An advisory opinion was requested concerning the current availability of fiscal year (FY) 1982 funds for the award of performance pay for that year to employees of the U.S. Information Agency (USIA) who are members of the Senior Foreign Service. A union representing the employees asked the Foreign Service Impasse Disputes Panel to consider a negotiated impasse. The Panel had concluded that a union proposal on compensation should be adopted and implemented no later than September 1, 1982. The Agency refused to implement the Panel decision, and the union filed an unfair labor practice charge before the Foreign Service Labor Relations Board. The Board directed USIA to determine the amount of performance pay that was available as of August 30, 1982, and to treat such funds as now available for the payment of FY 1982 performance awards. GAO was asked whether FY 1982 funds remained available for the award under the Panel's order. GAO found that, since there was no statutory entitlement to performance pay, USIA was not definitely liable to pay the awards from FY 1982 funds. However, any FY 1982 funding which has not yet been obligated for other agency purposes remains available for the payment of 1982 performance awards. To the extent that USIA has withdrawn part or all of the funds and allowed them to revert to the Treasury, USIA has the authority to restore the unobligated balances needed to fulfill a Board order. Accordingly, the amount required may be restored to the appropriate account.
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