, OR TO AN ADDITIONAL POSITION CREATED ADMINISTRATIVELY WITH DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES IDENTICAL WITH THOSE OF EXISTING POSITIONS PREVIOUSLY ALLOCATED. SEE 4 COMP. GEN. 126; ID. 957; 6 ID. 133; 8 ID. 522; 9 ID. 101.

THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SALARY CHANGES RESULTING FROM ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION EXCLUSIVELY, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM ACTION REQUIRING APPROVAL BY THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD, IS THE DATE OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION; THAT IS, THE DATE THE ACTION IS TAKEN BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER VESTED WITH THE PROPER AUTHORITY, OR A SUBSEQUENT DATE SPECIFICALLY FIXED. COMP. GEN. 957. IT IS A LONG-ESTABLISHED RULE, THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATUTE SPECIFICALLY SO PROVIDING, ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES IN SALARY RATES MAY NOT BE MADE RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE. THE CLASSIFICATION ACT JUSTIFIED OR AUTHORIZED NO DIFFERENT RULE IN THIS RESPECT.

THE DECISION OF AUGUST 19, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 133, DID NOT, AS APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, AUTHORIZE THE ANTEDATING OF ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS TO THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD CURRENT AT THE DATE OF RECEIPT OF NOTICE OF CONFIRMATION BY THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD WHERE THE EMPLOYEE WAS TRANSFERRED FROM A LOWER TO A HIGHER GRADE IN SOME EXISTING VACANT POSITION, THE DUTIES OF WHICH PREVIOUSLY HAD BEEN ALLOCATED TO A HIGHER GRADE. ON THE CONTRARY, THE DECISION HELD AS FOLLOWS, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

THE PROMOTION OF AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED FROM A LOWER TO A HIGHER GRADE TO FILL AN EXISTING VACANT POSITION, THE DUTIES OF WHICH HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN ALLOCATED TO THE HIGHER GRADE, BECOMES EFFECTIVE FROM THE DATE THE REGULAR PROMOTION IS MADE, AND SUBSEQUENT THERETO THE PROMOTION CAN NOT BE MADE RETROACTIVE FROM THE DATE THE EMPLOYEE WAS ASSIGNED TO DUTY ALTHOUGH THE REGULAR PROMOTION COULD HAVE BEEN MADE AT THE TIME EFFECTIVE FROM SUCH DATE.

THERE WAS NO DISTINCTION MADE OR INTENDED IN THE APPLICATION OF THIS RULE WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE HAD, OR HAD NOT, BEEN ASSIGNED TO THE DUTIES OF A POSITION IN A HIGHER GRADE PRIOR TO THE DATE THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TOOK ACTION TO PROMOTE THE EMPLOYEE.

THERE APPEARS NO BASIS IN LAW FOR THE SUGGESTION MADE IN THE NEXT TO THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR SUBMISSION THAT---

ALL PROMOTIONS OF EMPLOYEES INVOLVING A CHANGE IN GRADE WHETHER TO POSITIONS WHICH HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY ALLOCATED BY THE BOARD OR TO NEW POSITIONS SHOULD BE MADE EFFECTIVE FROM THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD, PROVIDED THE EMPLOYEE ENTERED UPON THE DUTIES OF THE POSITION PRIOR TO THAT DATE.

IN SALARY CHANGES INVOLVING THE ACTION BY TWO SEPARATE AND DISTINCT AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT, SUCH AS THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE AND THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD, THERE BEING INVOLVED MERELY THE FIXING OF THE RATE OF COMPENSATION FOR THE POSITION ACTUALLY HELD, RATHER THAN THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF AN APPOINTMENT OR PROMOTION TO A POSITION, THERE WAS NEED OF A UNIFORM AND PRACTICAL ACCOUNTING RULE FIXING AN EFFECTIVE DATE, AS FAIR AS POSSIBLE BOTH TO THE EMPLOYEES AND TO THE GOVERNMENT. HOWEVER, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SALARY CHANGES THAT ARE DEPENDENT ONLY UPON THE ACTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER VESTED WITH AUTHORITY TO MAKE THE APPOINTMENT OR PROMOTION IS FOR DETERMINATION NOW BY THE SAME RULE THAT APPLIED TO SUCH CHANGES BEFORE THE CLASSIFICATION ACT BECAME EFFECTIVE. IF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE DESIRES THE PROMOTION OF AN EMPLOYEE TO A VACANT EXISTING POSITION, WHICH HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN ALLOCATED, TO TAKE EFFECT ON THE FIRST DAY OF A MONTH, ON OR PREVIOUS TO WHICH THE EMPLOYEE HAD BEEN ASSIGNED TO THE DUTIES THEREOF, ALL THAT IS NEEDED IS PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IN MAKING THE PROMOTION THUS EFFECTIVE WITHOUT REFERENCE OF THE MATTER TO, OR WAITING FOR ANY ACTION OF, THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD THEREON. THE DISALLOWANCES IN THE ACCOUNTS ABOVE STATED MUST BE, AND ARE, SUSTAINED, AND THE EMPLOYEES SHOULD BE ADVISED TO ADJUST THEIR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE GOVERNMENT WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY.