B-82892, MAY 13, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 644

B-82892: May 13, 1949

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COMPENSATION - WAGE-BOARD EMPLOYEES - EFFECTIVE DATE OF RATE INCREASES THE ACTION OF A DEPARTMENTAL WAGE BOARD IN ISSUING NEW OR REVISED WAGE SCHEDULES FOR WAGE-BOARD EMPLOYEES AND PRESCRIBING THE EARLIEST DATE THAT THEY MAY BE PLACED IN EFFECT AT INDIVIDUAL FIELD INSTALLATIONS IS TO BE REGARDED AS CONSTITUTING FINAL ACTION BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY. SO THAT THE WAGE SCHEDULES MAY BE PLACED IN EFFECT PURSUANT TO ADMINISTRATIVE FIELD ORDERS ISSUED SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE THE SCHEDULES WERE AUTHORIZED BY THE WAGE BOARD RETROACTIVE TO THE DATE OF SUCH WAGE- BOARD AUTHORIZATION. 24 COMP. 1949: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 11. THE ENCLOSURES WITH YOUR LETTER DISCLOSE THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT WAGE COORDINATION BOARD WAS ESTABLISHED BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR FOR PURPOSES OF ADMINISTRATION OF SALARIES AND WAGES OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT.

B-82892, MAY 13, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 644

COMPENSATION - WAGE-BOARD EMPLOYEES - EFFECTIVE DATE OF RATE INCREASES THE ACTION OF A DEPARTMENTAL WAGE BOARD IN ISSUING NEW OR REVISED WAGE SCHEDULES FOR WAGE-BOARD EMPLOYEES AND PRESCRIBING THE EARLIEST DATE THAT THEY MAY BE PLACED IN EFFECT AT INDIVIDUAL FIELD INSTALLATIONS IS TO BE REGARDED AS CONSTITUTING FINAL ACTION BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY, SO THAT THE WAGE SCHEDULES MAY BE PLACED IN EFFECT PURSUANT TO ADMINISTRATIVE FIELD ORDERS ISSUED SUBSEQUENT TO THE DATE THE SCHEDULES WERE AUTHORIZED BY THE WAGE BOARD RETROACTIVE TO THE DATE OF SUCH WAGE- BOARD AUTHORIZATION. 24 COMP. GEN. 676, AMPLIFIED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, MAY 13, 1949:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 11, 1949, WITH ENCLOSURES, RELATIVE TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF WAGE INCREASES APPROVED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT WAGE COORDINATION BOARD (NOW THE ARMY-AIR FORCE WAGE BOARD) FOR CERTAIN UNCLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY.

THE ENCLOSURES WITH YOUR LETTER DISCLOSE THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT WAGE COORDINATION BOARD WAS ESTABLISHED BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR FOR PURPOSES OF ADMINISTRATION OF SALARIES AND WAGES OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT, WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS NOT HERE PERTINENT, WHOSE COMPENSATION IS FIXED OTHER THAN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923, AS AMENDED, AND THAT THE SAID WAGE BOARD FROM TIME TO TIME ISSUES NEW OR REVISED SCHEDULES OF WAGES APPLICABLE TO PARTICULAR GEOGRAPHICAL AREAS BASED UPON LOCALITY WAGE SURVEYS CONDUCTED IN SUCH AREAS. THE ACTION TO BE TAKEN BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF AN INSTALLATION LOCATED WITHIN AN AREA COVERED BY A NEW OR REVISED WAGE SCHEDULE IS PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 2 OF WAR DEPARTMENT CIVILIAN PERSONNEL CIRCULAR NO. 68, DATED JUNE 25, 1946, WHICH READS IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

2. UPON RECEIPT OF THE AUTHORIZED SCHEDULE, THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE INSTALLATION WILL PUBLISH AN ORDER SPECIFYING THE DATE AND HOUR UPON WHICH IT WILL BE EFFECTIVE. IN FIXING THE EFFECTIVE DATE, CONSIDERATION SHOULD BE GIVEN TO THE FOLLOWING:

A. THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE EFFECTIVE DATE OF APPLICATION WILL BE SPECIFIED IN EACH MEMORANDUM OF AUTHORIZATION. THIS NORMALLY WILL BE THE DATE THE SCHEDULE IS APPROVED BY THE WAGE COORDINATION BOARD.

B. THE LATEST EFFECTIVE DATE POSSIBLE WILL BE 60 CALENDAR DAYS FROM THE DATE OF THE MEMORANDUM OF AUTHORIZATION.

IT IS POINTED OUT THAT IN INSTANCES WHERE LOCAL COMMANDING OFFICERS UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED CIRCULAR HAVE ISSUED ORDERS DIRECTING THAT REVISED WAGE SCHEDULES SHALL BE RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE, AUDITORS OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE HAVE RAISED EXCEPTIONS TO RETROACTIVE PAYMENTS MADE PURSUANT TO SUCH ORDERS ON THE BASIS THAT SAID REVISED WAGE SCHEDULES LAWFULLY COULD NOT BE MADE EFFECTIVE PRIOR TO THE DATE THAT THE ORDERS OF THE LOCAL COMMANDING OFFICERS WERE ISSUED. IN THIS CONNECTION, YOU HAVE STATED THAT " THIS ACTION, OF COURSE, OPENS THE ENTIRE QUESTION OF WHAT CONSTITUTES "FINAL ACTION BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY" AS THE PHRASE IS USED IN 24 COMP. GEN. 676," AND HAVE SUBMITTED FOR DECISION THE SPECIFIC QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE ISSUANCE OF A NEW OR REVISED WAGE SCHEDULE BY THE WAGE BOARD REPRESENTS "FINAL ACTION BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY.'

BY ORDERS L OF NOVEMBER 8, 1945, THE WAR DEPARTMENT WAGE COORDINATION BOARD WAS DESIGNATED BY THE SECRETARY OF WAR AS THE ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF FIXING WAGES AND SALARIES OF UNCLASSIFIED EMPLOYEES--- WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS -- OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT. THE DECISION AS TO WHETHER A WAGE SURVEY SHOULD BE CONDUCTED LIES WITH THE BOARD. IF IT BE DECIDED THAT A SURVEY SHOULD BE CONDUCTED IN A PARTICULAR LOCALITY, IT IS THE WAGE BOARD THAT APPOINTS THE CHAIRMAN OF THE LOCALITY SURVEY BOARD. THE DATA ASCERTAINED FROM SUCH SURVEY ARE TRANSMITTED DIRECTLY TO THE WAGE BOARD WHICH, AFTER STUDY AND ANALYSIS OF SUCH DATA, DETERMINES WHETHER OR NOT THE WAGE SCHEDULE FOR THAT LOCALITY SHOULD BE REVISED. IT IS THE WAGE BOARD THAT ISSUES REVISED WAGE SCHEDULES AND DESIGNATES THE EARLIEST DATES THEY MAY BE PLACED IN EFFECT. IN BRIEF, IT MAY BE STATED THAT UNDER THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS JURISDICTION OVER THE MATTER OF THE ESTABLISHMENT, ADJUSTMENT, AND READJUSTMENT OF WAGE RATES OF EMPLOYEES COVERED THEREBY IS VESTED WHOLLY AND EXCLUSIVELY IN THE WAGE BOARD. WHILE THE COMMANDING OFFICERS OF INDIVIDUAL INSTALLATIONS ARE GIVEN 60-DAY GRACE PERIOD FROM THE DATES OF THE MEMORANDA OF AUTHORIZATION OF THE BOARD WITHIN WHICH TO ISSUE ORDERS PLACING THE REVISED SCHEDULES IN EFFECT AT THEIR COMMANDS, SUCH AUTHORITY APPARENTLY IS GRANTED FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF AFFORDING TIME FOR MAKING NECESSARY ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUSTMENTS INCIDENT TO THE PLACING OF SUCH SCHEDULES IN EFFECT.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE CONCLUSION APPEARS WARRANTED THAT THE ACTION OF THE WAGE BOARD IN ISSUING A NEW OR REVISED WAGE SCHEDULE AND PRESCRIBING THE EARLIEST DATE THAT IT MAY BE PLACED IN EFFECT CONSTITUTES "FINAL ACTION BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY" AS THAT TERM IS USED IN 24 COMP. GEN. 676. ACCORDINGLY, NO FURTHER OBJECTION WILL BE RAISED BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THIS OFFICE TO OTHERWISE PROPER PAYMENTS UNDER NEW OR REVISED WAGE SCHEDULES COVERING RETROACTIVE PERIODS OF THE DATE OF THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE WAGE BOARD.

THE EXCEPTIONS MENTIONED IN YOUR LETTER WILL BE REVIEWED AND APPROPRIATE ACTION TAKEN THEREON IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.