B-74469, MAY 13, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 684

B-74469: May 13, 1948

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PROVIDED IT BE DETERMINED AT THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF THAT THE PAYMENT OF THE NEW SALARY RATE WILL NOT RESULT IN AN INCREASE IN THE TOTAL OBLIGATIONS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. 27 COMP. 1948: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 12. MEANS "THAT BEFORE ANY SALARY INCREASE DUE IN A REALLOCATED POSITION IS PAID THE CURRENT APPLICABLE APPROPRIATION MUST BE ABLE TO ABSORB THE SALARY INCREASE ONLY FOR THE BALANCE OF THE FISCAL YEAR DURING WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WILL OCCUPY THE POSITION OR DOES IT MEAN THAT IT MUST BE SUFFICIENT TO COVER THE SALARY INCREASE OF THE POSITION FOR THE ENTIRE FISCAL YEAR". 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.

B-74469, MAY 13, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 684

APPROPRIATIONS - AVAILABILITY - INCREASED COSTS RESULTING FROM ALLOCATIONS, REALLOCATIONS, ETC. SECTION 400 OF THE SECOND DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1947, PROHIBITING THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS TO PAY AND ANY INCREASED COST RESULTING FROM THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF A POSITION TO A HIGHER GRADE, IF SUCH COST WOULD RESULT IN AN INCREASE IN THE TOTAL OBLIGATIONS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, DOES NOT PREVENT THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF A POSITION IF THERE BE A SUFFICIENT UNEXPENDED OR REALLOCATED POSITION FOR THE BALANCE OF THE FISCAL YEAR, PROVIDED IT BE DETERMINED AT THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF THAT THE PAYMENT OF THE NEW SALARY RATE WILL NOT RESULT IN AN INCREASE IN THE TOTAL OBLIGATIONS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. 27 COMP. GEN. 99, MODIFIED IN PART.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, MAY 13, 1948:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 12, 1948, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER THE PHRASE,"ON AN ANNUAL BASIS," APPEARING IN SECTION 400 OF THE SECOND DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1947, PUBLIC LAW 76, APPROVED MAY 26, 1947, 61 STAT. 118, MEANS "THAT BEFORE ANY SALARY INCREASE DUE IN A REALLOCATED POSITION IS PAID THE CURRENT APPLICABLE APPROPRIATION MUST BE ABLE TO ABSORB THE SALARY INCREASE ONLY FOR THE BALANCE OF THE FISCAL YEAR DURING WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WILL OCCUPY THE POSITION OR DOES IT MEAN THAT IT MUST BE SUFFICIENT TO COVER THE SALARY INCREASE OF THE POSITION FOR THE ENTIRE FISCAL YEAR"--- QUOTING FROM THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER.

SAID SECTION 400 PROVIDES:

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 ALLOCATIONS 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.

YOUR LETTER QUOTES AT LENGTH FROM OFFICE DECISION OF AUGUST 18, 1947, B- 68301, 27 COMP. GEN. 99, AND ALSO QUOTES FROM WHAT IS STATED AS HAVING BEEN PROPOSED AS A POLICY FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF SECTION 400, SUPRA, IN THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION AND CONCLUDES, IN EFFECT, THAT BOTH SAID DECISION AND THE WORDING OF THE STATUTE SEEM TO INDICATE THAT THERE MUST BE A SUFFICIENT UNEXPENDED AND UNOBLIGATED BALANCE IN THE APPROPRIATION TO PAY THE SALARY OF THE REALLOCATED POSITION THE ENTIRE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE REALLOCATION IS MADE BEFORE PAYMENT AT THE REALLOCATED RATE IS PROPER DURING THAT FISCAL YEAR.

THE POLICY PROPOSED FOR ADMINISTRATION OF THE LAW INVOLVED IS SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

IT IS CONSIDERED DESIRABLE TO ESTABLISH AT THIS TIME, AT LEAST TENTATIVELY, THE POLICY WHICH WILL BE FORWARDED WHEN THE EFFECTUATION OF ALLOCATIONS AND REALLOCATIONS OF POSITIONS TO HIGHER GRADES WILL AGAIN BE PERMITTED. THIS POLICY FOLLOWS:

A. WHEN THE EFFECTUATION OF ALLOCATIONS AND REALLOCATIONS OF POSITIONS TO HIGHER GRADES IS AUTHORIZED BY THE CENTRAL OFFICE, ALL ACTIONS PREVIOUSLY TAKEN BUT NOT EFFECTUATED WILL BE PUT INTO EFFECT SIMULTANEOUSLY ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD AFTER SUCH ACTION IS AUTHORIZED, PROVIDED SUFFICIENT FUNDS EXIST AT THE LOCAL LEVEL TO PERMIT SUCH ACTION.

B. IF IT IS NOT POSSIBLE, BECAUSE OF LACK OF FUNDS, TO PUT INTO EFFECT SIMULTANEOUSLY ALL PENDING ALLOCATIONS AND REALLOCATIONS TO HIGHER GRADES, SUCH ACTIONS WILL BE PUT INTO EFFECT IN THE ORDER THE ACTIONS WERE ORIGINALLY TAKEN. IN ORDER TO MAKE THIS POLICY POSSIBLE, BRANCH OFFICES AND FIELD STATIONS SHOULD MAINTAIN FULL RECORDS OF THE DATES OF WHICH ALLOCATIONS AND REALLOCATIONS OF POSITIONS ARE MADE BUT NOT EFFECTUATED.

COMPLETE POLICY STATEMENTS REGARDING THIS MATTER WILL BE ISSUED WHEN ALLOCATIONS AND REALLOCATIONS UPWARD ARE AGAIN PERMITTED.

IN VIEW OF THE TERMS OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED PROVISIONS OF LAW, IT SEEMS EVIDENT THAT, BEFORE THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF A POSITION TO A HIGHER GRADE IS MADE EFFECTIVE, OR BEFORE A NEW POSITION IS CREATED, IT IS NOT SUFFICIENT MERELY THAT THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION BE ABLE TO ABSORB THE RESULTING INCREASED COST "FOR THE BALANCE OF THE FISCAL YEAR DURING WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WILL OCCUPY THE POSITION.' IF SUCH WERE THE ONLY REQUIREMENT, THE OPERATION OF THE AFORESAID LAW WOULD BE RENDERED INEFFECTUAL. UNDER THE PLAIN TERMS OF THE LAW, BEFORE AN ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION IS MADE EFFECTIVE, OR A NEW POSITION IS CREATED, THERE NOT ONLY MUST BE A SUFFICIENT BALANCE AVAILABLE IN THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION OR FUND TO PAY THE RESULTING INCREASED COST FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE FISCAL YEAR INVOLVED BUT, ALSO, IT MUST APPEAR THAT THE ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION, OR THE CREATION OF THE NEW POSITION, WILL NOT RESULT "IN AN INCREASE IN THE TOTAL OBLIGATIONS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS UNDER SUCH APPROPRIATION OR FUND.' IN SUCH CONNECTION, ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE COMMENTS ON THE INSTANT LAW AS CONTAINED ON PAGE 4 OF HOUSE REPORT 323, 80TH CONGRESS, ST SESSION, AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER THIS PROVISION ANY AGENCY WHICH FINDS IT NECESSARY TO RECLASSIFY POSITIONS MUST ABSORB THE TOTAL COST THEREOF, OUT OF CURRENTLY AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS, OR POSTPONE THE EFFECTIVE DATE UNTIL AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN A BUDGET AND APPROPRIATIONS MADE THEREFOR. IN THE PAST IT HAS BEEN THE PRACTICE EITHER TO SUBMIT SUCH ITEMS AS DEFICIENCY ESTIMATES OR, IF CURRENT FUNDS WERE SUFFICIENT TO MEET THE COST FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE YEAR IN WHICH EFFECTIVE, TO INCLUDE THE COST IN THE NEXT REGULAR BUDGET, PURELY AS AN ADJUSTMENT IN THE BASE OF AN APPROPRIATION AND AS AN ACCOMPLISHED FACT. HEREAFTER, IF SUCH ITEMS APPEAR AS AN INCREASE IN COST IN THE BUDGET THEY MUST BE PRESENTED BEFORE THEY CAN BECOME EFFECTIVE AND MUST BE JUSTIFIED AS AN INCREASE OVER PRIOR APPROPRIATIONS.

HENCE, IF MONEY BE AVAILABLE IN AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF SALARIES AND SUCH MONEY BECOMES UNOBLIGATED BECAUSE OF THE CHANGE OR CANCELLATION OF WORK PROGRAMS, OR FOR OTHER REASONS, AND IF IT IS DESIRED TO REALLOCATE A POSITION TO A GRADE REQUIRING AN INCREASED SALARY OR TO CREATE A NEW POSITION--- THE COST OF WHICH WOULD BE PAID FROM THE UNOBLIGATED AMOUNTS--- THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO MAKING SUCH REALLOCATION EFFECTIVE OR TO THE CREATION OF THE NEW POSITION, PROVIDED THAT OTHER PROVISIONS ARE ABOLISHED OR REALLOCATED DOWNWARD SO THAT THE TOTAL OBLIGATIONS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS UNDER THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED WILL NOT BE INCREASED. HOWEVER, IT IS NOT NECESSARY THAT THERE BE A SUFFICIENT UNEXPENDED OR UNOBLIGATED BALANCE IN THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND FOR THE PARTICULAR FISCAL YEAR INVOLVED TO HAVE ABSORBED THE SALARY OF THE REALLOCATED OR NEW POSITION FOR ANY PERIOD IN THE FISCAL YEAR PRIOR TO THE DATE ON WHICH THE REALLOCATION IS MADE EFFECTIVE OR THE NEW POSITION IS CREATED. ANY STATEMENTS IN THE DECISION PUBLISHED IN 27 COMP. GEN. 99 INDICATING A REQUIREMENT TO SUCH EFFECT MAY BE DISREGARDED.

ACCORDINGLY, IN ORDER THAT THE POLICY PROPOSED TO BE ISSUED BY YOUR AGENCY WILL BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE AFORESAID PROVISION OF LAW, THE STATEMENT OF SUCH POLICY SHOULD BE MODIFIED TO PROVIDE THAT, BEFORE AN ALLOCATION OR REALLOCATION OF A POSITION IS MADE EFFECTIVE, OR A NEW POSITION IS CREATED THERE MUST BE (1) A SUFFICIENT BALANCE IN THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND TO BE CHARGED TO PAY THE SALARY OF THE REALLOCATED OR NEW POSITION FOR THE BALANCE OF THE FISCAL YEAR INVOLVED, AND (2) A DETERMINATION AT THE TIME THE REALLOCATION IS MADE EFFECTIVE OR THE NEW POSITION IS CREATED THAT THE PAYMENT OF THE PRESCRIBED SALARY RATE WILL NOT RESULT IN AN INCREASE IN THE TOTAL OBLIGATIONS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS UNDER THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND INVOLVED.