A-38681, SEPTEMBER 28, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 115

A-38681: Sep 28, 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 - FIELD SERVICE - EFFECTIVE DATE OF ALLOCATIONS THERE MAY NOT BE APPLIED TO ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUSTMENTS IN FIELD SERVICE POSITIONS THE RULE MAINTAINING IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THAT ADJUSTMENTS IN COMPENSATION INCIDENT TO ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF POSITIONS WILL BE THE FIRST OF THE MONTH IN WHICH NOTICE OF FINAL ACTION OF THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD IS RECEIVED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE RECENT SUSPENSIONS MADE BY YOUR OFFICE IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICERS AT THE FIELD STATIONS OF THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION TO SALARY ADJUSTMENTS DUE TO ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF FIELD POSITIONS.

A-38681, SEPTEMBER 28, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 115

CLASSIFICATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - FIELD SERVICE - EFFECTIVE DATE OF ALLOCATIONS THERE MAY NOT BE APPLIED TO ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUSTMENTS IN FIELD SERVICE POSITIONS THE RULE MAINTAINING IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THAT ADJUSTMENTS IN COMPENSATION INCIDENT TO ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF POSITIONS WILL BE THE FIRST OF THE MONTH IN WHICH NOTICE OF FINAL ACTION OF THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD IS RECEIVED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, SEPTEMBER 28, 1931:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 10, 1931, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE RECENT SUSPENSIONS MADE BY YOUR OFFICE IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICERS AT THE FIELD STATIONS OF THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION TO SALARY ADJUSTMENTS DUE TO ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF FIELD POSITIONS, WHICH INVOLVE THE QUESTION OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE PROMOTION.

IN THIS CONNECTION YOU ARE ADVISED THAT FIELD POSITIONS ARE ALLOCATED OR REALLOCATED IN CENTRAL OFFICE WHICH CARRIES WITH IT AUTHORITY FOR ADJUSTMENT OF SALARIES; HOWEVER, IN MOST CASES THE RECORDING OF SUCH CHANGES IN GRADE AND SALARY IS TAKEN BY THE FIELD STATIONS UPON RECEIPT OF NOTICE OF THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION.

IT HAS BEEN THE POLICY OF THIS ADMINISTRATION TO MAKE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF A REALLOCATION FROM THE FIRST OF THE MONTH CONCURRENT WITH ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION REALLOCATING THE POSITION, PROVIDED THE EMPLOYEE WAS OCCUPYING THE POSITION ON THAT DATE. THIS PROCEDURE IS IN KEEPING WITH NUMEROUS DECISIONS FROM YOUR OFFICE IN CONNECTION WITH REALLOCATION OF AND 530.) IN THE RECENT SUSPENSIONS, HOWEVER, YOUR OFFICE HAS HELD IN CONNECTION WITH THE DATE OF REALLOCATION THAT THE DATE OF APPROVAL THEREOF BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT WAS THE DATE OF THE JOURNAL RECORDING THE CHANGE IN GRADE AND PROMOTION.

THE FOLLOWING ARE TYPICAL CASES NOW UNDER CONSIDERATION:

DR. ARTHUR W. SCHULZ: PAY ROLL MARCH 16 TO 31, 1931, ACCOUNT OF N. B. HARRISON, SYMBOL 11384, VOUCHER 3491 SUSPENDED $16.66 ($0.58 RETIREMENT). NOTATION: "POSITION REALLOCATED FROM P AND S 4 AND 5, $4,200, TO P AND S 5, $4,600, EFFECTIVE MARCH 1, 1931. AUTHORITY CENTRAL OFFICE LETTER MARCH 16, 1931. EMPLOYEE NOT ENTITLED TO INCREASE ON REALLOCATION PRIOR TO DATE OF APPROVAL THEREOF BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT.' 6 COMP. GEN. 758.

YOU ARE ADVISED THE RECORDS INDICATE THAT THE POSITION HELD BY DR. SCHULZ WAS REALLOCATED FROM P AND S 4 AND 5 TO P AND S 5, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUPPLEMENT NO. 7 TO THE REVISED SPECIFICATIONS FOR POSITIONS IN THE FIELD SERVICE AND THE REGIONAL MANAGER AT LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, WAS ADVISED THEREOF UNDER DATE OF MARCH 13, 1931, BY LETTER SIGNED FOR THE DIRECTOR BY MAJOR JOHN D. CUTTER, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, AUTHORITY HAVING BEEN DELEGATED TO MAJOR CUTTER TO ACT FOR THE DIRECTOR IN MATTERS OF THIS CHARACTER. THIS CASE ACTION RELATIVE TO JOURNALIZING DR. SCHULZ'S PROMOTION FROM $4,200 TO $4,600 WAS NOT TAKEN UNTIL MARCH 16, 1931, THE JOURNAL SHOWING THE EFFECTIVE DATE AS MARCH 1, 1931, AND THE AUTHORITY AS LETTER OF MARCH 13, 1931.

HAROLD G. HEPPENSTALL: PAY ROLL FEBRUARY 1 TO 15, 1931, ACCOUNT OF HOWARD S. KNAPP, SYMBOL 11491, VOUCHER 2812, SUSPENDED $7.50 ($0.26 RETIREMENT). NOTATION: "CENTRAL OFFICE LETTER MARCH 23, 1931, AUTHORIZES EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE INCREASE FROM $1,260 TO $1,440 AS OF FEBRUARY 1, 1931, INSTEAD OF FEBRUARY 16, 1931, AS FORMERLY REPORTED.' THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF REALLOCATION OF FIELD SERVICE POSITIONS IS THE DATE OF APPROVAL THEREOF BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT (6 COMP. GEN. 758).

THE POSITION HELD BY MR. HEPPENSTALL WAS REALLOCATED FROM CAF-1 TO CAF-2 BY CENTRAL OFFICE AND THE STATION WAS NOTIFIED UNDER DATE OF FEBRUARY 9, 1931. JOURNAL ACTION PROMOTING MR. HEPPENSTALL FROM $1,260, CAF-1, TO $1,440, CAF-2, WAS TAKEN BY FIELD STATION FEBRUARY 16, 1931, GIVING THE EFFECTIVE DATE AS FEBRUARY 16, 1931. UNDER DATE OF MARCH 23, 1931, THE FIELD STATION WAS ADVISED BY CENTRAL OFFICE THAT THE EFFECTIVE DATE SHOULD BE FEBRUARY 1, 1931, AND PAYMENT WAS MADE ACCORDINGLY.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE APPROVAL BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE HEADS OF FIELD STATIONS ARE WITHOUT AUTHORITY IN THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF FIELD POSITIONS AND ACT ONLY IN THESE MATTERS UNDER INSTRUCTIONS FROM CENTRAL OFFICE. IT IS APPARENT THAT IT WOULD BE MANIFESTLY UNFAIR TO THE EMPLOYEES TO WITHHOLD SALARY ADJUSTMENTS UNTIL JOURNAL ACTION IS TAKEN, INASMUCH AS THE JOURNAL ACTION IS MERELY AN ADMINISTRATIVE RECORD, AND IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE DATE OF SUCH RECORD DOES NOT OPERATE TO DEFEAT THE EMPLOYEE'S RIGHTS (A-35825). FURTHERMORE, IN VIEW OF THE DIFFERENCES IN DISTANCE OF THE VARIOUS STATIONS FROM CENTRAL OFFICE AND THE DIFFERENCE IN TIME IT TAKES FOR INSTRUCTIONS TO BE DISTRIBUTED BY MAIL TO VARIOUS POINTS IT IS EVIDENT THAT JOURNAL ACTION IN SOME CASES COULD BE TAKEN FROM FIVE TO TEN DAYS BEFORE IT COULD IN OTHER CASES. IT IS, THEREFORE, BELIEVED THAT A UNIFORM POLICY RELATIVE TO EFFECTIVE DATE OF SALARY ADJUSTMENT DUE TO THE ALLOCATION AND REALLOCATION OF FIELD POSITIONS SHOULD BE ESTABLISHED, AND IT APPEARS THAT THE EFFECTIVE DATE SHOULD BE THE FIRST OF THE MONTH IN WHICH THE POSITION WAS ALLOCATED OR REALLOCATED, PROVIDED THE EMPLOYEE HELD THE POSITION AS OF THAT DATE. (SALARY ADJUSTMENTS OF EMPLOYEES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE EFFECTIVE FROM THE FIRST OF THE MONTH IN WHICH THE POSITIONS ARE REALLOCATED BY THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD).

THIS SUBMISSION IS MADE WITH THE REQUEST THAT YOU ADVISE ME, IN VIEW OF THE FACTS BROUGHT OUT, WITH REFERENCE TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SALARY ADJUSTMENTS AS A RESULT OF THE ALLOCATION AND REALLOCATION OF FIELD POSITIONS IN ORDER THAT FURTHER SUSPENSIONS MAY BE AVOIDED AND THAT A DEFINITE PROCEDURE MAY BE ESTABLISHED.

THE DECISION OF MAY 21, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 758, 759, CITED IN THE QUOTED NOTICES OF EXCEPTION TAKEN IN ACCOUNTS, SPECIFICALLY HELD THAT "THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF REALLOCATION OF FIELD SERVICE POSITIONS IS THE DATE OF APPROVAL THEREOF BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT.' THAT DECISION HAS NEVER BEEN OVERRULED OR MODIFIED AND SHOULD HAVE SERVED AS A GUIDE FOR THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION IN THE REALLOCATION OF POSITIONS IN THE FIELD SERVICE.

IN SO FAR AS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF ADJUSTMENTS IN SALARY RATES IS CONCERNED, THERE IS A FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALLOCATIONS AND REALLOCATIONS OF POSITIONS IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE ALLOCATIONS AND REALLOCATIONS OF POSITIONS IN THE FIELD SERVICE. THE FORMER REQUIRE THE ACTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE AND OF THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD, TWO SEPARATE AND DISTINCT AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT, NEITHER OF WHICH MAY SUPERVISE OR CONTROL THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACTION OF THE OTHER, WHEREAS THE LATTER REQUIRE ONLY THE ACTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE.

AS TO DEPARTMENTAL POSITIONS THE NEW PROCEDURE PRESCRIBED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT, INVOLVING THE ACTION OF TWO AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT, PRESENTED A PROBLEM IN ACCOUNTING WHICH NECESSITATED THE ADOPTION OF A UNIFORM RULE FOR THE ADJUSTMENT OF SALARY RATES RESULTING FROM THE COMBINED ACTION OF THE TWO AGENCIES. THIS OFFICE ANNOUNCED IN THE DECISIONS CITED BY YOU THE RULE THAT THE FIRST OF THE MONTH IN WHICH NOTICE OF THE FINAL ACTION OF THE PERSONNEL CLASSIFICATION BOARD, ONE OF THE AGENCIES, WAS RECEIVED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, THE OTHER AGENCY, AS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF ANY ADJUSTMENT IN SALARY REQUIRED BY REASON OF THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF A POSITION.

THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF FIELD SERVICE POSITIONS PRESENTS NO SUCH ACCOUNTING PROBLEM FOR THE REASON THAT THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE NECESSARY SALARY CHANGES ARE DEPENDENT ONLY UPON THE ACTION OF ONE AGENCY OF THE GOVERNMENT, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, AND THERE REMAIN APPLICABLE IN FIXING THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF ALL SALARY ADJUSTMENTS IN THE FIELD SERVICE, THE SAME RULES THAT APPLIED BEFORE THE CLASSIFICATION ACT WENT INTO EFFECT. IT IS A WELL-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 RULE IS APPLICABLE TO ALL SALARY ADJUSTMENTS INVOLVING EXCLUSIVELY THE ACTION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, WHETHER IN THE DEPARTMENTAL OR FIELD SERVICE. COMP. GEN. 514.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THE FIRST OF THE MONTH IN WHICH THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF POSITIONS IN THE FIELD SERVICE IS APPROVED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE MAY NOT IN ALL CASES BE FIXED AS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SALARY ADJUSTMENTS NECESSITATED THEREBY, BUT ONLY AS TO THOSE ALLOCATIONS OR REALLOCATIONS APPROVED ON THE FIRST OF THE MONTH. THE PAST PRACTICE OF THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION AS DISCLOSED BY THE CASES CITED IN YOUR SUBMISSION HAS BEEN ERRONEOUS AND SHOULD BE CORRECTED IMMEDIATELY.

IT IS SUGGESTED IF A UNIFORM DATE IS DESIRED, OTHER THAN THE DATE OF ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL, FOR THE EFFECTIVE DATE FOR PAY PURPOSES OF ALL ALLOCATIONS AND REALLOCATIONS OF FIELD SERVICE POSITIONS, THAT THE FIRST OF THE MONTH FOLLOWING THE MONTH IN WHICH THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IS TAKEN BE ADOPTED.