B-134820, JANUARY 24, 1958, 37 COMP. GEN. 492

B-134820: Jan 24, 1958

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IT IS MANDATORY THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY TAKE ACTION WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME TO PLACE THE EXISTING POSITIONS IN THE PROPER CLASSES AND GRADES PRESCRIBED IN THE REVISED STANDARDS AND TO PAY THE SCHEDULED SALARIES OF THE GRADES. SHALL FORM THE BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION AND THAT SUCH CHANGES BECOME EFFECTIVE ON THE DATE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IS TAKEN TO FINALLY ALLOCATE OR REALLOCATE THE POSITIONS OR SUCH LATER DATE AS MIGHT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY FIXED. IS AMPLIFIED TO THE EXTENT THAT SUCH LATER DATE AS MIGHT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY FIXED MUST BE WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION RECLASSIFYING POSITIONS TO CONFORM WITH REVISED STANDARDS PUBLISHED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION IS MANDATORY UNDER APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949.

B-134820, JANUARY 24, 1958, 37 COMP. GEN. 492

CLASSIFICATION - RECLASSIFICATION - ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WHEN THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION PREPARES AND PUBLISHES REVISED STANDARDS FOR POSITIONS AS REQUIRED UNDER SECTION 401 OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 5 U.S.C. 1094, IT IS MANDATORY THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCY TAKE ACTION WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME TO PLACE THE EXISTING POSITIONS IN THE PROPER CLASSES AND GRADES PRESCRIBED IN THE REVISED STANDARDS AND TO PAY THE SCHEDULED SALARIES OF THE GRADES, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION ESTIMATES DID NOT INCLUDE THE INCREASED COST RESULTING FROM THE APPLICATION OF THE NEW STANDARDS. THE HOLDING IN 30 COMP. GEN. 156 THAT DEPARTMENTAL ACTIONS UNDER SECTION 502 OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 5 U.S.C. 1102, SHALL FORM THE BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION AND THAT SUCH CHANGES BECOME EFFECTIVE ON THE DATE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IS TAKEN TO FINALLY ALLOCATE OR REALLOCATE THE POSITIONS OR SUCH LATER DATE AS MIGHT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY FIXED, IS AMPLIFIED TO THE EXTENT THAT SUCH LATER DATE AS MIGHT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY FIXED MUST BE WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME.

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JANUARY 24, 1958:

ON JANUARY 6, 1958, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION RECLASSIFYING POSITIONS TO CONFORM WITH REVISED STANDARDS PUBLISHED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION IS MANDATORY UNDER APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 954, 5 U.S.C. 1071 NOTE.

BRIEFLY THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED IN THE SUBMISSION SHOW THAT SOME YEARS AGO YOUR DEPARTMENT CALLED TO THE ATTENTION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED IN THE INTERPRETATION OF THE EXISTING PUBLISHED STANDARDS FOR MEAT INSPECTION POSITIONS AND THE INEQUITIES RESULTING THEREFROM WHICH CAUSED MANY COMPLAINTS FROM DISSATISFIED EMPLOYEES. YOUR DEPARTMENT POINTS OUT THAT AFTER EXHAUSTIVE STUDIES BY YOUR DEPARTMENT AND THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, OVER LONG PERIOD OF TIME --- 1952 TO 1957--- THE COMMISSION FINALLY, IN JUNE 1957, PUBLISHED THE REVISED STANDARDS FOR MEAT INSPECTION POSITIONS. BASED UPON THE PUBLISHED REVISED STANDARDS ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WAS TAKEN EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 6, 1957, RECLASSIFYING EXISTING POSITIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUCH STANDARDS.

SPECIFICALLY, YOUR QUESTIONS ARE PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

(1) WHETHER THE ACTION TAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT IN USING FUNDS APPROPRIATED UNDER THE 1958 AGRICULTURAL APPROPRIATION ACT FOR PAYING COSTS RESULTING FROM THE RECLASSIFICATION OF POSITIONS IN THE MEAT INSPECTION DIVISION WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE APPLICABLE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS.

(2) IF THE DEPARTMENT WAS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO PLACE IN EFFECT THE REVISED STANDARDS, WILL IT BE NECESSARY NOW TO RESCIND THE ACTION TAKEN AND RECOVER THE AMOUNTS ALREADY PAID TO THE MPLOYEES?

SECTION 401 OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 957, 5 U.S.C. 1094, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 401. (A) THE COMMISSION, AFTER CONSULTATION WITH THE DEPARTMENTS, SHALL PREPARE STANDARDS FOR PLACING POSITIONS IN THEIR PROPER CLASSES AND GRADES. THE COMMISSION IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE SUCH INQUIRIES OR INVESTIGATIONS OF THE DUTIES, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS OF POSITIONS AS IT DEEMS NECESSARY FOR THIS PURPOSE. IN SUCH STANDARDS THE COMMISSION SHALL (1) DEFINE THE VARIOUS CLASSES OF POSITIONS THAT EXIST IN THE SERVICE IN TERMS OF DUTIES, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS; (2) ESTABLISH THE OFFICIAL CLASS ITLES; AND (3) SET FORTH THE GRADES IN WHICH SUCH CLASSES HAVE BEEN PLACED BY THE COMMISSION. AT THE REQUEST OF THE COMMISSION, THE DEPARTMENTS SHALL FURNISH INFORMATION FOR AND COOPERATE IN THE PREPARATION OF SUCH STANDARDS. SUCH STANDARDS SHALL BE PUBLISHED IN SUCH FORM AS THE COMMISSION MAY DETERMINE.

(B) THE COMMISSION SHALL KEEP SUCH STANDARDS UP TO DATE. FROM TIME TO TIME, AFTER CONSULTATION WITH THE DEPARTMENTS TO THE EXTENT DEEMED NECESSARY BY THE COMMISSION, IT MAY REVISE, SUPPLEMENT, OR ABOLISH EXISTING STANDARDS, OR PREPARE NEW STANDARDS, SO THAT, AS NEARLY AS MAY BE PRACTICABLE, POSITIONS EXISTING AT ANY GIVEN TIME WITHIN THE SERVICE WILL BE COVERED BY CURRENT PUBLISHED STANDARDS.

HOUSE REPORT NO. 1264, 81ST CONGRESS, STATES AS FOLLOWS REGARDING SECTION 401:

THIS SECTION AUTHORIZES AND DIRECTS THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION TO PREPARE, PUBLISH, AND KEEP UP TO DATE ALLOCATION STANDARDS; I.E., WRITTEN STANDARDS FOR PLACING INDIVIDUAL POSITIONS IN THEIR PROPER CLASSES AND GRADES. * * *

THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION COVER THE STANDARDS-SETTING AUTHORITY THE COMMISSION ALREADY HAS IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE BY STATUTE AND IN THE FIELD SERVICE BY EXECUTIVE ORDER. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

UNDER THE LANGUAGE OF THE FOREGOING SECTION AND THE STATEMENT IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY CONCERNING THAT SECTION, THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION IS REQUIRED TO PREPARE STANDARDS FOR PLACING POSITIONS IN THEIR PROPER CLASSES AND GRADES AND TO KEEP SUCH STANDARDS UP TO DATE SO THAT EXISTING POSITIONS WILL BE COVERED BY CURRENT PUBLISHED STANDARDS.

UNDER SECTION 302 (A), OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 957, 5 U.S.C. 1092 (A), EACH POSITION IS REQUIRED TO BE PLACED IN ITS APPROPRIATE CLASS BASED UPON THE DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF SUCH POSITION AND THE QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED BY SUCH DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES. PARAGRAPH (B) OF THE SAME SECTION, 63 STAT. 957, 5 U.S.C. 1092 (B), REQUIRES THAT EACH CLASS SHALL BE PLACED IN ITS APPROPRIATE GRADE BASED UPON THE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY, RESPONSIBILITY, AND QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS OF THE WORK OF SUCH CLASS. HOUSE REPORT NO. 1264 ALSO CONTAINS A STATEMENT RESPECTING SECTION 302, 5 U.S.C. 1092, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

THIS SECTION REQUIRES THAT EACH POSITION BE PLACED IN THE APPROPRIATE CLASS, AND THAT EACH CLASS BE PLACED IN ITS APPROPRIATE GRADE, ON THE BASIS OF DUTIES, RESPONSIBILITIES, AND QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS OF THE WORK INVOLVED IN THE POSITION OR IN THE CASE OF POSITIONS CONCERNED.

IT IS APPARENT FROM THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 302 (A) AND (B) AND THE STATEMENT IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY THAT POSITIONS SHALL BE PLACED IN THEIR APPROPRIATE CLASSES AND GRADES.

SECTION 502 (A), 63 STAT. 958, 5 U.S.C. 1102 (A) PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART, THAT "EACH DEPARTMENT SHALL PLACE EACH POSITION UNDER ITS JURISDICTION AND TO WHICH THIS ACT APPLIES IN ITS APPROPRIATE CLASS AND GRADE IN CONFORMANCE WITH STANDARDS PUBLISHED BY THE COMMISSION.' CONCERNING SECTION 502, HOUSE REPORT NO. 1264 STATES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

THIS SECTION SETS FORTH THE ORDINARY DAY-BY-DAY AUTHORITY AND PROCEDURE. FOLLOWING THE STANDARDS PROVIDED FOR IN TITLE IV, THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED IS REQUIRED TO PLACE ITS POSITIONS IN PROPER CLASSES AND GRADES. THE DEPARTMENT'S ACTIONS WILL BE OFFICIAL FOR PAY AND PERSONNEL PURPOSES, WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL OF THE COMMISSION * * *. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

SECTION 504 (A), 63 STAT. 959, 5 U.S.C. 1104 (A), PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, THAT:

WHENEVER THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT ANY DEPARTMENT IS NOT PLACING POSITIONS IN CLASSES AND GRADES IN CONFORMANCE WITH OR CONSISTENTLY WITH PUBLISHED STANDARDS, IT MAY REVOKE OR SUSPEND IN WHOLE OR IN PART THE AUTHORITY GRANTED TO THE DEPARTMENT UNDER SECTION 502 * * *.

HOUSE REPORT NO. 1264 CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT RESPECTING SECTION 504:

THIS SECTION AUTHORIZED THE COMMISSION TO REVOKE OR SUSPEND IN WHOLE OR IN PART THE AUTHORITY OF A DEPARTMENT TO PLACE POSITIONS IN CLASSES AND GRADES WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL OF THE COMMISSION, WHENEVER THE COMMISSION FINDS THAT THE DEPARTMENT IS NOT FOLLOWING THE COMMISSION'S STANDARDS. AFTER SUCH REVOCATION OR SUSPENSION, THE COMMISSION MAY RESTORE SUCH AUTHORITY TO THE EXTENT THAT CORRECTIVE MEASURES TAKEN BY THE DEPARTMENT SATISFY THE COMMISSION THAT SUBSEQUENT ACTIONS WILL BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH STANDARDS.

FROM THE LANGUAGE OF SECTION 502 (A) AND 504 (A) AND THE STATEMENTS IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY CONCERNING THOSE SECTIONS, IT IS APPARENT THAT EACH DEPARTMENT CONCERNED IS REQUIRED TO PLACE EACH POSITION UNDER ITS JURISDICTION AND TO WHICH THE ACT APPLIES IN ITS APPROPRIATE CLASS AND GRADE IN CONFORMANCE WITH STANDARDS PUBLISHED BY THE COMMISSION OR THAT IN THEIR REFUSAL TO ACT THE COMMISSION WILL TAKE THE ACTION ON ITS OWN INITIATIVE.

SECTION 603 (A), 5 U.S.C. 1113 (A), PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THE RATES OF BASIC COMPENSATION WITH RESPECT TO OFFICERS, EMPLOYEES, AND POSITIONS TO WHICH THIS ACT APPLIES SHALL BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SCHEDULES OF PER ANNUM RATES * * *.

THUS, IF A POSITION IS RECLASSIFIED TO A HIGHER GRADE, THE INCUMBENT BECOMES ENTITLED TO THE SCHEDULED COMPENSATION PROVIDED FOR SUCH HIGHER GRADE.

BASED UPON THE FOREGOING STATUTORY PROVISIONS AND WHAT HAS BEEN SAID IN THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY CONCERNING THEM, WE CONCLUDE THAT IT IS MANDATORY THAT ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION BE TAKEN TO PLACE EXISTING POSITIONS IN PROPER CLASSES AND GRADES PRESCRIBED BY REVISED STANDARDS PUBLISHED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AND TO PAY THE SCHEDULED SALARIES OF THE GRADES. THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IS TO BE TAKEN WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME AFTER PUBLICATION OF SUCH STANDARDS, OTHERWISE THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 504 (A) WOULD BE APPLICABLE. THEREFORE, YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE MAKING AN ANSWER TO YOUR SECOND QUESTION UNNECESSARY.

OUR DECISION, 30 COMP. GEN. 156, HOLDING THAT ACTIONS BY DEPARTMENTS -- UNDER SECTION 502--- SHALL FORM THE BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION AND THAT SUCH CHANGES BECOME EFFECTIVE ON THE DATE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION IS TAKEN BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER VESTED WITH PROPER AUTHORITY TO FINALLY ALLOCATE OR REALLOCATE THE POSITIONS OR SUCH LATER DATE AS MIGHT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY FIXED, IS AMPLIFIED TO THE EXTENT THAT SUCH LATER DATE AS MIGHT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY FIXED MUST BE WITHIN A REASONABLE PERIOD OF TIME.