B-128140, B-126780, JUL. 24, 1956

B-126780,B-128140: Jul 24, 1956

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POST OFFICE IS CITED AS AN EXAMPLE. HIS SALARY WAS $5. HIS POSITION WAS CLASSIFIED BY THE POSTMASTER AS FOREMAN OF MAILS. BARNHART WAS ASSIGNED TO PFS-7 STEP 6 AT AN ANNUAL SALARY OF $5. HE WAS ASSIGNED TO THE FIRST STEP RATE IN PFS- 9. WE HELD THAT IT WAS WITHIN YOUR GENERAL REGULATORY AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE THAT INITIAL ALLOCATIONS UNDER THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE BE TENTATIVE PENDING THE EXPIRATION OF A PRESCRIBED PERIOD WITHIN WHICH APPEALS MIGHT BE FILED AND THAT THE CORRECTION OF SUCH TENTATIVE ALLOCATION WOULD RELATE BACK TO THE DATE OF THE ORIGINAL ALLOCATION AND "THE RATE OF COMPENSATION PAYABLE ON THE BASIS OF THE CORRECTED ALLOCATION MUST BE REGARDED AS THE ONLY LAWFUL RATE OF COMPENSATION PAYABLE FROM AND AFTER DECEMBER 3.

B-128140, B-126780, JUL. 24, 1956

TO THE HONORABLE, THE POSTMASTER GENERAL:

IN LETTER DATED JUNE 5, 1956, YOUR REFERENCE 800, THE DEPUTY POSTMASTER GENERAL REQUESTED ADVICE WHETHER OUR DECISION OF MARCH 12, 1956, B-126780, TO YOU, SHOULD BE APPLIED TO REQUIRE REFUND OF EXCESS SALARY PAYMENTS IN CASES, WHERE, UPON PROPER APPEAL BY AN EMPLOYEE, THE UPWARD ALLOCATION OF HIS POSITION UNDER THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE COMPENSATION ACT OF 1955 RESULTS IN A DECREASE IN HIS RATE OF COMPENSATION.

THE CASE OF MR. DENTON G. BARNHART OF THE BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, POST OFFICE IS CITED AS AN EXAMPLE, VIZ: PRIOR TO DECEMBER 3, 1955, HIS SALARY WAS $5,190 PER ANNUM. ON DECEMBER 3, 1955, HIS POSITION WAS CLASSIFIED BY THE POSTMASTER AS FOREMAN OF MAILS, KEY POSITION 21, PFS 7. UNDER THE CONVERSION RULES SET FORTH IN SECTION 304 (B) (3) OF THE REFERRED-TO ACT, MR. BARNHART WAS ASSIGNED TO PFS-7 STEP 6 AT AN ANNUAL SALARY OF $5,305, STEP 6 BEING THE SALARY STEP IN LEVEL 7 NEXT ABOVE HIS FORMER COMPENSATION. MR. BARNHART MADE A TIMELY APPEAL OF HIS POSITION ALLOCATION AND ON MARCH 6, 1956, THE REGIONAL DIRECTOR, WASHINGTON, D.C., REALLOCATED HIS POSITION TO GENERAL FOREMAN, MAILS, KEY POSITION 26, PFS- 9. SINCE THE ENTRANCE STEP PFS-9, $5,280 PER ANNUM, EXCEEDED THE COMPENSATION OF $5,190 PER ANNUM WHICH MR. BARNHART HAD BEEN RECEIVING PRIOR TO DECEMBER 3, 1955, HE WAS ASSIGNED TO THE FIRST STEP RATE IN PFS- 9, NAMELY, $5,280.

IN OUR DECISIONS OF MARCH 12, 1956, B-126780, WE HELD THAT IT WAS WITHIN YOUR GENERAL REGULATORY AUTHORITY TO PROVIDE THAT INITIAL ALLOCATIONS UNDER THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE BE TENTATIVE PENDING THE EXPIRATION OF A PRESCRIBED PERIOD WITHIN WHICH APPEALS MIGHT BE FILED AND THAT THE CORRECTION OF SUCH TENTATIVE ALLOCATION WOULD RELATE BACK TO THE DATE OF THE ORIGINAL ALLOCATION AND "THE RATE OF COMPENSATION PAYABLE ON THE BASIS OF THE CORRECTED ALLOCATION MUST BE REGARDED AS THE ONLY LAWFUL RATE OF COMPENSATION PAYABLE FROM AND AFTER DECEMBER 3, 1955.' THE SITUATION HERE INVOLVED DOES NOT FALL STRICTLY WITHIN THE DE FACTO RULE REFERRED TO IN THE LETTER OF JUNE 5. THAT RULE APPLIES PRIMARILY TO CASES WHERE THE NEW CLASSIFICATION IS PROSPECTIVELY EFFECTIVE, WHEREAS HERE THE CORRECTED CLASSIFICATION IS TO BE EFFECTIVE RETROACTIVELY. HOWEVER, CONSIDERING THE FACT THAT THE OVERPAYMENTS RESULTED FROM A MASS RECLASSIFICATION OF THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES UNDER THE NEW LAW AND THAT THE CORRECTED ACTION WAS THE RESULT OF ERRONEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE CLASSIFICATION IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, WE FEEL THAT THE PRESENT SITUATION IS SUFFICIENTLY ANALOGOUS TO THOSE INVOLVED IN THE DE FACTO RULE CASES TO WARRANT THE APPLICATION OF THE SAME PRINCIPLE HERE. ACCORDINGLY, WE WILL NOT OBJECT IF YOUR DEPARTMENT DOES NOT INSIST UPON COLLECTION OF THE OVERPAYMENTS IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE.