B-141640, FEB. 5, 1960

B-141640: Feb 5, 1960

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DAVIS' ROUTE WAS SERVED IN HIS ABSENCE BY A SUBSTITUTE RURAL CARRIER WHO RECEIVED COMPENSATION AND EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE AT THE SAME RATES AS A REGULAR RURAL CARRIER. DAVIS WAS ACTING POSTMASTER YOU SAY HE WAS PAID AT HIS REGULAR RATE OF COMPENSATION WHICH WAS IN EXCESS OF THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER. HE NOW CLAIMS AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT OF $38.70 FOR EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE FOR THE DAYS HE WAS ACTING POSTMASTER. WHEN THE POSTMASTER'S POSITION IS VACANT. OR WHEN THE POSTMASTER IS ON ANNUAL LEAVE. OR IS ABSENT WITH PERMISSION ON ANY DAY. SHALL RETAIN HIS PREVIOUS BASIC SALARY WHILE SERVING AS ACTING POSTMASTER IF HIS PREVIOUS SALARY IS ABOVE STEP 1 OF THE SALARY LEVEL OF THE POSTMASTER'S POSITION. * * *" ON THE DAYS MR.

B-141640, FEB. 5, 1960

TO MR. LEROY P. AFDEM, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 4, 1960, REFERENCE AES:LPA:HW, REQUESTS OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE TRANSMITTED VOUCHER COVERING AN EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE TO MR. F. E. DAVIS, A REGULAR RURAL CARRIER, WHILE PERFORMING EMERGENCY SERVICE AS ACTING POSTMASTER AT PICKTON, TEXAS, FOR 7 DAYS DURING THE PAY PERIOD AUGUST 8, 1959, TO AUGUST 21, 1959, AND FOR 2 DAYS DURING THE PAY PERIOD JULY 25, 1959, TO AUGUST 7, 1959.

YOU SAY MR. DAVIS' ROUTE WAS SERVED IN HIS ABSENCE BY A SUBSTITUTE RURAL CARRIER WHO RECEIVED COMPENSATION AND EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE AT THE SAME RATES AS A REGULAR RURAL CARRIER. WHILE MR. DAVIS WAS ACTING POSTMASTER YOU SAY HE WAS PAID AT HIS REGULAR RATE OF COMPENSATION WHICH WAS IN EXCESS OF THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER. HE NOW CLAIMS AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT OF $38.70 FOR EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE FOR THE DAYS HE WAS ACTING POSTMASTER. YOU CITE SECTION 609 (A) OF THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICES COMPENSATION ACT, 1955, 39 U.S.C. 1009, WHICH PROVIDES THAT PAYMENT OF AN EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE SHALL BE MADE TO RURAL CARRIERS FOR MILES SCHEDULED" AND THAT "PAYMENTS FOR SUCH EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE SHALL BE MADE AT THE SAME PERIODS AND IN THE SAME MANNER AS PAYMENTS OF REGULAR COMPENSATION.' MR. DAVIS BELIEVES THAT SECTION AND 5 COMP. GEN. 931 AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF THE ALLOWANCE TO HIM EVEN THOUGH ASSIGNED TO DUTIES OTHER THAN THOSE OF A RURAL CARRIER.

SECTIONS 753.215 AND 753.43 OF THE POSTAL MANUAL RELATING TO SETTING AND ADJUSTING RATES OF COMPENSATION PROVIDE IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"SECTION 753.215. WHEN THE POSTMASTER'S POSITION IS VACANT, OR WHEN THE POSTMASTER IS ON ANNUAL LEAVE, SICK LEAVE, LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, OR IS ABSENT WITH PERMISSION ON ANY DAY, FOR REASONS OTHER THAN ATTENDANCE AT POSTMASTER'S CONVENTIONS, THE PERSON WHO PERFORMS THE DUTIES OF POSTMASTER SHALL RECEIVE THE PAY OF STEP 1 OF THE CATEGORY INTO WHICH THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS OF THE OFFICE FALL.

"SECTION 753.43. AN EMPLOYEE FROM THE POSTAL SERVICE APPOINTED AS ACTING POSTMASTER ON OR AFTER DECEMBER 3, 1955, SHALL RETAIN HIS PREVIOUS BASIC SALARY WHILE SERVING AS ACTING POSTMASTER IF HIS PREVIOUS SALARY IS ABOVE STEP 1 OF THE SALARY LEVEL OF THE POSTMASTER'S POSITION. * * *"

ON THE DAYS MR. DAVIS PERFORMED DUTIES AS ACTING POSTMASTER HE WAS PAID THE COMPENSATION AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 753.43 OF THE POSTAL MANUAL WHICH EVIDENTLY WAS PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO SECTIONS 204 (B) AND 807 OF THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE COMPENSATION ACT, 1955, 69 STAT. 117 AND 130 AUTHORIZING ASSIGNMENT OF EMPLOYEES TO OTHER DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES "WITHOUT CHANGE IN COMPENSATION," AND THE ISSUANCE OF "SUCH REGULATIONS AS MAY BE NECESSARY FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF THIS ACT.'

OUR DECISION 5 COMP. GEN. 931 HELD THAT PAYMENT OF AN EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE WAS AUTHORIZED TO A REGULAR RURAL CARRIER WHEN THE ROUTE WAS NOT SERVED BY EITHER THE REGULAR OR SUBSTITUTE CARRIER BECAUSE OF ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS, AND THE REASON FOR THE FAILURE TO SERVE THE ROUTE WAS SUCH AS NOT TO JUSTIFY OR REQUIRE A DEDUCTION OF THE REGULAR COMPENSATION.

DURING MR. DAVIS' DETAIL AS ACTING POSTMASTER, HOWEVER, THE ROUTE WAS SERVED BY A SUBSTITUTE CARRIER WHO WAS PAID THE EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE FOR EACH DAY HE SERVED THE ROUTE IN MR. DAVIS' ABSENCE. IN 4 COMP. GEN. 769 WE HELD THAT ON THOSE DAYS WHEN A SUBSTITUTE CARRIER SERVES THE ROUTE DURING A PERIOD OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE OF THE REGULAR CARRIER AND IS PAID THE EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE THEREFOR, THE REGULAR CARRIER MAY NOT ALSO RECEIVE THE ALLOWANCE FOR THE SAME PERIOD. THIS RULE IS APPLICABLE HERE. MOREOVER, THE ENTITLEMENT TO RETAIN THE COMPENSATION" OF HIS REGULAR POSITION WHILE SERVING AS ACTING POSTMASTER DOES NOT COVER THE EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE "ALLOWANCE.' WE FIND NO PROPER BASIS, THEREFORE, FOR APPLICATION OF 5 COMP. GEN. 931 TO THIS CASE.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH, TOGETHER WITH RELATED PAPERS IS RETURNED, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.