A-8498, APRIL 9, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 844

A-8498: Apr 9, 1925

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MAY BE DIVIDED INTO SUCH RESPECTIVE PARTS FOR THE QUARTERS AS WILL MEET THE NEEDS OF SEASONAL CONDITIONS. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13. AN ALLOWANCE OF $240 PER ANNUM WHERE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER IS $1. CONDITIONS ARE SUCH THAT LITTLE OR NO CLERK HIRE EXPENDITURE IS REQUIRED DURING THE OTHER MONTHS OF THE YEAR. WHEREAS DURING THE PERIOD OF THE SEASONAL WORK WHICH MAY COVER ONLY THREE OR FOUR MONTHS THE ENTIRE ALLOWANCE IS REQUIRED. A DECISION IS THEREFORE REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER WHERE SUCH CONDITIONS EXIST. A SPECIFIC LUMP-SUM APPROPRIATION IS MADE FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR FOR ALLOWANCES TO THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES TO COVER THE COST OF CLERICAL SERVICE. THIRD-CLASS POSTMASTERS WERE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID FOR CLERK HIRE ONLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL SUBJECT TO THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JUNE 5.

A-8498, APRIL 9, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 844

POSTAL SERVICE - CLERK HIRE IN THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES THE ALLOWANCE FOR CLERK HIRE TO THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1054, MAY BE DIVIDED INTO SUCH RESPECTIVE PARTS FOR THE QUARTERS AS WILL MEET THE NEEDS OF SEASONAL CONDITIONS, PROVIDED THAT SUCH APPORTIONMENT DOES NOT OBLIGATE THE GOVERNMENT FOR ANY AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT APPROPRIATED FOR SUCH ALLOWANCES OR TO PAY ANY POSTMASTER AN ALLOWANCE FOR CLERK HIRE FOR ANY YEAR IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT AUTHORIZED BY LAW FOR THE OFFICE INVOLVED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, APRIL 9, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13, 1925, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ACT APPROVED FEBRUARY 28, 1925 (H.R. 11444), RECLASSIFYING THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE, AND READJUSTING THEIR SALARIES AND COMPENSATION, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"THAT POSTMASTERS AT OFFICES OF THE THIRD CLASS SHALL BE GRANTED FOR CLERK HIRE, AN ALLOWANCE OF $240 PER ANNUM WHERE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER IS $1,100 PER ANNUM; * * *," ETC.

AT A CONSIDERABLE NUMBER OF THIRD-CLASS OFFICES DUE TO SEASONABLE ACTIVITIES OR INDUSTRIES, SUCH AS CHICKEN HATCHERIES, THE SALE OF GARDEN PLANTS, SUMMER AND WINTER RESORTS, ETC., CONDITIONS ARE SUCH THAT LITTLE OR NO CLERK HIRE EXPENDITURE IS REQUIRED DURING THE OTHER MONTHS OF THE YEAR, WHEREAS DURING THE PERIOD OF THE SEASONAL WORK WHICH MAY COVER ONLY THREE OR FOUR MONTHS THE ENTIRE ALLOWANCE IS REQUIRED, IN ADDITION TO WHICH IT MAY BE NECESSARY TO MAKE A SUPPLEMENTAL ALLOWANCE.

A DECISION IS THEREFORE REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER WHERE SUCH CONDITIONS EXIST, THE DEPARTMENT HAS AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE THE EXPENDITURE IN ANY ONE QUARTER OF AN AMOUNT GREATER THAN THE PRO RATA QUARTERLY AMOUNT OF THE ANNUAL ALLOWANCE, PROVIDED THAT THE TOTAL EXPENDITURES FOR CLERK HIRE FOR THE YEAR DO NOT EXCEED SUCH ANNUAL ALLOWANCE.

A SPECIFIC LUMP-SUM APPROPRIATION IS MADE FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR FOR ALLOWANCES TO THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES TO COVER THE COST OF CLERICAL SERVICE. FOR THE PRESENT FISCAL YEAR, SEE ACT OF APRIL 4, 1924, 43 STAT. 86, AND FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1926, SEE ACT OF JANUARY 22, 1925, 43 STAT. 784.

PRIOR TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, THIRD-CLASS POSTMASTERS WERE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID FOR CLERK HIRE ONLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL SUBJECT TO THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 1052, WHICH READS:

THAT NO ALLOWANCE TO THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES TO COVER THE COST OF CLERICAL SERVICES IN EXCESS OF $450 SHALL BE MADE WHERE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER IS $1,000, $1,100, OR $1,200; NOR IN EXCESS OF $600 WHERE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER IS $1,300, $1,400, OR $1,500; NOR IN EXCESS OF $700 WHERE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER IS $1,600, $1,700, OR $1,800; NOR IN EXCESS OF $900 WHERE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER IS $1,900 OR $2,000; NOR IN EXCESS OF $1,200 WHERE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER IS $2,100 OR $2,200: * * *

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1054, DISCONTINUES THE PAYMENTS TO THIRD-CLASS POSTMASTERS OF MONEY-ORDER COMMISSIONS PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED, INCREASES THEIR FIXED SALARIES, AND PROVIDES FOR CLERK-HIRE ALLOWANCE AT SPECIFIC RATES PER ANNUM BASED ON THE SALARY RECEIVED. IT ALSO PROVIDES THAT THE POSTMASTER GENERAL "MAY" MODIFY THESE ALLOWANCES "TO MEET VARYING NEEDS" BUT THAT IN NO CASE SHALL THEY BE REDUCED BY EACH MODIFICATION MORE THAN 25 PERCENT; ALSO THAT THE AGGREGATE OF SUCH ALLOWANCES AS MODIFIED SHALL NOT EXCEED IN ANY FISCAL YEAR THE AGGREGATE OF THE ALLOWANCES AS FIXED BY THE ACT.

THE ENACTMENT DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT THE ALLOWANCE BE THE SAME AMOUNT FOR EACH QUARTER. THERE IS SUFFICIENT AUTHORITY FOR DIVIDING THE MAXIMUM PER ANNUM ALLOWANCE, WHETHER THE RATES FIXED IN THE STATUTE OR LOWER RATES TO WHICH HEREAFTER MODIFIED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL WITHIN THE LIMIT SPECIFIED IN THE STATUTE, INTO SUCH RESPECTIVE PARTS FOR THE QUARTERS AS WILL MEET THE NEEDS OF SEASONAL CONDITIONS WHICH YOU REPRESENT EXIST WITH RESPECT TO THE NEED FOR CLERK HIRE IN CERTAIN THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES. SEE ACT OF FEBRUARY 27, 1906, 34 STAT. 49. IT IS TO BE UNDERSTOOD, OF COURSE, THAT SUCH APPORTIONMENT OR AUTHORIZATION CAN NOT OPERATE TO OBLIGATE THE GOVERNMENT FOR ANY AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF THE TOTAL AMOUNT APPROPRIATED FOR SUCH ALLOWANCES OR TO PAY FOR ANY POSTMASTER AN ALLOWANCE FOR CLERK HIRE FOR ANY YEAR IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT AUTHORIZED BY LAW FOR THE OFFICE INVOLVED.