B-132177, JUL. 26, 1957

B-132177: Jul 26, 1957

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WHICH POSITION WAS REEVALUATED AND ALLOCATED TO GRADE WB-17 BECAUSE OF A REORGANIZATION OF THE UNIT AND A REDUCTION OF ITS STAFF. THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADOPTION OF HIS SUGGESTION CONCERNING THE USE OF THE XEROX EQUIPMENT MADE POSSIBLE THE ELIMINATION OF CERTAIN MORE EXPENSIVE TYPES OF EQUIPMENT WHICH OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE CAUSED THE FOREMAN'S GRADE TO REMAIN AT GRADE WB-20. PENALIZED FOR SUGGESTING SUCH CONSIDERABLE IMPROVEMENTS IN THE SERVICE AND THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE FAILURE TO PROTECT HIM FROM A LOSS OF PAY WOULD HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON HIS MORALE AND ON THE MORALE OF OTHER EMPLOYEES. METHOD OR DEVICE FOR WHICH THE AWARD IS MADE SHALL NOT FORM THE BASIS OF A FURTHER CLAIM OF ANY NATURE UPON THE GOVERNMENT * * *. "/F) AN AWARD UNDER THIS TITLE SHALL BE GIVEN DUE WEIGHT IN QUALIFYING AND SELECTING EMPLOYEES FOR PROMOTION.'.

B-132177, JUL. 26, 1957

TO HONORABLE ALBERT M. COLE, ADMINISTRATOR, HOUSING AND HOME FINANCE AGENCY:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 10, 1957, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH BELOW, THE PUBLIC HOUSING ADMINISTRATION LEGALLY MAY RESTORE TO A WAGE RATE EMPLOYEE THE HIGHER RATE OF PAY HE HAD ATTAINED IN GRADE WB-20 IN HIS POSITION AS SHOP FOREMAN, PRINTING AND REPRODUCTION UNIT, WHICH POSITION WAS REEVALUATED AND ALLOCATED TO GRADE WB-17 BECAUSE OF A REORGANIZATION OF THE UNIT AND A REDUCTION OF ITS STAFF.

YOU OUTLINE THE VARIOUS FACTORS OF THE MATTER SHOWING THE COMPOSITION AND STAFFING OF THE UNIT BEFORE AND AFTER ITS REORGANIZATION AND, COMPARATIVELY, WITH OR WITHOUT THE USE OF XEROX EQUIPMENT. YOU POINT OUT THAT THE USE OF SUCH EQUIPMENT AND REDUCTIONS IN GRADES OF PERSONNEL OF THE UNIT RESULTED LARGELY FROM THE FOREMAN'S SUGGESTION UNDER THE INCENTIVE AWARDS PROGRAM, AND THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE ADOPTION OF HIS SUGGESTION CONCERNING THE USE OF THE XEROX EQUIPMENT MADE POSSIBLE THE ELIMINATION OF CERTAIN MORE EXPENSIVE TYPES OF EQUIPMENT WHICH OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE CAUSED THE FOREMAN'S GRADE TO REMAIN AT GRADE WB-20. IN THIS REGARD YOU POINT OUT ALSO THAT THE FOREMAN WOULD BE, IN EFFECT, PENALIZED FOR SUGGESTING SUCH CONSIDERABLE IMPROVEMENTS IN THE SERVICE AND THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE FAILURE TO PROTECT HIM FROM A LOSS OF PAY WOULD HAVE AN ADVERSE EFFECT ON HIS MORALE AND ON THE MORALE OF OTHER EMPLOYEES, TENDING TO DISCOURAGE THE MAKING OF SUGGESTIONS IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST, CONTRARY TO THE PURPOSE OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES' INCENTIVE AWARDS ACT, 68 STAT. 1112, 1113.

SECTION 304 OF THAT ACT, 5 U.S.C. 2123, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"/D) A CASH AWARD UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL BE IN ADDITION TO THE REGULAR COMPENSATION OF THE RECIPIENT AND THE ACCEPTANCE OF SUCH CASH AWARD SHALL CONSTITUTE AN AGREEMENT THAT THE USE BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES * * * OF ANY IDEA, METHOD OR DEVICE FOR WHICH THE AWARD IS MADE SHALL NOT FORM THE BASIS OF A FURTHER CLAIM OF ANY NATURE UPON THE GOVERNMENT * * *.

"/F) AN AWARD UNDER THIS TITLE SHALL BE GIVEN DUE WEIGHT IN QUALIFYING AND SELECTING EMPLOYEES FOR PROMOTION.'

WE UNDERSTAND THE MATTER HERE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A CLAIM SUCH AS IS PRECLUDED BY SUBSECTION (D) BUT, IN LIGHT OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED IN YOUR LETTER, THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROPOSAL MAY BE CONSIDERED AS IN THE NATURE OF A PROMOTION WITHIN PURVIEW OF SUBSECTION (F), QUOTED ABOVE. MOREOVER, RESPECTING THE AUTHORITY CONFERRED UPON ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES OF THE EMPLOYING AGENCIES BY SECTION 202 (7) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 1082 (7/--- TO FIX AND ADJUST THE COMPENSATION OF WAGE BOARD TYPE EMPLOYEES FROM TIME TO TIME AS NEARLY AS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN ACCORDANCE WITH PREVAILING RATES--- WE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT IF YOUR AGENCY ADOPTS A POLICY EITHER ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS OR BY GENERAL REGULATION THAT IT IS IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST TO SAVE WAGE BOARD TYPE EMPLOYEES FROM REDUCTIONS IN COMPENSATION RESULTING SOLELY FROM THEIR SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPROVEMENTS OF THE AGENCY'S SERVICE, AS HERE INVOLVED. SEE 34 COMP. GEN. 563.

SINCE, BY REASON OF THE FOREGOING CONCLUSION, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE TO SAVE MR. MATTHEWS' SALARY AT THE TIME OF HIS REDUCTION IN GRADE WE SEE NO OBJECTION TO RESTORING HIM TO THE WAGE RATE OF HIS FORMER GRADE AS IN THE NATURE OF SAVED COMPENSATION EFFECTIVE PROSPECTIVELY ON THE BASIS THAT SUCH A SAVINGS OF SALARY WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE HAD THE MATTER BEEN PROPERLY CONSIDERED WHEN THE REDUCTION IN GRADE OCCURRED.