B-45566, NOVEMBER 18, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 386

B-45566: Nov 18, 1944

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COMPENSATION - POSTMASTERS AT FOURTH-CLASS OFFICES WHERE POST OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS ARE ESTABLISHED BETWEEN JANUARY 1 AND JUNE 30 OF ANY CALENDAR YEAR. TO ADJUST THE SALARY RATE OF A POSTMASTER AT A FOURTH CLASS OFFICE WHENEVER UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAIL IS LIMITED TO "NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICES" AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AUTHORITY TO ADJUST THE SALARY RATE OF POSTMASTERS OF ANY OTHER FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE. THE ADJUSTED SALARY RATE IS PAYABLE ONLY FOR SUCH SUCCEEDING QUARTER. THE ADJUSTED SALARY RATE IS PAYABLE FOR TWO QUARTERS. INCLUDING THE QUARTER AT THE FIRST OF WHICH THE ADJUSTMENT WAS MADE AND THE NEXT QUARTER. " WHERE THE OFFICE WAS ESTABLISHED AFTER THE BEGINNING OF A QUARTER.

B-45566, NOVEMBER 18, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 386

COMPENSATION - POSTMASTERS AT FOURTH-CLASS OFFICES WHERE POST OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS ARE ESTABLISHED BETWEEN JANUARY 1 AND JUNE 30 OF ANY CALENDAR YEAR, THE LAST PROVISO IN SECTION 2 ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, REQUIRING THAT THE "LOWEST SALARY RATE" POSTMASTERS AT NEWLY ESTABLISHED FOURTH-CLASS OFFICES, CONSTITUTES THE PROPER BASIS FOR FIXING THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS AT SUCH OFFICES FROM THE TIME OF ESTABLISHMENT UNTIL THE FIRST OF THE FISCAL YEAR NEXT SUCCEEDING THE CALENDAR YEAR IN WHICH ESTABLISHED (24 COMP. GEN. 146, DISTINGUISHED); AND SUCH SALARY RATE MAY NOT BE CHANGED DURING THE SAME CALENDAR YEAR IN WHICH ESTABLISHED, EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE ACT BECAUSE OF UNUSUAL CONDITIONS. THE AUTHORITY UNDER THE LAST PROVISO IN SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, TO ADJUST THE SALARY RATE OF A POSTMASTER AT A FOURTH CLASS OFFICE WHENEVER UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAIL IS LIMITED TO "NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICES" AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AUTHORITY TO ADJUST THE SALARY RATE OF POSTMASTERS OF ANY OTHER FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE. WHERE "UNUSUAL CONDITIONS" PREVAIL AT A NEWLY ESTABLISHED FOURTH CLASS POST OFFICE FOR ALL OR A PART OF ONE QUARTER, ONLY, THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY ADJUSTMENT, AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, ON THE BASIS OF "RECEIPTS OF THE PRECEDING QUARTER," MUST BE MADE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER NEXT SUCCEEDING THAT IN WHICH THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAIL, AND THE ADJUSTED SALARY RATE IS PAYABLE ONLY FOR SUCH SUCCEEDING QUARTER; HOWEVER, WHERE THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAIL FOR ALL OR A PORTION OF EACH OF TWO QUARTERS, THE ADJUSTED SALARY RATE IS PAYABLE FOR TWO QUARTERS, INCLUDING THE QUARTER AT THE FIRST OF WHICH THE ADJUSTMENT WAS MADE AND THE NEXT QUARTER, ETC. IN ADJUSTING THE ANNUAL SALARY RATE OF A POSTMASTER AT A NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICE OF THE FOURTH-CLASS UNDER THE "UNUSUAL CONDITIONS" CLAUSE OF SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, ON THE BASIS OF THE "RECEIPTS OF THE PRECEDING QUARTER," WHERE THE OFFICE WAS ESTABLISHED AFTER THE BEGINNING OF A QUARTER, THERE MAY BE USED AN ESTIMATED QUARTER'S RECEIPTS BASED UPON THE ACTUAL RECEIPTS OVER PART OF THE QUARTER, SUCH ESTIMATED RECEIPTS TO BE MULTIPLIED BY FOUR TO OBTAIN THE CONSTRUCTIVE ANNUAL RECEIPTS. IF UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAIL DURING A PARTICULAR QUARTER AT A FOURTH- CLASS SEASONAL POST OFFICE WHICH WAS NOT OPEN THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR AND, THEREFORE, REGARDED AS A NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICE (SEE 24 COMP. GEN. 63), IT IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL UNDER THE ,UNUSUAL CONDITIONS" CLAUSE OF SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, TO ADVANCE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT QUARTER EVEN THOUGH THE OFFICE HAS CLOSED FOR THE SEASON, AND TO PAY THE INCREASED SALARY RATE FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE FISCAL YEAR OR SUCH PORTION THEREOF OVER WHICH THE SALARY IS PAYABLE. THE SALARY RATE TO WHICH A POSTMASTER AT A FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICE ESTABLISHED AFTER THE FIRST OF A CALENDAR YEAR WAS ADVANCED UNDER THE "UNUSUAL CONDITIONS" CLAUSE OF SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944 MAY NOT BE CONTINUED IN EFFECT AFTER THE BEGINNING OF THE FISCAL YEAR IN THE SUCCEEDING CALENDAR YEAR, BUT, RATHER, HIS SALARY MUST BE READJUSTED AT THE BEGINNING OF SUCH FISCAL YEAR AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 3 OF THE ACT--- REGARDLESS OF ANY RESULTANT INCREASE OR DECREASE IN THE SALARY RATE--- ON THE BASIS OF ESTIMATED ANNUAL RECEIPTS FOR THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR CONSTRUCTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULE IN 24 COMP. GEN. 146.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, NOVEMBER 18, 1944:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 6, 1944, REFERENCE 15, REQUESTING DECISION UPON A NUMBER OF QUESTIONS INVOLVING THE APPLICATION OF SECTIONS 2 AND 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, PUBLIC LAW 271, 58 STAT. 130 PROVIDING, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 2. THE COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS SHALL BE ANNUAL SALARIES, GRADED IN EVEN DOLLARS, AND PAYABLE IN SEMI-MONTHLY PAYMENTS, TO BE ASCERTAINED AND FIXED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE QUARTERLY RETURNS TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, OR COPIES OR DUPLICATES THEREOF TO THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ADJUSTMENT, BASED ON GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS AT THE FOLLOWING RATES, NAMELY: * * * * * * * *

PROVIDED, THAT AT SEASONAL OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS, THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF THE FIXED ANNUAL SALARY PRORATED OVER THE MONTHS SUCH OFFICE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS DURING A FISCAL YEAR: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS AT NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS SHALL BE FIXED AT THE LOWEST SALARY RATE, EXCEPT THAT WHENEVER UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAIL AT SUCH AN OFFICE THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, IN HIS DISCRETION, MAY ADVANCE ANY SUCH OFFICE TO THE APPROPRIATE SALARY RATE INDICATED BY THE RECEIPTS OF THE PRECEDING QUARTER.

SEC. 3. THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS SHALL BE READJUSTED AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH FISCAL YEAR * * *.

THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED WILL BE STATED AND ANSWERED IN THE ORDER SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER.

QUESTION 1

IN YOUR DECISION DATED AUGUST 21, 1944, NO. B-43728, IT WAS STATED THAT THE POSTMASTER OF AN OFFICE ESTABLISHED DURING THE CALENDAR YEAR 1943 SHOULD HAVE HIS SALARY SET JULY 1, 1944, ON THE BASIS OF "CONSTRUCTED" RECEIPTS FOR THE WHOLE CALENDAR YEAR 1943. SIMILAR PROBLEMS HAVE ARISEN IN CONNECTION WITH THE SETTING OF SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS OF OFFICES ESTABLISHED BETWEEN JANUARY 1 AND JUNE 30, 1944, AND YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO THE PROPER BASIS FOR THE FIXING OF SUCH SALARIES AS OF JULY 1, 1944.

ANSWER 1

AS THERE WERE NO POSTAL RECEIPTS "FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ADJUSTMENT" (QUOTING FROM SECTION 2 OF THE STATUTE) FOR A POST OFFICE ESTABLISHED BETWEEN JANUARY 1 AND JUNE 30, 1944, IT FOLLOWS THT THE RULE STATED IN THE DECISION OF AUGUST 21, 1944 (B-43728), 24 COMP. GEN. 146, TO WHICH YOU REFER, WOULD HAVE NO APPLICATION IN ANSWERING THIS QUESTION. RATHER THE LAST PROVISO IN SECTION 2 OF THE STATUTE, SUPRA, CONSTITUTES THE PROPER BASIS FOR FIXING THE SALARY RATE OF THE POSTMASTER OF A NEWLY ESTABLISHED POST OFFICE FROM THE TIME OF ESTABLISHMENT UNTIL THE FIRST OF THE FISCAL YEAR NEXT SUCCEEDING THE CALENDAR YEAR IN WHICH THE OFFICE IS ESTABLISHED (SECTION 3 OF THE STATUTE/--- IN THE CASE PRESENTED, JULY 1, 1945. HENCE, ON JULY 1, 1944, DURING THE SAME CALENDAR YEAR IN WHICH THE OFFICE WAS ESTABLISHED, THERE WOULD BE NO CHANGE IN THE SALARY RATE OF THE POSTMASTER EXCEPT SUCH AS MAY BE AUTHORIZED BECAUSE OF UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAILING AT SUCH AN OFFICE.

QUESTION 2

THE ACT OF MARCH 29 PROVIDES THAT NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICES SHALL BE AT THE MINIMUM SALARY RATE BUT THAT WHEN UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAIL "SUCH AN OFFICE" MAY BE ADVANCED TO THE APPROPRIATE SALARY RATE INDICATED BY THE RECEIPTS OF THE PRECEDING QUARTER. AN OPINION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE ADVANCEMENT OF A FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE TO ANOTHER SALARY GRADE WITHIN THE FOURTH CLASS IS LIMITED TO NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICES OR MAY BE APPLIED TO ANY FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE WHERE THERE HAVE BEEN INCREASING RECEIPTS BECAUSE OF SOME UNUSUAL CONDITION. UNDER THE FORMER METHOD OF PAYING POSTMASTERS AT FOURTH-CLASS OFFICES THEIR SALARIES WERE AUTOMATICALLY AUGMENTED WHEN SOME UNUSUAL CONDITION INCREASED THE MAILINGS AT SUCH OFFICES THROUGH THE INCREASING OF CANCELLATIONS.

ANSWER 2

THE LAST PROVISO IN SECTION 2 OF THE STATUTE CLEARLY IS LIMITED TO POSTMASTERS OF "NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS" AND, ACCORDINGLY, MAY NOT BE APPLIED IN ADJUSTING THE SALARY RATE OF POSTMASTERS OF ANY OTHER FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE--- SECTION 3 OF THE STATUTE REQUIRING THAT THEIR SALARY RATES BE ADJUSTED ONLY AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH FISCAL YEAR.

QUESTION 3

WITH RESPECT TO THE ADVANCEMENT OF NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICES UNDER THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS CLAUSE A RULING IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE ELIGIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENTS OF THE NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICE IS INDEFINITE OR WHETHER IT EXPIRES WITH THE CLOSE OF THE QUARTER IN WHICH THE OFFICE OPENS FOR BUSINESS OR AT THE CLOSE OF THE FIRST FULL QUARTER OF OPERATION.

FOR EXAMPLE AN OFFICE MAY BE ESTABLISHED SEPTEMBER 1, 1944. DUE TO THE EXISTENCE OF UNUSUAL CONDITIONS IT IS DESIRED TO ADVANCE THE OFFICE TO A HIGHER SALARY GRADE. IS IT MANDATORY THAT WE EITHER ADVANCE THIS OFFICE ON OCTOBER 1 OR FORFEIT THE RIGHT TO SO ADVANCE IT, OR MAY WE ADVANCE THE OFFICE ON JANUARY 1, 1945, OR AT THE END OF ANY SUBSEQUENT QUARTER?

ANSWER 3

WHILE THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS NOT CLEARLY MANIFEST FROM THE WORDING OF THE LAST PROVISO IN SECTION 2 OF THE STATUTE, THERE APPEARS JUSTIFIED THE CONCLUSION THAT UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAILING AT A NEWLY ESTABLISHED FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE PROPERLY ARE TO BE BE REGARDED AS AFFECTING THE SALARY RATE OF THE POSTMASTER FOR ONE OR MORE FULL QUARTERS OF OPERATION, ONLY. FOR INSTANCE, IF THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAIL FOR ALL OR A PORTION OF ONE QUARTER ONLY, THE INCREASED SALARY RATE OF THE POSTMASTER WOULD BE PAYABLE FOR TWO QUARTERS, INCLUDING THE QUARTER AT THE FIRST OF WHICH THE ADJUSTMENT WAS MADE AND THE NEXT QUARTER, ETC. SINCE THE STATUTE SPECIFICALLY VESTS IN THE POSTMASTER GENERAL THE DISCRETION TO ADVANCE ANY SUCH OFFICE TO THE APPROPRIATE SALARY RATE INDICATED BY THE RECEIPTS OF THE PRECEDING QUARTER, IN THE EXAMPLE STATED, ANY ADJUSTMENT IN THE SALARY RATE OF THE POSTMASTER DECIDED UPON (WITHIN YOUR DISCRETION) WOULD HAVE TO BE MADE OCTOBER 1, 1944, IF THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAILED DURING SEPTEMBER, 1944, WITHIN THE PRECEDING QUARTER. THE ADJUSTMENT COULD NOT BE MADE JANUARY 1, 1945, OR AT THE END OF ANY SUBSEQUENT QUARTER, UNLESS THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS CONTINUED TO PREVAIL AFTER OCTOBER 1, 1944, OR DURING THE QUARTER NEXT PRECEDING THE FIRST OF A SUBSEQUENT QUARTER WHEN THE ADJUSTMENT IS MADE.

QUESTION 4

A COROLLARY TO THE ISSUES PRESENTED IN PARAGRAPH 3 IS THE QUESTION OF WHETHER, WITH RESPECT TO OFFICES THAT ARE ESTABLISHED SUBSEQUENT TO THE FIRST DAY OF A QUARTER AND ARE ADVANCED UNDER THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS CLAUSE ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE SUCCEEDING QUARTER SHOULD HAVE THEIR SALARY GRADES FIXED UPON THE ACTUAL RECEIPTS OF THE PART QUARTER MULTIPLIED BY FOUR OR THE RECEIPTS OF THE FIRST FULL QUARTER MULTIPLIED BY FOUR, OR FROM ANNUAL RECEIPTS CONSTRUCTED FROM THE ACTUAL RECEIPTS OF THE FIRST EITHER PART OR WHOLE QUARTER.

IN THE CASE OF A FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE ESTABLISHED AFTER THE BEGINNING OF A QUARTER, IT APPEARS PROPER TO ESTIMATE A FULL QUARTER'S RECEIPTS ON THE BASIS OF THE RECEIPTS OF PART OF THE QUARTER, WHICH MULTIPLIED BY FOUR WOULD BE THE CONSTRUCTIVE ANNUAL RECEIPTS ON THE BASIS OF WHICH THE ADJUSTMENT IN SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER IS AUTHORIZED TO BE MADE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT QUARTER BASED UPON UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAILING AT SUCH AN OFFICE.

QUESTIONS 5 AND 6

IN YOUR DECISION DATED AUGUST 1, NO. B-43298, YOU STATE THAT FOR PURPOSES OF SETTING SALARY RATES A SEASONAL OFFICE THAT WAS NOT OPEN THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR MAY FOR THE PURPOSES OF ESTABLISHING SALARY RATES BE CONSIDERED "A NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICE.' IN THIS CONNECTION THE CASE OF MEREPOINT, MAINE, IS CITED. THIS OFFICE WAS NOT OPEN FOR BUSINESS DURING ANY PART OF THE CALENDAR YEAR 1943 BUT DID OPEN ON JUNE 25, 1944. ACCORDANCE WITH YOUR DECISION NO. B 43298, THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY WAS SET AS $72 PER ANNUM AS OF JULY 1, 1944. THE POSTMASTER IMMEDIATELY PROTESTED THE RATE, POINTING OUT THAT IN PRIOR YEARS THE COMPENSATION BASED ON CANCELLATIONS AMOUNTED TO APPROXIMATELY $200 FOR THE 2 1/2-MONTH SEASON THAT THE OFFICE WAS OPEN. THIS OFFICE CLOSED ON SEPTEMBER 7, 1944, AND THE RECEIPTS FROM JULY 1 TO THAT DATE AMOUNTED TO $349.15 AT 100 PERCENT, WHICH WARRANTS A SALARY OF $432 PER ANNUM FOR THE POSTMASTER. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS PROPOSED TO ADVANCE THIS OFFICE TO THE $432 PER ANNUM GRADE ON OCTOBER 1, 1944, AND A RULING IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER OR NOT AN OFFICE THAT HAS CLOSED FOR THE SEASON MAY BE SO ADVANCED.

IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT THIS OFFICE WILL RE-OPEN ABOUT JUNE 25, 1945, AND IF YOUR OPINION IS THAT WE MAY ADVANCE THIS OFFICE ON OCTOBER 1, A RULING IS ALSO DESIRED ON THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE PRO RATA PART OF THE $432 RATE FOR THE REMAINING THREE-FOURTHS OF THE FISCAL YEAR 1945, IN THE AMOUNT OF $324, MAY BE PAID TO THE POSTMASTER AT THIS TIME AFTER DEDUCTING THAT DUE FROM JUNE 25 TO JUNE 30, 1945.

SIMILAR PROBLEMS WILL ARISE CONCERNING SEASONAL OFFICES CLOSING SUBSEQUENT TO THE END OF THE SEPTEMBER QUARTER IN THOSE INSTANCES WHERE SUCH OFFICES WERE CLOSED THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR. IN SUCH CASES THE GRADE OF THE OFFICE WILL BE ADVANCED ON OCTOBER 1 ON THE BASIS OF THE SEPTEMBER QUARTER AND A DECISION RELATIVE TO THE PRORATION OF THE NEWLY SET SALARY WILL BE INVOLVED WITH RESPECT TO THE REMAINING THREE-FOURTHS OF THE YEAR.

ANSWERS 5 AND 6

IN THE ABSENCE OF UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAILING AT A SEASONAL OFFICE WHICH WAS NOT OPEN THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR AND, THEREFORE, REGARDED AS "NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICES" (DECISION OF AUGUST 1, 1944, B-43298, 24 COMP. GEN. 63), THERE WOULD BE NO AUTHORITY UNDER THE SECOND PROVISO IN SECTION 2 OF THE STATUTE TO ADVANCE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER OF THE OFFICE AT THE BEGINNING OF A QUARTER AFTER THE OFFICE HAD CLOSED FOR THE SEASON. HOWEVER, WHERE THE POSTMASTER GENERAL DETERMINES THAT UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAILED AT SUCH A SEASONAL POST OFFICE DURING THE PRECEDING QUARTER, IT IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE POSTMASTER GENERAL UNDER THE SECOND PROVISO IN SECTION 2 OF THE STATUTE TO ADVANCE THE SALARY OF POSTMASTER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT QUARTER EVEN THOUGH THE OFFICE HAS CLOSED FOR THE SEASON--- OCTOBER 1, 1944, IN THE CASE PRESENTED--- AND TO PAY THE INCREASED SALARY RATE FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE FISCAL YEAR OR SUCH PORTION THEREOF OVER WHICH THE SALARY IS PAYABLE. 23 COMP. GEN. 821. REFERRING TO THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF QUESTION 5, THERE WOULD BE NO CHANGE IN THE SALARY RATE FOR THE PERIOD JUNE 25 TO JUNE 30, 1945, THE PRORATING PROVISION APPEARING IN THE FIRST PROVISO IN SECTION 2 OF THE STATUTE SPECIFICALLY RELATING TO THE FISCAL YEAR. QUESTIONS 5 AND 6 ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

QUESTION 7

IN YOUR DECISION DATED AUGUST 21, 1944, NO. B-43728, YOU STATE THAT WHEN AN OFFICE IS ESTABLISHED SUBSEQUENT TO THE FIRST DAY OF THE CALENDAR YEAR, THE SALARY FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1 OF THE SUCCEEDING YEAR MAY BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF EQUIVALENT ANNUAL RECEIPTS CONSTRUCTED FROM THE ACTUAL RECEIPTS FOR THE PERIOD FROM THE FIRST DAY OF OPERATION TO DECEMBER 31 OF THE YEAR IN WHICH ESTABLISHED. IF SUCH NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICE IS ADVANCED TO A HIGHER SALARY RATE UNDER THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS CLAUSE OF SECTION 2 OF PUBLIC LAW NO. 271, THE SALARY SET THE FOLLOWING JULY 1 ON THE BASIS OF CONSTRUCTED RECEIPTS FOR THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR MAY PRODUCE EITHER A HIGHER OR LOWER SALARY RATE THAN THAT WHICH THE POSTMASTER RECEIVED UPON THE ADVANCEMENT OF HIS OFFICE BECAUSE OF UNUSUAL CONDITIONS. IN THAT EVENT SHOULD THE RATE FIXED AT THE TIME OF ADVANCEMENT UNDER UNUSUAL CONDITIONS BE CONTINUED IN EFFECT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR BEGINNING JULY 1 OF THE FOLLOWING CALENDAR YEAR OR SHOULD THE SALARY RATE EFFECTIVE THAT DATE BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF CONSTRUCTED RECEIPTS OF THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR?

IF YOU DECIDE THAT EITHER METHOD MAY BE USED, MAY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINE WHICH OF THE TWO SALARY RATES MORE CLOSELY REFLECT THE SALARY TO WHICH THE POSTMASTER IS ENTITLED AS OF THAT PARTICULAR DATE?

ANSWER 7

SECTION 3 OF THE STATUTE CLEARLY PROVIDES THAT THE SALARY OF POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS SHALL BE READJUSTED AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH FISCAL YEAR, AND SECTION 2 OF THE STATUTE REQUIRES THAT SUCH READJUSTMENT SHALL BE BASED UPON THE RECEIPTS "FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING.' HENCE, THE LAST PROVISO IN SECTION 2 OF THE STATUTE IS APPLICABLE ONLY AS A TEMPORARY BASIS FOR ADJUSTING SALARY RATES OF POSTMASTERS IN CASES WHERE THERE WERE NO POSTAL RECEIPTS DURING THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR AND MUST GIVE WAY TO SECTION 3 OF THE STATUTE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FISCAL YEAR AFTER A CALENDAR YEAR IN WHICH THERE WERE POSTAL RECEIPTS, REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT SUCH ADJUSTMENT MAY CAUSE AN INCREASE OR DECREASE IN THE SALARY RATE PREVIOUSLY PAID DURING THE TEMPORARY PERIOD PAID UPON THE BASIS OF UNUSUAL CONDITIONS PREVAILING AT THE POST OFFICE. HENCE, THE RULE STATED IN THE DECISION OF AUGUST 21, 1944 (B-43728), 24 COMP. GEN. 146, TO WHICH YOU REFER, WOULD BE FOR APPLICATION IN ANSWERING THIS QUESTION.