B-90336, DECEMBER 2, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 257

B-90336: Dec 2, 1949

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IS THE OTHERWISE CREDITABLE SERVICE PERFORMED PRIOR TO JULY 1. WHICH WAS NOT SO CREDITED BECAUSE OF THE LIMITATION IN THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6. IS ENTITLED UNDER SECTION 2 (E) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28. A POSTAL FIELD SERVICE INSPECTOR IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE 8 IS NOT ENTITLED UNDER ANY LAW TO BE PROMOTED TO THE SECOND MERITORIOUS GRADE SOLELY BY REASON OF HIS HAVING COMPLETED IN EXCESS OF 18 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE. A POSTAL EMPLOYEE WHOSE SERVICE AS A CLERK IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE WAS LOST FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES BY REASON OF HIS TRANSFER AND APPOINTMENT PRIOR TO JULY 1. TO A POSITION OF INSPECTOR IS NOT ENTITLED TO COUNT SUCH SERVICE TOWARD PROMOTION TO ANY OF THE MERITORIOUS GRADES UNDER SECTION 2 (E) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28.

B-90336, DECEMBER 2, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 257

COMPENSATION - POSTAL SERVICE - SERVICE CREDITS UNDER ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949 THE HERETOFORE UNCREDITED SERVICE NOW AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 2 (E) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949, TO BE CREDITED FOR PURPOSES OF THE PROMOTION OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE TO ANY OF THE MERITORIOUS GRADES, IS THE OTHERWISE CREDITABLE SERVICE PERFORMED PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, WHICH WAS NOT SO CREDITED BECAUSE OF THE LIMITATION IN THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, REQUIRING A PERIOD OF SERVICE IN AN INTERMEDIATE GRADE BEFORE PROMOTION TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE. A POSTAL FIELD SERVICE EMPLOYEE WHO SERVED 11 YEARS IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE 5 PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, FOR WHICH SERVICE HE RECEIVED NO CREDIT FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES WHEN CONVERTED TO GRADE 9 PURSUANT TO THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, BECAUSE OF THE LIMITATION THEREIN REQUIRING SERVICE IN AN INTERMEDIATE GRADE BEFORE FURTHER ADVANCEMENT, IS ENTITLED UNDER SECTION 2 (E) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949, TO COUNT 8 YEARS OF SUCH UNCREDITED SERVICE FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION FROM TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE 11 TO MERITORIOUS GRADE 13, AND TO APPLY THE REMAINING 3 YEARS' SERVICE, TOGETHER WITH HIS SUBSEQUENT SERVICE IN GRADE 11, TOWARD PROMOTION TO MERITORIOUS GRADE 14. A POSTAL FIELD SERVICE INSPECTOR IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE 8 IS NOT ENTITLED UNDER ANY LAW TO BE PROMOTED TO THE SECOND MERITORIOUS GRADE SOLELY BY REASON OF HIS HAVING COMPLETED IN EXCESS OF 18 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS SERVICE. A POSTAL EMPLOYEE WHOSE SERVICE AS A CLERK IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE WAS LOST FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES BY REASON OF HIS TRANSFER AND APPOINTMENT PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, TO A POSITION OF INSPECTOR IS NOT ENTITLED TO COUNT SUCH SERVICE TOWARD PROMOTION TO ANY OF THE MERITORIOUS GRADES UNDER SECTION 2 (E) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949, SUCH SERVICE NOT BEING HERETOFORE UNCREDITED BY REASON OF ANY LIMITATION IN THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, REQUIRING SERVICE IN AN INTERMEDIATE GRADE FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE. A POSTAL FIELD SERVICE EMPLOYEE WITH CONTINUOUS SERVICE IN EXCESS OF 18 YEARS WHO IS REGULARLY ADVANCED TO THE POSITION OF INSPECTOR, GRADE 9--- A SINGLE SALARY GRADE POSITION WITH NO PROVISION FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949, AUTHORIZING LONGEVITY INCREASES FOR EMPLOYEES WITH 13, 18, AND 25 YEARS' SERVICE OCCUPYING SUCH POSITIONS--- MAY BE ADVANCED TO SUCH SECOND LONGEVITY GRADE CONCURRENTLY WITH HIS PROMOTION TO SUCH SINGLE SALARY GRADE POSITION, AND MAY RECEIVE A FURTHER LONGEVITY INCREASE UPON COMPLETION OF 25 YEARS' SERVICE. A POSTAL FIELD SERVICE EMPLOYEE WHO SERVED 11 YEARS AS A POSTMASTER- - A SINGLE SALARY GRADE POSITION--- PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, DID NOT ON THAT DATE LOSE ANY SERVICE CREDITABLE FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES BY REASON OF LIMITATIONS IN THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, REQUIRING SERVICE IN EACH INTERMEDIATE GRADE BEFORE FURTHER ADVANCEMENT, AND IS NOT ENTITLED UNDER SECTION 2 (E) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949, TO COUNT SUCH SERVICE TOWARD PROMOTION TO ANY OF THE MERITORIOUS GRADES. WHILE THE FORMULA PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 17 (A) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE PAY STATUTE OF JULY 6, 1945, FOR READJUSTING THE SALARIES OF RURAL CARRIERS GAVE NO CONSIDERATION TO PAST SERVICE--- GRADES HAVING BEEN ASSIGNED PRINCIPALLY UPON THE BASIS OF THE LENGTH OF THE ROUTE SERVED-- SERVICE BY RURAL CARRIERS PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, WAS NOT PERFORMED IN POSITIONS WHERE LENGTH OF SERVICE AFFECTED THE SALARY RATE, AND MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS OTHERWISE CREDITABLE SERVICE HERETOFORE UNCREDITED, SO AS TO BE COUNTED UNDER SECTION 2 (E) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949, TOWARD PROMOTION TO ANY OF THE MERITORIOUS GRADES. TIME SPENT IN THE MILITARY SERVICE BY EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE, IF OTHERWISE CREDITABLE FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES, MAY BE COUNTED TOWARD PROMOTION TO THE MERITORIOUS GRADES PURSUANT TO SECTION 2 (E) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949. TIME SPENT IN THE MILITARY SERVICE BY EMPLOYEES OF THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE MAY BE COUNTED TOWARD LONGEVITY INCREASES AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949. POSTMASTERS AT SEASONAL POST OFFICES WHO HAVE PERFORMED ALL THE REQUIRED DUTIES OF THEIR OFFICES FOR A CALENDAR YEAR, INCLUDING THAT PORTION OF THE YEAR IN WHICH THE OFFICE IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC, MAY COUNT SUCH CALENDAR YEAR AS A FULL YEAR OF CREDITABLE SERVICE IN QUALIFYING FOR THE LONGEVITY INCREASES AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 1 (C) OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, DECEMBER 2, 1949:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 18, 1949, REFERENCE 50, REQUESTING DECISION UPON CERTAIN QUESTIONS HEREINAFTER SET FORTH ARISING UNDER THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949, PUBLIC LAW 428.

SEVERAL OF THE QUESTIONS INVOLVE THE APPLICATION OF SECTION 2 (E), PUBLIC LAW 428, 63 STAT. 953, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

(E) EACH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE SHALL HAVE CREDITED TO HIM, FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION TO ANY OF THE MERITORIOUS OR LONGEVITY SALARY GRADES OF HIS POSITION ESTABLISHED UNDER THIS ACT OR SUCH ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, AS AMENDED, ALL PERIODS OF SERVICE PERFORMED BY HIM PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, FOR WHICH HE HAS NOT HERETOFORE RECEIVED CREDIT FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION.

WHILE THE LANGUAGE "ALL PERIODS OF SERVICE PERFORMED BY HIM PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, FOR WHICH HE HAS NOT HERETOFORE RECEIVED CREDIT FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION," STANDING ALONE, APPEARS AT FIRST BLUSH CLEAR IN MEANING AND FREE FROM AMBIGUITY, I FIND NO PRACTICAL MEANS OF APPLYING SUCH LANGUAGE IN ITS LITERAL SENSE TO THE STATUTORY METHODS FOR CREDITING POSTAL SERVICE SO AS TO GIVE ANY PRACTICAL MEANING TO THE DATE SPECIFIED IN THE STATUTE, I.E., JULY 1, 1945. FOR EXAMPLE, THERE DOUBTLESS ARE AS MANY CASES ARISING AFTER JULY 1, 1945, AS THERE WERE PRIOR THERETO WHEREIN EMPLOYEES WHO TRANSFERRED TO DIFFERENT POSITIONS MAY NOT HAVE RECEIVED CREDIT FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION FOR ALL PERIODS OF POSTAL SERVICE.

IN CONSTRUING THE APPLICATION OF A STATUTE, THE COURTS HAVE HELD THAT IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO LOOK TO ITS EVIDENT SPIRIT AND PURPOSE AS WELL AS TO THE STRICT LETTER OF THE LAW; THAT THE STRICT LETTER MUST YIELD TO ITS EVIDENT SPIRIT AND PURPOSE WHEN NECESSARY TO GIVE EFFECT TO THE INTENT OF THE CONGRESS; THAT UNJUST OR ABSURD CONSEQUENCES ARE, IF POSSIBLE, TO BE AVOIDED; THAT IT ALWAYS WILL BE PRESUMED THAT THE LEGISLATIVE BODY INTENDED EXCEPTIONS TO ITS LANGUAGE WHICH WOULD AVOID RESULTS OF THIS CHARACTER; AND THAT THE CONSTRUCTIONS OF STATUTES ARE TO BE MADE ACCORDING TO THE INTENTION OF THE MAKERS AND SOMETIMES ARE TO BE EXPOUNDED AGAINST THE LETTER OF THE LAW TO PRESERVE THE INTENT. SEE 28 COMP. GEN. 80 AND 19 COMP. GEN. 516, AND CASES THEREIN CITED.

THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2 (E) WERE EXPLAINED IN THE CONFERENCE REPORT ACCOMPANYING H.R. 4495, WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 428 ( HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES REPORT NO. 1448), AS FOLLOWS:

SUBSECTION (E) OF SECTION 2 OF THE CONFERENCE SUBSTITUTE IS INTENDED TO HAVE THE SAME EFFECT AS SECTION 2 (C) (3 (C) ( OF THE HOUSE BILL EXCEPT THAT THE CONFERENCE SUBSTITUTE (1) HAS RESTATED SECTION 3 (C) OF THE HOUSE BILL IN THE INTERESTS OF SIMPLIFICATION AND CLARIFICATION OF POLICY, AND (2) HAS MADE IT CLEAR THAT EACH PERSON IN THE NEW MERITORIOUS OR LONGEVITY GRADES ESTABLISHED UNDER SUBSECTIONS (A) AND (B) OF THE FIRST SECTION OF THE CONFERENCE SUBSTITUTE SHALL HAVE CREDIT, FOR PROMOTION TO ANY OF SUCH NEW MERITORIOUS AND LONGEVITY GRADES, FOR ALL SERVICE RENDERED PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, FOR WHICH HE HAS NOT HERETOFORE RECEIVED CREDIT FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES.

SECTION 3 (C) OF THE HOUSE BILL, H.R. 4495, READS AS FOLLOWS:

FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION WITH RESPECT TO ANY GRADE IN WHICH MORE THAN ONE YEAR OF SATISFACTORY SERVICE IS REQUIRED FOR PROMOTION TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE UNDER SUCH ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, AS AMENDED, ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE (1) WHO HAS ATTAINED THE HIGHEST GRADE IN WHICH NOT MORE THAN ONE YEAR OF SATISFACTORY SERVICE IS REQUIRED FOR PROMOTION TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE, AND (2) WHO HAD TO HIS CREDIT BEFORE JULY 1, 1945, A PERIOD OF SERVICE WHICH IS GREATER THAN THE TOTAL PERIOD OF SERVICE REQUIRED FOR PLACEMENT IN THE NEXT GRADE HIGHER THAN THE GRADE SPECIFIED UNDER CLAUSE (1), SHALL HAVE CREDITED TO HIM, AS FAITHFUL AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE PERFORMED IN GRADE, SUCH PART OF SUCH GREATER PERIOD OF SERVICE AS IN EXCESS OF SUCH TOTAL PERIOD OF SERVICE SPECIFIED UNDER CLAUSE (2).

THE REPORTS OF BOTH THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION AND THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, AS PRINTED IN HOUSE REPORT NO. 1201 (ACCOMPANYING H.R. 4495), POINTED OUT THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3 (C) WERE CONFUSING, AND EACH OF THE REPORTING AGENCIES GAVE A DIFFERENT PROBABLE INTERPRETATION OF SAID PROVISIONS. SEE, ALSO, SENATE REPORT NO. 871, ACCOMPANYING S. 1772, 81ST CONGRESS, WHICH ORIGINALLY CONTAINED PROVISIONS SIMILAR TO THOSE OF SECTION 3 (C), QUOTED ABOVE. HOWEVER, SAID HOUSE REPORT NO. 1201, EXPLAINED THE PROVISIONS AS FOLLOWS:

SUBSECTION (C) OF SECTION 3 PROVIDES THAT EMPLOYEES IN THE POSTAL SERVICE MAY COUNT ALL YEARS OF SERVICE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, TOWARD PROMOTIONS TO "MERITORIOUS" GRADES. THESE GRADES, ESTABLISHED FOR FAITHFUL AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE, ARE LIMITED UNDER PRESENT LAW TO THOSE EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE SERVED A REQUIRED NUMBER OF YEARS IN THE GRADE IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING SUCH GRADES. THIS SUBSECTION REMOVES SUCH LIMITATION AND WILL ENABLE EMPLOYEES OF MANY YEARS' SERVICE TO OBTAIN THE HIGHER GRADES.

BEFORE THE ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 435, THE HIGHEST AUTOMATIC GRADE FOR CERTAIN EMPLOYEES WAS GRADE 3 AND FOR OTHER EMPLOYEES, GRADE 5. PUBLIC LAW 134 INCREASED THE NUMBER OF AUTOMATIC GRADES FOR MOST EMPLOYEES AND, IN MANY CASES, ADDED SO-CALLED "ADDITIONAL" GRADES FOR FAITHFUL AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE. HOWEVER PUBLIC LAW 134 PERMITTED THE NORMAL ADVANCEMENT THROUGH THE INCREASED NUMBER OF AUTOMATIC GRADES ONLY AFTER ONE YEAR OF SATISFACTORY SERVICE IN THE NEXT LOWER GRADE AND THE ADVANCEMENT THROUGH THE "ADDITIONAL" GRADES AFTER 3, 5, AND 7 YEARS, RESPECTIVELY, OF FAITHFUL AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE IN THE NEXT LOWER GRADE. UNDER SUCH PROVISIONS AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAD MORE THAN ONE YEAR OF SERVICE IN THE HIGHEST AUTOMATIC GRADE 3 OR 5 PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, RECEIVED NO CREDIT FOR SERVICE IN EXCESS OF ONE YEAR UPON THE ADJUSTMENT OF HIS CREDIT AND COMPENSATION UNDER PUBLIC LAW 134. IT WAS BECAUSE OF THE LIMITATION REQUIRING A YEAR, OR YEARS, OF SERVICE IN A SPECIFIED GRADE FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE NEXT HIGHER AUTOMATIC OR ADDITIONAL GRADE THAT EMPLOYEES DID NOT RECEIVE CREDIT FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES FOR CERTAIN PERIODS OF SERVICE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945. ALSO, IT IS SUCH LIMITATION TO WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE IN HOUSE REPORT NO. 1201, ABOVE, AND WHICH WAS INTENDED TO BE REMOVED BY SECTION 2 (E) OF PUBLIC LAW 428.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SERVICE AUTHORIZED TO BE CREDITED UNDER SAID SECTION 2 (E) FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION TO ANY OF THE MERITORIOUS GRADES IS THE SERVICE PERFORMED BY AN EMPLOYEE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, WHICH OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE BEEN CREDITABLE FOR PURPOSES OF ADVANCEMENT THROUGH THE AUTOMATIC OR ADDITIONAL MERITORIOUS GRADES BUT FOR THE LIMITATION REQUIRING SERVICE IN A PARTICULAR GRADE FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE.

THE QUESTIONS WHICH YOU PRESENT WILL BE CONSIDERED AND ANSWERED UPON THE FOREGOING PROPOSITION.

1. EMPLOYEE A ENTERED THE POSTAL SERVICE AS A SUBSTITUTE CLERK JULY 1, 1930; HE WAS APPOINTED REGULAR CLERK JULY 1, 1931 IN GRADE 2 (SALARY $1800); HE PROGRESSED TO GRADE 5, THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE, BY ANNUAL PROMOTIONS ON JULY 1 OF 1932, 1933 AND 1934; HE SERVED IN GRADE 5 (SALARY $2100) UNTIL JULY 1, 1945, WHEN, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 134, HE WAS CONVERTED TO GRADE 9; HE ADVANCED TO GRADE 10 JULY 1, 1946 AND TO GRADE 11, THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE, 1 JULY 1, 1947; HIS CONTINUOUS POSTAL FIELD SERVICE AS OF NOVEMBER 1, 1949 TOTALS 19 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS, OF WHICH PERIOD 11 YEARS WAS SERVED PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945 AND 2 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS WAS SERVED SUBSEQUENT TO THAT DATE IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE.

(A) IS THIS EMPLOYEE ELIGIBLE FOR PROMOTION, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1949, TO THE SECOND MERITORIOUS GRADE (GRADE 13) BY REASON OF HAVING COMPLETED IN EXCESS OF EIGHT YEARS IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE?

(B) IF YOUR ANSWER TO THE PRECEDING QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE AND THE STATUS OF THE EMPLOYEE DOES NOT CHANGE, CAN THE RESIDUE OF 5 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS ABOVE THE FIRST 8 YEARS IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC AND FIRST MERITORIOUS GRADES PROPERLY BE CREDITED AS A BASIS FOR PROMOTION OF THE EMPLOYEE TO GRADE 14, THE TOP MERITORIOUS GRADE, UPON THE COMPLETION OF ADDITIONAL SERVICE OF ONE YEAR AND 8 MONTHS ON JULY 1, 1951?

(C) IF YOUR ANSWER TO EITHER QUESTION (A) OR (B) IS IN THE NEGATIVE, ON WHAT DATE COULD THE EMPLOYEE BE PROMOTED TO EACH MERITORIOUS GRADE?

EMPLOYEE A HAD 11 YEARS OF SERVICE IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE 5, JULY 1, 1934, TO JULY 1, 1945, FOR WHICH HE RECEIVED NO CREDIT FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES UNDER PUBLIC LAW 134 BY REASON OF THE LIMITATION REQUIRING SERVICE IN A PARTICULAR SALARY GRADE FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE. ASSUMING THAT ALL SERVICE IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE HAS BEEN SATISFACTORY, SUCH 11 YEARS OF SERVICE WHEN ADDED TO THE 2 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS OF SERVICE PERFORMED IN GRADE 11 SINCE JULY 1, 1947, WILL MAKE THE EMPLOYEE ELIGIBLE FOR PROMOTION TO THE SECOND ADDITIONAL MERITORIOUS GRADE 13, WITH THE RESIDUE OF 5 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS ABOVE THE FIRST EIGHT YEARS ORDINARILY REQUIRED IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC AND FIRST ADDITIONAL MERITORIOUS GRADE, TO BE CREDITED AS A BASIS FOR PROMOTION TO GRADE 14, UPON COMPLETION OF ADDITIONAL FAITHFUL AND MERITORIOUS SERVICE OF 1 YEAR AND 8 MONTHS, PROVIDED, OF COURSE, NO CHANGE IN THE LAW IS ENACTED IN THE MEANTIME. SUBQUESTIONS 1 (A) AND 1 (B) ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY, RENDERING UNNECESSARY ANY ANSWER TO QUESTION 1 (C).

2. EMPLOYEE B ENTERED THE POSTAL SERVICE AS A SUBSTITUTE CLERK JULY 1, 1931; HE WAS APPOINTED REGULAR CLERK JULY 1, 1932 IN GRADE 2; HE PROGRESSED TO GRADE 5, THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE, BY ANNUAL PROMOTIONS ON JULY 1 OF 1933, 1934 AND 1935; HE SERVED IN GRADE 5 UNTIL JULY 1, 1942 WHEN HE WAS APPOINTED A POST OFFICE INSPECTOR IN GRADE 1; IN THE INSPECTION SERVICE HE WAS PROMOTED TO GRADE 2 ON JANUARY 1, 1943, TO GRADE 3 ON JANUARY 1, 1944, AND TO GRADE 4 JANUARY 1, 1945; HE WAS CONVERTED, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 134, TO GRADE 5 ON JULY 1, 1945, AND THEREAFTER HE WAS PROMOTED TO GRADE 6 ON JULY 1, 1946, TO GRADE 7 JULY 1, 1947 AND TO GRADE 8, THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE, ON JULY 1, 1948; HIS CONTINUOUS POSTAL FIELD SERVICE AS OF NOVEMBER 1, 1949 TOTALS 18 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS, OF WHICH PERIOD 7 YEARS WAS SERVED PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945 IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE AS A CLERK AND ONE YEAR AND 4 MONTHS HAS BEEN SERVED SINCE JULY 1, 1948 IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE AS AN INSPECTOR.

(A) IS THIS EMPLOYEE ENTITLED TO PROMOTION, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1949, TO THE SECOND MERITORIOUS GRADE BY REASON OF HAVING COMPLETED POSTAL FIELD SERVICE TOTALING MORE THAN 18 YEARS?

(B) IF YOUR ANSWER TO THE PRECEDING QUESTION IS IN THE NEGATIVE, IS THE EMPLOYEE ENTITLED TO PROMOTION, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1949, TO THE SECOND MERITORIOUS GRADE BY REASON OF HAVING COMPLETED 8 YEARS OF COMBINED SERVICE IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE AS A CLERK AND AS AN INSPECTOR?

(C) IF YOUR ANSWERS TO BOTH OF THE PRECEDING QUESTIONS ARE IN THE NEGATIVE WOULD THIS EMPLOYEE BE ELIGIBLE FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE SECOND LONGEVITY GRADE CONCURRENTLY WITH HIS ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTION, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1950, TO GRADE 9 (A SINGLE SALARY GRADE POSITION AS DISTINGUISHED FROM A POSITION FOR WHICH AUTOMATIC GRADES ARE PROVIDED/?

(D) IF YOUR ANSWER TO THE PRECEDING QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, CAN THE EMPLOYEE PROPERLY BE ADVANCED TO THE THIRD LONGEVITY GRADE UPON THE COMPLETION OF 25 YEARS' SERVICE ON JULY 1, 1956?

I KNOW OF NO AUTHORITY, AND NONE HAS BEEN CALLED TO MY ATTENTION, FOR THE PROMOTION OF EMPLOYEE B TO THE SECOND MERITORIOUS GRADE SOLELY BY REASON OF HIS HAVING COMPLETED SERVICE IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE TOTALING MORE THAN 18 YEARS. SUBQUESTION 2 (A) IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

WHILE EMPLOYEE B PERFORMED 7 YEARS' SERVICE JULY 1, 1935, TO JULY 1, 1942, AS A CLERK IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE 5, SUCH SERVICE WAS LOST FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES BY REASON OF HIS TRANSFER AND APPOINTMENT AS A POST OFFICE INSPECTOR GRADE 1 ON JULY 1, 1942, AND NOT BY REASON OF ANY LIMITATION REQUIRING SERVICE IN A PARTICULAR GRADE FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE. ACCORDINGLY, THIS EMPLOYEE RECEIVED NO BENEFITS RELATIVE TO SUCH SERVICE UNDER SECTION 2 (E) OF PUBLIC LAW 428, AND SUBQUESTION 2 (B) IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

THE LONGEVITY GRADE, REFERRED TO IN SUBQUESTION 2 (C), IS PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 1 (C) OF PUBLIC LAW 428 FOR CERTAIN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES WHO ARE IN A SINGLE SALARY GRADE WITH NO PROVISIONS FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTIONS. SAID SECTION 1 (C), 63 STAT. 953, PROVIDES THAT:

FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBSECTION, ALL SERVICES HERETOFORE OR HEREAFTER RENDERED IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE BY SUCH POSTMASTER, OFFICER, OR EMPLOYEE SHALL BE CREDITED.

SUCH PROVISIONS CLEARLY AUTHORIZE THE CREDITING OF ALL POSTAL FIELD SERVICE FOR LONGEVITY PURPOSES AND IT IS NOT APPARENT TO THIS OFFICE WHAT ADDITIONAL LONGEVITY BENEFITS, IF ANY, ARE GRANTED BY SECTION 2 (E), PUBLIC LAW 428, QUOTED ABOVE. ACCORDINGLY, EMPLOYEE B, WHOSE POSTAL SERVICE AS OF NOVEMBER 1, 1949, TOTALED 18 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS, WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE SECOND LONGEVITY GRADE PRESCRIBED BY SUBSECTION 1 (C) CONCURRENTLY WITH HIS CONTEMPLATED ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTION EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1950, FROM AN INSPECTOR GRADE 8 TO GRADE 9- -- A SINGLE SALARY GRADE WITH NO PROVISION FOR AUTOMATIC PROMOTION UNDER SECTION 15 (B), PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 450. SAID SUBQUESTION 2 (C) IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY. SUBQUESTION 2 (D) IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, ASSUMING, OF COURSE, THAT NO CHANGE IN EXISTING LAW IS ENACTED IN THE MEANTIME. 3. EMPLOYEE C ENTERED THE POSTAL SERVICE JULY 1, 1930; HE WAS APPOINTED REGULAR CLERK JULY 1, 1931 IN GRADE 2; HE PROGRESSED TO GRADE 5, THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE, BY ANNUAL PROMOTIONS ON JULY 1 OF 1932, 1933 AND 1934; HE SERVED IN GRADE 5 UNTIL JULY 1, 1945 WHEN, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 134, HE WAS CONVERTED TO GRADE 9; HE WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE POSITION OF PRINCIPAL REVIEW CLERK AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST OFFICE INSPECTORS IN GRADE 1 JANUARY 1, 1946, AND IN THAT POSITION ADVANCED TO GRADE 2 JANUARY 1, 1947, TO GRADE 3 JANUARY 1, 1948, AND TO GRADE 4, THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE, JANUARY 1, 1949; HIS CONTINUOUS POSTAL FIELD SERVICE AS OF NOVEMBER 1, 1949 TOTALS 19 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS, OF WHICH PERIOD HE HAS SERVED 11 YEARS IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE AS A CLERK AND 10 MONTHS IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE AS A PRINCIPAL REVIEW CLERK.

(A) IS THIS EMPLOYEE ELIGIBLE FOR PROMOTION EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1949, TO THE SECOND MERITORIOUS GRADE BY REASON OF HAVING COMPLETED IN EXCESS OF 8 YEARS OF COMBINED SERVICE IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE AS A CLERK AND AS A PRINCIPAL REVIEW CLERK?

EMPLOYEE C PERFORMED SERVICE AS A CLERK IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE 5 FROM JULY 1, 1934, TO JULY 1, 1945, WHEN HE WAS CONVERTED TO GRADE 9 PURSUANT TO PUBLIC LAW 134, MAKING A TOTAL OF 11 YEARS OF SERVICE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, FOR WHICH HE HAS NOT HERETOFORE RECEIVED CREDIT FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES BY REASON OF THE LIMITATION REQUIRING SERVICE IN A PARTICULAR GRADE FOR ADVANCEMENT THROUGH THE AUTOMATIC GRADES. SUCH 11 YEARS OF SERVICE WHEN ADDED TO THE EMPLOYEE'S SERVICE SINCE JANUARY 1, 1949, AS A PRINCIPAL REVIEW CLERK AT DIVISION HEADQUARTERS OF POST OFFICE INSPECTORS IN GRADE 4, TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE FOR SUCH POSITION UNDER SECTION 15 (E), PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 450, MAKES EMPLOYEE C ELIGIBLE FOR PROMOTION TO THE SECOND ADDITIONAL MERITORIOUS GRADE EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1949.

4. EMPLOYEE D WAS APPOINTED POSTMASTER (A SINGLE SALARY GRADE POSITION) JULY 1, 1934; HE WAS TRANSFERRED JULY 1, 1948 AS A CLERK IN A FIRST-CLASS OFFICE IN GRADE 11, THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE; HIS POSTAL FIELD SERVICE, AS OF NOVEMBER 1, 1949, TOTALS 15 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS, OF WHICH PERIOD 14 YEARS WAS SERVED IN A SINGLE SALARY GRADE POSITION AND ONE YEAR AND 4 MONTHS WAS SERVED IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE OF THE POSITION HE HELD AS OF NOVEMBER 1, 1949.

(A) IS THIS EMPLOYEE ELIGIBLE FOR PROMOTION, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1949, TO THE SECOND MERITORIOUS GRADE BY REASON OF HAVING COMPLETED IN EXCESS OF 8 YEARS' COMBINED SERVICE IN A SINGLE SALARY GRADE POSITION AND IN THE TOP AUTOMATIC GRADE OF THE POSITION HE NOW HOLDS?

EMPLOYEE D, WHOSE ONLY SERVICE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, WAS IN A SINGLE SALARY GRADE AND WHO LOST NO SERVICE FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES AS OF JULY 1, 1945, BY REASON OF THE LIMITATION REQUIRING SERVICE IN A PARTICULAR SALARY GRADE FOR ADVANCEMENT TO THE NEXT HIGHER GRADE, HAS NO SERVICE WHICH IS CREDITABLE FOR MERITORIOUS GRADE PURPOSES BY REASON OF SECTION 2 (E) OF PUBLIC LAW 428. ACCORDINGLY, QUESTION 4 (A) IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

5. PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945 AUTOMATIC GRADES WERE NOT PROVIDED FOR RURAL CARRIERS; THEY WERE PAID ON THE BASIS OF THE LENGTH OF THE ROUTE SERVED. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 134 AUTOMATIC GRADES WERE PROVIDED FOR THESE EMPLOYEES, AND ON THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THAT ACT EACH CARRIER WAS CONVERTED TO THE GRADE, BASED UPON THE LENGTH OF THE ROUTE SERVED, WHICH PRODUCED A SALARY NEAREST THE AMOUNT ABOVE THE SALARY THEN BEING RECEIVED, PLUS $400. THE AUTOMATIC GRADE IN WHICH EACH CARRIER WAS PLACED WAS NOT BASED UPON THE YEARS OF SERVICE RENDERED PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945. RURAL CARRIERS HAVE BEEN IN THE CLASSIFIED POSTAL FIELD SERVICE SINCE 1902; THEIR SALARIES AND LEAVE BENEFITS HAVE BEEN BASED UPON LAWS COVERING OTHER EMPLOYEES IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE; AND THE CHANGE IN LAW PROVIDING FOR AUTOMATIC AND MERITORIOUS GRADES DID NOT IN ANY MANNER AFFECT THE POSITIONS OR THE WORKING CONDITIONS OF THESE EMPLOYEES.

(A) MAY THE SERVICE RENDERED BY RURAL CARRIERS PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945 BE CREDITED, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SEC. 2 (E), FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION TO THE MERITORIOUS GRADES?

AUTOMATIC AND MERITORIOUS GRADES WERE FIRST PRESCRIBED FOR RURAL DELIVERY CARRIERS BY SECTION 17 (A) OF PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 455. IN THE READJUSTMENT OF THE SALARIES OF CARRIERS TO CONFORM TO SUCH PROVISIONS, A CARRIER WAS ASSIGNED TO A PARTICULAR AUTOMATIC GRADE, PRINCIPALLY ON THE BASIS OF THE LENGTH OF THE ROUTE SERVED, PURSUANT TO THE FORMULA SPECIFIED BY SECTION 17 (G) OF PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 456. WHILE SUCH FORMULA GAVE NO CONSIDERATION TO THE PAST SERVICE OF THE CARRIERS, IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 17 (G) SPECIFYING THE PARTICULAR GRADE IN WHICH A CARRIER SERVING A ROUTE OF SPECIFIED MILEAGE WAS TO BE PLACED, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE RURAL CARRIER WITH SERVICE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, MAY BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING HAD ANY SERVICE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, FOR WHICH HE HAS NOT HERETOFORE RECEIVED CREDIT FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION TO THE MERITORIOUS GRADES WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 2 (E). THE SERVICE PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1945, WAS NOT IN A POSITION WHERE LENGTH OF SERVICE AFFECTED THE SALARY RATE. ACCORDINGLY, SUBQUESTION 5 (A) IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.

THE COMMENTS STATED IN OFFICE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 15, 1949, B-90336, TO YOU, PERTAINING TO CREDITING OF TIME SPENT IN THE MILITARY SERVICE FOR PROMOTION PURPOSES EXPRESSED NO DOUBT WITH RESPECT TO COUNTING SUCH TIME IN ARRIVING AT PROPER CREDITS TO BE ALLOWED FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION TO MERITORIOUS GRADES. IT WAS FELT THAT THE LANGUAGE OF SECTION 25 OF PUBLIC LAW 134, 59 STAT. 461, AUTHORIZING THE COUNTING OF TIME ENGAGED IN MILITARY SERVICE AS ALLOWABLE SERVICE, WAS CONTROLLING IN THOSE CASES. THIS OFFICE STILL IS OF THAT VIEW. HOWEVER, THE LANGUAGE OF SECTION 1 (C) OF PUBLIC LAW 428, APPROVED OCTOBER 28, 1949,"FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBSECTION, ALL SERVICE * * * RENDERED IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE * * * SHALL BE CREDITED" RAISED A DOUBT AT THAT TIME AS TO WHETHER TIME SPENT IN MILITARY SERVICE LAWFULLY COULD BE CREDITED IN COMPUTING YEARS OF LONGEVITY SERVICE. IT NOW IS URGED BY YOU THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 8 OF THE SELECTIVE TRAINING AND SERVICE ACT OF 1940, 54 STAT. 890, SECTION 25 OF PUBLIC LAW 134, APPROVED JULY 6, 1945, SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 6, 1946, PUBLIC LAW 317, 60 STAT. 35, AND THE ACT OF JULY 31, 1946, PUBLIC LAW 577, 60 STAT. 749,"INDICATE THE APPARENT INTENTION OF THE CONGRESS THAT SUCH SERVICE" BE CREDITED NOT ONLY FOR PROMOTION TO MERITORIOUS GRADES BUT ALSO IN COMPUTING YEARS OF LONGEVITY SERVICE. WITH REFERENCE THERETO, YOU PRESENT THE FOLLOWING QUESTION ( NO. 6):

(A) * * * PLEASE ADVISE ME IF MILITARY SERVICE OTHERWISE CREDITABLE FOR PROMOTIONAL PURPOSES MAY BE COUNTED UNDER SEC. 2 (E) OF PUBLIC LAW 428 FOR PROMOTION TO THE MERITORIOUS AND LONGEVITY GRADES?

CAREFUL CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE PERTINENT SECTIONS OF THE ABOVE-REFERRED-TO LAWS, AS WELL AS SECTION 9 OF THE SELECTIVE SERVICE ACT OF 1948, 62 STAT. 614, AND THE ACT OF JULY 28, 1916, 39 STAT. 413 (39 U.S.C. 818). WHILE THE LANGUAGE OF THE LAST SENTENCE OF SECTION 1 (C) OF PUBLIC LAW 428 APPEARS TO FORECLOSE THE APPLICATION OF THE MILITARY CREDIT PROVISION OF SECTION 25, PUBLIC LAW 134, IT NOW IS CONCLUDED THAT THE PROVISION OF BOTH SELECTIVE SERVICE ACTS, REQUIRING RESTORATION "WITHOUT LOSS OF SENIORITY" UPON RETURN FROM MILITARY SERVICE, AND THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JULY 28, 1916, SUPRA, IN EFFECT, AUTHORIZE THE COUNTING OF TIME ENGAGED IN MILITARY SERVICE TOWARD LONGEVITY INCREASES AS THOUGH SUCH SERVICE HAD BEEN POSTAL FIELD SERVICE. SEE, GENERALLY, 24 COMP. DEC. 169; 20 COMP. GEN. 789, 791; 21 ID. 66, 71, AND THE ANSWER TO SUBQUESTION 2 (C), ABOVE. THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY, AND THE DOUBT EXPRESSED ON PAGE 3 OF OFFICE LETTER OF NOVEMBER 15, 1949, TO YOU, WITH RESPECT TO COUNTING OF TIME SPENT ON MILITARY LEAVE, NOW MAY BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN REMOVED.

YOUR FINAL QUESTION ( NO. 7) RELATES TO THE MATTER OF LONGEVITY CREDIT FOR POSTMASTERS AT SEASONAL POST OFFICES. YOU STATE THAT UNDER GOVERNING STATUTES POSTMASTERS ARE PAID FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR ON THE BASIS OF GROSS RECEIPTS OF THE PRECEDING CALENDAR YEAR, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT SUCH GROSS RECEIPTS MAY COVER A SPAN OF ONLY FOUR OR FIVE MONTHS; THAT POSTMASTERS AT SEASONAL OFFICES ARE REQUIRED TO RENDER AN ACCOUNT AT THE CLOSE OF EACH QUARTER EVEN THOUGH NO BUSINESS MAY HAVE BEEN CONDUCTED DURING THAT QUARTER BECAUSE THE OFFICE WAS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC; THAT SUCH POSTMASTERS HAVE THE LEGAL RIGHT EITHER TO CLAIM ONE TWELFTH OF THEIR SALARY EACH MONTH OR WITHDRAW ALL OF IT OVER THE SPAN OF TIME THAT THEIR OFFICE IS OPEN; AND THAT THE MAJORITY OF THE SEASONAL OFFICES ARE VERY SMALL, MOST OF THEM BEING FOURTH CLASS. THE QUESTION SUBMITTED IN THAT CONNECTION IS AS FOLLOWS:

(A) AFTER CONSIDERING THE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION SUBMITTED ABOVE PLEASE ADVISE ME IF POSTMASTERS AT SEASONAL OFFICES MAY COUNT EACH WHOLE CALENDAR YEAR AS CREDITABLE SERVICE UNDER SEC. 1 (C) OF PUBLIC LAW 428 FOR PURPOSES OF PROMOTION TO THE LONGEVITY GRADES.

IT REASONABLY MAY BE CONCLUDED THAT FOR THE PURPOSE OF LONGEVITY INCREASES A POSTMASTER HAS RENDERED A YEAR'S SERVICE FOR AN OFFICE WHEN HE HAS SERVED ALL OF THE TIME DURING THE YEAR THAT THE OFFICE IS REQUIRED TO BE OPEN AND HAS SUBMITTED THE REQUIRED REPORTS OR PERFORMED OTHER DUTIES OF HIS OFFICE, IF ANY, PROPERLY REQUIRED OF HIM DURING THAT PORTION OF THE YEAR IN WHICH THE POST OFFICE IS CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC. ACCORDINGLY, THIS QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

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