A-64934, AUGUST 30, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 164

A-64934: Aug 30, 1935

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IS FOR APPLICATION SEPARATELY TO EACH OF THE SERVICE GROUPS NAMED THEREIN. THE REMAINING RATIOS MENTIONED IN THE ACT ARE ALSO FOR APPLICATION WITH RESPECT TO SERVICE GROUPS BUT WITHIN INDIVIDUAL POST OFFICES. THE EMPLOYMENT OF SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES ON THE BASIS OF A FRACTIONAL EXCESS OF THOSE MAXIMUM RATIOS IS NOT AUTHORIZED. 1935: THERE WAS RECEIVED. THAT WHERE THE RATIO OF SUBSTITUTES ON THE DATE OF THE ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT IS IN EXCESS OF THE RATIO PROVIDED FOR HEREIN NO ADDITIONAL SUBSTITUTES SHALL BE APPOINTED UNTIL THESE RATIOS ARE ESTABLISHED.'. IT IS THE OPINION OF THE DEPARTMENT THAT THE RATIO OF SUBSTITUTES TO REGULAR EMPLOYEES APPLIES TO THE SEPARATE GROUPS AND NOT TO THE TOTAL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN THE POST OFFICE.

A-64934, AUGUST 30, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 164

POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - POSTAL EMPLOYEES - SUBSTITUTES THE RATIO OF 1 SUBSTITUTE TO 8 REGULAR EMPLOYEES PRESCRIBED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1935, 49 STAT. 651, IS FOR APPLICATION SEPARATELY TO EACH OF THE SERVICE GROUPS NAMED THEREIN, AND THE REMAINING RATIOS MENTIONED IN THE ACT ARE ALSO FOR APPLICATION WITH RESPECT TO SERVICE GROUPS BUT WITHIN INDIVIDUAL POST OFFICES. THE MAXIMUM RATIOS PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1935, 49 STAT. 651, FOR EMPLOYMENT OF 1 SUBSTITUTE TO EVERY 8, 10, OR 12 REGULAR POSTAL EMPLOYEES, MUST BE STRICTLY ADHERED TO, AND THE EMPLOYMENT OF SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES ON THE BASIS OF A FRACTIONAL EXCESS OF THOSE MAXIMUM RATIOS IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, AUGUST 30, 1935:

THERE WAS RECEIVED, AUGUST 23, YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 21, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ACT APPROVED AUGUST 14, 1935 (PUBLIC, NO. 275, 74TH CONGRESS), FIXING THE HOURS OF DUTY OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 2. THE RATIO OF SUBSTITUTE POST-OFFICE CLERKS, SUBSTITUTE CITY LETTER CARRIERS, SUBSTITUTE LABORERS, SUBSTITUTES IN THE MOTOR VEHICLE SERVICE, AND SUBSTITUTES IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE SHALL BE NOT MORE THAN ONE SUBSTITUTE FOR EIGHT REGULAR EMPLOYEES: PROVIDED, THAT AT POST OFFICES WITH RECEIPTS OF MORE THAN $500,000 PER ANNUM, AND LESS THAN $10,000,000 PER ANNUM, THE RATIO OF SUBSTITUTES SHALL NOT BE MORE THAN ONE SUBSTITUTE FOR TEN REGULAR EMPLOYEES: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT AT POST OFFICES WITH RECEIPTS OF LESS THAN $500,000 THE RATIO SHALL BE NOT MORE THAN ONE SUBSTITUTE FOR TWELVE REGULAR EMPLOYEES, AND AT OFFICES HAVING LESS THAN TWELVE EMPLOYEES ONE SUBSTITUTE SHALL BE PROVIDED: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT WHERE THE RATIO OF SUBSTITUTES ON THE DATE OF THE ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT IS IN EXCESS OF THE RATIO PROVIDED FOR HEREIN NO ADDITIONAL SUBSTITUTES SHALL BE APPOINTED UNTIL THESE RATIOS ARE ESTABLISHED.'

IT IS THE OPINION OF THE DEPARTMENT THAT THE RATIO OF SUBSTITUTES TO REGULAR EMPLOYEES APPLIES TO THE SEPARATE GROUPS AND NOT TO THE TOTAL NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN THE POST OFFICE. FOR EXAMPLE, AT AN OFFICE WHERE THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS ARE LESS THAN $500,000 A YEAR AND THE COMPLEMENT OF THE OFFICE CONSISTS OF FIVE CLERKS AND SIX LETTER CARRIERS, THE NUMBER OF SUBSTITUTES ALLOWED WILL BE ONE SUBSTITUTE CLERK AND ONE SUBSTITUTE CITY LETTER CARRIER.

IT IS THE OPINION OF THE DEPARTMENT THAT THE LAW INTENDED THAT THE RATIO SHOULD APPLY TO EVERY 8, 10, OR 12 EMPLOYEES OF EACH GROUP OR A FRACTION THEREOF. FOR EXAMPLE, AT AN OFFICE WHERE THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS AMOUNT TO LESS THAN $500,000 A YEAR AND THE COMPLEMENT CONSISTED OF EIGHTEEN REGULAR CLERKS AND TWENTY-SEVEN REGULAR CITY LETTER CARRIERS, THE NUMBER OF SUBSTITUTES ALLOWED WOULD BE TWO SUBSTITUTE CLERKS AND THREE SUBSTITUTE CITY LETTER CARRIERS.

IT WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED IF YOU WOULD ADVISE THE DEPARTMENT WHETHER ITS INTERPRETATION OF THE LAW IS CORRECT.

THE FIRST LIMITATION IN THE STATUTE OF NOT MORE THAN 1 SUBSTITUTE FOR 8 REGULAR EMPLOYEES IS PRECEDED BY THE NAMES OF THE RESPECTIVE SERVICE GROUPS IN WHICH SUBSTITUTES ARE REGULARLY EMPLOYED. BEARING IN MIND THE PURPOSE OF THE LIMITATION, THAT IS, TO INCREASE THE AGGREGATE HOURS OF LABOR OF THE INDIVIDUAL SUBSTITUTES WITH THE RESULTING INCREASE IN THEIR GROSS COMPENSATION, AND THE FACT THAT THE SUBSTITUTES OF THE RESPECTIVE GROUPS ARE NOT ORDINARILY QUALIFIED OR PERMITTED TO ACT AS SUBSTITUTES OUTSIDE OF THE GROUP FOR WHICH EMPLOYED, IT IS EVIDENT THAT THIS LIMITATION WAS INTENDED TO BE APPLIED TO EACH OF THE NAMED SERVICE GROUPS SEPARATELY AND NOT TO THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES IN THE POSTAL SERVICE AS A WHOLE.

THE RATIOS NAMED IN THE PROVISOS IN THE STATUTE LIKEWISE ARE FOR APPLICATION TO THE RESPECTIVE SERVICE GROUPS AS THEY EXIST IN THE INDIVIDUAL POST OFFICES. FOR EXAMPLE, THERE SHALL NOT BE MORE THAN 1 SUBSTITUTE POST-OFFICE CLERK FOR EACH 10 REGULAR POST-OFFICE CLERKS IN A POST OFFICE HAVING RECEIPTS OF MORE THAN $500,000 AND LESS THAN$10,000,000. IN THE EXAMPLE GIVEN IN YOUR SUBMISSION OF A POST OFFICE HAVING GROSS RECEIPTS OF LESS THAN $500,000 WITH 18 REGULAR CLERKS AND 27 REGULAR CITY LETTER CARRIERS, THERE MAY BE EMPLOYED NOT MORE THAN 1 SUBSTITUTE CLERK AND 2 SUBSTITUTE LETTER CARRIERS. ANY ADDITIONAL SUBSTITUTES WOULD CONTRAVENE THE LIMITATION OF "NOT MORE THAN 1 SUBSTITUTE FOR 12 REGULAR EMPLOYEES" APPLICABLE TO SUCH POST OFFICE.