A-18584, JUNE 9, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 805

A-18584: Jun 9, 1927

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN COMPUTING LENGTH OF SERVICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING THE PROPER AUTOMATIC GRADE IN WHICH DRIVER-MECHANICS IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED AS OF JANUARY 1. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO INCLUDE SERVICE IN A TEMPORARY OR SUBSTITUTE POSITION IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE OR SERVICE IN ANOTHER POSITION THE DUTIES OF WHICH DO NOT CORRESPOND TO THE DUTIES OF DRIVER-MECHANIC DESIGNATED IN THE ACT. IS NOT APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE. AS THEY WERE NOT ENTITLED TO AUTOMATIC PROMOTION UNDER STATUTORY AUTHORITY IN FORCE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1. EMPLOYEES OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE DID NOT ENJOY A STATUTORY STATUS EITHER IN DESIGNATION OR PAY BUT THEIR VARIOUS DESIGNATIONS AND RATES OF PAY WERE ESTABLISHED UNDER THE RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR CONDUCTING GOVERNMENT OWNED MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE PROMULGATED JULY 1.

A-18584, JUNE 9, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 805

PROMOTIONS, AUTOMATIC - MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN COMPUTING LENGTH OF SERVICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING THE PROPER AUTOMATIC GRADE IN WHICH DRIVER-MECHANICS IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED AS OF JANUARY 1, 1925, AND IN MAKING AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS THEREAFTER UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1061, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO INCLUDE SERVICE IN A TEMPORARY OR SUBSTITUTE POSITION IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE OR SERVICE IN ANOTHER POSITION THE DUTIES OF WHICH DO NOT CORRESPOND TO THE DUTIES OF DRIVER-MECHANIC DESIGNATED IN THE ACT. AS THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1061, GIVES NO RECOGNITION TO SERVICE OF GARAGEMEN-DRIVERS PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, LENGTH OF SERVICE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, MAY NOT BE INCLUDED IN COMPUTING THE "ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN THE FIRST GRADE" REQUIRED "AT THE RESPECTIVE OFFICES WHERE EMPLOYED" FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION AFTER JANUARY 1, 1925. THE PROVISION IN SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1064, AUTHORIZING THE PROMOTION OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES IN AUTOMATIC GRADES WHO HAD NOT REACHED THE MAXIMUM GRADES TO WHICH ENTITLED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE SINCE THEIR LAST PROMOTION ALTHOUGH PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, REGARDLESS OF ANY INCREASE IN SALARY OTHERWISE GRANTED BY THE ACT, IS NOT APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE, AS THEY WERE NOT ENTITLED TO AUTOMATIC PROMOTION UNDER STATUTORY AUTHORITY IN FORCE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JUNE 9, 1927:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 16, 1927, AS FOLLOWS:

THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN WHETHER IN CLASSIFYING DRIVER-MECHANICS AND CERTAIN OTHER EMPLOYEES OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE, UNDER THE IMMEDIATE JURISDICTION OF THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, AND THEIR SUBSEQUENT PROMOTION, THE PROCEDURE TAKEN HAS BEEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE VARIOUS PROVISIONS OF THE ACT APPROVED FEBRUARY 28, 1925, APPLICABLE THERETO.

PRIOR TO THE PASSAGE OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, EMPLOYEES OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE DID NOT ENJOY A STATUTORY STATUS EITHER IN DESIGNATION OR PAY BUT THEIR VARIOUS DESIGNATIONS AND RATES OF PAY WERE ESTABLISHED UNDER THE RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR CONDUCTING GOVERNMENT OWNED MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE PROMULGATED JULY 1, 1922.

FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS INQUIRY IT WILL SUFFICE TO MAKE REFERENCE TO DRIVER-MECHANICS AND IN THAT CONNECTION SECTION 6 OF THE ACT APPROVED FEBRUARY 28, 1925, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"PROVIDED, THAT IN THE READJUSTMENT OF SALARIES PROVIDED FOR IN THIS TITLE ALL DRIVER-MECHANICS SHALL BE CLASSIFIED IN THE RESPECTIVE GRADES AS FOLLOWS: THOSE WITH LESS THAN ONE YEAR'S SERVICE SHALL BE PLACED IN GRADE 1; THOSE WITH MORE THAN ONE YEAR'S SERVICE AND LESS THAN TWO YEAR'S SERVICE SHALL BE PLACED IN GRADE 2; THOSE WITH MORE THAN TWO YEARS' SERVICE AND LESS THAN THREE YEARS' SERVICE SHALL BE PLACED IN GRADE 3; THOSE WITH MORE THAN THREE YEARS' SERVICE AND LESS THAN FOUR YEARS' SERVICE SHALL BE PLACED IN GRADE 4; THOSE WITH MORE THAN FOUR YEARS' SERVICE SHALL BE PLACED IN GRADE 5: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT DRIVER- MECHANICS EMPLOYED IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE SHALL BE PROMOTED SUCCESSIVELY AFTER ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN EACH GRADE TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE UNTIL THEY REACH THE FIFTH GRADE AT THE RESPECTIVE OFFICES WHERE EMPLOYED.'

SECTION 11 OF THE ACT APPROVED FEBRUARY 28, 1925, ALSO PROVIDES:

"ALL EMPLOYEES HEREIN PROVIDED FOR IN AUTOMATIC GRADES WHO HAVE NOT REACHED THE MAXIMUM GRADES TO WHICH THEY ARE ENTITLED TO PROGRESS AUTOMATICALLY, SHALL BE PROMOTED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE SINCE THEIR LAST PROMOTION, REGARDLESS OF ANY INCREASES IN SALARIES GRANTED THEM BY THE PROVISIONS OF THIS TITLE.'

ARMSTEAD S. CHURCHILL WAS APPOINTED A TEMPORARY CHAUFFEUR IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE AT LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, UNDER AUTHORIZATION OF THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, ON OCTOBER 1, 1920, AT $1,4000 PER ANNUM. ON NOVEMBER 1, 1920, HIS SALARY WAS CHANGED TO $1,5000 PER ANNUM. NOVEMBER 1, 1921, HIS SALARY WAS INCREASED TO $1,600 PER ANNUM. JANUARY 1, 1923, HE WAS PROMOTED TO $1,700 PER ANNUM. ON AUGUST 7, 1923, THE LITTLE "CHAUFFEUR" WAS CHANGED TO THAT OF ,DRIVER MECHANIC.' JANUARY 1, 1925, MR. CHURCHILL WAS PROMOTED TO $1,800 PER ANNUM AND UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, HE WAS CLASSIFIED AS A DRIVER-MECHANIC, FOURTH GRADE, $1,900 PER ANNUM. ON JULY 1, 1925, HE WAS PROMOTED TO DRIVER-MECHANIC, FIFTH GRADE, AT $2,000 PER ANNUM. MR. CHURCHILL'S SERVICES WERE CONTINUOUS FROM OCTOBER 1, 1920.

HARRY P. CAMBRON WAS APPOINTED SUBSTITUTE CHAUFFEUR AT 60 CENTS AN HOUR JULY 16, 1923, AND WAS PROMOTED TO THE POSITION OF REGULAR CHAUFFEUR JANUARY 14, 1924, AT $1,400 PER ANNUM, BEING GIVEN CREDIT FOR 1,224 HOURS OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE. ON JANUARY 1, 1925, HE WAS PROMOTED TO THE $1,500 GRADE AND UNDER THE ACT APPROVED FEBRUARY 28, 1925, WAS CLASSIFIED AS DRIVER-MECHANIC, SECOND GRADE, $1,700. JULY 1, 1925, HE WAS PROMOTED TO THE THIRD GRADE, $1,800, AND JULY 1, 1926, TO THE FOURTH GRADE, $1,900. MR. CAMBRON'S SERVICES HAVE BEEN CONTINUOUS SINCE THE DATE OF HIS ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT AS SUBSTITUTE CHAUFFEUR JULY 16, 1923.

RAYMOND J. WHITEHEAD WAS APPOINTED A TEMPORARY GARAGEMAN IN THE POST OFFICE AT OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, JULY 7, 1920, AT A SALARY OF $1,080 PER ANNUM. ON FEBRUARY 1, 1921, HE WAS MADE REGULAR GARAGEMAN, $1,300, AND WAS PROMOTED JULY 1, 1922, TO THE $1,400 GRADE AND JULY 1, 1922, TO $1,450 PER ANNUM. ON APRIL 1, 1924, HE WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE POSITION OF DRIVER MECHANIC AT $1400 PER ANNUM. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, HE WAS CLASSIFIED AS A DRIVER MECHANIC, FIRST GRADE, $1,600 PER ANNUM AND ON APRIL 1, 1925, WAS PROMOTED TO THE SECOND GRADE, $1,700, AND ON APRIL 1, 1926, WAS PROMOTED TO THE THIRD GRADE, $1,800, AND APRIL 1, 1927, TO THE FOURTH GRADE AT $1,900 PER ANNUM.

PREDICATED ON THE DIFFERENCE IN STATUS OF THESE THREE EMPLOYEES, YOUR OPINION IS REQUESTED ON THE FOLLOWING POINTS:

1. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT PRIOR TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, EMPLOYEES OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE HAD NO STATUTORY STATUS SHALL CHURCHILL, CAMBRON, AND OTHERS IN A LIKE STATUS BE ALLOWED CREDIT IN COMPUTING THEIR CLASSIFICATION STATUS AS PROVIDED IN THE SECTION FIRST ABOVE QUOTED, FROM THE DATE OF THEIR ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS, OCTOBER 1, 1920, AND JULY 16, 1923, RESPECTIVELY, OR SHALL THEY BE GIVEN CREDIT IN FIXING THEIR CLASSIFICATION STATUS ONLY FROM MAY 1, 1921, AND JANUARY 14, 1924, RESPECTIVELY?

2. IN VIEW OF THE PROVISO PERTAINING TO GARAGEMEN-DRIVERS IN FIXING THEIR CLASSIFICATION AS OF JANUARY 1, 1925, IS THEIR NEXT PROMOTION DUE ONE YEAR FROM THE DATE THEY WERE LAST PROMOTED PRIOR TO RECLASSIFICATION?

3. IN THE CASE OF WHITEHEAD, OR ANY OTHER MOTOR VEHICLE EMPLOYEE IN A SIMILAR STATUS, IT IS DESIRED TO KNOW IF, IN FIXING HIS CLASSIFICATION AS PROVIDED IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, HIS CLASSIFICATION STATUS SHALL BE RECKONED FROM JUNE 7, 1920, THE DATE UPON WHICH HE WAS MADE A TEMPORARY GARAGEMEN, OR APRIL 1, 1924, THE DATE UPON WHICH HE WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE POSITION OF DRIVER-MECHANIC, WHICH POSITION HE NOW OCCUPIES, HIS SERVICES HAVING BEEN CONTINUOUS SINCE JUNE 7, 1920.

4. IN SO FAR AS DRIVER-MECHANICS AND OTHER EMPLOYEES IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE ARE CONCERNED, DO OR DO NOT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED PARAGRAPH FROM SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, APPLY?

IN EACH OF THE THREE CASES STATED, THE EMPLOYEE WAS CLASSIFIED AS A DRIVER-MECHANIC UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1061. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE DUTIES OF THE POSITION DESIGNATED AS CHAUFFEUR, UNDER REGULATIONS IN FORCE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, CORRESPOND TO THE DUTIES OF THE POSITION DESIGNATED AS DRIVER-MECHANIC IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, AND THAT IN THE SAME MANNER THE DUTIES OF THE POSITION DESIGNATED AS GARAGEMAN CORRESPOND TO THE DUTIES OF THE POSITION DESIGNATED AS GARAGEMAN -DRIVER IN THE STATUTE.

THE CASE OF ARMSTEAD S. CHURCHILL INVOLVES WHETHER PRIOR SERVICE AS A TEMPORARY CHAUFFEUR MAY BE INCLUDED IN COMPUTING LENGTH OF SERVICE TO DETERMINE THE PROPER AUTOMATIC GRADE IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE, AS A DRIVER- MECHANIC IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE, SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED AS OF JANUARY 1, 1925. THE CASE OF HARRY P. CAMBRON INVOLVES THE SAME QUESTION AS TO PRIOR SERVICE AS A SUBSTITUTE CHAUFFEUR. THE CASE OF RAYMOND J. WHITEHEAD INVOLVES THE SAME QUESTION AS TO PRIOR SERVICE AS A TEMPORARY GARAGEMAN AND A REGULAR GARAGEMAN.

THERE IS NO STATUTORY PROVISION WHATEVER IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, SUPRA, OR OTHERWISE, AUTHORIZING DRIVER-MECHANICS IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE TO INCLUDE PRIOR SERVICE IN TEMPORARY OR SUBSTITUTE POSITIONS PRIOR TO THEIR APPOINTMENT IN REGULAR PERMANENT POSITIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING THE AUTOMATIC GRADE IN WHICH THEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED AS OF JANUARY 1, 1925. SECTION 11 OF THE ACT, 43STAT. 1064, PROVIDED FOR THE COUNTING OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE IN THE CASES OF CLERKS IN THE FIRST AND SECOND CLASS POST OFFICES AND THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE, AND LETTER CARRIERS IN THE CITY DELIVERY SERVICE, AND IT MUST BE CONCLUDED, IN VIEW THEREOF, THAT IF THE CONGRESS HAD INTENDED THE SAME PRIVILEGES FOR EMPLOYEES IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE IT WOULD HAVE EXPRESSLY SO PROVIDED. NEITHER IS THERE ANY PROVISION IN THE STATUTE, OR OTHERWISE, AUTHORIZING THE COUNTING OF PRIOR SERVICE IN POSITIONS THE DUTIES OF WHICH DO NOT CORRESPOND TO THE DUTIES OF POSITIONS DESIGNATED IN THE STATUTE.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE CASE OF ARMSTEAD S. CHURCHILL, A LENGTH OF SERVICE WAS PROPERLY COMPUTED FROM MAY 1, 1921, THE DATE HE WAS APPOINTED A REGULAR CHAUFFEUR. THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, IN THIS CASE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN CORRECT.

IN THE CASE OF HARRY P. CAMBRON, THE LENGTH OF SERVICE SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMPUTED FROM JANUARY 14, 1924, DATE OF PROMOTION TO THE POSITION OF REGULAR CHAUFFEUR, NO CREDIT BEING AUTHORIZED FOR PRIOR SERVICE AS A SUBSTITUTE. THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, IN THIS CASE, WAS INCORRECT. ON JANUARY 1, 1925, HE HAD HAD LESS THAN ONE YEAR'S SERVICE AND ACCORDINGLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED AS A DRIVER- MECHANIC, FIRST GRADE, $1,600. APRIL 1, 1925, WHICH WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF ONE YEAR'S SERVICE IN THE FIRST GRADE (INCLUDING TIME BOTH PRIOR AND SUBSEQUENT TO JANUARY 1, 1925) HE SHOULD HAVE BEEN AUTOMATICALLY PROMOTED TO SECOND GRADE, $1,700; APRIL 1, 1926, TO THIRD GRADE, $1,800; AND APRIL 1, 1927, $1,900.

IN THE CASE OF RAYMOND J. WHITEHEAD, AS THE DUTIES OF THE POSITIONS OF TEMPORARY AND REGULAR GARAGEMAN DID NOT CORRESPOND TO THE DUTIES OF THE POSITION OF DRIVER-MECHANIC, THE LENGTH OF SERVICE WAS PROPERLY COMPUTED FROM APRIL 1, 1924, THE DATE OF TRANSFER TO THE POSITION OF DRIVER- MECHANIC. THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, IN THIS CASE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN CORRECT.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS SUBMITTED WILL BE ANSWERED IN THE ORDER STATED.

1. AS HAS BEEN STATED ABOVE, CREDIT SHOULD HAVE BEEN GIVEN FROM MAY 1, 1921, AND JANUARY 14, 1924, RESPECTIVELY.

2. THE PROVISION OF LAW REFERRED TO, SECTION 6, ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1061, IS AS FOLLOWS:

* * * PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT GARAGEMEN-DRIVERS IN THE MOTOR-VEHICLE SERVICE SHALL BE PROMOTED AFTER ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN THE FIRST GRADE TO THE SECOND GRADE AT THE RESPECTIVE OFFICES WHERE EMPLOYED, AND PROMOTIONS OF DRIVER-MECHANICS AND GARAGEMEN-DRIVERS SHALL BE MADE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN THE GRADE.

THE STATUTE DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR THE ALLOCATION OF GARAGEMEN-DRIVERS TO FIRST OR SECOND GRADE, JANUARY 1, 1925, ON THE BASIS OF LENGTH OF SERVICE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, AS IS PROVIDED FOR IN THE CASE OF DRIVER- MECHANICS AND OTHER EMPLOYEES IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE. IT MAY BE ASSUMED, THEREFORE, THAT ALL GARAGEMEN-DRIVERS WERE ALLOCATED TO GRADE ONE AS OF JANUARY 1, 1925. AND AS THE STATUTE GIVES NO RECOGNITION TO SERVICE OF GARAGEMEN-DRIVERS PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, IT MUST BE HELD THAT LENGTH OF SERVICE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, MAY NOT BE INCLUDED IN COMPUTING THE "ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN THE FIRST GRADE" FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION AFTER JANUARY 1, 1925. IT IS NOTED ALSO THAT THE STATUTE REQUIRES THE ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE TO BE ,AT THE RESPECTIVE OFFICES WHERE EMPLOYED.' QUESTION 2 IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

3. AS HAS BEEN STATED ABOVE, THE CLASSIFICATION STATUS OF WHITEHEAD WAS PROPERLY RECKONED FROM APRIL 1, 1924.

4. THE QUOTED PROVISION FROM SECTION 11 OF THE ACT RELATES TO THOSE EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE WHO WERE IN AUTOMATIC GRADES OR ENTITLED THERETO PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, UNDER STATUTORY PROVISIONS. SEE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 1045. AS THERE WAS NO PROVISION OF LAW OR REGULATION ISSUED PURSUANT TO LAW AUTHORIZING AUTOMATIC PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE IN FORCE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, THE QUOTED PROVISION FROM SECTION 11 IS NOT APPLICABLE TO SUCH EMPLOYEES. HOWEVER, THIS DID NOT PRECLUDE EMPLOYEES IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE WHO WERE ENTITLED TO COUNT SERVICE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, FOR THE PURPOSE OF ALLOCATION AS OF JANUARY 1, 1925, FROM ALSO COUNTING SERVICE, BOTH PRIOR AND SUBSEQUENT TO JANUARY 1, 1925, FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION SUBSEQUENT TO JANUARY 1, 1925, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PROPER QUARTER.