A-10597, AUGUST 1, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 77

A-10597: Aug 1, 1925

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CUSTOMS SERVICE - ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCES FOR CUSTOMS INSPECTORS AS THE SALARIES OF CUSTOMS INSPECTORS ARE NOW FIXED BY LAW. WILL NO LONGER BE AUTHORIZED. PAYMENTS MADE PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THIS DECISION ON ACCOUNT OF SUCH ALLOWANCES WILL NOT BE DISTURBED IF OTHERWISE CORRECT AND PROPER. THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION AND DECISION WHETHER CUSTOMS INSPECTORS ARE ENTITLED TO ALLOWANCE FOR MEALS OR OTHER EXPENSES INCURRED WHEN REQUIRED TO WORK AT UNUSUAL HOURS AT THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS. HE IS HEREBY. IN ALL CASES WHERE THE MAXIMUM COMPENSATION IS PAID NO ALLOWANCE SHALL BE MADE FOR MEALS OR OTHER EXPENSES INCURRED BY INSPECTORS WHEN REQUIRED TO WORK AT UNUSUAL HOURS. IT HAD BEEN WELL SETTLED THAT AN ALLOWANCE FOR MEALS OR OTHER PERSONAL EXPENSES TO AN EMPLOYEE AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION WAS IN THE NATURE OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION AND IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 1765.

A-10597, AUGUST 1, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 77

CUSTOMS SERVICE - ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCES FOR CUSTOMS INSPECTORS AS THE SALARIES OF CUSTOMS INSPECTORS ARE NOW FIXED BY LAW, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, 43 STAT. 704, AS EXTENDED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 BY THE ACT OF JANUARY 22, 1925, 43 STAT. 764, PAYMENT TO THEM OF AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE FOR MEALS OR OTHER EXPENSES WHEN REQUIRED TO WORK AT UNUSUAL HOURS AT THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS, UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1909, 35 STAT. 1065, WILL NO LONGER BE AUTHORIZED. PAYMENTS MADE PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THIS DECISION ON ACCOUNT OF SUCH ALLOWANCES WILL NOT BE DISTURBED IF OTHERWISE CORRECT AND PROPER.

DECISION BY ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN, AUGUST 1, 1925:

IN THE EXAMINATION OF THE ACCOUNTS OF THE COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS, DISTRICT OF NEW YORK, FOR THE QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 1925, THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION AND DECISION WHETHER CUSTOMS INSPECTORS ARE ENTITLED TO ALLOWANCE FOR MEALS OR OTHER EXPENSES INCURRED WHEN REQUIRED TO WORK AT UNUSUAL HOURS AT THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS.

SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1909, 35 STAT. 1065, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY BE, AND HE IS HEREBY, AUTHORIZED TO INCREASE AND FIX THE COMPENSATION OF INSPECTORS OF CUSTOMS, AS HE MAY THINK ADVISABLE, NOT TO EXCEED IN ANY CASE THE RATE OF SIX DOLLARS PER DIEM, AND IN ALL CASES WHERE THE MAXIMUM COMPENSATION IS PAID NO ALLOWANCE SHALL BE MADE FOR MEALS OR OTHER EXPENSES INCURRED BY INSPECTORS WHEN REQUIRED TO WORK AT UNUSUAL HOURS.

IT HAD BEEN WELL SETTLED THAT AN ALLOWANCE FOR MEALS OR OTHER PERSONAL EXPENSES TO AN EMPLOYEE AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION WAS IN THE NATURE OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION AND IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 1765, REVISED STATUTES. 11 COMP. DEC. 250. ACCORDINGLY, THE ALLOWANCE FOR MEALS OR OTHER PERSONAL EXPENSES TO CUSTOMS INSPECTORS AT THEIR REGULAR STATIONS UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1909, QUOTED ABOVE, WAS HELD NOT TO APPLY TO THOSE WHOSE COMPENSATION WAS SPECIFICALLY FIXED BY LAW, OR TO THOSE WHO RECEIVED THE MAXIMUM COMPENSATION OF $6 PER DIEM FIXED ADMINISTRATIVELY EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED IN THE STATUTE ITSELF FROM RECEIVING THE ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE. 22 COMP. DEC. 445. IT FOLLOWED THAT ONLY THOSE INSPECTORS WHOSE COMPENSATION WAS FIXED ADMINISTRATIVELY AT LESS THAN $6 PER DIEM UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1909, SUPRA, WERE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THE ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE FOR MEALS, THE EFFECT OF THE STATUTE BEING TO EXCEPT SUCH EMPLOYEES FROM THE PROHIBITION OF SECTION 1765, REVISED STATUTES.

THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, 43 STAT. 704, PROVIDED FUNDS UNDER SPECIFIC HEADINGS TO ENABLE THE SEVERAL DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT TO ADJUST COMPENSATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES IN THE FIELD SERVICE FOR WHICH APPROPRIATIONS WERE THEREIN PROVIDED TO CORRESPOND WITH THE RATES ESTABLISHED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT FOR SIMILAR POSITIONS IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. AN APPROPRIATION WAS PROVIDED FOR THE CUSTOMS SERVICE. THE ACT FURTHER PROVIDES:

THE APPROPRIATIONS HEREIN MADE MAY BE UTILIZED BY THE HEADS OF THE SEVERAL DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS TO ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSES OF THIS ACT NOTWITHSTANDING THE SPECIFIC RATES OF COMPENSATION AND THE SALARY RESTRICTIONS CONTAINED IN THE REGULAR ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1925 OR THE SALARY RESTRICTIONS IN OTHER ACTS WHICH LIMIT SALARIES TO RATES IN CONFLICT WITH THE RATES FIXED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923 FOR THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE.

THE PROVISIONS OF THIS STATUTE WERE EXTENDED UNTIL JUNE 30, 1926, BY THE ACT OF JANUARY 22, 1925, 43 STAT. 764. SEE DECISION OF JUNE 30, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 1077.

THESE PROVISIONS OF LAW REMOVED THE STATUTORY LIMITATION OF $6 PER DIEM FIXED AS THE MAXIMUM COMPENSATION OF CUSTOMS INSPECTORS IN THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1909, AND AUTHORIZED THE FIXING OF RATES OF COMPENSATION TO CORRESPOND TO THOSE FIXED FOR SIMILAR POSITIONS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT. AS SALARIES FIXED PURSUANT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT ARE FIXED BY LAW WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 1765, REVISED STATUTES, SO ALSO ARE SALARIES OF FIELD EMPLOYEES WHICH ARE FIXED OR "ADJUSTED" TO CORRESPOND TO SUCH RATES TO BE CONSIDERED AS FIXED BY LAW. 4 COMP. GEN. 607, 818; DECISION OF JULY 16, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 37.

ACCORDINGLY, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE SALARIES OF ALL INSPECTORS OF THE CUSTOMS SERVICE ARE NOW FIXED BY LAW AND THAT PAYMENT TO THEM OF AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE FOR MEALS OR OTHER EXPENSES AT THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS WHEN REQUIRED TO WORK AT UNUSUAL HOURS WILL NO LONGER BE AUTHORIZED. REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 13, 1911, 36 STAT. 899, PROVIDING THE RATES OF PAY FOR CUSTOMS EMPLOYEES REQUIRED TO WORK AT NIGHT OR ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS.

PAYMENTS MADE PRIOR TO DATE OF THIS DECISION ON ACCOUNT OF SUCH ALLOWANCES WILL NOT BE DISTURBED IF OTHERWISE CORRECT AND PROPER.