B-166514(2), B-168851, B-171073, AUG 31, 1971

B-166514(2),B-168851,B-171073: Aug 31, 1971

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POSTAL SERVICE HAS CONCLUDED THAT THE SURETY IS NOT LIABLE. IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE COMPANY WHICH BENEFITED FROM THE ERROR IS NO LONGER IN EXISTENCE AND THE LOCATION OF THE OWNER IS UNKNOWN. POSTMASTER GENERAL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF MARCH 4. FURTHER COLLECTION ACTION WAS REQUIRED. THE CENTER PRESENTLY SUBMITS SUBSTANTIAL DOCUMENTATION SHOWING THAT ALL OF THE SUGGESTED STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO COLLECT THE SUBJECT DEBT. HAVE BEEN UNSUCCESSFUL. BROWN WAS BONDED. HAS CONCURRED IN THE VIEW THAT THE SURETY IS NOT LIABLE. IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE COMPANY WHICH BENEFITTED FROM THE ERRONEOUS METER SETTING IS NO LONGER IN EXISTENCE AND THE LOCATION OF THE OWNER IS UNKNOWN.

B-166514(2), B-168851, B-171073, AUG 31, 1971

POSTMASTER'S DEFICIENCY - UNCOLLECTIBLE DEBT DECISION REMOVING POSTMASTER FRANK C. MOORE'S ACCOUNTABILITY TO COLLECT A SHORTAGE OF $262.64 IN HIS ACCOUNT CAUSED BY THE ERRONEOUS SETTING OF A PATRON'S POSTAGE METER BY THE FORMER ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT. BECAUSE THE FORMER ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT HAS DIED, HIS WIDOW HAS REFUSED TO MAKE PAYMENT, AND THE GENERAL COUNSEL, U.S. POSTAL SERVICE HAS CONCLUDED THAT THE SURETY IS NOT LIABLE, AND IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE COMPANY WHICH BENEFITED FROM THE ERROR IS NO LONGER IN EXISTENCE AND THE LOCATION OF THE OWNER IS UNKNOWN, THE DEBT MAY BE DECLARED UNCOLLECTIBLE.

TO MR. POSTMASTER GENERAL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF MARCH 4, 1971, 9121:JTW:EAS, FROM THE POSTAL DATA CENTER, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, REQUESTING FURTHER RECONSIDERATION OF THE LETTER OF OUR CIVIL DIVISION DATED AUGUST 13, 1969, WHICH RELIEVED FRANK C. MOORE, POSTMASTER, CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE, FROM PERSONAL PECUNIARY LIABILITY FOR A SHORTAGE OF $262.64 IN HIS ACCOUNT CAUSED BY THE ERRONEOUS SETTING OF A PATRON'S POSTAGE METER BY FORMER ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT C. J. BROWN, BUT REQUIRED HIM TO COLLECT THE SHORTAGE FROM MR. BROWN OR THE PATRON. BY LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 10, 1969, THE CENTER INFORMED THIS OFFICE OF MR. BROWN'S DEATH AND, AT THAT TIME, REQUESTED THAT THE SUBJECT DEBT BE DECLARED UNCOLLECTIBLE. BY LETTER OF OCTOBER 21, 1969, OUR CIVIL DIVISION ADVISED THE CENTER THAT, BEFORE THE SUBJECT DEBT COULD BE DECLARED UNCOLLECTIBLE AND RELIEF GRANTED TO THE POSTMASTER FROM HIS OBLIGATION TO COLLECT, FURTHER COLLECTION ACTION WAS REQUIRED, INCLUDING EFFORTS TO OBTAIN PAYMENT FROM MR. BROWN'S ESTATE AND/OR SURETY, AS WELL AS FROM THE PATRON WHO BENEFITTED FROM MR. BROWN'S ERROR.

THE CENTER PRESENTLY SUBMITS SUBSTANTIAL DOCUMENTATION SHOWING THAT ALL OF THE SUGGESTED STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN TO COLLECT THE SUBJECT DEBT, AND HAVE BEEN UNSUCCESSFUL. MR. BROWN'S WIDOW HAS FLATLY REFUSED TO MAKE PAYMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF A COURT ORDER TO DO SO. THE SURETY, UNDER WHICH MR. BROWN WAS BONDED, HAS REFUSED PAYMENT ON THE BASIS THAT THE SUBJECT CLAIM DOES NOT COME UNDER THE TERMS OF THE BOND; MOREOVER, THE GENERAL COUNSEL, UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE, HAS CONCURRED IN THE VIEW THAT THE SURETY IS NOT LIABLE. FINALLY, IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE COMPANY WHICH BENEFITTED FROM THE ERRONEOUS METER SETTING IS NO LONGER IN EXISTENCE AND THE LOCATION OF THE OWNER IS UNKNOWN.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, IT APPEARS THAT DILIGENT EFFORTS HAVE BEEN MADE BY THE POSTMASTER TO COLLECT THE SUBJECT DEBT. AS ALL REASONABLE ATTEMPTS HAVE PROVEN UNSUCCESSFUL, THE DEBT DUE THE GOVERNMENT AS A RESULT OF MR. BROWN'S NEGLIGENCE MAY NOW BE DECLARED UNCOLLECTIBLE, COLLECTION ACTION THEREON MAY BE TERMINATED, AND THE POSTMASTER'S ACCOUNTABILITY TO COLLECT MAY BE REMOVED.