B-127255, MAY 1, 1956

B-127255: May 1, 1956

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VETERANS ADMINISTRATION: WE HAVE RECEIVED AN INQUIRY FROM THE CHAIRMAN. WHO IS PRESENTLY EMPLOYED AS A SECRETARY (STENOGRAPHY). SHE WAS TRANSFERRED TO A NEW VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL AT SALISBURY. MISS GADDY WAS NOTIFIED THAT THE POSITION WOULD BE CLASSIFIED AS GS-3. EACH DEPARTMENT SHALL GRANT AN ADDITIONAL STEP- INCREASE (TO BE KNOWN AS A LONGEVITY STEP-INCREASE) BEYOND THE MAXIMUM SCHEDULED RATE OF THE GRADE IN WHICH HIS POSITION IS PLACED. TO EACH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR EACH THREE YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE COMPLETED BY HIM AT SUCH MAXIMUM RATE OR AT A RATE IN EXCESS THEREOF AUTHORIZED BY THIS SECTION WITHOUT INCREASE IN GRADE OR RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION EXCEPT SUCH INCREASE AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY ANY PROVISION OF LAW OF GENERAL APPLICATION. * * * "/B) (6) THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SHALL HAVE HAD.

B-127255, MAY 1, 1956

TO HONORABLE H. V. HIGLEY, ADMINISTRATOR, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION:

WE HAVE RECEIVED AN INQUIRY FROM THE CHAIRMAN, COMMITTEE ON POST OFFICE AND CIVIL SERVICE, UNITED STATES SENATE, CONCERNING THE ELIGIBILITY FOR A LONGEVITY STEP-INCREASE OF MISS FANNIE MAE GADDY, WHO IS PRESENTLY EMPLOYED AS A SECRETARY (STENOGRAPHY), GS-3, AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL, SALISBURY, NORTH CAROLINA.

IT APPEARS THAT MISS GADDY HAS SERVED IN HER PRESENT POSITION AND IN POSITIONS OF EQUIVALENT OR HIGHER GRADE IN EXCESS OF THE 10 YEARS IN THE AGGREGATE REQUIRED UNDER 5 U.S.C. 1123 (B) (6), AND THAT SHE ATTAINED THE HIGHEST WITHIN-GRADE STEP OF HER PRESENT GRADE EFFECTIVE AUGUST 5, 1951. ON DECEMBER 13, 1953, SHE WAS TRANSFERRED TO A NEW VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL AT SALISBURY, NORTH CAROLINA, AND GIVEN A "PROMOTION (INDEFINITE)" TO THE GRADE OF GS-4, WITH SALARY FIXED AT THE SIXTH WITHIN- GRADE RATE OF THAT GRADE. BY LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, MISS GADDY WAS NOTIFIED THAT THE POSITION WOULD BE CLASSIFIED AS GS-3. SHE RECEIVED A REDUCTION TO THAT GRADE EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 10, 1954, WITH SALARY FIXED AT THE HIGHEST WITHIN-GRADE RATE.

SECTION 703 OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED BY PUBLIC LAW 763, APPROVED SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, 5 U.S.C. 1123, INSOFAR AS PERTINENT, PROVIDES:

"/A) SUBJECT TO SUBSECTION (B) OF THIS SECTION, AND AS A REWARD FOR LONG AND FAITHFUL SERVICE, EACH DEPARTMENT SHALL GRANT AN ADDITIONAL STEP- INCREASE (TO BE KNOWN AS A LONGEVITY STEP-INCREASE) BEYOND THE MAXIMUM SCHEDULED RATE OF THE GRADE IN WHICH HIS POSITION IS PLACED, TO EACH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR EACH THREE YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE COMPLETED BY HIM AT SUCH MAXIMUM RATE OR AT A RATE IN EXCESS THEREOF AUTHORIZED BY THIS SECTION WITHOUT INCREASE IN GRADE OR RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION EXCEPT SUCH INCREASE AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY ANY PROVISION OF LAW OF GENERAL APPLICATION. * * *

"/B) (6) THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SHALL HAVE HAD, IN THE AGGREGATE, NOT LESS THAN TEN YEARS OF SERVICE IN THE POSITION WHICH HE THEN OCCUPIES, OR IN POSITIONS OF EQUIVALENT OR HIGHER CLASS OR GRADE.'

THE PERSONNEL ACTION BY WHICH MISS CADDY WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE SALISBURY FACILITY CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING REMARKS:

"THE GRADE AND CLASSIFICATION OF THIS POSITION IS SUBJECT TO POST AUDIT AND CORRECTION BY VA OR THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION.

"THE GRADE OF THIS POSITION IS SUBJECT TO NONRETROACTIVE ADJUSTMENT ON RECEIPT OF FINAL CLASSIFICATION. IF A CHANGE TO A LOWER GRADE OCCURS, THE SALARY BEING RECEIVED MAY NOT BE USED IN DETERMINING YOUR SALARY IN THE NEW GRADE OR IN ANY OTHER POSITION TO WHICH YOU MIGHT BE ASSIGNED.'

MOREOVER, THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, FROM THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION TO MISS CADDY STATES THAT:

"THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE POSITION YOU NOW OCCUPY, POSITION NUMBER 5267-127 TAKEN FROM TENTATIVE STAFFING GUIDE, HAVE BEEN VERY CAREFULLY ANALYZED AND EVALUATED. AS A RESULT, YOU ARE NOTIFIED THAT IT IS PROPOSED TO CLASSIFY YOUR POSITION AS GS-318-3, AT $3,430 P.A., EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 10, 1954.'

IT APPEARS FROM THE ABOVE THAT THE ALLOCATION OF THE POSITION AT THE TIME OF MISS CADDY'S TRANSFER WAS MERELY TENTATIVE. IN ANY EVENT THE PROMOTION OF THE EMPLOYEE WAS VOIDED BECAUSE OF THE ERRONEOUS ALLOCATION OF THE POSITION. HENCE, WE HAVE CONSIDERABLE DOUBT THAT HER PROMOTION WAS AN "INCREASE IN GRADE OR COMPENSATION" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STATUTE. ACCORDINGLY, AND ASSUMING THAT YOU HAVE NO INFORMATION TO THE CONTRARY, WE FEEL THAT MISS CADDY IS ENTITLED TO A LONGEVITY STEP-INCREASE EFFECTIVE ON THE DATE SHE WOULD HAVE RECEIVED IT IF THE POSITION INVOLVED HAD BEEN PROPERLY ALLOCATED INITIALLY. SINCE SUCH DATE FALLS WITHIN THE PERIOD DURING WHICH SHE WAS BEING PAID AT THE HIGHER RATE OF THE GS-4 POSITION, RETROACTIVE ADJUSTMENT OF HER COMPENSATION IS AUTHORIZED ONLY FROM THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HER REDUCTION TO THE LOWER GRADE.