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A decision was requested as to whether two Federal employees were entitled to retroactive promotions and backpay based on an agency delay in certifying and approving the promotion requests which were eventually approved. The agency admitted that many of the conditions required by Federal regulations for noncompetitive promotions were met while the claimants were waiting for their promotions to be processed. However, the agency contended that the reason that these promotions were not accomplished in a timely fashion was that administrators had not been able to verify that the positions requested were in an established career ladder and that duties existed at the higher grade level for each position. The claimants contended that agency personnel regulations entitled them to be promoted within a reasonable period of time. Alternatively, the claimants contended that they were entitled to promotions when their supervisor signed his approval of the promotion requests. GAO found that: (1) there was no indication that the promotions of the claimants were nondiscretionary; (2) there was no apparent agency regulation, policy, or procedure regarding the processing time for promotion requests; and (3) although there was an inordinate delay in processing the promotion requests, the delay did not amount to an error that would support the granting of retroactive promotions. Accordingly, the promotions may not be effected retroactively.


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