B-65165, APRIL 29, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 827

B-65165: Apr 29, 1947

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EXCEPT FOR A DECREASE IN GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS TO AN AMOUNT FOR WHICH A LOWER SALARY GRADE IS PROVIDED. 1947: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 3. EXCEPT FOR A DECREASE IN GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS TO AN AMOUNT FOR WHICH A LOWER SALARY GRADE IS PROVIDED.'. SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT CERTAIN QUESTIONS ARE ARISING WITH RESPECT TO THE INTERPRETATION OF THIS SECTION. IN OFFICE "A" THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY WAS RETAINED AT $6. THIS SALARY WAS INCREASED UNDER PUBLIC LAW 386 TO $6. THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY WAS SET AT $6. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE INCUMBENT POSTMASTER WAS ALSO POSTMASTER ON JULY 1. AT OFFICE "B" THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY WAS RETAINED AT $6. THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY WAS REDUCED TO $5.

B-65165, APRIL 29, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 827

COMPENSATION - POSTAL SERVICE - POSTMASTERS - SAVINGS CLAUSE EFFECT ON SALARY READJUSTMENTS SECTION 8 (B) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, PROVIDING THAT THE ANNUAL COMPENSATION OF AN INCUMBENT POSTMASTER SHALL NOT BE READJUSTED TO CONFORM TO THE SALARIES PROVIDED IN SECTION 8 (A) THEREOF, EXCEPT FOR A DECREASE IN GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS TO AN AMOUNT FOR WHICH A LOWER SALARY GRADE IS PROVIDED, MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS SAVING THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS BEYOND THE INITIAL ADJUSTMENT UNDER THE STATUTE AS OF JULY 1, 1945; AND AFTER SUCH DATE THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS MUST BE COMPUTED AND FIXED AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH FISCAL YEAR IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 8 (A) OF SAID STATUTE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, APRIL 29, 1947:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 3, 1947, REFERENCE 15, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 8 (B) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, READS AS FOLLOWS:

"THE BASE ANNUAL COMPENSATION OF AN INCUMBENT POSTMASTER SHALL NOT BE REDUCED IN THE READJUSTMENT TO CONFORM TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT, EXCEPT FOR A DECREASE IN GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS TO AN AMOUNT FOR WHICH A LOWER SALARY GRADE IS PROVIDED.'

IN SETTING THE SALARIES OF CERTAIN POSTMASTERS ON JULY 1, 1947, SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT CERTAIN QUESTIONS ARE ARISING WITH RESPECT TO THE INTERPRETATION OF THIS SECTION. FOR EXAMPLE, IN OFFICE "A" THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY WAS RETAINED AT $6,000 PER ANNUM ON JULY 1, 1945, ON THE BASIS OF GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS OF $850,000; THIS SALARY WAS INCREASED UNDER PUBLIC LAW 386 TO $6,400 ON JANUARY 1, 1946. ON JULY 1, 1946, THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY WAS SET AT $6,400 ON THE BASIS OF RECEIPTS OF $1,010,000, PUBLIC LAW 134 (AS AMENDED BY PUBLIC LAW 386) PROVIDING THAT FOR OFFICES HAVING RECEIPTS OF $1,000,000 BUT LESS THAN $1,500,000 THE POSTMASTER SHALL RECEIVE A SALARY OF $6,400 PER ANNUM. THE RECEIPTS OF THIS OFFICE FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR JUST CLOSED AMOUNT TO $850,000 PER ANNUM, WHICH, UNDER PUBLIC LAW 134 (AS AMENDED BY PUBLIC LAW 386) PROVIDES FOR A SALARY OF $6,000 PER ANNUM. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE INCUMBENT POSTMASTER WAS ALSO POSTMASTER ON JULY 1, 1945, MAY HIS SALARY BE RETAINED AT $6,400 PER ANNUM DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1948?

ANOTHER EXAMPLE, AT OFFICE "B" THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY WAS RETAINED AT $6,000 PER ANNUM ON JULY 1, 1945, ON THE BASIS OF RECEIPTS OF $810,000 AND INCREASED TO $6,400 ON JANUARY 1, 1946, UNDER PUBLIC LAW 386. ON JULY 1, 1946, THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY WAS REDUCED TO $5,700 PER ANNUM BECAUSE OF A REDUCTION IN POSTAL RECEIPTS TO $535,000 PER ANNUM. THE RECEIPTS OF THIS OFFICE FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR JUST CLOSED AMOUNT TO $810,000, WHICH, UNDER PUBLIC LAW 134, AS AMENDED, PROVIDES FOR A SALARY OF $6,000 PER ANNUM. VIRTUE OF THE FACT THAT THE POSTMASTER RECEIVED $6,400 ON JULY 1, 1945, IS HE NOW ENTITLED TO THE PROTECTION OF SECTION 8 (B) TO THE EXTENT THAT HIS SALARY WILL BE RESTORED TO THE $6,400 PER ANNUM RATE?

IN THE ORIGINAL DRAFT OF H.R. 2071, SEVENTY-NINTH CONGRESS, FOR WHICH H.R. 3035 (WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 134), APPARENTLY WAS SUBSTITUTED, THE SAVING CLAUSE PROVIDED:

THIS ACT SHALL NOT BE APPLIED SO AS TO REDUCE THE BASE COMPENSATION OF ANY POSTMASTER. HOWEVER, THAT LANGUAGE WAS STRICKEN OUT IN THE COMMITTEE AND THE LANGUAGE OF THE SAVING CLAUSE QUOTED IN YOUR SUBMISSION SUBSTITUTED THEREFOR. SAID PROVISION WAS REFERRED TO IN THE HEARINGS BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON POST OFFICES AND POST ROADS, UNITED STATES SENATE, BY MR. PHILIP J. GALLAGHER, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF POSTMASTERS, GIVING HIS UNDERSTANDING THEREOF (P. 60) AS FOLLOWS:

YOUR ATTENTION IS RESPECTFULLY DIRECTED TO THE MATTER OF PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH A NEW SALARY BRACKET FOR POSTMASTERS AT OFFICES WITH RECEIPTS OF $600,000 BUT LESS THAN $1,000,000. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SUCH A GRADE WILL RESULT IN CONFUSION AND INEQUALITY, AND WE URGE YOU TO ABOLISH THIS GRADE AND RETAIN THE PRESENT GRADE, WITH RECEIPTS OF 600,000 BUT LESS THAN $1,500,000.

UNDER THE PROPOSED GRADE AS SET UP IN BOTH BILLS THE INCUMBENT POSTMASTER WOULD CONTINUE TO RECEIVE A SALARY OF $6,000 AS LONG AS HE REMAINED IN OFFICE AND AS LONG AS THE RECEIPTS OF THE OFFICE DID NOT ADVANCE TO MORE THAN $1,000,000 OR FALL BELOW $600,000, BUT IF THE RECEIPTS OF SUCH AN OFFICE ADVANCE IN ANY ONE YEAR TO $1,000,001, SUCH ADVANCE WOULD BRING THE POSTMASTER INTO THE BRACKET WITH RECEIPTS OF $1,000,000 BUT LESS THAN $1,500,000, AND HIS SALARY WOULD STILL REMAIN AT $6,000, NO ADVANCE IN SALARY BEING PROVIDED.

IF, IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR, THE RECEIPTS OF THIS OFFICE FELL BELOW $1,000,000 HE WOULD GO BACK TO THE SAME GRADE FROM WHICH HE ADVANCED THE YEAR PREVIOUSLY WITH NO ADVANCE IN SALARY, BUT IN RETURNING TO THIS BRACKET HE DROPS DOWN NOT TO THE OLD SALARY OF $6,000 BUT TO THE NEW GRADE SET UP ON THESE BILLS; NAMELY, $5,600, AND FOR ADVANCING HE GETS NO INCREASE, BUT FOR DROPPING BACK AFTER A YEAR HE RECEIVES A $400 REDUCTION IN SALARY. MR. GALLAGHER'S UNDERSTANDING OF THE PROVISION DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN CONTRADICTED OR CHALLENGED AND NO CHANGE WAS MADE IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE REFERRED-TO PROVISION. IT THUS IS APPARENT THAT THERE WAS NO INTENTION TO SAVE THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS BEYOND THE INITIAL ADJUSTMENT UNDER THE PAY ACT AS OF JULY 1, 1945. IN THE ADJUSTMENT OF THEIR SALARIES AS OF THAT DATE THE SALARIES WERE NOT TO BE REDUCED UNLESS THE RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR OF 1944, UPON WHICH THE SALARIES OF THE POSTMASTERS WOULD HAVE BEEN FOR COMPUTING JULY 1, 1945, HAD FALLEN TO A LEVEL LOWER THAN THAT UPON WHICH THE THEN CURRENT SALARY BEFORE ADJUSTMENT WAS FIXED. FOR EXAMPLE, IF THE RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1943 WERE $400,000 AND THAT AMOUNT WARRANTED A SALARY OF $5,000 FROM JULY 1, 1944, THROUGH JUNE 30, 1945, UNDER THE THEN EXISTING FORMULA, AND FURTHER, IF THE RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1944 WERE IN THE SAME AMOUNT WHICH, UNDER THE NEW FORMULA PRESCRIBED BY PUBLIC LAW 10134, WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN A SALARY OF $4,800 ON JULY 1, 1945, SECTION 8 (B) OF THE STATUTE, 49 STAT. 438, WOULD SAVE TO THE POSTMASTER HIS SALARY OF $5,000; BUT, ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THE RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1944 HAD FALLEN DOWN TO $300,000 THEN HIS SALARY WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED HAVE BEEN ADJUSTED TO $4,600 ON JULY 1, 1945, BECAUSE OF THE EXCEPTION SET OUT IN THE SAVING CLAUSE (SECTION 8 (B) ). AFTER JULY 1, 1945, THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS MUST BE COMPUTED AND FIXED THE FIRST OF EACH JULY IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 8 (A) OF THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACT OF 1945, 59 STAT. 437, AS AMENDED.

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING, THE POSTMASTER IN EXAMPLE "A" DOES NOT RETAIN THE BENEFIT OF THE SAVING CLAUSE BEYOND THE INITIAL ADJUSTMENT JULY 1, 1945; CONSEQUENTLY, ON JULY 1, 1947, HIS SALARY IS FOR COMPUTATION UPON THE BASIS OF THE RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1946, AND MUST BE REDUCED ON THAT DATE TO $6,000.

SIMILARLY, IN EXAMPLE "B" THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY ON JULY 1, 1947, MUST BE BASED UPON THE RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1946, WITHOUT REGARD TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE SAVING CLAUSE (SECTION 8 (B) ).