B-133598, SEP. 30, 1957

B-133598: Sep 30, 1957

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WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR AN ADJUSTMENT OF SALARY ALLEGED TO BE DUE YOU FOR A WITHIN-GRADE STEP INCREASE RECEIVED IN GS-9 WHICH WAS SUBSEQUENTLY CANCELED WHEN THE POSITION HELD BY YOU WAS REALLOCATED TO GS-11. YOU WERE INFORMED OF A WITHIN-GRADE SALARY INCREASE IN GS-9 TO BE EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 19. 350 PER YEAR AND YOU RECEIVED PAYMENT AT THE INCREASED RATE BEFORE THAT PERSONNEL ACTION WAS CANCELED BY NOTICE DATED MARCH 20. NOTICE OF WHICH WAS RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE OF FEBRUARY 14. THE REALLOCATION WAS MADE EFFECTIVE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE THEN CURRENT PAY PERIOD. YOU URGE THAT SINCE THE ABOVE PAYMENTS WERE LEGAL AND PROPER WHEN MADE. IS IN VIOLATION OF THE RULE THAT GENERALLY NEITHER THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NOR THE STATES MAY IMPAIR OR DIVEST VESTED RIGHTS.

B-133598, SEP. 30, 1957

TO MISS LUCILLE A. WATERS:

YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 17, 1957, REQUESTS OUR REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT OF DECEMBER 20, 1956, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR AN ADJUSTMENT OF SALARY ALLEGED TO BE DUE YOU FOR A WITHIN-GRADE STEP INCREASE RECEIVED IN GS-9 WHICH WAS SUBSEQUENTLY CANCELED WHEN THE POSITION HELD BY YOU WAS REALLOCATED TO GS-11, EFFECTIVE PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THE WITHIN-GRADE INCREASE.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT BY PERSONNEL ACTION DATED FEBRUARY 8, 1950, YOU WERE INFORMED OF A WITHIN-GRADE SALARY INCREASE IN GS-9 TO BE EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 19, 1950, FROM $5,225 PER YEAR TO $5,350 PER YEAR AND YOU RECEIVED PAYMENT AT THE INCREASED RATE BEFORE THAT PERSONNEL ACTION WAS CANCELED BY NOTICE DATED MARCH 20, 1950, INFORMING YOU OF YOUR PROMOTION, EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 5, 1950, TO GS-11, $5,400 PER YEAR. THAT PROMOTION RESULTED FROM REALLOCATION OF YOUR POSITION BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, NOTICE OF WHICH WAS RECEIVED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE OF FEBRUARY 14, 1950. THE REALLOCATION WAS MADE EFFECTIVE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE THEN CURRENT PAY PERIOD, NAMELY FEBRUARY 5, 1950.

YOU URGE THAT SINCE THE ABOVE PAYMENTS WERE LEGAL AND PROPER WHEN MADE, THE PERSONNEL ACTION OF MARCH 20, 1950, IS IN VIOLATION OF THE RULE THAT GENERALLY NEITHER THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NOR THE STATES MAY IMPAIR OR DIVEST VESTED RIGHTS, EXCEPT IN A LEGITIMATE EXERCISE OF POLICE POWER, AND THAT RETROACTIVE LAWS OR ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION DISTURBING OR DESTROYING EXISTING OR VESTED RIGHTS, OR CREATING NEW OBLIGATIONS WITH RESPECT TO PAST TRANSACTIONS ARE INVALID.

THE CLASSIFICATION ACTION BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION IN YOUR CASE WAS DATED FEBRUARY 14, 1950, AND WAS RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE ON THE SAME DAY. THAT ACTION CONSISTED OF A BLANKET REALLOCATION OF AN ENTIRE GROUP OF POSITIONS IN THE SAME LINE OF WORK AND WHILE IT WAS BASED UPON ADMINISTRATIVE RECOMMENDATION, IT WAS A CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION RATHER THAN AN ADMINISTRATIVE RECLASSIFICATION OF THE POSITIONS TO GS-11. THEREFORE, THE ACTION IN MAKING THE REALLOCATION EFFECTIVE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD IN WHICH THE NOTICE WAS RECEIVED FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION FOLLOWED THE ESTABLISHED RULE IN SUCH CASES. 129964, DECEMBER 17, 1956; 4 COMP. GEN. 280. AS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE REALLOCATION, WHICH MUST BE CONSIDERED AS GRANTING AN EQUIVALENT INCREASE WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 701 (A) OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 954, WAS PRIOR TO THE DATE ON WHICH YOU OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE BECOME ENTITLED TO THE WITHIN-GRADE INCREASE IN GS-9, THE PERSONNEL ACTION EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 19, WAS INEFFECTIVE TO AUTHORIZE SUCH WITHIN-GRADE INCREASE AND GAVE YOU NO VESTED RIGHT THERETO. THIS IS TRUE EVEN THOUGH THAT PERSONNEL ACTION HAD BEEN PROCESSED PREVIOUSLY. THEREFORE, THE CANCELLATION OF THE WITHIN-GRADE INCREASE AND THE FIXING OF YOUR INITIAL SALARY IN GS-11 ON THE BASIS OF THE PRECEDING STEP OF $5,225 IN GS-9 WERE PROPER.