B-58196, JULY 22, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 51

B-58196: Jul 22, 1946

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WHOSE SALARIES WERE ADJUSTED AS OF JULY 1. 1946: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 27. WHEN A RURAL CARRIER'S ROUTE IS DECREASED IN LENGTH TO 16 MILES OR LESS AM I CORRECT IN READJUSTING THE CARRIER'S GRADE TO THE GRADE TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE PROGRESSED HAD HIS ROUTE BEEN 16 MILES OR LESS ON JUNE 30. IF THE CARRIER WAS IN THE SERVICE JUNE 30. WAS PLACED IN GRADE 8 AT $1. WAS PLACED IN GRADE 9 AT $1. AS THAT IS THE GRADE TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED HAD HE BEEN SERVING A ROUTE OF THAT LENGTH ON JUNE 30. IF YOUR ANSWER TO QUESTION 1 IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE WILL THE CARRIER WHO WAS PLACED IN A HIGHER GRADE BECAUSE OF A REDUCTION IN THE LENGTH OF HIS ROUTE BE ENTITLED TO AN AUTOMATIC PROMOTION ON JULY 1.

B-58196, JULY 22, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 51

COMPENSATION - ADJUSTMENTS; AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS - RURAL CARRIERS RURAL CARRIERS SERVING ROUTES ON JUNE 30, 1945, WHOSE SALARIES WERE ADJUSTED AS OF JULY 1, 1945, PURSUANT TO SECTION 17 (G) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, BY ASSIGNING THEM IN ONE OF FOUR GRADES, DEPENDING UPON THE LENGTH OF THE ROUTE SERVED, RETAIN THE SALARY APPLICABLE TO THE GRADE ASSIGNED, EVEN THOUGH THE LENGTH OF THE ROUTE BE INCREASED OR DECREASED AFTER JULY 1, 1945--- THE AMOUNT OF THE SALARY, AFTER SUCH GRADE ADJUSTMENT, BEING FOR COMPUTATION UNDER SECTION 17 (A) OF THE ACT AT THE RATE PRESCRIBED FOR SUCH GRADE BASED UPON THE ACTUAL DISTANCE OF THE ROUTE SERVED AND THE FIXED COMPENSATION APPLICABLE TO THE PARTICULAR GRADE. POSTAL SERVICE EMPLOYEES WHO TRANSFER EITHER TO OR FROM THE RURAL DELIVERY SERVICE MAY NOT COUNT SERVICE IN THE POSITIONS FROM WHICH TRANSFERRED TOWARD THE "ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN EACH GRADE" REQUIRED FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION PURPOSES UNDER THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JULY 22, 1946:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 27, 1946, REFERENCE 15, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 17 (G) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, READS IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"IN THE READJUSTMENT OF THE SALARIES OF CARRIERS IN THE RURAL DELIVERY SERVICE TO CONFORM TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT, RURAL CARRIERS ASSIGNED TO ROUTES SEVENTEEN MILES OR MORE IN LENGTH SHALL BE PLACED IN GRADE 8; RURAL CARRIERS ASSIGNED TO ROUTES ELEVEN TO SIXTEEN MILES IN LENGTH, INCLUSIVE, SHALL BE PLACED IN GRADE 9; RURAL CARRIERS ASSIGNED TO ROUTES EIGHT TO TEN MILES IN LENGTH, INCLUSIVE, SHALL BE PLACED IN GRADE 10, AND RURAL CARRIERS ASSIGNED TO ROUTES SEVEN MILES OR LESS IN LENGTH SHALL BE PLACED IN GRADE 11 * * *.'

1. WHEN A RURAL CARRIER'S ROUTE IS DECREASED IN LENGTH TO 16 MILES OR LESS AM I CORRECT IN READJUSTING THE CARRIER'S GRADE TO THE GRADE TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE PROGRESSED HAD HIS ROUTE BEEN 16 MILES OR LESS ON JUNE 30, 1945, IF THE CARRIER WAS IN THE SERVICE JUNE 30, 1945?

IT FREQUENTLY HAPPENS THAT IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE RURAL DELIVERY SERVICE A CARRIER'S ROUTE MUST BE DECREASED BECAUSE OF ADJUSTMENTS, ERRORS IN MILEAGE, ET CETERA. A CARRIER SERVING, FOR EXAMPLE, A 17 MILE ROUTE ON JUNE 30, 1945, WAS PLACED IN GRADE 8 AT $1,324 PER ANNUM ON JULY 1, 1945. A CARRIER SERVING A 16 MILE ROUTE ON JUNE 30, 1945, WAS PLACED IN GRADE 9 AT $1,312 PER ANNUM ON JULY 1, 1945. IT WOULD THEREFORE APPEAR LOGICAL THAT IF THE CARRIER SERVING THE 17 MILE ROUTE HAS HIS MILEAGE REDUCED TO 16 MILES THAT HE SHOULD BE PLACED ON GRADE 9, AS THAT IS THE GRADE TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED HAD HE BEEN SERVING A ROUTE OF THAT LENGTH ON JUNE 30, 1945.

2. IF YOUR ANSWER TO QUESTION 1 IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE WILL THE CARRIER WHO WAS PLACED IN A HIGHER GRADE BECAUSE OF A REDUCTION IN THE LENGTH OF HIS ROUTE BE ENTITLED TO AN AUTOMATIC PROMOTION ON JULY 1, 1946?

IN THE EXAMPLE CITED FOLLOWING QUESTION 1 THE REDUCTION IN LENGTH OF THE ROUTE WOULD OBVIOUSLY HAVE TO BE MADE SUBSEQUENT TO JULY 1, 1945. AS THE CARRIER HAS SERVED ONE YEAR SINCE JULY 1, 1945, AND OTHERWISE HAS MET ALL REQUIREMENTS FOR PROMOTION IT WOULD APPEAR LOGICAL THAT IN THE EXAMPLE GIVEN THE CARRIER SHOULD BE PLACED IN GRADE 10 ON JULY 1, 1946, AS THAT IS THE GRADE TO WHICH HE NORMALLY WOULD HAVE PROGRESSED HAD HIS ROUTE BEEN LESS THAN 17 MILES ON JULY 1, 1945.

3. IN THOSE INSTANCES WHERE A CARRIER WAS CONVERTED TO A GRADE HIGHER THAN 8 BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT HIS ROUTE WAS LESS THAN 17 MILES IN LENGTH ON JUNE 30, 1945, SHOULD HIS GRADE BE REDUCED TO THE GRADE TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE PROGRESSED UNDER PUBLIC LAW 134 IN THE EVENT HIS ROUTE IS INCREASED TO 17 OR MORE MILES IN LENGTH AFTER JULY 1, 1945?

THIS IS THE ANTITHESIS OF THE PROBLEM PRESENTED IN QUESTION 1. A CARRIER SERVING A ROUTE 16 MILES IN LENGTH ON JUNE 30, 1945, WAS PLACED IN GRADE 9 ON JULY 1, 1945, AT $1312 PER ANNUM. IF HIS ROUTE IS SUBSEQUENTLY INCREASED TO 17 MILES IN LENGTH HE WILL BE PLACED IN THE $1382 GRADE IF HE CONTINUES IN GRADE 9, WHEREAS OTHER CARRIERS WILL BE RECEIVING $1320 PER ANNUM IF THEY WERE SERVING A ROUTE OF THAT LENGTH ON JUNE 30, 1945.

THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS ALSO APPLY IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSFER OF RURAL CARRIERS FROM ONE ROUTE TO ANOTHER. IT OFTEN HAPPENS THAT A CARRIER SERVING A ROUTE LESS THAN 17 MILES IN LENGTH TRANSFERS TO A ROUTE CONSIDERABLY IN EXCESS OF THAT LENGTH. OFTEN THE MAN HE TRANSFERS WITH ASSUMES THE SHORT ROUTE AND THE QUESTION IMMEDIATELY ARISES WITH RESPECT TO THE ADJUSTMENT OF THEIR GRADES.

4. IF A RURAL CARRIER IS TRANSFERRED TO THE POSITION OF CLERK IN A POST OFFICE OR AS A CITY DELIVERY CARRIER MAY HIS TIME SERVED AS A RURAL CARRIER SINCE HIS LAST AUTOMATIC PROMOTION BE COUNTED IN DETERMINING THE DATE OF HIS NEXT AUTOMATIC PROMOTION AS A CLERK OR CITY DELIVERY CARRIER?

5. MAY TIME SERVED BY A RURAL CARRIER IN SOME OTHER POSITION IN THE POSTAL SERVICE BE COUNTED AS CREDITABLE SERVICE WITH RESPECT TO AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS?

IN MANY INSTANCES SUBSTITUTE OR REGULAR CLERKS IN FIRST-, SECOND-, OR THIRD-CLASS OFFICES AND SUBSTITUTE OR REGULAR CITY DELIVERY CARRIERS AND RURAL CARRIERS ARE TRANSFERRED TO THE POSITION OF CLERK OR CITY CARRIER. AS THESE TRANSFERS ARE MADE AT ODD TIMES GENERALLY THE EMPLOYEE HAS SEVERAL MONTHS OF SERVICE AS A CLERK OR CARRIER THAT WOULD BE CREDITED TOWARD HIS NEXT AUTOMATIC PROMOTION. AS RURAL CARRIERS AS WELL AS CLERKS AND CITY OR VILLAGE DELIVERY CARRIERS RECEIVE ANNUAL AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS IT WOULD APPEAR REASONABLE THAT CREDITABLE SERVICE REMAINING TO THE CREDIT OF SUCH CLERKS OR CARRIERS SHOULD BE TRANSFERRED WITH THEM WHEN THEY ARE REASSIGNED TO ANOTHER BRANCH OF THE POSTAL SERVICE.

SECTION 17 (A) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 455, DIVIDES CARRIERS IN THE RURAL DELIVERY SERVICE INTO 14 GRADES, WITH SALARIES BASED IN PART UPON SPECIFIED RATES PER MILE PER ANNUM AND IN PART UPON FIXED COMPENSATION PER ANNUM FOR EACH PARTICULAR GRADE. SECTION 17 (G) OF SAID ACT, 59 STAT. 456, QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, REQUIRES THAT THE SALARIES OF RURAL CARRIERS SERVING ROUTES ON JUNE 30, 1945, BE ADJUSTED TO CONFORM TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT BY PLACING THE EMPLOYEES IN GRADES 8, 9, 10, OR 11, DEPENDING UPON THE LENGTH OF THE ROUTE SERVED BY SUCH EMPLOYEES.

THE LENGTH OF SUCH AN EMPLOYEE'S ROUTE IS REQUIRED TO BE CONSIDERED ONLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF PLACING HIM ON AND AFTER JULY 1, 1945, INTO ONE OF THE FOUR GRADES SPECIFIED. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE STATUTE WHICH PROVIDES THAT THE GRADE OF SUCH EMPLOYEE, AFTER THUS HAVING BEEN FIXED, SHALL THEREAFTER BE ADJUSTED IN THE EVENT OF ANY INCREASE OR DECREASE IN THE LENGTH OF HIS ROUTE AFTER JULY 1, 1945. HENCE, AFTER SUCH DATE AN EMPLOYEE WOULD RETAIN THE SALARY APPLICABLE TO THE GRADE ORIGINALLY ASSIGNED TO HIM UNDER THE STATUTE, REGARDLESS OF THE LENGTH OF THE ROUTE SERVED BY HIM AFTER JULY 1, 1945, THE AMOUNT OF SAID SALARY, OF COURSE, BEING COMPUTED AT THE RATE PRESCRIBED FOR SUCH GRADE BASED UPON THE ACTUAL DISTANCE OF THE ROUTE SERVED AND THE FIXED COMPENSATION APPLICABLE TO THE PARTICULAR GRADE.

QUESTION 1, THEREFORE, IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, RENDERING UNNECESSARY ANY ANSWER TO QUESTION 2. QUESTION 3 LIKEWISE IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE. SINCE AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS UNDER THE TERMS OF THE ABOVE STATUTE ARE AUTHORIZED ONLY AFTER "ONE YEAR'S SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN EACH GRADE," THE TIME SPENT FOR SERVICES RENDERED IN ANY OTHER POSITION OR GRADE MAY NOT BE COUNTED IN GRANTING SUCH AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS. SEE 7 COMP. GEN. 295; 14 COMP. GEN. 311; AND 15 COMP. GEN. 526. ACCORDINGLY, QUESTIONS 4 AND 5 ARE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.