A-10185, JULY 6, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 6

A-10185: Jul 6, 1925

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SET-OFF - RETIREMENT DEDUCTIONS THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR APPLYING THE RETIREMENT DEDUCTIONS AND UNPAID SALARY DUE A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE TO MEET A JUDGMENT OBTAINED AGAINST SUCH EMPLOYEE FOR THE LOSS OF ORDINARY MAIL. " AS THE UNITED STATES IS NOT LIABLE FOR THE LOSS OF ORDINARY MAIL. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 16. YOU REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER IN A CASE SUCH AS IS COVERED BY THE DECISIONS MENTIONED. WHERE THE GOVERNMENT HAS SUSTAINED NO LOSS AND IS NOT OBLIGATED TO PAY INDEMNITY. IF JUDGMENT WERE SECURED BY THIS DEPARTMENT AGAINST THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS SURETIES THROUGH CIVIL SUIT. FOR THE REASON THAT THE UNITED STATES IS NOT LIABLE FOR SUCH LOSS. YOU ARE ADVISED.

A-10185, JULY 6, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 6

ACCOUNTING, SET-OFF - RETIREMENT DEDUCTIONS THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR APPLYING THE RETIREMENT DEDUCTIONS AND UNPAID SALARY DUE A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE TO MEET A JUDGMENT OBTAINED AGAINST SUCH EMPLOYEE FOR THE LOSS OF ORDINARY MAIL, EVEN IN THE CASE WHERE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS ELECTED TO BRING SUIT AS "BAILEE FOR HIRE," AS THE UNITED STATES IS NOT LIABLE FOR THE LOSS OF ORDINARY MAIL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JULY 6, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 16, 1925, WHEREIN YOU REFER TO TWO DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE RELATIVE TO THE USE OR SET-OFF OF RETIREMENT DEDUCTIONS AND UNPAID SALARY OF EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE. YOU REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER IN A CASE SUCH AS IS COVERED BY THE DECISIONS MENTIONED, WHERE THE GOVERNMENT HAS SUSTAINED NO LOSS AND IS NOT OBLIGATED TO PAY INDEMNITY, IF JUDGMENT WERE SECURED BY THIS DEPARTMENT AGAINST THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS SURETIES THROUGH CIVIL SUIT, THE DEPARTMENT SUING IN BEHALF OF THE OWNERS OF ORDINARY MAIL IN ITS CAPACITY AS "BAILEE FOR E," THE AMOUNT DUE THE EMPLOYEE IN THE RETIREMENT FUND, OR AS SALARY PAYABLE THROUGH A POSTMASTER, COULD BE PAID PROPERLY TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF REIMBURSING THE LOSERS OF THE ORDINARY MAIL.

SECTIONS 11 AND 14 OF THE ACT OF MAY 22, 1920, 41 STAT. 619, 620, PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 11. THAT * * * IN THE CASE OF ANY EMPLOYEE TO WHOM THIS ACT APPLIES WHO SHALL BECOME ABSOLUTELY SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE BEFORE BECOMING ELIGIBLE FOR RETIREMENT ON AN ANNUITY, THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF DEDUCTIONS OF SALARY, PAY, OR COMPENSATION WITH ACCRUED INTEREST COMPUTED AT THE RATE OF 4 PERCENTUM PER ANNUM, COMPOUNDED ON JUNE 30 OF EACH FISCAL YEAR, SHALL, UPON APPLICATION, BE RETURNED TO SUCH EMPLOYEE * * *.

SEC. 14. THAT NONE OF THE MONEYS MENTIONED IN THIS ACT SHALL BE ASSIGNABLE, EITHER IN LAW OR EQUITY, OR BE SUBJECT TO EXECUTION, LEVY, OR ATTACHMENT, GARNISHMENT, OR OTHER LEGAL PROCESS.

A JUDGMENT OBTAINED AGAINST AN EMPLOYEE BY THE METHOD PROPOSED WOULD AS A MATTER OF FACT BE A CLAIM OF THE INDIVIDUAL OR INDIVIDUALS WHOSE MAIL HAD BEEN RIFLED AND NOT A CLAIM OF THE UNITED STATES, FOR THE REASON THAT THE UNITED STATES IS NOT LIABLE FOR SUCH LOSS, AND THE FACT THAT ITS OFFICERS ELECTED TO BRING SUIT AS "BAILEE FOR HIRE" WOULD NOT CHANGE THE STATUS OF THE REAL PARTIES INVOLVED. YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT A CLAIM EVEN IN THE FORM OF A JUDGMENT OBTAINED UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES AS SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER COULD NOT BE USED AS A SET-OFF AGAINST COMPENSATION OR RETIREMENT DEDUCTIONS FOUND TO BE OTHERWISE DUE THE EMPLOYEE, AND WOULD NOT AUTHORIZE WITHHOLDING FROM THE EMPLOYEE AMOUNTS OTHERWISE DUE ON ACCOUNT THEREOF.