B-154906, AUG. 27, 1964

B-154906: Aug 27, 1964

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THE CONTROLLER INFORMS US THAT THROUGH AN ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT SEVERAL WAGE RATE POSITIONS WERE NOT TRANSFERRED FROM THE MECHANICAL TRADES SCHEDULE TO THE SERVICE SCHEDULE ON JANUARY 20. THE DATE THE SERVICE SCHEDULE WAS ESTABLISHED. THE POSITIONS INVOLVED ARE ELEVATOR OPERATORS. THESE POSITIONS SPECIFICALLY LISTED ARE UNDER "SERVICE SCHEDULE" IN CHAPTER 2. THE HOURLY RATES LISTED IN THE SERVICE SCHEDULE ARE ?02 THROUGH ?15 LESS THAN THOSE LISTED IN THE MECHANICAL TRADES SCHEDULE. THE PERSONNEL OFFICER SENT A LETTER INFORMING EACH AFFECTED EMPLOYEE THAT HIS POSITION WAS COVERED BY THE WRONG WAGE SCHEDULE. EACH EMPLOYEE WAS FURTHER INFORMED THAT 10 DAYS WOULD BE ALLOWED TO ANSWER THIS PROPOSED ACTION.

B-154906, AUG. 27, 1964

TO THE HONORABLE JOHN S. GLEASON, JR., ADMINISTRATOR, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION:

THIS REFERS TO LETTER OF AUGUST 5, 1964, WITH ENCLOSURES FROM THE CONTROLLER, DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE AND SURGERY, REQUESTING A DECISION FROM OUR OFFICE WHETHER RECOVERY OF OVERPAYMENTS OF COMPENSATION TO CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MAY BE EXCUSED UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED BELOW.

THE CONTROLLER INFORMS US THAT THROUGH AN ADMINISTRATIVE OVERSIGHT SEVERAL WAGE RATE POSITIONS WERE NOT TRANSFERRED FROM THE MECHANICAL TRADES SCHEDULE TO THE SERVICE SCHEDULE ON JANUARY 20, 1963, THE DATE THE SERVICE SCHEDULE WAS ESTABLISHED. THE POSITIONS INVOLVED ARE ELEVATOR OPERATORS, LABORATORY HELPER, AND ANIMAL CARETAKERS. THESE POSITIONS SPECIFICALLY LISTED ARE UNDER "SERVICE SCHEDULE" IN CHAPTER 2, PARAGRAPH 2B.02B, OF DM AND S SUPPLEMENT, VA MANUAL MP-5. THE HOURLY RATES LISTED IN THE SERVICE SCHEDULE ARE ?02 THROUGH ?15 LESS THAN THOSE LISTED IN THE MECHANICAL TRADES SCHEDULE.

ON MARCH 20, 1964, THE PERSONNEL OFFICER SENT A LETTER INFORMING EACH AFFECTED EMPLOYEE THAT HIS POSITION WAS COVERED BY THE WRONG WAGE SCHEDULE, AND THAT THE PROPOSED EFFECTIVE DATE TO TRANSFER THEIR POSITIONS FROM MECHANICAL TRADES SCHEDULE TO SERVICE SCHEDULE WOULD BE APRIL 26, 1964. EACH EMPLOYEE WAS FURTHER INFORMED THAT 10 DAYS WOULD BE ALLOWED TO ANSWER THIS PROPOSED ACTION. AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE 10-DAY LIMIT, THE PERSONNEL OFFICER AGAIN SENT EACH EMPLOYEE A LETTER WHICH STATED THAT THE TRANSFER TO THE SERVICE SCHEDULE WOULD BE EFFECTIVE APRIL 26, 1964. NOTIFICATION OF PERSONNEL ACTION, SF-50'S INDICATING NATURE OF ACTION OR "DEMOTION" WERE ISSUED TO TRANSFER THE INCUMBENTS AND EACH POSITION INVOLVED FROM MECHANICAL TRADES SCHEDULE TO SERVICE SCHEDULE, EFFECTIVE APRIL 26, 1964.

THE EMPLOYEES HERE CONCERNED APPEAR TO FALL WITHIN THE CLASS USUALLY REFERRED TO AS "UNGRADED" OR "WAGE BOARD" EMPLOYEES WHOSE COMPENSATION IS FIXED AND ADJUSTED FROM TIME TO TIME AS NEARLY AS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE PUBLIC INTEREST. REGULATIONS PROMULGATED IN VETERANS ADMINISTRATION MANUAL MP-5 PROVIDE THAT EMPLOYEES WHOSE POSITIONS ARE EXEMPTED FROM THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 202 (7) OF THAT ACT, SHALL HAVE NOTIFICATION OF JOB EVALUATION ACTIONS. IN THESE INSTANCES NOTICE APPEARS TO HAVE FIRST BEEN GIVEN THE EMPLOYEES ON MARCH 10, 1964, TO BE EFFECTIVE APRIL 26, 1964. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE POSITIONS WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE SERVICE SCHEDULE AND THE WAGES ADJUSTED AS OF APRIL 26, 1964.

SINCE THE CHANGES FROM ONE SERVICE SCHEDULE TO ANOTHER, RESULTING IN DOWNWARD ADJUSTMENTS IN COMPENSATION COULD NOT LAWFULLY BE MADE RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO LIABILITY ON THE PART OF THE EMPLOYEES TO REFUND ANY PORTION OF THE RATES LAWFULLY PAID THEM PRIOR TO APRIL 26, 1964.

THEREFORE, NO ACTION NEED BE TAKEN TO COLLECT THE ALLEGED OVER PAYMENTS IN THE CASES PRESENTED HERE.