B-142087, AUG. 25, 1960

B-142087: Aug 25, 1960

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THAT THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION FOR POSITIONS IN THE COMPETITIVE SERVICE * * * MAY BY REGULATION PROVIDE FOR PROMOTIONS OF TWO GRADES IN ONE YEAR * * * (4) OF AN EMPLOYEE OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED WHEN THERE IS NO POSITION IN THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION IN THE GRADE IMMEDIATELY BELOW THAT OF THE POSITION TO BE FILLED * * *.'. READS AS FOLLOWS: "NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION - AN EMPLOYEE OF THE AGENCY WHO HASONE (1) YEAR OF SERVICE TWO (2) GRADES LOWER THAN THE POSITION BEING FILLED MAY BE PROMOTED * * * IF THERE IS NO POSITION IN THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION AT THE NEXT LOWER GRADE.'. THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION IS DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF THE NEW ORGANIZATION AND NOT ON THE BASIS OF THE OLD ORGANIZATION OR A COMBINATION OF THE OLD AND THE NEW.'.

B-142087, AUG. 25, 1960

TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE:

BY LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 17, 1960, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REQUESTED CLARIFICATION OF THE POLICY OF OUR OFFICE CONCERNING PROMOTIONS FROM POSITIONS REGARDED ONE GRADE HIGHER UNDER THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION EXCEPTION TO THE SO-CALLED WHITTEN AMENDMENT, 5 U.S.C. 43.

5 U.S.C. 43 PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"/C) THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION SHALL MAKE FULL USE OF ITS AUTHORITY TO PREVENT EXCESSIVELY RAPID PROMOTIONS IN THE COMPETITIVE CIVIL SERVICE * * *. NO PERSON IN ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY * * * SHALL BE PROMOTED OR TRANSFERRED TO A HIGHER GRADE * * * WITHOUT HAVING SERVED AT LEAST ONE YEAR IN THE NEXT LOWER GRADE; PROVIDED, THAT THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION FOR POSITIONS IN THE COMPETITIVE SERVICE * * * MAY BY REGULATION PROVIDE FOR PROMOTIONS OF TWO GRADES IN ONE YEAR * * * (4) OF AN EMPLOYEE OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED WHEN THERE IS NO POSITION IN THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION IN THE GRADE IMMEDIATELY BELOW THAT OF THE POSITION TO BE FILLED * * *.'

CIVIL SERVICE REGULATIONS 2.502 (F) PERTINENT THERETO, READS AS FOLLOWS:

"NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION - AN EMPLOYEE OF THE AGENCY WHO HASONE (1) YEAR OF SERVICE TWO (2) GRADES LOWER THAN THE POSITION BEING FILLED MAY BE PROMOTED * * * IF THERE IS NO POSITION IN THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION AT THE NEXT LOWER GRADE.'

THE FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL, PAGE X-1-32.04, PROVIDES, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"WHERE A SURVEY OR REORGANIZATION HAS RESULTED IN A CHANGE IN THE ORGANIZATIONAL ENTITY, THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION IS DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF THE NEW ORGANIZATION AND NOT ON THE BASIS OF THE OLD ORGANIZATION OR A COMBINATION OF THE OLD AND THE NEW.'

YOU DIRECT ATTENTION TO OUR DECISION 31 COMP. GEN. 684, WHEREIN WE APPLIED THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION EXCEPTION TO THE WHITTEN AMENDMENT. IN THAT CASE THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED WERE PROMOTED FROM POSITIONS IN GRADES GS-5 AND GS-9 TO POSITIONS IN GRADES GS-6 AND GS 10, RESPECTIVELY. THE TWO POSITIONS WERE REGARDED ONE GRADE HIGHER, GS-7 AND GS-11, RESPECTIVELY, IN LESS THAN A YEAR FROM THE DATE THE EMPLOYEES WERE PROMOTED AND THE LOWER GRADE POSITIONS WERE ABOLISHED BY THE UPGRADING ACTIONS. IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THERE WERE NO POSITIONS IN THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION AND WE POINTED OUT THAT IF THE UPWARD REGRADING OF THE POSITIONS HAD BEEN EFFECTED PRIOR TO THE DATES THE RESPECTIVE EMPLOYEES WERE PROMOTED THERETO, IT WAS CLEAR THAT SUCH EMPLOYEES COULD HAVE RECEIVED THE TWO GRADE ADVANCEMENT FROM GRADES GS-5 AND GS-9 TO GRADES GS-7 AND GS-11, RESPECTIVELY.

YOU ALSO DIRECT ATTENTION TO OUR DECISION B-139584, JULY 6, 1959, WHEREIN WE DID NOT APPLY THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION EXCEPTION TO THE WHITTEN AMENDMENT. IN THAT CASE THE EMPLOYEE WAS PROMOTED FROM GRADE GS-13 TO GRADE GS-14. IN LESS THAN A YEAR FROM THE DATE THE EMPLOYEE WAS PROMOTED TO GS-14, THAT POSITION WAS UPGRADED TO GS-15 AND THE EMPLOYEE PROMOTED THERETO. THE AGENCY CONCERNED DETERMINED THAT THE REGRADING ACTION RESULTED IN A "REORGANIZATION" AND THE GRADE GS-14 POSITION WAS ABOLISHED LEAVING NO POSITION IN THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION. BECAUSE AT THE TIME THIS MATTER WAS PRESENTED FOR DETERMINATION THERE EXISTED CONFLICTING INFORMATION, CONCERNING THE APPLICATION OF THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION EXCEPTION TO THE WHITTEN AMENDMENT, WE SOLICITED THE VIEWS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. AS THE COMMISSION EXPRESSED THE OPINION THAT THE CASE DID NOT FALL WITHIN ITS REGULATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS COVERING THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION EXCEPTION TO THE WHITTEN AMENDMENT, WE DETERMINED THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS NOT ENTITLED TO BE PROMOTED TO THE UPGRADED POSITION--- GS-15--- UNTIL A YEAR IN THE GRADE GS-14 POSITION HAD ELAPSED.

YOU POINT OUT THAT YOU HAVE FOLLOWED OUR DECISION 31 COMP. GEN. 684, SINCE IT WAS ISSUED, IN PROPER CASES. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING YOU ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTION:

"MAY THE DEPARTMENT CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THE RULE LAID DOWN IN 31 COMP. GEN. 684 WITH RESPECT TO REALLOCATIONS AND THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION EXCEPTION?

THE COMMISSION HAS RE-EXAMINED THIS MATTER AND DETERMINED THAT UNDER ITS REGULATIONS AND INSTRUCTIONS, ISSUED TO CARRY OUT ITS RESPONSIBILITY UNDER THE WHITTEN AMENDMENT, THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION EXCEPTION TO THE AMENDMENT IS FOR APPLICATION WHEN A POSITION IS REGRADED ONE GRADE HIGHER- -- THE LOWER GRADE POSITION BEING ABOLISHED CONCURRENTLY--- AND THERE IS NO OTHER POSITION IN THE NORMAL LINE OF PROMOTION IN THE GRADE IMMEDIATELY BELOW THAT OF THE POSITION TO BE FILLED. THEREFORE, OUR DECISION 31 COMP. GEN. 684 IS FOR APPLICATION IN SUCH CASES. YOUR QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY. SEE OUR DECISION OF TODAY, B-142646, TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED FOR YOUR INFORMATION.