§ MR. COBB
I beg to ask the Postmaster General if his attention has been drawn to the case of a first-class sorting clerk in the Birmingham Post Office, named Westmorland, who was, in January last, appointed to the post-mastership of Goole, and, a few weeks afterwards, to the more lucrative post-mastership of Chorley; whether the appointment to Goole was offered to Westmorland by a letter from the third Secretary to the General Post Office, without the heads of the Department and his official superiors at Birmingham being consulted, and was afterwards confirmed without their sanction, although Westmorland has been passed over in making promotions about 30 times on account of alleged incompetency, and, on the last occasion, as recently as August last; whether, on occasions when Westmorland has been passed over, the local postmaster has reported to the General Post Office the reasons for passing him over; whether the vacancies in the post-masterships at Goole and Chorley were announced by a notice in the weekly official circular; whether he is aware that the appointments have caused great dissatisfaction among the other clerks in the Birmingham Post Office, many of whom are of higher rank, as to whom no incompetency has ever been alleged, who were in every way fitted for the vacant post master ships, but who had no opportunity given to them of applying for the posts, and were thus passed over by Westmorland, who was junior to them; and whether he will make full inquiries into the cases, and state what steps it is proposed to take?
§ *THE POSTMASTER GENERAL (Mr. RAIKES,) Cambridge University
In reply to the several questions of the hon. Member, I have to state that it is the fact that I appointed Mr. Westmorland to be postmaster of Goole, and shortly afterwards transferred him to Chorley, which, instead of being a more lucrative office, is of less value, the salary at Goole being £200 and that at Chorley £170. Reports were obtained from Mr. Westmorland's superior officers 1060 at Birmingham; but their sanction to an appointment made by me is not required. The Postmaster of Birmingham has reported when vacancies occurred in his office his reasons for not recommending Mr. Westmorland for promotion, but those reasons would not hold good in the case of appointment to a small post office; and, in fact, the reports made it desirable, in my opinion, to move Mr. Westmorland from the Birmingham office. The vacancies at Goole and Chorley were not announced in the Post Office Circular. I am not aware of the alleged dissatisfaction at Mr. Westmorland's appointment, and so far from any eagerness having been displayed for such promotion, the post was refused by another officer to whom it was offered, on the ground that Goole was not a desirable place to live in. Being so familiar with the facts, it is not my intention to make any further inquiry.