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prepare and submit for approval such special forms and method as it may deem necessary or appropriate for the peculiar needs of this fund.
AUTOMATIC PROMOTION OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS.
The one year's satisfactory service required to entitle railway postal clerks to
automatic promotion under the act of June 5, 1920, 41 Stat., 1050, 1053, must be continuous and immediately precede the promotion, but may include satisfactory service in a lower grade to which demoted by reason of prior unsatisfactory service, as well as satisfactory service in the grade
trom which demoted after restoration thereto. Comptroller General McCarl to the Postmaster General, November 29, 1922.
I have your letter of November 13, 1922, requesting decision as to whether the year's satisfactory service prescribed in the act of June 5, 1920, 41 Stat., 1053, as prerequisite to the automatic promotion of railway postal clerks must be continuous and whether satisfactory service in the grade to which an employee was reduced on account of unsatisfactory service may be counted in determining whether said employee may be automatically promoted after restoration to the grade from which he was reduced.
In determining the questions here presented there are for consideration the following provisions in the act of June 5, 1920, 41 Stat., 1050, 1053, relative to railway postal clerks :
Promotions shall be made successively at the beginning of the quarter following a year's satisfactory service in the next lower grade.
Whenever an employee herein provided for shall have been reduced in salary for any cause, he may be restored to his former grade or advanced to an intermediate grade at the beginning of any quarter following the reduction, and a restoration to a former grade or advancement to an intermediate grade shall not be construed as a promotion within the meaning of the law prohibiting advancement of more than one grade within one year.
All employees herein provided for in automatic grades, who have not reached the maximum grades to which they are entitled to progress automatically, shall be promoted at the beginning of the quarter following the completion of one year's satisfactory service since their last promotion, regardless of any increases in salaries granted them by the provisions of this Act.
I think the law contemplates that the year's satisfactory service required as a prerequisite to promotion shall be continuous; that is to say, not broken by an intervening period of unsatisfactory service,
In a decision of August 14, 1922, 2 Comp. Gen., 112, it was held with reference to a similar provision of the law that a short period of unsatisfactory service during the first year's service in a grade did not preclude counting for promotion purposes the service of the required character during said year after termination of the service which was not of the required character. The principles of that decision are applicable to the first question here involved. When the service ceases to be unsatisfactory the one year's service required as a prerequisite to promotion will begin to run. Satisfactory service rendered before the period of unsatisfactory service can not be counted for purposes of promotion.
If satisfactory service rendered after reduction and before restoration could not be counted, the employee would have to serve satisfactorily for a full year after restoration before being entitled to promotion, with the result that restoration would be equivalent to a promotion, whereas the law hereinbefore quoted is to the effect that a restoration shall not be regarded as a promotion in considering the employee's right to promotion thereafter. It must be held, therefore, that satisfactory service rendered after a reduction and before restoration may be counted the same as satisfactory service rendered after restoration in determining the employee's right to promotion.
As an illustration of the questions involved, reference is made in your letter to the case of an employee promoted from grade 1 to grade 2 October 1, 1921, reduced to grade 1 September 1, 1922, on account of unsatisfactory service during the quarter ending June 30, 1922, and restored to grade 2 October 1, 1922. In such a case the employee would be entitled automatically to promotion to grade 3 at the beginning of the next quarter following the completion of one year's satisfactory service after the termination of the period of unsatisfactory service during the quarter ending June 30, 1922. For instance, if all service since July 1, 1922, has been satisfactory and the employee continues to render satisfactory service up to and including June 30, 1923, he will be promoted automatically to grade 3 effective from July 1, 1923.
COMMUTATION OF QUARTERS, HEAT, AND LIGHT-OFFICERS OF ARMY DETAILED AS MILITARY AID TO GOVERNOR OF PORTO RICO.
Duty performed by an officer of the Army as military aid to the Governor of
Porto Rico is civil and not military duty, and while in the performance of such civil duty he is in a status equivalent to that of leave of absence from the Army and is not entitled to commutation of quarters, heat, and
light. Decision by Comptroller General McCarl, November 29, 1922.
Eugenio C. de Hostos, formerly an officer of the Porto Rican Regiment of Infantry, requested, March 21, 1922, review of settlement No. W-254386, dated February 17, 1922, by which was disallowed his claim for commutation of quarters, heat, and light, amounting to $521.43, which he alleged accrued during periods January 4, 1913, to May 31, 1915, while claimant, pursuant to paragraph 3 of War Department Special Orders, No. 303, dated December 27, 1912, was detached from his regiment and serving as military aid to the Governor of Porto Rico.
All of the items were originally paid by a disbursing officer of the Army, and upon disallowance thereof were refunded by claimant. The settlement in which a portion of the items, amounting to $449.43, were disallowed in the disbursing officer's accounts, on the application of the disbursing officer, was revised by the Comptroller of tlie Treasury, April 25, 1916, 77 MS. Comp. Dec., 264, and the disallowance was affirmed, it having been stated:
In a decision of this office of October 22, 1913 (67 MS. Comp. Dec., 382), it was held that officers of the Army detailed to the Philippine Constabulary were not entitled to commutation of quarters for the reason that they do not perform military service in the line of their duty as United States Army officers, but civil duty, and that, in so far as their right to commutation of quarters is concerned, they should be regarded as in the status of officers on leave of absence. I see no difference in principle between that case and the case here presented.
Claimant insists, however, that he was in the performance of the purely military duties of a military aid assigned to him without solicitation by the War Department; that the Governor of Porto Rico was required to forward his reports to the Bureau of Insular Affairs of the War Department, and was therefore a subordinate of the War Department; and that claimant's duties as military aid to the governor were therefore duties under the War Department.
The act of July 15, 1909, 36 Stat., 11, authorized the President to designate the executive department to which the governor's report was to be sent and “to place all matters pertaining to the government of Porto Rico in the jurisdiction of such department."
» How. ever, the government of Porto Rico was a civil government established by the act of April 12, 1900, and it was therein provided, 31 Stat., 80 and 81, that all expenses incurred on account of the government of Porto Rico, including the salaries of officials thereof, should be paid out of the revenues of Porto Rico. Whatever duties claimant performed as military aid to the governor of Porto Rico were in connection with the civil government of Porto Rico and not military duties devolving upon the United States Army nor assignable to an Army officer as such.
The principle of the decisions cited is that an Army officer detailed or assigned to a civil duty authorized by or not contrary to law is not in the performance of military duty; that while in the performance of such civil duties he is in a status equivalent to that of leavo of absence from the Army; and that while in such status he is not entitled to commutation of quarters, heat, and light. This view is sound, and as it is the basis on which the claim was settled, upon a review of the matter the settlement is sustained.
COMPENSATION-PER DIEM EMPLOYEES-ARMISTICE DAY.
Per diem employees of the office of public buildings and grounds who per
formed no service on Armistice Day, November 11, 1921, are not entitled to compensation for that day in the absence of specific statutory authority therefor. Executive order of May 19, 1922, having been issued after their rights as to pay for that day had become fixed is ineffective to place them
in a pay status. Comptroller General McCarl to the Secretary of War, November 29, 1922.
By indorsement dated June 20, 1922, on a letter addressed to the Chief of Engineers by the officer in charge of public buildings and grounds, decision is requested whether a per diem employee (foreman painter, at $6 per diem) in the office of public buildings and grounds who performed no service on November 11, 1921, is entitled to compensation for said day.
The joint resolution of November 4, 1921, 42 Stat., 211, provides: That the President is hereby authorized to issue a proclamation declaring November 11, 1921, a holiday, as a mark of respect to the memory of those who gave their lives in the late World War, as typified by the unknown and unidentitied American soldier who is to be buried in Arlington National Ceme tery on that day; and the President is respectfully requested to recommend to the governors of the various States that proclamations be issued by them call. ing upon their people to pause in their usual pursuits as a mark of respect on this solemn occasion.
In pursuance of said joint resolution the President, by proclama tion dated November 4, 1921, did “declare November 11, 1921, : holiday.”
In accordance with the uniform rulings of the accounting officers, per diem employees are not entitled to compensation for holidays on which they perform no service unless pay for said holidays is specifically authorized by law. The right to pay for certain holidays has been granted to per diem employees by specific statutory enactment. See joint resolution of January 6, 1885, 23 Stat., 516; joint resolution of February 23, 1887, 24 Stat., 644; act of June 28, 1894, 28 Stat., 96. But there is nothing in the legislation with reference to November 11, 1921, which can be construed as evidencing an intent that said day was to be regarded as a holiday " to all intents and purposes in the same manner as Christmas ” and the other holidays for which per diem employees have been granted pay without work.
Under date of May 19, 1922, the President issued an Executive order to the effect that employees who were granted a holiday on November 11, 1921,"shall not lose their pay for that day." Without expressing any opinion as to the effect such an order might have had if it had been issued prior to November 11, 1921, it must be held that the rights of employees to pay without work on November 11, 1921, became fixed on said date and thereafter pay could be granted for November 11, 1921, to employees who were not actually in a pay status on that day only by legislative enactment.
The question submitted is answered in the negative.
PURCHASE OF NEWSPAPERS.
Newspapers given over to general news, though the bulk of that news relates
to mining, are nevertheless newspapers within the intent and meaning of section 192, Revised Statutes, irrespective of the use to which they may be put, and may not be purchased by the Bureau of Mines except to the extent that such purchase with other purchases of newspapers by the
Department of the Interior may not exceed $100 each year. Comptroller General McCarl to the Secretary of the Interior, December 5,
I have your letter of November 23, 1922, transmitting with request for decision a question submitted by the Director of the Bureau of Mines under date of November 13, 1922, as follows:
It is requested that the Comptroller General be asked to decide whether section 192 of the Revised Statutes, which provides that the amount expended in any one year for newspapers by any department, except the Department of State, including all the bureaus and offices connected therewith, shall not exceed $100, applies, in view of the statements made below, to the purchase for official use by the Bureau of Mines experiment station at Fairbanks, Alaska, of the following papers published in Alaska: The Nenana News, Fairbanks' Daily News-Miner, the Nome Nugget, the Stroller's Weekly, the Seward Gate way, the Cordova Daily Times, Ketchikan Alaska Chronicle, the Wrangell Sentinel, the Daily Alaskan, Alaska Sunday Capital, Hyder Alaska Miner, Anchorage Daily Times, the Alaska Daily Empire.
The bulk of news in these papers relates to mining. They contain valuable information on the closing down of old mines, the opening of new mines, and on the problems confronting the different mining districts of Alaska. In a Territory chiefly interested in mining, these papers are in reality mining peri. odicals rather than newspapers, as that term is used, it is believed, in section 192 of the Revised Statutes. They are used as mining periodicals and not as newspapers by the mining engineers and metallurgists of the Alaskan Experiment Station, who are thus enabled to keep closely in touch with the mining and metallurgical problems of Alaska for the purpose of carrying out the functions of the Alaskan Experiment Station in investigations and other work looking to the advancement of the mining industry in that Territory.
The mining information which is contained in these papers is especially essential to the planning and conduct of the field work of the Alaska Station carried on outside of Fairbanks in that Territory. They remain, moreover, as permanent use records of the Fairbanks Station, never being filed either in entirety or by clippings elsewhere than at that station.
The allotment of $100. for newspapers for the Department of the Interior has been otherwise encumbered, so that payment for these Alaskan papers can not be made from this fund.
Under these circumstances and in view of the character of these Alaskan papers and their indispensable use to the Alaskan Experiment Station as