B-126125, DECEMBER 28, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 374

B-126125: Dec 28, 1955

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COMPENSATION - RETROACTIVE INCREASES - FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955 - PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL RATES OF COMPENSATION WHICH ARE ESTABLISHED FOR PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE UNDER AUTHORITY OF 5 U.S.C. 171P CONSTITUTE RATES "FIXED BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION PURSUANT TO LAW" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 8 (A) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955. THE COMPENSATION OF WHICH OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IS FIXED ADMINISTRATIVELY WITHIN THE RANGE PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 1 OF PUBLIC LAW 313. THE QUESTION STATED IN YOUR LETTER IS AS FOLLOWS: OUR QUESTION IS TWOFOLD: 1. IF THE ANSWER TO THE FIRST QUESTION IS IN THE NEGATIVE.

B-126125, DECEMBER 28, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 374

COMPENSATION - RETROACTIVE INCREASES - FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955 - PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL RATES OF COMPENSATION WHICH ARE ESTABLISHED FOR PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE UNDER AUTHORITY OF 5 U.S.C. 171P CONSTITUTE RATES "FIXED BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION PURSUANT TO LAW" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 8 (A) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955, SO THAT SUCH PERSONNEL MAY RECEIVE THE RETROACTIVE SALARY INCREASES PROVIDED IN THE 1955 ACT SUBJECT, HOWEVER, TO THE MAXIMUM SALARY LIMITATION OF $14,800 CONTAINED IN SECTION 9.

TO THE CHAIRMAN, UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, DECEMBER 28, 1955:

YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 17, 1955, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER SECTION 8 (A) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955, APPROVED JUNE 28, 1955, 69 STAT. 178, 5 U.S.C. 1113, CONSTITUTES AUTHORITY FOR INCREASING THE COMPENSATION OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OCCUPYING CERTAIN PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC POSITIONS UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, THE COMPENSATION OF WHICH OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IS FIXED ADMINISTRATIVELY WITHIN THE RANGE PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 1 OF PUBLIC LAW 313, APPROVED AUGUST 1, 1947. SPECIFICALLY, THE QUESTION STATED IN YOUR LETTER IS AS FOLLOWS:

OUR QUESTION IS TWOFOLD:

1. UNDER SECTION 8 (A) OF PUBLIC LAW 94, MAY THE COMMISSION APPROVE THE REQUESTED INCREASES RETROACTIVELY TO THE FIRST PAY PERIOD WHICH BEGAN AFTER FEBRUARY 28, 1955?

2. IF THE ANSWER TO THE FIRST QUESTION IS IN THE NEGATIVE, MAY THE COMMISSION APPROVE THE REQUESTED INCREASES PROSPECTIVELY UNDER SECTION 8 (A/?

SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1947, 61 STAT. 715, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 171P, IS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THAT THE RATES OF COMPENSATION FOR POSITIONS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT SHALL NOT BE LESS THAN $10,000 PER ANNUM NOR MORE THAN $15,000 PER ANNUM, AND SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION.

SECTION 8 (A) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955 UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF WHICH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HAS REQUESTED THAT YOUR COMMISSION APPROVE RETROACTIVE COMPENSATION INCREASES FOR EMPLOYEES OCCUPYING THE POSITIONS INVOLVED, IS AS FOLLOWS:

(A) NOTWITHSTANDING SECTION 3679 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED (31 U.S.C., SEC. 665), THE RATES OF COMPENSATION OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AND OF THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHOSE RATES OF COMPENSATION ARE FIXED BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION PURSUANT TO LAW AND ARE NOT OTHERWISE INCREASED BY THIS ACT ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO BE INCREASED, EFFECTIVE ON OR AFTER THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD WHICH BEGAN AFTER FEBRUARY 28, 1955, BY AMOUNTS NOT TO EXCEED THE INCREASES PROVIDED BY THIS ACT FOR CORRESPONDING RATES OF COMPENSATION IN THE APPROPRIATE SCHEDULE OR SCALE OF PAY.

OUR VIEW IS THAT A RATE OF COMPENSATION FIXED UNDER THE AUTHORITY GRANTED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1947, CONSTITUTES A RATE OF COMPENSATION "FIXED BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION PURSUANT TO LAW" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 8 (A) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955, QUOTED ABOVE. THEREFORE, WE CONSIDER THAT SECTION 8 (A) CONSTITUTES AUTHORITY FOR INCREASING COMPENSATION RATES OF EMPLOYEES OCCUPYING POSITIONS ESTABLISHED UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1947, RETROACTIVELY TO THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD WHICH BEGAN AFTER FEBRUARY 28, 1955.

IN GRANTING THE INCREASES AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 8 (A), HOWEVER, EFFECT MUST BE GIVEN TO THE LIMITATIONS CONTAINED IN SECTION 9 OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955 WHICH PRECLUDE (1) THE GRANTING OF COMPENSATION INCREASES UNDER THAT ACT IN ANY CASE WHERE THE PER ANNUM RATE OF COMPENSATION FOR THE POSITION IS $14,800 OR MORE AND (2) THE INCREASING OF ANY RATE OF COMPENSATION BY AN AMOUNT WHICH WILL CAUSE SUCH RATE OF $14,800 PER ANNUM.

SPECIFICALLY REPLYING TO YOUR QUESTION, THEREFORE, WE SEE NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO YOUR COMMISSION'S APPROVAL OF THE COMPENSATION INCREASES INVOLVED--- WITHIN THE LIMITATIONS PRESCRIBED IN THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955--- RETROACTIVELY TO THE FIRST PAY PERIOD WHICH BEGAN AFTER FEBRUARY 28, 1955.