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A Federal employee appealed a decision to deny his claim for a retroactive temporary promotion and backpay. The claimant, a GS-15 employee, was assigned the duties of a GS-16 position by a memorandum on January 8, 1976. He was formally detailed to that position on March 1, 1976. On May 9, 1979, he requested a retroactive temporary promotion for the period from January 8, 1976, to January 3, 1978. His request was administratively denied and denied by GAO. GAO held that temporary promotions to supergrade positions could be made only with the prior approval of the Civil Service Commission (CSC). In his appeal, the employee contended that he should not have been penalized by the failure of his agency to comply with the statutory requirement of obtaining prior CSC approval and that the agency should have been estopped from not having to pay the higher supergrade rate to him. According to GAO, it was a well established rule of law that the Government is not bound beyond the actual authority conferred on its agents by statute or regulations. The Government is not estopped to deny the unauthorized acts of its agents. Accordingly, since the agency was without the authority to unilaterally place the employee in a supergrade position, the denial of his claim for a retroactive temporary promotion and backpay was sustained.

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