A-8335, MARCH 13, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 762

A-8335: Mar 13, 1925

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IS THAT OF SUBSTITUTE WHOSE RATE OF PAY IS $1. WILL BE CREDITED IN DETERMINING THE AUTOMATIC GRADE IN WHICH THE CLERK SHOULD BE PLACED WHEN GIVEN A PERMANENT POSITION SUBSEQUENT TO JANUARY 1. NOTWITHSTANDING AN ADVANTAGE IS GIVEN TO SUBSTITUTE CLERKS APPOINTED TO REGULAR POSITIONS SUBSEQUENT TO JANUARY 1. ARE EFFECTIVE FROM AND AFTER MARCH 1. IT IS WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL TO SELECT FOR PROMOTION TO GRADE 7. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 5. WHETHER THE NEW MAXIMUM RATE FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES AUTHORIZED FOR RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS IS AUTHORIZED FROM JANUARY 1 OR FROM MARCH 1. WHETHER THE NEW MAXIMUM RATE OF TRAVELING EXPENSES FOR SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS IS AUTHORIZED FROM JANUARY 1 OR FROM MARCH 1.

A-8335, MARCH 13, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 762

POSTAL SERVICE EMPLOYEES - RECLASSIFICATION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS UNDER ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925 UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1062, THE STATUS OF UNASSIGNED RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS ON JANUARY 1, 1925, IS THAT OF SUBSTITUTE WHOSE RATE OF PAY IS $1,850 PER ANNUM, WITH NO RIGHT TO PROMOTION WHILE A SUBSTITUTE OR TO LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH PAY. ALL SERVICE AS SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, WILL BE CREDITED IN DETERMINING THE AUTOMATIC GRADE IN WHICH THE CLERK SHOULD BE PLACED WHEN GIVEN A PERMANENT POSITION SUBSEQUENT TO JANUARY 1, 1925, NOTWITHSTANDING AN ADVANTAGE IS GIVEN TO SUBSTITUTE CLERKS APPOINTED TO REGULAR POSITIONS SUBSEQUENT TO JANUARY 1, 1925, OVER THOSE APPOINTED PRIOR TO THAT DATE. THE PROVISION RELATIVE TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS AND THE PROVISION RELATIVE TO TRAVELING EXPENSES FOR SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS APPEARING IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1062, ARE EFFECTIVE FROM AND AFTER MARCH 1, 1925. IT IS WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL TO SELECT FOR PROMOTION TO GRADE 7, THE NEW AND ADDITIONAL GRADE OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS CREATED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1062, ONLY THOSE CLERKS IN GRADE 6 IN CHARGE OF ALL THE TOURS IN A TERMINAL OF CLASS B HAVING 75 OR MORE REGULAR EMPLOYEES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, MARCH 13, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 5, 1925, REQUESTING DECISION OF FIVE QUESTIONS UNDER POSTAL RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1062, IN SO FAR AS IT AFFECTS THE RAILWAY POSTAL SERVICE, AS FOLLOWS:

1. THE STATUS OF UNASSIGNED RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS AND THE BASIS OF THEIR RIGHTS TO SERVICE CREDIT FOR PROMOTION.

2. WHETHER SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS CAN BE CREDITED FOR SUBSTITUTE SERVICE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925.

3. WHETHER THE NEW MAXIMUM RATE FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES AUTHORIZED FOR RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS IS AUTHORIZED FROM JANUARY 1 OR FROM MARCH 1, 1925.

4. WHETHER THE NEW MAXIMUM RATE OF TRAVELING EXPENSES FOR SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS IS AUTHORIZED FROM JANUARY 1 OR FROM MARCH 1, 1925.

5. WHETHER THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY SELECT THE CLASS OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS ELIGIBLE FOR PROMOTION TO THE NEW AND ADDITIONAL GRADE 7 CREATED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925.

THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, IN SO FAR AS HERE APPLICABLE ARE AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1. THAT ON AND AFTER JANUARY 1, 1925, POSTMASTERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE SHALL BE RECLASSIFIED AND THEIR SALARIES AND COMPENSATION READJUSTED, EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED AS FOLLOWS:

THAT RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS SHALL BE DIVIDED INTO TWO CLASSES, CLASS A AND CLASS B, AND INTO SEVEN GRADES WITH ANNUAL SALARIES AS FOLLOWS: GRADE 1, SALARY $1,900; GRADE 2, SALARY $2,000; GRADE 3, SALARY $2,150; GRADE 4, SALARY $2,300; GRADE 5, SALARY $2,450; GRADE 6, SALARY, $2,600; GRADE 7, SALARY, $2,700.

SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS SHALL BE PAID FOR SERVICES ACTUALLY PERFORMED AT THE RATE OF $1,850 PER ANNUM, THE FIRST YEAR OF SERVICE TO CONSTITUTE A PROBATIONARY PERIOD, AND WHEN APPOINTED REGULAR CLERKS SHALL RECEIVE CREDIT ON THE BASIS OF ONE YEAR OF ACTUAL SERVICE PERFORMED AS A SUBSTITUTE AND BE APPOINTED TO THE GRADE TO WHICH SUCH CLERK WOULD HAVE PROGRESSED HAD HIS ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT AS A SUBSTITUTE BEEN TO GRADE 1. ANY FRACTIONAL PART OF A YEAR'S SUBSTITUTE SERVICE WILL BE INCLUDED WITH HIS SERVICE AS A REGULAR CLERK IN DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR PROMOTION TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE FOLLOWING APPOINTMENT TO A REGULAR POSITION.

ALL ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS SHALL BE MADE TO THE RANK OF SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK, AND PROMOTIONS SHALL BE MADE SUCCESSIVELY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING A TOTAL SATISFACTORY SERVICE OF THREE HUNDRED AND SIX DAYS IN THE NEXT LOWER GRADE.

IN THE READJUSTMENT OF THE SERVICE TO CONFORM TO THE GRADES HEREIN PROVIDED, GRADE 1 SHALL INCLUDE CLERKS IN PRESENT GRADE 1, GRADE 2 SHALL INCLUDE CLERKS IN PRESENT GRADE 2, GRADE 3 SHALL INCLUDE CLERKS IN PRESENT GRADE 3, GRADE 4 SHALL INCLUDE CLERKS IN PRESENT GRADE 4, GRADE 5 SHALL INCLUDE CLERKS IN PRESENT GRADE 5, AND GRADE 6 SHALL INCLUDE CLERKS IN PRESENT GRADE 6.

THAT HEREAFTER, IN ADDITION TO THE SALARIES PROVIDED BY LAW, THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO MAKE TRAVEL ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES, AT FIXED RATES PER ANNUM, NOT EXCEEDING IN THE AGGREGATE THE SUM ANNUALLY APPROPRIATED, TO RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS, ACTING RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS AND SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS, INCLUDING SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS FOR RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS GRANTED LEAVE WITH PAY ON ACCOUNT OF SICKNESS, ASSIGNED TO DUTY IN RAILWAY POST-OFFICE CARS, WHILE ON DUTY, AFTER TEN HOURS FROM THE TIME OF BEGINNING THEIR INITIAL RUN, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE, AND IN NO CASE SHALL SUCH AN ALLOWANCE EXCEED $3 PER DAY.

SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS SHALL BE CREDITED WITH FULL TIME WHILE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS OF THE DEPARTMENT TO AND FROM THEIR DESIGNATED HEADQUARTERS TO TAKE UP AN ASSIGNMENT, TOGETHER WITH ACTUAL AND NECESSARY TRAVEL EXPENSES, NOT TO EXCEED $3 PER DAY, WHILE ON DUTY AWAY FROM SUCH HEADQUARTERS. WHEN A SUBSTITUTE CLERK PERFORMS SERVICE IN A RAILWAY POST OFFICE STARTING FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS HE SHALL BE ALLOWED TRAVEL EXPENSES UNDER THE LAW APPLYING TO CLERKS REGULARLY ASSIGNED TO THE RUN.

THE QUESTIONS WILL BE CONSIDERED IN THE ORDER ABOVE STATED.

1. THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1917, 39 STAT. 1065, GRANTED TO SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS THE ABSOLUTE RIGHT TO PROMOTION TO GRADE 1 AFTER PERFORMANCE OF 313 DAYS OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE. WITH REFERENCE THERETO YOU STATE AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER THAT LAW A CONSIDERABLE NUMBER OF SUBSTITUTES WERE APPOINTED UNASSIGNED AND PROMOTED TO GRADE 2, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1919. HOWEVER,AS NO PROVISION WAS MADE IN THE POSTAL RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, FOR UNASSIGNED CLERKS, THOSE NOT YET APPOINTED TO PERMANENT POSITIONS HAVE BEEN CARRIED ON THE ROLLS AT GRADE 2 WITH THE STATUS OF SUBSTITUTE, EXCEPT THAT THEY HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE LEAVE PROVIDED BY LAW FOR REGULAR RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM YOUR STATEMENT THAT AS THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, DID NOT PROVIDE FOR UNASSIGNED CLERKS THEY WERE OF NECESSITY RETURNED TO THE STATUS OF SUBSTITUTES AND WERE PAID AS IN GRADE 2, THE MAXIMUM SALARY FOR A SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK AUTHORIZED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 1050. ACCORDINGLY SUCH CLERKS HAD THE STATUS OF SUBSTITUTE JANUARY 1, 1925. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, EFFECTIVE AS TO ADJUSTMENT OF SALARIES FROM JANUARY 1, 1925, PROVIDES ONLY ONE RATE OF PAY FOR SUBSTITUTES OF THE RAILWAY POSTAL SERVICE, Z., $1,850 PER ANNUM. THERE IS NO RIGHT TO PROMOTION WHILE IN THE STATUS OF SUBSTITUTE, THE RIGHT TO CREDIT FOR SUBSTITUTE SERVICE APPLYING ONLY IN THE MATTER OF APPOINTMENT TO PERMANENT POSITIONS AND TO PROMOTION THEREAFTER. THEREFORE THE STATUS OF THE EMPLOYEES DESIGNATED BY YOU AS UNASSIGNED IS THAT OF SUBSTITUTES WITH SALARY AT THE RATE OF $1,850 PER ANNUM FROM AND AFTER JANUARY 1, 1925, UNLESS AND UNTIL GIVEN APPOINTMENT TO PERMANENT POSITIONS. THEY ARE NOT ENTITLED TO LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH PAY. 2 COMP. GEN. 782.

2. PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, IT APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN THE PRACTICE IN THE APPOINTMENT OF SUBSTITUTES TO REGULAR POSITIONS IN THE RAILWAY POSTAL SERVICE TO MAKE THE REGULAR APPOINTMENT TO GRADE 2 IF THE APPOINTEE HAD ATTAINED GRADE 2 AS A SUBSTITUTE, AND TO COUNT ALL SUBSTITUTE SERVICE NOT EXCEEDING TWO YEARS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE FIRST PROMOTION AFTER REGULAR APPOINTMENT IN ALL CASES. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, AUTHORIZES A MORE LIBERAL PRACTICE BY PROVIDING SPECIFICALLY THAT SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS "WHEN APPOINTED REGULAR CLERKS SHALL RECEIVE CREDIT ON THE BASIS OF ONE YEAR OF ACTUAL SERVICE PERFORMED AS A SUBSTITUTE AND BE APPOINTED TO THE GRADE TO WHICH SUCH CLERK WOULD HAVE PROGRESSED HAD HIS ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT AS A SUBSTITUTE BEEN TO GRADE 1. ANY FRACTIONAL PART OF A YEAR'S SUBSTITUTE SERVICE WILL BE INCLUDED WITH HIS SERVICE AS A REGULAR CLERK IN DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR PROMOTION TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE FOLLOWING APPOINTMENT TO A REGULAR POSITION.' UNDER THIS PROVISION IT WOULD BE POSSIBLE FOR A SUBSTITUTE WITH SUFFICIENT SERVICE AS SUCH TO BE APPOINTED REGULAR CLERK IN GRADE 3 OR GRADE 4, AND UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES IN GRADE 5. THIS PRESENTS THE QUESTION WHETHER IN ADMINISTERING SAID PROVISION CREDIT SHOULD BE ALLOWED FOR SUBSTITUTE SERVICE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, AND IF SO, WHETHER ALL SUBSTITUTE SERVICE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, SHOULD BE CREDITED REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT TO DO SO WILL GIVE CLERKS ON THE SUBSTITUTE LIST DECEMBER 31, 1924, WITH MORE THAN TWO YEARS' SUBSTITUTE SERVICE AN ADVANTAGE OVER CLERKS WHO HAD HAD THE SAME OR MORE SUBSTITUTE SERVICE WHO WERE GIVEN PERMANENT POSITIONS IN GRADE 2 PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925.

IT IS CLEAR THAT CONGRESS HAD NO INTENTION OF DEPRIVING SUBSTITUTES OF ALL CREDIT FOR SUBSTITUTE SERVICE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, IN DETERMINING THE AUTOMATIC GRADE IN WHICH THEY SHOULD BE PLACED WHEN GIVEN PERMANENT POSITIONS SUBSEQUENT TO THAT TIME. A SIMILAR SITUATION AROSE UNDER A PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 1049, RELATIVE TO THE SUBSTITUTE CLERKS IN FIRST AND SECOND CLASS POST OFFICES AND SUBSTITUTE LETTER CARRIERS IN THE CITY DELIVERY SERVICE. CLERKS AND CARRIERS WHO WERE SUBSTITUTES JUNE 5, 1920, WERE GIVEN AN ADVANTAGE OVER THOSE HAVING THE SAME LENGTH OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE WHO HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN GIVEN PERMANENT POSITIONS. THE LANGUAGE OF SAID PROVISION WAS PRACTICALLY IDENTICAL WITH THE LANGUAGE OF THE PROVISION HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION, EXCEPT AS TO THE BRANCH OF THE POSTAL SERVICE INVOLVED; AND SAID PROVISION IN THE ACT OF 1920 WAS HELD TO AUTHORIZE ALLOWING CREDIT FOR ALL SERVICE PERFORMED AS SUBSTITUTE IN DETERMINING THE GRADE TO WHICH A SUBSTITUTE MIGHT THEREAFTER BE APPOINTED AS REGULAR. 27 COMP. DEC. 10. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR A DIFFERENT CONSTRUCTION OF THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF 1925 HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION, AND IT MUST BE HELD THAT ALL SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS RECEIVING APPOINTMENT AS REGULAR RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK AFTER DECEMBER 31, 1924, ARE TO BE CREDITED WITH ALL ACTUAL SERVICE PERFORMED AS SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK IN DETERMINING THE GRADE TO WHICH THE APPOINTMENT AS REGULAR SHALL BE MADE AND THE RIGHT TO PROMOTION THEREAFTER. THE INEQUALITY RESULTING FROM THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, RELATIVE TO CLERKS IN FIRST AND SECOND CLASS POST OFFICES AND CARRIERS IN THE CITY DELIVERY SERVICE WAS REMEDIED BY THE PROVISION OF SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF JULY 21, 1921, 42 STAT. 144, WHICH AUTHORIZED THE CREDITING OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROMOTING SUCH CLERKS AND CARRIERS AS HAD BEEN APPOINTED REGULARS FROM SUBSTITUTES PRIOR TO JUNE 5, 1920. THE FACT THAT RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS APPOINTED REGULAR FROM SUBSTITUTE PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1925, HAVE NOT BEEN GIVEN A SIMILAR RIGHT WITH RESPECT TO THE COUNTING OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE DOES NOT AUTHORIZE DEPRIVING RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS APPOINTED REGULAR FROM SUBSTITUTE ON OR AFTER JANUARY 1, 1925, OF A RIGHT WHICH THE STATUTE CLEARLY GIVES TO THEM.

3 AND 4. THE RETROACTIVE PROVISION OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, IS EXPRESSLY LIMITED TO RECLASSIFICATION AND READJUSTMENT OF SALARIES AND COMPENSATION. NEITHER TRAVEL ALLOWANCE NOR TRAVELING EXPENSES CONSTITUTES SALARY OR COMPENSATION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THIS RETROACTIVE PROVISION. THE WORD "HEREAFTER" USED IN THE PARAGRAPH RELATIVE TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCE MEANS AFTER THE DATE OF THE ACT. ACCORDINGLY THE PROVISION RELATIVE TO PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS GENERALLY AND THE PROVISION RELATIVE TO ACTUAL AND NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES OF SUBSTITUTES IS EFFECTIVE FROM MARCH 1, 1925.

5. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, CREATED THE NEW AND ADDITIONAL GRADE 7 OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS, BUT FAILS TO PROVIDE EXPRESSLY THAT CLASS OF CLERKS WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR PROMOTION THERETO. WITH REFERENCE TO THE MATTER YOU STATE AS FOLLOWS:

THE DEPARTMENT HAS LARGE TERMINALS SUPERVISORS DESIGNATED AS CLERK IN CHARGE OF THE ENTIRE TERMINAL AND TAKES THE POSITION THAT THE NEW GRADE APPLIES ONLY TO A CLERK IN CHARGE OF ALL THE TOURS IN A TERMINAL THAT JUSTIFY THE POSITION, WHICH IT HAS BEEN DECIDED WOULD BE THOSE TERMINALS HAVING 75 OR MORE REGULAR EMPLOYEES.

AS GRADE 6 IS A SELECTIVE GRADE AND NOT AN AUTOMATIC GRADE, 4 COMP. GEN. 299, IT IS REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT GRADE 7 WAS ALSO INTENDED AS A SELECTIVE GRADE TO WHICH PROMOTION WOULD NOT BE AUTOMATIC BUT DEPENDENT UPON SELECTION AND APPROVAL BY THE APPOINTING POWER. THE STATUTE PROVIDES THAT CLERKS IN CLASS B TERMINALS HAVING MORE THAN 20 EMPLOYEES SHALL BE PROMOTED SUCCESSIVELY TO GRADE 5 AND CLERKS IN CHARGE OF TOURS IN SUCH TERMINALS TO GRADE 6. IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION OR RESTRICTION AS TO PROMOTIONS TO GRADE 7, YOUR PROPOSAL TO RESTRICT PROMOTIONS TO SAID GRADE TO CLERKS IN GRADE 6 IN CHARGE OF ALL THE TOURS IN A TERMINAL OF CLASS B HAVING 75 OR MORE REGULAR EMPLOYEES WOULD APPEAR TO BE WITHIN YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION IN THE MATTER.

THIS DECISION IS INTENDED TO RELATE ONLY TO THE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS SUBMITTED AND SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS APPROVING OR DISAPPROVING ANY OTHER PROVISIONS OF THE PROPOSED INSTRUCTIONS FORWARDED WITH YOUR SUBMISSION.