B-54930, JANUARY 30, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 568

B-54930: Jan 30, 1946

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APPROPRIATIONS - POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - AVAILABILITY FOR EMPLOYMENT OF PERSON AT FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE TO ACT IN LIEU OF POSTMASTER ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE THE EXPENSE OF EMPLOYING A PERSON TO ACT IN LIEU OF THE POSTMASTER AT A FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICE WHILE HE IS ABSENT EITHER ON LEAVE WITH PAY PURSUANT TO THE LEAVE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6 OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6. 1946: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 4. SICK LEAVE SHALL BE GRANTED ONLY UPON SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE OF ILLNESS IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL * * UNDER THIS SECTION OF THE ACT IT IS MANDATORY THAT POSTMASTERS AT ALL CLASSES OF OFFICES BE GRANTED EARNED LEAVE OF ABSENCE. SECOND- AND THIRD-CLASSES THERE IS AMPLE AUTHORITY UNDER EXISTING STATUTES TO PROVIDE THE CLERICAL ASSISTANCE NECESSARY TO OPERATE THESE OFFICES INCLUDING THAT WHICH MAY BE NECESSARY INCIDENTAL TO THE ABSENCE OF THE POSTMASTER ON LEAVE.

B-54930, JANUARY 30, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 568

APPROPRIATIONS - POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - AVAILABILITY FOR EMPLOYMENT OF PERSON AT FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE TO ACT IN LIEU OF POSTMASTER ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE THE EXPENSE OF EMPLOYING A PERSON TO ACT IN LIEU OF THE POSTMASTER AT A FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICE WHILE HE IS ABSENT EITHER ON LEAVE WITH PAY PURSUANT TO THE LEAVE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6 OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, OR ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, NOT HAVING BEEN SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR IN THE CURRENT POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATIONS, MAY NOT BE CHARGED TO EITHER OF THE APPROPRIATION ITEMS "COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS" OR "UNUSUAL CONDITIONS," WHICH ITEM SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JANUARY 30, 1946:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 4, 1946, REFERENCE 15, WITH ENCLOSURE, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 6 OF PUBLIC LAW 134 APPROVED JULY 6, 1945, READS IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * POSTMASTERS AND EMPLOYEES SHALL BE GRANTED FIFTEEN DAYS' LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH PAY, EXCLUSIVE OF SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS, AND HOLIDAYS, EACH FISCAL YEAR AND SICK LEAVE WITH PAY AT THE RATE OF TEN DAYS A YEAR, EXCLUSIVE OF SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS, AND HOLIDAYS, TO BE CUMULATIVE. SICK LEAVE SHALL BE GRANTED ONLY UPON SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE OF ILLNESS IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL * *

UNDER THIS SECTION OF THE ACT IT IS MANDATORY THAT POSTMASTERS AT ALL CLASSES OF OFFICES BE GRANTED EARNED LEAVE OF ABSENCE. IN OFFICES OF THE FIRST-, SECOND- AND THIRD-CLASSES THERE IS AMPLE AUTHORITY UNDER EXISTING STATUTES TO PROVIDE THE CLERICAL ASSISTANCE NECESSARY TO OPERATE THESE OFFICES INCLUDING THAT WHICH MAY BE NECESSARY INCIDENTAL TO THE ABSENCE OF THE POSTMASTER ON LEAVE.

POSTMASTERS AT OFFICES OF THE FOURTH CLASS RECEIVE NO ALLOWANCE FOR CLERICAL SERVICE EXCEPT WHERE AN UNUSUAL CONDITION PREVAILS, AT WHICH TIME THEY MAY BE GRANTED AN ALLOWANCE FROM THE APPROPRIATION "UNUSUAL CONDITIONS AT POST OFFICES.' IN THE EVENT OF A VACANCY AT AN OFFICE OF THE FOURTH CLASS THE PERSON ACTING AS POSTMASTER MAY BE PAID THE REGULAR COMPENSATION THAT WOULD BE PAYABLE TO THE POSTMASTER PENDING THE DESIGNATION OF AN ACTING POSTMASTER, SUCH PAYMENTS TO BE MADE FROM THE APPROPRIATION "COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS.'

IN VIEW OF THE MANDATORY PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT IS EITHER THE APPROPRIATION " COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS" OR " UNUSUAL CONDITIONS AT POST OFFICES" AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE PERSON ACTING IN LIEU OF THE POSTMASTER AT A FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE WHILE SUCH POSTMASTER IS ON LEAVE WITH OR WITHOUT PAY AT RATES NOT TO EXCEED THAT PAYABLE TO THE POSTMASTER?

FOR YOUR INFORMATION THERE IS ENCLOSED A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 7, 1945, FROM THE NATIONAL SECRETARY OF THE NATIONAL LEAGUE OF DISTRICT POSTMASTERS SETTING FORTH THE VIEWS OF THAT ORGANIZATION WITH RESPECT TO THIS MATTER.

THE ACT OF MAY 15, 1939, 53 STAT. 745, AMENDING PARAGRAPH 1 OF SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1064, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

EMPLOYEES IN THE POSTAL SERVICE SHALL BE GRANTED FIFTEEN DAYS' LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH PAY, EXCLUSIVE OF SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS, AND HOLIDAYS, EACH FISCAL YEAR, AND SICK LEAVE WITH PAY AT THE RATE OF TEN DAYS A YEAR, EXCLUSIVE OF SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS, AND HOLIDAYS, TO BE CUMULATIVE, BUT NO SICK LEAVE WITH PAY IN EXCESS OF SIX MONTHS SHALL BE GRANTED DURING ANY ONE FISCAL YEAR. SICK LEAVE SHALL BE GRANTED ONLY UPON SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE OF ILLNESS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL * * * .

PARAGRAPHS (A) AND (B) OF SECTION 445, SUBSECTION 5, OF THE POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS OF 1940, AS AMENDED FEBRUARY 28, 1944, AND FEBRUARY 13, 1943, RESPECTIVELY, PROVIDE---

5. POSTMASTERS OF ALL CLASSES SHALL BE GRANTED LEAVE OF ABSENCE AS FOLLOWS, AND THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION APPLY IN ALL RESPECTS TO ACTING POSTMASTERS:

(A) ANNUAL LEAVE.--- 15 DAYS ANNUAL LEAVE WITH PAY DURING EACH FISCAL YEAR, THE UNUSED PORTION OF WHICH IS CUMULATIVE--- SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS ARE EXCLUDED IN COUNTING ANNUAL LEAVE.

(B) SICK LEAVE.--- 10 DAYS' SICK LEAVE WITH PAY DURING EACH FISCAL YEAR, EXCLUSIVE OF SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS, TO BE CUMULATIVE WITHOUT REGARD TO TIME LIMIT, BUT NO SICK LEAVE WITH PAY IN EXCESS OF SIX MONTHS SHALL BE GRANTED IN ANY ONE FISCAL YEAR * * * .

H.R. 2071--- 79TH CONGRESS--- LATER SUPERSEDED BY H.R. 3035, WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 134--- CONTAINED A PROVISION, IN PERTINENT PART IDENTICAL WITH THAT OF THE ACT OF MAY 15, 1939, SET OUT ABOVE, AND IN THE HEARINGS THEREON BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON THE POST OFFICE AND POST ROADS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, THE PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF POSTMASTERS OF THE UNITED STATES SAID (P. 37):

THIS BILL MAKES NO PROVISION FOR ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE FOR POSTMASTERS, AND, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY SET FORTH HEREIN, SUCH ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVE WILL BECOME A MATTER OF REGULATION RATHER THAN LAW, AND WE PREFER TO HAVE IT MADE PART OF THE LAW.

WE FURTHER SUGGEST THAT PROVISIONS BE SET FORTH HEREIN THAT WILL DEFINITELY PROVIDE AN APPROPRIATION WHEREBY ADDITIONAL CLERICAL ASSISTANCE MAY BE PROVIDED AT OFFICES OF THE THIRD CLASS DURING THE PERIOD OF ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVES OF THE POSTMASTERS.

THE PRESENT LAW GRANTS ANNUAL AND SICK LEAVES TO THESE POSTMASTERS BUT DOES NOT PROVIDE AN APPROPRIATION OUT OF WHICH ADDITIONAL CLERICAL ASSISTANCE MAY BE PAID DURING THE PERIOD OF SUCH LEAVES, WITH THE RESULT THAT THE POSTMASTERS HAVE PAID FOR SUCH ADDITIONAL CLERICAL ASSISTANCE OUT OF THEIR PERSONAL FUNDS.

WHILE THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES ARE SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED IN THE ABOVE QUOTE, WHAT WAS THERE SAID WOULD SEEM TO BE EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO FOURTH- CLASS OFFICES.

THE COMMITTEE ON THE POST OFFICE AND POST ROADS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, TO SIMPLIFY PROCEDURE, INTRODUCED AND REPORTED OUT H.R. 3035 (WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 134) INSTEAD OF H.R. 2071 WITH EXTENSIVE AMENDMENTS. THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 436, QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER ARE SUBSTANTIALLY IDENTICAL WITH THOSE OF THE ACT OF MAY 15, 1939, SUPRA, WITH THE EXCEPTION THAT POSTMASTERS ARE SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED IN THE LEAVE PROVISIONS.

SECTION 27 OF PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 461, PROVIDES:

THE SUMS APPROPRIATED FOR SALARIES AND COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS, OFFICERS, AND EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE IN THE ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1946, SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SALARIES AND COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS, OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE AT THE RATES OF COMPENSATION HEREIN PROVIDED; AND SUCH ADDITIONAL SUMS AS MAY BE NECESSARY ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT. (ITALICS SUPPLIED.) THUS, THOUGH THE LACK OF AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS FOR PAYMENT OF LEAVE OF THE CLASS HERE INVOLVED WAS BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE COMMITTEE NO ACTION WAS TAKEN TO MAKE THESE CURRENT APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE. THE STATUTE JUST QUOTED MERELY AUTHORIZES THE APPROPRIATION OF ADDITIONAL SUMS TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT, WHICH PROVISIONS WOULD APPEAR TO ENCOMPASS THE INSTANT MATTER.

THERE REMAINS THE QUESTION WHETHER THE CURRENT APPROPRIATIONS, ALTHOUGH NOT SPECIFICALLY MADE AVAILABLE BY THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, SUPRA, MAY BE CONSIDERED AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF ANNUAL LEAVE TO FOURTH-CLASS POSTMASTERS. UNDER THE HEADING,"1OFFICE OF THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL," IN THE TREASURY AND POST OFFICE DEPARTMENTS APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946, APPROVED APRIL 24, 1945, 59 STAT. 70, IT IS PROVIDED AS FOLLOWS:

COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS: FOR COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS, INCLUDING COMPENSATION AS POSTMASTERS TO PERSONS WHO, PENDING THE DESIGNATION OF AN ACTING POSTMASTER, ASSUME AND PROPERLY PERFORM THE DUTIES OF POSTMASTER IN THE EVENT OF A VACANCY IN THE OFFICE OF POSTMASTER OF THE THIRD OR FOURTH CLASS * * * . (ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

IN THE INSTANT CASE THE EXPENDITURES WOULD NOT BE FOR COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS BECAUSE THE PERSON ACTING IS NOT A POSTMASTER, NOR WOULD THERE BE A VACANCY IN THE OFFICE OF POSTMASTER WHILE THE INCUMBENT WAS ON LEAVE WITH OR WITHOUT PAY.

UNDER THE SAME HEADING OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED APPROPRIATION ACT, THERE IS THE FOLLOWING PROVISION: "UNUSUAL CONDITIONS: FOR UNUSUAL CONDITIONS AT POST OFFICES.' AT PAGE 89 OF THE HEARINGS UPON THE BILL (WHICH BECAME THIS APPROPRIATION ACT) BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, A DETAILED STATEMENT OF ESTIMATES AND EXPENDITURES OF THIS ITEM WAS SHOWING THAT IT WAS INTENDED FOR USE FOR ADDITIONAL PERSONAL SERVICE NECESSITATED BY UNUSUAL INCREASES IN BUSINESS DUE TO HARVEST SEASONS, PUBLIC WORKS CONSTRUCTION, CHRISTMAS MAILS, MILITARY MAILS, AND OTHER SIMILAR CONDITIONS. IT CANNOT BE SAID THAT ABSENCES DUE TO THE GRANT OF LEAVE WITH OR WITHOUT PAY, WHICH PRACTICE WAS OF LONG STANDING, THOUGH PREVIOUSLY CONTROLLED BY REGULATIONS, PROPERLY COULD BE CONSIDERED AN UNUSUAL CONDITION WITHIN THE MEANING OF THIS APPROPRIATION.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT CURRENT APPROPRIATIONS,"COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS," OR," UNUSUAL CONDITIONS AT POST OFFICES," ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT TO A PERSON ACTING IN LIEU OF THE POSTMASTER AT A FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE WHILE SUCH POSTMASTER IS ON LEAVE OR WITHOUT PAY.