B-152452, OCTOBER 25, 1963, 43 COMP. GEN. 416

B-152452: Oct 25, 1963

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1959 WHILE THE POST OFFICE WAS IN THE HIGHER GROSS RECEIPTS CATEGORY HAD RECEIVED A LONGEVITY STEP- INCREASE TO FOS-2. ALTHOUGH AT THE TIME OF CONVERSION THE POSTMASTER WAS NOT IN STEP 7A. IS NOT DEPRIVED OF THE BENEFIT OF SECTION 704 (B). THE POSTMASTER IS ENTITLED TO BE PLACED IN STEP 8 OF FOS-2 AS OF JULY 6. THAT WOULD BE DUE IF CREDIT IS ALLOWED FOR THE LONGEVITY STEP EARNED ON AUGUST 22. AS FOLLOWS: (A) THERE ARE ESTABLISHED FOR EACH EMPLOYEE LONGEVITY STEPS A. WHICHEVER IS THE LESSER. * * * THAT IS TO SAY THAT IN GRANTING THE LONGEVITY STEP-INCREASE THE BASIC SALARY OF $825 IN FOS-2. WAS INCREASED BY 5 PERCENT AS PRESCRIBED IN 39 U.S.C. 984. WAS REPEALED BY SECTION 719 OF THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 1962.

B-152452, OCTOBER 25, 1963, 43 COMP. GEN. 416

COMPENSATION - POSTAL SERVICE - DOWNGRADING - SAVED COMPENSATION - SALARY BASED ON POST OFFICE GROSS RECEIPTS UPON RESTORATION ON JULY 6, 1963 OF A FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICE TO THE GROSS RECEIPTS CATEGORY HELD BY IT PRIOR TO RELEGATION TO A LOWER RECEIPTS CATEGORY, THE POSTMASTER WHO ON AUGUST 22, 1959 WHILE THE POST OFFICE WAS IN THE HIGHER GROSS RECEIPTS CATEGORY HAD RECEIVED A LONGEVITY STEP- INCREASE TO FOS-2, STEP 7A, BECAME ENTITLED UNDER SECTION 704 (B) OF THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 1962 TO THE HIGHEST SALARY STEP PREVIOUSLY HELD AND, THEREFORE, MAY BE PLACED IN FOS-2, STEP 8, RATHER THAN STEP 7, THE PREVIOUSLY HELD STEP 7A IN EFFECT HAVING BEEN CONVERTED TO STEP 8 BY SECTION 711 (B) OF THE ACT, AND ALTHOUGH AT THE TIME OF CONVERSION THE POSTMASTER WAS NOT IN STEP 7A, THE POST OFFICE THEN BEING IN THE LOWER GROSS RECEIPTS CATEGORY, SHE, NEVERTHELESS, IS NOT DEPRIVED OF THE BENEFIT OF SECTION 704 (B), AND STEP 8 UNDER THE ACT BEING EQUIVALENT TO THE STEP 7A PREVIOUSLY HELD, THE POSTMASTER IS ENTITLED TO BE PLACED IN STEP 8 OF FOS-2 AS OF JULY 6, 1963.

TO LEROY P. AFDEM, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, OCTOBER 25, 1963:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1963, REFERENCE AIR:LPA, ASKS WHETHER THE ATTACHED VOUCHER IN THE SUM OF $2.69, REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT PAID AT FOS-2, STEP 7, $976 PER ANNUM, AND THE AMOUNT AT FOS-2, STEP 8, $1,002 PER ANNUM, THAT WOULD BE DUE IF CREDIT IS ALLOWED FOR THE LONGEVITY STEP EARNED ON AUGUST 22, 1959, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

YOU SHOW THAT THE POSTMASTER, LOHMAN, MONTANA, A FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE RECEIVED A LONGEVITY STEP-INCREASE TO FOS-2, STEP 7A, $866 PER ANNUM, ON AUGUST 22, 1959. THE FOREGOING STEP AND PER ANNUM SALARY RESULTS FROM THE APPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF 39 U.S.C. 984, CHANGED TO SECTION 3558 BY PUBLIC LAW 86-682, OF SEPTEMBER 2, 1960, REVISING AND CODIFYING TITLE 39, 74 STAT. 650, WHICH READ IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

(A) THERE ARE ESTABLISHED FOR EACH EMPLOYEE LONGEVITY STEPS A, B, AND C. FOR EACH PROMOTION TO LONGEVITY STEP---

(1) EACH POSTMASTER AT A POST OFFICE OF THE FOURTH CLASS SHALL RECEIVE AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO 5 PERCENTUM OF HIS BASIC SALARY, OR $100 PER ANNUM, WHICHEVER IS THE LESSER, AND * * *

THAT IS TO SAY THAT IN GRANTING THE LONGEVITY STEP-INCREASE THE BASIC SALARY OF $825 IN FOS-2, A TEMPORARY RATE, IN SECTION 401 (D) OF PUBLIC LAW 85-426, APPROVED MAY 27, 1958, 72 STAT. 145, 146, 39 U.S.C. 973, WAS INCREASED BY 5 PERCENT AS PRESCRIBED IN 39 U.S.C. 984, QUOTED ABOVE, .E., $41, THUS CREATING THE $866 PER ANNUM SALARY AND STEP 7A THEREUNDER. U.S.C. 3558 (FORMERLY 984), QUOTED IN PART ABOVE, WAS REPEALED BY SECTION 719 OF THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ADJUSTMENT ACT OF 1962, PUBLIC LAW 87- 793, APPROVED OCTOBER 11, 1962, 76 STAT. 858.

SECTION 704 (B) OF THE ABOVE-REFERRED TO ACT, 76 STAT. 853, AMENDING 39 U.S.C. 3544 (B), FORMERLY 973 (B), READS, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

(B) THE BASIC SALARY OF POSTMASTERS IN FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES SHALL BE READJUSTED FOR CHANGES IN GROSS RECEIPTS AT THE START OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD AFTER THE BEGINNING OF EACH FISCAL YEAR. WHEN A POST OFFICE IS RESTORED TO A GROSS RECEIPTS CATEGORY HELD BY IT PRIOR TO RELEGATION TO A LOWER GROSS RECEIPTS CATEGORY, THE POSTMASTER'S BASIC SALARY MAY BE ADJUSTED TO THE HIGHEST SALARY STEP HELD BY HIM WHEN THE POST OFFICE WAS IN THE HIGHER GROSS RECEIPTS CATEGORY. IN ALL OTHER CASES, IN ADJUSTING A POSTMASTER'S BASIC SALARY UNDER THIS SECTION, THE BASIC SALARY SHALL BE FIXED AT THE LOWEST STEP WHICH IS HIGHER THAN THE BASIC SALARY RECEIVED BY THE POSTMASTER AT THE END OF THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR. IF THERE IS NO SUCH STEP THE BASIC SALARY SHALL BE FIXED AT THE HIGHEST STEP FOR THE ADJUSTED GROSS RECEIPTS OF THE OFFICE. * * *

ON JULY 6, 1963, AS A RESULT OF AN INCREASE IN RECEIPTS THE POSTMASTER WAS ADVANCED TO FOS-2, STEP 7, $976 PER ANNUM THEREUNDER. THE QUESTION ARISES WHETHER SINCE THE POSTMASTER IN 1959 HAD REACHED STEP 7A, SHE IS ENTITLED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 704 (B), QUOTED ABOVE, TO BE PLACED IN STEP 8 AT $1,002 PER ANNUM, EFFECTIVE JULY 6, 1963, RATHER THAN STEP 7, $976 PER ANNUM, SINCE STEP 7A WAS IN EFFECT CONVERTED TO STEP 8 BY SECTION 711 (B), 76 STAT. 856, 39 U.S.C. 3542 NOTE. SECTION 771 (B) OF THE ABOVE-REFERRED TO ACT PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

(B) THE BASIC COMPENSATION OF EACH POSTMASTER SUBJECT TO THE FOURTH CLASS OFFICE SCHEDULE I ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SUCH SCHEDULE SHALL BE DETERMINED AS FOLLOWS:

(1) EACH POSTMASTER SHALL BE ASSIGNED TO THE SAME RECEIPTS CATEGORY AND NUMERICAL STEP HE WAS IN PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SUCH SCHEDULE. CHANGES IN RECEIPTS CATEGORY OR STEP WOULD OTHERWISE OCCUR ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SUCH SCHEDULE WITHOUT REGARD TO THE ENACTMENT OF SUCH SCHEDULE, SUCH CHANGES IN RECEIPTS CATEGORY OR STEP SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE OCCURRED PRIOR TO CONVERSION.

(2) POSTMASTERS WHO, AS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SCHEDULE, HAVE NOT REACHED STEP 7, SHALL RETAIN CREDIT FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE NEXT STEP UNDER SECTION 3552 (A) AND SECTION 3553 OF TITLE 39, UNITED STATES CODE, IF NO STEP-INCREASES ARE GRANTED PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH 3 OF THIS SUBSECTION. CREDIT EARNED TOWARD LONGEVITY STEP-INCREASES PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SUCH SCHEDULE SHALL NOT BE CREDITABLE TOWARD FURTHER STEP-INCREASES UNDER SECTION 3552 (A) AND SECTION 3553 OF TITLE 39, UNITED STATES CODE.

(3) FOR EACH LONGEVITY STEP EARNED ON OR PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SUCH SCHEDULE POSTMASTERS SHALL BE ADVANCED ONE STEP.

IT IS APPARENT THAT UNDER THE ABOVE SECTION FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTERS IN STEP 7A (LONGEVITY STEP) OF A PARTICULAR LEVEL WERE REQUIRED TO BE CONVERTED TO STEP 8. WHILE THE POSTMASTER HERE IN QUESTION WAS NOT IN STEP 7A OF FOS-2 AT THE TIME THE CONVERSION OCCURRED UNDER SECTION 711 (B), WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT FACTOR WAS INTENDED TO DEPRIVE HER OF ANY BENEFIT GRANTED UNDER SECTION 704 (B). SINCE STEP 8 OF FOS-2 IS THE EQUIVALENT OF THE STEP PREVIOUSLY HELD BY HER WHEN THE POST OFFICE WAS IN THE HIGHER RECEIPTS CATEGORY (STEP 7A), WE ARE OF THE VIEW THAT SECTION 704 (B) REQUIRED THAT THE POSTMASTER BE PLACED IN STEP 8 OF FOS-2 ON JULY 6, 1963.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.