A-14399, MAY 28, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 945

A-14399: May 28, 1926

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IT IS NECESSARY TO BEGIN AT THE MINIMUM SALARY RATE SPECIFIED FOR THE VARIOUS CLASSIFICATIONS OF POST OFFICES FOR THE SAME TITLE OR DESIGNATION. THE MINIMUM SALARY RATE OF ONE CLASSIFICATION WILL CORRESPOND TO THE MINIMUM SALARY RATE OF ANOTHER CLASSIFICATION FOR THE SAME TITLE OR DESIGNATION. THE SECOND SALARY RATE OF ONE WILL CORRESPOND TO THE SECOND SALARY RATE OF ANOTHER. REQUESTING DECISION ON A MATTER PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS: ADVICE IS REQUESTED AS TO THE PROPER CONSTRUCTION OF A PROVISION OF THE ACT APPROVED FEBRUARY 28. PARTICULAR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING PROVISO WHICH RELATES TO SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES IN POST OFFICES OF THE FIRST CLASS. HAVE BEEN SET UP IN A CHART. COPY OF WHICH IS INCLOSED.

A-14399, MAY 28, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 945

POSTAL SERVICE - REASSIGNMENT TO SALARY GRADE OF SUPERVISORY OFFICERS AT FIRST CLASS POST OFFICES PLACED IN HIGHER CLASSIFICATION IN DETERMINING THE "CORRESPONDING GRADE" UNDER SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1058, PROVIDING FOR THE REASSIGNMENT OF SUPERVISORY OFFICERS OF THE FIRST-CLASS POST OFFICES TO THE CORRESPONDING SALARY GRADE WHEN THE OFFICE GOES TO A HIGHER CLASSIFICATION BASED ON POSTAL RECEIPTS, IT IS NECESSARY TO BEGIN AT THE MINIMUM SALARY RATE SPECIFIED FOR THE VARIOUS CLASSIFICATIONS OF POST OFFICES FOR THE SAME TITLE OR DESIGNATION; I.E., THE MINIMUM SALARY RATE OF ONE CLASSIFICATION WILL CORRESPOND TO THE MINIMUM SALARY RATE OF ANOTHER CLASSIFICATION FOR THE SAME TITLE OR DESIGNATION, THE SECOND SALARY RATE OF ONE WILL CORRESPOND TO THE SECOND SALARY RATE OF ANOTHER, ETC.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, MAY 28, 1926:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 16, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION ON A MATTER PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

ADVICE IS REQUESTED AS TO THE PROPER CONSTRUCTION OF A PROVISION OF THE ACT APPROVED FEBRUARY 28, 1925, RECLASSIFYING THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE AND READJUSTING THEIR SALARIES AND COMPENSATION ON AN EQUITABLE BASIS.

SECTION 3 OF THIS ACT RELATES TO THE CLASSIFICATION, AND FIXES THE SALARIES OF ASSISTANT POSTMASTERS AND OTHER SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES IN OFFICES OF THE FIRST AND SECOND CLASSES, AND CONTAINS PROVISIONS RELATING TO ITS ADMINISTRATION. PARTICULAR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING PROVISO WHICH RELATES TO SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES IN POST OFFICES OF THE FIRST CLASS.

"THAT WHEN AN OFFICE ADVANCES TO A HIGHER GRADE BECAUSE OF INCREASED GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS FOR A CALENDAR YEAR, PROMOTION OF ALL SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES SHALL BE MADE TO THE CORRESPONDING GRADE AT THE HIGHER SALARY PROVIDED FOR THE SAME TITLES OR DESIGNATIONS UNDER THE HIGHER CLASSIFICATION OF THE OFFICE, BASED ON ITS POSTAL RECEIPTS.'

FOR CONVENIENCE THE GRADES OF OFFICES OF THE FIRST CLASS PRESCRIBED IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, AND THE SEVERAL GRADES OF SALARIES OF THE VARIOUS TITLES OF SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES AT THESE GRADES OF OFFICES PROVIDED FOR IN THAT ACT, HAVE BEEN SET UP IN A CHART, COPY OF WHICH IS INCLOSED.

THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE APPLICATION OF THE PROVISION OF LAW QUOTED ABOVE IS WHETHER, WHEN AN OFFICE ADVANCES TO A HIGHER GRADE BECAUSE OF INCREASED GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS FOR A CALENDAR YEAR, SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES SHALL BE PROMOTED WHEN THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE IN THE SALARIES IN THE CORRESPONDING GRADES OF THE VARIOUS TITLES AND DESIGNATIONS PROVIDED AT THE SEVERAL GRADES OF OFFICES. FOR INSTANCE, THE LAW PROVIDES THAT AT OFFICES HAVING RECEIPTS OF $1,000,000 BUT LESS THAN $2,000,000, THE SALARIES OF ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS OF MAILS SHALL BE $2,700, $2,800, AND $3,100, WITH THE LIMITATION THAT THERE SHALL NOT BE MORE THAN ONE ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF MAILS AT $3,100, AND PROVIDES ALSO THAT AT OFFICES HAVING RECEIPTS OF $2,000,000 BUT LESS THAN $3,000,000, THE SALARIES OF ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS OF MAILS SHALL BE $2,700, $2,800, $3,000, AND $3,300, THE NUMBER OF ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS AT $3,300 BEING LIMITED TO ONE. IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE SALARIES OF ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS OF MAILS IN THE TWO LOWER GRADES CONTINUE THE SAME UNTIL POST OFFICES HAVE RECEIPTS OF $9,000,000 OR MORE, WHEN THE LOWEST GRADE IS $2,900 AND A NEW GRADE AT $2,900 IS INTRODUCED. AN EXAMINATION OF THE CHART WILL DISCLOSE THE RELATIONS OF THE SEVERAL GRADES OF SALARIES PROVIDED FOR THE VARIOUS TITLES AND DESIGNATIONS, AND NUMEROUS OTHER INSTANCES SIMILAR TO THE ONE CITED.

IN THE INSTANCE CITED, MANIFESTLY AN ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT RECEIVING A SALARY OF $3,100 SHALL BE PROMOTED UNDER THE PROVISION OF LAW CITED TO $3,300, WHEN THE RECEIPTS OF THE OFFICE EXCEED $2,000,000, BUT UNDER THE LAW SHALL THE ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT AT $2,800 BE PROMOTED TO $3,000 AND THE ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT AT $2,700 BE PROMOTED TO $2,800, OR ARE THE $2,700 AND $2,800 GRADES "CORRESPONDING GRADES? " IN OTHER WORDS, DOES THE LANGUAGE "CORRESPONDING GRADE AT THE HIGHER SALARY PROVIDED FOR THE SAME TITLES OR DESIGNATIONS UNDER THE HIGHER CLASSIFICATION OF THE OFFICE" MEAN THAT AS OFFICES ADVANCE FROM ONE GRADE TO ANOTHER, WITH INCREASING RECEIPTS, SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES SHALL BE PROMOTED TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE OF SALARY? THAT IS, IN DETERMINING THE "CORRESPONDING GRADE AT THE HIGHER SALARY" SHALL THE RELATION OF THE GRADES BE DETERMINED BY BEGINNING AT THE LOWEST GRADE, OR BY BEGINNING AT THE HIGHEST GRADE?

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1056-1058, PROVIDING THE RATES OF COMPENSATION FOR SUPERVISORY OFFICERS AT FIRST CLASS POST OFFICES, INCLUDES THE PARAGRAPH OF THE STATUTE ABOVE QUOTED. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE STATUTE DEFINING "CORRESPONDING GRADE.' UNDER THE MOST OBVIOUS CONSTRUCTION OF THE TERM THE MINIMUM SALARY RATE UNDER ONE POST- OFFICE CLASSIFICATION FOR A PARTICULAR TITLE OR DESIGNATION WOULD CORRESPOND TO THE MINIMUM SALARY RATE UNDER A HIGHER POST-OFFICE CLASSIFICATION FOR THE SAME TITLE OR DESIGNATION. THAT IS TO SAY, IT IS NECESSARY TO BEGIN AT THE MINIMUM SALARY RATE TO DETERMINE THE CORRESPONDING GRADES IN THE SEVERAL POST OFFICE CLASSIFICATIONS BASED ON POSTAL RECEIPTS. THIS IS UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE BEEN THE CONSTRUCTION PLACED ON THE STATUTE BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT SINCE ITS ENACTMENT, AND PRACTICE THEREUNDER HAS BEEN ACCORDINGLY. IT WOULD BE UNREASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT SUCH AN UNUSUAL CONSTRUCTION OF THE TERM WAS INTENDED AS TO AUTHORIZE OR REQUIRE BEGINNING AT THE MAXIMUM SALARY RATE UNDER THE SEVERAL POST-OFFICE CLASSIFICATIONS TO DETERMINE THE CORRESPONDING GRADES.

THUS IN THE ILLUSTRATION CITED BY YOU, THE ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF MAILS AT AN OFFICE HAVING RECEIPTS OF $1,000,000, BUT LESS THAN $2,000,000, RECEIVING $2,800, THE SECOND SALARY RATE, IS ENTITLED, WHEN THE OFFICE GOES TO THE NEXT HIGHER CLASSIFICATION OF OFFICES HAVING RECEIPTS OF $2,000,000, BUT LESS THAN $3,000,000, TO $2,800, THE SECOND SALARY RATE FOR THAT CLASSIFICATION. THERE WOULD BE NO AUTHORITY TO REASSIGN HIM TO THE GRADE IN THE HIGHER POST-OFFICE CLASSIFICATION WITH SALARY AT THE RATE OF $3,000, WHICH IS THE THIRD SALARY RATE IN THE HIGHER CLASSIFICATION. PROMOTION FROM ONE SALARY RATE TO ANOTHER SALARY RATE, AFTER THE HIGHER CLASSIFICATION OF THE OFFICE BECOMES EFFECTIVE, IS A MATTER OF SELECTION BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE BASED ON THE INDIVIDUAL MERITS AND QUALIFICATIONS OF THE OFFICER.