B-116833, NOVEMBER 3, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 198

B-116833: Nov 3, 1953

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THEREFORE SUCH LONGEVITY INCREASES ARE FOR INCLUSION AS SALARY IN APPLYING THE SAID MAXIMUM SALARY LIMITATION. THE SAVINGS PROVISION OF THE 1950 ACT IS NOT APPLICABLE. 1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 26. ARE FOR INCLUSION AS SALARY IN APPLYING THE MAXIMUM SALARY LIMITATION CONTAINED IN SECTION 17 (D) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6. ARE AS FOLLOWS: (D) THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY. IT IS INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE INCLUSION OF THE LONGEVITY INCREASES IN APPLYING THE MAXIMUM SALARY LIMITATION CONTAINED IN SECTION 17 (D) MAY NOT BE REQUIRED IN VIEW OF SECTION 5 OF PUBLIC LAW 500 PROVIDING THAT NONE OF THE PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT ( PUBLIC LAW 500) SHALL BE SO CONSTRUED AS TO REDUCE THE GRADE OR COMPENSATION OF ANY EMPLOYEE ON THE ROLLS ON THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THAT ACT.

B-116833, NOVEMBER 3, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 198

COMPENSATION - POSTAL SERVICE - RURAL CARRIERS SERVING HEAVILY PATRONIZED ROUTES - LONGEVITY INCREASES - INCLUSION AS SALARY IN APPLYING MAXIMUM SALARY LIMITATION THE LONGEVITY INCREASES AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF MAY 3, 1950, FOR POSTAL EMPLOYEES AFTER 13, 18, AND 25 YEARS OF POSTAL SERVICE, CONSTITUTE PART OF AN EMPLOYEE'S "TOTAL ANNUAL COMPENSATION" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT PHRASE AS USED IN THE MAXIMUM SALARY LIMITATION PROVISO IN SECTION 17 (D) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, AS AMENDED, WHICH AUTHORIZES HEAVY DUTY ALLOWANCES (ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION) UP TO SUCH LIMITATION FOR RURAL CARRIERS SERVING HEAVILY PATRONIZED ROUTES NOT EXCEEDING 45 MILES, AND THEREFORE SUCH LONGEVITY INCREASES ARE FOR INCLUSION AS SALARY IN APPLYING THE SAID MAXIMUM SALARY LIMITATION, AND THE SAVINGS PROVISION OF THE 1950 ACT IS NOT APPLICABLE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, NOVEMBER 3, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 26, 1953, YOUR REFERENCE 50, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE LONGEVITY INCREASES (AFTER 13, 18, AND 25 YEARS OF POSTAL SERVICE) AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF MAY 3, 1950, PUBLIC LAW 500, 64 STAT. 101, ARE FOR INCLUSION AS SALARY IN APPLYING THE MAXIMUM SALARY LIMITATION CONTAINED IN SECTION 17 (D) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945 ( PUBLIC LAW 134), AS AMENDED, 39 U.S.C. 867 (D). THE PROVISIONS OF THE REFERRED-TO STATUTE, PRESCRIBING THE LIMITATIONS, ARE AS FOLLOWS:

(D) THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY, IN HIS DISCRETION, ALLOW AND PAY SUCH ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION AS HE MAY DETERMINE TO BE FAIR AND REASONABLE IN EACH INDIVIDUAL CASE TO RURAL CARRIERS SERVING HEAVILY PATRONIZED ROUTES NOT EXCEEDING FORTY-FIVE MILES IN LENGTH: PROVIDED, THAT THE TOTAL ANNUAL COMPENSATION OF A RURAL CARRIER SERVING A HEAVILY PATRONIZED ROUTE OF NOT EXCEEDING FORTY-FIVE MILES IN LENGTH SHALL NOT EXCEED $4,370, EXCLUSIVE OF MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT A RURAL CARRIER BELOW THE MAXIMUM GRADE PROVIDED HEREIN SHALL NOT BE GRANTED AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE FOR SERVING A HEAVILY PATRONIZED ROUTE IN AN AMOUNT THAT WOULD EXCEED $4,370 WHEN ADDED TO THE SALARY HE WOULD RECEIVE IN THE MAXIMUM GRADE.

IT IS INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE INCLUSION OF THE LONGEVITY INCREASES IN APPLYING THE MAXIMUM SALARY LIMITATION CONTAINED IN SECTION 17 (D) MAY NOT BE REQUIRED IN VIEW OF SECTION 5 OF PUBLIC LAW 500 PROVIDING THAT NONE OF THE PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT ( PUBLIC LAW 500) SHALL BE SO CONSTRUED AS TO REDUCE THE GRADE OR COMPENSATION OF ANY EMPLOYEE ON THE ROLLS ON THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THAT ACT.

THE SAVINGS PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN SECTION 5 IS VIEWED MERELY AS PREVENTING A REDUCTION IN GRADE OR COMPENSATION OF AN EMPLOYEE WHICH OTHERWISE MIGHT HAVE RESULTED FROM THE APPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 500. TO BE COVERED BY THE SAID SAVINGS PROVISION AN EMPLOYEE MUST HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO A HIGHER GRADE OR GREATER COMPENSATION UNDER LAWS IN EXISTENCE IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PUBLIC LAW 500. TO BE COVERED BY THE SAID SAVINGS PROVISION AN EMPLOYEE MUST HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO A HIGHER GRADE OR GREATER COMPENSATION UNDER LAWS IN EXISTENCE IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PUBLIC LAW 500 THAN UNDER THAT LAW. IN THE EXAMPLE CITED IN YOUR LETTER IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE EMPLOYEE SUFFERED ANY REDUCTION IN GRADE OR COMPENSATION BY REASON OF PUBLIC LAW 500, ALTHOUGH IT IS TRUE THAT HE COULD NOT BE GRANTED THE SAME HEAVY DUTY ALLOWANCES THERETOFORE RECEIVED IN ADDITION TO THE LONGEVITY INCREASES PROVIDED THEREIN WITHOUT EXCEEDING THE LIMITATION PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 17 (D) OF PUBLIC LAW 134. IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE OF AN INTENT ON THE PART OF CONGRESS TO THE CONTRARY--- AND I HAVE FOUND NONE--- THE SAVINGS PROVISION IN SECTION 5 OF PUBLIC LAW 500 IS CONSTRUED MERELY AS PREVENTING A REDUCTION IN AN EMPLOYEE'S AGGREGATE COMPENSATION ONLY AND NOT AS PREVENTING A REDUCTION OF AN INDIVIDUAL CLASS OF COMPENSATION COMPRISING SUCH AGGREGATE SO LONG AS THE AGGREGATE AMOUNT DUE IS NOT LESSENED.

IN ANY EVENT, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE REDUCTIONS IN THE COMPENSATION DUE EMPLOYEES OF THE CLASS DESCRIBED IN YOUR LETTER ARE REQUIRED--- NOT BECAUSE OF PUBLIC LAW 500--- BUT RATHER, BY VIRTUE OF THE MAXIMUM SALARY LIMITATION CONTAINED IN SECTION 17 (D) OF PUBLIC LAW 134, AS AMENDED. SINCE THAT LIMITATION IS DIRECTED AT THE "TOTAL ANNUAL COMPENSATION" IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT THE LONGEVITY INCREASES PROVIDED UNDER PUBLIC LAW 500 AND WHICH CONSTITUTE PART OF AN EMPLOYEE'S "TOTAL ANNUAL COMPENSATION" NECESSARILY MUST BE INCLUDED IN APPLYING THE SAID LIMITATION.