B-51710, AUGUST 28, 1945, 25 COMP. GEN. 232

B-51710: Aug 28, 1945

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IS LIMITED TO THOSE CLASSES OF SUPERVISORS IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH THE PLURAL NUMBER IS USED. A SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEE WHO REPORTS FOR DUTY AT THE TIME SPECIFIED IS ENTITLED TO BE PAID FOR THE FIRST TWO HOURS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING SUCH REPORTING. WHERE A SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEE IS RELEASED FROM DUTY AFTER WORKING TWO OR MORE HOURS PURSUANT TO AN OFFICIAL ORDER AND REPORTS BACK FOR DUTY LATER IN THE DAY PURSUANT TO A SECOND ORDER. THE SECOND PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT IS TO BE REGARDED AS SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM THE FIRST FOR THE PURPOSE OF APPLYING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2 OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6. AS FOR "SERVING A ROUTE FOR WHICH THERE IS NO REGULAR CARRIER.'. 1945: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 13.

B-51710, AUGUST 28, 1945, 25 COMP. GEN. 232

COMPENSATION; ETC. - POSTAL SERVICE - ACT OF JULY 6, 1945 AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE POSTMASTER GENERAL BY SECTION 11 (A) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, TO FIX THE NUMBER OF SUPERVISORS TO BE EMPLOYED IN POST OFFICES OF THE FIRST AND SECOND CLASS "IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SALARY SCHEDULES PROVIDED IN SECTION 9," WHICH SECTION SETS OUT CERTAIN CLASSES OF SUPERVISORY POSITIONS IN THE SINGULAR NUMBER AND OTHERS IN THE PLURAL, IS LIMITED TO THOSE CLASSES OF SUPERVISORS IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH THE PLURAL NUMBER IS USED. UNDER SECTION 2 OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, PROVIDING THAT ANY CLASSIFIED SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEE WHO REPORTS FOR DUTY IN COMPLIANCE WITH AN OFFICIAL ORDER SHALL BE EMPLOYED NOT LESS THAN TWO HOURS FOLLOWING THE HOUR AT WHICH ORDERED TO REPORT, A SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEE WHO REPORTS FOR DUTY AT THE TIME SPECIFIED IS ENTITLED TO BE PAID FOR THE FIRST TWO HOURS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING SUCH REPORTING, WHETHER OR NOT HE ACTUALLY WORKS DURING ALL OF SUCH PERIOD, AND NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE MAY BE ACTUALLY EMPLOYED FOR AT LEAST TWO HOURS. WHERE A SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEE IS RELEASED FROM DUTY AFTER WORKING TWO OR MORE HOURS PURSUANT TO AN OFFICIAL ORDER AND REPORTS BACK FOR DUTY LATER IN THE DAY PURSUANT TO A SECOND ORDER, THE SECOND PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT IS TO BE REGARDED AS SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM THE FIRST FOR THE PURPOSE OF APPLYING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2 OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, WHICH GUARANTEE AT LEAST TWO HOURS' EMPLOYMENT FOR SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES WHO REPORT FOR DUTY PURSUANT TO AN OFFICIAL ORDER. THE FAILURE OF A CLASSIFIED SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEE TO REPORT FOR DUTY AT THE TIME ORDERED HAS THE EFFECT OF REMOVING THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENT OF SECTION 2 OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, THAT SUCH EMPLOYEES BE EMPLOYED NOT LESS THAN TWO HOURS FOLLOWING THE HOUR AT WHICH ORDERED TO REPORT. SERVICE OF A SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEE BOTH PRIOR AND SUBSEQUENT TO JULY 1, 1945, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, MAY BE INCLUDED IN COMPUTING THE 2,024 HOURS OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE NECESSARY FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION UNDER SECTION 12 (F) OF SAID ACT. THE RESTRICTION IN SECTION 12 (F) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, AGAINST THE SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES LISTED THEREIN RECEIVING MORE THAN ONE INCREASE IN THEIR PAY RATE WITHIN A 12-MONTH PERIOD DOES NOT REQUIRE DENIAL OF AN AUTOMATIC PROMOTION TO AN EMPLOYEE WHO, AFTER PROMOTION FROM SUBSTITUTE TO REGULAR, ATTAINS THE NECESSARY SERVICE FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION, INCLUDING BOTH SUBSTITUTE AND REGULAR SERVICE, BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF 12 MONTHS. A REGULAR POSTAL CLERK OR CITY CARRIER FIRST REINSTATED AS A SUBSTITUTE, EITHER PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO JULY 1, 1945--- THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945--- AND LATER APPOINTED A REGULAR CLERK OR CARRIER ON OR AFTER THAT DATE MAY BE PAID THE INCREASED SALARY RATE PRESCRIBED IN SAID ACT CORRESPONDING TO THE SAME AUTOMATIC SALARY RATE RECEIVED BY THE EMPLOYEE WHEN HE LEFT THE SERVICE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945. AUTHORITY UNDER SECTION 6 OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, TO EXCLUDE SATURDAY FROM CHARGES FOR LEAVES OF ABSENCE WITH PAY DOES NOT APPLY IN THE CASE OF RURAL CARRIERS SCHEDULED TO WORK SIX DAYS A WEEK, MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY. THERE BEING NO AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE THE CIVILIAN STATUS OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES WHILE ON "MILITARY FURLOUGH" WITHOUT PAY DURING THEIR SERVICE IN THE ARMED FORCES, A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER SERVING A ROUTE PREVIOUSLY SERVED BY A REGULAR CARRIER IN THE ARMED FORCES MAY NOT, UNDER SECTION 17 (F) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, BE PAID AT THE RATE PAID THE REGULAR CARRIER, AS FOR "SERVING A ROUTE IN PLACE OF A REGULAR CARRIER ABSENT WITHOUT PAY; " INSTEAD, HE SHOULD BE PAID AT THE RATE PROVIDED FOR A CARRIER OF GRADE 1, AS FOR "SERVING A ROUTE FOR WHICH THERE IS NO REGULAR CARRIER.' THE PROVISIONS IN 39 U.S.C. 133 FOR AN INCREASE IN THE CLERK HIRE ALLOWANCE OF POSTMASTERS ,WHENEVER UNUSUAL BUSINESS ACCRUES IN ANY POST OFFICE" MAY NOT BE APPLIED TO INCREASE THE SALARY RATES SPECIFICALLY FIXED AND LIMITED BY SECTION 12 (E) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, FOR CLERKS AT THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HIGH PREVAILING WAGE SCALES IN CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE COUNTRY MAKE DIFFICULT THE RECRUITMENT OF QUALIFIED CLERICAL ASSISTANCE AT THE PRESCRIBED RATES. THE ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED FOR POSTMASTERS FOR NECESSARY CLERICAL SERVICES IN SEPARATING MAILS AT THIRD- AND FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICES DESIGNATED AS DISTRIBUTING OR SEPARATING OFFICES (39 U.S.C. 82) MAY NOT BE USED TO PAY SUBSTITUTE OR REGULAR CLERKS IN THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES SO AS TO INCREASE THE SALARY RATES OF SUCH EMPLOYEES AS SPECIFICALLY FIXED AND LIMITED BY SECTION 12 (E) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, AUGUST 28, 1945:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 13, 1945, REFERENCE 15, REQUESTING DECISION UPON A NUMBER OF QUESTIONS ARISING UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, APPLICABLE TO THE POSTAL SERVICE. THE QUESTIONS WILL BE STATED AND ANSWERED UNDER THE SEVERAL HEADINGS IN THE ORDER PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER.

SUPERVISORS

SECTION 11 (A) OF THE ACT PROVIDES THAT:

"THE POSTMASTER GENERAL SHALL DETERMINE THE SUPERVISORY NEEDS AT POST OFFICES OF THE FIRST AND SECOND CLASSES AND SHALL FIX THE NUMBER OF SUPERVISORS TO BE EMPLOYED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SALARY SCHEDULES PROVIDED IN SECTION 9 AND 10: PROVIDED, THAT NOT MORE THAN ONE ASSISTANT POSTMASTER MAY BE EMPLOYED AT ANY POST OFFICE.'

A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THIS PROVISION OF THE ACT AUTHORIZES THE APPOINTMENT OF MORE THAN ONE SUPERVISOR IN EACH OFFICE, OTHER THAN ASSISTANT POSTMASTER, TO POSITIONS PROVIDED IN SECTION 9 OF THE ACT WHERE THE SINGULAR FORM IS USED. FOR EXAMPLE, SECTION 9 (O) OF THE ACT AUTHORIZES THE POSITION OF ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF POSTAL FINANCE AT OFFICES HAVING RECEIPTS OF $3,000,000 BUT LESS THAN $5,000,000. SHOULD THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SERVICE DEVELOP THE NEED FOR AN ADDITIONAL ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF POSTAL FINANCE AT AN OFFICE OF THIS SIZE, IS THE DEPARTMENT AUTHORIZED UNDER SECTION 11 (A) TO APPOINT SUCH AN ADDITIONAL SUPERVISOR?

WHILE ALL CLASSES OF EMPLOYEES FOR WHOM SALARIES ARE FIXED UNDER SECTION 9 OF THE STATUTE, 59 STAT. 438, PROPERLY ARE CLASSED AS "SUPERVISORS," IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT SEVERAL OF THE SUBSECTIONS USE BOTH THE SINGULAR AND THE PLURAL NUMBER WHEN FIXING THE SALARY RATES OF DIFFERENT CLASSES OF SUPERVISORS, THE DISTINCTION APPARENTLY HAVING BEEN BASED UPON THE VOLUME OF WORK--- DETERMINED, GENERALLY, BY THE AMOUNT OF POSTAL RECEIPTS--- TO BE PERFORMED AT THE OFFICE, INDICATING THAT THE CONGRESS USED IN SECTION 9 THE SINGULAR AND PLURAL ADVISEDLY AND WITH AN INTENDED PURPOSE. FOR INSTANCE, THE SINGULAR "ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF MAILS" IS USED IN SUBSECTIONS (H), (I), AND (J) BUT BEGINNING WITH SUBSECTION (K) AND CONTINUING THROUGH SUBSECTION (Q) THERE IS USED THE URAL,"ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS OF MAILS.' NOTE, ALSO, THAT AN "ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF POSTAL FINANCE," SINGULAR, IS PROVIDED FOR IN SUBSECTIONS (M), (N), (O), (P), AND (Q) WITH SALARY RANGING FROM $3,100 TO $3,800, AND THAT BEGINNING WITH SUBSECTION (R) AND CONTINUING PROVISION IS MADE FOR ,ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS, $3,900," WITHOUT SPECIFYING WHETHER OF "POSTAL FINANCE," "MONEY DERS," OR "MAILS.' WITH REFERENCE TO THE USE OF THE SINGULAR FORM "ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF POSTAL FINANCE" IN SUBSECTION (C), REFERRED TO IN THIS QUESTION, THERE IS FOR NOTING PARTICULARLY THAT WHILE, IN SUBSECTIONS (M) THROUGH (Q), PROVISION IS MADE (IN THE PLURAL) FOR "ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS OF MAILS," PROVISION IS MADE ONLY (IN THE SINGULAR) FOR "ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF POSTAL FINANCE," WHICH CONTRASTING PROVISIONS INDICATE THAT WHILE THERE MAY BE APPOINTED MORE THAN ONE ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF MAILS AT ANY POST OFFICE THE RECEIPTS OF WHICH ARE $500,000, OR MORE, THERE MAY NOT BE APPOINTED MORE THAN ONE ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT OF POSTAL FINANCE IN ANY OFFICE THE RECEIPTS OF WHICH ARE LESS THAN $9,000,000. IT IS TO BE NOTED, ALSO, THAT THE AUTHORITY VESTED THE POSTMASTER GENERAL UNDER SECTION 11 (A), 59 STAT. 443, TO FIX THE NUMBER OF SUPERVISORS TO BE EMPLOYED IS QUALIFIED BY THE PHRASE "IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE SALARY SCHEDULES PROVIDED IN SECTION 9.'

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THIS QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE. OTHER WORDS, THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE POSTMASTER GENERAL BY SECTION 11 (A) OF THE STATUTE IS LIMITED TO THOSE CLASSES OF SUPERVISORS WHERE THE STATUTE AUTHORIZES MORE THAN ONE.

SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES

SECTION 2 OF THE ACT PROVIDES IN PART "* * * THAT ANY CLASSIFIED SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEE WHO REPORTS FOR DUTY AT ANY POST OFFICE OR OTHER POSTAL UNIT IN COMPLIANCE WITH AN OFFICIAL ORDER SHALL BE EMPLOYED NOT LESS THAN TWO HOURS FOLLOWING THE HOUR AT WHICH SUCH CLASSIFIED SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEE IS ORDERED TO REPORT * * * .'

(1) BY THE NATURE OF THEIR WORK, IT IS NOT GENERALLY PRACTICABLE TO EMPLOY SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEES ON REGULAR SCHEDULES. IT OFTEN HAPPENS THAT SUBSTITUTES ARE DIRECTED TO REPORT AT A CERTAIN HOUR BUT THEY MAY NOT ACTUALLY BE PLACED IN A PAY STATUS UNTIL AN HOUR OR SO FOLLOWING THE TIME THEY ARE REQUIRED TO REPORT. FOR EXAMPLE: A SUBSTITUTE CLERK MAY BE ORDERED TO REPORT AT :00 A.M. BECAUSE OF LATE TRAINS, HE MAY NOT BE PLACED IN A PAY STATUS UNTIL 8:00 A.M. UPON THE ARRIVAL OF THE MAIL FROM THE LATE TRAIN. IF THE SUBSTITUTE IN THE EXAMPLE IS EMPLOYED UNTIL 0:00 A.M., A TOTAL OF 2 HOURS' ACTUAL EMPLOYMENT, WILL HIS PAY BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF THE TWO HOURS' ACTUAL EMPLOYMENT FROM 8:00 A.M. TO 10:00 A.M. OR MUST HE BE PAID FOR 3 HOURS ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE TERM "FOLLOWING THE HOUR" MEANS NOT LESS THAN 2 HOURS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE HOUR THE SUBSTITUTE IS REQUIRED TO REPORT.

(2) IN ANOTHER EXAMPLE A SUBSTITUTE IS ORDERED TO REPORT AT 1:00 P.M. AND DOES WORK FROM THAT HOUR UNTIL 5:00 P.M.; HE IS THEN ORDERED TO RETURN AGAIN THAT SAME DAY AT 7:00 P.M. FOR POSSIBLY AN HOUR'S WORK. DOES THE ORDER TO REPORT AT 7:00 P.M. CONSTITUTE ANOTHER PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT TO THE EXTENT THAT THE SUBSTITUTE MUST BE PAID FOR NOT LESS THAT 2 HOURS FOLLOWING 7:00 P.M., IN ADDITION TO THE FOUR HOURS PREVIOUSLY EARNED THAT DAY?

(3) INSTANCES WILL ARISE WHERE A SUBSTITUTE IS ORDERED TO REPORT AT A GIVEN HOUR BUT HE IS LATE IN REPORTING. IN THE MEANTIME THE POSTMASTER MAY HAVE PROCURED THE SERVICES OF ANOTHER SUBSTITUTE, OBVIATING THE NEED FOR THE SERVICES OF THE ONE ORDERED TO REPORT. IS THE DEPARTMENT CORRECT IN ASSUMING THAT THE FAILURE OF A SUBSTITUTE TO REPORT AT THE TIME ORDERED REMOVES THE MANDATORY REQUIREMENT THAT HE BE EMPLOYED NOT LESS THAN TWO HOURS?

(4) SECTION 12 (F) OF THE ACT STATES THAT SUBSTITUTES SHALL BE PROMOTED TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING 2,024 HOURS SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN A PAY STATUS, INCLUDING TIME AS A SPECIAL- DELIVERY MESSENGER. IN THE APPLICATION OF THIS PROVISION OF THE ACT, IT WILL BE APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL GIVE US YOUR OPINION WITH RESPECT TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(A) IS THE DEPARTMENT CORRECT IN ASSUMING THAT AFTER JULY 1, 1945, A SUBSTITUTE IS ENTITLED TO AN ANNUAL INCREASE IN PAY FOR EACH 2,024 HOURS CREDITABLE SUBSTITUTE SERVICE, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT A PORTION OF SUCH TIME MAY HAVE BEEN EARNED PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945?

FOR EXAMPLE: A SUBSTITUTE CLERK WAS PROMOTED TO THE 69 CENT RATE ON JULY 1, 1944, FOLLOWING THE COMPLETION OF 2,448 HOURS SUBSTITUTE SERVICE. JUNE 30, 1945, THIS SUBSTITUTE HAD A TOTAL OF 4,048 HOURS SUBSTITUTE SERVICE, A RESIDUE OF 1600 HOURS OVER THE 2,448 REQUIRED FOR HIS PROMOTION JULY 1, 1944. THIS EMPLOYEE WAS CONVERTED TO THE 84 CENT RATE JULY 1, 1945, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 134. DURING THE PERIOD ENDING SEPTEMBER 30, 1945, THIS EMPLOYEE MAY EARN 500 HOURS SUBSTITUTE TIME, A TOTAL OF 4,548 HOURS, OR 2,100 OVER THE 2,448 REQUIRED FOR PROMOTION JULY 1, 1944. THE DEPARTMENT PROPOSES TO ADVANCE THIS EMPLOYEE TO THE NEXT SALARY GRADE ON OCTOBER 1, 1945.

(B) PARAGRAPH (F) OF SECTION 12 ALSO PROVIDES THAT SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES SHALL NOT RECEIVE MORE THAN ONE INCREASE IN THEIR RATE OF PAY WITHIN A PERIOD OF 12 MONTHS. DOES THIS RESTRICTION APPLY UPON THE PROMOTION OF THE SUBSTITUTE TO REGULAR? FOR EXAMPLE, A SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEE WAS APPOINTED AT 84 CENTS AN HOUR ON JULY 1, 1945. ON JANUARY 1, THIS EMPLOYEE MAY BE PROMOTED TO REGULAR AT THE RATE OF $1,700 PER ANNUM, WITH 2,000 SUBSTITUTE HOURS TO HIS CREDIT. BY APRIL 1, 1946, THIS EMPLOYEE WILL HAVE APPROXIMATELY 2,500 HOURS TO HIS CREDIT. MAY HE THEN BE ADVANCED TO THE $1,800 GRADE?

(1) UNLIKE THE PROVISION FOR A MAXIMUM OF TWO HOURS WAITING TIME IN TEN CONSECUTIVE HOURS DURING A DAY, AUTHORIZED FOR REGULAR EMPLOYEES, APPEARING IN THE FIRST PART OF SECTION 2 OF THE STATUTE, 59 STAT. 435, THE LAST PROVISO TO SAID SECTION OF THE STATUTE, APPLICABLE TO CLASSIFIED SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES, CONTAINS NO PROVISION WHICH REASONABLY MAY BE REGARDED AS FIXING A PERIOD OF WAITING TIME AFTER A SUBSTITUTE REPORTS FOR DUTY FOR WHICH COMPENSATION WILL NOT BE PAID. IN OTHER WORDS, THE STATUTE CONTEMPLATES THAT CLASSIFIED SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES WILL BE EMPLOYED AND PAID FOR A PERIOD OF NOT LESS THAN TWO HOURS IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE HOUR AT WHICH THEY ARE ORDERED TO REPORT FOR DUTY IF IN FACT THEY DO REPORT AT THE TIME ORDERED. THE WORD,"FOLLOWING," IMPLIES A PERIOD IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE SPECIFIED TIME OF REPORTING. IF SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES WERE NOT PAID EXCEPT FOR THE HOURS ACTUALLY WORKED AFTER ORDERED TO REPORT FOR DUTY, OR IF THEY WERE REQUIRED TO WAIT ANY LENGTH OF TIME AFTER REPORTING FOR DUTY PURSUANT TO AN OFFICIAL ORDER UNTIL THERE WAS WORK TO DO, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN LITTLE NEED FOR THE PROVISION, WHICH CLEARLY IS DESIGNED TO PREVENT THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FROM ORDERING SUBSTITUTES TO DUTY UNLESS AND UNTIL THEY ARE NEEDED AND TO PROTECT THE SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES FROM LOSS OF SALARY BY REASON OF REPORTING DURING THE FIRST TWO HOURS AFTER REPORTING. THEREFORE, CLASSIFIED SUBSTITUTES ARE ENTITLED TO BE PAID FOR THE FIRST TWO HOURS OF WAITING TIME OR ACTIVE DUTY AS "EMPLOYMENT" IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE HOUR THEY ARE REQUIRED TO REPORT PROVIDED THEY DO REPORT AT THE TIME ORDERED. IN THE EXAMPLE STATED IN THIS QUESTION, THE CLASSIFIED SUBSTITUTE SHOULD BE PAID FOR THREE HOURS FROM 7 A.M. TO 10 A.M.

(2) THERE IS NOTHING IN THE STATUTE AUTHORIZING A COMBINATION OF TWO SEPARATE AND DISTINCT PERIODS OF EMPLOYMENT OF NOT LESS THAN TWO HOURS WITHIN A PERIOD OF 24 HOURS. IF A SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEE IS RELEASED FROM DUTY AND REQUIRED TO REPORT BACK FOR DUTY LATER IN THE DAY, HE IS PUT TO EXACTLY THE SAME TROUBLE OR INCONVENIENCE IN REPORTING PURSUANT TO THE SECOND ORDER AS HE EXPERIENCED INCIDENT TO REPORTING PURSUANT TO THE FIRST ORDER DURING THE SAME DAY. THEREFORE, THIS QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

(3) THIS QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

(4) SECTION 12 (F) OF THE STATUTE, 59 STAT. 445, PROVIDES:

SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES LISTED IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE PROMOTED TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING TWO THOUSAND AND TWENTY-FOUR HOURS' SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN A PAY STATUS, INCLUDING TIME SERVED AS A SPECIAL DELIVERY MESSENGER: PROVIDED, THAT THERE SHALL BE NOT MORE THAN ONE INCREASE IN THE RATE OF PAY OF SUCH EMPLOYEE WITHIN A PERIOD OF TWELVE MONTHS: AND PROVIDED, FURTHER, THAT WHEN A SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEE IS APPOINTED TO A REGULAR POSITION, SUCH EMPLOYEE SHALL BE ASSIGNED TO A SALARY GRADE CORRESPONDING TO THE SALARY AS A SUBSTITUTE. ANY FRACTIONAL PART OF A YEAR'S SUBSTITUTE SERVICE ACCUMULATED SINCE THE LAST COMPENSATION INCREASE AS A SUBSTITUTE SHALL BE INCLUDED WITH THE REGULAR SERVICE OF A REGULAR EMPLOYEE IN DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR PROMOTION TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE FOLLOWING APPOINTMENT TO A REGULAR POSITION.

(A) AS NOTHING TO THE CONTRARY APPEARS IN THE STATUTE, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT SERVICE OF A SUBSTITUTE BOTH PRIOR AND SUBSEQUENT TO JULY 1, 1945, MAY BE INCLUDED IN COMPUTING THE 2,024 HOURS OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE NECESSARY FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION. THEREFORE, THIS QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE. IN THE EXAMPLE GIVEN, THE SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO THE AUTOMATIC PROMOTION EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 1945, AS PROPOSED, IF THE FACTS BE AS STATED.

(B) IN THE LIGHT OF THE LAST SENTENCE OF SECTION 12 (F) OF THE STATUTE, THE FIRST SUBQUESTION OF THIS QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE AND THE SECOND--- RELATING TO THE EXAMPLE GIVEN--- IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

REINSTATEMENT OF EMPLOYEES

PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW NO. 134 THERE WERE MANY INSTANCES WHERE REGULAR CLERKS AND CITY CARRIERS IN THE $2,100 GRADE (THE MAXIMUM PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945) LEFT THE SERVICE AND WERE SUBSEQUENTLY REINSTATED WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT UPON THEIR PROMOTION TO REGULAR THEY WOULD BE ASSIGNED TO THE $2,100 GRADE. THESE CASES WERE HANDLED ACCORDING TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE RULING IN 7 COMP. GEN. 367. MANY OF THESE EMPLOYEES WERE REINSTATED AS SUBSTITUTES AT THE RATE OF 65 CENTS PER HOUR PRIOR TO APRIL 1, 1944, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PUBLIC LAW NO. 266, WHICH ACT PROVIDED VARYING GRADES FOR SUBSTITUTES, AND WERE CONVERTED TO GRADES NOT EXCEEDING THE $1,900 HOURLY RATE ON APRIL 1, 1944. IN THE NORMAL COURSE OF EVENTS SUCH EMPLOYEES WOULD HAVE BEEN ADVANCES TO THE $2,100 GRADE WHEN PROMOTED TO REGULAR PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945.

INASMUCH AS PUBLIC LAW NO. 134 CONVERTED ALL $2,100 EMPLOYEES TO $2,500, IS THE DEPARTMENT CORRECT IN ASSUMING THAT SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES WHO WERE FORMERLY $2,100 REGULARS MAY BE ADVANCED TO THE $2,500 GRADE UPON PROMOTION TO A REGULAR POSITION ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1945? THE DECISION OF DECEMBER 6, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 367, TO WHICH YOU REFER, HELD AS FOLLOWS (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS).

WHERE THERE IS A REINSTATEMENT OR TRANSFER OF A REGULAR CLERK IN THE FIRST AND SECOND CLASS POST OFFICES OR CARRIER IN THE CITY DELIVERY SERVICE TO THE POSITION OF SUBSTITUTE IN THE SAME SERVICE, CREDIT MAY BE ALLOWED FOR SERVICE AS A REGULAR CLERK OR CARRIER IN ORDER LATER TO RESTORE THE REINSTATED OR TRANSFERRED CLERK OR CARRIER TO THE REGULAR GRADE PREVIOUSLY HELD.

IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, TO THE CONTRARY, AND IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THE RELATIVE SALARY STATUS AMONG EMPLOYEES, GIVING FORMER EMPLOYEES THE BENEFIT OF THEIR PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES REFERRED TO IN THIS QUESTION MAY BE GRANTED THE BENEFITS OF THE BASIC INCREASES IN COMPENSATION AUTHORIZED BY SAID ACT. THAT IS TO SAY, THE RULE STATED IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED DECISION MAY BE APPLIED TO PAY A REGULAR EMPLOYEE FIRST REINSTATED EITHER PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO JULY 1, 1945, AS A SUBSTITUTE AND LATER APPOINTED A REGULAR CLERK OR CARRIER ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1945, THE INCREASED SALARY RATES PRESCRIBED BY THE NEW LAW CORRESPONDING TO THE SAME AUTOMATIC SALARY RATE RECEIVED BY THE EMPLOYEE WHEN HE LAST LEFT THE SERVICE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945. COMPARE DECISION OF AUGUST 28, 1945, B- 51697, 25 COMP. GEN. 230, TO THE FEDERAL WORKS ADMINISTRATOR. THEREFORE, THIS QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

RURAL DELIVERY SERVICE

THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW NO. 134, PROVIDES THAT RURAL CARRIERS ARE NOT RESTRICTED TO DUTY OF 40 HOURS PER WEEK AND IF EMPLOYED ON SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS, OR HOLIDAYS MAY NOT BE ALLOWED COMPENSATORY TIME FOR SUCH SERVICE. SECTION 6 OF THE ACT PROVIDES THAT RURAL CARRIERS, AMONG OTHERS, SHALL BE GRANTED 15 DAYS' ANNUAL LEAVE AND 10 DAYS' NECESSARY SICK LEAVE WITH PAY EACH YEAR, ACCUMULATIVE, EXCLUSIVE OF SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS, AND HOLIDAYS.

(1) ALL RURAL CARRIERS, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF CERTAIN CARRIERS ASSIGNED TO TRI-WEEKLY ROUTES, ARE SCHEDULED TO WORK SIX DAYS A WEEK, MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY, UNLESS A HOLIDAY OCCURS DURING SUCH PERIOD. IN THE EVENT A RURAL CARRIER, OTHER THAN ONE ASSIGNED TO A TRIWEEKLY ROUTE NOT SCHEDULED FOR A DELIVERY ON SATURDAY, IS ABSENT FOR ANY CAUSE ON SATURDAY, SHOULD HIS ABSENCE BE CHARGED TO ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE, LEAVE WITH PAY, OR CONSIDERED AS AN ABSENCE ON A NON-WORK DAY AND NOT CHARGEABLE TO ANNUAL OR SICK LEAVE OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY?

(2) IF YOU DECIDE THAT RURAL CARRIERS' ABSENCES ON SATURDAYS MAY NOT BE CHARGED TO SICK OR ANNUAL LEAVE OR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, IS THE DEPARTMENT CORRECT IN ASSUMING THAT THE APPROPRIATION " RURAL DELIVERY SERVICE" IS AVAILABLE FOR THE HIRE OF TEMPORARY OR SUBSTITUTE CARRIERS TO SERVE RURAL ROUTES ON SATURDAY WHEN THE REGULAR CARRIERS ARE ABSENT?

(3) SECTION 17 (F) OF THE ACT PROVIDES THAT SUBSTITUTE AND TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIERS SERVING IN LIEU OF A REGULAR CARRIER SHALL RECEIVE THE SAME RATE OF PAY AS THE REGULAR CARRIER. AS OF JUNE 30, 1945, THERE WERE 1,186 RURAL CARRIERS ON MILITARY FURLOUGH. IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW NO. 134, THE CARRIERS SERVING SUCH ROUTES IN PLACE OF THE CARRIERS ON MILITARY LEAVE ARE BEING PAID THE RATE OF PAY AT WHICH THE REGULAR CARRIER WAS ASSIGNED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT. THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL INSTANCES WHERE A REGULAR CARRIER WAS KILLED IN ACTION AND THE DEPARTMENT HAD NOT RECEIVED NOTICE OF THE DEATH OF SUCH CARRIER UNTIL SEVERAL MONTHS, AND AS MUCH AS A YEAR, AFTER HIS DEATH. A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER IT IS MANDATORY THAT THE RATE OF PAY OF THE TEMPORARY CARRIER BE REDUCED TO GRADE 1 RETROACTIVE TO THE DATE OF THE CARRIER'S DEATH, OR MAY THE TEMPORARY CARRIER'S PAY BE ADJUSTED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD IN WHICH OFFICIAL NOTICE IS RECEIVED OF THE REGULAR CARRIER'S DEATH?

(1) IN DECISION OF AUGUST 17, 1945, B-51521, 25 COMP. GEN. 192, TO YOU, IT WAS HELD, SO FAR AS HERE MATERIAL, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * LEAVE SHOULD BE CHARGED FOR ABSENCE ON SATURDAY FOR ANY EMPLOYEE FOR WHOM A 40-HOUR BASIC WORKWEEK EXCLUSIVE OF SATURDAY IS NOT ESTABLISHED UNDER AUTHORITY OF ANY PROVISION OF THE LAW. THERE WAS CITED IN SUPPORT OF THAT CONCLUSION THE DECISION OF JUNE 5, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 904, APPLICABLE TO RURAL CARRIERS. THEREFORE, IF A RURAL CARRIER IS SCHEDULED TO WORK SATURDAY BUT DOES NOT WORK, LEAVE SHOULD BE CHARGED FOR THAT DAY, THE KIND OF LEAVE TO BE CHARGED DEPENDING UPON THE NATURE OF THE CAUSE OF ABSENCE, AND THE PARTICULAR CLASS OF LEAVE TO THE CREDIT OF THE EMPLOYEE.

(2) THE AFFIRMATIVE ANSWER TO QUESTION (1,) SUPRA, RENDERS UNNECESSARY ANY ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION.

(3) SECTION 17 (F) OF THE STATUTE, 59 STAT. 456, PROVIDES:

A SUBSTITUTE RURAL CARRIER WHO PERFORMS SERVICE FOR A REGULAR CARRIER ABSENT WITH PAY SHALL BE PAID AT THE SAME RATE PAID THE REGULAR CARRIER FOR EACH DAY'S SERVICE, EXCLUSIVE OF SUNDAYS AND AUTHORIZED HOLIDAYS. TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER SERVING A ROUTE IN PLACE OF A REGULAR CARRIER ABSENT WITHOUT PAY SHALL BE PAID AT THE SAME RATE PAID THE REGULAR CARRIER, SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS INCLUDED EXCEPT AT THE BEGINNING OR END OF THE PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT. A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER SERVING A ROUTE FOR WHICH THERE IS NO REGULAR CARRIER SHALL BE PAID AT THE RATE OF SALARY PROVIDED FOR A CARRIER OF GRADE 1 FOR THE ROUTE ON WHICH SERVICE IS PERFORMED, INCLUDING SUNDAYS AND AUTHORIZED HOLIDAYS EXCEPT AT THE BEGINNING AND END OF THE PERIOD OF EMPLOYMENT.

YOUR QUESTION SEEMS TO IMPLY A MISCONCEPTION OF THE MEANING OF THE SO- CALLED TERM,"MILITARY FURLOUGH.' A RURAL CARRIER WHO ENTERED THE ARMED FORCES DID NOT CONTINUE IN HIS CIVILIAN STATUS. THERE IS NOTHING IN 39 U.S.C. 818 REGARDING REINSTATEMENT OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES AFTER MILITARY SERVICE OR IN THE PROVISIONS OF THE SELECTIVE TRAINING AND SERVICE ACT AND LAWS IN PARI MATERIA WHICH AUTHORIZES THE RETENTION OF A CIVILIAN STATUS BY POSTAL EMPLOYEES WHILE IN THE ARMED FORCES. 20 COMP. GEN. 789. COMPARE 39 U.S.C. 39A, AUTHORIZING THE GRANTING OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY TO POSTMASTERS WHO ENTER THE ARMED FORCES. ALSO, REFERENCE IS MADE TO DECISION OF THIS OFFICE OF JANUARY 30, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 573, WHEREIN IT WAS STATED, AT PAGES 577 AND 578, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * IT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED THAT ADMINISTRATION OFFICES COULD, WITHIN THEIR DISCRETION, PLACE EMPLOYEES WHO ENTER THE ARMED FORCES ON SO-CALLED MILITARY FURLOUGH WITHOUT PAY IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN MORE ACCURATE RECORDS OF BENEFITS WHICH WOULD ACCRUE DURING SUCH SERVICES IN THE EVENT OF RESTORATION TO THE CIVILIAN POSITION UNDER THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CONTROLLING STATUTES ABOVE CITED AFTER DISCHARGE FROM THE ARMED FORCES. ALSO, IT HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED THAT ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICES, WITHIN THEIR DISCRETION, MAY SEPARATE EMPLOYEES UPON ENTRY INTO THE ARMED FORCES AND WAIT UNTIL THEIR ACTUAL RESTORATION TO CIVILIAN POSITIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE CONTROLLING STATUTES, SUPRA, TO DETERMINE THE BENEFITS WHICH ACCRUED TO THEM DURING MILITARY SERVICE. HOWEVER, SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE OF PLACING THE EMPLOYEES ON MILITARY FURLOUGH AS AN EXPEDIENCY TO MAINTAIN ACCURATE RECORDS DOES NOT, IN MY JUDGMENT, HAVE THE LEGAL EFFECT OF PRESERVING A CIVILIAN STATUS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE MILITARY FURLOUGH. CONTRARY TO THE POSITION APPARENTLY TAKEN BY THE COMMISSION, BENEFITS ACCRUING DURING THE MILITARY SERVICE OF EMPLOYEES WHO ARE RESTORED, AS WELL AS PAYMENTS FOR ANNUAL LEAVE BENEFITS WITHOUT RESTORATION ARE EXACTLY THE SAME REGARDLESS OF WHICH OF THE TWO PROCEDURES WERE ADMINISTRATIVELY ADOPTED. HENCE, IT WOULD SEEM THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION OR PRACTICE GRANTING MILITARY FURLOUGH WITHOUT PAY--- WHICH IS NOT THE SAME AS ORDINARY LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY BECAUSE UNDER SUCH FURLOUGH THE EMPLOYEES HOLD AN INCOMPATIBLE STATUS IN THE ARMED FORCES (3 COMP. GEN. 40: 18 ID. 213; 20 ID. 257; 22 ID. 127/--- COULD HAVE (NO) MORE LEGAL EFFECT TO MAINTAIN A CIVILIAN STATUS DURING ACTIVE MILITARY OR NAVAL SERVICE FOR RETIREMENT BENEFITS WITHOUT RESTORATION TO A CIVILIAN POSITION, THAN WOULD AN ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION OR PRACTICE SEPARATING THE EMPLOYEES FROM THE SERVICE, AND THAT IN NEITHER EVENT DOES AN EMPLOYEE MAINTAIN A CIVILIAN STATUS FOR RETIREMENT PURPOSES DURING ACTIVE MILITARY SERVICE OR THEREAFTER PRIOR TO ACTUAL RESTORATION TO A CIVILIAN POSITION AS PROVIDED BY THE APPLICABLE STATUTES.

WHILE THE ABOVE HOLDING WAS STATED WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO RETIREMENT BENEFITS, THE PRINCIPLE OF THE DECISION APPLIES WITH EQUAL FORCE HERE. IN OTHER WORDS, NONE OF THE TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIERS SERVING ROUTES PREVIOUSLY SERVICED BY REGULAR RURAL CARRIERS IN THE ARMED FORCES SHOULD BE PAID AT THE RATES PAID THE REGULAR CARRIERS UNDER THE FIRST PART OF SECTION 17 (F) OF THE STATUTE, BUT RATHER, AT THE SALARY RATE PROVIDED FOR A CARRIER OF GRADE 1 FOR THE ROUTE ON WHICH SERVICE IS PERFORMED PURSUANT TO THE LAST SENTENCE OF SECTION 17 (F) OF THE STATUTE UPON THE BASIS THAT THE ROUTE HAS NO REGULAR CARRIER. SO FAR AS THE PRESENT MATTER IS CONCERNED, ADJUSTMENTS IN THE RATES OF COMPENSATION PAID SUCH TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIERS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE, SHOULD BE MADE AS OF JULY 1, 1945, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACT.

UNUSUAL CONDITIONS AT POST OFFICES

SECTION 133, TITLE 39, OF THE U.S.C. STATES THAT:

"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 BUSINESS.'

IN CERTAIN SECTIONS OF THE COUNTRY BECAUSE OF HIGH PREVAILING WAGE SCALES, THE DEPARTMENT IS UNABLE TO SECURE CLERKS IN THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES AT THE RATE PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 12 (E) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW NO. 134. IN VIEW OF THE VITAL NEEDS OF THE SERVICE, A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE DEPARTMENT MAY PAY CLERICAL ASSISTANCE AT RATES PRESCRIBED BY THE ACT AND THE AMOUNT THAT MUST BE PAID TO OBTAIN SUITABLE CLERICAL ASSISTANCE TO THE APPROPRIATION " UNUSUAL CONDITIONS AT POST OFFICES.'

FOR EXAMPLE, THIRD-CLASS OFFICE A IS LOCATED NEAR A LARGE CITY HEAVILY ENGAGED IN WAR INDUSTRIES. PUBLIC LAW NO. 134 PROVIDES THAT THE INITIAL SALARY RATE FOR SUBSTITUTE CLERKS AT THIRD-CLASS OFFICES SHALL BE 59 CENTS AN HOUR. BECAUSE OF PREVAILING HIGH WAGES CLERKS CANNOT BE OBTAINED FOR LESS THAN 85 CENTS AN HOUR. MAY THE DIFFERENCE OF 26 CENTS PER HOUR BE CONSIDERED AN UNUSUAL CONDITION AND PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION " UNUSUAL CONDITIONS AT POST OFFICES" UNTIL SUCH TIME AS WE ARE ABLE TO RECRUIT EMPLOYEES AT THE PRESCRIBED RATE?

SECTION 12 (E) OF THE ACT, 59 STAT. 444, PROVIDES:

CARRIERS IN THE VILLAGE DELIVERY SERVICE, AND CLERKS EMPLOYED NOT LESS THAN FORTY HOURS PER WEEK IN POST OFFICES OF THE THIRD CLASS, SHALL BE DIVIDED INTO SIX GRADES WITH ANNUAL SALARIES, AS FOLLOWS: PROVIDED, THAT CLERKS IN POST OFFICES OF THE THIRD CLASS SHALL NOT BE APPOINTED OR PROMOTED TO A SALARY GRADE IN EXCESS OF $100 LESS THAN THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER AT THE OFFICE TO WHICH ASSIGNED:

GRADE 1 ----------------$1,200 GRADE 4 ---------------- $1,500

GRADE 2 ---------------- 1,300 GRADE 5 ---------------- 1,600

GRADE 3 ---------------- 1,400 GRADE 6 ---------------- 1,700 AND SHALL BE PROMOTED SUCCESSIVELY AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN EACH GRADE TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE UNTIL THEY REACH THE SIXTH GRADE.

THE PAY OF SUBSTITUTE, TEMPORARY, OR AUXILIARY EMPLOYEES IN THE SERVICES NAMED IN THE PRECEDING PARAGRAPH SHALL BE ON AN HOURLY BASIS AT THE FOLLOWING RATES:

GRADE 1 ----------------$0.59 GRADE 4 ----------------$0.74

GRADE 2 ---------------- .64 GRADE 5 ---------------- .79

GRADE 3 ---------------- .69 GRADE 6 ---------------- .84 PROVIDED, THAT SUBSTITUTE, TEMPORARY, OR AUXILIARY CLERKS IN POST OFFICES OF THE THIRD CLASS SHALL NOT BE PAID IN EXCESS OF 79 CENTS PER HOUR WHERE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER IS $1,700 PER ANNUM; IN EXCESS OF 74 CENTS PER HOUR WHERE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER IS $1,600 PER ANNUM; OR IN EXCESS OF 64 CENTS PER HOUR WHERE THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER IS $1,400 PER ANNUM.

THAT SECTION OF THE STATUTE FOR THE FIRST TIME HAS ESTABLISHED SPECIFIC SALARY RATES FOR CLERKS AT THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES WITH PROVISIONS FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION. FURTHERMORE, THE QUOTED SECTION OF THE STATUTE PRESCRIBES CERTAIN LIMITATIONS UPON THE FIXING OF THE SALARY RATES OF CLERKS AT THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES. THERE WOULD BE NO MORE AUTHORITY FOR APPLYING 39 U.S.C. 133 (SECTION 3863, REVISED STATUTES,) QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, TO INCREASE THE SALARY RATES SPECIFICALLY FIXED AND LIMITED BY LAW FOR CLERKS AT THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES THAN THERE WOULD BE TO USE THE SAME AUTHORITY FOR INCREASING STATUTORY SALARY RATES FOR CLERKS AT FIRST- AND SECOND-CLASS POST OFFICES. IT IS THE VIEW OF THIS OFFICE THAT SECTION 133, TITLE 39, U.S. CODE, WAS NOT INTENDED TO BE USED AS A BASIS FOR INCREASING SALARY RATES OF EMPLOYEES OTHERWISE SPECIFICALLY FIXED AND LIMITED BY LAW, OTHER THAN THE POSTMASTERS WHOSE COMPENSATION IS COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF POSTAL RECEIPTS, BUT WAS INTENDED TO AUTHORIZE AN INCREASE IN THE CLERK HIRE ALLOWANCE TO THE POSTMASTERS. THEREFORE, THIS QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

SEPARATING MAILS ALLOWANCES

SECTION 82, TITLE 39, OF THE U.S.C. PROVIDES THAT:

"THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY DESIGNATE OFFICES AT THE INTERSECTION OF MAIL ROUTES AS DISTRIBUTING OR SEPARATING OFFICES; AND WHERE ANY SUCH OFFICE IS OF THE THIRD OR FOURTH CLASS, HE MAY MAKE A REASONABLE ALLOWANCE TO THE POSTMASTER FOR THE NECESSARY COST OF CLERICAL SERVICES ARISING FROM SUCH DUTIES.' YOUR OPINION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER WE MAY CONTINUE TO AUTHORIZE AN ALLOWANCE FOR SEPARATING MAILS AT THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES, SUCH ALLOWANCE TO BE PAID TO SUBSTITUTE OR REGULAR CLERKS IN ADDITION TO THE PAYMENTS MADE AS CLERK HIRE UNDER PUBLIC LAW NO. 134.

FOR THE REASONS STATED IN THE ANSWER TO THE PRECEDING QUESTION, THIS QUESTION, ALSO, IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, IF, AS IS UNDERSTOOD, THE ARRANGEMENT WOULD INCREASE THE STATUTORY SALARY RATES OF REGULAR OR SUBSTITUTE CLERKS AT THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES.