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postmasters. A large number of postmasters, especially those located in the Territories and sparsely settled States, were tempted to charge exorbitant rental prices. The present law has reduced this temptation to the minimum.

Owing to this fact, and the careful supervision given to this matter, very few complaints have been received relative to box-rent rates.

KEY DEPOSITS.

In accordance with the modified regulations, postmasters made returns relative to key deposits semi-annually, instead of quarterly, as heretofore. This change simplified the work to some extent, but notwithstanding this fact the returns accumulated faster than the limited force assigned to the work could dispose of it.

During the year 3,933 letters relative to key-deposits were mailed, and also a large number of circular letters of instruction and blank forms for use of postmasters in making returns.

The order allowing postmasters at the smaller offices to exercise limited discretion in collecting deposits for keys bas improved the service.

In these offices the boxes and fixtures as well as the keys and lockboxes are, as a rule, owned by the postmasters themselves so that the loss for keys not returned, if any, will be a loss to the postmasters and not to the Department.

As heretofore stated, many postmasters complained that the collection of key-deposits was the most unpleasant duty imposed upon them, and in the smaller towns, where they were acquainted with the lock

ox patrons, many postmasters preferred to make up the deposits fo keys from their own funds rather than force their neighbors to pay the

A modification of this rule, therefore, has removed the ground for many complaints and at the same time enabled the postmasters to increase the revenue derived from box-rents, because, under the old rule, many box-renters gave up their boxes rather than pay the additional sum required for key.deposits.

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ESTIMATES FOR FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1887.

SALARIES OF PRESIDENTIAL POSTMASTERS.

As required by the act of Congress approved March 3, 1883, the second annual adjustment of the salaries of Presidential postmasters was made to take effect July 1, 1885, the total number of salaries being 2,233, involving an aggregate sum of $3,630,600.

The salaries of Presidential postmasters, or postmasters of the first, second, and third classes, are now adjusted and fixed by law upon the basis of the gross receipts accruing at their respective offices. The revenue returned by the office, therefore, determines the salary of the postmaster.

The postal receipts forming the basis of the salaries of Presidential postmasters fluctuate with the favorable or unfavorable condition of the business of the country. At the present time reports show that the country is entering upon an era of prosperity and plenty, and I am of the opinion, therefore, that not less than $3,800,000 will be required to pay the salaries of Presidential postmasters for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887.

COMPENSATION TO POSTMASTERS.

The following were the estimates, appropriations, expenditures, and deficiencies for this item for the two past fiscal years:

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The appropriation for the current year for this item is $12,300,000, an increase of $1,300,000, or 11.82 per cent., as compared with the appropriation for the past year.

The expenditures for the last fiscal year ($11,243,848.94) exceeded the appropriation in the sum of $243,848.94. A deficiency therefore exists for the year of $243,848.94.

The quarterly expenditures for the past fiscal year were as follows: For third quarter of 1884, ended September 30..

$2,729, 847 75 For fourth quarter of 1884, ended December 31

2,799, 978 87 For first quarter of 1885, ended March 31..

2,797, 094 16 For second quarter of 1835, ended June 30.

2,916, 9:28 16 Total ....

11, 243, 848 94 These expenditures are less than those for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1884, by $39,981.93, or 0.35 per cent. This reduction is due mainly to the general depression in business and the new or two-cent rate of postage, which was in full effect for the four quarters above mentioned.

Eliminating from the total expenditures the sum of the salaries of Presidential postmasters, or postmasters at offices of the first, second, and third classes, we find the aggregate compensation of fourth-class postmasters to be $7,388,239.91. Dividing this sum by the number of fourth-class offices for the year (48,899), we have the sum of $151.09 as the average compensation of a fourth.class postmaster.

Taking into consideration the above facts and the present promising outlook for a season of peace, prosperity, and plenty, and a consequent improvement of the business interests throughout the country, I am of opinion that $12,000,000 will be required for compensation to postmasters for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887.

Of this amount it is estimated that $3,800,000 will be required to pay the salaries of postmasters at Presidential offices, or offices of the first, second, and third classes. The number of these offices October 1, 1885, was 2,249; and it is thought that the probable increase in the number of these offices will average sixteen per quarter.

I therefore recommend that an appropriation of $12,000,000 be made for compensation to postmasters for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887

CLERKS IN POST-OFFICES.

The following were the estimates, appropriations, and expenditures for the purpose during the past two fiscal years :

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As above stated, it will be observed that the amount reported as ex. pended for this item during the past fiscal year is placed at $4,873,853.19, which was the sum for which approved vouchers were furnished, and also the amount actually recorded by the Auditor for this Department. The total sum authorized by this office to be expended, however, amounted to $4,924,569.65, or $50,716.46 more than that reported by the Auditor.

Considering only the amount authorized and allowed by this office, there remains unexpended of the appropriation for clerk-bire for the last fiscal year the sum of $50,430.35.

The appropriation for the present fiscal year is $5,150,000; an increase of $175,000, or 31 per cent., over the appropriation for the previous fiscal year. The regular appropriation for that year was $4,900,000. This appropriation proved inadequate for the service, and an additional appropriation of $75,000 was requested. This request was granted, but the appropriation was not made until March 3, 1885. It was then too late to give proper relief to many of the post-offices, as eight months of the fiscal year had elapsed. Only a part of the deficiency appropriation of $75,000, therefore, was expended.

Clerks in post-offices should be fairly compensated for their serviees. Their hours of duty are long, and their work, to be efficiently performed, requires close attention and study. Separating clerks, or clerks at offices of the third and fourth classes, where mail is distributed for other offices, merit favorable attention, Many of these clerks are not paid enough to induce them to take proper interest in their work.

So far as the appropriation would warrant the improvement of the separating service was continued during the past year. The allowances for clerical assistance in separating the mails were increased, reduced, or discontinued, to correspond with the changes of the service. This policy enabled the Department to improve this branch of the postal service, and, at the same time, make a larger number of allowances without materially increasing the aggregate amount allowed for separating labor. At present the separating offices number 2,305; and the average allowance per office is $242.33.

At the present time the aggregate of allowances for clerks in postoffices is $4,961,000. This amount will be increased during the present fiscal year, as the needs of the service require.

In view of the above facts, and the careful attention given to this subject, I am of the opinion that $5,150,000, or the same amount appro. priated for the present fiscal year, will be sufficient to pay for clerk-hire for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887. I therefore recommend that an appropriation of $5,150,000 be made for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887.

RENT, LIGHT, AND FUEL.

The estimates, appropriations, and expenditures for this purpose for the past two fiscal years were as follows:

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As stated in the preceding estimates for clerks in post-offices a difference is shown between the amount reported by the Auditor for this Department as having been paid out during the year, and the amount actually allowed by the office of the First Assistant Postmaster-General. This is also the case in regard to the items for rent, fuel, and light.

The amount reported by the Auditor as having been expended during the year for these items, for which proper vouchers were filed by postmasters, is $455,239.09.

The aggregate amount authorized by this office was $463,939.21, and the same will be audited, in due course of business, when postmasters furnish proper vouchers.

The regular appropriation for these items for the present fiscal year is $490,000. To this sum should be added the appropriation of $5,000 for rent for the post-office at Washington, D. C.

The sum of these appropriations ($495,000) exceeds the appropriation made for the past year, including the supplemental appropriation of $3,125 in the act approved March 3, 1885, “making appropriations for sundry civil expenses of the Government,” by $11,875; an increase of 2.4 per cent.

Under the present laws and regulations, allowances for rent, fuel, and light are made only at offices of the first and second classes, or where the gross receipts accruing at the respective oflices entitle the postmasters to annual salaries of $2,000 and upwards.

By the adjustment of postmasters' salaries made in accordance with the requirements of the act of Congress approved March 3, 1883, to take effect July 1, 1885, 71 post-offices were assigned to the first class, and 383 offices were assigned to the second class; making a total of 454 offices, exclusive of stations or branches of the larger post-offices, whereat allowances for rent, fuel, and light under existing law could be granted.

The appropriation for these items for the past fiscal year, for the first time in the history of the Department, was sufficient to adjust the allowances to meet the actual needs of the service.

At the present time the aggregate amount of allowances for rent, fuel, and light is $465,661.55. This sum includes the aggregate amount of allowances for these items for premises leased to the Government.

The estimate for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887, has been fixed at $510,000, an increase of $15,000, or 2.9 per cent., over that for the present year. I therefore recommend that an appropriation of $510,000 be made for this purpose for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887.

OFFICE FURNITURE.

The estimates, appropriations, and expenditures for this purpose for the past two fiscal years were as follows:

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The amount allowed for furniture for post-offices during the past year was $23,000.14, leaving a balance of $16,999.86 unexpended. This bal. ance was reserved for the purchase of safes for post-offices; but for good and sufficient reasons it was deemed inadvisable to make contracts for the said safes.

appropriation for furniture for post offices for the current year is $30,000, a decrease of $10,000 from that of the past year.

Under existing law allowances for furniture are made only for offices of the first and second classes. These now number 454, and many of them are in need of suitable furniture to facilitate the transaction of postal business, and insure a prompt distribution and dispatch of mails.

Items chargeable to this appropriation include safes, stoves, mailing. tables, paper-cases, writing.desks, pouch-racks, chairs, and other articles of furniture necessary for a proper transaction of postal work at the larger post-offices.

I therefore recommend that an appropriation of $35,000 be made for furniture and safes for post-offices for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887.

MISCELLANEOUS AND INCIDENTAL ITEMS.

The estimates, appropriations, and expenditures for this purpose for the past two fiscal years were as follows:

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The amount allowed by this office for miscellaneous and incidental items for the past year was $64,294.37. The Auditor reports $54,483.46; that being the amount for which proper vouchers were furnished. In due course of business the amount authorized by this office will be al. lowed on the presentation of proper vouchers to the Auditor.

The appropriation for this purpose for the present year is $80,000; being the same amount as that appropriated for the past year.

Miscellaneous and incidental items, under existing law, are allowed only at offices of the first and second classes. These offices now num. ber 454.

Items chargeable to this appropriation include all articles necessary for the proper transaction of postal business in the post-offiees above mentioned, which are not provided for by other appropriations.

I recommend that an appropriation of $80,000 be made for miscellaneous and incidental items for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887.

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