B-165245, OCT. 1, 1968

B-165245: Oct 1, 1968

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JONES CURRENTLY IS SERVING IN STEP 10 OF GRADE GS-5. IS WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE GRANTED A BASIC RATE OF COMPENSATION WHICH IS BEYOND THE RANGE OF THE STATUTORY SCHEDULE AND EQUIVALENT TO AN ELEVENTH STEP OF THE GRADE. THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5336 ARE DERIVED FROM SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 1. THE HEAD OF ANY DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE ADDITIONAL WITHIN-GRADE COMPENSATION ADVANCEMENTS.

B-165245, OCT. 1, 1968

TO MR. JOHN O. FURUNESS:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1968, WITH ENCLOSURE, CONCERNING A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MRS. ARLEEN M. JONES, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, COVERING A PROPOSED QUALITY STEP INCREASE IN COMPENSATION WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF 5 U.S.C. 5336. YOU REQUEST OUR DECISION WHETHER THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

YOUR LETTER ADVISES THAT MRS. JONES CURRENTLY IS SERVING IN STEP 10 OF GRADE GS-5, THE MAXIMUM SCHEDULED STEP OF THAT GRADE. THE ISSUE PRESENTED BY YOUR LETTER, THEREFORE, IS WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE GRANTED A BASIC RATE OF COMPENSATION WHICH IS BEYOND THE RANGE OF THE STATUTORY SCHEDULE AND EQUIVALENT TO AN ELEVENTH STEP OF THE GRADE.

AS YOU POINT OUT IN YOUR LETTER, 5 U.S.C. 5336 REFERS TO STEP INCREASES IN ADDITION TO THOSE UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5335 WHICH SECTION RELATES TO THE PERIODIC STEP INCREASES. ALSO, AS YOU INDICATE, SUBCHAPTER 4-12E OF CHAPTER 531, FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL SUPPLEMENT 990-2, REFERS TO "QUALITY" INCREASES BEING IN ADDITION TO REGULAR WITHIN-GRADE INCREASES.

THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5336 ARE DERIVED FROM SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1941, 55 STAT. 613 (PUBLIC LAW 77-200) WHICH READS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"/F) WITHIN THE LIMIT OF AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS, AND IN RECOGNITION OF ESPECIALLY MERITORIOUS SERVICES, THE HEAD OF ANY DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY IS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE ADDITIONAL WITHIN-GRADE COMPENSATION ADVANCEMENTS, BUT ANY SUCH ADDITIONAL ADVANCEMENTS SHALL NOT EXCEED ONE STEP AND NO EMPLOYEE SHALL BE ELIGIBLE FOR MORE THAN ONE ADDITIONAL ADVANCEMENT HEREUNDER WITHIN EACH OF THE TIME PERIODS SPECIFIED IN SUBSECTION (B). * * *"

S.REPT. NO. 503, 77TH CONG., ON THE BILL THAT BECAME PUBLIC LAW 77 200, INCORPORATES A REPORT FROM THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, WHICH EXPLAINS THE PURPOSE AND EFFECT OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED LANGUAGE AS FOLLOWS:

"IN ADDITION, THE PLAN PROVIDES IN SECTION 2 (F) FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION TO GRANT ADDITIONAL SALARY ADVANCEMENTS IN UNUSUALLY MERITORIOUS CASES. THIS PROVISION MAKES IT THEORETICALLY POSSIBLE FOR AN EMPLOYEE TO BE ADVANCED TWICE AS RAPIDLY AS UNDER THE FRAMEWORK OF THE GENERAL SALARY ADVANCEMENT PLAN. * * *"

THUS, WE CONCLUDE THAT WHILE 5 U.S.C. 5336 MAKES IT POSSIBLE TO ACCELERATE STEP INCREASES AND SHORTEN THE TIME REQUIRED UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5335 TO PROGRESS FROM THE MINIMUM TO THE MAXIMUM STEP OF A GRADE, IT DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ADDITIONAL STEPS OVER AND BEYOND THOSE PRESCRIBED BY THE GENERAL SCHEDULE.

FROM THE FOREGOING IT FOLLOWS THAT A "QUALITY" STEP INCREASE MAY NOT BE GRANTED TO AN EMPLOYEE IN THE TENTH STEP OF A GRADE GS-5 POSITION.