B-79250, SEPTEMBER 9, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 162

B-79250: Sep 9, 1948

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IS EFFECTIVE FROM THE DATE OF ITS APPROVAL. 1948: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 6. PROVIDES THAT THE BASE ANNUAL COMPENSATION OF AN INCUMBENT POSTMASTER SHALL NOT BE REDUCED IN THE READJUSTMENT TO CONFORM WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT EXCEPT FOR A DECREASE IN GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS TO AN AMOUNT FOR WHICH A LOWER SALARY GRADE IS PROVIDED. PUBLIC LAW 836 WAS APPROVED WHICH AMENDED SECTION POSTMASTERS IN OFFICES HAVING RECEIPTS OF $600. 000 SHALL NOT HAVE THEIR SALARY REDUCED UNLESS THE RECEIPTS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES DROP BELOW $600. IT WILL BE APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL ADVISE ME IF THIS AMENDMENT TO SECTION 8 (B) OF PUBLIC LAW 134 IS EFFECTIVE JULY 1. IF YOU CONCLUDE THAT THIS ACT IS NOT RETROACTIVE TO THAT DATE IS IT EFFECTIVE JULY 1.

B-79250, SEPTEMBER 9, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 162

COMPENSATION - POSTAL SERVICE - POSTMASTERS - EFFECTIVE DATE OF STATUTORY SAVINGS CLAUSE ON SALARY READJUSTMENTS THE ACT OF JUNE 29, 1948, ADDING A PROVISO TO SECTION 8 (B) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, PRECLUDING THE REDUCTION OF SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS IN FIRST-CLASS OFFICES HAVING RECEIPTS OF $600,000 BUT LESS THAN $1,500,000 UNLESS THE RECEIPTS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES DROP BELOW $600,000 FOR ANY ONE CALENDAR YEAR, IS EFFECTIVE FROM THE DATE OF ITS APPROVAL, JUNE 29, 1948, ONLY, BUT READJUSTMENTS IN POSTMASTERS' SALARIES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1949 SHOULD BE BASED ON THE RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 1947.

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

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 6, 1948, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 8 (B) OF THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, PROVIDES THAT THE BASE ANNUAL COMPENSATION OF AN INCUMBENT POSTMASTER SHALL NOT BE REDUCED IN THE READJUSTMENT TO CONFORM WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT EXCEPT FOR A DECREASE IN GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS TO AN AMOUNT FOR WHICH A LOWER SALARY GRADE IS PROVIDED. ON JUNE 29, 1948, PUBLIC LAW 836 WAS APPROVED WHICH AMENDED SECTION POSTMASTERS IN OFFICES HAVING RECEIPTS OF $600,000 BUT LESS THAN $1,500,000 SHALL NOT HAVE THEIR SALARY REDUCED UNLESS THE RECEIPTS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES DROP BELOW $600,000 FOR ANY ONE CALENDAR YEAR.'

IT WILL BE APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL ADVISE ME IF THIS AMENDMENT TO SECTION 8 (B) OF PUBLIC LAW 134 IS EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1945, THE DATE THAT PUBLIC LAW 134 BECAME EFFECTIVE. IF YOU CONCLUDE THAT THIS ACT IS NOT RETROACTIVE TO THAT DATE IS IT EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1947, THE BEGINNING OF THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH PUBLIC LAW 836 WAS APPROVED?

THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT STATUTES ARE CONSTRUED TO APPLY PROSPECTIVELY AND NOT RETROACTIVELY UNLESS A RETROACTIVE CONSTRUCTION IS REQUIRED BY EXPRESS LANGUAGE OR BY NECESSARY IMPLICATION. SEE 16 COMP. GEN. 1051, AND CASES THERE CITED, INCLUDING UNITED STATES V. ST. LOUIS, ETC., RY. CO., 270 U.S. 1. SEE, ALSO, 20 COMP. GEN. 769, 771; 7 ID. 266, AND AUTHORITIES THERE CITED. WITH RESPECT TO THE EFFECT OF AN AMENDMENT OF A STATUTE IT WAS SAID BY THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES IN BLAIR V. CHICAGO, 201 U.S. 400, 475, THAT:

* * * THE RULE IS CORRECTLY STATED IN ENDLICH ON STATUTES, SECTION 294, AS FOLLOWS: "A STATUTE WHICH IS AMENDED IS THEREAFTER, AND AS TO ALL ACTS SUBSEQUENTLY DONE, TO BE CONSTRUED AS IF THE AMENDMENT HAD ALWAYS BEEN THERE, AND THE AMENDMENT ITSELF SO THOROUGHLY BECOMES A PART OF THE ORIGINAL STATUTE, THAT IT MUST BE CONSTRUED, IN VIEW OF THE ORIGINAL STATUTE, AS IT STANDS AFTER THE AMENDMENTS ARE INTRODUCED AND THE MATTERS SUPERSEDED BY THE AMENDMENTS ELIMINATED.' * * *

IN LEWIS' SUTHERLAND STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, PARAGRAPH 237, IT IS SAID WITH REFERENCE TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF AN AMENDMENT OF STATUTES THAT:

* * * THE NEW PARTS OR THE CHANGED PORTIONS ARE NOT TO BE TAKEN TO HAVE BEEN THE LAW AT ANY TIME PRIOR TO THE PASSAGE OF THE AMENDED ACT. THE CHANGE TAKES EFFECT PROSPECTIVELY ACCORDING TO THE GENERAL RULE. * * *

AND IN BLACK ON INTERPRETATION OF LAWS, 584, IT IS SAID:

AN AMENDATORY STATUTE, LIKE OTHER LEGISLATIVE ACTS, TAKES EFFECT ONLY FROM ITS PASSAGE, AND WILL NOT BE CONSTRUED AS RETROACTIVE OR AS APPLYING TO PRIOR FACTS OR TRANSACTIONS, OR TO PENDING PROCEEDINGS, UNLESS A CONTRARY INTENTION IS EXPRESSLY STATED OR NECESSARILY IMPLIED.

SECTION 8 OF THE POSTAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACT OF 1945, 59 STAT. 437, PROVIDES THE FOLLOWING SALARIES FOR POSTMASTERS IN POST OFFICES OF THE FIRST CLASS WITH RECEIPTS, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

CHART

$500,000 BUT LESS THAN $600,000 ------------------------- $5,300

$600,000 BUT LESS THAN $1,000,000 ----------------------- 5,600

$1,000,000 BUT LESS THAN $1,500,000 --------------------- 6,000

IT MUST BE CONCLUDED THAT THE AMENDMENT BY THE ACT OF JUNE 29, 1948, 62 STAT. 1108, DID NOT BECOME EFFECTIVE UNTIL THE DATE OF ITS APPROVAL. CONSEQUENTLY, IT IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS PROHIBITING ON AND AFTER JUNE 29, 1948, THE TAKING OF ANY ACTION TO REDUCE THE COMPENSATION OF A POSTMASTER- -- UNLESS, OF COURSE, THE RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR FALL BELOW $600,000--- BUT IT IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS REQUIRING THAT THE TOTAL YEAR'S RECEIPTS UPON WHICH THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY IS TO BE BASED MUST HAVE BEEN RECEIVED AFTER THE DATE OF THE ACT. IN OTHER WORDS, THE TAKING OR WITHHOLDING ACTION AS OF JULY 1, 1948, SHOULD BE BASED ON THE RECEIPTS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 31, 1947.