B-154815, AUG. 24, 1964

B-154815: Aug 24, 1964

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ONLY A FEW PATENT CLASSIFIERS ARE IN GRADE GS-11. THE TWO POSITIONS ARE SIMILAR AND THE QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED FOR EMPLOYMENT IN THE POSITIONS ARE THE SAME. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT MOST PATENT CLASSIFIERS ARE NOT RECRUITED FROM OUTSIDE THE GOVERNMENT BUT ARE EMPLOYED BY PROMOTION FROM PATENT EXAMINER EMPLOYEES. THE PATENT EXAMINER POSITION WAS INCLUDED IN THAT GROUP. THE SIMILAR POSITION OF PATENT CLASSIFIERS WAS INADVERTENTLY OMITTED. THE SEVERAL REASONS GIVEN FOR THAT OMISSION CENTER AROUND THE FACT THAT THERE ARE VERY FEW EMPLOYEES IN PATENT CLASSIFIER POSITIONS AT GRADE GS-11 AND THAT UNOFFICIALLY THEY ARE REFERRED TO AS PATENT EXAMINERS CONTRARY TO THE TITLE IN THE CLASSIFICATION DESCRIPTIONS.

B-154815, AUG. 24, 1964

TO THE HONORABLE JOHN W. MACY, JR. CHAIRMAN, CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION:

ON JULY 24, 1964, YOU ASKED OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE RATE OF COMPENSATION OF CERTAIN PATENT CLASSIFIERS EMPLOYED BY THE PATENT OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE.

YOUR LETTER RELATES THAT THE PATENT OFFICE EMPLOYS PATENT CLASSIFIERS (SERIES GS-1223) IN GRADES GS-11 THROUGH GS-15; HOWEVER, ONLY A FEW PATENT CLASSIFIERS ARE IN GRADE GS-11. THE PATENT OFFICE ALSO EMPLOYS MANY PATENT EXAMINERS (SERIES GS-1224) IN GRADES GS-5 THROUGH GS-15. THE TWO POSITIONS ARE SIMILAR AND THE QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED FOR EMPLOYMENT IN THE POSITIONS ARE THE SAME. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT MOST PATENT CLASSIFIERS ARE NOT RECRUITED FROM OUTSIDE THE GOVERNMENT BUT ARE EMPLOYED BY PROMOTION FROM PATENT EXAMINER EMPLOYEES.

IN JANUARY 1962 THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION APPROVED INCREASED SALARY RATES UNDER SECTION 803 OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, APPROVED OCTOBER 28, 1949, CH. 782, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 104 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, CH. 1208, 68 STAT/1106, 5 U.S.C. 1133 (1958 ED.), FOR A LARGE GROUP OF SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING EMPLOYEES IN GRADES GS-5 THROUGH GS-11. THE PATENT EXAMINER POSITION WAS INCLUDED IN THAT GROUP; HOWEVER, THE SIMILAR POSITION OF PATENT CLASSIFIERS WAS INADVERTENTLY OMITTED. THE SEVERAL REASONS GIVEN FOR THAT OMISSION CENTER AROUND THE FACT THAT THERE ARE VERY FEW EMPLOYEES IN PATENT CLASSIFIER POSITIONS AT GRADE GS-11 AND THAT UNOFFICIALLY THEY ARE REFERRED TO AS PATENT EXAMINERS CONTRARY TO THE TITLE IN THE CLASSIFICATION DESCRIPTIONS. AS A RESULT THEY WERE OVERLOOKED IN THE RATE ADJUSTMENTS. THE PATENT OFFICE, NOT REALIZING THAT PATENT CLASSIFIERS HAD BEEN OMITTED FROM THE GROUP FOR WHICH INCREASED MINIMUM RATES WERE AUTHORIZED IN JANUARY 1962 HAS PAID SIX EMPLOYEES WHO OCCUPIED SUCH POSITIONS AT THE INCREASED RATES EQUAL TO THOSE AUTHORIZED FOR PATENT EXAMINER AND OTHER SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING POSITIONS IN GRADE GS-11.

YOU SAY THAT IF THE COMMISSION HAD BEEN AWARE OF THE FACTS WITH REGARD TO PATENT CLASSIFIERS THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE AUTHORIZATION FOR INCREASED MINIMUM SALARIES PROMULGATED IN JANUARY 1962. ALSO, YOU ADVISE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE OVERLOOKED THE NECESSITY OF SPECIFICALLY REQUESTING THAT THE GS-11 PATENT CLASSIFIER POSITION BE INCLUDED IN THE AUTHORIZATION FOR INCREASED MINIMUM RATES.

SINCE THE INCREASED RATES OF PAY HAVE ALREADY BEEN PAID TO THE EMPLOYEES CONCERNED AND SINCE THOSE RATES SHOULD HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED IN JANUARY 1962 HAD THE COMMISSION AND THE DEPARTMENT NOT OVERLOOKED THE NECESSITY FOR SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZING A HIGHER MINIMUM RATE FOR THAT POSITION WE WILL NOT OBJECT NOW TO THE EMPLOYEES CONCERNED BEING REGARDED AS IF THE INCREASED MINIMUM RATE AUTHORIZED FOR PATENT EXAMINERS IN GRADE GS-11 HAD BEEN MADE APPLICABLE TO THE POSITION PATENT CLASSIFIER IN JANUARY 1962.