B-123388, AUG. 17, 1955

B-123388: Aug 17, 1955

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TO SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF MARCH 21. THE QUESTION APPEARS TO HAVE ARISEN BECAUSE OF THE USE OF THE TERM "RECLASSIFICATION" IN CERTAIN PERSONNEL ACTIONS. IT IS POINTED OUT IN THE DEPARTMENT'S LETTER THAT AFTER THE QUESTION WAS RAISED AND DISCUSSED INFORMALLY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WAS TAKEN TO REVIEW ALL CURRENT PERSONNEL ACTIONS INVOLVING "RECLASSIFICATIONS" TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER ALL SUCH TRANSACTIONS ACTUALLY MET THE REQUIREMENTS OF NCPI 156.2-LAA. THE LOCAL ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WAS TO THE EFFECT THAT THOSE REQUIREMENTS HAD BEEN MET AND. THE REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED THEREUNDER WAS IMPROPER. THIRTY DAYS' NOTICE WAS GIVEN EACH OF THE SIX EMPLOYEES AND AFTER NOVEMBER 6.

B-123388, AUG. 17, 1955

TO SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF MARCH 21, 1955, WITH ENCLOSURES, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT), REQUESTING OUR DECISION WHETHER CERTAIN ALLEGED IMPROPER SALARY PAYMENTS MADE TO SIX EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL AIR STATION, NORTH ISLAND, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, AS A RESULT OF ADMINISTRATIVE ERRORS IN APPLYING THE SAVED-PAY PROVISIONS OF SECTION 604 (B) (11) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949 AND APPLICABLE REGULATIONS THEREUNDER, SHOULD BE REFUNDED.

DURING OUR DECEMBER 1953 SITE AUDIT OF THE REFERRED-TO STATION A QUESTION AROSE CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF THE APPLICATION OF THE SAVED-PAY PROVISIONS TO THE CASES HERE INVOLVED. THE QUESTION APPEARS TO HAVE ARISEN BECAUSE OF THE USE OF THE TERM "RECLASSIFICATION" IN CERTAIN PERSONNEL ACTIONS. IT IS POINTED OUT IN THE DEPARTMENT'S LETTER THAT AFTER THE QUESTION WAS RAISED AND DISCUSSED INFORMALLY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WAS TAKEN TO REVIEW ALL CURRENT PERSONNEL ACTIONS INVOLVING "RECLASSIFICATIONS" TO ASCERTAIN WHETHER ALL SUCH TRANSACTIONS ACTUALLY MET THE REQUIREMENTS OF NCPI 156.2-LAA. ORIGINALLY, THE LOCAL ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WAS TO THE EFFECT THAT THOSE REQUIREMENTS HAD BEEN MET AND, ACCORDINGLY, THE PROVISIONS OF NCPI 195.3-3I HAD BEEN APPLIED, AND THE SALARY OF THE INVOLVED EMPLOYEES SAVED THEREUNDER BY DIRECTION OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE STATION.

UPON HIGHER ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW OF ALL CASES INVOLVING "RECLASSIFICATION" IT NOW FINALLY HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT IN SIX CASES THE ACTIONS TAKEN DID NOT CONSTITUTE "RECLASSIFICATION" AS DEFINED IN THE ABOVE REFERRED-TO REGULATIONS AND THAT, ACCORDINGLY, APPLICATION OF THE SAVED-PAY PROVISIONS OF SECTION 604 (B) (11) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AND THE REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED THEREUNDER WAS IMPROPER. THIRTY DAYS' NOTICE WAS GIVEN EACH OF THE SIX EMPLOYEES AND AFTER NOVEMBER 6, 1954, THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE SALARIES OF THOSE EMPLOYEES NO LONGER WERE SAVED TO THEM. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE SAVED COMPENSATION WRONGFULLY PAID RANGES FROM $25.50 TO $1,133.16 AND THAT TWO OF THE EMPLOYEES HAVE REFUNDED $34.76 AND $25.50 APPLICABLE TO THEM.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE INVOLVED EMPLOYEES EITHER PREPARED THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THEIR POSITIONS OR AGREED THERETO AND WERE FULLY APPRISED OF THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES THEREOF. EACH EMPLOYEE BELIEVES THAT NO MATERIAL CHANGE ACTUALLY WAS MADE WHEN THE RESPECTIVE GRADES WERE CHANGED DOWNWARD. THAT BELIEF ORIGINALLY APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN CONCURRED IN BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS AT THE INSTALLATION. HOWEVER, THE SUBSEQUENT ACKNOWLEDGMENT, AFTER A FULL REVIEW OF THE CASES, THAT THE EMPLOYEES WERE NOT ENTITLED TO HAVE THEIR SALARIES SAVED UNDER THE STATUE AND APPLICABLE REGULATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS AND THAT THE ORIGINAL INTERPRETATION OF THOSE REGULATIONS HAD BEEN A MISTAKE WAS A PROPER EXERCISE OF ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY.

THE MATTER HERE PARTAKES OF THE NATURE OF THE PROPER ALLOCATION OF THE ASSIGNMENTS OR JOBS TO APPROPRIATE GRADES, AND FOLLOWING THE PRINCIPLE ESTABLISHED IN SECTION 502 OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 958, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN TO DISCONTINUE THE SAVED PAY THAT HAD BEEN GRANTED THROUGH ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR SHOULD BE GIVEN PROSPECTIVE APPLICATION ONLY. ACCORDINGLY, IN THE TWO CASES WHERE REFUNDS WERE MADE BY THE EMPLOYEES THE AMOUNTS SO REFUNDED ..END :