A-82281, MARCH 8, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 826

A-82281: Mar 8, 1937

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COMPENSATION - WITHHOLDING - EMPLOYEE'S DENIAL OF GOVERNMENT INDEBTEDNESS - DISPOSITION OF PROCEEDS OF OUTSTANDING CHECK WHERE A CHECK FOR UNPAID COMPENSATION DRAWN TO THE ORDER OF A REGISTRY CLERK IN THE POSTAL SERVICE FOR INDORSEMENT BY HIM IN FAVOR OF THE UNITED STATES IN REIMBURSEMENT OF INDEMNITY PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE NEGLIGENT HANDLING OF REGISTERED LETTERS IS NOT SO INDORSED AND CANNOT BE LOCATED. A CAVEAT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S INDEBTEDNESS TO BE FILED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE EVENT A CLAIM IS RECEIVED FROM HIM FOR SAID AMOUNT. IS AS FOLLOWS: ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE INCLOSED COPY OF LETTER OF JUNE 18. THE CHECK WAS FORWARDED TO THAT DIVISION BY THIS OFFICE ON MARCH 27.

A-82281, MARCH 8, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 826

COMPENSATION - WITHHOLDING - EMPLOYEE'S DENIAL OF GOVERNMENT INDEBTEDNESS - DISPOSITION OF PROCEEDS OF OUTSTANDING CHECK WHERE A CHECK FOR UNPAID COMPENSATION DRAWN TO THE ORDER OF A REGISTRY CLERK IN THE POSTAL SERVICE FOR INDORSEMENT BY HIM IN FAVOR OF THE UNITED STATES IN REIMBURSEMENT OF INDEMNITY PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE NEGLIGENT HANDLING OF REGISTERED LETTERS IS NOT SO INDORSED AND CANNOT BE LOCATED, THE AMOUNT THEREOF MAY NOT BE TRANSFERRED TO THE CREDIT OF MISCELLANEOUS POSTAL RECEIPTS AS THE CHECK MAY BE OUTSTANDING IN THE HANDS OF A BONA FIDE HOLDER BECAUSE OF WHICH THE PROCEEDS MUST REMAIN, IN EFFECT, TO THE CREDIT OF THE TRUST FUND "OUTSTANDING LIABILITIES" FOR PAYMENT OF ANY VALID CLAIM FILED THEREFOR, A CAVEAT OF THE EMPLOYEE'S INDEBTEDNESS TO BE FILED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE EVENT A CLAIM IS RECEIVED FROM HIM FOR SAID AMOUNT, EITHER AS ARREARS OF PAY OR AS PROCEEDS OF THE CHECK.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, MARCH 8, 1937:

A LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 14, 1936, FROM THE CHIEF INSPECTOR, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, IS AS FOLLOWS:

ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE INCLOSED COPY OF LETTER OF JUNE 18, 1936, RECEIVED FROM YOUR POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT DIVISION CONCERNING CHECK NO. 343082 DRAWN MARCH 1, 1930, BY THE POSTMASTER, ST. PAUL, MINN., SYMBOL 48- 165 IN FAVOR OF WALTER F. MARQUARDT, REPRESENTING SALARY IN THAT AMOUNT WITHHELD FROM PAYMENT TO HIM. THE CHECK WAS FORWARDED TO THAT DIVISION BY THIS OFFICE ON MARCH 27, 1933.

UNDER DATES OF FEBRUARY 18, 1930, AND MARCH 28, 1930, THIS OFFICE ADDRESSED LETTERS TO THE DIVISION MENTIONED STATING THAT AS THE RESULT OF MARQUARDT'S NEGLIGENCE IN THE HANDLING OF THREE REGISTERED LETTERS THE DEPARTMENT SUSTAINED A LOSS OF $23.30 THROUGH THE PAYMENT OF INDEMNITY, AND REQUESTING THAT THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK BE USED TO REIMBURSE THE GOVERNMENT.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION THERE ARE ALSO INCLOSED A COPY OF THE LETTER OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT DIVISION DATED DECEMBER 20, 1935, AND A COPY OF MY REPLY OF DECEMBER 28, 1935. IF FURTHER INFORMATION IS DESIRED, I SHALL BE PLEASED TO FURNISH IT.

IT WILL BE APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL DEPOSIT THE PROCEEDS OF THE CHECK AS MISCELLANEOUS POSTAL RECEIPTS AND ADVISE ME WHEN FINAL ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN.

THE LETTER OF JUNE 18, 1936, FROM THIS OFFICE, MENTIONED IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THE CHIEF INSPECTOR'S LETTER, SUPRA, WAS AS FOLLOWS:

IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 4, 1936, FILE 113136-A, RRB:IJA, YOU ARE INFORMED THAT CHECK NO. 343082 DRAWN MARCH 1, 1930, BY THE POSTMASTER, ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, SYMBOL 48-165, IN FAVOR OF WALTER F. MARQUARDT, FOR $23.30, WAS REPORTED TO THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES (ACCOUNTING DIVISION), ON SEPTEMBER 23, 1933, FOR TRANSFER FROM THE OFFICIAL BALANCE OF THE DRAWER AND DEPOSIT TO THE CREDIT OF THE ACCOUNT "SERVICE OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, SYMBOL 47-001, AS OUTSTANDING LIABILITIES, POSTAL SERVICE CHECKS.'

SUCH OUTSTANDING LIABILITIES ARE, AS YOU KNOW, GOVERNED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE "PERMANENT APPROPRIATION REPEAL ACT, 1934" (48 STAT. 1228). ANY CLAIM WHICH MAY BE RECEIVED FOR THE AMOUNT INVOLVED SHOULD BE TRANSMITTED TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT.

THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM AGAINST WALTER F. MARQUARDT ARE STATED IN LETTER OF FEBRUARY 18, 1930, FROM THE THEN CHIEF INSPECTOR, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, AS FOLLOWS:

ON OCTOBER 23, 1925, REGISTERED LETTERS NOS 180, 181, AND 182, CONTAINING $4.00, $20.00 AND A PASSPORT, AND $10.00 RESPECTIVELY, WERE MAILED AT AMBROSE, N.D. BY REV. A. ZIMMERMAN, ADDRESSED TO LINZER QUARTALSCHRIFT, LISZ, AUSTRIA, BISHOP JOSEPH KESSLER, BERLIN, GERMANY, AND FRAU DR. M. KENTENICH, MUNCHEN, GERMANY.

IN DUE COURSE OF HANDLING THESE REGISTERED LETTERS WERE RECEIVED AND RECEIPTED FOR BY WALTER F. MARQUARDT, REGISTRY CLERK IN THE CHICAGO AND MINNEAPOLIS R.P.O. TRAIN 54, ON OCTOBER 25, 1925. MR. MARQUARDT IS UNABLE TO SHOW WHAT, IF ANY, DISPOSITION WAS MADE THEREOF BY HIM. THE INVESTIGATION DEVELOPED THAT THESE REGISTERED LETTERS WERE NOT RECEIVED BY THE ADDRESSEES NOR RETURNED TO THE SENDER. CLERK MARQUARDT'S PRACTICES WERE LAX AND NOT IN CONFORMITY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 932 AND 934 OF THE POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF 1924. HE CANNOT MAKE AFFIDAVIT AS TO THE DISPOSITION MADE OF THE REGISTERED (LETTERS) WHICH AFFIDAVIT IS REQUIRED BY SECTION 932 OF THE POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS.

AS THE RESULT OF THE LOSS OF THESE 3 REGISTERED LETTERS IT WAS NECESSARY FOR THE DEPARTMENT TO PAY INDEMNITY IN THE SUM OF $23.30. IT BEING FOUND THAT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LOSS RESTED UPON CLERK MARQUARDT, DEMAND WAS MADE UPON HIM FOR THE SUM OF $42.50; $23.30 AS REIMBURSEMENT TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR INDEMNITY PAID, AND $19.20 TO REIMBURSE THE SENDER FOR THE FULL VALUE OF THE LETTERS. THE FIRST 2 CLAIMS WERE CERTIFIED BY THE DIVISION OF REGISTERED MAILS ON JOURNAL "A" OF MAY 16, 1928, AND THE LAST CLAIM ON JOURNAL "A" OF MAY 11, 1928.

CLERK MARQUARDT HAS FAILED TO MAKE PAYMENT ALTHOUGH ALLOWED A REASONABLE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO. THEREFORE, THE POSTMASTER AT ST. PAUL, MINN., IS BEING INSTRUCTED THIS DATE TO WITHHOLD THE SUM OF $23.30 FROM THE NEXT PAYMENT OF SALARY DUE MR. MARQUARDT, INASMUCH AS AUTHORITY FOR SUCH ACTION APPEARS TO BE FOUND IN SECTION 280 OF THE POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF 1924 (SEC. 1766 R.S.). THE POSTMASTER WAS INSTRUCTED TO DRAW A SEPARATE CHECK TO COVER THE $23.30 IN QUESTION AND SEND THE CHECK TO THIS OFFICE IF MR. MARQUARDT WILL ENDORSE THE SAME, OTHERWISE TO RETAIN THE CHECK AND FORWARD TO THIS OFFICE THE WRITTEN CLAIM OF MR. MARQUARDT THEREFOR. SUCH A CLAIM IS RECEIVED, IT WILL BE REFERRED TO YOU FOR CONSIDERATION WITH THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM IN THESE CASES. SUCH A PROCEDURE APPEARS TO BE CONSISTENT WITH THE DECISION A-10123, PAGE 42, VOLUME 5, OF THE DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL DATED JULY 20, 1925. YOU WILL FIND INCLOSED COPIES OF THE INSPECTORS' REPORTS AND OTHER PAPERS IN THE CASE.

THE MATTER IS PRESENTED TO YOU AT THIS TIME IN ORDER THAT YOU MAY BE APPRISED OF THE ACTION TAKEN IN THIS CASE SO THAT THE GOVERNMENT'S CLAIM WILL BE BEFORE YOU, THEREBY PERMITTING READY REFERENCE TO YOU OF ANY CLAIMS THAT MAY BE FILED BY CLERK MARQUARDT FOR THE PAYMENT OF SALARY WITHHELD FROM HIM.

THIS WAS FOLLOWED BY LETTER OF MARCH 28, 1930, FROM THE CHIEF INSPECTOR, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO MY LETTER OF FEBRUARY 18, 1930, COVERING THE CLAIM OF THIS DEPARTMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $23.30 AGAINST WALTER F. MARQUARDT, REGISTRY CLERK IN THE CHICAGO AND MINNEAPOLIS R.P.O. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DECISION OF JULY 30, 1925 (DECISION NO. A-10123; 5 COMP. GEN. 42), THE POSTMASTER AT ST. PAUL, MINN., WAS INSTRUCTED TO WITHHOLD $23.30, REPRESENTING PART SALARY DUE MARQUARDT.

THE INCLOSED LETTER OF THE POSTMASTER AT ST. PAUL, DATED MARCH 15, 1930, AND RELATED CORRESPONDENCE HAD BY HIM WITH MARQUARDT, SHOWS THAT THE POSTMASTER DREW A CHECK FOR $23.30 IN FAVOR OF MARQUARDT AND THAT MARQUARDT WILL NOT INDORSE IT IN FAVOR OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT. HIS COMMUNICATION OF MARCH 14, ADDRESSED TO THE POSTMASTER AT ST. PAUL, IS CONSIDERED TO BE AN APPLICATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE SALARY WHICH IS BEING WITHHELD, AND IS, ACCORDINGLY, TRANSMITTED HEREWITH, TOGETHER WITH COPIES OF INSPECTOR'S REPORTS AND AFFIDAVITS OF MARQUARDT FOR CONSIDERATION WITH THE CLAIM OF THE DEPARTMENT FILED WITH YOU ON FEBRUARY 18, 1930. KINDLY ADVISE THIS OFFICE OF THE DECISION REACHED IN THIS CASE.

WHILE THIS LETTER STATES THAT THERE WAS BEING TRANSMITTED THEREWITH A COMMUNICATION DATED MARCH 14 (1930) FROM MARQUARDT, IN THE NATURE OF A CLAIM FOR THE SALARY WHICH HAD BEEN WITHHELD, AND WHILE THE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14, 1936, FROM THE CHIEF INSPECTOR, SUPRA, STATES THAT THE CHECK FOR SUCH SALARY WAS FORWARDED TO THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE ON MARCH 27, 1933, NEITHER THE CLAIM NOR THE CHECK HAVE BEEN FOUND OF RECORD, AND IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT ANY CLAIM HAS EVER BEEN FILED HERE DIRECTLY BY MARQUARDT FOR THE WITHHELD PAY REPRESENTED BY THE CHECK. AS STATED IN OFFICE LETTER OF JUNE 18, 1936, SUPRA, THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED TO ,OUTSTANDING LIABILITIES," PURSUANT TO SECTION 21 OF THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION REPEAL ACT OF 1934, 48 STAT. 1235.

THE PROCEDURE FOLLOWED BY THE POSTMASTER IN THIS CASE IN DRAWING A CHECK IN FAVOR OF MARQUARDT FOR THAT PART OF HIS PAY REPRESENTING HIS CLAIMED INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES WAS NOT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DECISION OF JULY 20, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 42, CITED IN THE LETTER OF FEBRUARY 18, 1930, SUPRA (SEE PARTICULARLY THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF SAID DECISION), IN VIEW OF THE EMPLOYEE'S DENIAL OF LIABILITY AND HIS REFUSAL TO INDORSE THE CHECK OR OTHERWISE TO RECEIPT FOR THE PAY. PURSUANT TO THAT DECISION THE WITHHOLDING OF THE PAY WAS PROPER FOR THE PURPOSE OF HAVING THE MATTER SETTLED BY THIS OFFICE ON THE CLAIM OF THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE PAY SO WITHHELD, BUT THERE APPEARS NO REASON OR AUTHORITY, IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, FOR HAVING DRAWN A CHECK IN THE EMPLOYEE'S NAME FOR THE AMOUNT IN QUESTION.

RESPECTING THE MATTER OF THE PRESENT RULE AS TO WITHHOLDING THE CURRENT PAY OF AN EMPLOYEE BY REASON OF A CLAIMED INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES, IN VIEW OF THE ACT OF MAY 26, 1936, 49 STAT. 1374, ATTENTION IS INVITED TO MY DECISION OF DECEMBER 3, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 547.

IN VIEW OF ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES APPEARING IN THE RECORD NOW BEFORE THIS OFFICE, A SETTLEMENT WILL BE STATED CERTIFYING THE AMOUNT OF $23.30 DUE THE UNITED STATES FROM THE SAID WALTER F. MARQUARDT, FOR THE INDEMNITY PAID BY THE UNITED STATES FOR THE LOSS OF THE REGISTERED LETTERS, AS ADMINISTRATIVELY REPORTED, SUCH SETTLEMENT TO SERVE AS A CAVEAT IN THE EVENT A CLAIM IS FILED BY MARQUARDT FOR THE SAID AMOUNT, EITHER AS ARREARS OF PAY OR FOR THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK. HOWEVER, AS THE CHECK HAS NOT BEEN LOCATED AND, POSSIBLY, MAY BE OUTSTANDING IN THE HANDS OF A BONA FIDE HOLDER, THE AMOUNT THEREOF MAY NOT BE TRANSFERRED TO THE CREDIT OF MISCELLANEOUS POSTAL RECEIPTS AS REQUESTED IN THE CHIEF INSPECTOR'S LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14, 1936, BUT IS REQUIRED TO REMAIN, IN EFFECT, TO THE CREDIT OF THE TRUST FUND ACCOUNT "OUTSTANDING LIABILITIES" PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE PERMANENT APPROPRIATION REPEAL ACT, SUPRA, FOR THE PAYMENT OF ANY VALID CLAIM WHICH MAY HEREAFTER BE FILED FOR THE AMOUNT OF THE CHECK.