A-14786, JUNE 30, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 1039

A-14786: Jun 30, 1926

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POSTAL SERVICE - RELEGATION OF POST OFFICES FROM THIRD CLASS TO FOURTH CLASS A POST OFFICE WHICH WAS OF THE FOURTH-CLASS DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE CALENDAR YEAR 1924 AND OF THE THIRD CLASS DURING THE LAST HALF OF THE SAME CALENDAR YEAR AND ALL OF THE CALENDAR YEAR 1925. THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS THEREOF DURING EACH OF THE CALENDAR YEARS 1924 AND 1925 WERE LESS THAN $1. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 11. AS FOLLOWS: A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO THE PROPER CONSTRUCTION OF THE PART OF SECTION 1 OF H.R. 11444. READING AS OLLOWS: "* * * THAT WHEN THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS OF A POST OFFICE OF THE THIRD CLASS FOR EACH OF TWO CONSECUTIVE CALENDAR YEARS ARE LESS THAN $1. OR WHEN IN ANY CALENDAR YEAR THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS ARE LESS THAN $1.

A-14786, JUNE 30, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 1039

POSTAL SERVICE - RELEGATION OF POST OFFICES FROM THIRD CLASS TO FOURTH CLASS A POST OFFICE WHICH WAS OF THE FOURTH-CLASS DURING THE FIRST HALF OF THE CALENDAR YEAR 1924 AND OF THE THIRD CLASS DURING THE LAST HALF OF THE SAME CALENDAR YEAR AND ALL OF THE CALENDAR YEAR 1925, AND THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS THEREOF DURING EACH OF THE CALENDAR YEARS 1924 AND 1925 WERE LESS THAN $1,500 AND MORE THAN $1,400, SHOULD BE RELEGATED TO THE FOURTH CLASS EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1926.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JUNE 30, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 11, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO THE PROPER CONSTRUCTION OF THE PART OF SECTION 1 OF H.R. 11444, 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, READING AS OLLOWS:

"* * * THAT WHEN THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS OF A POST OFFICE OF THE THIRD CLASS FOR EACH OF TWO CONSECUTIVE CALENDAR YEARS ARE LESS THAN $1,500, OR WHEN IN ANY CALENDAR YEAR THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS ARE LESS THAN $1,400, IT SHALL BE RELEGATED TO THE FOURTH CLASS.'

THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE APPLICATION OF THE PROVISION OF LAW QUOTED ABOVE IS WHETHER AN OFFICE THAT WAS ADVANCED TO THE THIRD CLASS DURING THE CALENDAR YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 1924, AS, FOR INSTANCE, ON OCTOBER 1, 1924, AND THE GROSS RECEIPTS OF THAT OFFICE FOR EACH OF THE CALENDAR YEARS ENDING DECEMBER 31, 1924 AND 1925, FALL BELOW $1,500, SHALL BE RELEGATED TO THE FOURTH CLASS ON JULY 1, 1926, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT DURING A PART OF THE YEAR 1924 IT WAS IN THE FOURTH CLASS. DOES THE LANGUAGE OF THE LAW "WHEN THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS OF A POST OFFICE OF THE THIRD CLASS" CONTEMPLATE THAN AN OFFICE MUST HAVE BEEN THIRD CLASS FOR TWO FULL CALENDAR YEARS DURING THE TIME THE POSTAL RECEIPTS FALL BELOW $1,500 BEFORE IT CAN BE RELEGATED TO THE FOURTH CLASS AT THE NEXT ADJUSTMENT PERIOD, PROVIDED THAT THE RECEIPTS FOR THE FULL CALENDAR YEAR DURING WHICH THE OFFICE WAS IN THE THIRD CLASS AMOUNTED TO MORE THAN $1,400?

THE PORTION OF THE STATUTE QUOTED IN YOUR SUBMISSION IS FOUND IN SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1054.

THE CONDITION ON WHICH THE RELEGATION OF A POST OFFICE FROM THIRD CLASS TO FOURTH CLASS IS SPECIFIED IN THE STATUTE IS THE REDUCTION IN THE AMOUNT OF GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS OF THE OFFICE TO LESS THAN $1,500 DURING EACH OF TWO CONSECUTIVE CALENDAR YEARS, OR TO LESS THAN $1,400 IN ANY CALENDAR YEAR. THE STATUTE DOES NOT STIPULATE THAT THE OFFICE SHALL HAVE BEEN A THIRD-CLASS OFFICE FOR ALL OF THE FIRST OF THE TWO CONSECUTIVE CALENDAR YEARS IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, NOR THE ENTIRE CALENDAR YEAR IN THE SECOND INSTANCE.

YOUR ILLUSTRATION OF THE FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE HAVING BEEN ADVANCED TO THIRD CLASS OCTOBER 1, 1924, IS NOT UNDERSTOOD IN VIEW OF THE PROVISION OF SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, SUPRA, AND AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1926, 44 STAT. 696, FOR ADVANCEMENT OF OFFICES FROM FOURTH CLASS TO THIRD CLASS ONLY ON JULY 1, EXCEPT, WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, WHEN UNUSUAL CONDITIONS EXIST AT THE OFFICE, BASED ON RECEIPTS OF THE PRECEDING QUARTER, AND THEN THE RETURN TO FOURTH CLASS WHEN THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS CEASE TO EXIST, IS MADE AT THE BEGINNING OF ANY QUARTER, BASED ON THE REDUCTION OF RECEIPTS DURING THE PRECEDING QUARTER, WITHOUT REGARD TO THE GENERAL PROVISIONS QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER GOVERNING RELEGATION OF OFFICES FROM THIRD CLASS TO FOURTH CLASS.

ASSUMING, HOWEVER, IN THE ILLUSTRATION GIVEN THAT THE OFFICE WAS IN THE FOURTH CLASS FOR THE FIRST HALF OF THE CALENDAR YEAR 1924 AND IN THE THIRD CLASS THE LAST HALF OF THE SAME CALENDAR YEAR AND ALL OF THE CALENDAR YEAR 1925, AND THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS OF THE OFFICE WERELESS THAN $1,500, BUT MORE THAN $1,400, DURING EACH OF THE CALENDAR YEARS 1924 AND 1925, THE OFFICE SHOULD BE RELEGATED TO THE FOURTH CLASS, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1926. THE SAME PRINCIPLE HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED WITH RESPECT TO ADVANCEMENT OF OFFICES FROM FOURTH CLASS TO THIRD CLASS ON JULY 1, 1924. 4 COMP. GEN. 830.