B-161482, JUL. 19, 1967

B-161482: Jul 19, 1967

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POSTAL SERVICE - COMPENSATION - CONTRACT AND SUBSTITUTE SERVICE DECISION TO POSTMASTER GENERAL THAT INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS UNDER CONTRACT FOR AMIL MESSENGER SERVICE AND WHO WAS NOT TOLD OF THE $900 LIMITATION IN 39 U.S.C. 6403/B) WHEN SHE ACCEPTED APPOINTMENT AS SUBSTITUTE CLERK SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO REFUND AMOUNT ALREADY PAID FOR SERVICES. THERE IS NO BASIS FOR ALLOWING CLERK TO RECEIVE UNPAID COMPENSATION. TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL: WE HAVE FOR CONSIDERATION A REQUEST FROM CONGRESSMAN SAM STEIGER FOR REVIEW OF THE CLAIM OF MRS. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY OUR SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 4. HECKE WAS UNDER CONTRACT TO FURNISH MAIL MESSENGER SERVICE HER APPOINTMENT AS A SUBSTITUTE CLERK WAS PROHIBITED BY 39 U.S.C. 579.

B-161482, JUL. 19, 1967

POSTAL SERVICE - COMPENSATION - CONTRACT AND SUBSTITUTE SERVICE DECISION TO POSTMASTER GENERAL THAT INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS UNDER CONTRACT FOR AMIL MESSENGER SERVICE AND WHO WAS NOT TOLD OF THE $900 LIMITATION IN 39 U.S.C. 6403/B) WHEN SHE ACCEPTED APPOINTMENT AS SUBSTITUTE CLERK SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO REFUND AMOUNT ALREADY PAID FOR SERVICES. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR ALLOWING CLERK TO RECEIVE UNPAID COMPENSATION.

TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL:

WE HAVE FOR CONSIDERATION A REQUEST FROM CONGRESSMAN SAM STEIGER FOR REVIEW OF THE CLAIM OF MRS. HARRIETT RUTH HECKE (NOW JAMES) FOR UNPAID COMPENSATION FOR SERVICES RENDERED AS A SUBSTITUTE CLERK DURING THE PERIOD OCTOBER 27 TO NOVEMBER 23, 1962, AT THE KINGMAN, ARIZONA, POST OFFICE. ALSO, REVIEW HAS BEEN REQUESTED OF THE ACTION OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN ASKING MRS. HECKE TO REPAY THE COMPENSATION PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED BY HER AS A SUBSTITUTE CLERK.

THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY OUR SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 4, 1963 (COPY HEREWITH FOR READY REFERENCE), ON THE GROUND THAT SINCE MRS. HECKE WAS UNDER CONTRACT TO FURNISH MAIL MESSENGER SERVICE HER APPOINTMENT AS A SUBSTITUTE CLERK WAS PROHIBITED BY 39 U.S.C. 579, NOW 39 U.S.C. 6403. APPARENTLY ON THE BASIS OF OUR DISALLOWANCE THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN ATTEMPTING TO COLLECT THE AMOUNT ALREADY PAID TO MRS. HECKE FOR SERVICES AS A SUBSTITUTE CLERK.

THE PROVISIONS OF 39 U.S.C. 6403 (B) ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"/B) POSTMASTERS, OFFICERS, AND EMPLOYEES MAY ENTER INTO AGREEMENTS FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF MAIL MESSENGER SERVICE WHEN THE POSTMASTER GENERAL DETERMINES THAT THE PERFORMANCE OF THE SERVICE WILL NOT INTERFERE WITH THEIR REGULAR DUTIES OR WITH THE OPERATIONS OF THE POSTAL SERVICE. EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN SUBSECTION (C) OF THIS SECTION THE TOTAL AMOUNT PAYABLE UNDER AN AGREEMENT MAY NOT EXCEED $900 IN ANY ONE YEAR;,

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABOVE STATUTE WE BELIEVE THAT THE POSTMASTER SHOULD HAVE INFORMED MRS. HECKE THAT IF SHE DESIRED AN APPOINTMENT AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE SHE WOULD HAVE TO AGREE TO RECEIVE ONLY $900 PER YEAR UNDER HER CONTRACT FOR MAIL MESSENGER SERVICE.

SINCE MRS. HECKE APPARENTLY WAS NOT INFORMED OF THE $900 LIMITATION APPLICABLE TO HER CONTRACT IF SHE ACCEPTED THE APPOINTMENT TO THE POSITION OF SUBSTITUTE CLERK AND AS IT MIGHT BE ARGUED THAT SHE DID NOT COME WITHIN THE LITERAL LANGUAGE OF THE STATUTE, OUR VIEW IS THAT MRS. HECKE SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO REFUND THE AMOUNT ALREADY PAID TO HER FOR SERVICES AS A SUBSTITUTE CLERK. HOWEVER, WE DO NOT FEEL THERE IS A SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR ALLOWING HER TO RECEIVE ANY UNPAID COMPENSATION SINCE HER EMPLOYMENT AS A SUBSTITUTE CLERK WITHOUT ANY REDUCTION IN THE AMOUNT SHE RECEIVED UNDER CONTRACT FOR MAIL MESSENGER SERVICE CERTAINLY WAS NOT IN KEEPING WITH THE SPIRIT OF THE STATUTE. CONGRESSMAN STEIGER IS BEING ADVISED TO THAT EFFECT.

WE ASSUME APPROPRIATE ACTION WILL BE TAKEN TO CANCEL MRS. HECKE'S INDEBTEDNESS.