B-68301, AUGUST 18, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 99

B-68301: Aug 18, 1947

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AS FOLLOWS: SEVERAL MONTHS AGO THERE WAS UNDERTAKEN A REARRANGEMENT OF THE VARIOUS FUNCTIONS OF THE BUREAU OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL WITHIN THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT AT WASHINGTON. WITH A VIEW TO MODERNIZING ITS OPERATIONS AND EQUIPPING IT TO MEET NEW AND LARGER RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE SPHERE OF POSTAL TRANSPORT IN AN ERA WHEN PRACTICALLY ALL TRANSPORTATION MEDIA HAVE ASSUMED NEW ASPECTS. THERE WAS ALSO THE TREMENDOUS RESPONSIBILITY OF REORGANIZING INTERNATIONAL POSTAL OPERATIONS AND AGREEMENTS IN A POST-WAR WORLD OF GREATLY CHANGED CHARACTERISTICS. ALL FACTORS IN THE PROPOSED BUREAU REARRANGEMENT WERE SUBMITTED TO THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET FOR STUDY AND CONSIDERATION. THE PROPOSED PLAN WAS APPROVED.

B-68301, AUGUST 18, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 99

APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - INCREASED COSTS RESULTING FROM ALLOCATIONS, REALLOCATIONS, ETC. UNDER SECTION 400 OF THE SECOND DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1947, LIMITING THE AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR PERSONAL SERVICES TO SUCH INCREASED COSTS RESULTING FROM THE ALLOCATIONS OR REALLOCATIONS OF A POSITION TO A HIGHER GRADE OR THE CREATION OF A NEW POSITION AS COULD BE ABSORBED ON AN ANNUAL BASIS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE APPROPRIATION, PROMOTIONS TO HIGHER GRADES DUE TO ALLOCATIONS OR REALLOCATIONS MAY BE EFFECTED ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT ANNUAL SALARIES, IF PAID FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR, WOULD NOT EXCEED THE OBLIGATIONS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SALARIES, TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION SAVINGS EFFECTED BY REALLOCATIONS DOWNWARD AND THE ABOLISHMENT OF CERTAIN POSITIONS. (MODIFIED, IN PART, BY 27 COMP. GEN. 684.)

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, AUGUST 18, 1947:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 23, 1947, REFERENCE 20, AS FOLLOWS:

SEVERAL MONTHS AGO THERE WAS UNDERTAKEN A REARRANGEMENT OF THE VARIOUS FUNCTIONS OF THE BUREAU OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL WITHIN THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT AT WASHINGTON, D.C., WITH A VIEW TO MODERNIZING ITS OPERATIONS AND EQUIPPING IT TO MEET NEW AND LARGER RESPONSIBILITIES IN THE SPHERE OF POSTAL TRANSPORT IN AN ERA WHEN PRACTICALLY ALL TRANSPORTATION MEDIA HAVE ASSUMED NEW ASPECTS. THERE WAS ALSO THE TREMENDOUS RESPONSIBILITY OF REORGANIZING INTERNATIONAL POSTAL OPERATIONS AND AGREEMENTS IN A POST-WAR WORLD OF GREATLY CHANGED CHARACTERISTICS.

ALL FACTORS IN THE PROPOSED BUREAU REARRANGEMENT WERE SUBMITTED TO THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET FOR STUDY AND CONSIDERATION, AND THE PROPOSED PLAN WAS APPROVED.

CLASSIFICATION SHEETS WERE PREPARED FOR ALL POSITIONS UNDER THE REARRANGEMENT AND SUBMITTED TO THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION FOR APPROVAL, EVALUATION AND RATING. THE CLASSIFICATION SHEETS DID NOT BEAR THE NAMES OF EMPLOYEES WHO MIGHT QUALIFY, BUT THE DESCRIPTION OF THE VARIOUS POSITIONS FOLLOWED SOMEWHAT CLOSELY THE OLD ASSIGNMENTS OF DUTIES EXCEPT THAT THEY REFLECTED THE NEW RESPONSIBILITIES WHICH REST UPON THE BUREAU BY REASON OF TRANSPORTATION AND OTHER DEVELOPMENTS MENTIONED ABOVE.

THE LARGER PART OF THESE CLASSIFICATION SHEETS HAS NOW BEEN PROCESSED AND RETURNED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, BEARING THE RATINGS OF SALARY GRADES DETERMINED BY THE COMMISSION. A NUMBER OF THE RATINGS COMPARE WITH THE FORMER EVALUATIONS BECAUSE OF THE ROUTINE NATURE OF THE DUTIES DESCRIBED. HOWEVER, A SUBSTANTIAL NUMBER OF THE POSITIONS HAVE BEEN GRADED UP BECAUSE OF GREATER RESPONSIBILITIES WHICH HAVE BEEN ASSUMED SINCE COMPARABLE POSITIONS WERE LAST DESCRIBED AND RATED.

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL TO ASSIGN QUALIFIED EMPLOYEES TO THE VARIOUS POSITIONS AND TO FIX THE SALARIES ACCORDING TO THE ALLOCATIONS OF THE COMMISSION IS UNDERSTOOD TO BE A NECESSARY ADJUSTMENT IN THE LEGAL RATE OF COMPENSATION. NUMEROUS DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923, AS AMENDED, SUPPORT THAT CONCLUSION. (4 COMP. GEN. 56, JULY 14, 1924/6 COMP. GEN. 530, 531, FEBRUARY 14, 1927/4 COMP. GEN. 106, 107, JULY 24, 1924)

THE FOLLOWING EXCERPTS ARE FROM PAGES 35, 36 AND 37 OF THE U.S. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION " REFERENCE MANUAL OF DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923, AS AMENDED" REVISED TO AUGUST 1944:

"A QUALIFIED INCUMBENT OF A POSITION UNDER THE CLASSIFICATION ACT MUST BE PAID ACCORDING TO THE ALLOCATION OF HIS POSITION. PAYMENT ACCORDING TO ALLOCATIONS IS NOT ONLY AUTHORIZED BUT REQUIRED, 4 COMP. GEN. 56, JULY 14, 1924. SUCH PAYMENT "IS BUT THE NECESSARY ADJUSTMENT IN THE LEGAL RATE OF COMPENSATION.' 6 COMP. GEN. 530, 531, FEBRUARY 14, 1927.'

"EMPLOYEES LEGALLY QUALIFIED FOR THEIR POSITIONS MUST NOT BE PAID LESS THAN THE MINIMUM RATES OF THE GRADES IN WHICH THEIR POSITIONS ARE ALLOCATED. THIS IS A LEGAL REQUIREMENT, WITH WHICH THE DEPARTMENTS MUST COMPLY EVEN IF THE AMOUNT OF FUNDS CURRENTLY AVAILABLE IS INSUFFICIENT. "ANY RESULTING DEFICIT IN THE APPROPRIATION MUST OTHERWISE BE AVOIDED.' COMP. GEN. 106, 107, JULY 24, 1924.'

"WHERE THE WORK OF A NEW POSITION (NOT AN IDENTICAL ADDITIONAL POSITION) IS ALREADY BEING PERFORMED BY AN EMPLOYEE NOT ON FORMAL DETAIL, OR WHERE THE EMPLOYEE'S PRESENT POSITION IS REALLOCATED, AND IN EITHER CASE THE EMPLOYEE HAS QUALIFIED FOR THE PERSONNEL CHANGE AND THE DEPARTMENT KEEPS THE EMPLOYEE IN THE POSITION CONCERNED, IT SHOULD MAKE ANY CHANGE IN PAY EFFECTIVE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD WHEN NOTICE OF ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION IS RECEIVED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE. THERE IS NO GENERAL AUTHORITY TO DELAY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION.'

UNDER NORMAL PROCEDURE THE ALLOCATIONS AND REALLOCATIONS INDICATED BY THE APPROVED CLASSIFICATION SHEETS WOULD BE PLACED IN EFFECT AS A ROUTINE AND OBLIGATORY MATTER. AS A MATTER OF FACT, FOURTEEN OF THE POSITION CLASSIFICATIONS WERE PLACED IN EFFECT IN SEPTEMBER 1946, AT THE TIME THESE SHEETS WERE RATED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AND RETURNED TO THE DEPARTMENT. WITH RESPECT TO THE REMAINING SHEETS WHICH HAVE SINCE BEEN RETURNED FROM TIME TO TIME BY THE COMMISSION, ACTION HAS BEEN WITHHELD BECAUSE OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 400, PUBLIC LAW 76, 80TH CONGRESS, QUOTED BELOW:

"SEC. 400. NO APPROPRIATION OR FUND MADE AVAILABLE BY THIS OR ANY OTHER APPROPRIATION ACT TO THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS, INCLUDING CORPORATIONS, FOR PERSONAL SERVICES SHALL BE AVAILABLE TO PAY ANY INCREASED COST RESULTING FROM THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION HEREAFTER OF A POSITION TO A HIGHER GRADE, OR RESULTING FROM THE CREATION OF A NEW POSITION, IF SUCH INCREASED COST WOULD RESULT IN AN INCREASE IN THE TOTAL OBLIGATIONS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS UNDER SUCH APPROPRIATION OR FUND; PROVIDED, THAT THIS PROHIBITION SHALL NOT APPLY TO THE INITIAL CREATION OF POSITIONS TO CARRY OUT NEW PROGRAMS OR FUNCTIONS FOR WHICH SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS ARE MADE AVAILABLE.'

THE PRESENT APPROPRIATION FOR 1948 CONTAINS SUFFICIENT FUNDS TO PLACE ALL, OR THE GREATER PART, OF THE PROMOTIONS INDICATED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION'S ALLOCATION AND REALLOCATION INTO EFFECT WITHOUT EXCEEDING THE APPROPRIATION ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. ALSO, THE ESTIMATED APPROPRIATION FOR 1949 WILL NOT BE INCREASED BY REASON OF THESE ALLOCATIONS.

AN OPINION IS REQUESTED FROM YOUR OFFICE AS TO WHETHER THE SECOND ASSISTANT IS PREVENTED FROM EFFECTING THE DESCRIBED PROMOTIONS BY THE ABOVE QUOTED PROVISION OF LAW, PROVIDED, OF COURSE, THAT THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED ARE NOT EXCEEDED THEREBY, OR THAT ANY DEFICIENCY RESULTING THEREFROM IS OTHERWISE AVOIDED.

DURING THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY THE SECOND DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1947, PUBLIC LAW 76, 80TH CONGRESS, APPROVED MAY 26, 1947, WAS DESIGNATED AS H.R. 3245. IT IS APPARENT FROM A READING OF THAT PART OF THE HISTORY OF THAT ACT WHICH RELATES TO SECTION 400, 61 STAT. 118, QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, SUPRA, THAT IT WAS THE BELIEF OF CONGRESS THAT A PRACTICE HAD BECOME GENERAL IN SOME AGENCIES OF ALLOCATING OR REALLOCATING POSITIONS TO A GRADE HIGHER THAN THAT ACTUALLY WARRANTED BY THE DUTIES OF SUCH POSITION AND THAT FREQUENTLY SUCH ALLOCATIONS OR REALLOCATIONS RESULTED IN A REQUEST FOR A DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION. ALSO, ON OCCASION, ALLOCATIONS OR REALLOCATIONS OF POSITIONS, WHEN MADE NEAR THE CLOSE OF A FISCAL YEAR, MIGHT NOT RESULT IN A REQUEST FOR A DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION FOR THAT FISCAL YEAR, BUT WOULD FORM THE BASIS FOR AN INCREASED REQUEST FOR APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR.

SECTION 400 WAS DESIGNED TO CURB SUCH A PRACTICE BY LIMITING THE AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATIONS OR FUNDS FOR PERSONAL SERVICES--- OTHER THAN THOSE SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE FOR THE CARRYING OUT OF NEW PROGRAMS OR FUNCTIONS--- TO ONLY SUCH INCREASED COSTS RESULTING FROM THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF A POSITION OR THE CREATION OF A NEW POSITION AS COULD BE ABSORBED ON AN ANNUAL BASIS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE APPLICABLE APPROPRIATION OR FUND. THAT IS TO SAY, THAT UNLESS THERE ARE NEW PROGRAMS OR FUNCTIONS FOR WHICH SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS ARE MADE AVAILABLE THERE MAY BE NO ALLOCATIONS OR REALLOCATIONS OF POSITIONS TO HIGHER GRADES, OR CREATION OF NEW POSITIONS DURING THE FISCAL YEAR UNLESS THE RESULTING ANNUAL SALARY COULD HAVE BEEN MET FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR FROM THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION OR FUND WITHOUT INCURRING A DEFICIENCY. OF COURSE, IN DETERMINING WHETHER SUCH SALARY MAY BE PAID WITHOUT INCREASING THE TOTAL OBLIGATIONS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, THERE MAY BE CONSIDERED THE SAVINGS, ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, ALREADY EFFECTED OR TO BE EFFECTED DURING THE YEAR BY THE REALLOCATION OF POSITIONS TO LOWER GRADES IN A GENERAL REORGANIZATION OR REARRANGEMENT, SUCH AS IS STATED TO HAVE BEEN UNDERTAKEN WITH RESPECT TO THE FUNCTIONS UNDER THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, WITHIN THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT AT WASHINGTON, D.C. THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO TREATING SUCH REORGANIZATION OR REARRANGEMENT AS A WHOLE, AND IF THE NET EFFECT OF THE RECLASSIFICATION OF POSITIONS DOES NOT RESULT IN AN INCREASE OF THE TOTAL OBLIGATIONS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, PAYMENT AT THE RATE PROVIDED FOR THE GRADE MAY BE MADE TO QUALIFIED EMPLOYEES WHO OCCUPY POSITIONS WHICH HAVE BEEN REALLOCATED UPWARD. IN MAKING SUCH PAYMENT THERE CONSTANTLY SHOULD BE BORNE IN MIND THE INTENT OF CONGRESS TO FORESTALL REQUESTS FOR FOR DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATIONS OR SUBSEQUENT REQUESTS FOR APPROPRIATIONS WHICH IN PART CAN BE JUSTIFIED ONLY TO PROVIDE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SALARIES WHICH HAVE BEEN REALLOCATED UPWARD OR TO PROVIDE FOR THE PAYMENT OF NEW POSITIONS.

TO THE EXTENT INDICATED ABOVE, SECTION 400 OF THE SECOND DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1947, IS TO BE REGARDED AS REQUIRING THE MODIFICATION OF PRIOR DECISIONS CONSTRUING THE PROVISIONS OF THE CLASSIFICATION LAWS AND HOLDING THAT UNDER SUCH LAWS PAYMENT OF SALARIES TO EMPLOYEES LEGALLY QUALIFIED FOR POSITIONS MUST BE MADE TO THEM AT RATES NOT LESS THAN THE MINIMUM RATES OF THE GRADES TO WHICH THE POSITIONS ARE ALLOCATED.

IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, SUPRA, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL IS PREVENTED BY SECTION 400 OF THE SECOND DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1947, FROM EFFECTING THE PROPOSED PROMOTIONS ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT THE ANNUAL SALARIES PROVIDED BY SUCH PROMOTIONS, IF PAID FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR, WOULD RESULT IN EXCEEDING THE OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE APPROPRIATION CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SALARIES, GIVING DUE CONSIDERATION TO SAVINGS EFFECTED BY THE REALLOCATION OF OTHER POSITIONS DOWNWARD AND THE ABOLISHING OF CERTAIN POSITIONS. THE EFFECTIVE DATE FOR THE REALLOCATION UPWARD OF ANY REMAINING POSITIONS MUST BE POSTPONED UNTIL AFTER PROVISION FOR PAYMENT ON ACCOUNT OF SUCH REALLOCATIONS SHALL HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN A BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS MADE THEREFOR.