B-169852, OCT. 9, 1970

B-169852: Oct 9, 1970

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POSTMASTER COULD NOT HAVE REASONABLY BEEN AWARE OF OVERPAYMENT OF SALARY AND THEREFORE WAIVER OF THE ERRONEOUS PAYMENT UNDER P. L. 90-616 IS PROPER. DOROTHY SAUER: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 10. WAS ADJUSTED SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE REVENUE OF THE OFFICE FOR THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR. EACH YEAR SINCE JANUARY 1965 YOU WERE FURNISHED WITH POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FORM 50 SHOWING YOUR NEW SALARY. IT WAS RECOGNIZED THAT POSTAL REVENUE ALONE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR SALARY DETERMINATION. FIVE NEW CATEGORIES WERE UTILIZED AS CRITERIA. YOU WERE INFORMED BY FORM 1303 IN JANUARY 1969 THAT EFFECTIVE JANUARY 11 YOUR SALARY WAS AT THE RATE OF $4. THE RECORD IS NOT CLEAR AS TO HOW THE ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR OCCURRED WHICH RESULTED IN THE OVERPAYMENT OR AS TO HOW IT WAS DISCOVERED.

B-169852, OCT. 9, 1970

ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS - WAIVER DECISION WAIVING ERRONEOUS PAYMENT OF PAY RECEIVED DUE TO ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR IN THE ADJUSTMENT OF SALARIES AT 4TH CLASS OFFICE BASED ON POSTAL REVENUES. WAIVER HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN DENIED. ON BASIS OF ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SHOWING CHANGES OF SALARY AND CHANGES IN METHOD OF DETERMINING SALARIES AT 4TH CLASS POST OFFICE, POSTMASTER COULD NOT HAVE REASONABLY BEEN AWARE OF OVERPAYMENT OF SALARY AND THEREFORE WAIVER OF THE ERRONEOUS PAYMENT UNDER P. L. 90-616 IS PROPER.

TO MRS. DOROTHY SAUER:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 10, 1970, IN WHICH YOU APPEAL THE DENIAL OF WAIVER UNDER PUBLIC LAW 90-616 BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE ERRONEOUS PAYMENT OF PAY WHICH YOU RECEIVED IN THE GROSS AMOUNT OF $740.65, BETWEEN JANUARY 11, 1969, AND OCTOBER 31, 1969, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE POST OFFICE, ANTONINO, KANSAS.

IN ADDITION TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 10 THE RECORD BEFORE US HAS BEEN SUPPLEMENTED BY POSTAL BULLETIN NO. 20680 OF JANUARY 9, 1969, AND BY TWO POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FORMS 1303 SHOWING YOUR SALARY CHANGES ON JANUARY 11, 1969, AND JULY 12, 1969.

THE RECORD NOW SHOWS THAT UNTIL JANUARY 1969 YOUR SALARY AS A POSTMASTER OF A 4TH CLASS POST OFFICE AT ANTONINO, KANSAS, WAS ADJUSTED SOLELY ON THE BASIS OF THE REVENUE OF THE OFFICE FOR THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR. EACH YEAR SINCE JANUARY 1965 YOU WERE FURNISHED WITH POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FORM 50 SHOWING YOUR NEW SALARY. YOU STATE THAT IN JANUARY 1969 YOU RECEIVED POD FORM 50 SHOWING YOUR SALARY AS $3,598. ABOUT THE SAME TIME THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT PROMULGATED A NEW PLAN PURSUANT TO PUBLIC LAW 90-206 WHICH CHANGED THE METHOD FOR DETERMINING THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS AT 4TH CLASS POST OFFICES. IT WAS RECOGNIZED THAT POSTAL REVENUE ALONE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR SALARY DETERMINATION. IN ADDITION TO THE REVENUE UNITS, USED AS THE SOLE BASIS FOR SALARY DETERMINATION HERETOFORE, FIVE NEW CATEGORIES WERE UTILIZED AS CRITERIA.

YOU WERE INFORMED BY FORM 1303 IN JANUARY 1969 THAT EFFECTIVE JANUARY 11 YOUR SALARY WAS AT THE RATE OF $4,498 PER ANNUM. LATER, APPARENTLY IN JULY 1969, YOU RECEIVED ANOTHER POD FORM 1303 WHICH INDICATED AN INCREASE IN ANNUAL SALARY TO $4,729 EFFECTIVE JULY 12, 1969.

THE RECORD IS NOT CLEAR AS TO HOW THE ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR OCCURRED WHICH RESULTED IN THE OVERPAYMENT OR AS TO HOW IT WAS DISCOVERED. THERE IS A STATEMENT BY THE DIRECTOR, FINANCE DIVISION, WICHITA REGIONAL OFFICE, WICHITA, KANSAS, THAT THE POSTAL DATA CENTER RECORDS INDICATE THAT THE SALARY CHANGE FROM $4,498 TO $3,598 AS INDICATED ON POD FORM 50 WAS NEVER RECEIVED IN THE POSTAL DATA CENTER. THIS RESULTED IN NOT ADJUSTING THE PAYROLL RECORDS PROPERLY AND APPARENTLY WAS THE CAUSE OF THE OVERPAYMENT.

WITH THE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION NOW BEFORE US SHOWING CHANGES OF SALARY AND CHANGES IN METHODS OF DETERMINING THE SALARIES AT 4TH CLASS POST OFFICES, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT YOU COULD REASONABLY BE EXPECTED TO BE AWARE OF ANY OVERPAYMENT OF SALARY.

THE DIRECTOR, FINANCE DIVISION, WICHITA REGIONAL OFFICE, WICHITA, KANSAS, HAS STATED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, AS FOLLOWS:

"THERE IS NOTHING IN OUR RECORDS TO INDICATE FRAUD, MISREPRESENTATION, FAULT, OR LACK OF GOOD FAITH ON THE PART OF THE EMPLOYEE OR ANY OTHER PERSON HAVING AN INTEREST IN OBTAINING A WAIVER OF THE CLAIM OF THE UNITED STATES. *** "

ACCORDINGLY, THE COLLECTION OF THE GROSS AMOUNT OF THE OVERPAYMENT OF PAY ($740.65) IS HEREBY WAIVED.

THE RECORD DOES NOT INDICATE THAT YOU HAVE MADE ANY PAYMENTS TOWARD THE OVERPAYMENT OF PAY BUT IF YOU HAVE DONE SO YOU MAY REQUEST REFUND THEREOF FROM YOUR DEPARTMENT WITHIN TWO YEARS FROM THE DATE OF THIS LETTER.

WE NOTE THAT YOUR ORIGINAL REQUEST FOR WAIVER INCLUDED AN OVERPAYMENT OF $98.02 IN RENTAL ALLOWANCE. THE WAIVER HEREIN DOES NOT PERTAIN TO THAT AMOUNT SINCE THE WAIVER STATUTE IS APPLICABLE ONLY TO ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS OF "PAY."