A-4833, SEPTEMBER 16, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 303

A-4833: Sep 16, 1924

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SUCH PROMOTIONS ARE EFFECTIVE ONLY FROM THE DATE OF THEIR APPROVAL BY THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL. IN WHOM IS VESTED THE APPOINTING POWER. 1924: THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION AND DECISION THE QUESTION AS TO WHAT IS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PROMOTIONS OF EMPLOYEES IN THE MOTOR- VEHICLE SERVICE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE. UNDER WHICH CERTAIN OF THE PERSONNEL ARE ENTITLED TO AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS. ACCORDINGLY THERE IS NO STATUTE WHICH FIXES THE RATE OF PAY OF EMPLOYEES OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE NOR ANY PROVISION OF LAW AUTHORIZING THEIR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION. UNDER CERTAIN OF THE CLASSES PROVISION IS MADE FOR A NUMBER OF GRADES WITH INCREASES IN COMPENSATION BETWEEN THE GRADES.

A-4833, SEPTEMBER 16, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 303

EFFECTIVE DATE OF PROMOTIONS OF EMPLOYEES IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE IN THE ABSENCE OF STATUTORY PROVISION FOR THE AUTOMATIC PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE, REGULATIONS OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT WHICH FIX THE VARIOUS CLASSES AND GRADES OF EMPLOYEES IN SAID SERVICE AND PROVIDE FOR PROMOTION BETWEEN GRADES AFTER ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN THE LOWER GRADE, DO NOT VEST IN THE EMPLOYEES AN ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO THE PROMOTION UPON COMPLETION OF THE YEAR, BUT SUCH PROMOTIONS ARE EFFECTIVE ONLY FROM THE DATE OF THEIR APPROVAL BY THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, IN WHOM IS VESTED THE APPOINTING POWER, OR SUCH SUBSEQUENT DATE AS MAY BE SPECIFICALLY FIXED AS THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, SEPTEMBER 16, 1924:

THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION AND DECISION THE QUESTION AS TO WHAT IS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PROMOTIONS OF EMPLOYEES IN THE MOTOR- VEHICLE SERVICE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE.

THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 1045, RECLASSIFYING POSTMASTERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE AND READJUSTING THEIR SALARIES AND COMPENSATION, UNDER WHICH CERTAIN OF THE PERSONNEL ARE ENTITLED TO AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS, AND THE AMENDMENT THERETO, ACT OF JULY 31, 1921, 42 STAT. 144, DO NOT MENTION EMPLOYEES OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE.

THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT PROVIDE FOR VEHICLE ALLOWANCE. FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1925 THE ACT OF APRIL 4, 1924, 43 STAT. 86, UNDER THE HEADING "OFFICE OF THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL," PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

FOR VEHICLE ALLOWANCE, THE HIRING OF DRIVERS, THE RENTAL OF VEHICLES, AND THE PURCHASE AND EXCHANGE AND MAINTENANCE, INCLUDING STABLE AND GARAGE FACILITIES, OF WAGONS OR AUTOMOBILES FOR, AND THE OPERATION OF SCREEN- WAGON AND CITY DELIVERY AND COLLECTION SERVICE, $15,400,000: PROVIDED, THAT THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY, IN HIS DISBURSEMENT OF THIS APPROPRIATION, APPLY A PART THEREOF TO THE LEASING OF QUARTERS FOR THE HOUSING OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILES AT A REASONABLE ANNUAL RENTAL FOR A TERM NOT EXCEEDING TEN YEARS.

ACCORDINGLY THERE IS NO STATUTE WHICH FIXES THE RATE OF PAY OF EMPLOYEES OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE NOR ANY PROVISION OF LAW AUTHORIZING THEIR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION. JULY 1, 1922, THE FOURTH ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, UNDER WHOSE JURISDICTION THE POSTMASTER GENERAL HAD AT THAT TIME VESTED THE MANAGEMENT AND CONTROL OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE, ISSUED REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE OPERATION OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE, WHICH INCLUDES PROVISION FOR THE FIXING OF COMPENSATION AND THE GRADING AND PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES. THE REGULATIONS DIVIDE THE EMPLOYEES INTO VARIOUS CLASSES SUCH AS CLERKS, CARRIERS OPERATING TRUCKS, MECHANICS, CHAUFFEURS, GARAGE-MEN, ETC., AND UNDER CERTAIN OF THE CLASSES PROVISION IS MADE FOR A NUMBER OF GRADES WITH INCREASES IN COMPENSATION BETWEEN THE GRADES. SECTION 332 PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

PROMOTIONS.--- UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFICALLY STATED IN THESE RULES AND REGULATIONS, PROMOTIONS IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE WILL BE GOVERNED BY THE RULES AND REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO CLERKS, CARRIERS, AND OTHER EMPLOYEES ON THE POST OFFICE ROLLS AND SHALL BE MADE EFFECTIVE AT THE BEGINNING OF A QUARTER FOLLOWING ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN THE NEXT LOWER GRADE. IN RECOMMENDING THE PROMOTION OF PERSONS PERMANENTLY EMPLOYED IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE, THE PERIOD OF TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT MAY BE COUNTED, PROVIDED IT WAS CONTINUOUS UP TO THE TIME OF PERMANENT EMPLOYMENT.

THESE PROVISIONS OF THE REGULATIONS DO NOT ENTITLE THE EMPLOYEES TO A VESTED RIGHT TO AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS ANNUALLY BETWEEN GRADES AS PROVIDED BY STATUTE IN THE CASE OF CLERKS AT FIRST AND SECOND CLASS POST OFFICES UPON THE COMPLETION OF ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE, BUT CONSTITUTE MERELY AN EXPRESSION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY IN MAKING PROMOTIONS. THE RIGHT TO THE PROMOTION DEPENDS ON THE ACTION OF THE APPOINTING POWER WHICH MAY NOT BE RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE NOR DELEGATED TO SUBORDINATES, 3 COMP. GEN. 559, 561. HAD CONGRESS INTENDED THE ENTIRE PERSONNEL OF THE POSTAL SERVICE TO HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS ANNUALLY, OR UPON THE COMPLETION OF ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE, IT WOULD HAVE SO PROVIDED BY STATUTE, BUT HAVING EXPRESSLY DESIGNATED CERTAIN CLASSES OF EMPLOYEES AS ENTITLED TO AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS, I AM CONSTRAINED TO HOLD THAT OTHER CLASSES ARE EXCLUDED FROM THAT RIGHT.

UNDER SECTION 11 OF THE POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS, 1924, THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL IS CHARGED, AMONG OTHER DUTIES, WITH THE AUTHORIZATION OF ALLOWANCES FOR VEHICLE HIRE AND THE CONDUCT OF THE VEHICLE SERVICE IN CITIES, AND UNDER THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL THE DIVISION OF POST OFFICE SERVICE IS CHARGED, AMONG OTHER DUTIES, WITH THE APPOINTMENT, DISCIPLINING AND FIXING OF SALARIES OF MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE EMPLOYEES. SEE ALSO 3 COMP. GEN. 846.

ACCORDINGLY IT MUST BE HELD THAT SUBJECT TO DIRECTION OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL THE APPOINTMENT OF EMPLOYEES OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE IS FOR THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL AND THAT THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE PROMOTIONS OF SUCH EMPLOYEES IS THE DATE OF APPROVAL BY THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, UNLESS A SUBSEQUENT DATE BE SPECIFIED, AND NOT THE DATE OF SELECTION OR RECOMMENDATION BY A POSTMASTER OR OTHER SUBORDINATE.