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Pay & Leave Claim Decisions

Office of Merit Systems Oversight and Effectiveness

Date: May 7, 2002
File Number: [01-0058]
Matter of: [Claimant]

OPM Contact: Deborah Y. McKissick

The claimant is a Supervisory Park Ranger, GS-025-11, employed with the [agency] The position is located at the [location of position]. The claimant is requesting a change in his locality rate of pay. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) received the compensation claim on October 3, 2001, and the agency administrative report on March 22, 2002. For the reasons discussed herein, the claim is denied.

The claimant provided a position description (Form OF-8) that depicts the position's duty station as [city, state]. The claimant believes the Supervisory Park Ranger, GS-11 position is located in [city, state]. The claimant referenced a letter, dated May 25, 2000, from Congressman Sam Farr as evidence that the Federal government considers the claimant employed in [name of county]. The Congressman's form letter was sent to Federal employees as notification that employees working in [name of county] would be eligible for the same locality pay as employees in [city, state] Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) beginning on January 1, 2001.

The claimant and the agency referenced former Director of the Office of Personnel Management, Ms. Janice Lachance's letter, dated August 8, 2000 to Congressman Farr. In the letter Ms. Lachance explained that the Federal employees working in the [name of county] and [name of county] counties were not part of the [city, state] CMSA as defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Pay Agent added Federal employees working in [name of county] to the [city] locality pay area effective January 1, 2001.

The agency stated in its response, that the claimant's duty station is identified on the Notification of Personnel Action (SF-50) as [city, state]. The agency agrees with the claimant that the mail for the West District is sent to and purchases are made in [city, state]. The agency further stated that the claimant's office is located on the Chaparral side of the [location] in [name of county]. The agency explained that, "the boundaries of [location] crosses county lines into an adjacent area (name of county). However, when only a portion of a Federal facility crosses pay locality boundaries, it must meet criteria to be eligible for the locality pay."

The Federal Salary Council revised criteria for adding an adjacent pay area as an area of application. The criteria are listed in the Federal Register: December 1, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 232), page 75154, which reads,

C. Federal facilities crossing pay locality boundaries. To be in the pay locality, the portion of a Federal facility, which crosses pay locality boundaries and which is not in the pay locality must ...
(1) contain at least 1,000 GS employees; (2) have the duty stations of the majority of GS employees within 10 miles of the locality; and (3) have a significant number of its employees commuting from the pay locality.

Accordingly, it was determined that the PNM does not meet the criteria.

5 CFR § 531.602 describes the official duty station as "the duty station for an employee's position of record as indicated on his or her most recent notification of personnel action." According to a SF-50, effective date January 13, 2002, the claimant's duty station is "[city, state]." Although we recognize that the employee's daily responsibilities may occur in [county, state], the agency has determined that the official duty location of the PNM office for the claimant is in [county, state]. Therefore, the claimant is ineligible for the locality pay of the [city, state] Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area.

OPM does not conduct investigations or adversary hearings in adjudicating claims, but relies on the written record presented by the parties. See Frank A. Barone, B-229439, May 25, 1988. Where the agency's factual determination is reasonable, we will not substitute our judgment for that of the agency. See, e.g., Jimmie D. Brewer, B-205452, Mar. 15, 1982, as cited in Philip M. Brey, supra.

This settlement is final. No further administrative review is available within the Office of Personnel Management. Nothing in this settlement limits the claimant's right to bring an action in an appropriate United States Court.

Control Panel