A-9333, MAY 25, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 992

A-9333: May 25, 1925

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NAVAL SERVICE DURING THE WORLD WAR IN DETERMINING THE RIGHT TO PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES WHO WERE IN THE POSTAL SERVICE OCTOBER 1. IS APPLICABLE TO POSITIONS IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE IN WHICH LONGEVITY IS THE BASIS FOR DETERMINING AUTOMATIC PROMOTION. ARE NOT ENTITLED TO CREDIT FOR MILITARY. IS NOT A CONTROLLING FACTOR IN THE SELECTION OF AN EMPLOYEE TO FILL A POSITION IN A COMPETITIVE GRADE. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 24. REQUESTING DECISION OF SEVERAL QUESTIONS HEREINAFTER STATED THAT HAVE ARISEN UNDER THE PROVISION IN THE POSTAL RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF FEBRUARY 28. OR NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES DURING THE WORLD WAR AND HAVE NOT REACHED THE MAXIMUM GRADE OF SALARY SHALL RECEIVE CREDIT FOR ALL TIME SERVED IN THE MILITARY.

A-9333, MAY 25, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 992

POSTAL SERVICE - CREDIT FOR MILITARY, MARINE, AND NAVAL SERVICE - RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE THE PROVISION IN THE POSTAL RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1065, AUTHORIZING CREDIT FOR MILITARY, MARINE, AND NAVAL SERVICE DURING THE WORLD WAR IN DETERMINING THE RIGHT TO PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEES WHO WERE IN THE POSTAL SERVICE OCTOBER 1, 1920, IS APPLICABLE TO POSITIONS IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE IN WHICH LONGEVITY IS THE BASIS FOR DETERMINING AUTOMATIC PROMOTION. RAILWAY POSTAL EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED FROM SOME OTHER BRANCH OF THE POSTAL SERVICE SUBSEQUENT TO OCTOBER 1, 1920, ARE NOT ENTITLED TO CREDIT FOR MILITARY, MARINE, OR NAVAL SERVICE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, IN DETERMINING THEIR RIGHT TO AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS. THE RIGHT TO CREDIT FOR MILITARY, MARINE, AND NAVAL SERVICE IN DETERMINING THE RIGHT TO ANNUAL PROMOTIONS IN THE POSTAL SERVICE UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, EXTENDS NO FURTHER THAN THROUGH THE AUTOMATIC GRADES, AND IS NOT A CONTROLLING FACTOR IN THE SELECTION OF AN EMPLOYEE TO FILL A POSITION IN A COMPETITIVE GRADE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY 25, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 24, 1925, REQUESTING DECISION OF SEVERAL QUESTIONS HEREINAFTER STATED THAT HAVE ARISEN UNDER THE PROVISION IN THE POSTAL RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1065, AS FOLLOWS:

POSTAL EMPLOYEES AND SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEES WHO SERVED IN THE MILITARY, MARINE, OR NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES DURING THE WORLD WAR AND HAVE NOT REACHED THE MAXIMUM GRADE OF SALARY SHALL RECEIVE CREDIT FOR ALL TIME SERVED IN THE MILITARY, MARINE, OR NAVAL SERVICE ON THE BASIS OF ONE DAY'S CREDIT OF EIGHT HOURS IN THE POSTAL SERVICE FOR EACH DAY SERVED IN THE MILITARY, MARINE, OR NAVAL SERVICE, AND BE PROMOTED TO THE GRADE TO WHICH SUCH POSTAL EMPLOYEE OR SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEE WOULD HAVE PROGRESSED HAD HIS ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT AS SUBSTITUTE BEEN TO GRADE 1. THIS PROVISION SHALL APPLY TO SUCH POSTAL EMPLOYEES AND SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEES WHO WERE IN THE POSTAL SERVICE ON OCTOBER 1, 1920.

1. DOES THIS PROVISION APPLY TO THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE?

THE PROVISION, EXCEPT THE LAST SENTENCE THEREOF, FIRST APPEARED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1921, 41 STAT. 1157, IN THE FORM OF AN AMENDMENT TO A PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 1049. IN DECISION OF APRIL 12, 1921, 27 COMP. DEC. 887, 889, THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY HELD THAT THE PROVISION HAD "NO APPLICATION TO EMPLOYEES IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE," FOR THE REASON THAT THE AMENDATORY PROVISO MUST BE READ IN CONNECTION WITH THE ORIGINAL PROVISION OF LAW THEREBY AMENDED, WHICH GOVERNED EXCLUSIVELY THE COMPENSATION OF CLERKS IN FIRST AND SECOND CLASS POST OFFICES AND REGULAR AND SUBSTITUTE LETTER CARRIERS IN THE CITY DELIVERY SERVICE. THE LAST SENTENCE OF THE PROVISION WAS FIRST ENACTED AS AN AMENDMENT IN THE ACT OF JUNE 19, 1922, 42 STAT. 662. AS TO THE EFFECT OF THIS AMENDMENT SEE 2 COMP. GEN. 492. THE PROVISION AS QUOTED ABOVE FROM THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, APPEARS AS A SEPARATE PARAGRAPH OF SECTION 11 OF THE ACT AFTER ALL THE PROVISIONS FOR FIXING THE COMPENSATION OF EMPLOYEES IN THE VARIOUS DIVISIONS OF THE POSTAL SERVICE, INCLUDING THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE, AND IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWS A PARAGRAPH WHICH PLACES CLERKS IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE ON THE SAME BASIS AS CLERKS IN FIRST AND SECOND CLASS POST OFFICES AND CARRIERS IN THE CITY DELIVERY SERVICE IN SO FAR AS COUNTING SUBSTITUTE SERVICE ON APPOINTMENT TO REGULAR POSITIONS IS CONCERNED. THUS THE REASON FOR LIMITING APPLICATION OF THE PROVISION AS IT APPEARED IN EARLIER LAWS, AS SET FORTH IN 27 COMP. DEC. 887, TO CLERKS IN FIRST AND SECOND CLASS POST OFFICES AND CARRIERS IN THE CITY DELIVERY SERVICE NO LONGER EXISTS; AND ACCORDINGLY IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE PROVISION IS APPLICABLE TO CLERKS IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE AS WELL AS TO CLERKS IN FIRST AND SECOND CLASS POST OFFICES AND CARRIERS IN THE CITY DELIVERY SERVICE. FOR THE MANNER IN WHICH CREDIT FOR MILITARY, MARINE, OR NAVAL SERVICE IS TO BE COMPUTED SEE 1 COMP. GEN. 580; ID. 724; 2 ID. 492.

2. DOES THE LAW APPLY TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO WAS IN SOME OTHER BRANCH OF THE POSTAL SERVICE OCTOBER 1, 1920, AND WHO LATER TRANSFERRED TO THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE, GRANTING HIS SERVICE IN THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT WAS CONTINUOUS FROM OCTOBER 1, 1920?

THE ACT OF MAY 27, 1908, 35 STAT. 413, PROVIDED: "THAT HEREAFTER RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS ON ENTERING THE SERVICE SHALL RECEIVE THE SALARY OF THE LOWEST GRADE.' IN SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, IT IS PROVIDED: "ALL ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS SHALL BE MADE TO THE RANK OF SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK.' THE LAST-NAMED ACT, IN SECTION 11, ALSO AUTHORIZES THE POSTMASTER GENERAL TO TRANSFER EMPLOYEES FROM THE POSITION OF CLERK TO THE POSITION OF CARRIER, OR VICE VERSA, AND AUTHORIZED INTERCHANGE OF CLERICAL FORCE BETWEEN THE POST OFFICE AND THE MOTOR- VEHICLE SERVICE, THE TRANSFER TO BE MADE TO CORRESPONDING GRADES AND SALARIES, BUT THERE IS NO AUTHORIZATION THEREIN FOR THE TRANSFER OF EMPLOYEES FROM ANY OTHER SERVICE TO THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE TO CORRESPONDING GRADES AND SALARIES, AND THERE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ANY OTHER STATUTORY AUTHORITY NOW IN FORCE UNDER WHICH EMPLOYEES MAY BE TRANSFERRED TO THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE WITH THE PRIVILEGE OF COUNTING LONGEVITY FOR SERVICE IN THE OTHER BRANCH FROM WHICH TRANSFERRED FOR THE PURPOSE OF AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS. THE PROVISION APPLIES TO SUCH ONLY OF THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES IN THE SERVICE ON FEBRUARY 28, 1925, AS WERE IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE EITHER AS SUBSTITUTES OR REGULARS ON OCTOBER 1, 1920, AND HAVE REMAINED CONTINUOUSLY IN SAID SERVICE SINCE THAT DATE. QUESTION 2 MUST BE AND IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

IN THE CASE OF CLERK FELIX G. LONG, SUBMITTED BY YOU, WHO WAS TRANSFERRED FROM THE POSITION OF CLERK AT THE ATLANTA, GA., POST OFFICE, TO THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE AS A SUBSTITUTE JULY 15, 1921, NO CREDIT FOR HIS MILITARY SERVICE FROM JUNE 6, 1918, TO DECEMBER 12, 1918, IS AUTHORIZED.

3. YOU ASK HOW TO PROCEED IN GIVING CREDIT FOR MILITARY SERVICE IN THE CASE OF JOHN J. WELCH, WHOSE RECORD IS SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

"JOHN J. WELCH ENTERED THE MILITARY SERVICE JULY 5, 1918, AND WAS DISCHARGED JANUARY 8, 1919. HE BECAME A SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK JULY 5, 1919, AND AFTER PERFORMING 313 DAYS' SUBSTITUTE SERVICE WAS APPOINTED UNASSIGNED IN ACCORDANCE WITH A PROVISION IN THE POSTAL APPROPRIATION ACT APPROVED MARCH 3, 1917, READING AS FOLLOWS:

" "PROVIDED, THAT HEREAFTER ANY SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK SHALL, AFTER HAVING PERFORMED SERVICE EQUIVALENT TO THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN DAYS, BE APPOINTED RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK OF GRADE ONE, AND IN COMPUTING SUCH SERVICE CREDIT SHALL BE ALLOWED FOR SERVICE PERFORMED PRIOR TO THE APPROVAL OF THIS ACT.'"

"ON JULY 1, 1920, ACCORDING TO YOUR DECISION OF MARCH 13, 1925, HE AGAIN BECAME A SUBSTITUTE AT $1,600 PER ANNUM AND WAS PROMOTED TO GRADE TWO AT $1,700 PER ANNUM OCTOBER 1, 1920. HE WAS APPOINTED SEPTEMBER 1, 1923, TO THE ST. LOUIS TERMINAL R.P.O., A GRADE THREE ASSIGNMENT, AND PROMOTED OCTOBER 1, 1923, TO GRADE THREE AT $1,850 PER ANNUM. ON JANUARY 1, 1924, HE WAS SELECTED TO FILL A GRADE FOUR ASSIGNMENT AND PROMOTED TO THAT GRADE OCTOBER 1, 1924. HIS ASSIGNMENT BECAME GRADE FIVE JANUARY 1, 1925, UNDER THE POSTAL RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925.'

IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM YOUR STATEMENT THAT THIS EMPLOYEE WAS "SELECTED TO FILL A GRADE FOUR ASSIGNMENT," THAT THE GRADE IN WHICH HE IS NOW SERVING IS A SELECTIVE OR COMPETITIVE GRADE AND NOT AN AUTOMATIC GRADE. SEE IN THIS CONNECTION 4 COMP. GEN. 299. THE RIGHT TO CREDIT FOR MILITARY SERVICE EXTENDS NO FURTHER THAN THROUGH THE AUTOMATIC GRADES, AND IS NOT A CONTROLLING FACTOR, IN SO FAR AS STATUTORY RIGHT TO ANNUAL PROMOTION IS CONCERNED, WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IN THE HIGHEST AUTOMATIC GRADE IS SELECTED TO FILL A COMPETITIVE POSITION. IN OTHER WORDS, THE PROVISION IN QUESTION HAS NO APPLICATION TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS REACHED THE MAXIMUM GRADE TO WHICH HE MAY BE AUTOMATICALLY PROMOTED ON THE BASIS OF LENGTH OF SERVICE ALONE. THEREFORE, ON THE BASIS THAT JOHN J. WELCH IS OCCUPYING A POSITION IN A COMPETITIVE GRADE, AS DISTINGUISHED FROM AN AUTOMATIC GRADE, NO CREDIT FOR HIS MILITARY SERVICE IS AUTHORIZED.

4. ARE POSTAL EMPLOYEES WHO RECEIVED CREDIT FOR MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1918, 40 STAT. 754, ENTITLED TO FURTHER CREDIT UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, SUPRA?

SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1918, IS AS FOLLOWS:

EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES, OF THE POSTAL SERVICE WHO HAVE ENTERED THE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES OR WHO SHALL HEREAFTER ENTER IT DURING THE EXISTENCE OF THE PRESENT WAR, SHALL, WHEN HONORABLY DISCHARGED FROM SUCH SERVICE, BE REASSIGNED TO THEIR DUTIES IN THE POSTAL SERVICE AT THE SALARY TO WHICH THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN AUTOMATICALLY PROMOTED HAD THEY REMAINED IN THE POSTAL SERVICE, PROVIDED THEY ARE PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY QUALIFIED TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF SUCH POSITIONS.

THIS PROVISION HAD REFERENCE TO POSTAL EMPLOYEES REINSTATED IN THE POSTAL SERVICE AFTER DISCHARGE FROM THE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE DURING THE WORLD WAR. ITS PURPOSE WAS TO PREVENT THEIR LOSING CREDIT FOR LONGEVITY FOR THE TIME SERVED IN THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, APPLIES TO ALL EMPLOYEES WHO WERE IN THE POSTAL SERVICE OCTOBER 1, 1920, WHO HAD MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE DURING THE WORLD WAR, WHETHER OR NOT THEY HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN IN THE POSTAL SERVICE, PROVIDED THEY HAVE REMAINED CONTINUOUSLY IN THE SERVICE SINCE OCTOBER 1, 1920. IT IS NOT APPARENT HOW A CASE COULD ARISE IN WHICH AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAD RECEIVED CREDIT FOR HIS MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 2, 1918, WOULD BE ENTITLED TO ANY FURTHER CREDIT UNDER THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION. IF IT SHOULD BE CONTENDED IN ANY SUCH CASE THAT FURTHER CREDIT IS AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, A STATEMENT OF ALL FACTS WITH REFERENCE THERETO SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION.