A-12735, FEBRUARY 3, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 582

A-12735: Feb 3, 1926

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ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF TRACTORS TO HAUL TRAINS OF HAND TRUCKS LOADED WITH MAIL BETWEEN THE FERRY DEPOT AND THE FERRY POSTAL STATION AT SAN FRANCISCO. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 13. REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THE APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDED UNDER THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF TRACTORS TO HAUL TRAINS OF HAND TRUCKS LOADED WITH MAIL BETWEEN THE FERRY DEPOT AND FERRY POSTAL STATION AT SAN FRANCISCO. YOU STATE THAT THE NECESSITY FOR TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS INDICATED IS OCCASIONED BY THE RECENT REMOVAL OF THE FERRY POSTAL STATION FROM QUARTERS ADJACENT TO THE FERRY DEPOT. THROUGH WHICH 90 PERCENT OF THE CITY'S MAIL IS RECEIVED.

A-12735, FEBRUARY 3, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 582

PURCHASES, TRACTORS - POSTAL SERVICE THE APPROPRIATIONS "VEHICLE SERVICE, 1926," AND "POST OFFICE EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, 1926," CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF JANUARY 22, 1925, 43 STAT. 785, 787, ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF TRACTORS TO HAUL TRAINS OF HAND TRUCKS LOADED WITH MAIL BETWEEN THE FERRY DEPOT AND THE FERRY POSTAL STATION AT SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, FEBRUARY 3, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 13, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THE APPROPRIATIONS PROVIDED UNDER THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF TRACTORS TO HAUL TRAINS OF HAND TRUCKS LOADED WITH MAIL BETWEEN THE FERRY DEPOT AND FERRY POSTAL STATION AT SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF.

YOU STATE THAT THE NECESSITY FOR TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS INDICATED IS OCCASIONED BY THE RECENT REMOVAL OF THE FERRY POSTAL STATION FROM QUARTERS ADJACENT TO THE FERRY DEPOT, THROUGH WHICH 90 PERCENT OF THE CITY'S MAIL IS RECEIVED, TO THE NEW LOCATION, AND THAT THE USE OF TRACTORS TO HAUL THE TRAINS OF HAND TRUCKS LOADED WITH MAIL WILL BE MORE SATISFACTORY AND LESS EXPENSIVE THAN THE PRESENT METHOD OF TRANSPORTING THE MAIL BY GOVERNMENT TRUCKS, RESULTING IN A SAVING OF APPROXIMATELY $2,000 A MONTH.

YOU SUGGEST TWO APPROPRIATIONS AS POSSIBLY AVAILABLE, VIZ,"VEHICLE SERVICE, 1926," 43 STAT. 785, OR "POST OFFICE EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, 1926," 43 STAT. 787.

THE FORMER APPROPRIATION IS FOUND UNDER THE HEADING "OFFICE OF THE FIRST ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL.' THE ONLY ITEM IN THIS APPROPRIATION WHICH WOULD BE FOR CONSIDERATION IS THAT FOR PURCHASE OF "AUTOMOBILES.' WHILE A TRACTOR MAY BE PUT TO SIMILAR USE AS AN AUTOMOBILE, IT IS NOT, IN FACT, AN AUTOMOBILE IN THE SENSE INTENDED IN THIS APPROPRIATION, BUT IS CONSIDERED AS THE POWER UNIT TO MOVE OTHER CONVEYANCES. IT IS UNREASONABLE TO SUPPOSE THAT SUCH A MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION WAS IN CONTEMPLATION WHEN THE TERM "AUTOMOBILES" WAS USED IN THE APPROPRIATION.

THE LATTER APPROPRIATION IS FOUND UNDER THE HEADING "OFFICE OF THE FOURTH ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL," AND SPECIFIES NUMEROUS ITEMS OF EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES, NONE OF WHICH MAY REASONABLY BE CONSIDERED AS AUTHORIZING THE PURCHASE OF A TRACTOR.

IT HAS BEEN ASCERTAINED THAT THERE ARE OTHER SIMILAR SITUATIONS WHERE MAIL MUST BE TRANSPORTED FROM THE RAILWAY STATION TO THE POST OFFICE STATION AND THAT TRACTORS HAVE NEVER BEEN USED IN THE MANNER NOW PROPOSED, THAT SAME WOULD CONSTITUTE A DEPARTURE IN THE METHOD OF HANDLING THE MAIL BETWEEN THE DEPOT AND THE POST OFFICE, AND THAT THE MATTER HAS NEVER BEEN PRESENTED TO THE CONGRESS.

WHILE A MORE EXPEDITIOUS HANDLING OF THE MAIL AND A REDUCTION IN THE EXPENSE INCIDENT THERETO ARE TO BE DESIRED, THESE CONSIDERATIONS MAY NOT CONCLUSIVELY CONTROL THE CONSTRUCTION OF STATUTES OR RENDER AVAILABLE APPROPRIATIONS NOT OTHERWISE REASONABLY AVAILABLE FOR THE EXPENDITURE PROPOSED TO EFFECT A SAVING. THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE MUCH TO RECOMMEND THE USE OF THE TRACTORS UNDER THE CONDITIONS PRESENTED, BUT IN VIEW OF THE TERMS OF THE APPROPRIATIONS IN QUESTION I AM CONSTRAINED TO HOLD THAT THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PROPOSED PURCHASES. FURTHERMORE, EVEN IF THE APPROPRIATIONS WERE IN MORE GENERAL TERMS, PURCHASES OF EQUIPMENT OF A CHARACTER SO ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM ANY EQUIPMENT PREVIOUSLY USED AND INVOLVING SUCH LARGE EXPENDITURES, SHOULD NOT BE MADE WITHOUT THE CONSIDERATION AND APPROVAL OF THE CONGRESS.