B-157679, OCT. 1, 1965

B-157679: Oct 1, 1965

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WHICH WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION DATED SEPTEMBER 3. YOU SAY THAT YOU WERE EMPLOYED AS A SHEET METAL WORKER AT THE NEW YORK NAVAL SHIPYARD AT THE WAGE BOARD RATE OF $3.43 PER HOUR AND THAT AS A RESULT OF THE CLOSING OF THE SHIPYARD YOU TRANSFERRED TO THE BROOKLYN POST OFFICE AS A MAIL DISTRIBUTION CLERK AT $2.48 PER HOUR. YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO RETAIN THE HIGHER RATE OF PAY YOU RECEIVED IN YOUR WAGE BOARD POSITION AFTER APPOINTMENT TO THE POST OFFICE POSITION UNDER A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES. IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT THE HEAD OF A GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OR AN AGENCY MAY BY REGULATION PROVIDE FOR RETENTION OF PAY RATES BY EMPLOYEES DEMOTED TO WAGE BOARD POSITIONS.

B-157679, OCT. 1, 1965

TO MR. CHARLES GOLDGERG:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1965, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR "SAVED PAY" AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BROOKLYN POST OFFICE BASED ON YOUR FORMER EMPLOYMENT AT THE NEW YORK NAVAL SHIPYARD, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, WHICH WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION DATED SEPTEMBER 3, 1965.

YOU SAY THAT YOU WERE EMPLOYED AS A SHEET METAL WORKER AT THE NEW YORK NAVAL SHIPYARD AT THE WAGE BOARD RATE OF $3.43 PER HOUR AND THAT AS A RESULT OF THE CLOSING OF THE SHIPYARD YOU TRANSFERRED TO THE BROOKLYN POST OFFICE AS A MAIL DISTRIBUTION CLERK AT $2.48 PER HOUR. YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO RETAIN THE HIGHER RATE OF PAY YOU RECEIVED IN YOUR WAGE BOARD POSITION AFTER APPOINTMENT TO THE POST OFFICE POSITION UNDER A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.

WE ENCLOSE A COPY OF THE DECISION OF FEBRUARY 15, 1965, B-155939, 44 COMP. GEN. , IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT THE HEAD OF A GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT OR AN AGENCY MAY BY REGULATION PROVIDE FOR RETENTION OF PAY RATES BY EMPLOYEES DEMOTED TO WAGE BOARD POSITIONS. THAT DECISION WAS PREDICATED UPON THE FACT THAT A DEPARTMENT HEAD HAS AUTHORITY TO SET THE PAY RATES OF WAGE BOARD EMPLOYEES AS NEARLY AS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE PUBLIC INTEREST IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PREVAILING RATES. IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE NEWSPAPER ARTICLE TO WHICH YOU REFER HAD REFERENCE TO THAT DECISION.

YOU ARE NOW EMPLOYED IN THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE AND YOUR ENTITLEMENT TO COMPENSATION IS SUBJECT TO THE VARIOUS PROVISIONS OF LAW APPLICABLE TO THAT POSITION. SALARY PROTECTION IS PROVIDED FOR POSTAL FIELD SERVICE EMPLOYEES BY 39 U.S.C. 3560, HOWEVER, THAT LAW REQUIRES AMONG OTHER THINGS THAT AN EMPLOYEE TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR SALARY PROTECTION (SAVED PAY) MUST HAVE BEEN IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE FOR THE TWO YEARS IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO HIS DEMOTION. SINCE YOU WERE NOT IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO YOUR APPOINTMENT AS A MAIL DISTRIBUTION CLERK YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE RETAINED SALARY UNDER THAT PROVISION OF LAW. SEE B-156987, JUNE 24, 1965, 44 COMP. GEN. , COPY ENCLOSED.

WE ALSO NOTE THAT APPOINTMENTS TO THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE, EXCEPT THOSE IN REGIONAL OR DISTRICT OFFICES OR TO PROFESSIONAL OR SCIENTIFIC POSITIONS, MUST BE MADE AT THE LOWEST STEP RATE OF THE APPROPRIATE LEVEL. 39 U.S.C. 3551; B-130883, MARCH 16, 1965, 44 COMP. GEN. , COPY ENCLOSED.

FOR THE REASONS STATED YOU WERE NOT ENTITLED TO AN INCREASED RATE OF PAY AS AN EMPLOYEE IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE ON THE BASIS OF YOUR HIGHER RATE OF PAY AS A WAGE BOARD EMPLOYEE OF THE NEW YORK NAVAL SHIPYARD. THEREFORE, THE SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 3, 1965, IS SUSTAINED.