A-13851, JUNE 1, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 949

A-13851: Jun 1, 1926

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

THAT THE BILL IS "CORRECT AND JUST. THAT IT IS MADE BY THE PERSON WHO ACTUALLY READ THE METERS. THE IMPLICATION BEING RATHER THAT IT IS MADE ACCORDING TO THE BEST KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF OF THE CERTIFYING OFFICER. DISBURSING OFFICERS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT ON BILLS OR VOUCHERS WITHOUT SUCH CERTIFICATION. 1926: THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 2. PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED WITHOUT THE CERTIFICATION THEREON BY THE COMPANY FURNISHING THE SERVICE THAT THE BILL IS "CORRECT. FROM THE CORRESPONDENCE ACCOMPANYING YOUR SUBMISSION IT APPEARS THAT THE GAS IS FURNISHED TO SAID STATION BY THE DEDHAM AND HYDE PARK GAS AND ELECTRIC LIGHT CO. WHICH IS VERY IMPRACTICABLE. PROVIDED FOR CERTIFICATION BY THE PAYEE THAT THE BILL IS "CORRECT AND JUST AND THAT PAYMENT THEREFOR HAS NOT BEEN RECEIVED.'.

A-13851, JUNE 1, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 949

PUBLIC VOUCHERS - CERTIFICATION BY PUBLIC SERVICE CORPORATIONS UNDER THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 309 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 25, VOUCHER FORMS FOR THE SEVERAL GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS FOR THE RENDERING OF ACCOUNTS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES SHALL BE PRESCRIBED BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL. THE CERTIFICATION REQUIRED OF A PAYEE ON AN APPROVED FORM OF PUBLIC VOUCHER FOR PURCHASES, AND SERVICES OTHER THAN PERSONAL, OR ON THE BILL ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER, THAT THE BILL IS "CORRECT AND JUST, AND THAT PAYMENT THEREFOR HAS NOT BEEN RECEIVED," DOES NOT IMPLY, IN THE CASE OF GAS FURNISHED BY A PUBLIC SERVICE CORPORATION, THAT IT IS MADE BY THE PERSON WHO ACTUALLY READ THE METERS, THE IMPLICATION BEING RATHER THAT IT IS MADE ACCORDING TO THE BEST KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF OF THE CERTIFYING OFFICER, BASED UPON THE READINGS OF THE METER AND THE PREPARATION OF THE BILL THEREFROM BY EMPLOYEES OF THE CORPORATION IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR REGULAR DUTIES. DISBURSING OFFICERS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT ON BILLS OR VOUCHERS WITHOUT SUCH CERTIFICATION, BUT SHOULD FORWARD THEM, WITH A COMPLETE STATEMENT OF THE FACTS, TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, JUNE 1, 1926:

THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 2, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER, IN THE CASE OF VOUCHERS FOR GAS FURNISHED THE HYDE PARK STATION OF THE POST OFFICE AT BOSTON, MASS., PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED WITHOUT THE CERTIFICATION THEREON BY THE COMPANY FURNISHING THE SERVICE THAT THE BILL IS "CORRECT, TRUE, AND PAYMENT NOT RECEIVED," PROVIDED AN EXPLANATION BY THE POSTMASTER OF THE COMPANY'S REASON FOR DECLINING TO MAKE SUCH CERTIFICATION ACCOMPANIES THE VOUCHERS.

FROM THE CORRESPONDENCE ACCOMPANYING YOUR SUBMISSION IT APPEARS THAT THE GAS IS FURNISHED TO SAID STATION BY THE DEDHAM AND HYDE PARK GAS AND ELECTRIC LIGHT CO., A PUBLIC SERVICE CORPORATION OF THE COMMONWEALTH, AND UNDER DATE OF FEBRUARY 17, 1926, THE COMPANY, BY ITS SUPERINTENDENT, WROTE THE ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT, DIVISION OF MAILS, UNITED STATES POST OFFICE, BOSTON, MASS., AS FOLLOWS:

IN REPLY TO A LETTER UNDER DATE OF FEBRUARY 13TH, SIGNED BY ROLAND M. BAKER, POSTMASTER, WE AGAIN CALL YOUR ATTENTION TO THE NONFEASIBILITY OF CERTIFYING YOUR BILLS.

FOR AN OFFICER OF THE COMPANY TO MAKE HONEST CERTIFICATION IT WOULD BE NECESSARY FOR HIM TO READ THE METER PERSONALLY AND MAKE THE COMPLETE AUDIT OF THE ACCOUNT, WHICH IS VERY IMPRACTICABLE. WE WOULD PREFER TO FOREGO DOING BUSINESS WITH YOU RATHER THAN TO MEET THIS DEMAND.

NO COPY OF THE POSTMASTER'S LETTER OF FEBRUARY 13, REFERRED TO IN THE COMPANY'S LETTER OF FEBRUARY 17, 1926, ACCOMPANIES YOUR SUBMISSION.

THE ACT OF JULY 31, 1894, 28 STAT. 206, PROVIDED:

SEC. 5. THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY SHALL, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, PRESCRIBE THE FORMS OF KEEPING AND RENDERING ALL PUBLIC ACCOUNTS, EXCEPT THOSE RELATING TO THE POSTAL REVENUES AND EXPENDITURES THEREFROM.

THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT OF JUNE 10, 1921, 42 STAT. 25, PROVIDES:

SEC. 309. THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL SHALL PRESCRIBE THE FORMS, SYSTEMS, AND PROCEDURE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE APPROPRIATION AND FUND ACCOUNTING IN THE SEVERAL DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS, AND FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXAMINATION OF FISCAL OFFICERS' ACCOUNTS AND CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES.

SINCE SEPTEMBER 30, 1907, AND PRIOR TO THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT, VOUCHER FORM APPROVED BY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY FOR PURCHASES, AND SERVICES OTHER THAN PERSONAL, PROVIDED FOR CERTIFICATION BY THE PAYEE THAT THE BILL IS "CORRECT AND JUST AND THAT PAYMENT THEREFOR HAS NOT BEEN RECEIVED.' SEE 14 COMP. DEC. 946, 952. LIKE CERTIFICATION IS PROVIDED FOR IN STANDARD VOUCHER FORM APPROVED BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, BUT IS "NOT REQUIRED WHEN A LIKE CERTIFICATE IS MADE BY PAYEE ON ATTACHED BILL OR BILLS.' IN THIS CONNECTION IT IS NOTED THAT THERE IS NOW BEFORE THIS OFFICE AN APPLICATION OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR REVISION OF ITS GENERAL VOUCHER, FORM 1526-P.

FROM THE STATEMENT OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE COMPANY FURNISHING GAS TO HYDE PARK STATION, IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE OBJECTION TO MAKING THE CERTIFICATION IS BASED ON A MISUNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THE CERTIFICATION IMPLIES. IT DOES NOT IMPLY, NOR IN ITS REQUIREMENT IS THERE ANY INTENTION THAT IT SHOULD IMPLY, THAT IT IS MADE BY THE PERSON WHO ACTUALLY READS THE METERS. THE IMPLICATION RATHER IS THAT IT IS MADE ACCORDING TO THE BEST KNOWLEDGE AND BELIEF OF THE CERTIFYING OFFICER, BASED UPON THE READINGS OF THE METER AND THE PREPARATION OF THE BILL THEREFROM BY EMPLOYEES OF THE COMPANY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR REGULAR DUTIES.

IT DOES NOT SEEM REASONABLE TO SUPPOSE THAT UPON BEING SO INFORMED THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE COMPANY WOULD DECLINE TO MAKE THE CERTIFICATION TO THE COMPANY'S BILLS FOR SERVICE RENDERED THE POST OFFICE. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE COMPANY BE INFORMED ACCORDINGLY.

IN CASE, HOWEVER, THE COMPANY SHOULD IN THE FUTURE DECLINE TO MAKE CERTIFICATION TO ITS BILLS THAT THEY ARE "CORRECT AND JUST, AND THAT PAYMENT THEREFOR HAS NOT BEEN RECEIVED," PAYMENT SHOULD NOT BE MADE BY THE POSTMASTER, BUT THE VOUCHERS OR BILLS WITH A COMPLETE STATEMENT OF THE FACTS SHOULD BE TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT.