Claim for Retroactive Promotion and Backpay

B-202689: Jul 8, 1982

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Shirley Jones
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An Army employee appealed a Claims Group's settlement which denied his request for a retroactive promotion and backpay. The basis of his claim was that the Army committed an unwarranted and unjustified personnel action by failing to act in a timely manner in utilizing a new classification guide for engineering division chief positions. After the guide had been received, the employee's installation began the lengthy process of reclassifying the claimant's position. A new job description was not approved by the position management officer for more than a year after the guide was received, and the installation did not receive authorization for additional higher grade positions for approximately a half year after that. The delay was not deliberate, but resulted from the fact that a desk audit was done, statistical data had to be interpreted, and there was disagreement as to whether the position qualified for upgrading. The employee alleged that an Army Civilian Personnel Regulation required that the new guide be applied within 120 days. GAO disagreed with the employee's contention because: (1) the classification guide did not set up an agencywide policy that required his installation to promote him to a higher position; (2) before a position can be classified at a GS level, quantitative factors should be considered; and (3) the regulation only requires that a review of the classification be made within 120 days, which was done in this case. Until there was a change in the position description and an authorization for additional higher grade positions, there was no established position to which the employee could be promoted. GAO found no violation of any mandatory or nondiscretionary provision in the agency's failure to promote the employee before these requirements were met. Accordingly, the Claims Group's denial of the claim was sustained.