B-73769, MARCH 9, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 501

B-73769: Mar 9, 1948

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AS FOLLOWS: AN OFFICIAL OF THIS DEPARTMENT WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE POSITION OF POSTMASTER ON APRIL 1. HIS SERVICES AS POSTMASTER WERE TERMINATED BY REASON OF REAPPOINTMENT AS AN OFFICIAL OF THIS DEPARTMENT. THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN AS TO WHETHER HE IS ENTITLED TO CREDIT FOR THESE 46 1/2 DAYS. WHICH PROVIDE: "THAT EVERY CLASSIFIED CIVIL-SERVICE EMPLOYEE WHO SHALL BE APPOINTED TO THE POSITION OF POSTMASTER SHALL RETAIN TO HIS CREDIT WHATEVER AMOUNT OF SICK LEAVE AND VACATION TIME IS PROPERLY DUE HIM ON THE DATE OF HIS APPOINTMENT TO THE POSITION OF POSTMASTER: PROVIDED. THAT SUCH ACCUMULATED SICK LEAVE AND VACATION TIME SHALL BE TRANSFERRED TO THE CREDIT OF THE EMPLOYEE AS OF THE DATE OF HIS APPOINTMENT AS POSTMASTER IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE TIME MIGHT HAVE BEEN UTILIZED BY HIM BEFORE APPOINTMENT: PROVIDED FURTHER.

B-73769, MARCH 9, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 501

LEAVES OF ABSENCE - ANNUAL - LUMP-SUM PAYMENTS - TRANSFER FROM POSTMASTER TO DEPARTMENTAL POSITION UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 8, 1940, AUTHORIZING THE RETENTION OF ACCRUED ANNUAL LEAVE TO THE CREDIT OF A CLASSIFIED CIVIL-SERVICE EMPLOYEE WHEN APPOINTED TO THE POSITION OF POSTMASTER, SUCH LEAVE BECOMES MERGED WITH THE LEAVE EARNED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN THE OFFICE OF POSTMASTER UNDER SECTION 6 OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, AND UPON THE EMPLOYEE'S SUBSEQUENT TRANSFER OR REEMPLOYMENT IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE, A LUMP-SUM PAYMENT FOR THE PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1944, AUTHORIZING LUMP-SUM PAYMENTS FOR ACCRUED ANNUAL LEAVE UPON TRANSFER TO A DIFFERENT LEAVE SYSTEM.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, MARCH 9, 1948:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 17, 1948, REFERENCE 3, AS FOLLOWS:

AN OFFICIAL OF THIS DEPARTMENT WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE POSITION OF POSTMASTER ON APRIL 1, 1936. AS OF MARCH 31, 1936, HE HAD 46 1/2 DAY'S ACCUMULATED AND ACCRUED ANNUAL LEAVE TO HIS CREDIT.

ON JANUARY 31, 1948, HIS SERVICES AS POSTMASTER WERE TERMINATED BY REASON OF REAPPOINTMENT AS AN OFFICIAL OF THIS DEPARTMENT. HE HAS SUBMITTED A CLAIM FOR LUMP-SUM PAYMENT FOR ACCUMULATED AND ACCRUED ANNUAL LEAVE, INCLUDING THE 46 1/2 DAYS TO HIS CREDIT ON MARCH 31, 1936, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 525, 78TH CONGRESS, 58 STAT. 845. THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN AS TO WHETHER HE IS ENTITLED TO CREDIT FOR THESE 46 1/2 DAYS, IN THE AGGREGATE OF ANNUAL LEAVE FOR WHICH PAYMENT MAY BE MADE, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 8, 1940, 54 STAT. 252 (39 U.S.C. 68), WHICH PROVIDE:

"THAT EVERY CLASSIFIED CIVIL-SERVICE EMPLOYEE WHO SHALL BE APPOINTED TO THE POSITION OF POSTMASTER SHALL RETAIN TO HIS CREDIT WHATEVER AMOUNT OF SICK LEAVE AND VACATION TIME IS PROPERLY DUE HIM ON THE DATE OF HIS APPOINTMENT TO THE POSITION OF POSTMASTER: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH ACCUMULATED SICK LEAVE AND VACATION TIME SHALL BE TRANSFERRED TO THE CREDIT OF THE EMPLOYEE AS OF THE DATE OF HIS APPOINTMENT AS POSTMASTER IN THE SAME MANNER AS THE TIME MIGHT HAVE BEEN UTILIZED BY HIM BEFORE APPOINTMENT: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THIS ACT SHALL BE RETROACTIVE TO THE EXTENT THAT EVERY POSTMASTER AT A FIRST- OR SECOND-CLASS POST OFFICE WHO SHALL HAVE RECEIVED APPOINTMENT AS POSTMASTER WHILE AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CLASSIFIED CIVIL-SERVICE AND WHO SHALL HOLD THE POSITION OF POSTMASTER ON THE DATE THIS ACT BECOMES EFFECTIVE, SHALL BE ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THE ACT AND SHALL BE CREDITED WITH THE AMOUNT OF ACCUMULATED SICK LEAVE AND VACATION TIME WHICH WAS DUE HIM ON THE DATE OF HIS APPOINTMENT AS POSTMASTER: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT ALL LAWS AND PARTS OF LAWS INCONSISTENT WITH THIS ACT ARE HEREBY REPEALED.'

YOUR EARLY DECISION IN THIS MATTER WILL BE APPRECIATED.

YOUR REFERENCE TO AN "OFFICIAL OF THIS DEPARTMENT" IS UNDERSTOOD TO MEAN AN OFFICIAL IN THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT AS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE POSTAL SERVICE, AND YOUR SUBMISSION WILL BE ANSWERED UPON THAT BASIS.

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 21, 1944, 58 STAT, 846, PROVIDES:

SEC. 3. THAT ALL ACCUMULATED AND CURRENT LEAVE BE LIQUIDATED BY A LUMP- SUM PAYMENT TO ANY CIVILIAN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN CASES INVOLVING TRANSFER TO AGENCIES UNDER DIFFERENT LEAVE SYSTEMS. SUCH LUMP-SUM PAYMENT SHALL EQUAL THE COMPENSATION THAT SUCH EMPLOYEE WOULD HAVE RECEIVED HAD HE NOT BEEN TRANSFERRED UNTIL THE EXPIRATION OF THE PERIOD OF SUCH LEAVE: PROVIDED, THAT THE LUMP-SUM PAYMENT HEREIN AUTHORIZED SHALL NOT BE REGARDED, EXCEPT FOR PURPOSES OF TAXATION, AS SALARY OR COMPENSATION AND SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO RETIREMENT DEDUCTIONS.

THE ANNUAL LEAVE OF POSTMASTERS AT THE PRESENT TIME IS COVERED BY SECTION 6 OF THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACT OF 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 436, AND IS LIMITED TO 15 DAYS, EXCLUSIVE OF SATURDAYS, SUNDAYS, AND HOLIDAYS, EACH FISCAL YEAR, WHILE THE ANNUAL LEAVE OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS IS GOVERNED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 14, 1936, 49 STAT. 1161, AS AMENDED, WHICH GRANTS PERMANENT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES 26 DAYS EACH CALENDAR YEAR, EXCLUSIVE OF SUNDAYS, HOLIDAYS, AND NON-WORKDAYS. THEREFORE, THE ANNUAL LEAVE GRANTED POSTMASTER AND THE ANNUAL LEAVE GRANTED EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENTS ARE UNDER DIFFERENT LEAVE SYSTEMS.

WHEN FIRST INTRODUCED IN CONGRESS H.R. 5784, 76TH CONGRESS, WHICH BECAME THE ACT OF JUNE 8, 1940, WAS LIMITED TO "EVERY CLASSIFIED CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEE IN A FIRST OR SECOND CLASS POST OFFICE," BUT IN A REPORT TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTEE ON CIVIL SERVICE, MAY 23, 1939, THE ACTING POSTMASTER GENERAL RECOMMENDED THAT THE LANGUAGE BE BROADENED TO READ "EVERY CLASSIFIED EMPLOYEE OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT OR OF THE POSTAL SERVICE," STATING AS HIS REASONS THEREFOR THAT OCCASION MIGHT ARISE FOR THE APPOINTMENT TO THE POSITION OF POSTMASTER OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, INSPECTORS AND OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE. HOWEVER, AS FINALLY REPORTED FROM THE COMMITTEE AND ENACTED, THE STATUTE REFERS BROADLY TO "EVERY CLASSIFIED CIVIL-SERVICE EMPLOYEE, WITHOUT LIMITATION. WHILE IT WAS REPRESENTED ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE, WHEN THE BILL WAS BEING CONSIDERED BY THAT BODY, AS PERTAINING ONLY TO CAREER POSTAL SERVICE EMPLOYEES (SEE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, VOL. 86, PART 5, PAGE 4829, AND VOL. 86, PART 7, PAGE 7107) THE ELIMINATION BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF ALL LIMITATIONS UPON CLASSIFIED CIVIL- SERVICE EMPLOYEES LEADS ME TO CONCLUDE THAT ITS PROVISIONS WOULD BE APPLICABLE TO ANY CLASSIFIED CIVIL-SERVICE EMPLOYEE WHEN APPOINTED POSTMASTER, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER APPOINTED WHILE SERVING IN THE POSTAL SERVICE OR IN ANY BRANCH OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE.

WHILE THE ACT OF JUNE 8, 1940, 54 STAT. 252 AUTHORIZES THE TRANSFER OF ANNUAL LEAVE ACCRUED TO A CLASSIFIED CIVIL-SERVICE EMPLOYEE UNDER ANY LAW TO THE CREDIT OF AN EMPLOYEE WHEN APPOINTED POSTMASTER, THE STATUTE DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE THAT SUCH LEAVE MAY BE RETRANSFERRED SHOULD A POSTMASTER SUBSEQUENTLY BE APPOINTED TO ANOTHER CIVILIAN POSITION UNDER ANOTHER LEAVE LAW. ACCORDINGLY, THE LEAVE SO TRANSFERRED BECOMES MERGED WITH THAT EARNED IN THE OFFICE OF POSTMASTER UNDER SECTION 6 OF THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES ACT OF 1945, AND ANY SUBSEQUENT TRANSFER OR REEMPLOYMENT IN THE DEPARTMENT SERVICE WOULD CONSTITUTE A TRANSFER TO A DIFFERENT LEAVE SYSTEM WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE LUMP SUM LEAVE ACT OF 1944, AND PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE AT THAT TIME FOR ALL LEAVE THEN STANDING TO THE CREDIT OF THE POSTMASTER IRRESPECTIVE OF ITS ORIGIN.