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The Department of the Army requested a decision concerning the payment of salary to an individual who was irregularly appointed as a civilian employee. The employee was appointed on the basis of a Professional and Administrative Career Examination (PACE) certificate which stated that agencies were to verify that candidates had satisfied the educational requirements for PACE qualification. The Army failed to make the verification and was later informed that the appointment was a regulatory violation because the employee had not met the educational requirements at the time of his appointment. Subsequently, the employee completed the requirements for PACE certification. However, the case could not be closed until permission was obtained from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to let the appointment stand. OPM allowed the appointment to stand, but stated that the legality of the employee's salary for the period between his irregular appointment and the time he obtained the necessary qualifications for that appointment was for GAO determination. GAO has held that, where an individual has been appointed to a position and the appointment is subsequently found to have been improper, that person is entitled to retain compensation already paid, unless the appointment was made in violation of an absolute statutory prohibition or the employee misrepresented a material matter in regard to the appointment. Since there was no statutory bar to the appointment and there was no misrepresentation on the employee's part, GAO held that he was entitled to retain the salary he had received and was also entitled to credit for all annual and sick leave and service credit for leave accrual purposes earned during the period in question. However, the question of whether the employee might be entitled to service credit for retirement purposes for that period should be referred to OPM.

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