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Office of Merit Systems Oversight and Effectiveness

Date: April 19, 2001
File Number: [01-0016]
Matter of: [Claimants Name]

OPM Contact: Melissa Drummond

The claimant is an employee of the [agency]. He filed a claim for back pay compensation for what he believes to be an illegal action by his agency to mix WG-3414 Machinist work and WG-3703 Welder work into one position. For the reasons stated below, the claim is denied.

We acknowledged receipt of this claim on January 9, 2001 and requested an administrative report from the agency on the same date. The agency administrative report was received on March 30, 2001. Based on information provided by the agency, the claimant was a member of [union] during the time of the claim. According to the agency, the claimant filed a grievance about this matter with the union. His grievance was denied and the union did not invoke arbitration. Based on this information, we requested a copy of the agency's collective bargaining agreement, which was received on April 18, 2001. Based on our review of the agreement, the claimant's issue is specifically excluded from the agency's negotiated grievance procedures, which allows for OPM to adjudicate this claim.

Under section 7106 of title 5, United States Code, each Federal agency has the authority to organize work to accomplish its mission. In order to determine the appropriate pay for this work, the agency is responsible for classifying its positions in accordance with or consistent with classification standards issued by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

In developing these guidelines, OPM anticipated the possibility that a job may consist of work in two or more occupations and provided guidance on mixed jobs in the Federal Wage System. The Introduction to the Federal Wage System Job Grading System states that a mixed job involves performance on a regular and recurring basis of duties in two or more occupations at the same or different grade levels. This is applicable to the claimant's situation. Because OPM anticipated these possibilities and addressed the issues in published guidance, agencies are delegated the authority to classify mixed positions, as they are authorized to classify any position. Because his agency used their delegated classification authority to classify his position, the claim is denied.

We note in this regard that even though 5 U.S.C. 5112 and 5346(c) authorize OPM to decide position classification and job grading appeals, respectively, OPMs authority to adjudicate compensation and leave claims flows from a different law -- 31 U.S.C.  3702. The authority in section 3702 is narrow and limited to adjudications of compensation and leave claims. Section 3702 does not include any authority to decide position classification or job grading appeals. Therefore, OPM may not rely on 31 U.S.C. 3702 as a jurisdictional basis for deciding position classification or job grading appeals, and does not consider such appeals within the context of the claims adjudication function that it performs under section 3702. Cf. Eldon D. Praiswater, B-198758, December 1, 1980 (Comptroller General, formerly authorized to adjudicate compensation and leave claims under section 3702, did not have jurisdiction to consider alleged improper job grading); Connon R. Odom, B-196824, May 12, 1980 (Comptroller General did not have jurisdiction to consider alleged improper position classification).

The claimant also requests determination of the suitability of his supervisor as a Federal employee. The claims function addresses compensation and leave issues only; we do not have jurisdiction over determining a Federal employee's suitability for employment. He also asked for a hearing to discuss information cited within his claim. OPM does not conduct adversary hearings, but settles claims on the basis of the evidence submitted by the claimant and the written record submitted by the government agency involved in the claim. 5 CFR 178.105; Matter of John B. Tucker, B-215346, March 29, 1985. 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 claimants right to bring an action in an appropriate United States Court.

Control Panel