B-48337, APRIL 2, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 713

B-48337: Apr 2, 1945

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COMPENSATION - POSTMASTERS AT FOURTH-CLASS OFFICES WHERE A POST OFFICE OF THE FOURTH CLASS IS DISCONTINUED AND THEN REESTABLISHED IN THE SAME COMMUNITY DURING THE SAME CALENDAR YEAR. " WHERE THE OFFICE WAS DISCONTINUED AND THEN REESTABLISHED DURING THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR. THE CONSTRUCTED GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS FOR THAT YEAR SHOULD BE BASED UPON THE RECEIPTS OVER THE NUMBER OF DAYS THE OFFICE ACTUALLY WAS OPEN DURING THE ENTIRE YEAR. A RULING IS REQUESTED WITH RESPECT TO THE FIXING OF THE SALARY OF A POSTMASTER AT A REESTABLISHED POST OFFICE WHICH HAD BEEN OPEN FOR BUSINESS THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR. AN EXAMPLE IS THE CASE OF THE ULYSSES. THIS OFFICE WAS OPEN FOR THE ENTIRE CALENDAR YEAR 1943.

B-48337, APRIL 2, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 713

COMPENSATION - POSTMASTERS AT FOURTH-CLASS OFFICES WHERE A POST OFFICE OF THE FOURTH CLASS IS DISCONTINUED AND THEN REESTABLISHED IN THE SAME COMMUNITY DURING THE SAME CALENDAR YEAR, THE POSTMASTER'S COMPENSATION MAY BE FIXED UNDER SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, AT THE RATE JUSTIFIED BY THE KNOWN GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS OF SUCH OFFICE FOR THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR, RATHER THAN AT THE RATE PROVIDED BY SAID ACT FOR POSTMASTERS AT NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS. IN FIXING THE ANNUAL SALARY OF A POSTMASTER OF THE FOURTH CLASS UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, ON THE BASIS OF THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS "FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ADJUSTMENT," WHERE THE OFFICE WAS DISCONTINUED AND THEN REESTABLISHED DURING THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR, THE CONSTRUCTED GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS FOR THAT YEAR SHOULD BE BASED UPON THE RECEIPTS OVER THE NUMBER OF DAYS THE OFFICE ACTUALLY WAS OPEN DURING THE ENTIRE YEAR, RATHER THAN UPON THE RECEIPTS OVER THE PORTION OF THE YEAR REMAINING AFTER REESTABLISHMENT OF THE OFFICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, APRIL 2, 1945:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 7, 1945, REFERENCE 15, AS FOLLOWS:

THIS HAS REFERENCE TO YOUR SEVERAL DECISIONS RENDERED CONCERNING PUBLIC LAW NO. 271, APPROVED MARCH 29, 1944, WHICH ACT PROVIDES FOR A CHANGE IN THE PROCEDURE PREVIOUSLY FOLLOWED IN FIXING THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS AT FOURTH-CLASS OFFICES.

A RULING IS REQUESTED WITH RESPECT TO THE FIXING OF THE SALARY OF A POSTMASTER AT A REESTABLISHED POST OFFICE WHICH HAD BEEN OPEN FOR BUSINESS THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR.

AN EXAMPLE IS THE CASE OF THE ULYSSES, KENTUCKY, POST OFFICE. THIS OFFICE WAS OPEN FOR THE ENTIRE CALENDAR YEAR 1943, WITH RECEIPTS IN AN AMOUNT THAT WOULD HAVE WARRANTED AN ANNUAL SALARY OF $432 EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1944. HOWEVER THE OFFICE WAS DISCONTINUED JUNE 2, 1944, AND REESTABLISHED OCTOBER 1, 1944, IN THE SAME COMMUNITY. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE RECEIPTS FOR THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR ARE KNOWN AND THAT PUBLIC LAW NO. 271 USES THE TERM "NEWLY STABLISHED" IN REFERRING TO NEW POST OFFICES, MAY WE FIX THE SALARY UPON ESTABLISHMENT OF THIS AT THE RATE JUSTIFIED BY THE RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR PRECEDING ITS REESTABLISHMENT?

A FURTHER DECISION IS REQUESTED CONCERNING THE SETTING OF THE SALARY FOR THE POSTMASTER AT THIS OFFICE JULY 1, 1945. SHOULD THE RECEIPTS BE PROJECTED FOR THE ENTIRE CALENDAR YEAR 1944 ON THE BASIS OF THE NUMBER OF DAYS THE OFFICE WAS OPEN DURING THE ENTIRE YEAR OR SHOULD SUCH RECEIPTS BE PROJECTED ON THE BASIS OF THE NUMBER OF DAYS OPEN SUBSEQUENT TO ITS REESTABLISHMENT UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 1944?

THE ACT OF MARCH 29, 1944, 58 STAT. 130, PUBLIC LAW 271, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1944, PROVIDES, 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 SALARY PRORATED OVER THE MONTHS SUCH OFFICE IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS DURING A FISCAL YEAR: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE SALARIES OF THE 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.

THUS, THE COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS IS BASED UPON GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS ASCERTAINED FROM QUARTERLY RETURNS "FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ADJUSTMENT.' THE NECESSITY FOR SOME PROVISION FOR THE FIXING OF SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS AT NEWLY ESTABLISHED OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS OBVIOUSLY ARISES FROM NONEXISTENCE OF AN ESTABLISHED GROSS POSTAL RECEIPT BASIS UPON WHICH THE COMPENSATION OF THE POSTMASTER CAN BE ASCERTAINED AND FIXED. HOWEVER, WHERE, AS HERE, A POST OFFICE IS REESTABLISHED IN THE SAME COMMUNITY, AND THE RECEIPTS FOR THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR OF THE REESTABLISHED POST OFFICE ARE KNOWN, THE COMPENSATION OF THE POSTMASTER PROPERLY MAY BE FIXED AT THE RATE JUSTIFIED BY SUCH GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS. HENCE, THE QUESTION POSED IN THE THIRD PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

REFERRING TO THE QUESTION RAISED IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, COVERING A SITUATION WHERE THE POST OFFICE WAS IN OPERATION NOT FOR THE ENTIRE CALENDAR YEAR 1944 BUT FOR ONLY TWO PORTIONS THEREOF, NAMELY, FROM JANUARY 1 TO JUNE 2, 1944, (THE DATE OF DISCONTINUANCE), AND FROM OCTOBER 1 (THE DATE OF REESTABLISHMENT) TO DECEMBER 31, 1944-- A SITUATION NOT EXPRESSLY PROVIDED FOR IN THE STATUTE UNDER CONSIDERATION--- AND AN ADJUSTMENT OF SALARY WILL BE REQUIRED JULY 1, 1945, THERE PROPERLY MAY BE USED AS A BASIS FOR SUCH ADJUSTMENT A CONSTRUCTED GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1944. 24 COMP. GEN. 146. ANY SUCH CONSTRUCTED GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1944 MUST BE UPON A BASIS WHICH REASONABLY WOULD REFLECT THE TRUE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS FOR THAT YEAR HAD THE POST OFFICE BEEN OPEN DURING THE ENTIRE YEAR. ACCORDINGLY, IN THE PRESENT CASE, THE RECEIPTS SHOULD BE PROJECTED FOR THE ENTIRE CALENDAR YEAR 1944 UPON THE BASIS OF THE NUMBER OF DAYS THE OFFICE ACTUALLY WAS OPEN DURING THE ENTIRE YEAR.