B-126648, FEB. 20, 1956

B-126648: Feb 20, 1956

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THE REQUEST IS MADE WITH FULL KNOWLEDGE OF OUR DECISIONS WHICH HOLD GENERALLY THAT OVERPAYMENTS RESULTING FOM PROMOTIONS MADE CONTRARY TO THE PROVISIONS OF A STATUTE MUST BE REFUNDED. IT IS POINTED OUT THAT BECAUSE OF THE UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE. THE DATE THE REFERRED-TO ACT WAS APPROVED. IEZZI WAS ONLY IN GRADE 10. THE DATE HE WAS PROMOTED TO LONGEVITY GRADE A. HE DID NOT HAVE 13 YEARS' SERVICE. IEZZI TO LONGEVITY GRADE A HE PROTESTED THAT HE DID NOT HAVE THE REQUIRED SERVICE. IEZZI WAS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PROPOSED PROMOTION. IEZZI WAS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PROPOSED PROMOTION HE NEVERTHELESS STILL INSISTED THE ADVANCEMENT WAS NOT PROPER. THE MATTER THEN WAS TAKEN UP WITH THE DEPARTMENT AT WASHINGTON.

B-126648, FEB. 20, 1956

TO THE HONORABLE POSTMASTER GENERAL:

ON DECEMBER 6, 1955, THE ACTING POSTMASTER GENERAL REQUESTED OUR OFFICE TO WAIVE THE COLLECTION OF $135.91 FROM CLERK ANTHONY M. IEZZI OF THE POTTSTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA POST OFFICE. THE AMOUNT REPRESENTS SALARY OVERPAYMENTS WHICH RESULTED FROM HIS PROMOTION TO LONGEVITY GRADE A IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE ACT OF MAY 3, 1950, 64 STAT. 101. THE REQUEST IS MADE WITH FULL KNOWLEDGE OF OUR DECISIONS WHICH HOLD GENERALLY THAT OVERPAYMENTS RESULTING FOM PROMOTIONS MADE CONTRARY TO THE PROVISIONS OF A STATUTE MUST BE REFUNDED, BUT IT IS POINTED OUT THAT BECAUSE OF THE UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE, AND TO AVOID THE POSSIBILITY OF ENACTING PRIVATE RELIEF LEGISLATION, THOSE DECISIONS SHOULD NOT BE HELD CONTROLLING HERE.

ON MAY 3, 1950, THE DATE THE REFERRED-TO ACT WAS APPROVED, MR. IEZZI WAS ONLY IN GRADE 10, AND ON OCTOBER 1, 1953, THE DATE HE WAS PROMOTED TO LONGEVITY GRADE A, HE DID NOT HAVE 13 YEARS' SERVICE. THE ACTING POSTMASTER GENERAL SAYS THAT WHEN THE POTTSTOWN POST OFFICE PROPOSED TO ADVANCE MR. IEZZI TO LONGEVITY GRADE A HE PROTESTED THAT HE DID NOT HAVE THE REQUIRED SERVICE. THEREUPON, THE ASSISTANT POSTMASTER INQUIRED FROM A POSTMASTER OF A LARGER POST OFFICE WHETHER MR. IEZZI WAS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PROPOSED PROMOTION. WHEN THAT POSTMASTER CONCLUDED THAT MR. IEZZI WAS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PROPOSED PROMOTION HE NEVERTHELESS STILL INSISTED THE ADVANCEMENT WAS NOT PROPER. THE MATTER THEN WAS TAKEN UP WITH THE DEPARTMENT AT WASHINGTON, D.C., AND AFTER CONSIDERING THE APPLICABLE LAW THE DEPARTMENT DETERMINED THAT IT WAS PROPER TO ADVANCE MR. IEZZI TO LONGEVITY GRADE A ON OCTOBER 1, 1953. BASED UPON THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONCLUSION, HE FELT COMPELLED TO ACCEPT THE PROMOTION. THE ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR WENT UNDETECTED FOR APPROXIMATELY 16 MONTHS RESULTING IN THE OVERPAYMENT OF $135.91, AND UPON DISCOVERY OF THE ERROR ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WAS TAKEN TO CORRECT THE ERRONEOUS ACTION PREVIOUSLY TAKEN.

THE ACTING POSTMASTER GENERAL'S LETTER POINTS OUT THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 12 (A) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, 59 STAT. 443, 444, A CLERK AT A POST OFFICE OF THE FIRST CLASS COULD BE PROMOTED TO THE THREE ADDITIONAL GRADES--- 12, 13, AND 14--- AFTER 3, 5, AND 7 YEARS RESPECTIVELY OF FAITHFUL AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE. THE FAITHFUL AND MERITORIOUS GRADES WERE ABOLISHED BY SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF MAY 3, 1950, 64 STAT. 102. IN LIEU OF THOSE GRADES SECTION 1 OF THE 1950 ACT, 64 STAT. 161, CREATED LONGEVITY GRADES, A, B, AND C. EMPLOYEES WERE ENTITLED TO BE PROMOTED THERETO AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF 13, 18, AND 25 YEARS OF SERVICE, RESPECTIVELY. HOWEVER, SECTION 2 OF THE SAME ACT, 64 STAT. 102, PROVIDED THAT EMPLOYEES ON THE ROLLS ON THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THE ACT, WHO WERE IN THE HIGHEST AUTOMATIC GRADE OR IN ADDITIONAL GRADES ON MAY 3, 1950, SHALL RETAIN PROMOTION CREDIT AND THEREAFTER SHALL BE PROMOTED TO LONGEVITY GRADES A, B, AND C, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER AFTER 3, 5, AND 7 YEARS OF SERVICE RESPECTIVELY.

IT READILY IS APPARENT THAT MUCH CONFUSION EXISTED AT THE TIME OF THE PROMOTION, WHICH CONFUSION AND MISUNDERSTANDING OF THE STATUTES RESULTED IN THE ERRONEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION HERE IN QUESTION. SINCE SOME SUBSTANTIAL BASIS APPEARS TO HAVE EXISTED FOR THE ACTION TAKEN BY YOUR DEPARTMENT AND IN VIEW OF THE STATED UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE CASE, OUR OFFICE WILL NOT INSIST UPON THE REFUND OF THE OVERPAYMENT. SEE B-119158, MARCH 16, 1955, AND JUNE 30, 1955.