B-21687, NOVEMBER 24, 1941, 21 COMP. GEN. 484

B-21687: Nov 24, 1941

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A LUMP-SUM APPROPRIATION FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IS AVAILABLE FOR BOTH PERMANENT AND TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES. THE APPROPRIATION ITEM CONTAINED IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1942 APPROPRIATION FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST -OFFICE INSPECTORS IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO TEMPORARY. THE STATUTORY MINIMUM SALARY RATE (39 U.S.C. 698) OF CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST-OFFICE INSPECTORS IS APPLICABLE TO BOTH PERMANENT AND TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES. THE SALARY RATE OF A TEMPORARY CLERK AT SUCH HEADQUARTERS WHO IS NOT EMPLOYED AS A SUBSTITUTE PURSUANT TO 39 U.S.C. 699 TO PERFORM THE WORK OF A PERMANENT EMPLOYEE ABSENT ON FURLOUGH OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY MAY NOT BE LESS THAN THE STATUTORY MINIMUM.

B-21687, NOVEMBER 24, 1941, 21 COMP. GEN. 484

POSTAL SERVICE - TEMPORARY CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST OFFICE INSPECTORS - AUTHORITY FOR APPOINTMENT; SALARY RATES IN THE ABSENCE OF AN EXPRESS PROVISION TO THE CONTRARY, A LUMP-SUM APPROPRIATION FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IS AVAILABLE FOR BOTH PERMANENT AND TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES. THE APPROPRIATION ITEM CONTAINED IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1942 APPROPRIATION FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST -OFFICE INSPECTORS IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO TEMPORARY, AS WELL AS PERMANENT, EMPLOYEES APPOINTED WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, BUT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF BOTH PERMANENT AND TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES ON THE ROLL IN A PAY STATUS AT ANY ONE TIME DURING THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR MAY NOT EXCEED THE NUMBER SPECIFIED IN SAID APPROPRIATION ITEM. THE STATUTORY MINIMUM SALARY RATE (39 U.S.C. 698) OF CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST-OFFICE INSPECTORS IS APPLICABLE TO BOTH PERMANENT AND TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES, AND, THEREFORE, THE SALARY RATE OF A TEMPORARY CLERK AT SUCH HEADQUARTERS WHO IS NOT EMPLOYED AS A SUBSTITUTE PURSUANT TO 39 U.S.C. 699 TO PERFORM THE WORK OF A PERMANENT EMPLOYEE ABSENT ON FURLOUGH OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY MAY NOT BE LESS THAN THE STATUTORY MINIMUM.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, NOVEMBER 24, 1941:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 6, 1941, AS FOLLOWS:

YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE PROVISIONS OF 39 U.S.C., SECTIONS 698 AND 699, PROVIDING FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST-OFFICE INSPECTORS. THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE POSTAL SERVICE LIMITS THE NUMBER OF SUCH CLERKS TO 194.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER SOME OF THE 194 POSITIONS PROVIDED FOR IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT MAY BE FILLED BY TEMPORARY RATHER THAN PERMANENT EMPLOYEES--- IT BEING UNDERSTOOD, OF COURSE, THAT SUCH TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES WOULD BE SELECTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH CIVIL SERVICE RULES AND UPON THE CERTIFICATE OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION.

IT IS FURTHER REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE IF THE ANSWER TO THE ABOVE QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE WHETHER IT IS COMPULSORY THAT SUCH TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES BE PAID NOT LESS THAN $1,900 PER ANNUM OR WHETHER IT IS DISCRETIONARY WITH THE DEPARTMENT TO EMPLOY THEM AT A LESSER RATE.

THIS IS A FIELD FORCE ESTABLISHED FOR DUTY AT THE OFFICES OF POST OFFICE INSPECTORS IN CHARGE OF DIVISIONS. THE DUTIES OF THESE CLERKS ARE TO PERFORM ALL VARIETIES OF OFFICE WORK NECESSARY TO ASSIST INSPECTORS IN CHARGE IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF FIELD DIVISIONS, AND TO PERFORM STENOGRAPHIC AND OTHER OFFICE WORK FOR POST-OFFICE INSPECTORS WORKING AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS. FROM TIME TO TIME UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES ARISE NECESSITATING THE CONCENTRATION OF AN UNUSUAL NUMBER OF POST-OFFICE INSPECTORS AT A DIVISION HEADQUARTERS, CAUSING A TEMPORARILY INCREASED NEED FOR CLERICAL PERSONNEL AT THAT POINT. WHEN SUCH UNUSUAL CONDITIONS SUBSIDE, THE PREVIOUSLY ESTABLISHED ALLOCATION OF CLERICAL POSITIONS BETWEEN THE SEVERAL FIELD DIVISIONS AGAIN BECOMES SATISFACTORY.

THE DEPARTMENT IS AWARE THAT UNDER SOME CONDITIONS CLERKS MIGHT BE DIRECTED TO TRAVEL FROM ONE DIVISION HEADQUARTERS TO ANOTHER FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCH TEMPORARY DUTIES; HOWEVER, EVEN WHEN SUCH ACTION WOULD BE LEGALLY PERMISSIBLE, IT MIGHT BE MORE EXPENSIVE TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN TO EMPLOY TEMPORARY DIVISION HEADQUARTERS CLERKS AT THE POINT WHERE THE UNUSUAL WORK TEMPORARILY EXISTS.

IT IS ASSUMED THAT IF TEMPORARY CLERKS MAY BE EMPLOYED THE NUMBER OF DIVISION HEADQUARTERS CLERKS, INCLUDING BOTH TEMPORARY AND PERMANENT CLERKS, WILL HAVE TO BE KEPT WITHIN THE LIMITATION PRESCRIBED BY THE APPROPRIATION ACT.

SECTIONS 698 AND 699, TITLE 39, U.S. CODE, PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS; GRADES; PROMOTIONS; TRANSFER OF CLERKS OR CARRIERS IN CITY DELIVERY SERVICE TO POSITIONS OF CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS.--- CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST OFFICE INSPECTORS SHALL BE DIVIDED INTO SIX GRADES, AS FOLLOWS:

GRADE 1--- SALARY, $1,900; GRADE 2--- SALARY, $2,000; GRADE 3--- SALARY, $2,150; GRADE 4--- SALARY, $2,300; GRADE 5--- SALARY, $2,450; GRADE 6--- SALARY, $2,600; AND THERE SHALL BE ONE CHIEF CLERK AT EACH DIVISION HEADQUARTERS AT A SALARY OF $3,000. IN THE READJUSTMENT OF GRADES FOR CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS TO CONFORM TO THE GRADES HEREIN PROVIDED, CLERKS IN EACH OF THE GRADES EXISTING ON DECEMBER 31, 1924, SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE GRADE OF THE SAME NUMBER HEREIN PROVIDED. CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS SHALL BE PROMOTED SUCCESSIVELY TO GRADE 5 AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING A YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN THE NEXT LOWER GRADE AND NOT TO EXCEED 35 PERCENTUM OF THE FORCE TO GRADE 6 FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE AFTER NOT LESS THAN ONE YEAR'S SERVICE IN GRADE 5, AND THE TIME SERVED BY CLERKS IN THEIR GRADES ON DECEMBER 31, 1924, SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE YEAR'S SERVICE REQUIRED FOR PROMOTION IN THE GRADES PROVIDED HEREIN. WHENEVER IN THE DISCRETION OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE REQUIRE SUCH ACTION, HE IS AUTHORIZED TO TRANSFER CLERKS OR CARRIERS IN THE CITY DELIVERY SERVICE FROM POST OFFICES AT WHICH DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST-OFFICE INSPECTORS ARE LOCATED TO THE POSITION OF CLERK AT SUCH DIVISION HEADQUARTERS AFTER PASSING A NONCOMPETITIVE EXAMINATION AT A SALARY NOT TO EXCEED $2,300. AFTER SUCH TRANSFER IS MADE EFFECTIVE CLERKS SO TRANSFERRED SHALL BE ELIGIBLE FOR PROMOTION TO THE GRADES OF SALARY PROVIDED FOR CLERKS AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST-OFFICE INSPECTORS. ( FEB. 28, 1925, C. 368, SEC. 2, 43 STAT. 1055.)

SAME; SUBSTITUTES.--- WHEN ANY CLERK IN THE OFFICE OF DIVISION HEADQUARTERS IN THE POST-OFFICE INSPECTION SERVICE IS ABSENT FROM DUTY FOR ANY CAUSE OTHER THAN LEAVE WITH PAY ALLOWED BY LAW, THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE, MAY AUTHORIZE THE EMPLOYMENT OF A SUBSTITUTE FOR SUCH WORK, AND PAYMENT THEREFOR FROM THE LAPSED SALARY OF SUCH ABSENT CLERK AT A RATE NOT TO EXCEED THE GRADE OF PAY OF THE CLERK ABSENT WITHOUT PAY. ( FEB. 28, 1925, C. 368, SEC. 2, 43 STAT. 1056.)

THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE TREASURY AND POST OFFICE DEPARTMENTS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1942, APPROVED MAY 31, 1941, PUBLIC LAW 88, 55 STAT. 229, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING ITEM:

CLERKS, DIVISION HEADQUARTERS: FOR COMPENSATION OF ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY -FOUR CLERKS, AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST-OFFICE INSPECTORS, $483,975.

IN THE ABSENCE OF AN EXPRESS PROVISION TO THE CONTRARY, A LUMP-SUM APPROPRIATION FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IS AVAILABLE FOR BOTH PERMANENT AND TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES. SEE 14 COMP. GEN. 785, WHEREIN WAS CONSIDERED AN APPROPRIATION ITEM AVAILABLE FOR "PERSONAL SERVICES.' WHETHER EMPLOYEES ARE REQUIRED TO BE ENGAGED ON A PERMANENT OR TEMPORARY BASIS IS GENERALLY A MATTER OF ADMINISTRATION. OF COURSE, WHERE THE EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONAL SERVICES IS SUBJECT TO THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND REGULATIONS, AS WOULD APPEAR TO BE THE SITUATION HERE (SECOND PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, SUPRA), APPOINTMENT OF TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES IS SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION.

REFERRING TO THE QUESTION SET FORTH IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE APPROPRIATION ITEM "CLERKS, DIVISION HEADQUARTERS" IS AVAILABLE FOR THE EMPLOYMENT AND PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES APPOINTED WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, AND AS ASSUMED BY YOU IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, THE TOTAL NUMBER OF BOTH PERMANENT AND TEMPORARY EMPLOYEES ON THE ROLL IN THE PAY STATUS AT ANY ONE TIME DURING THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR MAY NOT EXCEED 194. COMPARE 20 COMP. GEN. 935.

REGARDING THE SECOND QUESTION PRESENTED, UNDER THE EXPRESS TERMS OF SECTION 698 OF TITLE 39, U.S. CODE, SUPRA, $1,900 PER ANNUM IS THE MINIMUM SALARY RATE OF A CLERK AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST OFFICE INSPECTORS. THERE APPEARS NOTHING IN THE STATUTE WHICH WOULD REQUIRE THE CONCLUSION THAT SAID RATE IS LIMITED TO EMPLOYEES ENGAGED ON A PERMANENT BASIS. SECTION 699 OF THE SAME TITLE OF THE CODE AUTHORIZES THE EMPLOYMENT OF SUBSTITUTES TO PERFORM THE WORK OF A REGULAR EMPLOYEE DURING HIS ABSENCE ON FURLOUGH OR LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY AT A RATE NOT TO EXCEED THE GRADE OF PAY OF THE CLERK ABSENT WITHOUT PAY UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY PRESCRIBE. ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE SALARY RATE OF A TEMPORARY CLERK AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST OFFICE INSPECTORS WHO IS NOT EMPLOYED TO PERFORM (AS A SUBSTITUTE) THE WORK OF A REGULAR PERMANENT EMPLOYEE MAY NOT BE LESS THAN $1,900 PER ANNUM.