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POST OFFICES - ADVANCEMENT TO FIRST CLASS UPON ACQUISITION OF TRANSFERRED BRANCH OFFICES - EFFECTIVE DATE WHERE TWO POST OFFICES WERE DISCONTINUED AS BRANCHES OF ONE OFFICE AND IMMEDIATELY ESTABLISHED AS BRANCHES OF ANOTHER OFFICE. THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY RULED THAT THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO CONSOLIDATE TWO THIRD- CLASS POST OFFICES AND ESTABLISH A POST OFFICE UNDER A NEW NAME FOR SERVING THE SAME COMMUNITY AND. THIS DECISION WILL BE FOUND ON PAGE 232. POST OFFICE WERE DISCONTINUED AS BRANCHES OF THAT OFFICE AND ESTABLISHED THE FOLLOWING DAY AS BRANCHES OF THE JACKSONVILLE. THE RECEIPTS OF THE JACKSONVILLE POST OFFICE FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1947 WERE $37. IS HEREBY REPEALED.

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B-73757, APRIL 8, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 608

POST OFFICES - ADVANCEMENT TO FIRST CLASS UPON ACQUISITION OF TRANSFERRED BRANCH OFFICES - EFFECTIVE DATE WHERE TWO POST OFFICES WERE DISCONTINUED AS BRANCHES OF ONE OFFICE AND IMMEDIATELY ESTABLISHED AS BRANCHES OF ANOTHER OFFICE, THE COMBINED TOTAL GROSS RECEIPTS OF THE CONSOLIDATED OFFICE FOR THE PRIOR CALENDAR YEAR BEING DEFINITE AND ASCERTAINABLE MAY BE USED AS A BASIS FOR ADVANCING SUCH OFFICE TO THE FIRST CLASS; HOWEVER, UNDER SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1883, ANY ADJUSTMENT IN THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER OF THE CONSOLIDATED OFFICE, AND FOR CLERICAL ASSISTANCE, QUARTERS, C., PROVIDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CLASS, MAY NOT BE MADE EFFECTIVE UNTIL THE FIRST DAY OF THE QUARTER NEXT FOLLOWING THE ORDER OF ADJUSTMENT OF THE POSTMASTER'S SALARY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, APRIL 8, 1948:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 17, 1948, REFERENCE 15, AS FOLLOWS:

IN A DECISION DATED OCTOBER 17, 1914, THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY RULED THAT THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO CONSOLIDATE TWO THIRD- CLASS POST OFFICES AND ESTABLISH A POST OFFICE UNDER A NEW NAME FOR SERVING THE SAME COMMUNITY AND, BASED UPON THE COMBINED RECEIPTS OF THE OLD OFFICES, TO ADVANCE THE NEW OFFICE TO THE SECOND CLASS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT QUARTER AFTER THE CONSOLIDATION. THIS DECISION WILL BE FOUND ON PAGE 232, VOLUME 21 OF DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY.

EFFECTIVE JANUARY 15, 1948, THE CAMP LEJEUNE AND MIDWAY PARK BRANCHES OF THE NEW BERN, NORTH CAROLINA, POST OFFICE WERE DISCONTINUED AS BRANCHES OF THAT OFFICE AND ESTABLISHED THE FOLLOWING DAY AS BRANCHES OF THE JACKSONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, POST OFFICE. THE GROSS RECEIPTS OF THE CAMP LEJEUNE AND MIDWAY PARK BRANCHES FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1947 AMOUNTED TO $52,042. THE RECEIPTS OF THE JACKSONVILLE POST OFFICE FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1947 WERE $37,243, THE COMBINED RECEIPTS TOTALING $89,285. AM I CORRECT IN CONSTRUING THE AFOREMENTIONED DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY AS BEING APPLICABLE TO THIS CASE AND THAT I AM AUTHORIZED TO ADVANCE THE JACKSONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA, POST OFFICE TO THE FIRST CLASS AS OF JANUARY 16, 1948, ON THE BASIS OF THE COMBINED RECEIPTS OF THE CAMP LEJEUNE AND MIDWAY PARK BRANCHES AND THE JACKSONVILLE POST OFFICE FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1947?

SECTION 8 (A) OF THE POSTAL SERVICE RECLASSIFICATION ACT OF JULY 6, 1945, 59 STAT. 437, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THE COMPENSATION OF POSTMASTERS SHALL BE ANNUAL SALARIES TO BE FIXED BY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE QUARTERLY RETURNS FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ADJUSTMENT, BASED ON GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS AT THE FOLLOWING RATES: PROVIDED, THAT SUBSECTION (C) OF SECTION 1001 OF THE REVENUE ACT OF 1932 (47 STAT. 285), AS AMENDED, IS HEREBY REPEALED, RETROACTIVE TO JANUARY 1, 1944, AND THEREAFTER THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS SHALL BE COUNTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING THE CLASS OF THE POST OFFICE OR THE COMPENSATION OR ALLOWANCES OF POSTMASTERS OR OTHER EMPLOYEES, WHOSE COMPENSATION OR ALLOWANCES ARE BASED ON THE ANNUAL RECEIPTS OF SUCH OFFICES * * *. THUS, THE CLASS OF THE POST OFFICE IS REQUIRED TO BE BASED UPON THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS ASCERTAINED FROM QUARTERLY RETURNS "FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE ADJUSTMENT.'

WHILE IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO CONSOLIDATE POST OFFICES, EXCEPT IN CASES WHERE THE CONSOLIDATION IS PROHIBITED BY LAW (21 COMP. DEC. 232), NO SPECIFIC STATUTE HAS BEEN FOUND AUTHORIZING THE SIMULTANEOUS CONSOLIDATION OF POST OFFICES AND THE ADVANCEMENT IN CLASS OF THE CONSOLIDATED OFFICE ON THE BASIS OF THE COMBINED RECEIPTS OF THE OLD OFFICES.

IN DECISION DATED AUGUST 16, 1911, 58 MS. COMP. DEC. 680, THERE WAS INVOLVED THE QUESTION OF WHETHER A SECOND-CLASS POST OFFICE, DISCONTINUED EFFECTIVE JUNE 30, 1911, COULD BE REESTABLISHED DURING THE FOLLOWING QUARTER--- JULY THROUGH SEPTEMBER--- AS A SECOND-CLASS OFFICE BASED ON THE RECEIPTS FOR THE FOUR QUARTERS ENDING MARCH 31, 1911. IT WAS HELD THAT THE OFFICE MUST BE REESTABLISHED AS A FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICE UNDER THE LAWS THEN IN EFFECT BUT THAT THE EARNINGS OF SAID OFFICE FOR THE FOUR QUARTERS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING ITS ABOLITION COULD BE CONSIDERED IN ASSIGNING THE OFFICE TO ITS PROPER CLASS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE FIRST QUARTER AFTER ITS REESTABLISHMENT. IN REGARD TO THE GENERAL REQUIREMENT THAT ORDINARILY A FOURTH-CLASS POST OFFICE COULD NOT BE ADVANCED UNTIL IT WAS SHOWN BY FOUR SUCCESSIVE QUARTERS THAT IT HAD EARNED THE REQUIRED AMOUNT, IT WAS STATED: "IT WOULD, IN MY JUDGMENT, UNDER THE CONDITION OF AFFAIRS AS DISCLOSED IN THIS CASE, BE STICKING IN THE BARK TO HOLD THAT THIS POST OFFICE COULD BE COMPELLED TO OPERATE AS A FOURTH-CLASS OFFICE FOR A YEAR TO ASCERTAIN A FACT WHICH CAN PROBABLY BE OFFICIALLY ASCERTAINED NOW AS WELL AS AFTER THE LAPSE OF AN ENTIRE YEAR.'

THE SAME PRINCIPLE--- THAT AN OFFICE SHOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OPERATE FOR A YEAR TO ASCERTAIN THE EARNINGS WHICH WERE DEFINITE AND ASCERTAINABLE --- WAS AFFIRMED IN THE DECISION OF JULY 28, 1913, 66 MS. COMP. DEC. 380, INVOLVING THE REESTABLISHMENT OF A FIRST-CLASS POST OFFICE. ALSO, THAT PRINCIPLE WAS AMPLIFIED IN DECISION DATED OCTOBER 17, 1914, 21 COMP. DEC. 232, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, WHEREIN A NEW OFFICE ESTABLISHED TO SERVE THE COMMUNITY FORMERLY SERVED BY TWO DISCONTINUED THIRD-CLASS POST OFFICES WAS AUTHORIZED TO BE ADVANCED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NEXT QUARTER AFTER THE CONSOLIDATION UPON THE BASIS OF THE COMBINED RECEIPTS OF THE OLD OFFICES. CF. 2 COMP. GEN. 561.

IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER THAT THE GROSS POSTAL RECEIPTS OF THE CAMP LEJEUNE AND MIDWAY PARK BRANCHES AND THE JACKSONVILLE OFFICE FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1947 AMOUNTED TO OVER $89,000, OR WELL IN EXCESS OF THE $40,000 REQUIRED UNDER SECTION 8 (A), SUPRA, FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF A POST OFFICE TO THE FIRST CLASS. THAT IS TO SAY, THE GROSS RECEIPTS OF THE CONSOLIDATED OFFICE ARE DEFINITE AND ASCERTAINABLE FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE CONTEMPLATED ADJUSTMENT. UPON CONSOLIDATION OF SUCH BRANCH POST OFFICES WITH THE JACKSONVILLE POST OFFICE, IT IS CERTAIN THAT THE JACKSONVILLE OFFICE WILL HAVE AN INCREASED EXPENSES OF OPERATIONS. AND, IT IS REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT SUCH INCREASES CAN BE FORECASTED, AT LEAST ROUGHLY, BY THE TOTAL OF THE PRECEDING YEAR'S RECEIPTS OF THE INDIVIDUAL OFFICES.

UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, IT SEEMS PROPER TO ADVANCE THE JACKSONVILLE POST OFFICE TO THE FIRST CLASS ON THE BASIS OF THE COMBINED RECEIPTS OF THE CONSOLIDATED OFFICES FOR THE CALENDAR YEAR 1947, PROVIDED, OF COURSE, THAT THE RECEIPTS OF THE CAMP LEJEUNE AND MIDWAY PARK BRANCHES ARE NOT CONSIDERED IN CONNECTION WITH ANY ADJUSTMENT AT THE NEW BERN OFFICE WHICH MAY BE MADE SUBSEQUENT TO SUCH CONSOLIDATION. HOWEVER, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1883, 22 STAT. 602 (39 U.S.C. 61), ANY ADJUSTMENT IN THE SALARY OF THE POSTMASTER, AND CLERICAL ASSISTANCE, QUARTERS, ETC., PROVIDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CLASS, WOULD NOT BE EFFECTIVE UNTIL THE FIRST DAY OF THE QUARTER NEXT FOLLOWING THE ORDER OF ADJUSTMENT. SEE 66 MS. COMP. DEC. 380, AND 21 COMP. DEC. 232.

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