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OPM Contact: Jo-Ann Chabot
This concerns a claim for retroactive promotion and back pay or,
alternatively, a lump sum payment equal to the pay which the
claimant would have received in a position in the Senior Executive
Service (SES). The claim is based on an assertion that, although
the claimant was not formally detailed to an SES position, he
served in such a position for three years performing all the duties
of that position. The claim is denied for the reasons stated
The claimant, a retired federal employee, formerly was employed
as a Financial Systems Officer, GS-15, in the Office of the Chief
Financial Officer (CFO) at a federal department. His supervisor, a
member of the SES, was the Director of the Office of [xxx] within
the Office of the CFO. The claimant was the Deputy Director of the
[xxx] and states that his supervisor left the position of Director
of [xxx] in February 1994 for a special assignment in the Office of
the CFO. He states that, although his supervisor remained the
Director of record at the [xxx], the supervisor was required to
work full-time on this special assignment. The claimant asserts
that, consequently, he became responsible for all of his
supervisor's duties and served as the Acting Director of the [xxx]
for more than 1,000 days. Accordingly, the claimant asserts that he
was not serving in the capacity of Acting Director and that he
effectively had been detailed to the Director's position. He states
that, to the best of his knowledge, the department did not issue
any Standard Form 50 or Standard Form 52 to memorialize his alleged
detail, and there was no indication that the department notified
the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) concerning the alleged
detail. The department denied the claimant's administrative
grievance and request for relief.
To establish a claim for backpay based on a detail to a
higher-graded position, a claimant must show that: (1) an agency
regulation requires a temporary promotion for a detail to a
higher-graded position; and (2) he or she actually was detailed to
a higher-graded position. Philip
M. Brey, B-261517 (December 26, 1995; Martin Kirchhausen, B-261661
(December 26, 1995). The claimant has the burden of proving that he
was detailed to and performed the duties of the higher-graded
position. Philip M. Brey, supra;
Martin Kirchhausen, supra. A "detail" is an employee's
temporary assignment to a different position involving duties other
than the duties he or she regularly performs. Martin Kirchhausen, supra. An
employee's assumption and performance of the duties of another
position, when specifically required by the employee's position
description, does not constitute a detail to the other position
because the employee is carrying out duties that fall within the
scope of his or her own position. Philip M. Brey, supra; Martin Kirchhausen, supra. This
applies even when the employee performs in an acting capacity for
an extended period of time. Martin Kirchhausen, supra.
The claimant's position description required him to serve
"principally as an operational manager and secondly as an alter ego
to the Director," his supervisor. The position description also
provided that "the Director is the official custodian of the
Department's financial information, and his alter ego, the
Financial Systems Officer [claimant] shares in the responsibility
for maintaining centralized control accounts" and other
responsibilities. Finally, the position description provided that,
"[i]n the Office Director's absence, [the claimant] plans,
supervises and directs all activities of the Office which is
comprised of 63 employees in 3 subordinate divisions." The
claimant's position description shows that he was required to
assume and perform the duties of his supervisor, the Director of
the [xxx] during the Director's absence. Accordingly, the claimant
was carrying out duties that were within the scope of his own
position description while he served as the Acting Director of
Moreover, the department provided a Standard Form 52 (Request
for Personnel Action) showing that the claimant's supervisor was
detailed from May 1, 1994 to August 28, 1994, a period of 120 days,
to "unclassified duties" to perform CFO/ Labor Management
Partnership functions, the special assignment referenced by the
claimant. The department stated that there is no documentation
reflecting that the supervisor's detail was extended beyond the 120
days approved by the Secretary. Thus, it appears that the
claimant's supervisor was not detailed to perform CFO/Labor
Management Partnership functions for as long as the claimant
describes. The department further noted that, according to its
Acting CFO, the claimant's supervisor was regularly consulted while
he was on detail for input in office management decisions such as
strategic planning, organizational changes, and other decisions.
The Acting CFO also noted that the claimant continued to perform
the operations functions assigned to him as the Deputy Director of
the [xxx] during that time. Thus, it also appears that, even while
he was on detail, the claimant's supervisor continued to perform
some of his regularly-assigned duties and responsibilities.
Finally, the claimant has not submitted any documentary evidence,
other than his assertions, to show that he in fact was detailed to
his supervisor's position.
The claimant has not met his burden of proving that he was on
detail to position of the Director of the [xxx]. Therefore, his
claim for retroactive promotion and back pay or, alternatively, a
lump sum payment equal to the pay which the claimant would have
received in a position in the SES, is denied.