B-151298, MAY 13, 1963

B-151298: May 13, 1963

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WHO WAS SERVING AS ANIMAL CARETAKER II. WAS PLACED IN A POSITION AS GUARD. 080 HOURS AT $2.32 PER HOUR) WAS $4. HE WAS GIVEN A "SAVED" PAY RATE IN THAT AMOUNT. HE WAS PROMOTED TO GUARD. AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS REEMPLOYED. SINGLETON WAS PLACED IN GRADE GS-2. THE HIGHEST SCHEDULED RATE FOR THAT GRADE WAS STEP 7. AT THE TIME OF HIS PROMOTION THE HIGHEST SCHEDULE RATE FOR GRADE GS-3 WAS STEP 7. UPON BEING INFORMED BY OUR CIVIL ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING DIVISION THAT THE EMPLOYEE UPON THE CHANGE FROM THE WAGE BOARD TO A CLASSIFICATION ACT POSITION COULD NOT BE PAID A SALARY RATE IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM SCHEDULED RATE FOR THE CLASSIFICATION ACT POSITION IN WHICH HE WAS PLACED. UNDER WHICH THE EMPLOYEE'S SALARY WAS FIXED AT $4.

B-151298, MAY 13, 1963

TO MR. R. S. ROYSTON, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

ON APRIL 12, 1963, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER REPRESENTING PAYMENT OF SALARY FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 31 TO APRIL 13, 1963, AT THE RATE OF $4,955 PER ANNUM, IN THE CASE OF ALVAH L. SINGLETON, A GRADE GS-3 EMPLOYEE OF THE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE AT BELTSVILLE.

IT APPEARS THAT UPON THE TRANSFER OF CERTAIN FUNCTIONS OF RESEARCH CENTER OPERATIONS FROM THE WASHINGTON-BELTSVILLE AREA TO AMES, IOWA, IN JUNE 1961, MR. SINGLETON, WHO WAS SERVING AS ANIMAL CARETAKER II, W 5 (STEP 3), AT $2.32 PER HOUR, ELECTED TO REMAIN IN BELTSVILLE AND ON JUNE 11, 1961, WAS PLACED IN A POSITION AS GUARD, GS-2. SINCE THE PER ANNUM EQUIVALENT OF MR. SINGLETON'S W-5 POSITION (2,080 HOURS AT $2.32 PER HOUR) WAS $4,825.60, HE WAS GIVEN A "SAVED" PAY RATE IN THAT AMOUNT. EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 1962, HE WAS PROMOTED TO GUARD, GS-3, AND CONTINUED TO RECEIVE COMPENSATION AT THE "SAVED" RATE OF $4,825.60.

SECTION 25.103 (B) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY REGULATIONS (Z1-315) PROVIDES IN PERTINENT ART:

"/B) POSITION OR APPOINTMENT CHANGES. SUBJECT TO THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENTS OF PARAGRAPH (G) OF THIS SECTION AND SECTION 25.104, AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS REEMPLOYED, TRANSFERRED, REASSIGNED, PROMOTED, REPROMOTED OR DEMOTED, MAY BE PAID AT ANY SCHEDULED RATE FOR HIS GRADE WHICH DOES NOT EXCEED HIS HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE. * * *"

AT THE TIME MR. SINGLETON WAS PLACED IN GRADE GS-2, THE HIGHEST SCHEDULED RATE FOR THAT GRADE WAS STEP 7, $4,130 PER ANNUM, AND AT THE TIME OF HIS PROMOTION THE HIGHEST SCHEDULE RATE FOR GRADE GS-3 WAS STEP 7, $4,390 PER ANNUM.

UPON BEING INFORMED BY OUR CIVIL ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING DIVISION THAT THE EMPLOYEE UPON THE CHANGE FROM THE WAGE BOARD TO A CLASSIFICATION ACT POSITION COULD NOT BE PAID A SALARY RATE IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM SCHEDULED RATE FOR THE CLASSIFICATION ACT POSITION IN WHICH HE WAS PLACED, THE AGENCY TOOK CORRECTIVE ACTION ON APRIL 12, 1963, UNDER WHICH THE EMPLOYEE'S SALARY WAS FIXED AT $4,130 PER ANNUM FROM JUNE 11, 1961, THE DATE HE WAS PLACED IN GRADE GS-2, AND AT $4,390 FROM APRIL 1, 1962, THE DATE HE WAS PROMOTED TO GS-3.

THE FEDERAL SALARY REFORM ACT OF 1962 APPROVED OCTOBER 11, 1962, 78 STAT. 841, ET SEQ., CONVERTED THE LAST THREE SALARY STEPS (LONGEVITY STEPS) FOR GRADE GS-3, TO SCHEDULED SALARY STEPS. THUS, WITH THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THAT ACT, STEP 10 AT THE RATE OF $4,830 PER ANNUM BECAME THE HIGHEST SCHEDULED STEP THEREIN. SINCE MR. SINGETON'S WAGE BOARD COMPENSATION WAS $4,825.60, THE AGENCY NOW PROPOSES TO INCREASE HIS SALARY, EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 14, 1962, TO STEP 10, $4,830 PER ANNUM, PLUS THE ADDITIONAL $125 PER ANNUM REPRESENTING THE INCREASE ACCORDED BY THE 1962 PAY ACT TO CLASSIFICATION ACT EMPLOYEES IN THE THIRD LONGEVITY RATE OF GS-3. THE PAYROLL VOUCHER WHICH YOU SUBMITTED IS COMPUTED ON THAT BASIS ($4,955 PER ANNUM).

UNDER THE REGULATIONS QUOTED IN PART HEREIN AN EMPLOYEE'S PREVIOUS HIGHEST RATE MAY BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION IN FIXING HIS SALARY RATE UPON REEMPLOYMENT, TRANSFER, REASSIGNMENT, PROMOTION, REPROMOTION, OR DEMOTION. WE FIND NOTHING IN THE REGULATION OR IN THE 1962 PAY ACT WHICH AUTHORIZES CONSIDERATION OF THE HIGHEST PREVIOUS RATE OTHER THAN IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH PERSONNEL ACTIONS. SINCE MR. SINGLETON WAS PLACED IN THE HIGHEST PERMISSIBLE STEP IN HIS GRADE UPON TRANSFER TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT POSITION, AND AGAIN UPON HIS PROMOTION THEREIN, HIS SALARY RATE IS NOT PROPERLY FOR FURTHER ADJUSTMENT ON THE BASIS OF HIS PREVIOUS HIGHEST RATE UNTIL HE IS TRANSFERRED, REASSIGNED, PROMOTED,ETC., AS THOSE TERMS ARE DEFINED IN SECTION 25.102 OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY REGULATIONS. HOWEVER, UNDER SECTION 602 (B) (1) OF THE PAY ACT OF 1962, MR. SINGLETON BECAME ENTITLED ON THE EFFECTIVE DAY THEREOF TO BE ADVANCED ONE STEP IN HIS GRADE PLUS THE STATUTORY INCREASE GRANTED BY THE ACT, OR FROM STEP 7 AT $4,390 TO STEP 8 AT $4,580 PER ANNUM.