B-27648, JULY 31, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 107

B-27648: Jul 31, 1942

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THE SALARY OF A POSTMASTER AT FOURTH CLASS AND PRESIDENTIAL OFFICES MAY BE INCREASED WHERE THE ADDITIONAL BUSINESS IS CAUSED BY THE PROXIMITY OF MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES EVEN THOUGH. THERE IS A DECREASE IN RECEIPTS AND CANCELLATIONS. 1942: I HAVE YOUR UNDATED LETTER. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE PROVISIONS OF 39 U.S.C. 133. COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS IS BASED ON CANCELLATION. IS CITED FOR YOUR INFORMATION. THIS IS A FOURTH CLASS OFFICE LOCATED ON A MILITARY RESERVATION WHICH IS DEPENDENT TO A GREAT EXTENT ON THE MAILS OF THE ENLISTED MEN AND OFFICERS ASSIGNED TO THE POST. THE INSPECTOR WHO INVESTIGATED THE MATTER DETERMINED THAT THE COMPENSATION OF THE POSTMASTER FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1942 WILL AMOUNT TO $1.

B-27648, JULY 31, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 107

POSTAL SERVICE - COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS AND CLASSIFICATION OF POST OFFICES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 39 U.S.C. 133 AUTHORIZING THE POSTMASTER GENERAL TO ALLOW REASONABLE COMPENSATION FOR CLERICAL SERVICE AND A PROPORTIONATE SALARY INCREASE TO THE POSTMASTER WHENEVER UNUSUAL BUSINESS ACCRUES AT ANY POST OFFICE, THE SALARY OF A POSTMASTER AT FOURTH CLASS AND PRESIDENTIAL OFFICES MAY BE INCREASED WHERE THE ADDITIONAL BUSINESS IS CAUSED BY THE PROXIMITY OF MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES EVEN THOUGH, DUE TO EXTENSION OF THE FREE MAILING PRIVILEGE TO SUCH FORCES, THERE IS A DECREASE IN RECEIPTS AND CANCELLATIONS, BUT THE CLASSIFICATION OF POST OFFICES MUST CONTINUE TO BE BASED UPON RECEIPTS AND CANCELLATIONS AS REQUIRED BY EXISTING LAW.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JULY 31, 1942:

I HAVE YOUR UNDATED LETTER, RECEIVED HERE JULY 27, 1942, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE PROVISIONS OF 39 U.S.C. 133, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

"EXTRA LABOR AT OFFICES. WHENEVER UNUSUAL BUSINESS ACCRUES AT ANY POST OFFICE, THE POSTMASTER GENERAL SHALL MAKE A SPECIAL ORDER ALLOWING REASONABLE COMPENSATION FOR CLERICAL SERVICE, AND A PROPORTIONATE INCREASE OF SALARY TO THE POSTMASTER DURING THE TIME OF SUCH EXTRAORDINARY INESS.'

COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS IS BASED ON CANCELLATION. THE ACT OF MARCH 27, 1942, WHICH EXTENDED THE PRIVILEGE OF FREE POSTAGE TO PERSONS IN THE ARMED FORCES HAS REDUCED THE COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS OF FOURTH CLASS POST OFFICES AT ARMY CAMPS OR ADJACENT THERETO TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT THESE EMPLOYEES DO NOT RECEIVE COMPENSATION COMMENSURATE WITH THE SERVICE RENDERED.

THE CASE OF THE POSTMASTER AT FORT ROBINSON, NEBRASKA, IS CITED FOR YOUR INFORMATION. THIS IS A FOURTH CLASS OFFICE LOCATED ON A MILITARY RESERVATION WHICH IS DEPENDENT TO A GREAT EXTENT ON THE MAILS OF THE ENLISTED MEN AND OFFICERS ASSIGNED TO THE POST. THE INSPECTOR WHO INVESTIGATED THE MATTER DETERMINED THAT THE COMPENSATION OF THE POSTMASTER FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1942 WILL AMOUNT TO $1,100. THE CANCELLATIONS FOR THE MARCH QUARTER 1942 AMOUNTED TO $391.63 EXCLUSIVE OF BOX RENTS. DURING THE MONTH OF MAY THE CANCELLATIONS DROPPED TO $59.19 AND THE VALUE OF POSTAGE ON FREE MATTER WOULD HAVE AMOUNTED TO $106.75 ADDITIONAL. THE INSPECTOR STATES THAT THE POSTMASTER IS ACTUALLY ENTITLED TO ADVANCEMENT TO THE SALARY OF A $1,500 OFFICE.

INFORMATION IS DESIRED AS TO WHETHER THE POSTMASTER GENERAL HAS AUTHORITY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABOVE CITED LAW TO AUTHORIZE COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS OFFICES WHICH ARE AFFECTED BY THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS RESULTING FROM THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC NUMBER 507 APPROVED MARCH 27, 1942, AT A RATE TO BE DETERMINED BY INVESTIGATION, AND IN SUCH CASES WAIVE THE NECESSITY FOR USING THE CANCELLATIONS AS THE BASIS FOR FIXING THE POSTMASTER'S COMPENSATION.

INFORMATION IS ALSO DESIRED WHETHER THE POSTMASTER GENERAL WOULD HAVE AUTHORITY UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 39 U.S.C. 133, TO AUTHORIZE ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS AT PRESIDENTIAL OFFICES WHOSE SALARIES WILL BE REDUCED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF THE FREE MAILING PRIVILEGE BY MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES.

IT IS ALSO REQUESTED THAT THE DEPARTMENT BE ADVISED WHETHER THE CLASS OF A POST OFFICE MAY BE CONTINUED WITHOUT CHANGE AT OFFICES AFFECTED BY THESE MILITARY ACTIVITIES WHICH WOULD BE REDUCED IF SUCH CLASSIFICATION IS BASED ON RECEIPTS.

IN VIEW OF THE EMERGENCY CONDITIONS EXISTING, IT IS REQUESTED THAT AN EARLY DECISION BE FURNISHED THIS DEPARTMENT.

SECTION 901, TITLE IX OF THE ACT OF MARCH 27, 1942, 56 STAT. 181, PUBLIC LAW 507, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

ANY FIRST-CLASS LETTER MAIL MATTER ADMISSIBLE TO THE MAILS AS ORDINARY MAIL MATTER WHICH IS SENT BY A MEMBER OF THE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES (INCLUDING THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD), WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY OR IN THE ACTIVE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES, TO ANY PERSON IN THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING THE TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS THEREOF, SHALL BE TRANSMITTED IN THE MAILS FREE OF POSTAGE, SUBJECT TO SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS THE POSTMASTER GENERAL SHALL PRESCRIBE.

SECTION 133, TITLE 39, U.S. CODE, QUOTED IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, INCORPORATES THE LANGUAGE OF SECTION 3863, REVISED STATUTES, WHICH LATTER STATUTE IS DERIVED FROM SECTION 90 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 8, 1872, 17 STAT. 296, PROVIDING AS FOLLOWS:

THAT WHENEVER, BY REASON OF THE PRESENCE OF A MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCE NEAR ANY POST OFFICE, OR FROM ANY OTHER CAUSE, UNUSUAL BUSINESS ACCRUES THEREAT, THE POSTMASTER GENERAL SHALL MAKE SPECIAL ORDER ALLOWING REASONABLE COMPENSATION FOR CLERICAL SERVICE, AND A PROPORTIONATE INCREASE OF SALARY TO THE POSTMASTER DURING THE TIME OF SUCH EXTRAORDINARY BUSINESS.

THUS, CONSIDERING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 133, TITLE 39 U.S. CODE, IN THE LIGHT OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE DERIVATIVE STATUTE THERE IS MANIFESTED AN INTENTION THAT ITS PROVISIONS SHALL APPLY TO A POST OFFICE AT WHICH THERE IS AN EXTRAORDINARY INCREASE OF BUSINESS BECAUSE OF THE CLOSE PROXIMITY OF MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES TO THE PARTICULAR OFFICE INVOLVED. THE EXTRA ALLOWANCE FOR CLERICAL SERVICES AND FOR "A PROPORTIONATE INCREASE OF SALARY TO THE POSTMASTER" WHICH THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO ALLOW BY SPECIAL ORDER UNDER THE STATUTE IS NOT MADE DEPENDENT UPON THE RECEIPTS OR CANCELLATIONS IN THE PARTICULAR POST OFFICE. ON THE CONTRARY, IT IS THE EVIDENT PURPOSE AND INTENT OF THE STATUTE TO AUTHORIZE AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE FOR CLERICAL SERVICES AND AN INCREASE IN THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER BECAUSE OF THE EXTRAORDINARY BUSINESS NOT INVOLVING RECEIPTS OR CANCELLATIONS WHICH ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE INCLUDED IN COMPUTING THE REGULAR SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER--- SUCH AS INCREASED BUSINESS RESULTING BY OPERATION OF SECTION 901 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 27, 1942, SUPRA, GRANTING FREE MAILING PRIVILEGE TO PERSONS IN ACTIVE MILITARY OR NAVAL FORCES OF THE UNITED STATES. ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION CONTAINED IN THE FOURTH PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE. SEE UNITED STATES V. WRIGHT, 11 WALL. 648.

THE QUESTION STATED IN THE FIFTH PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER ALSO IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

REFERRING TO THE QUESTION IN THE SIXTH PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, THERE IS NOTHING IN 39 U.S. CODE 133, OR IN SECTION 901, OF THE ACT OF MARCH 27, 1942, SUPRA, WHICH SUPERSEDES OR RENDERS INOPERATIVE THE PROVISIONS OF LAW REQUIRING THE CLASSIFICATION OF POST OFFICES TO BE BASED UPON THE RECEIPTS AND CANCELLATIONS OF THE OFFICE. 39 U.S.C. 53 61. COMPARE SECTIONS 1100 ET SEQ. OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 3, 1917, 40 STAT. 327, WHICH INCREASED POSTAL RATES,"FROZE" THE SALARY RATES OF POSTMASTERS, BUT DID NOT PRECLUDE CHANGING THE CLASSIFICATION OF POST OFFICES ON THE BASIS OF RECEIPTS DURING THE WORLD WAR. SEE 24 COMP. DEC. 382; ID. 470; ID. 508. THE INCREASE IN COMPENSATION OF A POSTMASTER AUTHORIZED BY A SPECIAL ORDER OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL PURSUANT TO SECTION 133, TITLE 39, U.S. CODE, MAY NOT BE INCLUDED OR REGARDED AS RECEIPTS OR CANCELLATIONS IN DETERMINING THE CLASS OF THE POST OFFICE. ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO CONCLUDE THAT THE CLASSIFICATION OF POST OFFICES MUST CONTINUE TO BE BASED UPON THE RECEIPTS OF THE OFFICE AS REQUIRED BY EXISTING LAW. THUS, THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE SIXTH PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER MUST BE, AND IS, ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.