B-230404, Apr 5, 1988, Office of General Counsel

B-230404: Apr 5, 1988

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We concur with OPM's determination that a government employee is entitled only to the salary of his appointed position regardless of the duties he performed. House of Representatives: This is in response to your letter of January 20. We have reviewed OPM's determination in Mr. Taggert's case and believe that it is correct. We have previously held that a government employee is entitled only to the salary of his appointed position regardless of the duties he performs. Is performing duties of a grade level higher than that of the position to which he is appointed is not entitled to the salary of the higher level unless and until the position is classified to the higher grade and he is promoted to it.

B-230404, Apr 5, 1988, Office of General Counsel

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Compensation - Classification Appeals - GAO review CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - Compensation - Retroactive compensation - Eligibility - Adverse personnel actions - Classification DIGEST: The General Accounting Office lacks jurisdiction to overturn classification determinations by OPM. In any event, we concur with OPM's determination that a government employee is entitled only to the salary of his appointed position regardless of the duties he performed. Furthermore, neither the Classification Act nor the Back Pay Act provides a retroactive right to backpay for past periods of alleged wrongful grade classification.

The Honorable Charles E. Bennett, House of Representatives:

This is in response to your letter of January 20, 1988, on behalf of your constituent Thomas P. Taggert. Mr. Taggert sought retroactive reclassification and an upgrade of a position he held prior to his retirement from the Defense Mapping Agency. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) rejected his claim on the basis that only an incumbent employee can appeal the classification of a position and, even if an appeal by a non-incumbent could be entertained, reclassifications cannot be effected retroactively. You request our review of the matter.

Our Office lacks jurisdiction to overturn classification determinations by OPM. Paul W. Braun, B-199730, July 31, 1981. In any event, we have reviewed OPM's determination in Mr. Taggert's case and believe that it is correct.

We have previously held that a government employee is entitled only to the salary of his appointed position regardless of the duties he performs. Connie V. Marcum, B-204521, April 26, 1982. Thus, an employee who -- is performing duties of a grade level higher than that of the position to which he is appointed is not entitled to the salary of the higher level unless and until the position is classified to the higher grade and he is promoted to it. The only relief available to an employee who believes his position is improperly classified is to seek a prospective reclassification through a position classification appeal under the Classification Act. 5 U.S.C. Secs. 5101-5115. Moreover, the United States Supreme Court has held that neither the Classification Act nor the Back Pay Act, 5 U.S.C. Sec. 5576, provides a retroactive right to backpay for past periods of alleged wrongful grade classification. United States v. Testan, 424 U.S. 392 (1976).

Accordingly, as OPM concluded, there is no relief that can be granted to Mr. Taggert in terms of a retroactive reclassification of his former position.

We have enclosed copies of the above-cited decisions the hope that this information will enable you to respond your constituent. As you requested, we also have enclosed Mr. Taggert's file.