A-9302, JULY 10, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 20

A-9302: Jul 10, 1925

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POSTAL SERVICE - SPECIAL-HANDLING STAMPS POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO CLAIM COMMISSIONS FOR THE CANCELLATION OF POSTAGE STAMPS AFFIXED TO FOURTH CLASS MAIL FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECURING "SPECIAL HANDLING" AS AUTHORIZED BY TITLE II. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 2. MADE UPON YOUR SUBMISSION WITH RESPECT TO WHETHER POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS ARE ENTITLED TO CLAIM COMMISSION AS FOR CANCELLATION OF POSTAGE STAMPS WHERE THERE HAS BEEN AFFIXED A "SPECIAL AND LING" STAMP OF 25 CENTS ON PARCELS OF FOURTH CLASS MAILAS PROVIDED FOR IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28. THE GENERAL AUTHORITY IS TO COMPUTE COMMISSION ON "POSTAGE STAMPS" ON MATTER ACTUALLY MAILED AT THEIR OFFICES AND SPECIFICALLY AS TO FOURTH- CLASS MAIL MATTER WHERE THE POSTAGE IS COLLECTED IN MONEY UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ACTS OF 1904 AND 1920.

A-9302, JULY 10, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 20

POSTAL SERVICE - SPECIAL-HANDLING STAMPS POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO CLAIM COMMISSIONS FOR THE CANCELLATION OF POSTAGE STAMPS AFFIXED TO FOURTH CLASS MAIL FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECURING "SPECIAL HANDLING" AS AUTHORIZED BY TITLE II, SECTION 207 (B), OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1067. 4 COMP. GEN. 939, REVERSED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JULY 10, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 2, 1925, SUPPLYING ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND REQUESTING FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THE DECISION OF THIS OFFICE MAY 12, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 939, MADE UPON YOUR SUBMISSION WITH RESPECT TO WHETHER POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS ARE ENTITLED TO CLAIM COMMISSION AS FOR CANCELLATION OF POSTAGE STAMPS WHERE THERE HAS BEEN AFFIXED A "SPECIAL AND LING" STAMP OF 25 CENTS ON PARCELS OF FOURTH CLASS MAILAS PROVIDED FOR IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925.

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1054, AUTHORIZED THE COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS TO BE FIXED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, UPON THE BASIS OF "COMMISSIONS UPON THE AMOUNT OF CANCELED POSTAGE-DUE STAMPS AND ON POSTAGE STAMPS,STAMPED ENVELOPES, AND POSTAL CARDS CANCELED, ON MATTER ACTUALLY MAILED AT THEIR OFFICES, AND ON THE AMOUNT OF NEWSPAPER AND PERIODICAL POSTAGE COLLECTED IN MONEY, AND ON THE POSTAGE COLLECTED IN MONEY ON IDENTICAL PIECES OF THIRD AND FOURTH CLASS MATTER MAILED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF APRIL 28, 1904, WITHOUT POSTAGE STAMPS AFFIXED, AND ON POSTAGE COLLECTED IN MONEY ON MATTER OF THE FIRST CLASS MAILED UNDER PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF APRIL 24, 1920, WITHOUT POSTAGE STAMPS AFFIXED, AND ON AMOUNTS RECEIVED FROM WASTE PAPER, DEAD NEWSPAPERS, PRINTED MATTER, AND TWINE SOLD, AT THE FOLLOWING RATES.'

THE GENERAL AUTHORITY IS TO COMPUTE COMMISSION ON "POSTAGE STAMPS" ON MATTER ACTUALLY MAILED AT THEIR OFFICES AND SPECIFICALLY AS TO FOURTH- CLASS MAIL MATTER WHERE THE POSTAGE IS COLLECTED IN MONEY UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ACTS OF 1904 AND 1920. THE "SPECIAL HANDLING"POSTAGE OF 25 CENTS AUTHORIZED BY THE SAID ACT OF 1925, 43 STAT. 1067, STIPULATES THAT THE PARCEL SHALL RECEIVE THE SAME EXPEDITIOUS HANDLING, TRANSPORTATION, AND DELIVERY ACCORDED TO MAIL MATTER OF THE FIRST CLASS "WHENEVER, IN ADDITION TO THE POSTAGE AS HEREINBEFORE PROVIDED, THERE SHALL BE AFFIXED TO ANY PARCEL OF MAIL MATTER OF THE FOURTH-CLASS POSTAGE OF THE VALUE OF 25 CENTS WITH THE WORDS ,SPECIAL HANDLING" WRITTEN OR PRINTED UPON THE WRAPPER.'

IT IS APPARENT THAT SUCH "SPECIAL-HANDLING" PARCELS MUST FIRST HAVE THE ORDINARY POSTAGE AFFIXED AND THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT ON SUCH POSTAGE THE COMMISSION OF THE POSTMASTER WOULD BE COMPUTED. THE QUESTION ARISES ONLY WITH REFERENCE TO THE ADDITIONAL STAMPS AFFIXED FOR THE PURPOSE OF HAVING FOURTH-CLASS MATTER HANDLED, TRANSPORTED, AND DELIVERED AS EXPEDITIOUSLY AS FIRST-CLASS MATTER. IF THE QUESTION WERE TO BE DETERMINED FROM A CONSIDERATION ONLY OF THE TERMS OF THE PROVISION FIXING THE COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS, THERE WOULD APPEAR A SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR HOLDING THAT SUCH "SPECIAL HANDLING" STAMPS ARE INCLUDED WITHIN THE TERM ,POSTAGE STAMPS" AS USED IN SAID PROVISION, IT APPEARING THAT THEY ARE AFFIXED AS ARE OTHER POSTAGE STAMPS, AND ARE REQUIRED TO BE CANCELED BY THE MAILING OFFICE. HOWEVER, THESE ,SPECIAL-HANDLING" STAMPS ARE FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECURING A SPECIAL SERVICE IN ADDITION TO THAT COVERED BY THE ORDINARY RATES OF POSTAGE AND THEREFORE MAY BE REGARDED AS ANALOGOUS IN THIS RESPECT TO SPECIAL-DELIVERY STAMPS WHICH LIKEWISE ARE POSTAGE STAMPS AND ARE REQUIRED TO BE CANCELED BY THE MAILING OFFICE.

IT IS NOW DISCLOSED THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONSTRUCTION PLACED UPON THE TERM "POSTAGE STAMPS" AS USED IN THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1920, 41 STAT. 1046, FIXING THE COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS, WAS THAT SAID TERM DID NOT INCLUDE SPECIAL-DELIVERY STAMPS. SEE SECTION 273, POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS, 1913, AS AMENDED EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1920; ALSO SECTION 311, POSTAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS, 1924. THE ACCOUNTS OF POSTMASTERS OF THE FOURTH CLASS APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN ADJUSTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUCH CONSTRUCTION SINCE JULY 1, 1920. IT IS TO BE ASSUMED THAT THE ENACTMENT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, WAS IN THE LIGHT OF THE THEN EXISTING PRACTICE AND THAT THE TERM "POSTAGE STAMPS" AS USED IN THE PROVISION NOW IN QUESTION WAS INTENDED TO HAVE NO BROADER MEANING THAN THE SAME TERM AS USED IN THE CORRESPONDING PROVISION IN THE ACT OF 1920.

ACCORDINGLY, SINCE THERE APPEARS NOTHING IN THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, TO INDICATE AN INTENT TO CHANGE THE PRACTICE THERETOFORE EXISTING WITH REFERENCE TO EXCLUDING SPECIAL-DELIVERY STAMPS FROM THE CANCELLATIONS ON WHICH THE COMMISSION IS TO BE ALLOWED, AND SINCE THE "SPECIAL-HANDLING" STAMPS ARE ANALOGOUS TO SPECIAL-DELIVERY STAMPS, I AM CONSTRAINED TO AGREE WITH YOUR VIEW THAT UNLESS THE CONGRESS FURTHER ENACTS WITH RESPECT THERETO THE "SPECIAL HANDLING" STAMPS CANCELED MAY NOT BE INCLUDED IN COMPUTING THE COMMISSIONS. THE DECISION OF MAY 12, 1925, IS MODIFIED ACCORDINGLY.

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