A-45049, OCTOBER 15, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 401

A-45049: Oct 15, 1932

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IS PROHIBITED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1933. 1932: THERE HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED TO THIS OFFICE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE ON VARIOUS JOURNALS DATED SUBSEQUENT TO JULY 1. THESE INCREASES IN COMPENSATION WERE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 202 OF THE ECONOMY ACT. WHEREIN IT WAS STATED: ALSO. YOU HAVE CERTIFIED TO THIS OFFICE THE RESTORATION OF SALARIES OF A NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES OF VARIOUS POST OFFICES EFFECTIVE JULY 1. PROVIDING AS FOLLOWS: "WHENEVER AN EMPLOYEE HEREIN PROVIDED FOR SHALL HAVE BEEN REDUCED IN SALARY FOR ANY CAUSE. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THESE EMPLOYEES WERE PERMANENTLY. WHILE SUCH RESTORATION OR ADVANCEMENT IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTION "WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW PROHIBITING ADVANCEMENT OF MORE THAN ONE GRADE WITHIN ONE YEAR.

A-45049, OCTOBER 15, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 401

ECONOMY ACT - ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS - POSTAL SERVICE RESTORATION OR PARTIAL RESTORATION OF THE SALARY RATES OF THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES REDUCED PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1932, AS A DISCIPLINARY MEASURE, IS PROHIBITED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1933, AS ,ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 202 OF THE ECONOMY ACT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, OCTOBER 15, 1932:

THERE HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED TO THIS OFFICE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE ON VARIOUS JOURNALS DATED SUBSEQUENT TO JULY 1, 1932:

ORDERS OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, PREPARED IN THE OFFICE OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, AFFECTING CHANGES IN SALARIES AND TRAVEL ALLOWANCES IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE

CHART

SALARY TO TAKE

NAME OLD NEW EFFECT BERT P. CLIFTON--------- $2,450 $2,600 RESTORATION--- - JULY 1, 1932. LAUREN W. MAHL---------- 2,150 2,300 ------DO------- DO. JERRY D. DIXON---------- 2,300 2,450 ------DO------- DO. CHAS. A. PERRY--- ------- 2,3002,450 ------DO------- DO. WARD W. ANDREWS--------- 2,300 2,450 ------DO------- DO. OTTO G. NACHTMAN-------- 2,450 2,600 ------DO--- ---- DO. ERNEST W. ROBBINS------- 2,300 2,450 ------DO------- DO.

THESE INCREASES IN COMPENSATION WERE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 202 OF THE ECONOMY ACT, AND DECISION OF JULY 30, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 146, WHEREIN IT WAS STATED:

ALSO, YOU HAVE CERTIFIED TO THIS OFFICE THE RESTORATION OF SALARIES OF A NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES OF VARIOUS POST OFFICES EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1932, UNDER SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1064, PROVIDING AS FOLLOWS:

"WHENEVER AN EMPLOYEE HEREIN PROVIDED FOR SHALL HAVE BEEN REDUCED IN SALARY FOR ANY CAUSE, HE MAY BE RESTORED TO HIS FORMER GRADE OR ADVANCED TO AN INTERMEDIATE GRADE AT THE BEGINNING OF ANY QUARTER FOLLOWING THE REDUCTION, AND A RESTORATION TO A FORMER GRADE OR ADVANCEMENT TO AN INTERMEDIATE GRADE SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUED AS A PROMOTION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW PROHIBITING ADVANCEMENT OF MORE THAN ONE GRADE WITHIN ONE YEAR.'

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THESE EMPLOYEES WERE PERMANENTLY, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM TEMPORARILY, REDUCED IN GRADE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1932, EITHER FOR A CAUSE OR PURSUANT TO PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION UNDER STATUTORY AUTHORITY, AND THAT RESTORATION TO THE FORMER GRADE OR ADVANCEMENT TO AN INTERMEDIATE GRADE, WOULD, BUT FOR THE PROVISIONS IN THE ECONOMY ACT, BE WITHIN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION AND CONTROL. WHILE SUCH RESTORATION OR ADVANCEMENT IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTION "WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE LAW PROHIBITING ADVANCEMENT OF MORE THAN ONE GRADE WITHIN ONE YEAR," SUCH ACTIONS ARE TO BE REGARDED AS "ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 202 OF THE ECONOMY ACT, AND, THEREFORE, ARE PROHIBITED FROM BECOMING EFFECTIVE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1933.

THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS COVERING PERIODS DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1933 WILL BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE VIEWS HEREIN EXPRESSED.

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED A LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 28, 1932, FROM THE GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE, AS FOLLOWS:

THE CLERKS REFERRED TO IN THE ATTACHED INQUIRIES WERE RESTORED TO THEIR FORMER SALARIES AFTER TEMPORARY REDUCTIONS. IT IS UNDERSTOOD RESTORATIONS ARE NOT PROHIBITED IN CASE OF TEMPORARY REDUCTIONS.

IT WOULD BE UNFORTUNATE INDEED IF WE WERE NOT PERMITTED TO MAKE TEMPORARY REDUCTIONS, AS SOME OTHER MEANS OF DISCIPLINING OUR MEN WOULD HAVE TO BE DEVISED. FURTHERMORE, WE WOULD BE PREVENTED FROM EFFECTING A MATERIAL ECONOMY, FOR IN CASE OF A TEMPORARY REDUCTION IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE THE EMPLOYEE CONTINUES ON THE SAME JOB, PERFORMING THE SAME DUTIES, BUT AT A LOWER SALARY. HE IS CLOSELY WATCHED. ACCORDING TO LAW HIS RECORD MUST BE REVIEWED AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH QUARTER AFTER THE REDUCTION, AND IT IS OUR PRACTICE TO MAKE THE RESTORATION WHEN THE EMPLOYEE IS SUFFICIENTLY PENALIZED.

PERMANENT REDUCTIONS ARE DIFFERENT. A CLERK PERMANENTLY REDUCED IS PLACED IN A DIFFERENT POSITION OR CLASSIFICATION AND DOES NOT COME UP FOR RESTORATION AT THE BEGINNING OF SUBSEQUENT QUARTERS. HIS SALARY CAN NOT BE INCREASED BY PROMOTION OR RESTORATION WITHOUT FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION SELECTING, REASSIGNING, OR TRANSFERRING HIM TO OTHER DUTIES. RESTORATION AFTER PERMANENT REDUCTION THEREFORE IS IN THE NATURE OF A PROMOTION OR AN APPOINTMENT TO OTHER DUTIES ACCEPTABLE TO AND DESIRED BY THE EMPLOYEE AND MUST BE WITHHELD UNDER PROVISIONS OF THE ECONOMY ACT, BUT THE PROHIBITIVE RESTRICTIONS CAN NOT BE EXTENDED TO RESTORATIONS AFTER TEMPORARY REDUCTIONS WITHOUT LOWERING THE EFFICIENCY OF THE SERVICE BY HAMPERING THE DEPARTMENT'S ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONS IN DISCIPLINING THE MEN AND DEFEATING THE VERY PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE ACT WAS INTENDED--- ECONOMY.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER OF REDUCTION DOES NOT SPECIFY A SPECIFIC TEMPORARY PERIOD THAT THE LOWER SALARY RATE WILL REMAIN IN EFFECT. THERE APPEARS NO STATUTORY PROVISION WHICH AUTHORIZES OR REQUIRES A TEMPORARY REDUCTION IN SALARY RATES OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES AS A DISCIPLINARY MEASURE, THAT IS, A SPECIFIED TEMPORARY PERIOD THAT SUCH A TEMPORARY REDUCTION IS TO REMAIN IN FORCE. THEREFORE, SUCH REDUCTIONS ARE ACCOMPLISHED SOLELY BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TAKEN PURSUANT TO THE GENERAL AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IN THE MATTER OF CONTROL OVER PERSONNEL OF HIS DEPARTMENT AND SUCH REDUCTIONS CONTINUE IN FORCE UNLESS AND UNTIL THERE BE FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION TO INCREASE THE SALARY RATE TO THE FORMER RATE OR AN INTERMEDIATE RATE. THEREFORE, AS THE RESTORATION OR PARTIAL RESTORATIONS OF SALARY RATES IN SUCH CASES IS DEPENDENT UPON ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION AND ACTION, SUCH INCREASES IN COMPENSATION MUST BE REGARDED AS "ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS" WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 202 OF THE ECONOMY ACT, AND THEREFORE ARE PROHIBITED FROM BECOMING EFFECTIVE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1933.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT CREDIT WILL BE WITHHELD IN THE POSTAL ACCOUNTS FOR THE AMOUNT OF THE INCREASE IN COMPENSATION PAID THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION, AS WELL AS ANY OTHER SIMILAR INCREASES.