[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 120 (Friday, June 22, 2007)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 34361-34363]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-12096]



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Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

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Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 120 / Friday, June 22, 2007 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 34361]]



OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT

5 CFR Part 531

RIN 3206-AL27


Locality Pay Areas

AGENCY: Office of Personnel Management.

ACTION: Interim rule with request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: On behalf of the President's Pay Agent, the Office of 
Personnel Management is issuing interim regulations on the locality pay 
program for General Schedule and certain other employees. The interim 
regulations add Whatcom County, WA, to the Seattle locality pay area, 
remove the reference to a January effective date for changes made by 
the President's Pay Agent in locality pay area boundaries, and make a 
number of changes in the official names of locality pay areas to 
correspond to revised names of Metropolitan Statistical Areas and 
Combined Statistical Areas as established by the Office of Management 
and Budget.

DATES: Effective Date: The regulations are effective July 23, 2007.
    Applicability Date: The regulations apply on the first day of the 
first pay period beginning on or after July 23, 2007. (This date 
governs when the addition of Whatcom County to the Seattle locality pay 
area is first applicable.)
    Comment Date: We must receive comments on or before August 21, 
2007.

ADDRESSES: Send or deliver comments to Charles D. Grimes III, Deputy 
Associate Director for Performance and Pay Systems, Office of Personnel 
Management, Room 7H31, 1900 E Street, NW., Washington, DC 20415-8200; 
FAX: (202) 606-4264; or e-mail: pay-performance-policy@opm.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Allan Hearne, (202) 606-2838; FAX: 
(202) 606-4264; e-mail: pay-performance-policy@opm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 5304 of title 5, United States Code, 
and 5 CFR part 531, subpart F, authorize locality pay for General 
Schedule (GS) and certain other employees with official worksites in 
the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia.
    Section 5304(f) of title 5, United States Code, authorizes the 
President's Pay Agent (the Secretary of Labor, the Director of the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Director of the Office 
of Personnel Management (OPM)) to determine locality pay areas. The 
boundaries of locality pay areas must be based on appropriate factors, 
which may include local labor market patterns, commuting patterns, and 
the practices of other employers. The Pay Agent must give thorough 
consideration to the views and recommendations of the Federal Salary 
Council, a body composed of experts in the fields of labor relations 
and pay policy and representatives of Federal employee organizations. 
The President appoints the members of the Council, which submits annual 
recommendations to the Pay Agent about the locality pay program.
    Consistent with recommendations of the Federal Salary Council, the 
Pay Agent uses Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and Combined 
Statistical Area (CSA) definitions established by OMB as the basis for 
locality pay area definitions. The definitions of the terms CSA and MSA 
in 5 CFR 531.602 and the regulations at Sec.  531.609(d) provide that 
locality pay area definitions change automatically when OMB adds 
locations to a CSA or MSA. Under the regulations, the changes in 
locality pay areas resulting from OMB additions to a CSA or MSA go into 
effect the first pay period beginning on or after January 1 of the 
following year.
    On April 25, 2006, and May 26, 2006, OMB published corrections to 
OMB Bulletin 06-01 updating MSAs and CSAs, and, on December 18, 2006, 
OMB published OMB Bulletin 07-01, an update of statistical areas. These 
MSA and CSA corrections and updates resulted in changes to the locality 
pay area definitions effective January 7, 2007. This Federal Register 
notice revises the locality pay area definitions at 5 CFR 531.603 
consistent with these changes. The OMB bulletins added--
     The Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA MSA to the 
Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-NH CSA, so we are deleting the 
reference in the regulations to the Providence MSA as an area of 
application to the Boston locality pay area since the reference is no 
longer needed;
     The Sherman-Denison, TX MSA (Grayson County, TX) to the 
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX CSA, so we added Grayson County, TX to the Dallas 
locality pay area effective January 7, 2007;
     The Greeley, CO MSA (Weld County, CO) to the Denver-
Aurora-Boulder, CO CSA, so we are deleting the reference in the 
regulations to Weld County, CO, as an area of application to the Denver 
locality pay area since it is no longer needed;
     The Reading, PA MSA (Berks County, PA) to the 
Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland, PA-NJ-DE-MD CSA, so we added Berks 
County, PA, to the Philadelphia locality pay area effective January 7, 
2007;
     The Mount Vernon-Anacortes, WA MSA (Skagit County, WA) to 
the Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia, WA CSA, so we added Skagit County, WA, to 
the Seattle locality pay area effective January 7, 2007; and
     the Yuba City, CA MSA (Sutter and Yuba Counties, CA) to 
the Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Truckee, CA-NV CSA, so we added Sutter and 
Yuba Counties, CA, to the Sacramento locality pay area effective 
January 7, 2007.
    The bulletins also changed the names of MSAs and CSAs affecting 
locality pay areas as follows:
     The Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-NH CSA was renamed the 
Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-RI-NH CSA, so we are making a 
corresponding change in the name of the locality pay area in the 
regulations;
     The Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Truckee, CA-NV CSA was renamed 
the Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba City, CA-NV CSA, so we are making a 
corresponding change in the name of the locality pay area in the 
regulations;
     The Santa Barbara-Santa Maria, CA MSA was renamed the 
Santa Barbara-Santa Maria-Goleta, CA MSA, so we are making a 
corresponding change in the definition of the Los Angeles locality pay 
area which already includes the Santa Barbara metropolitan area; and

[[Page 34362]]

     The Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, FL MSA was renamed 
the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA, so we are making a 
corresponding change in the name of the locality pay area in the 
regulations.

New Area of Application

    The Federal Salary Council also recommended, and the President's 
Pay Agent has adopted, criteria for evaluating areas adjacent to a 
separate locality pay area for inclusion in the pay area. These include 
criteria for evaluating individual counties that are not part of a 
multi-county MSA or CSA. Under OPM regulations, the addition of 
adjacent areas to a locality pay area does not happen automatically but 
must be approved by the Pay Agent and incorporated in OPM regulations, 
consistent with the notice and comment requirements of the 
Administrative Procedure Act. The individual county criteria are as 
follows:

    For adjacent counties that are not part of a multi-county MSA or 
CSA: To be included in an adjacent locality pay area, an adjacent 
county that is currently in the Rest of U.S. locality pay area must 
have at least 400 GS employees and an employment interchange measure 
of at least 7.5 percent.

    Whatcom County, WA, with 787 GS employees, has an 11.07 percent 
employment interchange measure with the recently redefined Seattle CSA 
and now passes the criteria, so the President's Pay Agent has decided 
to add Whatcom County, WA, as an area of application to the Seattle 
locality pay area. OPM is publishing this notice, which documents and 
implements the decision of the Pay Agent regarding the addition of 
Whatcom County to the Seattle CSA, under the authority of 5 U.S.C. 
5304(i).
    Under Sec.  531.609(d) of the regulations, changes in locality pay 
areas made by the President's Pay Agent are normally made effective the 
January following the change--i.e., the January following the date of 
the Federal Register notice making the change. Since OMB changed the 
Seattle CSA on December 18, 2006, there was not enough time for the 
President's Pay Agent to review the matter and take action before 
January 2007 (the date the CSA/MSA changes went into effect). In light 
of these particular circumstances, we believe it would be appropriate 
to add Whatcom County to the Seattle CSA effective on the first day of 
the first pay period beginning on or after 30 days after publication of 
this regulation, rather than delaying the effective date until January 
2008, as anticipated by Sec.  531.609(d).
    Because of the possibility of similar situations in the future, we 
are amending Sec.  531.609(d) to remove the reference to a January 
effective date for changes made by the President's Pay Agent in 
locality pay area boundaries. This change recognizes that the 
President's Pay Agent has authority to specify the effective date of 
any change in locality pay area boundaries in the regulations 
implementing the change. While we anticipate that the President's Pay 
Agent will normally make locality pay area changes effective the 
following January, it may decide to establish an earlier date in 
special circumstances, such as those that applied in the Whatcom 
situation.

Impact and Implementation

    The changes in locality pay area boundaries corresponding to 
changes in CSA definitions moved 187 GS employees in Berks County, PA, 
61 GS employees in Grayson County, TX, 47 GS employees in Sutter 
County, CA, 602 GS employees in Yuba County, CA, and 222 GS employees 
in Skagit County, WA, from the Rest of U.S. locality pay area to a 
separate metropolitan locality pay area as explained above, at a total 
cost of about $3.0 million per year. Because the regulations specify 
that locality pay areas correspond to CSA and MSA definitions, these 
changes became applicable with the first pay period that began on or 
after January 1, 2007 (i.e., January 7, 2007).
    Including Whatcom County, WA, in the Seattle locality pay area will 
affect 787 GS employees at an annual cost of approximately $2.5 
million. As explained above, this change becomes applicable the first 
day of the first pay period beginning on or after the date 30 days 
after publication of this notice.

Waiver of Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

    Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B), I find that good cause exists 
for waiving the general notice of proposed rulemaking. The other 
additions to locality pay areas (those resulting from changes in MSAs 
and CSAs) already went into effect in January 2007. Because Whatcom 
County is an important duty station for the Department of Homeland 
Security, it is undesirable to wait until January 2008 to implement 
this change. Providing an earlier effective date for Whatcom County 
will permit employees to receive the higher locality rates sooner and 
enhance agency recruitment and retention efforts in the county.

E.O. 12866, Regulatory Review

    The Office of Management and Budget has reviewed this rule in 
accordance with E.O. 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that these regulations would not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because they 
would apply only to Federal agencies and employees.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 531

    Government employees, Law enforcement officers, Wages.

Office of Personnel Management.
Linda M. Springer,
Director.

0
Accordingly, OPM amends 5 CFR part 531 as follows:

PART 531--PAY UNDER THE GENERAL SCHEDULE

0
1. The authority citation for part 531 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 5115, 5307, and 5338; sec. 4 of Pub. L. 103-
89, 107 Stat. 981; and E.O. 12748, 56 FR 4521, 3 CFR, 1991 Comp., p. 
316; Subpart B also issued under 5 U.S.C. 5303(g), 5305, 5333, 
5334(a) and (b), and 7701(b)(2); Subpart D also issued under 5 
U.S.C. 5335(g) and 7701(b)(2); Subpart E also issued under 5 U.S.C. 
5336; Subpart F also issued under 5 U.S.C. 5304, 5305, and 5338; and 
E.O. 12883, 58 FR 63281, 3 CFR, 1993 Comp., p. 682 and E.O. 13106, 
63 FR 68151, 3 CFR, 1998 Comp., p. 224.

Subpart F--Locality-Based Comparability Payments

0
2. In Sec.  531.603, paragraph (b) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  531.603  Locality pay areas.

* * * * *
    (b) The following are locality pay areas for the purpose of this 
subpart:
    (1) Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, GA-AL--consisting of the 
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, GA-AL CSA;
    (2) Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-NH-RI-ME--consisting of the 
Boston-Worcester-Manchester, MA-RI-NH CSA, plus Barnstable County, MA, 
and Berwick, Eliot, Kittery, South Berwick, and York towns in York 
County, ME;
    (3) Buffalo-Niagara-Cattaraugus, NY--consisting of the Buffalo-
Niagara-Cattaraugus, NY CSA;
    (4) Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, IL-IN-WI--consisting of the 
Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City, IL-IN-WI CSA;
    (5) Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, OH-KY-IN--consisting of the 
Cincinnati-Middletown-Wilmington, OH-KY-IN CSA;

[[Page 34363]]

    (6) Cleveland-Akron-Elyria, OH--consisting of the Cleveland-Akron-
Elyria, OH CSA;
    (7) Columbus-Marion-Chillicothe, OH--consisting of the Columbus-
Marion-Chillicothe, OH CSA;
    (8) Dallas-Fort Worth, TX--consisting of the Dallas-Fort Worth, TX 
CSA;
    (9) Dayton-Springfield-Greenville, OH--consisting of the Dayton-
Springfield-Greenville, OH CSA;
    (10) Denver-Aurora-Boulder, CO--consisting of the Denver-Aurora-
Boulder, CO CSA, plus the Ft. Collins-Loveland, CO MSA;
    (11) Detroit-Warren-Flint, MI--consisting of the Detroit-Warren-
Flint, MI CSA, plus Lenawee County, MI;
    (12) Hartford-West Hartford-Willimantic, CT-MA--consisting of the 
Hartford-West Hartford-Willimantic, CT CSA, plus the Springfield, MA 
MSA and New London County, CT;
    (13) Houston-Baytown-Huntsville, TX--consisting of the Houston-
Baytown-Huntsville, TX CSA;
    (14) Huntsville-Decatur, AL--consisting of the Huntsville-Decatur, 
AL CSA;
    (15) Indianapolis-Anderson-Columbus, IN--consisting of the 
Indianapolis-Anderson-Columbus, IN CSA, plus Grant County, IN;
    (16) Los Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, CA--consisting of the Los 
Angeles-Long Beach-Riverside, CA CSA, plus the Santa Barbara-Santa 
Maria-Goleta, CA MSA and all of Edwards Air Force Base, CA;
    (17) Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL--consisting of the 
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL MSA, plus Monroe County, FL;
    (18) Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, WI--consisting of the Milwaukee-
Racine-Waukesha, WI CSA;
    (19) Minneapolis-St. Paul-St. Cloud, MN-WI--consisting of the 
Minneapolis-St. Paul-St. Cloud, MN-WI CSA;
    (20) New York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA--consisting of the New 
York-Newark-Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA CSA, plus Monroe County, PA, and 
Warren County, NJ;
    (21) Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland, PA-NJ-DE-MD--consisting of the 
Philadelphia-Camden-Vineland, PA-NJ-DE-MD CSA, plus Kent County, DE, 
Atlantic County, NJ, and Cape May County, NJ;
    (22) Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ--consisting of the Phoenix-Mesa-
Scottsdale, AZ MSA;
    (23) Pittsburgh-New Castle, PA--consisting of the Pittsburgh-New 
Castle, PA CSA;
    (24) Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA--consisting of the 
Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA MSA, plus Marion County, OR, and 
Polk County, OR;
    (25) Raleigh-Durham-Cary, NC--consisting of the Raleigh-Durham-
Cary, NC CSA, plus the Fayetteville, NC MSA, the Goldsboro, NC MSA, and 
the Federal Correctional Complex Butner, NC;
    (26) Richmond, VA--consisting of the Richmond, VA MSA;
    (27) Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba City, CA-NV--consisting of the 
Sacramento-Arden-Arcade-Yuba City, CA-NV CSA, plus Carson City, NV;
    (28) San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA--consisting of the San 
Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA MSA;
    (29) San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA--consisting of the San 
Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, CA CSA, plus the Salinas, CA MSA and San 
Joaquin County, CA;
    (30) Seattle-Tacoma-Olympia, WA--consisting of the Seattle-Tacoma-
Olympia, WA CSA, plus Whatcom County, WA;
    (31) Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV-PA--
consisting of the Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia, DC-MD-VA-WV 
CSA, plus the Hagerstown-Martinsburg, MD-WV MSA, the York-Hanover-
Gettysburg, PA CSA, and King George County, VA; and
    (32) Rest of U.S.--consisting of those portions of the continental 
United States not located within another locality pay area.

0
3. In Sec.  531.609, paragraph (d) is revised to read as follows:


Sec.  531.609  Adjusting or terminating locality rates.

* * * * *
    (d) In the event of a change in the geographic coverage of a 
locality pay area as a result of the addition by OMB of a new area(s) 
to the definition of an MSA or CSA, the effective date of any change in 
an employee's entitlement to a locality rate of pay under this subpart 
is the first day of the first pay period beginning on or after January 
1 of the next calendar year. Any area removed by OMB from coverage 
within an MSA or CSA that serves as the basis for defining a locality 
pay area must be reviewed by the Federal Salary Council and the 
President's Pay Agent before a decision is made regarding the locality 
pay status of that area.
* * * * *

 [FR Doc. E7-12096 Filed 6-21-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6325-39-P