B-166514(3), B-168851, B-171073, AUG 31, 1971

B-166514(3),B-168851,B-171073: Aug 31, 1971

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE COLLECTION OF A DEFICIENCY FROM THE RESPONSIBLE CLERKS. THE MERE FACT THAT THE POST OFFICE POSSESSED A FAULTY ADDING MACHINE AT THE TIME OF THE LOSS IN ISSUE IS NOT ADEQUATE EVIDENCE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE LOSS WAS OCCASIONED BY THE MALFUNCTION OF SEVERAL MACHINES THEN BEING USED BY CERTAIN RESPONSIBLE CLERKS. THE EVIDENCE IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CLERKS. POSTMASTER GENERAL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF MARCH 24. IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT THE POSTMASTER. IS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE COLLECTION OF THE DEFICIENCY FROM THE RESPONSIBLE CLERKS. TUCK HAS REPEATEDLY ASSERTED THAT THE SUBJECT LOSS WAS OCCASIONED SOLELY BY THE MALFUNCTION OF THE CLERKS' ADDING MACHINES.

B-166514(3), B-168851, B-171073, AUG 31, 1971

POSTMASTER'S DEFICIENCY - RELIEF DENIED AFFIRMING PRIOR DECISION HOLDING THAT WHILE HERMAN A. TUCK, POSTMASTER, FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS, WHILE NOT PERSONALLY LIABLE, IS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE COLLECTION OF A DEFICIENCY FROM THE RESPONSIBLE CLERKS. THE MERE FACT THAT THE POST OFFICE POSSESSED A FAULTY ADDING MACHINE AT THE TIME OF THE LOSS IN ISSUE IS NOT ADEQUATE EVIDENCE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE LOSS WAS OCCASIONED BY THE MALFUNCTION OF SEVERAL MACHINES THEN BEING USED BY CERTAIN RESPONSIBLE CLERKS. THE EVIDENCE IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CLERKS.

TO MR. POSTMASTER GENERAL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER OF MARCH 24, 1971, 9133:JW:DKP, FROM THE POSTAL DATA CENTER, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, REQUESTING FURTHER RECONSIDERATION OF THE LETTER DATED APRIL 1, 1970, FROM OUR CIVIL DIVISION, WHICH DENIED THE PREVIOUS REQUEST THAT HERMAN A. TUCK, POSTMASTER, FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS, BE RELIEVED OF A DEFICIENCY IN HIS ACCOUNT. IN THAT DECISION, AND AGAIN IN THE LETTER OF OUR CIVIL DIVISION DATED DECEMBER 8, 1970, TO THE POSTAL DATA CENTER, IT WAS CONCLUDED THAT THE POSTMASTER, WHILE NOT PERSONALLY LIABLE, IS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE COLLECTION OF THE DEFICIENCY FROM THE RESPONSIBLE CLERKS.

MR. TUCK HAS REPEATEDLY ASSERTED THAT THE SUBJECT LOSS WAS OCCASIONED SOLELY BY THE MALFUNCTION OF THE CLERKS' ADDING MACHINES. THIS ASSERTION HAS NOT BEEN ACCEPTED AS WARRANTING RELIEF OF THE CLERKS, HOWEVER, BECAUSE SUBSTANTIATION THEREOF WAS NOT SUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CLERKS.

THE PRESENT REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION IS BASED UPON THE SUBMISSION OF A LETTER FROM MR. E. E. DAVIS, OWNER OF OZARK OFFICE MACHINE COMPANY, FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS, DATED OCTOBER 15, 1970. THE SUBJECT LETTER CERTIFIES THAT A CERTAIN ADDING MACHINE, PURCHASED BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR USE AT FAYETTEVILLE, ARKANSAS, REPEATEDLY MALFUNCTIONED OVER AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME UNTIL, AFTER ATTEMPTS TO REPAIR THE MACHINE WERE UNSUCCESSFUL, IT WAS RETURNED TO THE MANUFACTURER AND REPLACED BY A NEW MACHINE.

MR. DAVIS' LETTER ADDS VERY LITTLE SUBSTANTIATION TO THE POSTMASTER'S CLAIM. MR. TUCK HAS CONSISTENTLY ASSERTED THAT SEVERAL MACHINES MALFUNCTIONED, RATHER THAN A SINGLE MACHINE. THERE IS NO RECORD PRESENTED OF WHEN THE MALFUNCTIONS ATTESTED TO BY MR. DAVIS OCCURRED, NOR IS THERE A RECORD OF WHAT POST OFFICE EMPLOYEES USED THE MACHINE REFERRED TO. THE MERE FACT THAT THE POST OFFICE POSSESSED A FAULTY ADDING MACHINE AT THE TIME OF THE LOSS IN ISSUE IS NOT ADEQUATE EVIDENCE TO CONCLUDE THAT THE LOSS WAS OCCASIONED BY THE MALFUNCTION OF SEVERAL MACHINES THEN BEING USED BY CERTAIN RESPONSIBLE CLERKS. THE EVIDENCE REQUIRED IN ORDER TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE CLERKS MUST BE FAR MORE SPECIFIC, COMPLETE, AND CONVINCING THAN THAT WHICH HAS BEEN PRESENTED, AND MUST SHOW CLEARLY THAT THE LOSS WAS ATTRIBUTABLE SOLELY TO THE MALFUNCTIONING OF THE MACHINE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE DECISION OF APRIL 1, 1970, DENYING THE REQUEST FOR RELIEF UNDER 31 U.S.C. 82A-1, IS HEREBY SUSTAINED.