Reconsideration of Claim for Retroactive Reclassification

B-198473: Apr 12, 1982

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A civilian employee of the Army requested reconsideration of a decision which denied his claim for retroactive reclassification of his position and backpay. The claim arose due to a reorganization which resulted in the employee's being downgraded from a GS-13 position to a GS-12 position. Prior to the reclassification, the employee held the office of Comptroller which was directly under the Installation Commander. The downgraded position was placed under the supervision of the Director of Administration, and was reclassified as Budget and Accounting Officer. The employee filed a complaint with the Inspector General contending that Army regulations required a separate Comptroller's organization. The Inspector General replied that the Army had directed the establishment of a separate Comptroller's organization at the installation and that the comptroller position would be established at the GS-12 grade. The employee was officially reassigned to that position 18 months after the downgrading action. However, the employee's claim was denied, because Federal regulations prohibit retroactive classification actions except in the case of a timely successful appeal of a downgrading or other classification action resulting in reduction of pay. In his request for reconsideration, the employee raised two issues. First, he argued that he is entitled to reclassification and backpay because the original reorganization of his position was an improper action which caused his downgrading; and second, he continued to perform the same duties that he performed at the higher grade. GAO held that the applicable legislation does not create a substantive right to backpay for a period of wrongful position classification. Also, GAO stated that the authority to establish appropriate classification standards and to allocate positions subject to the General Schedule rests with the agency concerned and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). GAO has no authority to settle claims on any basis other than the agency or OPM classification. Thus, the employee is entitled to the salary of a GS-12 even though he may have performed the same duties that he performed as a GS-13. Accordingly, the prior decision was affirmed.

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