B-246613, Apr 30, 1992

B-246613: Apr 30, 1992

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Hagler are employees of the Defense Logistics Agency in Richmond. The effective dates for the promotions on those forms were listed as August 18. 1991. /2/ The erroneous effective dates were due to administrative and clerical errors in internal processing prior to the time when the authorized official approved the promotions. We may not speculate as to whether the properly authorized official would have approved an earlier date. We have made exceptions to this rule where administrative or clerical error (1) prevented a personnel action from being effected as originally intended. Our decisions have drawn a distinction between errors that occur prior to promotion approval by the properly authorized official and errors that occur after such approval.

B-246613, Apr 30, 1992

DIGEST: Administrative and clerical errors in the effective dates of two promotion approvals occurred prior to the time when the properly authorized official exercised her discretion to grant the promotions. Thus, the promotions in question cannot be made retroactively effective. Douglas C. Butler, 58 Comp.Gen. 51 (1978).

Darlene E. Stanley and Gail P. Hagler:

The Department of Defense (DOD) requests a decision on the correct effective dates of the promotions of two employees who claim retroactive entitlement to their promotions due to administrative and clerical errors. /1/ For the following reasons, we find that the employees' promotions may not be made retroactively effective and thus we deny their claims.

Ms. Darlene E. Stanley and Ms. Gail P. Hagler are employees of the Defense Logistics Agency in Richmond, Virginia. The report and copies of records submitted by DOD show that their supervisors intended to promote these employees to Inventory Management Specialists, GS-9, on August 4, 1991. However, while the properly authorized personnel official signed the Standard Form 52s for these employees on August 1, 1991, the effective dates for the promotions on those forms were listed as August 18, 1991. /2/ The erroneous effective dates were due to administrative and clerical errors in internal processing prior to the time when the authorized official approved the promotions. We may not speculate as to whether the properly authorized official would have approved an earlier date.

As a general rule, a personnel action may not be made retroactive so as to increase the rights of an employee to compensation. We have made exceptions to this rule where administrative or clerical error (1) prevented a personnel action from being effected as originally intended, (2) resulted in non-discretionary administrative regulations or policies not being carried out, or (3) has deprived the employee of a right granted by statute or regulation. Douglas C. Butler, 58 Comp.Gen. 51 (1978).

In this regard, as we stated in Douglas C. Butler, 58 Comp.Gen. 51, supra, our decisions have drawn a distinction between errors that occur prior to promotion approval by the properly authorized official and errors that occur after such approval, but before the acts necessary to effect promotions have been fully carried out. Thus, where an error occurs before that authorized official has exercised his discretionary authority with respect to approval or disapproval of the promotion, administrative intent to promote at a particular time other than the date of the approval cannot be established.

In the instant case, the errors in the effective dates were not noticed before the properly authorized official signed the Standard Form 52s of the employees involved. Moreover, the properly authorized official states that the proposed effective dates on the Standard Form 52s, as sent to the personnel office and approved by her, were listed as August 18, 1991, and that any errors occurred prior to her approval.

Since the errors occurred prior to the promotion approvals by the properly authorized official, administrative intent to promote at a particular time other than the date of the approval cannot be established under the standards set forth in Douglas C. Butler, 58 Comp.Gen. 51, supra. Thus, these employees' promotion dates may not be made retroactively effective.

Accordingly, these claims are denied.

/1/ This request was submitted by L. J. Krushinski, Deputy Director, General Accounting and Payments, Defense Finance and Accounting Service, Columbus, Ohio.

/2/ The properly authorized personnel official was the Chief, Staffing Branch, Personnel Management Division, Mrs. Barbara P. Higginbotham. Her signature on the Standard Form 52s for these employees was the action which gave legal effect to their promotions.