A-15219, AUGUST 18, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 128

A-15219: Aug 18, 1926

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CLASSIFIED STATIONS ARE BRANCH POST OFFICES AND STATIONS ESTABLISHED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION 3871. WHICH ARE IN CHARGE OF AND MANNED BY EMPLOYEES OF THE CLASSIFIED CIVIL SERVICE. OTHER EMPLOYEES WHO ARE PAID AN ANNUAL SALARY AND EMPLOYED REGULARLY EIGHT HOURS PER DAY. IN A FEW CASES WHERE A REGULAR EMPLOYEE MAY BE ASSIGNED TO TWO STATIONS THE STATION AT WHICH HE IS EMPLOYED FOR THE MAJOR PORTION OF HIS TIME IS CREDITED WITH SUCH EMPLOYEE. SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES MAY BE REGULARLY ASSIGNED TO STATIONS BUT THEIR EMPLOYMENT IS CONTINGENT UPON . IF EMPLOYED IN PLACE OF EMPLOYEES ABSENT ON ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE SUCH SUBSTITUTES ARE PAID AT THE RATE OF 65 CENTS PER HOUR. WHICH EXPENDITURES ARE CHARGEABLE TO ALLOWANCES FOR SUCH SUBSTITUTE SERVICE.

A-15219, AUGUST 18, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 128

POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - SALARIES OF SUPERINTENDENTS OF CLASSIFIED STATIONS SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO A CLASSIFIED POSTAL STATION MAY NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE "NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED THERETO" IN COMPUTING THE SALARY OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE STATION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1057.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, AUGUST 18, 1926:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 26, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, RECLASSIFYING THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PROVIDES THAT "THE SALARY OF SUPERINTENDENTS OF CLASSIFIED STATIONS SHALL BE BASED ON THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED THERETO AND THE ANNUAL POSTAL RECEIPTS" AND THAT "AT CLASSIFIED STATIONS EACH $25,000 OF POSTAL RECEIPTS SHALL BE CONSIDERED EQUAL TO ONE ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEE.'

CLASSIFIED STATIONS ARE BRANCH POST OFFICES AND STATIONS ESTABLISHED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION 3871, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, WHICH ARE IN CHARGE OF AND MANNED BY EMPLOYEES OF THE CLASSIFIED CIVIL SERVICE.

IN FIXING THE SALARIES OF SUPERINTENDENTS AND ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS AT CLASSIFIED STATIONS, PURSUANT TO THE LAW QUOTED ABOVE, THE DEPARTMENT HAS CONSIDERED ONLY REGULAR EMPLOYEES--- CLERKS, CARRIERS, LABORERS, AND OTHER EMPLOYEES WHO ARE PAID AN ANNUAL SALARY AND EMPLOYED REGULARLY EIGHT HOURS PER DAY, PLUS CREDIT FOR THE NUMBER OF ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEES WARRANTED BY THE POSTAL RECEIPTS. IN A FEW CASES WHERE A REGULAR EMPLOYEE MAY BE ASSIGNED TO TWO STATIONS THE STATION AT WHICH HE IS EMPLOYED FOR THE MAJOR PORTION OF HIS TIME IS CREDITED WITH SUCH EMPLOYEE.

IT HAS NOT BEEN THE PRACTICE, IN FIXING THE SALARIES OF SUPERINTENDENTS AND ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS, TO INCLUDE IN THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES. SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES MAY BE REGULARLY ASSIGNED TO STATIONS BUT THEIR EMPLOYMENT IS CONTINGENT UPON --

(A) THE ABSENCE OF REGULAR EMPLOYEES; AND

(B) THE USE OF AUXILIARY SERVICE.

IF EMPLOYED IN PLACE OF EMPLOYEES ABSENT ON ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE SUCH SUBSTITUTES ARE PAID AT THE RATE OF 65 CENTS PER HOUR, WHICH EXPENDITURES ARE CHARGEABLE TO ALLOWANCES FOR SUCH SUBSTITUTE SERVICE. IF EMPLOYED IN PLACE OF REGULAR EMPLOYEES ABSENT WITHOUT PAY, SUBSTITUTES ARE PAID AT THE RATE OF 65 CENTS PER HOUR OUT OF THE LAPSED SALARY OF THE REGULAR EMPLOYEES. WHEN SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES ARE ON AUXILIARY ASSIGNMENTS THEY ARE PAID 65 CENTS PER HOUR OUT OF ALLOWANCES FOR AUXILIARY SERVICE.

IN CASES WHERE SUBSTITUTES ARE EMPLOYED IN PLACE OF REGULAR EMPLOYEES WHO ARE ABSENT THEIR DAILY SERVICE WILL APPROXIMATE EIGHT HOURS ON THE AVERAGE, BUT IT HAS BEEN THE VIEW OF THE DEPARTMENT THAT AS THEY WERE EMPLOYED IN PLACE OF REGULAR EMPLOYEES THEY SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES USED IN FIXING THE SALARIES OF SUPERINTENDENTS AND ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS. AUXILIARY ASSIGNMENTS MAY BE FOR AS MUCH AS EIGHT HOURS PER DAY, THOUGH THIS IS EXCEPTIONAL.

THE REGULAR ASSIGNMENT OF SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES TO A STATION ADDS TO THE SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY OF THE SUPERINTENDENT AND ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT, BUT BECAUSE OF THE VARIATION FROM TIME TO TIME IN THE PERIOD OF THE ASSIGNMENT AND THE DAILY HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT THE DEPARTMENT HAS NOT INCLUDED THEM IN THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES USED AS A BASIS FOR FIXING THE SALARIES OF SUPERINTENDENTS AND ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS.

THE DEPARTMENT DOES NOT BELIEVE THAT SUBSTITUTES WHO ARE TAKING THE PLACE OF MEN OFF DUTY SHOULD BE RECKONED, BUT IT SEES A LEGITIMATE REASON FOR ARGUMENT THAT ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT ON THE REGULAR LIST BUT WHO ARE WORKING AS AUXILIARY EMPLOYEES TO TAKE CARE OF PEAK LOADS FROM TIME TO TIME SHOULD BE RECKONED.

THE BASIS FOR RECKONING SUCH AUXILIARY SERVICE WOULD BE TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF SUCH LABOR TO AN EIGHT-HOUR DAY FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR. IN SOME INSTANCES THIS WOULD ADD QUITE MATERIALLY TO THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES. SOMETIMES WE WORK AN AUXILIARY EIGHT HOURS PER DAY FOR MONTHS BEFORE MAKING HIM A REGULAR, AND THIS IS DONE TO MAKE CERTAIN THAT HE WILL BE NEEDED AS A REGULAR PERMANENTLY. IF A STATION HAS, FOR INSTANCE, HALF A DOZEN AUXILIARY EMPLOYEES WHOSE TIME RANGES FROM FOUR TO EIGHT HOURS PER DAY, THE QUESTION OF SUPERVISION IS GREATLY INCREASED. IT IS URGED THAT THIS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES UNDER THE STATION ON WHICH THE SALARY OF THE SUPERVISOR IS PREDICATED.

WE RESPECTFULLY ASK A DECISION ON THIS QUESTION.

THE QUOTED STATUTORY PROVISION IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1057. UNDER THIS STATUTE THE BASIS FOR FIXING THE SALARY OF SUPERINTENDENTS OF CLASSIFIED STATIONS IS PRIMARILY THE "NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED THERETO.' SEE ALSO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH IN THE STATUTE WHICH FIXES THE VARIOUS SALARY RATES FOR THE SUPERINTENDENTS. THE ANNUAL POSTAL RECEIPTS OF THE STATIONS ARE, IN EFFECT, CONVERTED INTO TERMS OF ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEES FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING THE SALARY OF THE SUPERINTENDENTS. THUS THE FLUCTUATION IN THE BUSINESS OF THE STATION IS AMPLY TAKEN CARE OF IN DETERMINING THE SALARY OF THE SUPERINTENDENT. BECAUSE OF THIS, AND BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT BOTH THE SALARY RATES AND THE AMOUNT OF POSTAL RECEIPTS TO BE CONSIDERED AS EQUIVALENT TO ADDITIONAL EMPLOYEES ARE ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, I AM INCLINED TO THE VIEW THAT THE PHRASE "NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES" APPEARING IN THE STATUTE REFERS TO REGULAR PERMANENT EMPLOYEES AND DOES NOT INCLUDE SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES EMPLOYED EITHER IN THE ABSENCE OF THE REGULAR EMPLOYEES OR IN THE USE OF AUXILIARY SERVICE, PARTICULARLY AS THERE IS NOTHING APPEARING EVEN SUGGESTIVE OF ANY OTHER VIEW.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO CLASSIFIED STATIONS MAY NOT BE INCLUDED IN DETERMINING THE SALARY OF THE SUPERINTENDENTS.