A-24540, OCTOBER 4, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 160

A-24540: Oct 4, 1928

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HE IS ENTITLED TO CREDIT FOR THE AMOUNT THUS WITHDRAWN ON FINAL SETTLEMENT OF HIS ACCOUNT AFTER DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE FOR CAUSE. 1928: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 20. REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS: COMPENSATION OF FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTERS IS ADJUSTED QUARTERLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 310. IT IS PROVIDED IN SECTION 311. THE PRACTICAL EFFECT OF THIS REGULATION IS THAT A FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTER MAY WITHDRAW THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF THE COMPENSATION DUE HIM AT ANY TIME DURING THE QUARTER. THAT SUCH A POSTMASTER IS REMOVED FOR VIOLATION OF HIS OATH OF OFFICE. PROVIDES: 1. * * * * * * THAT WHENEVER DURING THE FISCAL YEAR THERE OCCURS OR IS CREATED A CHANGE IN THE POSTMASTERSHIP OF AN OFFICE OF THE FOURTH CLASS.

A-24540, OCTOBER 4, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 160

COMPENSATION - FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTERS DISMISSED FROM THE SERVICE SINCE THE REGULATIONS OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PROVIDE THAT A FOURTH CLASS POSTMASTER MAY WITHDRAW AT ANY TIME DURING A QUARTER THE COMPENSATION EARNED UP TO THE TIME OF SUCH WITHDRAWAL, HE IS ENTITLED TO CREDIT FOR THE AMOUNT THUS WITHDRAWN ON FINAL SETTLEMENT OF HIS ACCOUNT AFTER DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE FOR CAUSE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, OCTOBER 4, 1928:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 20, 1928, REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

COMPENSATION OF FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTERS IS ADJUSTED QUARTERLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 310, POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF 1924. IT IS PROVIDED IN SECTION 311, PARAGRAPH 11, THAT FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTERS MAY WITHDRAW THEIR EARNED COMPENSATION AT ANY TIME DURING THE QUARTER, BUT SHALL NOT WITHDRAW MORE THAN THEIR PRO RATA PORTION OF THE QUARTERLY COMPENSATION, TO BE DETERMINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION.

THE PRACTICAL EFFECT OF THIS REGULATION IS THAT A FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTER MAY WITHDRAW THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF THE COMPENSATION DUE HIM AT ANY TIME DURING THE QUARTER. ASSUMING, THEREFORE, THAT SUCH A POSTMASTER IS REMOVED FOR VIOLATION OF HIS OATH OF OFFICE, AMOUNTING TO A BREACH OF CONTRACT, THE QUESTION ARISES WHETHER CREDIT SHOULD BE ALLOWED HIM FOR EARNED COMPENSATION WITHDRAWN SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER AND PRIOR TO THE DISCLOSURE OF THE BREACH OF CONTRACT RESULTING IN DISMISSAL, OR WHETHER SUCH CREDIT SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED AND A REFUND REQUIRED IN ORDER TO EFFECT A FORFEITURE OF SALARY FROM THE FIRST DAY OF THE QUARTER DURING WHICH THE BREACH OF CONTRACT RESULTING IN DISMISSAL OCCURRED.

SECTION 310 OF THE POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF 1924, AS AMENDED BY ORDER NO. 7898, DATED JULY 2, 1928, PROVIDES:

1. * * *

* * * THAT WHENEVER DURING THE FISCAL YEAR THERE OCCURS OR IS CREATED A CHANGE IN THE POSTMASTERSHIP OF AN OFFICE OF THE FOURTH CLASS, BY DEATH OR OTHERWISE, THE OUTGOING POSTMASTER SHALL RECEIVE IN THE FINAL SETTLEMENT OF HIS ACCOUNT ALL HIS EARNED COMPENSATION FOR THAT PART OF THE FISCAL YEAR WHICH HE HAS SERVED BUT IN NO CASE SHALL SUCH COMPENSATION AMOUNT TO MORE THAN SUCH A SUM AS IS DETERMINED BY TAKING SUCH A FRACTIONAL PART OF $1,100, AS THE TIME HE HAS SERVED IN THE FISCAL YEAR IS TO THE WHOLE FISCAL YEAR * * *.

SECTION 311 OF THE POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF 1924, AS AMENDED BY ORDER NO. 4583, DATED AUGUST 23, 1926, PROVIDES:

5. AT OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS, WHENEVER DURING THE FISCAL YEAR A CHANGE OF POSTMASTERS OCCURS FROM ANY CAUSE, THE OUTGOING POSTMASTER SHALL RECEIVE IN THE FINAL SETTLEMENT OF HIS ACCOUNT ALL HIS EARNED COMPENSATION FOR THAT QUARTER OF THE FISCAL YEAR WHICH HE HAD SERVED, AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 310.

6. A POSTMASTER OF THE FOURTH CLASS MAY WITHDRAW HIS EARNED COMPENSATION AT ANY TIME DURING THE QUARTER, BUT SHALL NOT WITHDRAW MORE THAN HIS PRO RATA PORTION OF THE QUARTERLY COMPENSATION, TO BE DETERMINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISION OF SECTION 310, AND SHALL HAVE ON HAND AT ALL TIMES AN AMOUNT SUFFICIENT TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF THE GOVERNMENT AFTER CREDIT IS GIVEN FOR SALARY AND ALL OTHER AUTHORIZED EXPENDITURES.

THE PLAIN MEANING OF THE REGULATION IS THAT AT NO TIME MAY A POSTMASTER OF THE FOURTH CLASS WITHDRAW ANY GREATER AMOUNT OF THE QUARTERLY COMPENSATION THAN HAS BEEN EARNED UP TO THE DATE OF SUCH WITHDRAWAL BUT THAT HE MAY WITHDRAW ALL THAT HE HAS EARNED UP TO THE TIME OF WITHDRAWAL. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT YOUR DOUBT IS AS TO WHETHER CREDIT FOR COMPENSATION IN THE AMOUNT EARNED UP TO THE TIME OF WITHDRAWAL SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO A FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTER DISMISSED FOR CAUSE AFTER THE FIRST DAY OF THE QUARTER IN WHICH SUCH DISMISSAL BECOMES EFFECTIVE. IN OTHER WORDS, YOU REQUEST DECISION WHETHER THE RULE ANNOUNCED AS TO POSTAL EMPLOYEES DISMISSED FOR CAUSE, NAMELY, THAT THEY SHOULD NOT BE PAID FOR ANY PART OF THE PAY PERIOD CURRENT AT THE DATE OF DISCHARGE, SHOULD BE APPLIED TO FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTERS WHOSE CURRENT PAY PERIOD COVERS THREE MONTHS.

UNDER THE REGULATIONS QUOTED, A FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTER BECOMES ENTITLED, AT ANY TIME, TO ANY COMPENSATION WHICH HAS BEEN EARNED UP TO THAT TIME. IF HE WITHDRAWS THE COMPENSATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REGULATION, HIS RIGHT THERETO BECOMES VESTED AND HE IS ENTITLED TO CREDIT IN HIS ACCOUNT FOR THE COMPENSATION EARNED AND THUS WITHDRAWN. IF HE IS THEREAFTER DISMISSED FROM THE SERVICE HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO BE PAID ANY AMOUNT EARNED DURING THE QUARTER THEN CURRENT AND NOT WITHDRAWN BY HIM PRIOR TO SUCH DISMISSAL, BUT CREDIT FOR THE COMPENSATION WITHDRAWN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REGULATIONS SHOULD NOT BE WITHHELD.