B-120443, NOVEMBER 2, 1954, 34 COMP. GEN. 209

B-120443: Nov 2, 1954

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COMPENSATION - WITHIN-GRADE ADVANCEMENT - RESTORATION TO FORMER POSITION FOLLOWING REDUCTION - WAITING PERIOD COMMENCEMENT THE REPROMOTION OF AN EMPLOYEE TO HIS FORMER POSITION WHICH HAD BEEN ABOLISHED AND SUBSEQUENTLY REESTABLISHED IS AN EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949. 1954: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 10. AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT WAS GRANTED A PERIODIC STEP-INCREASE TO $7. THE JOB WAS ABOLISHED. THE EMPLOYEE WAS REASSIGNED TO A GS-11 POSITION AT A SALARY RATE OF $6. HE WAS IMMEDIATELY DETAILED TO CONTINUE THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS FORMER DUTIES NOTWITHSTANDING THE GS-12 POSITION HAD BEEN ABOLISHED. THE POSITION WAS REESTABLISHED IN OCTOBER 1953 AS GS-12.

B-120443, NOVEMBER 2, 1954, 34 COMP. GEN. 209

COMPENSATION - WITHIN-GRADE ADVANCEMENT - RESTORATION TO FORMER POSITION FOLLOWING REDUCTION - WAITING PERIOD COMMENCEMENT THE REPROMOTION OF AN EMPLOYEE TO HIS FORMER POSITION WHICH HAD BEEN ABOLISHED AND SUBSEQUENTLY REESTABLISHED IS AN EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, SO THAT A NEW WAITING PERIOD FOR A WITHIN-GRADE ADVANCEMENT BEGINS ON THE DATE OF THE REPROMOTION.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL MORROW TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, NOVEMBER 2, 1954:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 10, 1954, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHEN THE WAITING PERIOD WOULD BEGIN FOR THE THIRD PERIODIC STEP- INCREASE (FOURTH STEP) UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF A CASE SET OUT IN YOUR LETTER, AS FOLLOWS:

ON FEBRUARY 17, 1952, AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT WAS GRANTED A PERIODIC STEP-INCREASE TO $7,440 PER ANNUM, THE THIRD STEP IN GS-12. JULY 1, 1953, THE JOB WAS ABOLISHED, AND THE EMPLOYEE WAS REASSIGNED TO A GS-11 POSITION AT A SALARY RATE OF $6,940 PER ANNUM, THE TOP RATE OF THAT GRADE. HE WAS IMMEDIATELY DETAILED TO CONTINUE THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS FORMER DUTIES NOTWITHSTANDING THE GS-12 POSITION HAD BEEN ABOLISHED. THE POSITION WAS REESTABLISHED IN OCTOBER 1953 AS GS-12, AND THE EMPLOYEE WAS SELECTED AS A SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATE THEREFOR, AND WAS APPOINTED TO THE GS- 12 POSITION MARCH 29, 1954, AT THE SALARY RATE OF $7,440 PER ANNUM, THE THIRD STEP OF THE GRADE. UPON THAT STATE OF THE RECORD THE QUESTION SPECIFICALLY IS WHETHER THE WAITING PERIOD FOR THE PERIODIC STEP-INCREASE IS TO BE RECKONED FROM FEBRUARY 17, 1952, OR FROM MARCH 29, 1954.

SUBPARAGRAPHS (E) AND (F) OF SECTION 25.11, RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, Z1-314 FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL, REFERRED TO BY YOU PROVIDE IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

(E) WAITING PERIOD IS THE MINIMUM TIME REQUIREMENT OF CREDITABLE SERVICE WITHOUT AN EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR CONSIDERATION FOR A PERIODIC STEP-INCREASE. THE WAITING PERIOD FOR EITHER FULL-TIME OF REGULAR PART-TIME EMPLOYEES IS 52 CALENDAR WEEKS FOR GRADES WITH STEP-INCREASES OF LESS THAN $200, AND 78 CALENDAR WEEKS FOR GRADES WITH STEP-INCREASES OF $200 OR MORE. * * * CREDITABLE SERVICE, IN THE COMPUTATION OF WAITING PERIODS, INCLUDES:

(1) CONTINUOUS PAID CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT IN ANY BRANCH (EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATIVE, OR JUDICIAL) OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

(F) * * * THE FOLLOWING AMONG OTHERS, ARE NOT "EQUIVALENT INCREASES IN COMPENSATION: "

(3) AN INCREASE MADE FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF CORRECTING AN ERROR IN A PREVIOUS DEMOTION OR REDUCTION IN PAY.

SINCE THE EMPLOYEE'S GRADE GS-12 JOB IS STATED TO HAVE BEEN ABOLISHED ON JULY 1, 1953, YOUR STATEMENT THAT HE THEREAFTER WAS IMMEDIATELY DETAILED TO CONTINUE THE PERFORMANCE OF THE DUTIES OF THE ABOLISHED POSITION IS NOT UNDERSTOOD. A DETAIL, IN ITS GENERALLY ACCEPTED CONNOTATION, MEANS THE TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT OF AN EMPLOYEE FROM HIS REGULAR POSITION TO ANOTHER POSITION WITHOUT CHARGING HIS REGULAR CIVIL SERVICE OR PAY STATUS. OBVIOUSLY, THERE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN SUCH A DETAIL HERE SINCE THE POSITION TO WHICH HE PURPORTEDLY WAS DETAILED HAD BEEN ABOLISHED.

WHILE, UNDER SUBPART (3) OF THE REGULATIONS QUOTED ABOVE, AN INCREASE MADE FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF CORRECTING AN ERROR IN A PREVIOUS DEMOTION OR REDUCTION IN PAY, DOES NOT CONSTITUTE "AN EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION," AS THOSE WORDS ARE USED IN THE REGULATIONS, I DO NOT CONSIDER THAT THE REGULATION (SUBPART 3) WAS INTENDED TO APPLY TO ERRORS IN JUDGMENT. THE ABOLISHMENT OF THE GS-12 GRADE POSITION AND THE REESTABLISHMENT OF THAT SAME POSITION WITHIN SUCH A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, SUGGESTS THAT ANY ERROR COMMITTED HERE WAS ONE OF JUDGMENT. EVEN THOUGH AN ERROR IN JUDGMENT MAY HAVE BEEN COMMITTED IN THE ABOLISHMENT OF THE POSITION ON JULY 1, 1953, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT ALL ACTIONS TAKEN IN THIS CASE WERE LEGALLY PROPER, AND I KNOW OF NO APPROPRIATE LEGAL BASIS FOR NOT CONSIDERING THE EMPLOYEE'S REPROMOTION AN "EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION" AS THOSE WORDS ARE USED IN THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 954, AS AMENDED, AND THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY REGULATIONS. SEE 27 COMP. GEN. 59.

ALSO, YOU MAY BE ADVISED THAT THE FOREGOING CONCLUSIONS ARE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE VIEWS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AS CONTAINED IN A LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1954, FROM THE AGENCY RELATING TO THE MATTER. SPECIFICALLY ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION, THEREFORE, THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED STARTED A NEW WAITING PERIOD OF 78 CALENDAR WEEKS ON MARCH 29, 1954, WHEN HE WAS REPROMOTED TO THE GS-12 POSITION.