Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

August 22, 1888

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 2088, entitled "An act for the relief of W. S. Carpenter."

This bill appropriates the sum of $126.26 to be paid to the beneficiary named therein for his salary as an employee in the Railway Mail Service from the 3d day of October until the 20th day of November, 1882.

Mr. Carpenter was employed as a railway postal clerk at a salary of $800 per annum. He abandoned his route about the 2d day of October, 1882, without any leave of absence or explanation at the time, leaving his work in charge of one Jones, another railway postal clerk. He appears to have been paid for all the work he did, unless it be for two or three days in October, for which he apparently makes no claim.

There is nothing in the Post-Office Department showing that the absence of Carpenter was claimed to be on account of sickness, though there are a number of communications relating to the case.

The regulations of the Department permit the performance of the duties of a postal clerk by an associate in case of sickness, but never without the written permission of the division superintendent after an arrangement between the parties in writing, signed by them and filed with the superintendent.

Among a number of communications from Railway Mail Service officials relating to the conduct of Carpenter, all tending in the same direction, there is a letter from the chief clerk of the Railway Mail Service at Peoria, Ill., under whose immediate supervision Mr. Carpenter performed service, written to the superintendent of the sixth division of said service at Chicago, and dated November 16, 1882, containing the following statement:

I desire to call your attention to the case of W. S. Carpenter, Gilman and Springfield R. P. O., as follows: October 10 he was requested to appear at the post-office at Springfield, Ill., for examination on Illinois scheme. I went to Springfield for the purpose of examining him, but he failed to put in an appearance. Upon my return home I found a letter from him stating that he did not expect to remain in the service, hence his failure to report for examination; and, furthermore, that he would send in his resignation to your office by the first of the following week. This he had not done the 12th instant. He has not been on duty but two days since October I. He left the run in charge of Mr. Jones, of the same line, telling him he did not know when he would return, and for Jones to keep up the run. He has no leave of absence, either verbally or otherwise. What his motives are for conducting himself in this manner I can not imagine. I have written him on the subject, but can not hear from him. When in Springfield the 3d instant, I requested the postmaster there to not pay Carpenter for October until he received notice to do so. I then notified you of the facts in the matter. I would respectfully recommend that Carpenter be relieved from further duty and a successor be appointed. He is of no account at the best; he has no interest in the work, and should be removed. I would also recommend that he be paid for but the two days' run in the month of October.

Four days after the date of this letter Mr. Carpenter was notified that an order had been issued discontinuing his pay and services.

These facts stated present the case of an employee of the Government abandoning his duties without leave or notice, in direct violation of rules, and claiming compensation for work done in his absence by another employee whose entire services were due the Government.

To allow a claim so lacking in merit would endanger discipline and invite irregularity and loose methods in a very important branch of the public service.


Grover Cleveland, Veto Message Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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