B-56484, JUNE 18, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 879

B-56484: Jun 18, 1946

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AUXILIARY RURAL CARRIERS A SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEE APPOINTED TO A REGULAR POSITION AND RELEGATED TO THE SUBSTITUTE SERVICE BEFORE RECEIVING AN AUTOMATIC PROMOTION AS A REGULAR IS ENTITLED. AN "AUXILIARY" RURAL CARRIER ASSIGNED TO A PORTION OF A REGULAR CARRIER'S ROUTE DURING THE WINTER MONTHS BECAUSE OF ROAD CONDITIONS IS TO BE REGARDED AS A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER ON A TEMPORARY ROUTE WHOSE COMPENSATION IS REQUIRED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 17 (F) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6. 1946: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 8. WILL THE PROMOTION OF A SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEE TO A REGULAR POSITION CONSTITUTE A BREAK IN SUBSTITUTE SERVICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING HIS ELIGIBILITY FOR A SUBSEQUENT PROMOTION AS A SUBSTITUTE IN THE EVENT HE IS RELEGATED TO THE SUBSTITUTE ROLLS BEFORE HE RECEIVES AN INCREASE IN COMPENSATION AS A REGULAR?

B-56484, JUNE 18, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 879

COMPENSATION - POSTAL SERVICE - RELEGATION OF REGULAR EMPLOYEE TO SUBSTITUTE SERVICE; AUXILIARY RURAL CARRIERS A SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEE APPOINTED TO A REGULAR POSITION AND RELEGATED TO THE SUBSTITUTE SERVICE BEFORE RECEIVING AN AUTOMATIC PROMOTION AS A REGULAR IS ENTITLED, IN CONSONANCE WITH THE TERMS OF SECTION 12 (F) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, RESPECTING CREDITABLE SERVICE FOR PURPOSES OF AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS AND ASSIGNMENT OF SALARY GRADES, TO BE ASSIGNED TO THE SALARY GRADE CORRESPONDING TO THAT IN THE REGULAR POSITION; AND ANY FRACTIONAL YEAR'S SERVICE, AS EITHER A SUBSTITUTE OR A REGULAR, SINCE HIS LAST COMPENSATION INCREASE MAY BE COUNTED IN DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION FOLLOWING RELEGATION. CF. 23 COMP. GEN. 766. AN "AUXILIARY" RURAL CARRIER ASSIGNED TO A PORTION OF A REGULAR CARRIER'S ROUTE DURING THE WINTER MONTHS BECAUSE OF ROAD CONDITIONS IS TO BE REGARDED AS A TEMPORARY RURAL CARRIER ON A TEMPORARY ROUTE WHOSE COMPENSATION IS REQUIRED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 17 (F) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, TO FIXED AT THE GRADE 1 FOR THE MILEAGE INVOLVED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JUNE 18, 1946:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 8, 1946, AS FOLLOWS:

1. WILL THE PROMOTION OF A SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEE TO A REGULAR POSITION CONSTITUTE A BREAK IN SUBSTITUTE SERVICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING HIS ELIGIBILITY FOR A SUBSEQUENT PROMOTION AS A SUBSTITUTE IN THE EVENT HE IS RELEGATED TO THE SUBSTITUTE ROLLS BEFORE HE RECEIVES AN INCREASE IN COMPENSATION AS A REGULAR?

IN YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 10, 1944 (B-41099), YOU STATE IN ANSWER TO QUESTION 13 THAT THE PROMOTION OF A SUBSTITUTE TO A REGULAR POSITION CONSTITUTES A BREAK IN SERVICE BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT UPON APPOINTMENT TO THE REGULAR POSITION THE SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEE RECEIVES CREDIT FOR ALL PRIOR SUBSTITUTE SERVICE IN FIXING HIS SALARY GRADE IN THE REGULAR POSITION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TERMS OF SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 24, 1944, PUBLIC LAW 266. HOWEVER THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, CHANGES THIS PROCEDURE AND PARAGRAPH (F) OF SECTION 12 PROVIDES IN PART,"* * * 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.'

UNDER THIS PROCEDURE SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEES UPON ADVANCEMENT TO REGULAR ARE GIVEN THE GRADE CORRESPONDING TO THE HOURLY RATE THAT THEY HELD AT THE TIME OF THEIR CONVERSION TO A REGULAR POSITION. ALL CREDITABLE HOURS OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE EARNED SINCE HIS LAST COMPENSATION INCREASE AS A SUBSTITUTE ARE ADDED TO THE HOURS OF REGULAR SERVICE IN FIXING THE TIME OF HIS SALARY INCREASE AS A REGULAR. WITH THE LARGE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES RETURNING FROM THE ARMED FORCES IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO RELEGATE HUNDREDS OF REGULAR EMPLOYEES TO SUBSTITUTE ROLLS IN ORDER TO PROVIDE POSITIONS FOR RETURNING FORMER REGULAR EMPLOYEES. IN MANY INSTANCES AN EMPLOYEE WILL HAVE BEEN PROMOTED TO A REGULAR POSITION AND RELEGATED TO SUBSTITUTE BEFORE HE RECEIVES AN INCREASE AS A REGULAR, WHICH ACTION WILL, IF THE RELEGATION TO THE SUBSTITUTE ROLLS BEGINS A NEW PERIOD OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE, ACT TO CANCEL ALL CREDITABLE HOURS OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE EARNED PRIOR TO HIS APPOINTMENT AS A REGULAR WITHOUT THE EMPLOYEE HAVING RECEIVED ANY BENEFIT FROM SUCH CREDITABLE SERVICE. THERE FOLLOWS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW THIS WILL OPERATE:

SUBSTITUTE CLERK "A" WAS APPOINTED JULY 1, 1945, AND PROMOTED TO REGULAR JANUARY 1, 1946, WITH 1500 HOURS CREDITABLE SUBSTITUTE SERVICE. FEBRUARY 1, 1946, HE WAS REDUCED TO SUBSTITUTE BECAUSE OF THE RETURN FROM THE ARMED FORCES OF A FORMER REGULAR CLERK. ON THE DATE OF HIS RELEGATION HIS COMBINED SUBSTITUTE AND REGULAR SERVICE APPROXIMATED 1668 HOURS OF SERVICE WHICH HE WILL LOSE IF HE IS FORCED TO START A NEW PERIOD OF SUBSTITUTE SERVICE ON FEBRUARY 1, 1946. THIS WILL ALSO MAKE THIS SUBSTITUTE A JUNIOR IN PAY TO EMPLOYEES APPOINTED AFTER HIM BUT WHO WERE NOT PROMOTED TO REGULAR POSITIONS.

2. IN FIXING THE SALARY GRADE OF AUXILIARY RURAL CARRIERS APPOINTED TO SERVE A FIXED PORTION OF A REGULAR RURAL ROUTE FOR A DEFINITE PERIOD OF TIME WILL THE SALARY OF THIS AUXILIARY CARRIER BE DETERMINED BY THE GRADE OCCUPIED BY THE REGULAR CARRIER SERVING THE MAJOR PORTION OF THE ROUTE OR MUST THE AUXILIARY CARRIER BE CONSIDERED A NEW APPOINTEE AND HIS SALARY GRADE FIXED AT GRADE 1?

FOR EXAMPLE, RURAL ROUTE NO. 1, MORRISDALE, PENNSYLVANIA, IS 47.4 MILES IN LENGTH. BECAUSE OF HEAVY WINTER ROADS AN AUXILIARY CARRIER IS ASSIGNED TO SERVE 29.05 MILES OF THIS ROUTE DURING THE PERIOD DECEMBER 16 TO MARCH 15 EACH YEAR. THE REGULAR CARRIER ON THIS ROUTE IS GRADE 8 AND TRAVELS 29.25 MILES DAILY IN SERVING THE REMAINDER OF THE ROUTE. AS THE AUXILIARY CARRIER IS, FOR ALL PRACTICAL PURPOSES, A SUBSTITUTE ASSIGNED TO ASSIST THE REGULAR CARRIER, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT HE SHOULD BE PLACED IN THE SAME GRADE OCCUPIED BY THE REGULAR CARRIER. IF THIS IS CORRECT THEN THE ANNUAL RATE OF THE SALARIES OF THE REGULAR AND AUXILIARY CARRIERS ON THIS ROUTE DURING THE WINTER MONTHS OF THE FISCAL YEAR 1946 WILL BE $2140 EACH.

SECTION 12 (F) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 435, 445, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

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. THAT SECTION AUTHORIZES THE PROMOTION OF SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEES AT THE BEGINNING OF THE QUARTER FOLLOWING TWO THOUSAND AND TWENTY-FOUR HOURS' SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN A PAY STATUS AND DOES NOT LIMIT SUCH SERVICE TO THAT AS A SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEE. FURTHERMORE, AUTHORITY IS GRANTED IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED SECTION FOR THE PROMOTION OF SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEES TO REGULAR POSITIONS AT A SALARY GRADE CORRESPONDING TO THE SALARY AS A SUBSTITUTE AND TO INCLUDE ACCUMULATED FRACTIONAL PARTS OF A YEAR SERVED AS SUBSTITUTE WITH THE REGULAR SERVICE IN DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR PROMOTION TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE FOLLOWING APPOINTMENT TO A REGULAR POSITION.

CONVERSELY, THEREFORE, IT APPEARS REASONABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT A REGULAR EMPLOYEE WHO IS RELEGATED TO THE SUBSTITUTE SERVICE SHOULD BE ASSIGNED TO A SALARY GRADE THEREIN WHICH CORRESPONDS TO THE SALARY HE RECEIVED IN HIS REGULAR POSITION AND THAT ANY FRACTIONAL PART OF A YEAR'S SERVICE ACCUMULATED IN EITHER POSITION SINCE HIS LAST COMPENSATION INCREASE MAY BE COUNTED IN DETERMINING HIS ELIGIBILITY FOR PROMOTION TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE FOLLOWING HIS RELEGATION TO THE SUBSTITUTE SERVICE, PROVIDED, OF COURSE, THAT SUCH EMPLOYEE SHALL NOT RECEIVE MORE THAN ONE INCREASE IN HIS RATE OF PAY WITHIN A PERIOD OF TWELVE MONTHS. CF. 23 COMP. GEN. 766. ACCORDINGLY, WITH REFERENCE TO THE EMPLOYEE COVERED BY THE FIRST QUESTION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER, THE COMBINED SUBSTITUTE AND REGULAR SERVICES OF 1,668 HOURS TO HIS CREDIT ON THE DATE HE WAS RELEGATED TO THE SUBSTITUTE SERVICE MAY BE INCLUDED IN HIS SUBSEQUENT SUBSTITUTE SERVICES FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING HIS ELIGIBILITY FOR PROMOTION TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE SECOND QUESTION, IT MAY BE STATED THAT ALTHOUGH NO SPECIFIC PROVISION IS MADE IN THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, SUPRA, FOR THE EMPLOYMENT AND COMPENSATION OF "AUXILIARY RURAL CARRIERS" UNDER THAT SPECIFIC DESIGNATION, IT APPEARS THAT THE TERM "AUXILIARY," AS APPLIED TO AN EMPLOYEE NECESSARILY CONTEMPLATES ONE WHO ASSISTS AND IS SUBSIDIARY TO ANOTHER EMPLOYEE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS REGULAR ASSIGNED DUTIES. ACCORDINGLY, THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO AN AUXILIARY RURAL CARRIER, WITHIN THE LITERAL MEANING OF THAT DESIGNATION, WOULD APPEAR TO BE AUTHORIZED IN THE MANNER PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 17 (A) OF THE SAID ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, 59 STAT. 456, AS FOLLOWS:

THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY, IN HIS DISCRETION, ALLOW AND PAY SUCH ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION AS HE MAY DETERMINE TO BE FAIR AND REASONABLE IN EACH INDIVIDUAL CASE TO RURAL CARRIERS SERVING HEAVILY PATRONIZED ROUTES NOT EXCEEDING FORTY-FIVE MILES IN LENGTH: PROVIDED, THAT THE TOTAL ANNUAL COMPENSATION OF A RURAL CARRIER SERVING A HEAVILY PATRONIZED ROUTE OF NOT EXCEEDING FORTY-FIVE MILES IN LENGTH SHALL NOT EXCEED $3,000 EXCLUSIVE OF MAINTENANCE ALLOWANCE: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT A RURAL CARRIER BELOW THE MAXIMUM GRADE PROVIDED HEREIN SHALL NOT BE GRANTED AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE FOR SERVING A HEAVILY PATRONIZED ROUTE IN AN AMOUNT THAT WOULD EXCEED $3,000 WHEN ADDED TO THE SALARY HE WOULD RECEIVE IN THE MAXIMUM GRADE.

HOWEVER, FROM THE CIRCUMSTANCES ILLUSTRATED IN YOUR LETTER, IT APPEARS THAT DURING THREE MONTHS OF THE YEAR ROAD CONDITIONS RENDER IT NECESSARY TO DIVIDE THE RURAL ROUTE INVOLVED HEREIN INTO TWO ROUTES, ONE OF WHICH IS SERVED BY THE REGULAR CARRIER AND THE OTHER BY AN "AUXILIARY" CARRIER. THEREFORE, AS THE TEMPORARY OR SUBSTITUTE EMPLOYEE ASSUMES SOLE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF SERVICES ON A DEFINITE MILEAGE EACH DAY, HIS DUTIES ARE MORE IN THE NATURE OF A TEMPORARY CARRIER ON A TEMPORARY ROUTE RATHER THAN AS AN AUXILIARY OR ASSISTANT TO THE REGULAR CARRIER. ACCORDINGLY, THE RATE OF COMPENSATION PAYABLE TO SUCH EMPLOYEE PROPERLY WOULD BE FOR DETERMINATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF 17 (F) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, SUPRA, 59 STAT. 456, WHICH IS, IN MATERIAL PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * 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. HENCE, IT APPEARS THAT THE SALARY OF THE TEMPORARY CARRIER DESIGNATED TO SERVE 29.05 MILES SHOULD BE $1,566 PER ANNUM--- THE GRADE 1 SALARY FOR THAT MILEAGE--- RATHER THAN $2,140 PER ANNUM AS SUGGESTED IN YOUR LETTER. IN THAT CONNECTION IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO MY ATTENTION THAT COMPENSATION OF $1,566 PER ANNUM ACTUALLY WAS APPROVED IN THIS INSTANCE BY YOU IN AN ORDER DATED JANUARY 15, 1946.