B-156243, MAR. 31, 1965, 44 COMP. GEN. 593

B-156243: Mar 31, 1965

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COMPENSATION - POSTAL SERVICE - POSTMASTERS - FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES READJUSTMENT A POSTMASTER AT A FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICE WHOSE SALARY WAS ADJUSTED ON THE BASIS OF THE BASIC SALARY RECEIVED AT THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR DUE TO A CHANGE IN THE REVENUE CATEGORY OF THE POST OFFICE WITHOUT THE SALARY INCREASE AND STEP INCREASE BENEFITS RECEIVED AFTER JULY 1. MISS CALHOUN'S SERVICE HISTORY IS SAID IN YOUR LETTER TO HAVE BEEN AS FOLLOWS: TABLE 12/6/63 CAREER APPT. CALHOUN'S SALARY WAS SET AT FOS-2. 1964 WAS NOT CONSIDERED FOR STEP INCREASES (HOUSE REPORT NO. 1647. CALHOUN'S SALARY WAS READJUSTED BECAUSE OF A CHANGE IN REVENUE UNITS. WHEN A POST OFFICE IS RESTORED TO A REVENUE UNIT CATEGORY HELD BY IT PRIOR TO RELEGATION TO A LOWER REVENUE UNIT CATEGORY.

B-156243, MAR. 31, 1965, 44 COMP. GEN. 593

COMPENSATION - POSTAL SERVICE - POSTMASTERS - FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES READJUSTMENT A POSTMASTER AT A FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICE WHOSE SALARY WAS ADJUSTED ON THE BASIS OF THE BASIC SALARY RECEIVED AT THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR DUE TO A CHANGE IN THE REVENUE CATEGORY OF THE POST OFFICE WITHOUT THE SALARY INCREASE AND STEP INCREASE BENEFITS RECEIVED AFTER JULY 1, 1964, HAS HAD HER SALARY PROPERLY COMPUTED UNDER 39 U.S.C. 3544/B), AS AMENDED BY SECTION 111/B) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1964, WHICH SPECIFICALLY REQUIRES THE USE OF THE BASIC SALARY RECEIVED AT THE END OF THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR IN SALARY READJUSTMENT.

TO LEROY P. AFDEM, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, MARCH 31, 1965:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 1, 1965, REFERENCE AIR:LPA:EFT, ASKS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER FOR $15.70 IN FAVOR OF MRS. RUTHIE MAY CALHOUN, A POSTMASTER AT A FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICE, REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMENDED SALARY RATES OF $1,355 AND $1,691 FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 2 TO 15, 1965, PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

MISS CALHOUN'S SERVICE HISTORY IS SAID IN YOUR LETTER TO HAVE BEEN AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE 12/6/63 CAREER APPT.--- POSTMASTER FOS-2, STEP-1 $ 820 1/4/64 P.L. 87-793/II) FOS-2, STEP-1 857 7/4/64 P.L. 88-426 FOS-2, STEP-1 1,628 12/5/64 STEP INCREASE FOS-2, STEP-2 1,680 1/2/65 39 U.S.C. 3544/B) FOS-1, STEP-2 1,355

BASED ON THE REVENUE UNITS FOR FISCAL YEAR 1963, MRS. CALHOUN'S SALARY WAS SET AT FOS-2, STEP-1, $1,628 PER ANNUM ON JULY 4, 1964 AS REQUIRED BY SEC. 111/B) OF PUBLIC LAW 88-426. SINCE THE INCREASE RECEIVED ON JULY 4, 1964 WAS NOT CONSIDERED FOR STEP INCREASES (HOUSE REPORT NO. 1647, PAGE 43), SHE RECEIVED A STEP INCREASE ON DECEMBER 5, 1964 (STEP-2, $1,680).

ON JANUARY 2, 1965, MRS. CALHOUN'S SALARY WAS READJUSTED BECAUSE OF A CHANGE IN REVENUE UNITS, AS REQUIRED BY 39 U.S.C. 3544/B), AS AMENDED BY SECTION 111/B) OF PUBLIC LAW 88-426, 78 STAT. 407. SECTION 3544, IN PERTINENT PART READS AS FOLLOWS:

(B) THE BASIC SALARY OF POSTMASTERS IN FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES SHALL BE READJUSTED FOR CHANGES IN REVENUE UNITS AT THE START OF THE FIRST PAY PERIOD AFTER JANUARY 1 OF EACH YEAR. WHEN A POST OFFICE IS RESTORED TO A REVENUE UNIT CATEGORY HELD BY IT PRIOR TO RELEGATION TO A LOWER REVENUE UNIT 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 REVENUE UNIT 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 REVENUE UNITS OF THE OFFICE. EACH INCREASE IN BASIC SALARY BECAUSE OF CHANGE IN REVENUE UNITS SHALL BE DEEMED THE EQUIVALENT OF A STEP INCREASE UNDER SECTION 3552 OF THIS TITLE AND THE WAITING PERIOD, FOR PURPOSES OF ADVANCEMENT TO THE NEXT STEP, SHALL BEGIN ON THE DATE OF ADJUSTMENT.

MRS. CALHOUN'S BASIC SALARY AT THE END OF THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR, JUNE 30, 1964, WAS THE RATE OF FOS-2, STEP 1, UNDER FOURTH-CLASS SCHEDULE II OF PUBLIC LAW 87-793, 76 STAT. 853, OR $857 PER ANNUM. UNDER SECTION 111/B) OF PUBLIC LAW 88-426, THE POSTMASTER DID NOT BECOME ENTITLED TO THE RATE OF $1,628 UNTIL JULY 4, 1964.

IN ACCORD WITH SECTION 3544/B), ON JANUARY 2, 1965, MRS. CALHOUN WAS GIVEN THE LOWEST STEP UNDER THE NEW SCHEDULE WHICH WAS HIGHER THAN HER BASIC RATE ON JUNE 30, 1964. THAT RATE ($1,313), WHICH WAS FOS-1, STEP 1, OF THE CURRENT FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE SCHEDULE, WAS INCREASED TO STEP 2, $1,355, ALSO EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2, 1965. THE STATED REASON FOR THE STEP INCREASE IS THAT THE REQUIRED READJUSTMENT TO STEP 1, FOS-1, ELIMINATED THE EMPLOYEE'S STEP INCREASE WHICH HAD BEEN EARNED AND GRANTED ON DECEMBER 5, 1964. THEREFORE, SINCE SHE HAD SERVED THE NECESSARY WAITING PERIOD, THE STEP INCREASE AGAIN WAS EFFECTIVE ON THE DATE OF READJUSTMENT OF HER SALARY. MRS. CALHOUN APPARENTLY HAS BEEN PAID AT THE RATE OF $1,355 PER ANNUM SINCE JANUARY 2, 1965.

SHE NOW EXPRESSES THE VIEW THAT SECTION 3544/B) OF THE CODE CONTEMPLATES A READJUSTMENT OF HER SALARY TO THE LOWEST STEP RATE WHICH IS HIGHER THAN HER BASIC SALARY AT THE END OF THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR, INCLUDING STATUTORY INCREASES AND STEP INCREASES. THIS INTERPRETATION WOULD ENTITLE HER TO THE SALARY RATE OF FOS-1, STEP 10, $1,691, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2, 1965.

THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF PUBLIC LAW 88-426 THROWS NO LIGHT ON THIS PARTICULAR ASPECT OF THE AMENDMENT TO SECTION 3544/B). THEREFORE, AND IN VIEW OF THE EXPLICIT LANGUAGE OF THE SECTION REQUIRING THE USE IN THIS INSTANCE OF THE BASIC SALARY RECEIVED BY THE POSTMASTER AT THE END OF THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR, WE FIND NO BASIS UNDER THE STATUTE TO AUTHORIZE ANY ADDITIONAL AMOUNT TO MRS. CALHOUN THAN THAT ALREADY PAID TO HER PURSUANT TO THE ADJUSTMENTS SPECIFIED IN THE STATUTE.

THE VOUCHER TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER, WHICH IS RETURNED, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.