B-129205, NOVEMBER 15, 1957, 37 COMP. GEN. 326

B-129205: Nov 15, 1957

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THE FACT THAT MINIMUM WAGE RATES MAY BE RAISED IN THE PROCESS OF CORRECTION DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THAT PERFORMANCE IS MADE MORE EXPENSIVE OR THAT THE CONTRACTOR IS ENTITLED IN EVERY CASE TO ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION. REFERENCE WAS MADE TO OUR DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 5. WE WERE INFORMED THAT BETWEEN 28. ARE ISSUED ANNUALLY. IT WAS POINTED OUT THAT UNLESS SUCH INADVERTENT ERRORS IN THE WRITTEN TEXT OF WAGE SCHEDULES CAN BE CORRECTED TO ACCURATELY AND FULLY SHOW RATES DETERMINED TO BE PREVAILING ON THE BASIS OF THE EVIDENCE EXISTING AT THE TIME SCHEDULES ISSUED. THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR'S EFFORTS TO DISCHARGE ITS WAGE PREDETERMINATION RESPONSIBILITIES WILL BE AFFECTED ADVERSELY. WE HAVE NO HESITANCY IN AGREEING THAT A FULL OBSERVANCE OF THE STATUTORY DIRECTIONS PERMITS.

B-129205, NOVEMBER 15, 1957, 37 COMP. GEN. 326

CONTRACTS - LABOR STIPULATIONS - DAVIS-BACON ACT - CORRECTION OF WAGE SCHEDULES ALTHOUGH THE CORRECTION OF INADVERTENT ERRORS IN PREVAILING WAGE SCHEDULES DETERMINED PURSUANT TO THE DAVIS-BACON ACT, 40 U.S.C. 276A, DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY AUTHORIZE A CHANGE IN THE CONTRACT PRICE, CONTRACT AMENDMENTS OR CHANGE ORDERS MAY BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRICE ADJUSTMENT PROVISIONS OF THE PARTICULAR CONTRACTS INVOLVED; HOWEVER, THE FACT THAT MINIMUM WAGE RATES MAY BE RAISED IN THE PROCESS OF CORRECTION DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THAT PERFORMANCE IS MADE MORE EXPENSIVE OR THAT THE CONTRACTOR IS ENTITLED IN EVERY CASE TO ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, NOVEMBER 15, 1957:

BY LETTER OF OCTOBER 14, 1957, THE SOLICITOR OF LABOR REQUESTED CONFIRMATION OF UNDERSTANDINGS REACHED, BETWEEN REPRESENTATIVES OF HIS OFFICE AND OF OUR OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL, WITH RESPECT TO THE CORRECTION OF INADVERTENT ERRORS OCCURRING IN PREVAILING WAGE SCHEDULES DETERMINED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND INCORPORATED INTO CONTRACTS PURSUANT TO PROVISIONS OF THE DAVIS-BACON ACT, 40 U.S.C. 276A. REFERENCE WAS MADE TO OUR DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 5, 1957, B-129205, TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, AS THE CAUSE OF YOUR CONCERN IN THE MATTER. SEE, ALSO, 36 COMP. GEN. 341.

WE WERE INFORMED THAT BETWEEN 28,000 AND 30,000 SUCH WAGE DETERMINATIONS, CONTAINING MORE THAN TWO MILLION INDIVIDUAL WAGE MINIMUMS, ARE ISSUED ANNUALLY, AND THAT ERRORS UNAVOIDABLY OCCUR, THOUGH INFREQUENTLY, DUE TO TRANSPORTATION OF RATES, CLASSIFICATIONS, OR FIGURES, AND OTHER CLERICAL MISTAKES IN PROCESSING THE SCHEDULES. IT WAS POINTED OUT THAT UNLESS SUCH INADVERTENT ERRORS IN THE WRITTEN TEXT OF WAGE SCHEDULES CAN BE CORRECTED TO ACCURATELY AND FULLY SHOW RATES DETERMINED TO BE PREVAILING ON THE BASIS OF THE EVIDENCE EXISTING AT THE TIME SCHEDULES ISSUED, THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR'S EFFORTS TO DISCHARGE ITS WAGE PREDETERMINATION RESPONSIBILITIES WILL BE AFFECTED ADVERSELY. IN HIS LETTER, THE SOLICITOR ADVISED THAT,"TO PROHIBIT CONTRACTING AGENCIES FROM EFFECTUATING THE CORRECTION OF SUCH ERRORS WOULD, IN MY OPINION, ABROGATE SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS OF THE DAVIS-BACON ACT, AS AMENDED, AS WELL AS PERPETUATE SERIOUS INEQUITIES TO THE GOVERNMENT, CONTRACTORS AND WORKERS ALIKE.'

WE HAVE NO HESITANCY IN AGREEING THAT A FULL OBSERVANCE OF THE STATUTORY DIRECTIONS PERMITS, IF IT DOES NOT REQUIRE, THE CORRECTION OF INADVERTENT ERRORS WHICH MAY OCCUR IN THE PROCESSING OF WAGE RATE DETERMINATIONS. IS OUR UNDERSTANDING THAT AT THE CONFERENCE REFERRED TO IT WAS MADE CLEAR THAT THE INTENT OF THE DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 5, 1957, WAS TO SET FORTH OUR VIEW THAT THE ISSUANCE BY YOUR DEPARTMENT OF LETTERS OF INADVERTENCE DOES NOT AUTOMATICALLY AUTHORIZE A CHANGE IN THE CONTRACT PRICE. WE DID NOT, HOWEVER, INTEND TO INDICATE THAT THE INADVERTENT ERROR COULD NOT OR SHOULD NOT BE CORRECTED BY USE OF THE NORMAL CONTRACTING PROCEDURES OF CHANGE ORDERS AND AMENDMENTS.

IT IS BELIEVED THAT IN INSTANCES WHERE CORRECTIONS ARE ENTAILED, CHANGES IN COMPENSATION, IF ANY, FOR CHANGES ORDERED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN ORIGINALLY INCORPORATED RATES SHOULD BE MADE DEPENDENT UPON PERTINENT EQUITABLE ADJUSTMENT PROVISIONS OF THE CONTRACTS INVOLVED. HOWEVER, SINCE THE MINIMUM WAGE SCHEDULE IS NOT A REPRESENTATION THAT LABOR CAN BE OBTAINED AT SUCH MINIMUM RATES, AND SINCE A CONTRACTOR ALREADY IS OBLIGATED TO BEAR WHATEVER EXPENSE IS NECESSARY TO SUPPLY LABOR FOR THE WORK, THE FACT THAT MINIMUMS INCORPORATED INTO CONTRACTS MAY BE RAISED IN THE PROCESS OF CORRECTION DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN THAT PERFORMANCE IS MADE MORE EXPENSIVE OR THAT THE CONTRACTOR IS ENTITLED IN EVERY CASE TO ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION.

A COPY OF THIS LETTER IS BEING TRANSMITTED TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR FOR HIS INFORMATION.

Oct 1, 2020

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