B-134645, JAN. 7, 1958

B-134645: Jan 7, 1958

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WAS AFFIRMED BY OUR DECISION OF MAY 17. WHICH HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY CONSIDERED. THERE HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE SALARY STRUCTURE OF GRADE GS-15 UNDER THE CLASSIFICATION ACT THREE LONGEVITY STEPS. IS THE PER DIEM EQUIVALENT OF THE NEW PER ANNUM RATE OF $13. 335 PER ANNUM IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO ENABLE YOUR DEPARTMENT TO OBTAIN THE SERVICES OF QUALIFIED EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS. THE MATTER IS ONE WHICH SHOULD BE PRESENTED TO THE CONGRESS TO OBTAIN THE NECESSARY AUTHORITY IN THE DEPARTMENT'S APPROPRIATION. ALLOWS AGENCIES SUBJECT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT TO PAY A HIGHER RATE TO EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS THAN THAT AUTHORIZED THEREIN WHEN "OTHER RATES ARE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED IN THE APPROPRIATION OR OTHER LAW.'.

B-134645, JAN. 7, 1958

TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL:

ON DECEMBER 11, 1957, BY LETTER REFERENCED A7, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL REQUESTED, IN EFFECT, RECONSIDERATION OF OUR DECISION OF DECEMBER 6, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 267. THAT DECISION HELD THAT THE HIGHEST PER DIEM RATE OF COMPENSATION PAYABLE TO EXPERTS OR CONSULTANTS EMPLOYED BY AGENCIES SUBJECT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, UNDER THE GENERAL AUTHORITY OF SECTION 15 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 810, MAY NOT EXCEED THE EQUIVALENT OF THE MAXIMUM SALARY RATE FIXED BY THE 1949 ACT FOR GRADE GS-15, THE HIGHEST GRADE TO WHICH DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES UNDER THEIR OWN AUTHORITY MAY APPOINT CLASSIFICATION ACT EMPLOYEES.

THE DECISION OF DECEMBER 6, 1949, WAS AFFIRMED BY OUR DECISION OF MAY 17, 1950, B-94309 (UNPUBLISHED), TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE WHO LIKEWISE HAD CONTENDED THAT THE MAXIMUM SALARY RATE OF GRADE GS-18 SHOULD BE THE RATE FROM WHICH THE MAXIMUM COMPENSATION OF EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS COULD BE DERIVED. SINCE THAT TIME THERE HAS BEEN NO AMENDATORY OR OTHER LEGISLATION WHICH WOULD WARRANT ANY CHANGE IN OUR VIEWS. NEITHER DO THE ARGUMENTS SET FORTH IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL'S LETTER, WHICH HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY CONSIDERED, CONSTITUTE ANY BASIS FOR CHANGING THE CONCLUSION IN SAID DECISIONS. OF COURSE, SINCE THE DATE OF THE EARLIER DECISIONS, BY AMENDATORY LEGISLATION, THERE HAVE BEEN ADDED TO THE SALARY STRUCTURE OF GRADE GS-15 UNDER THE CLASSIFICATION ACT THREE LONGEVITY STEPS. THOSE LONGEVITY STEPS RAISE THE MAXIMUM PER ANNUM SALARY OF THAT GRADE TO $13,335. CONSISTENT WITH OUR DECISIONS THE HIGHEST RATE WHICH NOW MAY BE PAID UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 15 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, SUPRA, IS THE PER DIEM EQUIVALENT OF THE NEW PER ANNUM RATE OF $13,355.

IF IT BE DETERMINED THAT THE PER DIEM EQUIVALENT OF $13,335 PER ANNUM IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO ENABLE YOUR DEPARTMENT TO OBTAIN THE SERVICES OF QUALIFIED EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS, THE MATTER IS ONE WHICH SHOULD BE PRESENTED TO THE CONGRESS TO OBTAIN THE NECESSARY AUTHORITY IN THE DEPARTMENT'S APPROPRIATION. IN THAT CONNECTION, SECTION 15 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, ALLOWS AGENCIES SUBJECT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT TO PAY A HIGHER RATE TO EXPERTS AND CONSULTANTS THAN THAT AUTHORIZED THEREIN WHEN "OTHER RATES ARE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED IN THE APPROPRIATION OR OTHER LAW.'

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