Requirements Of Postmasters

Every postmaster keeps an office in which one or more persons must be on duty during such hours of the day as the Postmaster-General directs, for the purpose of receiving, delivering, making up and forwarding all mail-matter received thereat. He must also keep a record, in prescribed form, of all postage-stamps, envelopes, postal books, blanks, and property received from his predecessor, or from the Post-Offtce Depart ment or its agents; of all receipts of money for postage and box-rents, and of all other receipts on account of the postal service, and of any other transactions which are required by the Postmaster-General. These records are preserved and delivered to his successor, and shall at all times be subject to examination by any special agent of the department.

He renders to the Postmaster-General, under oath, once in three months, in such form as the latter prescribes, an account of all moneys received or charged by him, or at his office, for postage, rent of boxes or other receptacles for mail-matter, or by reason of keeping a branch post-office, or for the delivery of mail-matter in any manner whatever.

The Postmaster-General may also require him to send with his quarterly accounts a sworn statement of the truth of such accounts, showing, besides, that he has not knowingly delivered, or permitted to be delivered, any mail-matter on which the postage was not at the time paid.

Penalty For Neglect

If he neglects for a month to make his quarterly returns to the department, he and his sureties forfeit and pay double the amount of the gross receipts at such office during any previous or subsequent equal period of time; and if at the time of trial no account has been rendered, they are liable to a penalty in such sum as the court and jury estimate to be equivalent thereto.

Where Postmasters Must Keep Money

He is required to safely keep, without loaning, using, depositing in an unauthorized bank, or exchanging for other funds, all public money collected by him, or which comes into his possession, until it is ordered by the Postmaster-General to be transferred or paid out. Postmasters in cities where there is an Assistant Treasurer of the United States, must deposit the postal revenues and all money accruing at their offices with such assistant treasurer as often as once a week, and oftener if the Postmaster-General requires it. Every postmaster must promptly report to the Postmaster-General every delinquency, neglect or malpractice of mail-contractors, their agents or mail-carriers, that comes to his knowledge.

When More Post-Office Clerks Are Allowed

Whenever unusual business accrues at any post-office, the Postmaster-General may make a special order allowing reasonable compensation for clerks, and a proportionate increase of salary to the postmaster during the time of such extraordinary business.

The Postmaster-General may designate offices at the intersection of mail-routes as distributing or separating offices, and if any such office is of the third, fourth, or fifth class, he may make a reasonable allowance to the postmaster for the necessary cost of clerk-hire arising from such duties. The Postmaster-General may discontinue any post-office where the safety and security of the postal service and revenues are endangered from any cause, or where the efficiency of the service requires it.

What Persons In The Postal Service May Not Do

No postmaster, assistant postmaster or clerk employed in any post-offlce, may be a mail-contractor or concerned in any contract for carrying the mail. No postmaster can act as an agent for any lottery office, or, under any pretense of purchase, or otherwise, sell lottery-tickets, nor can he receive or send any lottery-scheme, circular or ticket free of postage, under penalty of $50 for each violation of this regulation.

Salaries Of Postmasters

The salaries of postmasters must be readjusted by the Postmaster-General once in two years, and in special cases as much oftener as he may deem expedient. The salary of a postmaster, and such other expenses of the postal service authorized by law as may be incurred by him, and for which appropriations have been made by Congress, may be deducted Out of the receipts of his office, under the direction of the Postmaster-General.

Whenever, by reason of the extension of the free delivery of letters, the box-rents of any post-office are decreased, the Postmaster-General may allow, out of the receipts of that office, a sum sufficient to maintain the salary at the amount fixed upon before the decrease in box-rents. No postmaster can, under any pretense whatever. have, receive, or retain for himself, in the aggregate, more than the amount of his salary and his commission on the money-order business of his office.

When A Town May Have Letter-Carriers

As frequently as the public convenience may require, at every city or town containing a population of 20,000 within the delivery of its post-office, letter-carriers may be employed for the free delivery of mail-matter.


The Postmaster-General may establish, in places where letter-carriers are employed, and in other places where, in his judgment, the public convenience requires it, receiving-boxes for the deposit of mail-matter, and cause the matter deposited therein to be collected as often as may be for general accommodation.

The compensation of letter-carriers is established by a law of Congress, and graded according to service or location.

The uniform dress worn by letter-carriers is prescribed by the Postmaster-General, and it is a penal offense for any person not connected with the letter-carriers' department of the postal service to wear such uniform.

Every letter-carrier must execute a bond, with sureties, to be approved by the Postmaster-General, for the safe custody and delivery of all mail-matter and the faithful account and payment of all money received by him.

If any person willfully or maliciously injures, tears down or destroys any public letter-box, or assaults a letter-carrier while performing his duty, he is liable to prosecution, a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000, or to imprisonment from one to three years.

The Postmaster-General may establish branch offices for the receipt and delivery of mail-matter and the sale of postage-stamps and envelopes, within any post-office delivery, and prescribe the rules and regulations for their government.

No Gifts To Letter-Carriers

No extra postage or carriers' fees may be charged or collected upon any mail-matter collected or delivered by carriers, nor can any person employed in the postal service receive any fees or perquisites on account of duties performed by him in his official position.

All expenses of letter-carriers, branch offices and receiving boxes, or incident thereto, are kept and reported in a separate account by the post-master, and the Postmaster-General is guided in the expenditures for this branch of the service by the income derived from it.

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