B-112226, OCTOBER 31, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 211

B-112226: Oct 31, 1952

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1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 17. IT APPEARS THAT THE TWO EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION WERE GIVEN APPOINTMENTS AT THE MINIMUM SALARY RATES OF GS-11 AND GS-12 RESPECTIVELY. YOU STATE THAT IT WAS THE ANNOUNCED POLICY AT THE TIME OF THEIR RESPECTIVE APPOINTMENTS THAT PRESENT AND FORMER FEDERAL EMPLOYEES APPOINTED TO POSITIONS WITH THE OPS SHOULD BE GIVEN THE HIGHEST SALARY RATES PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED AND THAT A DETERMINATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR IN EACH CASE WAS MADE BY THE REGIONAL PERSONNEL OFFICERS WITH THE CONCURRENCE OF THE DIRECTOR OF PERSONNEL. ARE PERTINENT UNDER THE STATED FACTS: 1. MAY A RETROACTIVE ADJUSTMENT NOW BE MADE UPON THE DETERMINATION THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR WAS MADE IN SETTING THE INITIAL SALARY RATES? 2.

B-112226, OCTOBER 31, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 211

COMPENSATION - INITIAL SALARY RATES - RETROACTIVE CORRECTION OF ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR IN VIEW OF THE REPORTED ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY THAT PRESENT AND FORMER FEDERAL EMPLOYEES APPOINTED TO POSITIONS WITH THE OFFICE OF PRICE STABILIZATION SHOULD BE GIVEN THE HIGHEST SALARY RATES PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED, THE SALARY RATES OF EMPLOYEES APPOINTED AT THE MINIMUM RATES OF GRADES ALTHOUGH HIGHER RATES HAD BEEN RECEIVED PREVIOUSLY BY SUCH EMPLOYEES MAY BE CORRECTED RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE FROM THE DATE OF SAID APPOINTMENT TO THE HIGHEST RATE RECEIVED PREVIOUSLY, PROVIDED THAT RATE DOES NOT EXCEED THE MAXIMUM RATE FOR THE GRADE TO WHICH APPOINTED, UPON ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF ERROR IN NOT CARRYING OUT SAID POLICY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO DORIS C. CLARK, OFFICE OF PRICE STABILIZATION, OCTOBER 31, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 17, 1952, FORWARDED HERE BY LETTER OF OCTOBER 7, 1952 (2933), FROM THE DIRECTOR, BUDGET AND FINANCE DIVISION, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT SUPPLEMENTAL PAYROLL VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED PROPOSING PAYMENT TO TWO EMPLOYEES OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION BECAUSE OF A RETROACTIVE ADJUSTMENT IN THEIR COMPENSATION FROM THE MINIMUM RATES STATED IN THEIR APPOINTMENTS TO THE MAXIMUM RATES OF THEIR RESPECTIVE GRADES.

IT APPEARS THAT THE TWO EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION WERE GIVEN APPOINTMENTS AT THE MINIMUM SALARY RATES OF GS-11 AND GS-12 RESPECTIVELY, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT PREVIOUSLY THEY HAD BEEN IN RECEIPT OF COMPENSATION IN GOVERNMENT POSITIONS IN GS-13, AND THE EQUIVALENT OF GS-14. YOU STATE THAT IT WAS THE ANNOUNCED POLICY AT THE TIME OF THEIR RESPECTIVE APPOINTMENTS THAT PRESENT AND FORMER FEDERAL EMPLOYEES APPOINTED TO POSITIONS WITH THE OPS SHOULD BE GIVEN THE HIGHEST SALARY RATES PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED AND THAT A DETERMINATION OF ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR IN EACH CASE WAS MADE BY THE REGIONAL PERSONNEL OFFICERS WITH THE CONCURRENCE OF THE DIRECTOR OF PERSONNEL, OFFICE OF PRICE STABILIZATION. YOU REQUEST SPECIFIC DECISION UPON FOUR QUESTION, ONLY THE FIRST TWO OF WHICH, QUOTED BELOW, ARE PERTINENT UNDER THE STATED FACTS:

1. MAY A RETROACTIVE ADJUSTMENT NOW BE MADE UPON THE DETERMINATION THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR WAS MADE IN SETTING THE INITIAL SALARY RATES?

2. ASSUMING THAT THE ANSWER TO QUESTION 1 IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, WHO ARE PROPER PARTIES TO MAKE THE DETERMINATION THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR OCCURRED?

IN 24 COMP. GEN. 341, IT WAS HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

WHERE THERE EXISTS NO ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION, PRACTICE, OR POLICY TO DENY, UPON TRANSFER OF EMPLOYEES TO OTHER POSITIONS EITHER IN THE SAME OR DIFFERENT AGENCY, THE WITHIN-GRADE SALARY ADVANCEMENTS PREVIOUSLY ATTAINED UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1941, AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR IN TRANSFERRING AN EMPLOYEE AT A SALARY RATE WHICH DID NOT SAVE SUCH ADVANCEMENTS TO HIM MAY BE CORRECTED RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE FROM THE DATE OF THE TRANSFER SO AS TO SAVE THE LAWFUL SALARY RATE RECEIVED PRIOR TO THE TRANSFER, PROVIDED THERE WAS NO PURPOSE TO REDUCE THE EMPLOYEE FOR ANY OTHER REASON. COMP. GEN. 791, AMPLIFIED.

IN 31 COMP. GEN. 15, IT WAS HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

THERE IS NO VESTED RIGHT IN AN EMPLOYEE UPON REEMPLOYMENT TO RECEIVE THE HIGHEST SALARY RATE PREVIOUSLY PAID TO HIM, AND THEREFORE THE CORRECTION OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR MADE IN FIXING THE SALARY OF AN EMPLOYEE UPON REEMPLOYMENT AT A LOWER RATE THAN THE HIGHEST SALARY RATE PREVIOUSLY HELD BY SUCH EMPLOYEE CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED ONLY BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION AND UPON SHOWING THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR WAS IN FACT MADE IN FIXING THE ORIGINAL SALARY RATE UPON REEMPLOYMENT. * IN LIGHT OF THE REPORTED ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY AND THE DETERMINATION OF ERROR IN NOT CARRYING OUT SAID POLICY IN THE TWO CASES HERE SUBMITTED, AND IN LINE WITH THE ABOVE REFERRED-TO DECISIONS NO LEGAL OBJECTION IS PERCEIVED TO EFFECTING THE PROPOSED RETROACTIVE ADJUSTMENT OF COMPENSATION IN SAID TWO CASES TO THE MAXIMUM RATES OF THE RESPECTIVE GRADES--- SUCH MAXIMUM RATES STILL BEING LESS THAN THE HIGHEST RATE PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED BY THE RESPECTIVE EMPLOYEES. ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER OBJECTION.