B-131577, FEB. 20, 1958

B-131577: Feb 20, 1958

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THE SEVEN EMPLOYEES NAMED IN THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 4 WERE. SUCH CONVERSION ACTION WAS APPEALED PRIOR TO FEBRUARY 1. THE RANKING OF THEIR POSITIONS AND THEIR SALARY RATES WERE CHANGED ON JUNE 18. THESE EMPLOYEES' POSITIONS WERE CHANGED TO LOWER LEVEL PFS-7. ANOTHER PERSONNEL ACTION WAS TAKEN IN THESE CASES PURPORTING TO CORRECT THE PRIOR CONVERSION AND THE PAY ADJUSTMENTS OF JUNE 18. THE FOREGOING CLEARLY ESTABLISHES THAT THESE EMPLOYEES WERE OVERPAID. WE CONCUR IN THE VIEW THAT THE EXERCISE OF THE POWERS CONFERRED BY THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 383 AND 384 IS WARRANTED REGARDING SIX OF THE SEVEN EMPLOYEES. THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT A STATUTE AUTHORIZING RELIEF FROM LIABILITY DOES NOT AUTHORIZE REFUND OF AMOUNTS REPAID BY THE DEBTOR IN TOTAL OR PARTIAL LIQUIDATION OF THE DEBT UNLESS SUCH REFUNDS EXPRESSLY ARE AUTHORIZED BY THE STATUTE.

B-131577, FEB. 20, 1958

TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL:

ON OCTOBER 4, 1957, YOUR DEPUTY ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL AND CONTROLLER SUBMITTED FOR OUR CONSIDERATION THE CASE OF SEVEN EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL TRANSPORTATION SERVICE, CHICAGO REGION, AS PROBABLY REQUIRING THE EXERCISE OF THE WAIVER AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTIONS 383 AND 384, TITLE 5, U.S.C.

THE SEVEN EMPLOYEES NAMED IN THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 4 WERE, UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1955, PUBLIC LAW 68, CONVERTED FROM THEIR PRIOR GRADE 3C, $5,400 PER ANNUM, TO SALARY LEVEL PFS-7, LONGEVITY STEP 6C, $5,605 PER ANNUM, EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 3, 1955. SUCH CONVERSION ACTION WAS APPEALED PRIOR TO FEBRUARY 1, 1956, AND THE RANKING OF THEIR POSITIONS AND THEIR SALARY RATES WERE CHANGED ON JUNE 18, 1956, TO PFS-8, STEP 6C, $6,040 PER ANNUM, RETROACTIVE TO DECEMBER 3, 1955. THEREAFTER, ON JULY 28, 1956, THESE EMPLOYEES' POSITIONS WERE CHANGED TO LOWER LEVEL PFS-7, STEP 6C, $5,605 PER ANNUM. THAT CHANGE TO LOWER LEVEL APPARENTLY RESULTED FROM A SERVICE REORGANIZATION; HOWEVER, ON SEPTEMBER 18, 1956, ANOTHER PERSONNEL ACTION WAS TAKEN IN THESE CASES PURPORTING TO CORRECT THE PRIOR CONVERSION AND THE PAY ADJUSTMENTS OF JUNE 18, CHANGING THESE EMPLOYEES' SALARY RATES TO PFS-8, STEP 3C, $5,530 PER ANNUM RETROACTIVE TO DECEMBER 3, 1955.

THE FOREGOING CLEARLY ESTABLISHES THAT THESE EMPLOYEES WERE OVERPAID. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED IN THE DEPUTY POSTMASTER GENERAL'S LETTER, WE CONCUR IN THE VIEW THAT THE EXERCISE OF THE POWERS CONFERRED BY THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 383 AND 384 IS WARRANTED REGARDING SIX OF THE SEVEN EMPLOYEES. CONCERNING THE CASE OF MR. FREDERICK J. BOWLUS, THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT A STATUTE AUTHORIZING RELIEF FROM LIABILITY DOES NOT AUTHORIZE REFUND OF AMOUNTS REPAID BY THE DEBTOR IN TOTAL OR PARTIAL LIQUIDATION OF THE DEBT UNLESS SUCH REFUNDS EXPRESSLY ARE AUTHORIZED BY THE STATUTE. NOTHING IN SECTIONS 383 OR 384, TITLE 5, U.S.C., PROVIDE FOR REFUND OF AMOUNTS PAID BY EMPLOYEES IN LIQUIDATION OF OVERPAYMENTS AND, THEREFORE, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE ONLY RECOURSE FOR RELIEF IN THE CASE OF MR. BOWLUS IS APPROPRIATE LEGISLATION.