B-126984, MAR 5, 1956

B-126984: Mar 5, 1956

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BUREAU OF THE BUDGET: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 1. THE ATTENTION OF YOUR BUREAU WAS CALLED TO THE FACT THAT SOME EIGHT EMPLOYEES HAD BEEN PROMOTED TO HIGHER GRADES AT SALARY RATES IN THE HIGHER GRADE EXCEEDING THE EXISTING RATE BY NOT LESS THAN ONE STEP OF THE GRADE TO WHICH PROMOTED INSTEAD OF NOT EXCEEDING ONE STEP OF THE GRADE FROM WHICH PROMOTED AS REQUIRED BY THE LAW. NO CORRECTIVE ACTION WAS TAKEN CONCERNING THOSE ERRONEOUS RATES FROM THAT TIME UP TO AUGUST 27. 63 STAT. 469 PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART: "(B) ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WHO IS PROMOTED OR TRANSFERRED TO A POSITION IN A HIGHER GRADE SHALL RECEIVE BASIC COMPENSATION AT THE LOWEST RATE OF SUCH HIGHER GRADE WHICH EXCEEDS HIS EXISTING RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION BY NOT LESS THAN ONE STEP-INCREASE OF THE GRADE FROM WHICH HE IS PROMOTED OR TRANSFERRED. ***" THIS STATUTE IS CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS AND ADMITS OF NO CONSTRUCTION.

B-126984, MAR 5, 1956

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

W.H. ZIEHL, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 1, 1956, TO THE DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF AUDITS, OF OUR OFFICE, REPLYING TO INFORMAL AUDIT EXCEPTIONS IN THE ACCOUNTS OF MRS. E.J. MULLOY, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, IN THE MATTER OF OVERPAYMENTS OF COMPENSATION TO SEVERAL EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET.

IT APPEARS THAT IN THE COURSE OF OUR AUDIT OF PAYROLLS IN MAY 1954, THE ATTENTION OF YOUR BUREAU WAS CALLED TO THE FACT THAT SOME EIGHT EMPLOYEES HAD BEEN PROMOTED TO HIGHER GRADES AT SALARY RATES IN THE HIGHER GRADE EXCEEDING THE EXISTING RATE BY NOT LESS THAN ONE STEP OF THE GRADE TO WHICH PROMOTED INSTEAD OF NOT EXCEEDING ONE STEP OF THE GRADE FROM WHICH PROMOTED AS REQUIRED BY THE LAW. HOWEVER, NO CORRECTIVE ACTION WAS TAKEN CONCERNING THOSE ERRONEOUS RATES FROM THAT TIME UP TO AUGUST 27, 1955. THE ILLEGAL PAYMENTS TO THE EMPLOYEES RANGE FROM $374.99 TO $621.25. YOU REQUEST THE REMOVAL OF THE INFORMAL AUDIT EXCEPTION UPON THE GROUND THAT TO REQUIRE RECOVERY OF THE OVERPAYMENTS RESULTING FROM ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR WOULD CONSTITUTE A REAL HARDSHIP UPON THE INVOLVED EMPLOYEES.

SECTION 802(B) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 469 PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

"(B) ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WHO IS PROMOTED OR TRANSFERRED TO A POSITION IN A HIGHER GRADE SHALL RECEIVE BASIC COMPENSATION AT THE LOWEST RATE OF SUCH HIGHER GRADE WHICH EXCEEDS HIS EXISTING RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION BY NOT LESS THAN ONE STEP-INCREASE OF THE GRADE FROM WHICH HE IS PROMOTED OR TRANSFERRED. ***"

THIS STATUTE IS CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS AND ADMITS OF NO CONSTRUCTION. THUS, THE PAYMENTS IN QUESTION WERE MADE IN DIRECT CONTRAVENTION OF LAW, AND THE FACT THAT THEY RESULTED FROM AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR CONSTITUTES NO BASIS FOR RELIEVING THE CERTIFYING OFFICER FROM FINANCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ILLEGAL PAYMENTS, OR FOR RELIEVING THE INVOLVED EMPLOYEES WHO RECEIVED THEM.

WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO STATE FORMAL EXCEPTIONS AGAINST THE INVOLVED CERTIFYING OFFICER FOR THE ILLEGAL PAYMENTS IN QUESTION.