B-155830, MAR. 4, 1965, 44 COMP. GEN. 523

B-155830: Mar 4, 1965

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1964 A PERSON WHO WAS AN ACTING POSTMASTER ON JULY 4. - AT A FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICE WHICH HAD NOT HAD ANY CHANGE IN GROSS RECEIPTS AND WHICH UNDER THE NEW LAW WAS PLACED IN A REVENUE UNIT CATEGORY OF 37 WHICH EXCEEDS THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF UNITS FOR FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES IS REGARDED AS AN ACTING POSTMASTER RATHER THAN A POSTMASTER ON JULY 1. THE SAVINGS PROVISION IN SECTION 111 (C) OF THE ACT FOR POST OFFICES THAT HAD CHANGES IN GROSS RECEIPTS IN THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR IS NOT FOR APPLICATION AND THE POSTMASTER IS ONLY ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION AT 110 PERCENT OF THE EXISTING RATE UNDER SECTION 111 (B) OF THE 1964 ACT. COURTNEY WAS ACTING POSTMASTER. HER SALARY RATE WAS FOS-7. THE NEW SALARY SCHEDULE ESTABLISHED BY PUBLIC LAW 88-426 FOR FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES IS BASED ON REVENUE UNITS RATHER THAN GROSS RECEIPTS AS BEFORE.

B-155830, MAR. 4, 1965, 44 COMP. GEN. 523

COMPENSATION - POSTAL SERVICE - POSTMASTERS - FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES ACTING ON JULY 4, 1964 A PERSON WHO WAS AN ACTING POSTMASTER ON JULY 4, 1964--- THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SECTION 111 (B) OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES SALARY REFORM ACT OF 1964, WHICH PROVIDES A METHOD OF CONVERSION OF POSTMASTERS TO A NEW SALARY SCHEDULE BASED ON REVENUE UNITS--- AT A FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICE WHICH HAD NOT HAD ANY CHANGE IN GROSS RECEIPTS AND WHICH UNDER THE NEW LAW WAS PLACED IN A REVENUE UNIT CATEGORY OF 37 WHICH EXCEEDS THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF UNITS FOR FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES IS REGARDED AS AN ACTING POSTMASTER RATHER THAN A POSTMASTER ON JULY 1, 1964, AND, THEREFORE, UPON CONVERSION TO POSTMASTER, THE SAVINGS PROVISION IN SECTION 111 (C) OF THE ACT FOR POST OFFICES THAT HAD CHANGES IN GROSS RECEIPTS IN THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR IS NOT FOR APPLICATION AND THE POSTMASTER IS ONLY ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION AT 110 PERCENT OF THE EXISTING RATE UNDER SECTION 111 (B) OF THE 1964 ACT.

TO LEROY P. AFDEM, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, MARCH 4, 1965:

ON DECEMBER 22, 1964, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER A VOUCHER FOR ADDITIONAL SALARY BASED ON A RATE OF $3,769 PER ANNUM RATHER THAN $3,454 PER ANNUM, FOR THE PAY PERIODS AUGUST 29, 1964, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 25, 1964, FOR MRS. REBECCA S. COURTNEY, POSTMASTER AT MELBER, KENTUCKY, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

YOU INFORM US THAT ON JANUARY 3, 1964, MRS. COURTNEY WAS ACTING POSTMASTER. HER SALARY RATE WAS FOS-7, STEP 1, $3,140 PER ANNUM, UNDER THE SCHEDULE FOR FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES. ON JULY 4, 1964, SECTION 111 (B) OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES SALARY REFORM ACT OF 1964, PUBLIC LAW 88- 426, 78 STAT. 408, APPROVED AUGUST 14, 1964, 39 U.S.C. 3544 NOTE, BECAME EFFECTIVE. THE NEW SALARY SCHEDULE ESTABLISHED BY PUBLIC LAW 88-426 FOR FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES IS BASED ON REVENUE UNITS RATHER THAN GROSS RECEIPTS AS BEFORE. THE NUMBER OF REVENUE UNITS AT MRS. COURTNEY'S OFFICE WAS 37, WHICH EXCEEDED THE MAXIMUM NUMBER OF 35 PERMITTED FOR A POST OFFICE OF THE FOURTH CLASS. YOU INFORM US THAT, FOR THIS REASON, SHE WAS GIVEN A 10 PERCENT INCREASE IN SALARY RESULTING IN A RATE OF $3,454 PER ANNUM. MRS. COURTNEY WAS CONVERTED FROM ACTING POSTMASTER TO POSTMASTER EFFECTIVE AUGUST 28, 1964, AND HER SALARY SAVED AT $3,454 PER ANNUM. MRS. COURTNEY FEELS THAT UPON HER CONVERSION TO POSTMASTER HER SALARY SHOULD HAVE BEEN SET AT FOS-6, STEP 1, $3,769 PER ANNUM, SINCE SHE SAYS SHE WOULD HAVE RECEIVED THAT SALARY IF THE REVENUE UNITS FOR HER OFFICE HAD BEEN 35 INSTEAD OF 37.

IT IS FIRST NECESSARY TO CONSIDER WHETHER THE FACT THAT MRS. COURTNEY WAS AN ACTING POSTMASTER RATHER THAN A POSTMASTER ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACT HAS ANY EFFECT ON THE SALARY THAT SHE MAY RECEIVE. 39 U.S.C. 3544 (D), AS AMENDED BY SECTION 111 (A) OF PUBLIC LAW 88-426, 78 STAT. 407, PROVIDES:

PERSONS WHO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF POSTMASTER AT POST OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS WHERE THERE IS A VACANCY OR DURING THE ABSENCE OF THE POSTMASTER ON SICK LEAVE OR ANNUAL LEAVE, OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, SHALL BE PAID THE SAME BASIC SALARY TO WHICH THEY WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED IF REGULARLY APPOINTED AS POSTMASTER.

ALSO, SECTION 753.212 OF THE POSTAL MANUAL (1954 ED.) PROVIDES:

ACTING POSTMASTER APPOINTED POSTMASTER. A PERSON APPOINTED POSTMASTER WHO, CONTINUOUS TO THE DATE OF SUCH APPOINTMENT, SERVED AS AN ACTING POSTMASTER AT THE OFFICE SHALL, UPON APPOINTMENT AS POSTMASTER, BE CREDITED WITH ALL SATISFACTORY SERVICE AS ACTING POSTMASTER IN DETERMINING THE SALARY STEP IN WHICH HE SHALL BE PLACED; PARTIAL CREDIT TOWARD AN ADDITIONAL STEP-INCREASE SHALL BE RETAINED.

IN VIEW THEREOF, THE FACT THAT MRS. COURTNEY WAS AN ACTING POSTMASTER RATHER THAN A POSTMASTER DOES NOT AFFECT THE COMPENSATION TO WHICH SHE IS ENTITLED PURSUANT TO THE NEW ACT.

UNDER PRIOR LAW, ANY REQUISITE CHANGE IN MRS. COURTNEY'S SALARY WOULD HAVE OCCURRED ON JULY 4, 1964, WHICH IS ALSO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PUBLIC LAW 88-426. SECTION 111 (C) OF PUBLIC LAW 88-426, 78 STAT. 408, SPECIFIES THAT:

IF CHANGES IN THE GROSS RECEIPTS CATEGORY OR CHANGES IN SALARY STEP WOULD OCCUR ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION (WITHOUT REGARD TO THE ENACTMENT OF THIS SECTION), SUCH CHANGES SHALL BE DEEMED TO HAVE OCCURRED PRIOR TO ANY ACTION TAKEN UNDER SUBSECTION (B) OF THIS SECTION.

YOU INFORM US THAT HER SALARY WOULD HAVE REMAINED AT THE RATE OF $3,140 PER ANNUM ON JULY 4, 1964, FROM WHICH WE NECESSARILY ASSUME THAT NO CHANGE OCCURRED IN THE GROSS RECEIPTS CATEGORY OF HER OFFICE SO AS TO WARRANT ANY CHANGE IN HER SALARY UNDER THE PRIOR LAW. THUS, SECTION 111 (C) DOES NOT APPEAR TO OPERATE IN THIS INSTANCE.

SECTION 111 (A) OF PUBLIC LAW 88-426 AMENDED 39 U.S.C. 3544 TO SET UP A SCHEDULE OF SALARY RATES FOR FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES BASED ON REVENUE UNITS. THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF REVENUE UNITS TO WHICH FIXED SALARY RATES ARE APPLICABLE IS SPECIFIED AT 30 BUT LESS THAN 36. THE LOWEST SALARY FOR THAT NUMBER OF REVENUE UNITS IS $3,769.

FOR PURPOSES OF CONVERTING FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTERS TO THE NEW SCHEDULE OF SALARY RATES SECTION 111 (B) OF PUBLIC LAW 88-426 PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

AS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION, THE POSTMASTER GENERAL SHALL PLACE THE POSITION OF EACH POSTMASTER IN A FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE IN THE APPROPRIATE REVENUE UNITS CATEGORY OF THE FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE SCHEDULE (FOS) DETERMINED ON THE BASIS OF REVENUE UNITS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1963. THE POSTMASTER GENERAL SHALL ASSIGN EACH SUCH POSTMASTER TO THE LOWEST STEP OF THE APPROPRIATE REVENUE UNITS CATEGORY WHICH WILL PROVIDE HIM COMPENSATION NOT LESS THAN 110 PERCENTUM OF THE COMPENSATION TO WHICH HE WOULD OTHERWISE BE ENTILED UNDER FOS II (AS IT EXISTED IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION). IF THERE IS NO SUCH STEP OR CATEGORY, THE POSTMASTER SHALL BE PAID COMPENSATION AT THE RATE OF 110 PERCENTUM OF THE COMPENSATION TO WHICH HE WOULD OTHERWISE BE ENTITLED UNDER FOS II (AS IT EXISTED IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION).

THE FOLLOWING EXPLANATION OF SECTION 111 (B) APPEARS IN CONFERENCE REPORT NO. 1647, TO ACCOMPANY H.R. 11049, WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 88 426:

SECTION 111 (B) OF THE CONFERENCE SUBSTITUTE PROVIDES A METHOD OF CONVERTING POSTMASTERS AT FOURTH-CLASS OFFICES TO THE NEW SCHEDULE. EACH POSTMASTER WILL BE PLACED IN THE LOWEST STEP FOR HIS REVENUE UNIT CATEGORY WHICH EXCEEDS HIS EXISTING COMPENSATION BY NOT LESS THAN 10 PERCENT. THERE IS NO SUCH STEP, HE WILL RETAIN HIS EXISTING COMPENSATION PLUS 10 PERCENT. BECAUSE THE INCREASES INCIDENT TO CHANGING TO THE NEW SCHEDULE ARE NOT EQUIVALENT INCREASES, ANY CREDIT TOWARD THE NEXT STEP INCREASE EARNED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SECTION 111 WILL BE CARRIED FORWARD FOR PURPOSES OF DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR THE NEXT STEP INCREASE UNDER THE NEW SCHEDULE.

SECTION 111 (C) OF THE CONFERENCE SUBSTITUTE PROVIDES THAT CHANGES IN GROSS RECEIPTS CATEGORIES OR STEPS WHICH OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE OCCURRED ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SECTION 111 SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS OCCURRING PRIOR TO CONVERSION.

BECAUSE OF THE CHANGE FROM ADJUSTED GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS TO REVENUE UNITS FOR DETERMINING CLASS OF OFFICE AND CATEGORY, SOME POST OFFICES, CLASSIFIED AS FOURTH-CLASS OFFICES ON JULY 1, 1964, WILL NOT FALL WITHIN THE REVENUE UNIT CATEGORIES PRESCRIBED IN THE NEW SCHEDULE. IN SUCH CASES, THE OFFICES WILL BE CONTINUED AS FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES UNTIL RECLASSIFIED BY OPERATION OF OTHER SECTIONS OF THE BILL. POSTMASTERS IN SUCH OFFICES WILL CONTINUE TO RECEIVE THE 10 PERCENT INCREASE IN BASIC COMPENSATION UNTIL THE SALARIES ARE ADJUSTED AS OTHERWISE REQUIRED.

SINCE AS PREVIOUSLY INDICATED THE REVENUE UNITS FOR MRS. COURTNEY'S OFFICE (37) DID NOT FALL WITHIN THE CATEGORY OF 30 BUT LESS THAN 36 REVENUE UNITS AND AS SECTION 111 (C) WAS NOT FOR APPLICATION SHE WAS REGARDED, ON AND AFTER JULY 4, 1964, AS ONLY BEING ENTITLED TO 110 PERCENT OF HER EXISTING RATE OF COMPENSATION.

OUR VIEW IS THAT THE ACTION TAKEN IN MRS. COURTNEY'S CASE WAS IN ACCORD WITH THE PURPOSE AND INTENT OF SECTION 111 (B), AS EXPLAINED IN THE CONFERENCE REPORT. THEREFORE, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.