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due accounting for all public funds which may be in, or come into, their custody as postmaster; (See also 3 Comp. Gen. 297.)
Mrs. Alethea Arthur was appointed acting postmaster at the Bradenton post office on November 24, 1936, to complete the unexpired term of her deceased husband, W. E. Arthur, and in a letter dated November 28, 1941, to the Postmaster General she states that she had no previous experience in this work; that Mr. Dickey was a trusted employee who had been in the employ of the Government for a number of years and who had a "good working knowledge” of postal affairs; that she certainly did not sanction the fraud perpetrated by Dickey; that she assumed his bond was proper and sufficient; and that she was shocked to learn of the embezzlement and more shocked to learn that she might be held responsible under her bond for the losses thus incurred. It appears further from the affidavit signed by Dickey, quoted in part above, and also from the report of a postal inspector, that Mrs. Arthur certified without question the forged duplicate applications presented to her by the clerk. Thus she assisted, though in all probability innocently, in the embezzlement of these funds.
There should also be noted the following portion of a report dated June 28, 1941, submitted by one of the postal inspectors who investigated this matter, to the inspector in charge, a copy of which is on file in this office:
"Supervision at this office has been almost entirely lacking on the part of the assistant postmaster, who is in the same room with the postal-savings and moneyorder clerks. It has not been his practice to check the accounts prepared by the clerks. No postal-savings cash book has been kept since June 30, 1940, and the assistant postmaster did not know it. The postal-savings reports have been delayed to enable the clerk to manipulate the paid certificate account to cover a shortage carried from month to month, and nothing was done about it. Later, a report will be submitted on supervision or the lack of it at this office, and a suitable recommendation made."
The situation in the instant case seems clear. Dickey, the former clerk, finding Mrs. Arthur lacking experience in postal matters and willing to depend completely upon his representations to her as to the administration of the postalsavings branch of the office, used her as a tool in his fraudulent practices. The faulty administration of the financial affairs of the office by the assistant postmaster facilitated concealment of the defalcations. And it would appear that this latter condition existed not only under Mrs. Arthur, but also under her successor, Mr. Wooten.
A postmaster is the supervisory official in charge of a post office, and it is his responsibility to observe and keep in close contact with the work of the office. Where that responsibility has been shirked or lightly assumed-as appears to have been the case at the Bradenton post office and loss of public funds has resulted thereby, there would appear to be little justification for relieving such officials of the liability which the law places upon them. To do so would be conducive to widespread laxity in the administration of the public business and tend to encourage diregarding the respect for the responsibilities of the office of postmaster which the incumbent of such an office should feel and without such efficient administration of the postal system is impossible. Hence, I am of the opinion that the three bills referred to should not be given favorable consideration for enactment into law. Sincerely yours,
Lindsay C. WARREN, Comptroller General of the United States.
STATE OF FLORIDA,
County of Manatee: Personally appeared before the undersigned attesting officer, F. M. Malloy, who being sworn on oath says:
My name is Finley M. Maloy. I have been in the employ of the postmasters in the city of Bradenton, county of Manatee, and State of Florida, as a clerk and for part of the time as assistant postmaster for approximately 28 years, I became assistant postmaster in 1938 and, in accordance with law, gave bond to the United States with good and approved security, conditioned for the faithful discharge of all duties and trusts imposed upon me, either by law or the rules and regulations of the Post Office Department. I have faithfully discharged all such duties and trusts and am neither factually nor legally liable to refund
or pay to the United States the sum of $6,000 or any other sum. This sum of $6,000 mentioned was apportioned to me as assistant postmaster at the Bradenton post office,
Bradenton, Fla., as my alleged share of the liability for the shortage in the accounts of such post office, caused by the embezzlement of one Clarence E. Dickey, but such apportionment has been made without my consent and over my protest and I have denied and do now deny any liability therefor and thereunder.
In 1941 Clarence E. Dickey, who was then a clerk in the Bradenton post office, admitted that he had for some time past been embezzling the funds of the office. Dickey was in charge of the Federal savings accounts and postal savings depository funds;
Dickey as such and in accordance with the custom and practice existing in the Bradenton post office was accountable directly to the postmasters and was not under affiant's control and supervision and affiant was not required to give and did not furnish any additional bond with reference to these Federal savings accounts and postal savings depository funds.
During the regime and term of office of Postmistress Alethea Arthur, affiant was appointed assistant postmaster and Mrs. Arthur specifically discussed with affiant, affiant's duties with reference to Dickey, and the method and manner in which she desired to have affiant discharge his duties concerning Dickey and his work. Dickey at that time had in his charge a safe and a cabinet where needful documents and papers entrusted to him by the postmaster in the discharge of Dickey's duties in charge of the Federal savings accounts and postal savings depository. funds were kept and Dickey had complete charge and care of the funds, papers, forms, and documents coming into his hands and within the scope of his requirements as clerk in charge of such deposits and moneys. Affiant was definitely and specifically instructed and directed by Mrs. Arthur that Dickey was to be left in complete charge of such deposits and moneys and the handling of such part of the work of the post office just as he had been prior to affiant being made assistant postmaster. She further gave affiant definite, specific instructions with reference to Dickey's reports and assumed responsibility for such reports and directed affiant to sign them up for her when presented by Dickey as approved and these instructions were followed implicitly by affiant.
When Postmaster Sam Wooten was appointed the Dickey situation was gone over in minute detail and fully explained to Mr. Wooten and Postmaster Wooten expressly and specifically directed that it be continued just as it had been conducted and carried on under Mrs. Arthur.
In 1940 affiant was informed that Dickey was gambling heavily, and this information was confidentially, but promptly, transmitted to the postmaster and the postmaster later advised affiant that he had gone into the matter to his satisfaction and that he was satisfied there was no reason for any alarm or concern with reference to Dickey or his course of conduct in this behalf or on any account.
Affiant is making this affidavit in support of the bill now pending in Congress to relieve him from the alleged $6,000 liability and in so doing affiant respectfully desires to restate that he is in nowise responsible for what has occurred; that as assistant postmaster he was acting under the specific directions and direct instructions of the postmasters who were fully advised of, who brought about, assented to, and directed the specific course of conduct employed by him and imposed upon him by the unequivocal directions and specific instructions of the postmasters.
Affiant is 63 years of age and has served the United States generally and the Postal Service thereof particularly, conscientiously, faithfully, honestly, and honorably during the greater part of his life and there has been no blot or stain upon his escutcheon, and he accordingly respectfully, without the admission in any. wise of a scintilla of liability, asks, prays, and requests the passage of this act in his behalf by Congress, not as a matter of favor or grace, but as a matter of justice and right. Further affiant saith not.
F. M. Maloy. Subscribed and sworn to before me this 19th day of June A. D. 1943. (SEAL)
ALMA VIOLA Rowe,
Notary Public. My commission expires May 2, 1944.
AFFIDAVIT BY SAM WOOTEN, POSTMASTER AT BRADENTON, FLA., STATING His
REASONS FOR BELIEVING BILL SHOULD BE PASSED RELIEVING HIM FROM
RESPONSIBILITY FOR CLARENCE E. DICKEY SHORTAGE STATE OF FLORIDA,
County of Manatee: Before me this day personally appeared Sam Wooten, to me well known and known to be the undersigned affiant, and also known to be the postmaster at Bradenton post office, and he being duly sworn, says:
I was checked in on October 16, 1939, as postmaster at Bradenton, Fla., to succeed Mrs. Arthur, who had been acting postmistress before that time. It is now known to all concerned that at the time I was checked in the clerk, Clarence E. Dickey, had embezzled large sums of money from the Post Office Department and had thereby created a shortage through the use of duplicate certificates. Some of the original certificates had been presented for payment and paid by him, but because the duplicates of these certificates had been cashed (through forgery by Dickey) and forwarded to the Department with his regular monthly reports, the originals could not be sent in. Dickey used three of these certificates of $500 each to balance his accounts when I came into office. They were counted with other paid certificates. They were then several years old and marked paid October 2, 1939, but no interest was endorsed on them. These three $500 certificates in question were removed and others substituted in their place by Dickey when the report for that period ending October 15, 1939, was sent to the Department. I am not an auditor, but from my past business experience, it is clear that the audit that was made of the Postal Savings Department at that time, particularly when a change of local administration was being made, was not as thorough as it should have been. Had a complete description of each certificate (which represented cash) been made, or had the inspector required the report, for the final accounting period of Mrs. Arthur's administration, to be delivered to him, and had he mailed the report to the Department (which would not have allowed further access to the paid certificates by anyone in this office), the shortage would have been discovered then, and not months later during my term of service.
I am informed that the inspector who checked the Postal Savings Department did all that was required of him by the rules and regulations. However, that is for the Post Office Department to decide and the rules are made by the Department. I do know, however, that the audit was not as thorough as it should have been. The Post Office Department, through its inspectors, checked in this embezzler clerk, Clarence E. Dickey, and left him as a clerk in the post office when I came in as a new postmaster. I believe the Department itself should assume the responsibility for this situation which was created before I came into office and over which I could not possibly have had any kind of control. Through no fault of mine, a person who had been misappropriating Government funds for some time was checked into my administration of the post office, with a good record and under no suspicion. Because of these facts about the situation and because I have not been intentionally negligent in any respect with reference to the shortage by Clerk Clarence E. Dickey, I contend that no part of this shortage should be assessed against me or my bond but that the same should be relieved by appropriate congressional action. Other affiant sayeth not.
Postmaster, Bradenton, Fla. Subscribed and sworn to before me at Bradenton, Fla., this 29th day of June 1943. (SEAL)
Romilda S. Battle,
Notary Public. My commission expires April 6, 1947.
AFFIDAVIT OF MRS. ALETHRA P. ARTHUR
County of Manates:
My name is Alethea P. Arthur and I served as postmaster at the Bradenton, Fla., post office from the time of the death of my late husband, W. E. Arthur, until the present postmaster, Mr. Sam Wooten, came into that office on the 15th day of October 1939. It has now been made to appear that during the time I was postmaster, Clarence E. Dickey, a clerk who was employed in the office before I had any official connection with it, succeeded in embezzling certain funds from the Post Office Department. Mr. Clarence E. Dickey had been a trusted clerk of the office long before I came into the office and his embezzlement was accomplished by resort to clever forgery as well as misappropriation of funds. Clerk Dickey and another employee of the Post Office Department had charge of the postal savings department and Dickey was able by resort to misappropriation and forgery to keep the other clerks misled and misinformed about what was going on and, by the use of duplicates, was able to cover up his illegal acts and hide them from the inspector who checked me out and checked Mr. Wooten in when the latter became postmaster.
I was without negligence in connection with this matter and had no suspicion of Clerk Dickey and no reason to believe, that forgery, and embezzlement were being perpetrated in connection with the duties of Clerk Dickey.
I, therefore, feel that I should be relieved and my bondsmen likewise from any answerability because of the shortages by Clarence E. Dickey.
Mrs. ALETHEA P. ARTHUR. Sworn to and subscribed before me on this 5th day of July 1943. (SEAL)
Notary Public. My commission expires January 5, 1946.
FEBRUARY 9, 1945.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and
ordered to be printed
Mr. McGEHEE, from the Committee on Claims, submitted the
(To accompany H. R. 1758)
The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (H. R. 1758) for the relief of Harry Tansey, having considered the same, report favorably thereon without amendment and recommend that
the bill do pass.
An identical bill was favorably reported by this committee and passed the House in the Seventy-eighth Congress, but no action taken in the Senate before final adjournment of Congress.
The facts will be found fully set forth in House Report No. 714, Seventy-eighth Congress, which is appended hereto and made a part
of this report.
(H. Rept. No. 714, 78th Cong., 1st sess.) As stated fully in the committee report in the Seventy-seventh Congress, your committee held a hearing, and testimony was given by Harry S. Tansey, claimant; Hon. Alexander Holtzoff, special assistant to the Attorney General, Department of Justice; Stephen J. Spingarn, special assistant to the general counsel, Treasury Department; and Norman Forrest, Alcohol Tax Section, Office of Chief Counsel, Bureau of Internal Revenue. A full investigation of this claim has been made and your committee is of the opinion that Mr. Tansey should be reimbursed in the amount of $39,105, which is only a small part of his original claim of $81,000. The committee recommended the sum of $49,105 during the Seventy-seventh Congress, and at the suggestion of the chairman of the committee the bill in its present form was introduced in the sum of $39,105, which is only a small amount above the actual tax paid by Tansey to the United States on this liquor.