B-172975, OCT 27, 1971

B-172975: Oct 27, 1971

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EMPLOYEE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE AS PAY DURING THE PERIOD WAS ERRATIC DUE TO NIGHT TIME DIFFERENTIAL HOURS. IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE THAT EMPLOYEE WOULD HAVE FAILED TO NOTICE ERROR. IS WAIVED. WARDIAN: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 13. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU WERE EMPLOYED AT THE POST OFFICE AT OMAHA. YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN ELIGIBLE FOR A WITHIN-GRADE INCREASE TO STEP 7 ON OCTOBER 5. THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT YOU WERE GRANTED A QUALITY STEP INCREASE TO STEP 7 ON DECEMBER 30. YOU WERE ADVANCED TO STEP 8 NOTWITHSTANDING THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENT THAT THE WAITING PERIOD FOR WITHIN-GRADE PAY INCREASE FROM STEP 7 TO STEP 8 IS 156 WEEKS. THE ERROR WAS DISCOVERED AND REPORTED BY YOU IN 1970 AFTER YOUR OWN COMPUTATION OF YOUR SALARY WHICH WAS PROMPTED BY THE PAY INCREASE AUTHORIZED BY THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1970 AND EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 11424 DATED APRIL 15.

B-172975, OCT 27, 1971

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - ERRONEOUS PAYMENT OF PAY - WAIVER OF COLLECTION DECISION WAIVING ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS OF PAY, MADE TO MR. JAMES F. WARDIAN, EMPLOYEE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE AS PAY DURING THE PERIOD WAS ERRATIC DUE TO NIGHT TIME DIFFERENTIAL HOURS, A GENERAL PAY RAISE AND A SUNDAY PREMIUM DAY. IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE THAT EMPLOYEE WOULD HAVE FAILED TO NOTICE ERROR. THEREFORE, AS OVERPAYMENT OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OR A LACK OF GOOD FAITH ON PART OF EMPLOYEE, COLLECTION BY U.S. IS WAIVED.

TO MR. JAMES F. WARDIAN:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 13, 1971, REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE ACTION OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ON MARCH 25, 1971, DENYING YOUR REQUEST FOR WAIVER OF ERRONEOUS PAYMENT OF PAY WHICH OCCURRED UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU WERE EMPLOYED AT THE POST OFFICE AT OMAHA, NEBRASKA, IN THE POSITION OF DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PLANT MAINTENANCE IN GRADE PFS-13, STEP 6. YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN ELIGIBLE FOR A WITHIN-GRADE INCREASE TO STEP 7 ON OCTOBER 5, 1968, I.E., AFTER YOU HAD SERVED IN STEP 6 FOR 104 WEEKS.

THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT YOU WERE GRANTED A QUALITY STEP INCREASE TO STEP 7 ON DECEMBER 30, 1967. THEREAFTER ON YOUR ANNIVERSARY FOR WITHIN- GRADE PAY INCREASE, OCTOBER 5, 1968, YOU WERE ADVANCED TO STEP 8 NOTWITHSTANDING THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENT THAT THE WAITING PERIOD FOR WITHIN-GRADE PAY INCREASE FROM STEP 7 TO STEP 8 IS 156 WEEKS. BECAUSE OF SUCH PREMATURE ADVANCEMENT TO STEP 8, THERE RESULTED A GROSS OVERPAYMENT OF PAY TO YOU OF $642.63, LESS DEDUCTIONS OF $187.27, OR A NET OVERPAYMENT OF PAY OF $455.36.

THE ERROR WAS DISCOVERED AND REPORTED BY YOU IN 1970 AFTER YOUR OWN COMPUTATION OF YOUR SALARY WHICH WAS PROMPTED BY THE PAY INCREASE AUTHORIZED BY THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1970 AND EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 11424 DATED APRIL 15, 1970.

THE DIRECTOR, POSTAL DATA CENTER, DALLAS, TEXAS, RECOMMENDED THAT THE CLAIM OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST YOU FOR OVERPAYMENT OF PAY BE WAIVED UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5584 AND 4 CFR 201 THROUGH 203 ON THE GROUND THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR WAS COMPOUNDED BY A STATEMENT ON YOUR POD FORM 50 WHICH INDICATED THAT THE QUALITY STEP INCREASE FROM SALARY LEVEL 13, STEP 6, TO LEVEL 13, STEP 7, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 30, 1967, DID NOT CHANGE THE DUE DATE FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE NEXT HIGHER STEP WHICH CAME ON OCTOBER 5, 1968. POD FORM 1303 WAS ISSUED TO FORMALIZE WHAT WAS ESSENTIALLY A CORRECT STATEMENT IN POD FORM 50 WITHOUT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WAITING PERIOD FOR WITHIN-GRADE PAY INCREASES FROM STEP 6 TO STEP 7 AND FROM STEP 7 TO STEP 8.

GRANTING OF WAIVER FOR ERRONEOUS OVERPAYMENT OF PAY UNDER 5 U.S.C. 5584 AND THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS THEREOF IS PREDICATED UPON FINDING THAT FRAUD, MISREPRESENTATION, FAULT OR LACK OF GOOD FAITH CANNOT BE ATTRIBUTED TO THE EMPLOYEE, OR ANY OTHER PERSON HAVING AN INTEREST IN OBTAINING A WAIVER OF THE CLAIM OF THE UNITED STATES, IN INSTITUTING OR PERPETUATING THE ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR.

BASED ON THE FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE DIRECTOR, FINANCE DIVISION, WICHITA REGIONAL OFFICE, WICHITA, KANSAS, OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FOUND THAT YOU WERE PARTIALLY AT FAULT FOR NOT DISCOVERING THE ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR SHORTLY AFTER OCTOBER 5, 1968, AND DENIED YOUR REQUEST FOR WAIVER MADE THROUGH THE POSTAL DATA CENTER, DALLAS, TEXAS.

ON APPEAL, THE RECORD IS SUPPLEMENTED BY YOUR OWN STATEMENT WHICH IS AS FOLLOWS:

" *** IN CHECKING BACK ON MY PAY STATEMENTS, I FIND THAT THE INCREASE IN QUESTION AMOUNTED TO $14.89 OF GROSS PAY, AND $7.66 OF NET PAY. I THINK IT REASONABLE THAT I OVERLOOKED THIS. I CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THE ENCLOSED COPIES OF MY 'EARNING & DEDUCTION STATEMENTS' COVERING SEVERAL PAY PERIODS JUST PRIOR TO THE PAY PERIOD IN QUESTION. NOTE THAT THE GROSS PAY WAS ERRATIC DURING THIS PERIOD DUE TO NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL HOURS, A GENERAL PAY RAISE, AND A SUNDAY PREMIUM CLIMAXED BY THE ERRONEOUS STEP RAISE. *** "

THIS STATEMENT IS CORROBORATED BY THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD AND BY A LETTER OF THE POSTMASTER, OMAHA, NEBRASKA, RECEIVED HERE ON JUNE 30, 1971.

IN LIGHT OF THE ABOVE, WE FIND THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OR LACK OF GOOD FAITH ON YOUR PART AND WE HEREBY WAIVE COLLECTION OF THE CLAIM OF THE UNITED STATES AGAINST YOU FOR THE ERRONEOUS PAYMENT OF PAY IN THE GROSS AMOUNT OF $642.63.

A COPY OF THIS LETTER IS BEING FURNISHED TO THE POSTAL DATA CENTER, DALLAS, TEXAS, AND TO THE POSTMASTER, OMAHA, NEBRASKA.