B-135580, MAY 9, 1958

B-135580: May 9, 1958

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REQUESTS REVIEW BY OUR OFFICE OF THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF $151.97 WHICH WAS DEDUCTED FROM YOUR SALARY AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE WILLIAMS AIR FORCE BASE. STANDARD FORM 50 WAS ISSUED TO CORRECT STANDARD FORM 50. ACTION WAS TAKEN TO COLLECT THE SALARY OVERPAYMENT BY MEANS OF PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS. BY THE LAST ACTION YOUR SALARY RATE WAS REDUCED TO STEP 1 OF GRADE GS-3. THIS INSTRUCTION GOVERNS THE DETERMINATION OF PAYRATES OF FORMER FEDERAL EMPLOYEES BEING HIRED AND CURRENT EMPLOYEES WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR PAY ADJUSTMENT AT THE TIME A PERSONNEL ACTION IS MADE ON A POSITION CHANGE. WILL HAVE HIS PAYRATE ADJUSTED TO NOT HIGHER THAN THE HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE FROM WHICH HE WAS REDUCED.

B-135580, MAY 9, 1958

TO MRS. BETTY S. LENTZ:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 28, 1958, REQUESTS REVIEW BY OUR OFFICE OF THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF $151.97 WHICH WAS DEDUCTED FROM YOUR SALARY AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE WILLIAMS AIR FORCE BASE, DUE TO THE CANCELLATION IN MARCH 1957, OF A PREVIOUS SALARY ADJUSTMENT OF JULY 10, 1956, FROM GS-3, STEP 1, $3,175 TO GS-3, STEP 3, $3,345, WHICH ADJUSTMENT HAD BEEN MADE RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE TO APRIL 30, 1956, TO CORRECT A PURPORTED ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR. FURTHER CORRESPONDENCE IN THAT REGARD HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE HONORABLE RICHARD L. NEUBERGER, UNITED STATES SENATE.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT EFFECTIVE APRIL 30, 1956, YOU RECEIVED A CAREER -CONDITIONAL APPOINTMENT AS CLERK-TYPIST, GS-3, STEP 1, $3,175 PER ANNUM. ON JULY 10, 1956, STANDARD FORM 50 WAS ISSUED TO CORRECT STANDARD FORM 50, DATED APRIL 30, 1956, TO STEP 3, $3,345 PER ANNUM. PERSONNEL ACTION DATED MAY 6, 1957, CANCELLED THIS SALARY ADJUSTMENT OF JULY 10, 1956, AND ACTION WAS TAKEN TO COLLECT THE SALARY OVERPAYMENT BY MEANS OF PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS. BY THE LAST ACTION YOUR SALARY RATE WAS REDUCED TO STEP 1 OF GRADE GS-3.

CHAPTER P (9) OF THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL INSTRUCTIONS FOUND IN THE WILLIAMS AIR FORCE BASE HANDBOOK FOR SUPERVISORS OF CIVILIANS, DATED JULY 1, 1955, AND IN EFFECT ON THE DATE OF YOUR APPOINTMENT AT THAT BASE, PROVIDED AS FOLLOWS:

"1. GENERAL. THIS INSTRUCTION GOVERNS THE DETERMINATION OF PAYRATES OF FORMER FEDERAL EMPLOYEES BEING HIRED AND CURRENT EMPLOYEES WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR PAY ADJUSTMENT AT THE TIME A PERSONNEL ACTION IS MADE ON A POSITION CHANGE. THIS INSTRUCTION DOES NOT COVER CURRENT FEDERAL EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRING TO THIS BASE.

"2. POLICY.

A. A FORMER FEDERAL EMPLOYEE BEING REEMPLOYED OR REPROMOTED WITHIN ONE YEAR AFTER BEING SEPARATED OR DOWNGRADED BY REDUCTION-IN-FORCE, OR BY DISPLACEMENT, WILL HAVE HIS PAYRATE ADJUSTED TO NOT HIGHER THAN THE HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE FROM WHICH HE WAS REDUCED.

B. ALL OTHER FORMER FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WILL BE EMPLOYED AT THE MINIMUM STEP OF THE GRADE UNLESS THE POSITION IS CONSIDERED BY THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OFFICER TO BE ONE IN A CRITICAL SHORTAGE CATEGORY. ANY DEVIATIONS FROM THIS POLICY, REQUESTED BY THE SELECTING SUPERVISOR WILL HAVE TO BE FULLY JUSTIFIED AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH 4.

C. AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE CONSIDERED FOR SALARY ADJUSTMENT IF HE IS REASSIGNED TO A POSITION WHERE THE SKILL IS CRITICAL OR HE HAS SUCH AN EXCEPTIONAL BACKGROUND OF EXPERIENCE AND TRAINING THAT A DEVIATION IS MERITED.

D. AN EMPLOYEE MUST HAVE SERVED IN A POSITION OF HIGHER GRADE AT LEAST SIX (6) MONTHS TO RETAIN SALARY ADJUSTMENT BENEFITS.

"3. RESPONSIBILITY.

A. SUPERVISORS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR DETERMINING AT THE TIME OF INTERVIEW OF AN APPLICANT (ON - OR OFF BASE) WHETHER HE WISHES TO CONSIDER A DEVIATION FROM THE NORMAL PRACTICE AS OUTLINED IN POLICY.

B. THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OFFICER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ADVISING SUPERVISORS OF THE MERITS OF EACH CASE SUBMITTED, AND ASSURING THAT IT IS PROPERLY DOCUMENTED AS SHOWN IN PROCEDURES BELOW.

"4. PROCEDURE.

A. AT THE TIME OF INTERVIEW, THE SUPERVISOR WILL DETERMINE WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE OR APPLICANT HAS ANY OUTSTANDING QUALIFICATIONS OR EXPERIENCE FOR THE VACANT POSITION ON WHICH TO BASE A PAY ADJUSTMENT. A DEVIATION CANNOT BE MADE AFTER THE SF 50, PERSONNEL ACTION, HAS BEEN EFFECTED.

PERSONNEL RECORDS AVAILABLE TO THIS OFFICE REVEAL THAT YOU HAVE HAD PREVIOUS SERVICE AS A STEP 3 OF GRADE GS-3 FROM JULY 19, 1953, TO AUGUST 17, 1953. SINCE YOU SERVED ONLY ONE MONTH AT THIS STEP RATE OVER ONE YEAR PRIOR TO YOUR EMPLOYMENT AT WILLIAMS AIR FORCE BASE THE ABOVE-QUOTED SECTIONS 2 (B) AND 2 (D) WOULD PRECLUDE YOUR INITIAL EMPLOYMENT AS A STEP 3. FURTHERMORE SINCE SECTION 4 (A) PROHIBITS DEVIATIONS AFTER THE SF 50, PERSONNEL ACTION, HAS BEEN EFFECTED, THERE WAS NO BASIS FOR CORRECTION OF YOUR ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT FROM STEP 1 TO STEP 3 ON JULY 10, 1956, ON THE BASIS OF ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR. IN THAT REGARD GENERALLY YOUR ATTENTION IS DIRECTED TO OUR DECISIONS IN 32 COMP. GEN. 463, 31 ID. 15 AND 30 ID. 319.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED REGULATIONS AND OF THE DECISIONS CITED THE FIXING OF YOUR INITIAL SALARY RATE UPON REEMPLOYMENT AT STEP 1 OF GRADE GS -3 WAS CORRECT AND COLLECTION OF THE OVERPAYMENT WHICH RESULTED FROM YOUR RETROACTIVE PROMOTION TO STEP 3 ON JULY 10, 1956, WAS PROPER. ACCORDINGLY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 4, 1958, DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.