GAO reviewed a decision concerning the retroactive temporary promotion of a civilian employee of the Air Force. The Claims Division advised the Air Force that, because of his detail to higher-level positions, the employee should receive backpay at the GS-5 level beginning on the 121st day of his initial detail, and at the GS-7 level 1 year after that date. The employee raised three new issues. He believed that: (1) he was entitled to grade GS-7 at least from February 1971 because the first 120 days of his detail to the GS-5 position should be counted toward his fulfilling the required 1 year of service (2) he should receive backpay at the higher grade level after serving only 6 months, rather than 1 year, as a GS-5 trainee; and (3) because of his experience and class standing and the higher level duties he was assigned, he was entitled to a retroactive temporary promotion and backpay at the higher grade level beginning the 121st day of his detail and a subsequent retroactive temporary promotion with backpay as a GS-9 beginning alternatively on the 121st day and two subsequent dates. GAO held that the first 120 days of the employee's detail as a GS-5 may not be counted as part of the waiting period for a retroactive temporary promotion to grade GS-7. GAO was advised by the Office of Personnel Management that it did not consider time spent on detail prior to a temporary promotion to be time in grade for purposes of satisfying the Whitten Amendment under which a waiting period of 1 year served in the next lower grade was generally required for a promotion. GAO lacked specific information that the employee was in an approved training program when his permanent position was at grade GS-4 and he was detailed to serve in GS-5 and 7 positions. However, if he did meet the training exceptions to the Whitten Amendment, he was ineligible for the three-grade promotions. There was nothing in the records showing that any of the other exceptions to the Amendment applied. GAO found that the employee was first entitled to GS-7 backpay 1 year after his retroactive temporary promotion to GS-5. GAO had no information that the employee was detailed to perform all the principle duties and responsibilities of a GS-9 position prior to his permanent promotion to that position. Accordingly, GAO had no basis to allow the claim for additional pay.
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