A-11153, SEPTEMBER 15, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 201

A-11153: Sep 15, 1925

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IS AUTHORIZED. YOUR DOUBT APPEARS TO HAVE ARISEN FROM THE DECISION OF THIS OFFICE OF AUGUST 7. THE ICE IN THAT CASE WAS PURCHASED TO COOL DRINKING WATER ALSO PURCHASED FOR THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEES AT THAT STATION. AS TO THE PURCHASE OF DRINKING WATER IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HELD THAT SUCH PURCHASE IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER ANY CONDITIONS WHERE THERE IS AN AVAILABLE FREE SUPPLY. UNLESS IT IS ESTABLISHED BY A CERTIFICATE OF THE LOCAL BOARD OF HEALTH OR BY A RELIABLE ANALYSIS THAT THE REGULAR FREE SUPPLY WAS UNWHOLESOME OR IMPURE. 23 COMP. IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO SUBSISTENCE AS PART OF THEIR AUTHORIZED COMPENSATION. IS AN UNAUTHORIZED EXPENSE IN THE ABSENCE OF STATUTORY AUTHORITY OR A SHOWING OF NECESSITY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT. 5 COMP.

A-11153, SEPTEMBER 15, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 201

PURCHASES - ICE THE PURCHASE OF ICE TO COOL THE AVAILABLE SUPPLY OF DRINKING WATER, WHEN NECESSARY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT, AS IN THE CASE OF WATER FURNISHED CONSTRUCTION GANGS EMPLOYED ON PROJECTS OF THE RECLAMATION SERVICE, IS AUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, SEPTEMBER 15, 1925:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1925, REQUESTING DECISION OF THE QUESTION WHETHER ICE MAY BE PURCHASED TO COOL THE DRINKING WATER FURNISHED CONSTRUCTION GANGS EMPLOYED ON RECLAMATION SERVICE PROJECTS. YOUR DOUBT APPEARS TO HAVE ARISEN FROM THE DECISION OF THIS OFFICE OF AUGUST 7, 1925, DISALLOWING AN EXPENDITURE FOR ICE AT THE QUARANTINE STATION AT LAREDO, TEX., A-9035. THE ICE IN THAT CASE WAS PURCHASED TO COOL DRINKING WATER ALSO PURCHASED FOR THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEES AT THAT STATION. AS TO THE PURCHASE OF DRINKING WATER IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HELD THAT SUCH PURCHASE IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER ANY CONDITIONS WHERE THERE IS AN AVAILABLE FREE SUPPLY, UNLESS IT IS ESTABLISHED BY A CERTIFICATE OF THE LOCAL BOARD OF HEALTH OR BY A RELIABLE ANALYSIS THAT THE REGULAR FREE SUPPLY WAS UNWHOLESOME OR IMPURE. 23 COMP. DEC. 581; 2 COMP. GEN. 750; 3 ID. 651; 828. IT HAS BEEN FURTHER HELD THAT THE FURNISHING OF DRINKING WATER IN OFFICES MAINTAINED BY THE GOVERNMENT, IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO SUBSISTENCE AS PART OF THEIR AUTHORIZED COMPENSATION, IS AN UNAUTHORIZED EXPENSE IN THE ABSENCE OF STATUTORY AUTHORITY OR A SHOWING OF NECESSITY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT. 5 COMP. GEN. 53. THE RULES APPLICABLE TO THE PURCHASE OF DRINKING WATER UNDER APPROPRIATIONS WHICH DO NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE THEREFOR WERE CONCISELY STATED IN DECISION OF AUGUST 5, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 90.

IN THE CASE INVOLVED IN THE DECISION OF AUGUST 7, 1925, TO WHICH YOU REFER THERE WAS NO SHOWING OF ANY NECESSITY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT TO FURNISH WATER IN THE PARTICULAR OFFICE CONCERNED AND IT NECESSARILY FOLLOWED THAT THE PURCHASE OF ICE TO COOL SUCH WATER WAS REALLY A PART OF THE AGGREGATE COST OF THE WATER AND OPEN TO THE SAME OBJECTION. THE DECISION DID NOT HOLD AND WAS NOT INTENDED TO HOLD THAT THE PURCHASE OF ICE WAS FORBIDDEN IN ALL CASES.

FROM THE REPRESENTATIONS MADE IN YOUR SUBMISSION, THE PURCHASE OF ICETO COOL THE DRINKING WATER FOR CONSTRUCTION GANGS ON RECLAMATION PROJECTS UNDER THE CONDITIONS OUTLINED WOULD APPEAR TO BE NECESSARY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT; AND WHEN SUCH FACTS ARE SHOWN ON THE VOUCHERS OR OTHERWISE IN THE ACCOUNTS, PAYMENT FOR SUCH PURCHASES IS AUTHORIZED FROM THE SAME FUNDS AS THE OTHER EXPENSES OF SUCH CONSTRUCTION.