Grover Cleveland

Veto Message

August 27, 1888

To the House of Representatives:

I return without approval House bill No. 2524, entitled "An act for the relief of Clement A. Lounsberry."

This bill appropriates the sum of $1,214.51 to reimburse him for clerk hire and fuel and lights in excess of allowances made to him by the Post-Office Department while he was postmaster at Bismarck, in the Territory of Dakota.

Seven hundred and fifty dollars of this sum is appropriated on account of clerk hire paid out from April 1, 1881, to June 30, 1882, and $464.51 for lights and fuel from July 1, 1883, to September 30, 1885.

As a general rule the allowances made by the Post-Office Department in these cases ought not to be interfered with. But sometimes a sudden rush of settlement in a locality, or some other cause, will so increase unexpectedly the need of clerks to distribute and handle the mails that the employment of more than have been provided for is absolutely necessary.

I am inclined to think the item for clerk hire in this bill should be so regarded. This was the only appropriation included in the bill presented in the Forty-eighth Congress in behalf of this postmaster upon which a favorable committee report was made and which was not unfavorably spoken of by the Department.

But it does not follow that the other item for fuel and lights should be allowed. I think it should not, on the grounds that the amount was fixed by the Department upon full examination, that there is no special reason shown why the postmaster should have exceeded the expenditures allowed, and that to give the least encouragement to postmasters that these allowances would be upon their application revised and increased by Congress would lead to demoralization in the service.

It appears that the allowance made to this officer for fuel and lights was increased October 1, 1883, and although the claim now made on this account embraces the period from July 1, 1883, to September, 1885, nothing was asked for fuel or lights in the bill presented to Congress for this beneficiary's relief in 1884.

It should not have been tacked upon the bill now presented.


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

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