A-11519, DECEMBER 1, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 402

A-11519: Dec 1, 1925

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ARE ENTITLED TO A MONEY ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE AT THE RATE PRESCRIBED BY REGULATIONS FOR MEN ON DUTY IN SOUTH AMERICA. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 15. AS FOLLOWS: I HAVE NOTED THE EXCEPTION TAKEN BY YOUR OFFICE IN THE AUDIT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF COMMANDER C. THE ALLOWANCES PAID WERE IN EXCESS OF $1.20 PER DIEM AND IT IS STATED THAT RATES IN EXCESS OF THAT AMOUNT CANNOT BE ALLOWED BECAUSE A DECISION OF YOUR OFFICE HOLDS THE CANAL ZONE IS NOT A PART OF SOUTH AMERICA. I AM NOT IN POSSESSION OF THE DECISION TO WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE AND THEREFORE CANNOT ASCERTAIN THE PARTICULAR FACTORS UPON WHICH THE ACTION IN AUDIT IS BASED. WITH REGARD TO ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF RATIONS IN KIND HAS PRESENTED SUCH UNUSUAL FEATURES THAT POSSIBLY A REVIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WHICH HAS BEEN TAKEN THEREON WILL PROVE HELPFUL IN EFFECTING A SETTLEMENT OF THESE EXCEPTIONS.

A-11519, DECEMBER 1, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 402

SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE - NAVY ENLISTED MEN ON DUTY IN THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 630, AND THE EXECUTIVE ORDER PROMULGATED IN PURSUANCE THEREOF, ONLY THOSE ENLISTED MEN OF THE NAVY STATIONED IN THE 15TH NAVAL DISTRICT ON DUTY AT CAPE MALA, LA PALMA, AND PUERTO OBALDIA, IN THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA, ARE ENTITLED TO A MONEY ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE AT THE RATE PRESCRIBED BY REGULATIONS FOR MEN ON DUTY IN SOUTH AMERICA.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, DECEMBER 1, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 15, 1925, AS FOLLOWS:

I HAVE NOTED THE EXCEPTION TAKEN BY YOUR OFFICE IN THE AUDIT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF COMMANDER C. G. MAYO, SUPPLY CORPS, U.S. NAVY, TO MONEY ALLOWANCES CREDITED IN LIEU OF RATIONS IN KIND TO ENLISTED MEN STATIONED IN THE 15TH NAVAL DISTRICT DURING THE PERIOD 1 JANUARY TO 31 MARCH OF THIS YEAR. THE ALLOWANCES PAID WERE IN EXCESS OF $1.20 PER DIEM AND IT IS STATED THAT RATES IN EXCESS OF THAT AMOUNT CANNOT BE ALLOWED BECAUSE A DECISION OF YOUR OFFICE HOLDS THE CANAL ZONE IS NOT A PART OF SOUTH AMERICA.

I AM NOT IN POSSESSION OF THE DECISION TO WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE AND THEREFORE CANNOT ASCERTAIN THE PARTICULAR FACTORS UPON WHICH THE ACTION IN AUDIT IS BASED. THE SITUATION IN THIS NAVAL DISTRICT, HOWEVER, WITH REGARD TO ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF RATIONS IN KIND HAS PRESENTED SUCH UNUSUAL FEATURES THAT POSSIBLY A REVIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WHICH HAS BEEN TAKEN THEREON WILL PROVE HELPFUL IN EFFECTING A SETTLEMENT OF THESE EXCEPTIONS.

UNDER SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF 10 JUNE, 1922, AN ALLOWANCE NOT TO EXCEED $4.00 PER DAY, THE VALUE OF WHICH SHALL DEPEND ON THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THE DUTY OF THE MAN IS BEING PERFORMED, MAY BE GRANTED MEN NOT FURNISHED QUARTERS OR RATIONS IN KIND. THE LAW PROVIDES, MOREOVER, THAT THE ALLOWANCES GRANTED SHALL CONFORM TO REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, WHICH SHALL BE UNIFORM FOR ALL THE SERVICES COVERED BY THE ACT.

THE EXECUTIVE ORDER PROMULGATING THESE REGULATIONS PROVIDED FOR PAYMENT OF AN ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF RATIONS IN KIND, IN GENERAL AT THE RATE OF $1.00 PER DIEM, IF COOKING AND SERVING FACILITIES WERE AVAILABLE, OR AT THE RATE OF $1.20 PER DIEM, IF THE MEN WERE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN SUBSISTENCE WITHOUT SUCH FACILITIES. PROVISION WAS MADE, HOWEVER, IN SPECIAL CASES WHERE THE GENERAL RATES WOULD NOT SUFFICE (NOTABLY STATIONS IN ALASKA, EUROPE AND SOUTH AMERICA) FOR THE PAYMENT OF RATES IN EXCESS OF $1.00 AND $1.20, NOT TO EXCEED, HOWEVER, A MAXIMUM OF $1.90 WHERE COOKING AND MESSING FACILITIES WERE AVAILABLE, OR $2.10 WHERE COOKING AND SERVING FACILITIES WERE NOT PROVIDED.

THE AMOUNT ALLOTTED UNDER THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION FOR THESE ALLOWANCES IS SUCH THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO RESTRICT THEM TO CASES APPROVED BY THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION AND SUCH REQUESTS RECEIVE THE MOST SEARCHING SCRUTINY BEFORE THEY ARE GRANTED. FREQUENTLY IT HAS BEEN NECESSARY TO DENY ALLOWANCES WHERE MANIFESTLY THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE PERSONNEL AFFECTED WOULD BE SERVED WERE THEY PERMITTED TO SUBSIST AND QUARTER THEMSELVES, MERELY BECAUSE OF INSUFFICIENT FUNDS.

THE SITUATION AT THE FIFTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT HAS PRESENTED DIFFICULTIES OF ADMINISTRATION FROM THE VERY BEGINNING BECAUSE CONDITIONS DIFFERED AT THE VARIOUS STATIONS WITHIN THE DISTRICT AND YET THE MEN ROTATED CONSTANTLY BETWEEN STATIONS. IN THE APPLICATION OF THE NEW REGULATIONS UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE, 1922, IT WAS FIRST CONCLUDED THAT THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH DUTY WAS PERFORMED IN THIS DISTRICT WERE SUCH AS TO MERIT CONSIDERATION AS SPECIAL CASES, AND THE ALLOWANCE WAS FIXED AT $1.90 PER DIEM. THE MATTER WAS GIVEN CAREFUL STUDY, HOWEVER, AND IT WAS FOUND THAT THE MAXIMUM RATE WAS NOT NEEDED FOR MEN ON DUTY AT THE DISTRICT HEADQUARTERS AT BALBOA AND AT THE NAVY RADIO STATION AT BALBOA AND A RATE OF $1.20 PER DIEM WAS THEN DETERMINED TO BE ADEQUATE. CONDITIONS AT THE OTHER DUTY STATIONS WITHIN THE DISTRICT, HOWEVER, POINTED TO A CONTINUATION OF THE $1.90 RATE.

A RECENT DETAILED COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THESE STATIONS HAS SHOWN, HOWEVER, THAT THE SITUATION WITHIN THE CANAL ZONE HAD CLARIFIED TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT IN VIEW OF THE COMMISSARY FACILITIES AND OTHER CONVENIENCES AVAILABLE TO MEN STATIONED AT THE NAVY RADIO STATIONS AT THE HARBOR OPPOSITE COLON AND AT DARIEN (HALF WAY ACROSS THE ISTHMUS) IT WAS DEEMED EXPEDIENT AND PROPER TO REDUCE THE ALLOWANCE FOR THESE STATIONS TO THE GENERAL RATE AND THIS WAS DONE, EFFECTIVE WITH PAYMENTS BEGINNING 1 OCTOBER OF THIS YEAR.

FOR THE STATIONS OUTSIDE THE ZONE, HOWEVER, THE CONDITIONS OF DUTY UNQUESTIONABLY MERITED A CONTINUATION OF THE MAXIMUM RATE. THESE STATIONS ARE LOCATED AT CAPE MALA, LA PALMA, AND PUERTO OBALDIA--- ALL IN THEREPUBLIC OF PANAMA, REMOTE FROM THE CANAL ZONE AND INACCESSIBLE TO ORDINARY SOURCES OF SUPPLY. THEY ARE DEPENDENT ALMOST ENTIRELY UPON SUCH SERVICE AS THE NAVY IS ABLE TO GIVE THEM FROM INTERMITTENT TRIPS OF DISTRICT VESSELS.

UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES THE SUBSISTENCE OF THESE MEN PRESENTS PRACTICAL DIFFICULTIES NOT ENCOUNTERED WITHIN THE ZONE. IT IS NECESSARY THAT THEY RESTRICT THEIR USE OF FRESH MEATS AND VEGETABLES TO SUCH AMOUNTS AS MAY BE CONSUMED SHORTLY AFTER RECEIPT. TINNED MEATS AND VEGETABLES, WHICH ARE MORE COSTLY THAN THE FRESH PRODUCT, ARE LARGELY USED. THE SMALL NUMBER OF MEN AT EACH STATION IS LIKEWISE A FACTOR IN THE HIGHER COST OF SUBSISTENCE. FOR THESE REASONS IT WAS CONSIDERED THAT THEY CAME WELL WITHIN THE SPECIAL CLASS OF CASES COVERED IN THE EXECUTIVE ORDER, AND THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THEY WERE REQUIRED TO PERFORM DUTY MERITED THE MAXIMUM RATE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE GENERAL REGULATIONS. THEY HAVE THEREFORE, BEEN PERMITTED TO CONTINUE AT THE RATE OF $1.90 PER DIEM, AS MESSING FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE.

I HAVE PRESENTED THE SITUATION AT THIS LENGTH IN ORDER THAT YOU MAY KNOW THE STUDY THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN THE MATTER BY THE NAVY DEPARTMENT AND THE DIFFICULTIES WHICH HAVE BEEN ENCOUNTERED IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF THESE ALLOWANCES. I WOULD APPRECIATE CONSIDERATION OF THESE FACTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE EXCEPTIONS TAKEN BY YOUR OFFICE AND REQUEST THAT YOU ADVISE ME IN THE EVENT THAT FURTHER INFORMATION IS DEEMED NECESSARY.

THE DECISION REFERRED TO, A-7399, DATED JUNE 23, 1925, HELD THAT THE RATE FOR SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FOR DUTY IN SOUTH AMERICA IS NOT APPLICABLE TO MEN ON DUTY AT BALBOA, CANAL ZONE. BASED ON THAT DECISION ALLOWANCES CREDITED IN EXCESS OF $1.20 PER DIEM FOR SUBSISTENCE OF MEN IN THE FIFTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT HAVE BEEN DISALLOWED IN COMMANDER MAYO'S DISBURSING ACCOUNT.

IN VIEW OF THE DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED, RELATIVE TO SUBSISTING MEN ON DUTY AT POINTS OUTSIDE THE CANAL ZONE, AND THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO WELL- DEFINED BOUNDARY LINE BETWEEN SOUTH AND CENTRAL AMERICA, THE DISALLOWANCES OF APPARENT OVERCREDITS TO MEN FOR SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES IN QUESTION WILL BE REMOVED, AND, BEGINNING OCTOBER 1, 1925, RIGHT TO SUCH ALLOWANCE IN THE FIFTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT IN EXCESS OF THE GENERAL RATE WILL BE RECOGNIZED ONLY IN CASE OF MEN LOCATED AT CAPE MALA, LA PALMA, AND PUERTO OBALDIA, IN THE REPUBLIC OF PANAMA. FOR THE REASONS STATED IN YOUR LETTER PAYMENTS TO MEN ON THOSE STATIONS AT THE RATE PRESCRIBED BY REGULATIONS FOR MEN ON DUTY IN SOUTH AMERICA, WHEN OTHERWISE PROPERLY AUTHORIZED BY THE DEPARTMENT WILL BE PASSED TO THE CREDIT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICERS.