B-132447, AUG. 8, 1957

B-132447: Aug 8, 1957

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WHICH YOU PROPOSE TO PAY ON THE BASIS THAT THE LOWER SALARY RATES WERE SET AS THE RESULT OF ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR. THE INITIAL SALARY RATE UNDER THE 1949 ACT WAS FIXED AT $4. THIS RATE WAS SUBSEQUENTLY INCREASED TO $4. THE POSITION WAS RECLASSIFIED UPWARD BY THE AGENCY WITH AN ASSIGNED TITLE OF ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT (SECRETARIAL) TO GRADE GS-8 AND THE SALARY RATE WAS FIXED IN THE 3RD STEP AT $4. THIS RATE OF PAY WAS SUBSEQUENTLY INCREASED TO $4. MISS GUPTON'S POSITION OF SECRETARY WAS AGAIN RECLASSIFIED UPWARD BY THE AGENCY ON FEBRUARY 18. WITH AN ASSIGNED TITLE OF SECRETARY (STENOGRAPHER) TO GS-9 AND THE RATE OF PAY WAS FIXED IN THE 2ND STEP AT $4. THIS RATE WAS CHANGED TO $5. WAS SUBSEQUENTLY INCREASED TO $5.

B-132447, AUG. 8, 1957

TO MR. DOUGLAS G. WRIGHT, ADMINISTRATOR, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR:

ON JULY 1, 1957, YOU ASKED US TO DECIDE WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT AN ENCLOSED PAYROLL VOUCHER (WITH RELATED DOCUMENTS) IN FAVOR OF MISS HARRIET F. GUPTON FOR $2,504.45. THAT VOUCHER REPRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SALARY RATES OF $4,545 AND $5,310 FOR THE PERIOD OCTOBER 12, 1952, TO MARCH 12, 1955, AND BETWEEN $5,310 AND $5,710 FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 13, 1955, TO JUNE 29, 1957, WHICH YOU PROPOSE TO PAY ON THE BASIS THAT THE LOWER SALARY RATES WERE SET AS THE RESULT OF ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR.

ON OCTOBER 30, 1949, THE POSITION OCCUPIED BY MISS HARRIET F. GUPTON OF PERSONNEL ASSISTANT, CAF-345-7, INITIALLY CLASSIFIED UNDER THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923, BECAME SUBJECT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949 AS PERSONNEL ASSISTANT, GS-318-7. THE INITIAL SALARY RATE UNDER THE 1949 ACT WAS FIXED AT $4,200 PER YEAR AS THE 4TH STEP OF GRADE GS 7. THIS RATE WAS SUBSEQUENTLY INCREASED TO $4,325 PER YEAR, THE 5TH STEP OF GS-7, THROUGH WITHIN-GRADE SALARY ADVANCEMENT. ON FEBRUARY 19, 1950, THE POSITION WAS RECLASSIFIED UPWARD BY THE AGENCY WITH AN ASSIGNED TITLE OF ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT (SECRETARIAL) TO GRADE GS-8 AND THE SALARY RATE WAS FIXED IN THE 3RD STEP AT $4,450. THIS RATE OF PAY WAS SUBSEQUENTLY INCREASED TO $4,575, THE 4TH STEP OF GRADE GS-8, THROUGH WITHIN-GRADE SALARY ADVANCEMENT. MISS GUPTON'S POSITION OF SECRETARY WAS AGAIN RECLASSIFIED UPWARD BY THE AGENCY ON FEBRUARY 18, 1951, WITH AN ASSIGNED TITLE OF SECRETARY (STENOGRAPHER) TO GS-9 AND THE RATE OF PAY WAS FIXED IN THE 2ND STEP AT $4,725. THIS RATE WAS CHANGED TO $5,185 THROUGH PAY ADJUSTMENT INCREASE IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 201, 82ND CONGRESS, AND WAS SUBSEQUENTLY INCREASED TO $5,310 IN THE 3RD STEP OF GRADE GS-9 THROUGH WITHIN-GRADE SALARY ADVANCEMENT.

ON OCTOBER 12, 1952, THIS POSITION WAS REALLOCATED WITHOUT A MATERIAL CHANGE IN DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES TO GS-318-6, AS A RESULT OF A PAST AUDIT ACTION BY THE 9TH REGIONAL OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THEIR CERTIFICATION. BASED UPON THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION CERTIFICATION OF THE POSITION, THE SALARY RATE WAS FIXED IN THE PERSONNEL ACTION AT $4,545 PER YEAR, THE TOP STEP OF GRADE GS-6, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 25.103 (B) (1) OF THE FEDERAL PAY REGULATIONS.

THE SECRETARIAL POSITION OCCUPIED BY MISS GUPTON, IN WHICH SHE SERVED AS SECRETARY TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION FROM OCTOBER 29, 1943, TO THE PRESENT TIME, HAS REMAINED ESSENTIALLY THE SAME POSITION WITHOUT MATERIAL CHANGE THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE PERIOD.

YOU SAY THAT IT IS A LONG ESTABLISHED POLICY OF THE SOUTHWESTERN POWER ADMINISTRATION TO GIVE ALL EMPLOYEES THE BENEFIT OF THE MAXIMUM SALARY THAT CAN BE AUTHORIZED WITHIN THE LAW; THAT MISS GUPTON'S POSITION WAS REALLOCATED ON OCTOBER 12, 1952, FROM GS-318-9, $5,310, TO GS-318-6, $4,555, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 25.103 (B) OF THE FEDERAL PAY REGULATIONS AS THE RESULT OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR; AND THAT HER SALARY SHOULD HAVE BEEN RETAINED AT $5,310 PER ANNUM IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 25.103 (E) OF THE FEDERAL PAY REGULATIONS.

THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF SECTION 25.103 OF THE FEDERAL PAY REGULATIONS PROVIDED AS FOLLOWS:

"/B) (1) SUBJECT TO THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS OF PARAGRAPH (D) OF THIS SECTION AND SECTION 25.104, AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS REEMPLOYED, TRANSFERRED, REASSIGNED, PROMOTED, REPROMOTED, OR DEMOTED MAY BE PAID AT ANY SCHEDULED RATE FOR HIS GRADE WHICH DOES NOT EXCEED THE EMPLOYEE'S HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE. IF THE EMPLOYEE'S HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE FALLS BETWEEN TWO SCHEDULED RATES OF THE NEW GRADE, HE MAY BE GIVEN THE HIGHER RATE. * * *

"/E) EMPLOYEES WHO ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF TITLE VI OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949 OCCUPIED POSITIONS (1) WHICH IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO SUCH DATE WERE SUBJECT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923, AS AMENDED, (2) WHICH WERE INITIALLY ALLOCATED TO ANY OF THE GRADES OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949 IN THE MANNER PRESCRIBED THEREIN, AND (3) WHICH THEREAFTER ARE REDUCED BELOW SUCH GRADE, MAY CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THE SAME RATES OF BASIC COMPENSATION WHICH THEY RECEIVED ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACTION TAKEN TO REDUCE THE GRADE OF SUCH POSITION, SO LONG AS THEY REMAIN IN THE SAME POSITIONS WHICH THEY OCCUPIED ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF TITLE VI.'

SECTION 25.103 (E) DID NOT CONTEMPLATE SAVING FOR EMPLOYEES, IN MISS GUPTON'S SITUATION ADVANCES IN SALARY RESULTING FROM ADMINISTRATIVE REALLOCATIONS OCCURRING AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949. THAT SECTION AUTHORIZED THE SAVING OF THE SAME RATE OF BASIC COMPENSATION WHICH THE EMPLOYEES WOULD HAVE BEEN RECEIVING ON THE DAY OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION ACTION IF NO UPWARD REALLOCATIONS HAD INTERVENED, PLUS ANY WITHIN GRADE SALARY INCREASES EARNED IN THE MEANTIME. 32 COMP. GEN. 520. THUS, AT THE TIME OF THE DOWNWARD REALLOCATION IN 1952, IT WAS WITHIN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION FOR THE AGENCY TO HAVE SAVED MISS GUPTON'S GRADE GS-7 SALARY UNDER SECTION 25.103 (E). CONCURRENTLY THERE WAS AVAILABLE THE REMEDY AFFORDED BY SECTION 25.103 (B) (1) OF THE PAY REGULATIONS WHICH WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY FOLLOWED IN FIXING MISS GUPTON'S REDUCED SALARY. 32 COMP. GEN. 463.

SINCE THE ORIGINAL ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WAS PROPERLY TAKEN AT THE TIME, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE THEN CONTROLLING REGULATIONS OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, PM MEMORANDUM NO. 267, SUPPLEMENT 3, JULY 17, 1952, WHICH APPARENTLY EXCLUDED THE RELIEF OFFERED BY SECTION 25.103 (E) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEE'S PAY REGULATIONS WE FIND NO PROPER BASIS EXISTS FOR DISTURBING THE ORIGINAL ACTION. THE PAYROLL VOUCHER TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER IS RETAINED IN OUR FILES.