B-103807, AUGUST 14, 1951, 31 COMP. GEN. 33

B-103807: Aug 14, 1951

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WHICH IS ALSO A HOLIDAY. PROVIDED COMPENSATION FOR REPLACEMENTS FOR SUCH POSTMASTERS IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE AN EXPENSE NECESSARY FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS. IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT WHEN A HOLIDAY FALLS ON A SATURDAY THE SERVICE RENDERED THE PUBLIC IS GENERALLY THE SAME AS THAT ACCORDED ON OTHER SATURDAYS. IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT A PERSON REPLACING A POSTMASTER AT AN OFFICE OF THE FOURTH CLASS DURING THE ABSENCE OF THE POSTMASTER ON ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY IS ALLOWED COMPENSATION AT THE RATE PROVIDED BY LAW FOR POSTMASTER'S COMPENSATION. THE REPLACEMENT IS ALLOWED COMPENSATION FOR THE SATURDAY. IF THE POSTMASTER IS ABSENT ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY.

B-103807, AUGUST 14, 1951, 31 COMP. GEN. 33

APPROPRIATIONS - POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - AVAILABILITY FOR EMPLOYMENT OF SUBSTITUTE POSTMASTERS AT FOURTH-CLASS OFFICES ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH PAY FOR POSTMASTERS OF POST OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS HAVING BEEN AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, THE EXPENSE OF EMPLOYING PERSONS TO ACT IN LIEU OF SUCH POSTMASTERS WHILE ABSENT ON A SATURDAY, WHICH IS ALSO A HOLIDAY, OCCURRING WITHIN OR AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF A PERIOD OF ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE MAY BE MADE FROM THE APPROPRIATION " POSTAL OPERATIONS" CONTAINED IN THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1951, PROVIDED COMPENSATION FOR REPLACEMENTS FOR SUCH POSTMASTERS IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE AN EXPENSE NECESSARY FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, AUGUST 14, 1951:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED LETTER DATED MAY 25, 1951, REFERENCE 50, FROM THE ACTING POSTMASTER GENERAL, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER POSTMASTERS AT OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS, WHEN ABSENT ON A SATURDAY WHICH HAPPENS TO BE A HOLIDAY, OCCURRING WITHIN OR AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF A PERIOD OF ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE, MAY BE ALLOWED TO CLAIM COMPENSATION FOR A REPLACEMENT ON SUCH SATURDAY.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT WHEN A HOLIDAY FALLS ON A SATURDAY THE SERVICE RENDERED THE PUBLIC IS GENERALLY THE SAME AS THAT ACCORDED ON OTHER SATURDAYS, RATHER THAN AS GENERALLY ACCORDED ON HOLIDAYS, IN ORDER TO AVOID DELAY IN MAIL DELIVERIES OVER A WEEK END. ALSO, IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT A PERSON REPLACING A POSTMASTER AT AN OFFICE OF THE FOURTH CLASS DURING THE ABSENCE OF THE POSTMASTER ON ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY IS ALLOWED COMPENSATION AT THE RATE PROVIDED BY LAW FOR POSTMASTER'S COMPENSATION; THAT, IF A SATURDAY OCCURS WITHIN OR AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF A PERIOD OF ABSENCE ON ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE, THE REPLACEMENT IS ALLOWED COMPENSATION FOR THE SATURDAY; AND THAT, IF THE POSTMASTER IS ABSENT ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, REPLACEMENT IS ENTITLED TO PAY FOR EACH DAY OF ABSENCE, INCLUDING SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS, AND HOLIDAYS. THAT CONNECTION, SEE MANUAL OF INSTRUCTIONS FOR POSTAL PERSONNEL, 1948, CHAPTER III, ARTICLE 67.

IT APPEARS THAT THE REFERRED-TO PRACTICE OF ALLOWING COMPENSATION FOR A REPLACING POSTMASTER AT AN OFFICE OF THE FOURTH CLASS IS BASED, IN PART, UPON THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JULY 22, 1947, PUBLIC LAW 211, 61 STAT. 400, WHICH AUTHORIZES EXPENDITURES FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR " COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS" FOR PERSONS WHO PERFORM THE DUTY OF THE POSTMASTER DURING THE ABSENCE OF THE POSTMASTER ON "SICK OR ANNUAL LEAVE, OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY.' IT WAS HELD IN OFFICE DECISION OF JANUARY 27, 1948, B-71141, 27 COMP. GEN. 407, THAT SAID STATUTE DOES NOT CONTAIN AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION " COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS" FOR THE EXPENSE OF EMPLOYING A REPLACEMENT ON DAYS, SUCH AS SUNDAYS OR HOLIDAYS, ON WHICH THE POSTMASTER IS PROHIBITED FROM BEING PLACED ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE BY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 436. SINCE THE SAID SECTION 6 PROHIBITS THE CHARGING OF LEAVE FOR AN ABSENCE ON SATURDAY, AS WELL AS FOR AN ABSENCE ON A SUNDAY OR HOLIDAY, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT, AT THAT TIME, THE RULE STATED IN 27 COMP. GEN. 407, AS TO SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS, EQUALLY WAS FOR APPLICATION TO AN ABSENCE ON SATURDAY REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THAT DAY ALSO WAS A HOLIDAY.

HOWEVER THAT MAY BE, IT APPEARS THAT THE NECESSITY FOR SECURING THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN PUBLIC LAW 211, SUPRA, FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF COMPENSATION FOR PERSONS PERFORMING THE DUTIES OF A POSTMASTER AT A POST OFFICE OF THE FOURTH CLASS DURING A PERIOD OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE, AROSE BY REASON OF THE LANGUAGE OF THE APPROPRIATION ITEM," FOR COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS," APPEARING IN THE THEN CURRENT APPROPRIATION," COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS," WHICH WAS HELD NOT TO INCLUDE AUTHORITY TO PAY A PERSON WHO WAS ACTING IN LIEU OF THE POSTMASTER DURING HIS AUTHORIZED ABSENCE. SEE 25 COMP. GEN. 568. BUT SUCH APPROPRIATION LANGUAGE WAS DISCONTINUED IN THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1951, 64 STAT. 640, WHICH ESTABLISHED THE APPROPRIATION," POSTAL OPERATIONS.' THE COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS NOW IS PAYABLE UNDER THAT APPROPRIATION, WHICH, AMONG OTHER THINGS, IS AVAILABLE," FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR.'

ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE OF ABSENCES WITH PAY FOR POSTMASTERS OF POST OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 6, PUBLIC LAW 134, THIS OFFICE WILL NOT OBJECT TO PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION BY THE POSTMASTER FROM THE APPROPRIATION," POSTAL OPERATIONS," IF COMPENSATION FOR REPLACEMENTS FOR SUCH POSTMASTERS WHEN THEY ARE ABSENT ON A SATURDAY, WHICH ALSO IS A HOLIDAY, OCCURRING WITHIN OR AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF A PERIOD OF ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE, IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE AN EXPENSE NECESSARY FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS.