A-10555, FEBRUARY 23, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 650

A-10555: Feb 23, 1926

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

COMPENSATION - CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PRACTICE OF PERMITTING SECRETARIES OR STENOGRAPHERS TO FEDERAL JUDGES TO REPORT HEARINGS BEFORE THE COURT FOR PRIVATE LITIGANTS AND RECEIVE PAY THEREFOR FROM SUCH LITIGANTS IN ADDITION TO THEIR FEDERAL SALARY IS CONTRARY TO THE SPIRIT OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3. IS INCONSISTENT WITH AN UNQUALIFIED FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT AS SECRETARY OR STENOGRAPHER. SUCH PRACTICE IS FOR CORRECTION. 1926: RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 15. YOU URGE THAT THIS PRACTICE IS NOT IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3. MISS BAKER WAS NOT "EMPLOYED" BY THE GOVERNMENT. SHE WAS SIMPLY "PERMITTED" TO REPORT SUCH CASES. WITH THE DISTINCT UNDERSTANDING THAT THE GOVERNMENT DID NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT INTEREST THEREIN TO JUSTIFY THE EXPENSE OF REPORTING SAME.

A-10555, FEBRUARY 23, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 650

COMPENSATION - CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PRACTICE OF PERMITTING SECRETARIES OR STENOGRAPHERS TO FEDERAL JUDGES TO REPORT HEARINGS BEFORE THE COURT FOR PRIVATE LITIGANTS AND RECEIVE PAY THEREFOR FROM SUCH LITIGANTS IN ADDITION TO THEIR FEDERAL SALARY IS CONTRARY TO THE SPIRIT OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1917, 39 STAT. 1106, AND IS INCONSISTENT WITH AN UNQUALIFIED FULL-TIME EMPLOYMENT AS SECRETARY OR STENOGRAPHER. SUCH PRACTICE IS FOR CORRECTION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, FEBRUARY 23, 1926:

RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 15, 1926, IN RESPONSE TO THE LETTER OF THIS OFFICE OF JANUARY 12, 1926, CALLING ATTENTION TO THE PRACTICE OF PERMITTING SECRETARIES OR STENOGRAPHERS TO FEDERAL JUDGES TO REPORT HEARINGS BEFORE THE COURT FOR PRIVATE LITIGANTS AND RECEIVE PAY THEREFOR FROM SUCH LITIGANTS IN ADDITION TO THEIR FEDERAL SALARY. YOU URGE THAT THIS PRACTICE IS NOT IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1917, 39 STAT. 1106, AND STATE IN EXPLANATION OF THE REPORTING DONE BY MISS LOLA M. BAKER, BEFORE THE DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO, AS FOLLOWS:

IN THE CASES MENTIONED IN PARAGRAPH NO. 5 OF MY LETTER TO YOU OF DECEMBER 16, 1925, MISS BAKER WAS NOT "EMPLOYED" BY THE GOVERNMENT, WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT HER COMPENSATION IN SUCH CASES FOR SERVICES RENDERED ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE PAID BY THE PRIVATE LITIGANTS. SHE WAS SIMPLY "PERMITTED" TO REPORT SUCH CASES, WITH THE DISTINCT UNDERSTANDING THAT THE GOVERNMENT DID NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT INTEREST THEREIN TO JUSTIFY THE EXPENSE OF REPORTING SAME, AND THAT ANY COMPENSATION SHE RECEIVED WOULD BE THROUGH THE SALE OF COPIES OF THE TRANSCRIPT TO THE OTHER PARTIES. IN MANY CASES THE SECRETARY OR STENOGRAPHER WAS EMPLOYED BY THE DEFENDANT TO REPORT SAME.

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1917, SUPRA, PROVIDES:

* * * THAT ON AND AFTER JULY FIRST, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND NINETEEN, NO GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE SHALL RECEIVE ANY SALARY IN CONNECTION WITH HIS SERVICES AS SUCH AN OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE FROM ANY SOURCE OTHER THAN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES, EXCEPT AS MAY BE CONTRIBUTED OUT OF THE TREASURY OF ANY STATE, COUNTY, OR MUNICIPALITY, AND NO PERSON, ASSOCIATION, OR CORPORATION SHALL MAKE ANY CONTRIBUTION TO, OR IN ANY WAY SUPPLEMENT THE SALARY OF, ANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE FOR THE SERVICES PERFORMED BY HIM FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES. * * *

IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT THIS PROVISION CONTAINS TWO DISTINCT PROHIBITIONS: ONE AGAINST THE RECEIPT BY ANY EMPLOYEE, FROM ANY SOURCE OTHER THAN THE GOVERNMENT, OF ANY SALARY IN CONNECTION WITH HIS SERVICES AS SUCH EMPLOYEE; AND THE OTHER AGAINST THE MAKING OF ANY CONTRIBUTION TO, OR SUPPLEMENTING THE SALARY OF, ANY EMPLOYEE FOR THE SERVICES PERFORMED BY HIM FOR THE GOVERNMENT. YOUR LETTER REFERS TO ONLY THE SECOND OF THESE TWO PROHIBITIONS. MANIFESTLY THE SERVICES WHICH A SECRETARY OR STENOGRAPHER TO A FEDERAL JUDGE MAY PERFORM IN REPORTING CASES IN SAID JUDGE'S COURT ARE "IN CONNECTION WITH" SUCH EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL DUTIES AND THE RECEIPT BY SUCH EMPLOYEE OF SALARY OR COMPENSATION FOR SUCH ADDITIONAL SERVICES WOULD APPEAR TO BE IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE FIRST PROHIBITION IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED PROVISION.

THERE IS ALSO ANOTHER PHASE OF THE MATTER FOR CONSIDERATION. UNQUALIFIED APPOINTMENT TO A POSITION AS A FEDERAL EMPLOYEE PRESUMES THAT SUCH EMPLOYEE WILL BE ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL WORK AT LEAST DURING THE ORDINARY BUSINESS HOURS. SUCH AN APPOINTMENT IS INCONSISTENT WITH A PRACTICE OF PERMITTING SUCH EMPLOYEE TO DEVOTE HIS OR HER TIME DURING BUSINESS HOURS TO WORK OF A PRIVATE NATURE. IF THE DUTIES OF STENOGRAPHERS OR SECRETARIES TO JUDGES ARE SUCH AS NOT TO REQUIRE THEIR FULL TIME, THEIR EMPLOYMENT, IT WOULD SEEM, MIGHT PROPERLY BE ON PART TIME BASIS, AND THE COMPENSATION OF THE POSITION REDUCED PROPORTIONATELY. COMP. GEN. 854. THE MATTER WOULD APPEAR TO BE FOR CORRECTION.