A-10979, OCTOBER 19, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 272

A-10979: Oct 19, 1925

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - PERSONAL SERVICES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT AS A "FIELD" FORCE OF THE GOVERNMENT IS ONE ENGAGED. WHILE A "DEPARTMENTAL" FORCE IS ONE ENGAGED IN THE GENERAL SUPERVISORY AND ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTION AND CONTROL OF THE VARIOUS FIELD FORCES. A FORCE ENGAGED EXCLUSIVELY IN THE LOCAL EXECUTION OF SUCH LAWS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS A FIELD FORCE AS MUCH SO AS A LIKE FORCE WOULD BE IN ANY OTHER SECTION OF THE COUNTRY. IT IS ONLY IN THIS SENSE THAT A "FIELD" FORCE MAY PROPERLY BE LOCATED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PAID FROM A FIELD SERVICE APPROPRIATION NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDING FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT. MAY NOT CONTINUE TO BE PAID FROM THE AIRPLANE MAIL-SERVICE APPROPRIATION WHICH IS A FIELD-SERVICE APPROPRIATION.

A-10979, OCTOBER 19, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 272

POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - PERSONAL SERVICES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT AS A "FIELD" FORCE OF THE GOVERNMENT IS ONE ENGAGED, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN EXECUTING THE LAWS LOCALLY, WHILE A "DEPARTMENTAL" FORCE IS ONE ENGAGED IN THE GENERAL SUPERVISORY AND ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTION AND CONTROL OF THE VARIOUS FIELD FORCES, A FORCE ENGAGED EXCLUSIVELY IN THE LOCAL EXECUTION OF SUCH LAWS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS A FIELD FORCE AS MUCH SO AS A LIKE FORCE WOULD BE IN ANY OTHER SECTION OF THE COUNTRY. IT IS ONLY IN THIS SENSE THAT A "FIELD" FORCE MAY PROPERLY BE LOCATED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND PAID FROM A FIELD SERVICE APPROPRIATION NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDING FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT. THE AIR MAIL SERVICE ADMINISTRATIVE FORCE, IF TRANSFERRED FROM THE FIELD TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, MAY NOT CONTINUE TO BE PAID FROM THE AIRPLANE MAIL-SERVICE APPROPRIATION WHICH IS A FIELD-SERVICE APPROPRIATION, BUT MUST BE PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE OFFICE OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, OCTOBER 19, 1925:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 3, 1925, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF THE DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 15, 1925, WITH REFERENCE TO THE LOCATION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE AIR MAIL SERVICE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

I THINK IT EVIDENT THAT THE PURPOSE OF MY LETTER ABOVE REFERRED TO WAS NOT MADE CLEAR IN MY COMMUNICATION AND THAT THEREFORE YOUR DECISION DOES NOT TOUCH THE POINT WHICH I WISH TO SUBMIT.

WHAT I WISH TO DO IS TO ESTABLISH IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND NOT IN THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT EXECUTIVE BRANCH THE HEADQUARTERS FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE FORCE OF THE AIR MAIL SERVICE AND TO PAY THE PERSONNEL THEREOF NOT FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, OFFICE OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, BUT FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FIELD SERVICE, OFFICE OF THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, FOR THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE AIR MAIL SERVICE, INCLUDING EMPLOYMENT OF NECESSARY PERSONNEL.

I HAVE BEEN UNDER THE BELIEF THAT THIS IS STRICTLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAW AND THE PREVIOUS OPINIONS AND RULINGS OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY AND YOUR OFFICE. IN THIS CONNECTION I BEG TO CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THE COMPTROLLER'S DECISION TO THE EFFECT THAT THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IS NOT PROHIBITED FROM DETAILING EMPLOYEES IN THE POSTAL SERVICE OUTSIDE OF WASHINGTON TO A BRANCH OF THE POSTAL SERVICE IN WASHINGTON OR FROM EMPLOYING THEM IN SUCH BRANCH. (XII COMP. 810.)

UPON THIS STATEMENT OF THE QUESTION I HAVE THE HONOR TO REQUEST THAT YOU RECONSIDER YOUR OPINION AND INFORM ME WHETHER IT WILL BE PERMISSIBLE UNDER THE LAWS GOVERNING PAYMENTS UNDER THE APPROPRIATIONS TO ESTABLISH IN THE FIELD SERVICE, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE FOR THE AIR MAIL SERVICE AND PAY THE PERSONNEL THEREOF FROM THE APPROPRIATION "FOR THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE AIRPLANE MAIL SERVICE * * * INCLUDING * * EMPLOYMENT OF NECESSARY PERSONNEL, $2,600,000.'

SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 5, 1882, 22 STAT. 255, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING RESTRICTIONS:

THAT NO CIVIL OFFICER, CLERK, DRAUGHTSMAN, COPYIST, MESSENGER, ASSISTANT MESSENGER, MECHANIC, WATCHMAN, LABORER, OR OTHER EMPLOYEE SHALL AFTER THE FIRST DAY OF OCTOBER NEXT BE EMPLOYED IN ANY OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS, OR SUBORDINATE BUREAUS OR OFFICES THEREOF AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, EXCEPT ONLY AT SUCH RATES AND IN SUCH NUMBERS, RESPECTIVELY, AS MAY BE SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR BY CONGRESS FOR SUCH CLERICAL AND OTHER PERSONAL SERVICES FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR; AND NO CIVIL OFFICER, CLERK, DRAUGHTSMAN, COPYIST, MESSENGER, ASSISTANT MESSENGER, MECHANIC, WATCHMAN, LABORER, OR OTHER EMPLOYEE SHALL HEREAFTER BE EMPLOYED AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT IN ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR SUBORDINATE BUREAU OR OFFICE THEREOF OR BE PAID FROM ANY APPROPRIATION MADE FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES, OR FOR ANY SPECIFIC OR GENERAL PURPOSE, UNLESS SUCH EMPLOYMENT IS AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT THEREFOR SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED IN THE LAW GRANTING THE APPROPRIATION, AND THEN ONLY FOR SERVICES ACTUALLY RENDERED IN CONNECTION WITH AND FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH PAYMENT IS MADE, AND AT THE RATE OF COMPENSATION USUAL AND PROPER FOR SUCH SERVICES. * *

IN ORDER TO PROPERLY APPLY THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABOVE ACT, IT IS NECESSARY TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN "DEPARTMENTAL" AND "FIELD" ACTIVITIES OR ESTABLISHMENTS. WHAT IS KNOWN AS A "FIELD" FORCE IS ENGAGED, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN EXECUTING THE LAWS LOCALLY, WHILE A "DEPARTMENTAL" FORCE IS ENGAGED IN GENERAL SUPERVISORY AND ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTION AND CONTROL OF THE VARIOUS FIELD FORCES. VARIOUS GENERAL LAWS, SUCH AS THE POSTAL LAWS, MUST BE EXECUTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AS WELL AS ELSEWHERE. FORCE ENGAGED EXCLUSIVELY IN THE LOCAL EXECUTION OF SUCH LAWS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS A FIELD FORCE AS MUCH SO AS A LIKE FORCE IN ANY OTHER SECTION OF THE COUNTRY. IT IS ONLY IN THIS SENSE THAT THE TERM "FIELD" FORCE MAY PROPERLY BE APPLIED TO THE DISTRICT. SEE DISCUSSION IN DECISIONS REPORTED IN 21 COMP. DEC. 709, AND 27 COMP. DEC. 643.

IT WOULD APPEAR FROM YOUR SUBMISSION THAT IT IS NOT THE LOCAL EXECUTION OF THE POSTAL LAWS WITHIN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA THAT IS SOUGHT TO BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE TRANSFER OF THE AIR MAIL SERVICE ADMINISTRATIVE FORCE TO THIS CITY BUT THE LOCATION IN THE DISTRICT OF THE SUPERVISORY HEADQUARTERS FOR THE ENTIRE AIR MAIL SERVICE. IT WAS UPON THIS UNDERSTANDING THAT MY DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 15, 1925, (A 10979), WAS RENDERED, WHICH DECISION MUST BE AND IS AFFIRMED.