B-79955, SEPTEMBER 30, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 213

B-79955: Sep 30, 1948

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

PROMOTIONS - SERVICE CREDITS - RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS A FORMER CLERK OF THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE WHO IS RETURNED TO THE POSITION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK AFTER SERVING FOR AN INTERIM PERIOD IN ANOTHER POSITION WITHIN THE POSTAL SERVICE IS NOT PRECLUDED BY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 19. TO FORMER RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS WHO ARE TRANSFERRED TO OTHER POSITIONS IN THE POSTAL SERVICE SUCH AS POST OFFICE INSPECTOR. WHEN PUBLIC LAW 674 WAS UNDER STUDY. THE PROHIBITION IN SECTION 6 WAS CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD TO APPLY ONLY TO ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS TO THE POSITION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK. 1940 PROVIDES THAT: "* * * IF A CLERK IS REAPPOINTED OR RETRANSFERRED WITHIN ONE YEAR. HE MAY RETURN AT THE FOOT OF THE GRADE TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN AUTOMATICALLY PROMOTED HAD HE REMAINED IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE.'.

B-79955, SEPTEMBER 30, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 213

PROMOTIONS - SERVICE CREDITS - RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS A FORMER CLERK OF THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE WHO IS RETURNED TO THE POSITION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK AFTER SERVING FOR AN INTERIM PERIOD IN ANOTHER POSITION WITHIN THE POSTAL SERVICE IS NOT PRECLUDED BY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 19, 1948, DENYING THE BENEFITS OF THE SERVICE CREDIT PROVISIONS OF THE ACT TO EMPLOYEES WHO TRANSFER TO THE POSITION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK, FROM BEING CREDITED WITH HIS PRIOR RAILWAY MAIL CLERK SERVICE, AS WELL AS SATISFACTORY SERVICE RENDERED IN THE INTERIM, IN ESTABLISHING ELIGIBILITY FOR PROMOTION, SUCH RESTRICTION BEING APPLICABLE TO ORIGINAL ASSIGNMENTS, ONLY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, SEPTEMBER 30, 1948:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 3, 1948, REFERENCE 21, AS FOLLOWS:

THE WORDING OF SECTION 6, PUBLIC LAW 674, DATED JUNE 19, 1948, HAS RAISED A QUESTION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF APPLYING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 1, 2, 3, AND 4, TO FORMER RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS WHO ARE TRANSFERRED TO OTHER POSITIONS IN THE POSTAL SERVICE SUCH AS POST OFFICE INSPECTOR, AND WHO SUBSEQUENTLY RETRANSFER TO THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE.

WHEN PUBLIC LAW 674 WAS UNDER STUDY, THE PROHIBITION IN SECTION 6 WAS CLEARLY UNDERSTOOD TO APPLY ONLY TO ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS TO THE POSITION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK. SEE SENATE REPORT NUMBER 721, 80TH CONGRESS, ST SESSION. PARAGRAPH 3, SECTION 2023, POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS, 1940 PROVIDES THAT: "* * * IF A CLERK IS REAPPOINTED OR RETRANSFERRED WITHIN ONE YEAR, HE MAY RETURN AT THE FOOT OF THE GRADE TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN AUTOMATICALLY PROMOTED HAD HE REMAINED IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE.'

THE LAW IS UNDERSTOOD AND BEING IMPLEMENTED ON THE BASIS OF GENERAL APPLICABILITY THROUGHOUT THE POST OFFICE. INSOFAR AS IT CONCERNS OTHER THAN ORIGINAL APPOINTEES TO THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE AND INSPECTION SERVICE, ITS BENEFITS ARE BELIEVED TO BE APPLICABLE TO ALL PERSONNEL AND BRANCHES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE.

IT IS OUR OPINION THAT THE ABOVE CITED LAW AND REGULATION HAVE THE INTENT OF GUARANTEEING QUALIFIED RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS AGAINST LOSS OF SERVICE AND GRADE CREDITS, IF THEY SHOULD SPEND TIME IN MORE EXACTING POSITIONS OF THE POSTAL SERVICE.

IT IS ALSO OUR OPINION THAT A RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK, GRADE 11 OR 9, (DEPENDING ON HIS ORGANIZATION), WHO RECEIVED AN APPOINTMENT TO THE POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE AND SUBSEQUENTLY RETURNED TO THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE, WOULD BE ENTITLED TO CONTINUOUS SERVICE CREDIT FOR TIME SPENT AS BOTH A RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK AND INSPECTOR IN DETERMINING HIS SERVICE TOWARD GRADE 12 OR 10. IF SUCH CLERK WERE PLACED IN GRADE 11 OR 9 AS OF JULY 1, 1945, HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO REINSTATEMENT AS A GRADE 12 OR 10 RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK IF HE RETURNED FROM THE INSPECTION SERVICE ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1948. IF HE RETURNED PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1948, HE WOULD BE ELIGIBLE ON OR AFTER JULY 1, 1948. THE SERVICE, OF COURSE, MUST BE OF THE QUALITY PERMITTING PROMOTION; THAT IS, SATISFACTORY OR FAITHFUL AND MERITORIOUS.

A SECOND QUESTION HAS ARISEN CONCERNING RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS IN GRADE 11 OR 9 WHO ARE TRANSFERRED TO THE BUREAU OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL AND THEN RETRANSFERRED TO THEIR FORMER STATUS AS RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS. IT IS OUR OPINION THAT THE TOTAL SERVICE OF SUCH CLERKS BOTH AS GRADE 11 OR 9 CLERKS AND AS DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL SHOULD COUNT TOWARDS THEIR MERITORIOUS GRADES OF 12 OR 10. THEY HAVE SERVED CONTINUALLY IN THE POSTAL SERVICE UNDER THE SECOND ASSISTANT. THEIR SERVICE IN THE BUREAU HAS GIVEN THEM SPECIALIZED KNOWLEDGE AND TRAINING WHICH INCREASES THEIR VALUE TO THE SERVICE.

THIS PRACTICE HAS BEEN FOLLOWED IN THE PAST AND IS WRITTEN INTO THE SENIORITY RULES GOVERNING EMPLOYEES OF THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE. PARAGRAPH 3, SECTION 10 OF THESE RULES PROVIDES:

"THAT A FORMER EMPLOYEE RETURNING TO THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE FROM THE INSPECTION SERVICE OR THE OFFICE OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT OR GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT WILL BE REINSTATED WITHOUT LOSS OF SERVICE SENIORITY * *

IN VIEW OF THE BACKGROUND OF THIS LEGISLATION, AND EXISTING PRACTICES AND REGULATIONS, WOULD YOU KINDLY ADVISE WHETHER OUR INTERPRETATION OF THESE SITUATIONS IS CORRECT.

SECTIONS 1 TO 4, INCLUSIVE, OF PUBLIC LAW 674, 62 STAT. 484, 485, PROVIDE:

THAT ANY EMPLOYEE OF THE POSTAL SERVICE WHO IS IN A POSITION FOR WHICH SALARY GRADES ARE PROVIDED IN THE ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT TO RECLASSIFY THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS, OFFICERS, AND EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE; TO ESTABLISH UNIFORM PROCEDURES FOR COMPUTING COMPENSATION; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," APPROVED JULY 6, 1945, AND WHO TRANSFERS OR IS TRANSFERRED FROM SUCH POSITION TO ANY OTHER POSITION IN THE POSTAL SERVICE FOR WHICH SALARY GRADES ARE PROVIDED BY SUCH ACT, SHALL, FOR PURPOSES OF ESTABLISHING ELIGIBILITY FOR PROMOTION IN THE POSITION TO WHICH HE TRANSFERS OR IS TRANSFERRED, (1) IN THE CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE IN A POSITION FOR WHICH AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS ARE PROVIDED, BE CREDITED WITH ALL SATISFACTORY SERVICE SINCE HIS LAST AUTOMATIC PROMOTION AND (2) IN THE CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE IN A POSITION FOR WHICH AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS ARE NOT PROVIDED, BE CREDITED WITH ALL SATISFACTORY SERVICE, NOT EXCEEDING ONE YEAR OF SUCH SERVICE, PERFORMED IN SUCH POSITION.

SEC. 2. ANY SUCH EMPLOYEE SHALL BE ELIGIBLE FOR PROMOTION WITHIN THE SALARY GRADES OF HIS NEW POSITION AFTER COMPLETING AN AMOUNT OF SERVICE IN SUCH POSITION, WHICH WHEN ADDED TO THE PRIOR SERVICE FOR WHICH CREDIT IS PROVIDED BY THE FIRST SECTION OF THIS ACT, GIVE SUCH EMPLOYEE SUFFICIENT SERVICE FOR PROMOTION IN HIS NEW POSITION.

SEC. 3. AS USED IN THIS ACT, THE TERM "EMPLOYEE" INCLUDES POSTMASTERS, OFFICERS, SUPERVISORS, SPECIAL-DELIVERY MESSENGERS IN OFFICES OF THE FIRST CLASS, AND ALL OTHER EMPLOYEES PAID FROM FIELD APPROPRIATIONS OF THE POSTAL SERVICE FOR WHOM SALARY GRADES ARE PROVIDED IN THE ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT TO RECLASSIFY THE SALARIES OF POSTMASTERS, OFFICERS, AND EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE; TO ESTABLISH UNIFORM PROCEDURES FOR COMPUTING COMPENSATION; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," APPROVED JULY 6, 1945.

SEC. 4. THIS ACT SHALL BE APPLICABLE IN DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY FOR PROMOTION OF ANY EMPLOYEE WHO HAS BEEN TRANSFERRED FROM ONE POSITION OF THE POSTAL SERVICE TO ANOTHER PRIOR TO THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT AND WHO HAS NOT RECEIVED A PROMOTION IN HIS NEW POSITION SINCE SUCH TRANSFER, EXCEPT THAT NO EMPLOYEE SHALL BE PROMOTED BECAUSE OF SUCH APPLICATION PRIOR TO THE FIRST DAY OF THE FIRST QUARTER WHICH BEGINS AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT.

IN THE REPORT OF THE ACTING POSTMASTER GENERAL OF JUNE 9, 1947, QUOTED IN SENATE REPORT 721, EIGHTIETH CONGRESS, WITH RESPECT TO S. 1082, WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 674, IT WAS STATED IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

PURSUANT TO THE LAW EMBODIED IN SECTION 611, TITLE 39, UNITED STATES CODE, 1940 EDITION,"ALL ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS SHALL BE MADE TO THE RANK OF SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK, * * *.' UNDER THE PRESENT PROCEDURE OF THE DEPARTMENT, ALL ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS (INCLUDING TRANSFERS FROM OTHER BRANCHES OF THE POSTAL SERVICE) TO THE POSITION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK ARE PROBATIONARY. THIS ALSO IS THE PROCEDURE OF THE DEPARTMENT WITH RESPECT TO ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS (INCLUDING TRANSFERS FROM OTHER POSITIONS IN THE POSTAL SERVICE) TO THE POSITION OF POST OFFICE INSPECTOR. THIS IS NECESSARY TO DETERMINE WHETHER THE INDIVIDUAL CAN MEET THE RIGOROUS SERVICE REQUIREMENTS, AND WHETHER HE HAS THE PROPER APTITUDE AND ADAPTABILITY FOR THE POSITION. THE NATURE OF THE WORK PERFORMED BY POST OFFICE INSPECTORS AND BY RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS MAKES THIS A NECESSARY PROCEDURE.

IT IS BELIEVED THAT S. 1082 SHOULD BE AMENDED TO CORRECT THE INEQUITIES THAT EXIST WITH RESPECT TO DUAL EMPLOYMENT OF POSTAL EMPLOYEES; ALSO, THAT THE MEASURE SHOULD BE AMENDED TO EXCEPT FROM ITS PROVISIONS POSTAL EMPLOYEES WHO ARE TRANSFERRED TO THE POSITION OF POST OFFICE INSPECTOR OR TO THE POSITION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK. IT IS BELIEVED THAT THIS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE ADDITION TO THE MEASURE OF NEW SECTIONS 5 AND 6, READING AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 5. ANY EMPLOYEE IN THE POSTAL SERVICE WHOSE SERVICES ARE UTILIZED IN A DUAL CAPACITY SHALL BE PAID FOR SERVICES RENDERED IN THAT CAPACITY AT THE GRADE AND RATE OF COMPENSATION AUTHORIZED FOR THE POSITION TO WHICH HE IS TEMPORARILY ASSIGNED, AND CREDIT SHALL BE ALLOWED FOR ALL PREVIOUS CONTINUOUS SERVICE AS A REGULAR OR SUBSTITUTE POSTAL EMPLOYEE.

"SEC. 6. THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 1, 2, 3, AND 4 OF THIS ACT SHALL NOT APPLY TO EMPLOYEES WHO TRANSFER OR ARE TRANSFERRED TO THE POSITION OF POST OFFICE INSPECTION OR TO THE POSITION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERK.'

IF THE MEASURE IS AMENDED AS RECOMMENDED ABOVE, THIS DEPARTMENT WILL INTERPOSE NO OBJECTIONS TO ITS ENACTMENT.

IT APPEARS FROM THE FOREGOING REPORT THAT THE AMENDMENT OF S. 1082 WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF PRESERVING THE REQUIREMENT THAT ORIGINAL ASSIGNMENTS TO THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE AND AS POST OFFICE INSPECTORS BE TO THE RANK OF SUBSTITUTE. IN VIEW THEREOF, THIS OFFICE CONCURS IN YOUR OPINION THAT SECTION 6 OF PUBLIC LAW 674, 62 STAT. 485, DOES NOT PROHIBIT THE COUNTING OF FORMER RAILWAY MAIL CLERK SERVICE UPON RETRANSFER TO POSITIONS IN THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE, AS WELL AS SATISFACTORY SERVICE RENDERED IN THE INTERIM.