A-11306, OCTOBER 14, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 257

A-11306: Oct 14, 1925

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

THAT AN ENLISTED MAN WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LOSS OF FOUR ARMY PISTOLS BECAUSE OF HIS NEGLIGENCE IN LEAVING THE ARM RACKS CONTAINING THEM UNLOCKED DURING HIS TOUR OF DUTY AND THE VALUE OF THE PISTOLS IS CHARGED TO HIM. THE FACT THAT ANOTHER ENLISTED MAN WAS SUBSEQUENTLY TRIED BY COURT-MARTIAL. BY WHICH WAS DISALLOWED HIS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT IN THE SUM OF $94.40 DEDUCTED FROM HIS PAY TO COVER THE VALUE OF FOUR LOST ARMY PISTOLS. SUCH CHARGE WILL ONLY BE MADE ON CONCLUSIVE PROOF. HE WILL BE INFORMED AT THE TIME OF SIGNING THE PAY ROLLS THAT HIS SIGNATURE WILL BE REGARDED AS AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE JUSTICE OF THE CHARGE. THE REPORT OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE IS THAT. - THE REPORT OF SURVEY IN THIS CASE IS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE.

A-11306, OCTOBER 14, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 257

PROPERTY, PUBLIC - LOST IN THE MILITARY SERVICE WHERE A REPORT OF SURVEY DETERMINED, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 685, ARMY REGULATIONS, 1913, THAT AN ENLISTED MAN WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LOSS OF FOUR ARMY PISTOLS BECAUSE OF HIS NEGLIGENCE IN LEAVING THE ARM RACKS CONTAINING THEM UNLOCKED DURING HIS TOUR OF DUTY AND THE VALUE OF THE PISTOLS IS CHARGED TO HIM, THE FACT THAT ANOTHER ENLISTED MAN WAS SUBSEQUENTLY TRIED BY COURT-MARTIAL, FOUND GUILTY, AND SENTENCED FOR THEFT OF THE PISTOLS DOES NOT RELIEVE THE FORMER OF HIS RESPONSIBILITY.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, OCTOBER 14, 1925:

GEORGE H. THURMAN, FORMERLY CORPORAL, COMPANY M, SIXTY-FOURTH INFANTRY, REQUESTED APRIL 16, 1925, A REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. C-054746 M, DATED MARCH 28, 1925, BY WHICH WAS DISALLOWED HIS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT IN THE SUM OF $94.40 DEDUCTED FROM HIS PAY TO COVER THE VALUE OF FOUR LOST ARMY PISTOLS.

THE ARMY REGULATIONS, 1913, PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

685. IF AN ARTICLE OF PUBLIC PROPERTY BE LOST OR DAMAGED BY THE NEGLECT OR FAULT OF ANY OFFICER OR SOLDIER, HE SHALL PAY THE VALUE THEREOF, OR THE COST OF REPAIRS, AT SUCH RATES AS MAY BE DETERMINED BY A SURVEY OF THE PROPERTY.

686. THE AMOUNT CHARGED AGAINST AN ENLISTED MAN ON THE PAY ROLLS ON ACCOUNT OF LOSS OR DAMAGE OF, OR REPAIRS TO, GOVERNMENT PROPERTY SHALL NOT EXCEED THE VALUE OF THE ARTICLE OR COST OF REPAIRS; AND SUCH CHARGE WILL ONLY BE MADE ON CONCLUSIVE PROOF, AND NEVER WITHOUT A SURVEY, IF THE SOLDIER DEMAND IT. HE WILL BE INFORMED AT THE TIME OF SIGNING THE PAY ROLLS THAT HIS SIGNATURE WILL BE REGARDED AS AN ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF THE JUSTICE OF THE CHARGE.

THE REPORT OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE IS THAT---

THE REPORT OF SURVEY IN THIS CASE IS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE, AND SHOWS THAT THE 4 PISTOLS REFERRED TO WERE LOST FROM THE ARM RACK DURING CORPORAL THURMAN'S TOUR AS NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER IN CHARGE OF QUARTERS. THE SURVEYING OFFICER FINDS THAT CORPORAL THURMAN LEFT THE ARM RACK UNLOCKED DURING HIS TOUR OF DUTY, THEREBY ALLOWING SOME UNKNOWN PERSON TO TAKE THE 4 PISTOLS. FROM THE EVIDENCE AT HAND THE LOSS APPEARS TO BE DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE NEGLECT OF CORPORAL THURMAN, AND IN THE OPINION OF THIS OFFICE THE CHARGE AGAINST HIM IN THE SUM OF $94.40 FOLLOWS THE REQUIREMENTS OF PAR. 685, ARMY REGULATIONS.

THE SUM OF $94.40 TO COVER THE VALUE OF THE FOUR PISTOLS WAS DEDUCTED FROM CLAIMANT'S PAY ON VOUCHER 8803, SEPTEMBER, 1922, ACCOUNTS OF C. HALLA, FINANCE DEPARTMENT.

THE CLAIMANT STATES THAT INASMUCH AS CORP. BEN W. SITTER, COMPANY M, TWELFTH INFANTRY, WHOM HE SUBSEQUENTLY LEARNED HAD ACTUALLY STOLEN THE PISTOLS, WAS TRIED BY COURT-MARTIAL, FOUND GUILTY OF THE THEFT, AND SENTENCED TO DISHONORABLE DISCHARGE, ETC., WAS TANTAMOUNT TO AN EXONERATION OF HIMSELF FROM ALL RESPONSIBILITY, AND THAT RESTITUTION SHOULD NOW BE MADE OF THE AMOUNT CHARGED TO HIM.

THE TRIAL AND CONVICTION OF SITTER WAS SOLELY FOR THE CRIMINAL OFFENSE OF LARCENY. THE ESTABLISHED GUILT OF SITTER DOES NOT, HOWEVER, ABSOLVE CLAIMANT OF HIS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE LOSS OF THE PROPERTY, NOR RESTORE THE PROPERTY OR ITS VALUE TO THE UNITED STATES. THE MILITARY AUTHORITIES AFTER SURVEY DETERMINED THE LOSS WAS DUE DIRECTLY TO CLAIMANT'S NEGLIGENCE IN LEAVING THE ARM RACKS UNLOCKED DURING HIS TOUR OF DUTY, THEREBY MAKING THE THEFT POSSIBLE.