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was 99.98. This is the highest rate thus far attained, and the result represented by the foregoing figures will prove to be as gratifying to the Department as it must be to those who have labored so faithfully and industriously during the year to set the standard higher than before.
As the efficiency of the postal clerk is owing, in a great measure, to the frequent tests of proficiency which the regular clerk, as well as the probationary appointee, is required at regular intervals to undergo, in order that the system of case examinations may be fully understood, attention is invited to the very clear and comprehensive explanation of the manner of conducting these examinations, wbich appears on page 4 of the annual report of my immediate predecessor for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1884.
TABLE G%-ERRORS MADE BY POST-OFFICE..
This statement of errors in the distribution and forwarding of mails by post-offices of the first and second classes is a somewhat more favor. able exhibit than the one for the previous tiscal year. The decreases shown are as follows: Incorrect slips, 94,420 ; errors on incorrect slips, 341,705 ; letter packages missent, 2,076; pouches missent, 453; sacks missent, 564; registered packages missent, 35; letter packages misdi. rected, 468; pouches misdirected, 69; and sacks misdirected, 109.
TABLES H" AND 1.-CASE EXAMINATIONS.
As will be seen by this table, there were 5,489 examinations of permanent postal clerks during the year, at which 5,688,656 cards were handled by those under examination. Of that vumber 4,677,891, or 82.23 per cent., were correctly distributed. The increase over the previous year, in tbe number of cards handled, was 13.1 per cent., and 19.1 per cent. in the number correctly distributed.
TABLE I.-All new appointments to this service are made for a probationary period of six months, and during the term of service of the probationer he is required, in addition to his regular duties, to familiarize himself with the names and locations of post-offices on connecting lines, as well as on the route over which he runs; to study the schemes of distribution; note the establishment and discontinuance of post offices and changes of routes (which are of daily occurrence), in order to be prepared to successfully pass the rigid examinations to which each is subjected montbly.
At these examinations, beld during the fiscal year, 2,452,629 cards were bavdled, of which number 1,671,080 were correctly distributed ; the average per cent, correct being 68.13. The number of clerks examiined was 1,640, and of that number over one-third (37.5 per cent.) failed to pass the final examination, and their services were accordingly discontinued. The aggregate number of cards handled by both permanent clerks and probationary appointees was 8,141,385, of which 6,318,971 were correctly distributed.
The total miles of route, daily miles run, total number of crews, and the total number of railroad post-office lines are enumerated in this table. The average miles run daily by postal clerks in each of the nine divisions is statell, and 120.94 iniles is shown to be the daily average distance traveled in the performance of duty by all clerks at work on TABLE L':-NEW SERVICE, ETC.
The new railway post office service established and service extended, including new service placed upon old lines, during the year, is set forth in this table. The railroad service on lives upon which no railway postal service bas been ordered is also included therein. This table fully explains itself.
The number of casualties occurring during the year from which death or injury to postal clerks resulted has decreased somewhat from previous yearly records; and from the subjoined statement under the above heading it appears that the number of accidents during the year to trains to which aailway postal cars were attached was 193, in which 2 postal clerks lost their lives, 35 were seriously and 65 slightly injured.
The pay of those killed in the service ceased with their death. While the Postmaster-General may, in his discretion, grant leaves of absence, with pay, for various periods, if not in excess of 365 days, to any clerk who may have been injured while in the performance of duty, and, when necessary, authorize the employment of an acting clerk in place of the disabled clerk, no provision whatever can be made for the families of those killed, without special action by Congress.
It would seem to be but fair and just that some action in this matter should be taken, and I would respectfully suggest that Congress be requested to empower the Postmaster-General to use the fund accruing from deductions on account of failures of clerks in this service to perform duty, which is now covered into the Treasury, in paying to the widows or minor children of postal clerks killed in the line of duty a sun equal to one year's salary of the grade to which the clerk belonged, after the amount of the accumulated fund shall have been ascertained and duly certified by the Auditor. In the event of there yot being a sufficient sum arising from this source to pay the full amount as above set forth, I wonld suggest that the Department be authorized to make up the additional amount required from the appropriation for the pay of railway post office clerks.
SEPARATION FOR CITY DELIVERY.
For some time past the system of separating letters for city delivery while in transit has been on trial as an experiment in sereral of the divisions with varying results. This year, however, the reports in reference to the work are much more favorable than any other lieretofore received at this ofiice; and the efforts of the Department in this direction have met with the hearty approval of both the postmasters and the public benefited by this impovation, and of the postmaster at New York in particular, who advises me that the distribution made on the cars operates at his oflice in the saving of several hours in time in the deliv. ery of this mail to the addressees.
At Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Minn., the letter mail for those cities continues to be separated, assorted, and arranged for delivery to the letter-carriers at the depot upon the arrival of trains. The matter of extending the benefits of this service to several other cities is now under consideration.
The aggregate number of letters distributed and arranged ia railway post-offices of the 1st, 24, 30, 5th, and 9th divisions for delivery to ad. dresses in the cities of New York, N. Y., Philadelphia, Pa., Cincinnati,
Ohio, and Washington, D. C., during the fiscal year ended June 30, 1885, was 81,739,450, the increase over the number reported for the preceding year being 32,914,700, or 67.4 per cent.
The amount appropriated for special facilities for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1885, was $250,000, which was expended as follows:
Under the act of Congress approved March 3, 1885, the sum of $266,764 was appropriated for necessary and special facilities ou trunk lines for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1886. This amount is being ex. pended as follows:
This will make an annual expenditure of $251,725.82.
Of the amouut appropriated by the act referred to, it was designed to make an expenditure of $14,965 for service between Columbia, S. C., and Augusta, Ga.; but on June 20, 1885, a letter was addressed to the president of the Charlotte, Columbia and Augusta Railroad Company, calling his attention to the matter, and he verbally declined to accept the proposition of the Department; consequently the sum of $15,038.18 can be returned to the Treasury unexpended.
At the time the appropriation for special facilities was pending before the Appropriation Committees of the two Houses of Congress the
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proposed expenditure was fully and freely discussed, and the subse. quent debate upon the floor of the House leaves no room for doubt that the money is being spent as Congress intended it should be.
This special-facilities appropriation secures very important results in expedition to the mail which could not be otherwise obtained. It enables the Department to form connecting links in the grand chain of fast-mail service over lines extending from Nova Scotia to Florida and from Maine to the Pacific coast. The special train leaving New York at 5 a. m. for Springfield, Mass., carries a very heavy mail from New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, as well as the connecting mails from the South, and also from intermediate points. At Springfield this train makes close connectiou with the Northern and Eastern railway post offices.
The 4.35 a. m. train out of New York, on the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, arrives at Chicago at 9.50 a. m. on the following day in time to make Western connections.
The special fast mail from New York to Jacksonville, Fla., with connections at Waycross, Ga., for New Orleans, La., gives the people of the Southern section of the Union a superior service, which app ears to be fully appreciated by them.
The line from Baltimore and Hagerstown gives to the former city an earlier dispatch, as well as a through connection via the Shenandoah Valley route to Tennessee and the South. This service is of great importance to the commercial interests of Baltimore and other cities lying north of that place, and should be continued.
In view of the benefits to be derived from this appropriation, I would respectfully recommend that the sum of $251,725.82 be placed in your estimates for special facilities for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887.
EXPLANATION OF ESTIMATE FOR RAILWAY POSTAL CARS.
The amount appropriated at the last session of Congress for railway postal cars was $1,765,026. This sum did not include the credit allowance for the service on the subsidized roads, which, I am informed by the Auditor of the Treasury for the Post Office Department, amounted to $134,542.92 for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1885; and I am not advised that any increase has been made since that date, but, on the contrary, a reduction was made on the line between North Platte and Denver on the Union Pacific Road. This, however, occurred in the present fiscal year. Adding the $134,542.92, as above, to the amount appropriated by Congress, I find that the service is costing $1,899,568.92.
There are already on file in this office several urgent applications for the establishment of additional railway postal-car service; but these I am unable to recommend, as the appropriation for the present fiscal year is now nearly exhansted. In order to meet the demands of the service I have estimated the increase at 7 per cent., based on the amount appropriated at the last session of Congress for roads other than those that are subsidized. This would make an increase of $123,551.82; and I would respectfully recommend that you place in your estimate for railway postal cars, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887, the sum of $1,888,577.82.
EXPLANATION OF ESTIMATE FOR THE PAY OF POSTAL CLERKS.
On June 30, 1885, there were 4,387 railway postal clerks in the serv. ice, whose aggregate annual salary amounted to $4,364,744. The aver.
age annual salary per clerk was $994.93. These figures show an increase over the previous year of 424 clerks, and a decrease of 78 cents in the
a average annual amount paid each clerk.
The following table exhibits the expenditures on accouut of employés of the Railway Mail Service (railway postal clerks), from 1877 to 1885, together with amount of appropriation for 1886, and estimate for the same for 1887:
ending June 30
Per cent. of Increase of
Increase over postal clerks Increase. Expenditures. preceding year.
increase over miles of in service.
preceding year. railroad route.
The annual appropriation for the pay of railway post office clerks for the current fiscal year is $4,682,300. Of this amount, $8i,300 was presumably appropriated for the special purpose of increasing the salaries of clerks of the fourth and fifth classes to the rates of compensation paid prior to 1st of July, 1876; but, inasmuch as the appropriation bill, as appproved, does not state specifically that such was the intention of Congress, the Postmaster-General is of the opinion that this fund cannot be drawn upon for that purpose. With this amount deducted, i he sum available for the pay of postal clerks for the present year is $4,601,000.
The average rate of increase in expenditures for the past four years is 8.74 per cent.; but, as the service is now in excellent running order, and as I do not anticipate any unusual extension during the next fiscal year, I am of opinion that an increase of 6 per cent. over the amount of the current appropriation will be sufficient for the ensuing fiscal year. I have, therefore, the honor to recommend that the sum of $4,877,060 be appropriated for the pay of railway postal clerks for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1887.
There are in this service at the present time forty-eight chief clerks, at an annual compensation of $1,400 each, who are required in the performance of their duties to travel quite extensively within the limits of the divisions to which they are assigned. These men are required to pay their own traveling expenses, and it would seem to be but reasonable that their application for relief in the matter of the expenditure of their private means for public purposes should be granted; and I would, therefore, respectfully renew the recommendation of my predecessor, to the effect that the Postmaster General be authorized to allow these clerks a sum not to exceed $3 per diem for actual expenses when trav. eling on the business of the Department, and to cause the same to be paid out of the appropriation for the transportation of the mails.