§ MR. SCHWANN
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, whether his attention has been called to the case of a telegraphist in the Manchester Post Office who, on the 8th September. 1900, was promoted to the position of clerk, filling a vacancy which had occurred in December. 1899, in which case the back pay then given to the telegraphist has had to be refunded, the promotion having since been dated from the 1st September, 1900; whether the Postmaster General will investigate the principle governing promotions, with a view towards filling vacancies immediately they occur, and date the next officer's promotion from that period; and if he will reconsider 722 the decision as to refunding the back pay referred to.
§ MR. AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
In the case referred to, two sorting clerks and telegraphists were promoted to be clerks, and it was intended that the date of promotion should be the 1st September, 1900, that being the date on which the promotions were approved by the Postmaster General; but through an error the 16th December, 1899, was inserted in the papers. When this error was discovered steps were taken to correct it, the officers who had been overpaid £2 17s. each were called on to refund the overpayment; and the Postmaster General regrets that he cannot relieve them of this payment. If these officers had been allowed to benefit by the error committed. they would have ranked above an officer who was properly their senior. The general rule is that promotions shall take effect from the date on which they receive the Postmaster General's approval. Every effort is made to fill vacancies as soon as possible; but the Postmaster General sees no reason for altering the general rule that a promotion should date from the day on which it is made.