Claim for Retroactive Promotion and Backpay

B-197474: Jun 9, 1980

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A claim for a retroactive temporary promotion and backpay was disallowed because the position in which the Army civilian employee performed was a military position and not established and classified to a civilian grade during the period of the employee's detail. In his request for reconsideration, the employee contended that he was detailed to a higher-grade position which was effectively and appropriately classified when the deputy commander of the facility signed the position description with a proposed title, series, and grade. The employee also contended that because of the agency's delay in processing the reclassification of the position, he was misclassified and improperly denied pay during the period of his claim. Under the statute governing the classification of federal positions and the implementing regulations, the employing agency and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) are responsible for the classification of duties of an employee's position. GAO has no authority to settle claims on any basis other than the agency or OPM classification. It has been consistently held that employees should appeal alleged improper classifications through their agencies to OPM. Since OPM determinations on classification appeals are binding on GAO, GAO has no authority to modify such actions. The record did not disclose that the employee successfully appealed either the alleged improper classification or the alleged delay in having the position in question reclassified. Thus, GAO concurred with the Claims Division finding and the prior decision denying the claim was sustained.