B-197712.OM, DEC 18, 1980

B-197712.OM: Dec 18, 1980

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GGD: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS SERVICE (NARS) HAS REQUESTED INFORMATION AS TO WHETHER THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE (USPS) IS SUBJECT TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF TITLE 8 - RECORDS MANAGEMENT. USPS CONTENDS THAT AS A RESULT OF A DISCUSSION WITH GAO IN 1977 THEY WERE ADVISED AT THAT TIME THAT IT WOULD NOT BE NECESSARY FOR GAO TO APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE THEIR SCHEDULES. SINCE USPS EXPENDITURES ARE NOT PRIMARILY FROM APPROPRIATIONS AND THEY DO NOT HAVE AN ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER (PLEASE SEE ATTACHMENT). SEC. 3309 (1976) WHICH IS THE AUTHORITY FOR GAO APPROVAL OF RECORDS DISPOSITION SCHEDULES. THAT SECTION REQUIRES WRITTEN APPROVAL OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL BEFORE THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY DISPOSES OF: "RECORDS PERTAINING TO CLAIMS AND DEMANDS BY OR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES OR TO ACCOUNTS IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS CONCERNED.

B-197712.OM, DEC 18, 1980

SUBJECT: GAO APPROVAL OF USPS DISPOSITION SCHEDULES

DIRECTOR - OGC, FGMS, GGD:

THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES AND RECORDS SERVICE (NARS) HAS REQUESTED INFORMATION AS TO WHETHER THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE (USPS) IS SUBJECT TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF TITLE 8 - RECORDS MANAGEMENT, GAO MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES. USPS CONTENDS THAT AS A RESULT OF A DISCUSSION WITH GAO IN 1977 THEY WERE ADVISED AT THAT TIME THAT IT WOULD NOT BE NECESSARY FOR GAO TO APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE THEIR SCHEDULES, SINCE USPS EXPENDITURES ARE NOT PRIMARILY FROM APPROPRIATIONS AND THEY DO NOT HAVE AN ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER (PLEASE SEE ATTACHMENT). A REVIEW OF RECORDS MAINTAINED IN THE RECORDS MANAGEMENT SERVICES BRANCH DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION REGARDING THIS DISCUSSION.

REQUEST YOU PROVIDE THE RECORDS MANAGEMENT SERVICES BRANCH INFORMATION UPON WHICH TO BASE A REPLY TO NARS. QUESTIONS MAY BE DIRECTED TO NORMA STAPLESON, RECORDS MANAGEMENT OFFICER, 275-6204. THANK YOU.

INDORSEMENT

DIRECTOR, OISS:

RETURNED. USPS DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE SUBJECT TO 44 U.S.C. SEC. 3309 (1976) WHICH IS THE AUTHORITY FOR GAO APPROVAL OF RECORDS DISPOSITION SCHEDULES. SEE 8 GAO MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES (GAO MANUAL) SECS. 3.4, 8 (TS 8-5, 1975). THAT SECTION REQUIRES WRITTEN APPROVAL OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL BEFORE THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY DISPOSES OF:

"RECORDS PERTAINING TO CLAIMS AND DEMANDS BY OR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES OR TO ACCOUNTS IN WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES IS CONCERNED, EITHER AS A DEBTOR OR CREDITOR *** UNTIL THE CLAIMS, DEMANDS, AND ACCOUNTS HAVE BEEN SETTLED AND ADJUSTED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ***."

8 GAO MANUAL SEC. 3.4 (1975) IDENTIFIES ACCOUNTABLE OFFICERS' ACCOUNTS AS BEING GAO RECORDS "FROM THE MOMENT OF THEIR CREATION" AND THEREFORE SUBJECT TO GAO CONTROL UNDER SECTIONS 6, 8, AND 9 THROUGHOUT THEIR EXISTENCE RIGHT THROUGH TO THEIR DISPOSITION AND DISPOSAL.

HOWEVER, UNDER THE POSTAL REORGANIZATION ACT OF 1970, RESPONSIBILITY FOR RELIEF OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES WAS TRANSFERRED FROM THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL TO THE POSTAL SERVICE AND ALTHOUGH GAO RETAINED AN INTEREST IN THESE RECORDS FOR AUDIT PURPOSES UNDER 39 U.S.C. SEC. 2008 (1976), THE BASIS FOR ADVANCE APPROVAL OF RECORD DISPOSITION WAS ELIMINATED. SEE 39 U.S.C. SEC. 2601, B-164786, OCTOBER 8, 1970. ACCOUNTABLE OFFICERS' RECORDS HAD BEEN GAO RECORDS BECAUSE THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL HAD BEEN GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY TO DETERMINE WHEN RELIEF COULD BE PROVIDED FOR SUCH EMPLOYEES. NOW, WITH THE SHIFT OF RESPONSIBILITY TO THE USPS TO GRANT ITS EMPLOYEES RELIEF, THE RECORDS IDENTIFIED IN 8 GAO MANUAL SEC. 6.2 (1975) ARE USPS RECORDS FROM THEIR CREATION THROUGH DISPOSITION. THESE INCLUDE COLLECTION AND DISBURSEMENT SCHEDULES AND VOUCHERS.

FURTHER SUPPORT FOR THIS POSITION IS PROVIDED BY 39 U.S.C. SECS. 401(8) AND 2008(C) (1976). UNDER THESE SECTIONS USPS IS GIVEN AUTHORITY "TO SETTLE AND COMPROMISE CLAIMS BY OR AGAINST IT INCLUDING ENGAGING IN LITIGATION LEADING TO FINAL SETTLEMENT OF ALL CLAIMS AGAINST IT.