B-151537, AUG. 2, 1963

B-151537: Aug 2, 1963

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SO FAR AS PERTINENT HERE IT APPEARS THAT MISS KAPIKIAN WAS REINSTATED AS CLERK-STENOGRAPHER. WAS EXTENDED ON JULY 26. WAS AMENDED BY SECTION 603 OF PUB.L. 87-793. WHO HAS NOT ATTAINED THE MAXIMUM RATE OF COMPENSATION FOR THE GRADE IN WHICH HIS POSITION IS PLACED. SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS: "/A) THAT NO EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION FROM ANY CAUSE WAS RECEIVED DURING SUCH PERIOD. AN EXCEPTION TO THE "EQUIVALENT INCREASE" RULE HAS BEEN IN THOSE CASES IN WHICH A GRADE PROMOTION IS MADE WITH THE MUTUAL AND EXPLICIT UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE AGENCY AND THE EMPLOYEE THAT THE PROMOTION IS FOR A TEMPORARY PERIOD ONLY AND THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS TO RETURN TO HIS FORMER GRADE UPON COMPLETION OF HIS TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT.

B-151537, AUG. 2, 1963

TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION:

ON MAY 14, 1963, THE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR REQUESTED OUR DECISION PERTAINING TO THE ENTITLEMENT OF MISS ADRINE KAPIKIAN, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE ADMINISTRATION'S BRONX (NEW YORK) HOSPITAL TO ADVANCEMENT TO STEP 8 OF GRADE GS-4.

THE EMPLOYEE PREVIOUSLY CONTACTED US BY LETTER AND ON NOVEMBER 29, 1962, WE ADVISED HER THAT THE SPECIFIC SITUATION SHE PRESENTED HAD NOT BEEN THE SUBJECT OF A DECISION AND SUGGESTED THAT SHE REQUEST THE AGENCY TO PRESENT THE MATTER THROUGH PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE CHANNELS. ALSO, WE FOUND IT NECESSARY TO INFORMALLY REQUEST ADDITIONAL INFORMATION WHICH HAS NOW BEEN RECEIVED.

SO FAR AS PERTINENT HERE IT APPEARS THAT MISS KAPIKIAN WAS REINSTATED AS CLERK-STENOGRAPHER, GRADE GS-4, STEP 7, $4,325 PER ANNUM, WITH THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION ON MAY 11, 1959. SHE HAD RESIGNED FROM A SIMILAR POSITION (GS-4, STEP 7) ON JUNE 14, 1958, AFTER HAVING SERVED IN THE SAME STEP IN THAT GRADE FROM FEBRUARY 12, 1956. ON JANUARY 24, 1960, SHE RESIGNED FROM THE POSITION WITH THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION TO ACCEPT A TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT GS-5, STEP 4, $4,490, AND ENTERED ON DUTY WITH THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS BOARD ON THE FOLLOWING DAY. THE TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT, NOT TO EXCEED SIX MONTHS, WAS EXTENDED ON JULY 26, 1960, NOT TO EXCEED SEPTEMBER 2, 1960. MISS KAPIKIAN RESIGNED FROM THE TEMPORARY (GS-5, STEP 4) POSITION EFFECTIVE AT THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON AUGUST 21, 1960, TO ACCEPT A CAREER APPOINTMENT AT GS-4, STEP 7, WITH THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION EFFECTIVE AUGUST 22, 1960, WHICH POSITION SHE NOW HOLDS.

SECTION 701 OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 1121, WAS AMENDED BY SECTION 603 OF PUB.L. 87-793, APPROVED OCTOBER 11, 1962, TO READ IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 701. (A) EACH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE COMPENSATED ON A PER ANNUM BASIS, AND OCCUPYING A PERMANENT POSITION WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE COMPENSATION SCHEDULES FIXED BY THIS ACT, WHO HAS NOT ATTAINED THE MAXIMUM RATE OF COMPENSATION FOR THE GRADE IN WHICH HIS POSITION IS PLACED, SHALL BE ADVANCED IN COMPENSATION SUCCESSIVELY TO THE NEXT HIGHER RATE WITHIN THE GRADE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT PAY PERIOD FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF (1) EACH FIFTY-TWO CALENDAR WEEKS OF SERVICE IN SALARY RATES 1, 2, AND 3, OR (2) EACH ONE HUNDRED AND FOUR CALENDAR WEEKS OF SERVICE IN SALARY RATES 4, 5, AND 6, OR (3) EACH ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-SIX CALENDAR WEEKS OF SERVICE IN SALARY RATES 7, 8, AND 9, SUBJECT TO THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS:

"/A) THAT NO EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION FROM ANY CAUSE WAS RECEIVED DURING SUCH PERIOD; * * *"

SINCE THE AMENDING ACT ELIMINATED THE REQUIREMENT OF AN AGGREGATE NUMBER OF 10 YEARS OF SERVICE IN THE GRADE OR POSITION BEFORE ADVANCEMENT TO STEPS 8, 9, AND 10 (THERETOFORE DESIGNATED AS LONGEVITY STEPS X, Y AND Z), MISS KAPIKIAN HAD THE REQUISITE AMOUNT OF SERVICE IN GS-4, STEP 7 TO ENTITLE HER TO STEP 8 ON OCTOBER 14, 1962, UNLESS HER INTERVENING TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT TO THE GS-5 (STEP 4) RESULTED IN AN EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN COMPENSATION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STATUTE.

AN EXCEPTION TO THE "EQUIVALENT INCREASE" RULE HAS BEEN IN THOSE CASES IN WHICH A GRADE PROMOTION IS MADE WITH THE MUTUAL AND EXPLICIT UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE AGENCY AND THE EMPLOYEE THAT THE PROMOTION IS FOR A TEMPORARY PERIOD ONLY AND THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS TO RETURN TO HIS FORMER GRADE UPON COMPLETION OF HIS TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT. IN THOSE CASES WE HAVE HELD THAT THE SALARY INCREASES INCIDENT TO THE TEMPORARY PROMOTION ARE NOT EQUIVALENT INCREASES SUCH AS WOULD TERMINATE THE CREDITABLE SERVICE IN THE LOWER GRADE. SEE 30 COMP. GEN. 82; 32 ID. 488. HERE, THE EMPLOYEE WAS NOT GIVEN A TEMPORARY PROMOTION SUBJECT TO THE ABOVE CONDITIONS BUT ACCEPTED A TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT IN ANOTHER AGENCY. THEREFORE, OUR VIEW IS THAT THE INCREASE IN SALARY RECEIVED INCIDENT TO SUCH TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT CONSTITUTED AN EQUIVALENT INCREASE IN SALARY AND THAT A NEW WAITING PERIOD BEGAN WITH THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SUCH APPOINTMENT.