A-12411, APRIL 15, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 822

A-12411: Apr 15, 1926

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

ARE FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE UPON THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT. SUCH DECISIONS ARE REQUIRED TO BE RENDERED WITHOUT DIRECTION OF ANY OTHER OFFICER OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE RIGHT OF CONWAY TO RETAINER PAY AS A TRANSFERRED MEMBER OF THE FLEET NAVAL RESERVE WAS CONSIDERED IN DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE PRIOR TO THE PAYMENTS HERE IN QUESTION. THE CONCLUSION WAS REACHED AND ADHERED TO THAT CONWAY. WERE ALLOWED. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE SUMS DISALLOWED WERE PAID UNDER THE DIRECT ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY. THE LETTER WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE OVER THE SIGNATURE OF THE ACTING JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL OF THE NAVY. THE ORDER TO WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE AND OF WHICH THERE WAS INCLOSED AN UNCERTIFIED COPY.

A-12411, APRIL 15, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 822

DISBURSING OFFICERS - RELIEF FROM PAYMENTS ORDERED CONTRARY TO DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACTS OF JULY 31, 1894, 28 STAT. 208, AND JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 24, DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES RENDERED UPON A SUBMISSION BY THE HEAD OF AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT, OR A DISBURSING OFFICER CONCERNED, ARE FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE UPON THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT. SUCH DECISIONS ARE REQUIRED TO BE RENDERED WITHOUT DIRECTION OF ANY OTHER OFFICER OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND IT THUS FOLLOWS THAT WHERE A DECISION HAS BEEN ONCE RENDERED BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL IN A CASE NO DIRECTION CONTRARY THERETO GIVEN BY THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CAN SUPPORT A PLEA FOR RELIEF UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 285, REVISED STATUTES, NOR MAY SAID SECTION BE INTERPRETED AS PROVIDING A MEANS OF REVIEWING OR RELIEVING THE BINDING EFFECT OF SAID DECISION.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, APRIL 15, 1926:

CAPT. GEORGE G. SEIBELS (SC), UNITED STATES NAVY, NAVY ALLOTMENT OFFICER, BY LETTER OF DECEMBER 3, 1925, REQUESTED REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. M-15777- N, NOVEMBER 4, 1925, DISALLOWING CREDIT IN HIS DISBURSING ACCOUNTS FOR $1,974.01, RETAINER PAY PAID WILLIE PERRY CONWAY AS A TRANSFERRED MEMBER OF THE FLEET NAVAL RESERVE.

THE RIGHT OF CONWAY TO RETAINER PAY AS A TRANSFERRED MEMBER OF THE FLEET NAVAL RESERVE WAS CONSIDERED IN DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE PRIOR TO THE PAYMENTS HERE IN QUESTION, AUGUST 31, 1923, 24 MS. COMP. GEN. 959; NOVEMBER 24, 1924, 39 MS. COMP. GEN. 681; AND MARCH 27, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 773, THE LATTER TWO DECISIONS HAVING BEEN RENDERED AT THE REQUEST OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, AND THE CONCLUSION WAS REACHED AND ADHERED TO THAT CONWAY, NOT HAVING HAD THE SERVICE REQUIRED BY LAW FOR TRANSFER TO THE FLEET NAVAL RESERVE, HAD NO STATUS THEREIN ENTITLING TO PAYMENT OF RETAINER PAY. THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT STATES AS FOLLOWS:

PAYMENTS OF RETAINER PAY MADE TO THIS MAN PRIOR TO YOUR DECISION OF 31 AUGUST, 1923 (A-4285), WERE ALLOWED. AFTER THE RECEIPT OF THAT DECISIONI PROTESTED, UNDER ARTICLE 1748, NAVY REGULATIONS, 1920, THE MAKING OF FURTHER PAYMENTS OF RETAINER PAY TO CONWAY. BY AN ORDER DATED 1 APRIL, 1925, COPY ENCLOSED, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY DIRECTED ME TO RESUME AND CONTINUE PAYMENTS TO THIS MAN.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE SUMS DISALLOWED WERE PAID UNDER THE DIRECT ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, I REQUEST THAT, UNDER SECTION 285 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, THESE PAYMENTS BE ALLOWED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF MY ACCOUNT AND THAT NO FURTHER SUSPENSION OR DISALLOWANCE BE MADE BECAUSE OF PAYMENTS MADE TO WILLIE PERRY CONWAY BY ME.

THE LETTER WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE OVER THE SIGNATURE OF THE ACTING JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL OF THE NAVY,"BY DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY.' THE ORDER TO WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE AND OF WHICH THERE WAS INCLOSED AN UNCERTIFIED COPY, WITH THE INDORSEMENT THEREON, IS AS FOLLOWS:

NAVY DEPARTMENT,

WASHINGTON, APRIL 1, 1925. 2855-1656: 15-14 AD/3 FROM:THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY. TO: CAPT. GEORGE G. SEIBELS, (SC) U.S.N., NAVY ALLOTMENT DIVISION,

BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS. VIA: THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS. SUBJECT: PAYMENT OF RETAINER PAY TO WILLIE P. CONWAY, A.C.M.M.,

U.S.N.R.F.

1. YOU ARE HEREBY DIRECTED TO PAY TO WILLIE P. CONWAY, A.C.M.M., U.S.N.R.F., RETAINER PAY IN THE AMOUNT FIXED BY LAW FOR HIS RATING FROM AND AFTER JULY 10, 1922, LESS ANY AMOUNT WHICH HE MAY HERETOFORE HAVE RECEIVED AS SUCH RETAINER PAY.

S/S CURTIS D. WILBUR.

(1ST ENDORSEMENT)

1 APRIL, 1925. FROM: CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS. TO: OFFICER IN CHARGE, ALLOTMENT AND RETAINER PAY DIVISION.

1. FORWARDED. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE DEPARTMENT DESIRES THAT THE ABOVE-ORDERED PAYMENT BE MADE WITH THE LEAST POSSIBLE DELAY.

(S) DAVID POTTER.

IT IS PROPER TO NOTE HERE THAT ON APRIL 29, 1925, SUBSEQUENT TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE FOREGOING ORDER, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IN REQUESTING FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THE MATTER SAID:

* * * I MUST SAY I FEEL IT MY DUTY UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES TO FOLLOW THE OPINION OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND HAVE ACTED ACCORDINGLY.

RESPONSE WAS MADE TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AUGUST 19, 1925, AND THE EARLIER VIEWS OF THIS OFFICE AS TO THE ABSENCE OF LEGAL RIGHT IN CONWAY TO RECEIVE PAY FROM THE GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT WAS ADHERED TO. IT IS NOW REQUESTED THAT CREDIT BE GIVEN IN THE PAYMASTER'S ACCOUNTS FOR THE PAYMENT, UNDER SECTION 285, REVISED STATUTES, WHICH PROVIDES:

EVERY DISBURSEMENT OF PUBLIC MONEYS, OR DISPOSAL OF PUBLIC STORES, MADE BY A DISBURSING OFFICER PURSUANT TO AN ORDER OF ANY COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE NAVY, SHALL BE ALLOWED BY THE PROPER ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE TREASURY, IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF THE OFFICER, UPON SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE OF THE MAKING OF SUCH ORDER, AND OF THE PAYMENT OF MONEY OR DISPOSAL OF STORES IN CONFORMITY WITH IT; AND THE COMMANDING OFFICER BY WHOSE ORDER SUCH DISBURSEMENT OR DISPOSAL WAS MADE, SHALL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE SAME.

THE REQUEST IS BASED ON THE PROPOSITION THAT THE CIVIL HEAD OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, ONE OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, IS A "COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE NAVY," AND THAT HIS ORDER TO THE PAYMASTER AFTER HIS PROTECT (IF MADE IN WRITING COPY NOT FURNISHED) ENTITLES THE PAYMASTER TO CREDIT, AND THAT THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY SHALL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE PAYMENT.

WHATEVER MAY BE THE APPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 285 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, IN A PROPER CASE, IT APPEARS FROM THE FACTS SET FORTH IN THE PRESENT CASE THAT DECISIONS WERE RENDERED IN THE MATTER BY THIS OFFICE PRIOR TO ANY PAYMENTS MADE. THE ACTS OF JULY 31, 1894, 28 STAT. 208, AND JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 24, MAKE THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE ON A SUBMISSION BY THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR DISBURSING OFFICER CONCERNED FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE UPON THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT; SUCH DECISIONS BEING ALSO REQUIRED TO BE RENDERED WITHOUT DIRECTION OF ANY OTHER OFFICER. IT THUS FOLLOWS FROM THESE STATUTORY DUTIES THAT SUCH DECISIONS HAVING BEEN RENDERED IN THE PRESENT CASE, NO DIRECTION CONTRARY THERETO GIVEN BY THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT CAN SUPPORT A PLEA FOR RELIEF UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 285 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, NOR CAN SAID SECTION 285 BE INTERPRETED AS PROVIDING A MEANS OF REVIEWING OR RELIEVING THE BINDING EFFECT OF DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS RENDERED PURSUANT TO THE ACTS OF 1894 AND 1921, CITED.

UPON REVIEW THERE IS SUSTAINED THE SETTLEMENT DISALLOWING CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE PAYMASTER FOR RETAINER PAY IN QUESTION PAID WILLIE PERRY CONWAY.