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REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOUR DEPARTMENT WAS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE SUCH REASSIGNMENT AND TO PLACE THE EMPLOYEES IN THE STEPS IN PFS LEVEL 4. THE FACTS ARE REPORTED IN YOUR LETTER. STADING WERE TRANSFERRED FROM THE RURAL CARRIER SCHEDULE TO THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE SCHEDULE. ACTUALLY THEY WERE REASSIGNMENTS. "THE HEAVY DUTY ALLOWANCE IS NOT SUCH COMPENSATION AS AN EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO AS A MATTER OF RIGHT. AS IS MADE CLEAR BY SECTION 302/C). THE HEAVY DUTY ALLOWANCE IS ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION WHICH THE DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY IN INDIVIDUAL CASES WHEN ROUTE AND SERVICE CONDITIONS WARRANT. THE AMOUNT WHICH IS TO BE ALLOWED (WITH AN EXCEPTION NOT HERE MATERIAL) IS ENTRUSTED TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL'S DISCRETION.

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B-127450, JUN. 5, 1956

TO THE HONORABLE POSTMASTER GENERAL:

YOUR LETTER OF MAY 18, 1956, REFERENCE 800, PRESUMABLY IN RESPONSE TO OUR REQUEST OF APRIL 5, 1956, FOR A REPORT REGARDING A REASSIGNMENT OF FOUR POSTAL EMPLOYEES AT THE KIRKLAND, WASHINGTON, POST OFFICE, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOUR DEPARTMENT WAS AUTHORIZED TO MAKE SUCH REASSIGNMENT AND TO PLACE THE EMPLOYEES IN THE STEPS IN PFS LEVEL 4.

THE FACTS ARE REPORTED IN YOUR LETTER, AS FOLLOWS:

"EFFECTIVE MARCH 10, 1956, THIS DEPARTMENT CONVERTED FOUR RURAL ROUTES EMANATING FROM THE KIRKLAND, WASHINGTON, POST OFFICE TO CITY DELIVERY SERVICE. ACCORDINGLY, THE FOUR RURAL CARRIERS INVOLVED, MESSRS. WORTH R. LEEWRIGHT, DONALD H. WATSON, VERNON C. BAIER AND ARMIN R. STADING WERE TRANSFERRED FROM THE RURAL CARRIER SCHEDULE TO THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE SCHEDULE. ALTHOUGH ITEM 4 OF POST OFFICE FORM 50, COPIES ATTACHED, SHOWS THE PERSONNEL ACTIONS AS PROMOTIONS AND CHANGES OF HEADQUARTERS, ACTUALLY THEY WERE REASSIGNMENTS.

"THE REASSIGNMENTS TO LEVEL 4 AND STEPS THEREIN IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE SCHEDULE RESULTED IN A REDUCTION IN THE TOTAL COMPENSATION THE CARRIERS HAD THERETOFORE RECEIVED. THE REDUCTIONS RANGED FROM $125 TO $657 PER ANNUM. HOWEVER, IN NO CASE DID THE DEPARTMENT REDUCE THEIR COMPENSATION BELOW THE BASIC SALARY THE RURAL CARRIERS HAD BEEN RECEIVING PRIOR TO THEIR REASSIGNMENTS. THE REDUCTION RESULTED FROM THE FACT THAT THE DEPARTMENT DID NOT ALLOW IN FULL THE HEAVY DUTY ALLOWANCES THERETOFORE ALLOWED THEM AS RURAL CARRIERS PURSUANT TO SECTION 302/C) OF PUBLIC LAW 68, 84TH CONGRESS.

"THE HEAVY DUTY ALLOWANCE IS NOT SUCH COMPENSATION AS AN EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO AS A MATTER OF RIGHT. RATHER, AS IS MADE CLEAR BY SECTION 302/C), THE HEAVY DUTY ALLOWANCE IS ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION WHICH THE DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY IN INDIVIDUAL CASES WHEN ROUTE AND SERVICE CONDITIONS WARRANT. THE AMOUNT WHICH IS TO BE ALLOWED (WITH AN EXCEPTION NOT HERE MATERIAL) IS ENTRUSTED TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL'S DISCRETION. THE CRITERIA FOR DETERMINING WHETHER A ROUTE QUALIFIES FOR ALLOWANCE ARE SET FORTH IN SECTION 343.152 OF THE POSTAL MANUAL, EDITION OF DECEMBER 1, 1954.

"AS WILL BE NOTED FROM THE ATTACHED COPY OF THE LETTER FROM THE EMPLOYEES, THEY BELIEVE THE HEAVY DUTY ALLOWANCE IS GIVEN TO KEEP THE PAY OF RURAL CARRIERS IN LINE WITH CITY CARRIERS OF EQUAL SERVICE GRADES. A SENSE, THE HEAVY DUTY ALLOWANCE DOES PERMIT EQUALIZATION OF PAY BETWEEN CITY CARRIERS AND RURAL CARRIERS WHERE THE RURAL CARRIER'S SALARY, AS DETERMINED FROM THE LENGTH OF THE ROUTE, IS INSUFFICIENT TO COMPENSATE HIM FULLY FOR THE UNUSUAL WORK REQUIREMENTS OF HIS ROUTE. WHEN THE RURAL CARRIER BECOMES A CITY CARRIER, HOWEVER, THE REASON FOR THE HEAVY DUTY ALLOWANCE DISAPPEARS, BECAUSE SERVICE CONDITIONS ON THE CITY ROUTES DO NOT AFFECT HIS WORKING CONDITIONS. AS A CITY CARRIER HE WORKS EIGHT HOURS A DAY, FIVE DAYS A WEEK, IN CONTRAST TO THE SIX DAYS A WEEK HE SERVED THE RURAL ROUTE. IN ADDITION HE BECOMES ELIGIBLE FOR OVERTIME PAY FOR WORK IN EXCESS OF EIGHT HOURS IN A DAY, OR FOR WORK PERFORMED ON SATURDAY AND SUNDAY IN DECEMBER, BENEFITS WHICH HE DID NOT HAVE AS A RURAL CARRIER. FOR THOSE REASONS, THIS DEPARTMENT BELIEVES IT IS JUSTIFIED IN NOT CONTINUING TO PAY THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE HEAVY DUTY ALLOWANCE AFTER RURAL CARRIER IS REASSIGNED TO THE POSITION OF CITY CARRIER AND SALARY ADJUSTMENT UPON REASSIGNMENT IS DETERMINED FROM THE BASIC SALARY OF THE RURAL CARRIER AS RELATED TO THE BASIC SALARY RANGE APPLICABLE TO A CITY CARRIER, RATHER THAN FROM THE TOTAL COMPENSATION HE RECEIVED AS A RURAL CARRIER.'

SECTION 301/A) OF THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE PAY ACT OF 1955, APPROVED JUNE 10, 1955, 69 STAT. 118, ESTABLISHES A BASIC SALARY SCHEDULE FOR POSITIONS IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE WITH LEVELS FROM 1 TO 20 AND 7 STEPS IN EACH OF THE LOWER LEVELS. SECTION 302/A), 69 STAT. 119, ESTABLISHES A BASIC SALARY SCHEDULE FOR RURAL CARRIERS WITH FIXED COMPENSATION IN 7 STEPS PLUS MILEAGE ALLOWANCES, AND SECTION 302/C) AUTHORIZES ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION AS FOLLOWS:

"/C) THE POSTMASTER GENERAL MAY PAY SUCH ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION AS HE MAY DETERMINE TO BE FAIR AND REASONABLE IN EACH INDIVIDUAL CASE TO RURAL CARRIERS SERVING HEAVILY PATRONIZED ROUTES NOT EXCEEDING SIXTY-ONE MILES IN LENGTH. HE MAY NOT PAY ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION TO A CARRIER SERVING SUCH A ROUTE IN AN AMOUNT WHICH WOULD EXCEED $4,700, WHEN ADDED TO THE BASIC SALARY FOR THE MAXIMUM STEP IN THE RURAL CARRIER SCHEDULE FOR HIS ROUTE. IN CASE ANY SUCH HEAVILY PATRONIZED ROUTE IS EXTENDED IN LENGTH, THE RURAL CARRIER ASSIGNED TO SUCH ROUTE AT THE TIME OF SUCH EXTENSION SHALL NOT BE REDUCED IN PAY.'

WE FIND NO REQUIREMENT IN THAT ACT THAT EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED BETWEEN RURAL CARRIER SCHEDULES AND PFS SCHEDULES BE TRANSFERRED AT ANY SPECIFIC LEVEL OR SALARY STEP. THE SAVING CLAUSE IN SECTION 502 OF THE ACT IS APPLICABLE ONLY TO TRANSFERS BETWEEN STEPS IN THE POSTAL FIELD SERVICE SCHEDULE. IN SIMILAR CASES ARISING UNDER FORMER POSTAL PAY ACTS OUR OFFICE HAS HELD THAT IT IS WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION TO PLACE THE TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE IN ANY OF THE ESTABLISHED GRADES (CORRESPONDING TO THE SALARY STEPS IN THE PRESENT ACT) OF THE CLASSIFICATION TO WHICH TRANSFERRED. 15 COMP. GEN. 595. COMPARE 27 COMP. GEN. 772, AND 28 ID. 129.

ACCORDINGLY, THE REASSIGNING OF THE INVOLVED FOUR EMPLOYEES TO THE PFS LEVEL 4 IS A MATTER COMING WITHIN YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION AND SUCH ACTION IS NOT SUBJECT TO REVIEW BY OUR OFFICE.

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