A-13871, JULY 9, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 15

A-13871: Jul 9, 1926

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - ATTENDING EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AS THERE IS NO STATUTORY AUTHORITY TO DETAIL EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR COURSES OF INSTRUCTION AS A PART OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES. THE EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION FOR TIME SPENT DURING REGULAR OFFICE HOURS IN ATTENDANCE AT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS WHETHER OR NOT THE EMPLOYEES ARE REQUIRED TO WORK COMPENSATORY TIME AFTER REGULAR OFFICE HOURS. IS NOT AUTHORIZED. THE GRANTING OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH OR WITHOUT PAY FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERMITTING EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO ATTEND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR COURSES OF INSTRUCTION IS A MATTER WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION SUBJECT TO STATUTORY LIMITATIONS.

A-13871, JULY 9, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 15

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - ATTENDING EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS AS THERE IS NO STATUTORY AUTHORITY TO DETAIL EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR COURSES OF INSTRUCTION AS A PART OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES, THE EMPLOYEES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION FOR TIME SPENT DURING REGULAR OFFICE HOURS IN ATTENDANCE AT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS WHETHER OR NOT THE EMPLOYEES ARE REQUIRED TO WORK COMPENSATORY TIME AFTER REGULAR OFFICE HOURS. THE ESTABLISHING OF PART-TIME POSITIONS IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE TO PERFORM SERVICES THE NATURE OF WHICH REQUIRES THE WHOLE TIME OF OTHER EMPLOYEES, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERMITTING SUCH PART-TIME EMPLOYEES TO ATTEND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, IS NOT AUTHORIZED. THE GRANTING OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITH OR WITHOUT PAY FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERMITTING EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO ATTEND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR COURSES OF INSTRUCTION IS A MATTER WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION SUBJECT TO STATUTORY LIMITATIONS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JULY 9, 1926:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 22, 1926, SUBMITTING A REPORT SHOWING THE BASIS ON WHICH EMPLOYEES OF YOUR DEPARTMENT, AND PARTICULARLY OF THE BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY, HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO ATTEND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING COURSES OF INSTRUCTION ALONG THE LINES OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES.

YOUR LETTER IS AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 8, INQUIRING AS TO ALLEGED PAYMENTS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE SALARY OF MERLIN P. JONES, OF THE BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY, WHILE IN ATTENDANCE AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY AND REQUESTING GENERALLY A STATEMENT OF EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT IN ATTENDANCE AT INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING DURING THE PRESENT SCHOOL YEAR WHILE BEING CARRIED ON THE ROLES OF THE DEPARTMENT.

THERE IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH A STATEMENT BOTH AS TO MR. JONES AND AS TO OTHER EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY AND OF THE DEPARTMENT AS A WHOLE WHO HAVE ATTENDED EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS DURING THE CURRENT SCHOOL YEAR WHILE RETAINED ON OUR ROLLS. AN UNDERSTANDING OF THIS STATEMENT WILL BE ASSISTED BY A GENERAL EXPLANATION OF THE SITUATION.

THE STATEMENT DOES NOT INCLUDE THE NAMES OF EMPLOYEES WHO HAVE BEEN GRANTED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ATTENDING SCHOOLS OR COLLEGES OR WHOSE ABSENCE FROM THEIR DUTIES FOR BRIEF PERIODS TO ATTEND CLASSES OR LECTURES DURING OFFICE HOURS HAS BEEN COVERED BY ANNUAL LEAVE. THESE INSTANCES SEEM TO INVOLVE NO FISCAL QUESTION. THE CASES WITHIN THE SCOPE OF YOUR INQUIRY FALL WITHIN THE FOLLOWING CLASSES.

EMPLOYEES REGULARLY ENGAGED AT OFFICES OR STATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT DURING ORDINARY OFFICE HOURS BUT EXCUSED FOR ATTENDANCE AT CLASSES OR LECTURES DURING A FEW HOURS EACH WEEK FALLING WITHIN THE PERIOD FROM 9 TO 4.30. IN THESE CASES THE INSTITUTION ATTENDED IS AT OR VERY NEAR HEADQUARTERS. THE TIME THUS TAKEN FROM THE OFFICIAL DAY IS COMPENSATED BY EXTRA WORK OUTSIDE THE ORDINARY HOURS. THE REQUIREMENT OF THE FULL EQUIVALENT OF OFFICIAL WORK TO COMPENSATE THESE ABSENCES HAS BEEN RIGIDLY MAINTAINED. THESE CASES ARE DESIGNATED BY THE WORDS "COMPENSATORY IME" UNDER THE HEADING "BASIS" IN THE STATEMENT.

EMPLOYEES NOT ENGAGED IN OFFICIAL WORK AT OFFICES OR STATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT BUT AUTHORIZED TO ATTEND INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING ORDINARILY ON ADVANCED DEGREE WORK ALONG INVESTIGATIONAL OR RESEARCH LINES CORRESPOND TO THOSE BEING CONDUCTED IN THE BUREAU ON WHOSE ROLLS THE EMPLOYEES ARE CARRIED. WHERE CONDITIONS FAVORED THESE EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED SPECIAL DUTIES ON A PART-TIME BASIS, THE WORK BEING CONDUCTED STRICTLY UNDER THE DIRECTION OF BUREAU OFFICERS AND IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CURRENT BUREAU PROJECTS. THE CASE DOES NOT ESSENTIALLY DIFFER FROM THAT OF THE EMPLOYMENT ON A PART-TIME BASIS OF STUDENTS OR MEMBERS OF THE FACULTIES OF COLLEGES OR UNIVERSITIES FOR SPECIAL WORK UNDER DEPARTMENTAL DIRECTION. EMPLOYMENTS OF THIS CHARACTER ARE DESIGNATED "PART TIME" UNDER THE HEAD "BASIS" IN THE STATEMENT.

IN A LIMITED NUMBER OF SPECIAL INSTANCES EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN GRANTED AUTHORITY TO ATTEND CERTAIN COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES FOR ONE OR MORE TERMS ON A FULL-PAY BASIS UNDER AN ARRANGEMENT BY WHICH TIME EQUIVALENT TO ORDINARY OFFICE HOURS WOULD BE DEVOTED EXCLUSIVELY TO RESEARCH AND INVESTIGATION WORK UNDER DEPARTMENTAL DIRECTION. UNDER THIS PLAN THE DEPARTMENT THROUGH ITS INVESTIGATORS SO ENGAGED HAS BEEN ENABLED TO AVAIL ITSELF OF LABORATORY FACILITIES AND EQUIPMENT SUPERIOR IN THOSE CASES TO THE CORRESPONDING DEPARTMENTAL FACILITIES AND AT THE SAME TIME THEIR WORK HAS BEEN CARRIED ON WITH THE ASSISTANCE AND COOPERATION OF UNIVERSITY WORKERS OF RECOGNIZED OUTSTANDING AUTHORITY IN THEIR RESPECTIVE LINES. THE SYSTEM HAS PROVED OF ESPECIAL ADVANTAGE IN ENABLING THE DEPARTMENT TO KEEP ABREAST OF NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN METHOD AND TECHNIQUE AMONG THE LEADING RESEARCH WORKERS OF THE COUNTRY. THESE CASES ARE DESIGNATED "FULL TIME ON INVESTIGATIONAL OR RESEARCH WORK" IN THE STATEMENT.

IT SHOULD BE ADDED THAT THE ARRANGEMENTS ABOVE DESCRIBED ARE CONSISTENT WITH A POLICY PREVALENT IN THE DEPARTMENT DURING RECENT YEARS AND RECOGNIZED BY ITS REGULATIONS. THE GENERAL SCOPE OF THE POLICY IS INDICATED BY PAR. 660 ON THE ATTACHED EXTRACT FROM OUR ADMINISTRATIVE RULES. SUBPARAGRAPH (B) PARTICULARLY REFERS TO THE PART-TIME BASIS. MAY ADD, HOWEVER, THAT DURING THE EARLY PART OF THE PRESENT CALENDAR YEAR I HAD OCCASION TO GIVE THIS SUBJECT VERY CAREFUL CONSIDERATION, AND WHILE FULLY RECOGNIZING THE ADVANTAGES TO BE GAINED THROUGH ADDITIONAL TRAINING ACQUIRED BY MEMBERS OF THE SCIENTIFIC STAFF, I HAVE REALIZED THAT THE PRACTICE MIGHT BE SUBJECT TO CRITICISM. ACCORDINGLY, I DIRECTED AT THAT TIME THAT NO EMPLOYEE SHOULD BE THEREAFTER PERMITTED TO ENGAGE IN SCHOOL WORK DURING OFFICIAL HOURS EXCEPT WHEN ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY. THE AUTHORIZATIONS HITHERTO GRANTED AND IN EFFECT FOR THE CURRENT SCHOOL YEAR WERE NOT, HOWEVER, REVOKED.

REFERRING TO THE CLASS DESIGNATED AS "COMPENSATORY TIME" AND THE CLASS DESIGNATED AS "FULL TIME ON INVESTIGATIONAL OR RESEARCH WORK," THERE APPEARS TO BE NO STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR DETAILING EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TO EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR COURSES OF INSTRUCTION. SEE, IN THIS CONNECTION, SECTION 127A OF THE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1916, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 4, 1920, 41 STAT. 786, AUTHORIZING THE DETAIL OF COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE ARMY AS STUDENTS TO TECHNICAL, PROFESSIONAL, AND OTHER EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, AND THE ACT OF JUNE 8, 1926, 44 STAT. 705, MAKING SIMILAR PROVISION WITH RESPECT TO ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH STATUTORY PROVISION SPECIFICALLY APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE PRACTICE OF EXCUSING EMPLOYEES DURING REGULAR OFFICE HOURS TO ATTEND SCHOOL, AND THE PRACTICE OF DETAILING EMPLOYEES FULL TIME TO EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS FOR INVESTIGATIONAL AND RESEARCH WORK IS NOT AUTHORIZED. FULL-TIME EMPLOYEES ARE REQUIRED TO DEVOTE THEIR ENTIRE TIME TO OFFICIAL DUTIES DURING THE REGULAR WORKING HOURS, AND THIS REQUIREMENT MAY NOT BE AVOIDED BY PERMITTING INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES TO WORK DURING OTHER PERIODS OF THE DAY IN LIEU OF A PORTION OR THE ENTIRE PERIOD OF THE REGULAR DUTY HOURS IN ORDER TO ATTEND SCHOOL. THE ATTENDANCE AT AN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION, EITHER FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF THE EMPLOYEES OR FOR THE GOOD OF THE SERVICE, IS NOT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE APPOINTMENT OR DUTIES OF THE EMPLOYEES UNDER THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. 2 COMP. GEN. 17.

REFERRING TO THE CLASS DESIGNATED AS "PART TIME," WHILE THERE MAY BE A POSSIBLE ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT INCIDENT TO AN ARRANGEMENT WHEREBY PART-TIME POSITIONS ARE SPECIALLY CREATED IN ORDER TO SECURE THE SERVICES OF SCIENTISTS STILL PURSUING COURSES OF STUDY OR TAKING POSTGRADUATE WORK AT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS, THERE APPEARS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW THEREFOR. ESTABLISHMENT OF PART-TIME POSITIONS IS JUSTIFIED ONLY ON THE BASIS OF THE CHARACTER OF THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED, SUCH AS DUTIES THE VERY NATURE OF WHICH DOES NOT NECESSARILY REQUIRE FULL-TIME SERVICE. 5 COMP. GEN. 763, 767. THERE WOULD BE NO AUTHORITY TO ESTABLISH PART-TIME POSITIONS FOR WORK THE NATURE OF WHICH REQUIRES FULL-TIME SERVICE, SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERMITTING THE EMPLOYEES TO WORK PART TIME FOR THE GOVERNMENT AND TO ATTEND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS PART TIME. YOU STATE SPECIFICALLY THAT THE PART-TIME EMPLOYEES ARE "AUTHORIZED TO ATTEND INSTITUTIONS OF LEARNING ORDINARILY ON ADVANCED DEGREE WORK ALONG INVESTIGATIONAL OR RESEARCH LINES CORRESPONDING TO THOSE BEING CONDUCTED IN THE BUREAUS ON WHOSE ROLLS THE EMPLOYEES ARE CARRIED," AND THAT THE WORK OF THE PART TIME EMPLOYEES IS "IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF CURRENT BUREAU PROJECTS.' IT IS ASSUMED FROM THIS STATEMENT THAT THE WORK ON THESE BUREAU PROJECTS REQUIRES THE FULL TIME OF OTHER EMPLOYEES. IF SO, THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PART-TIME POSITIONS FOR WORK OF A SIMILAR NATURE TO THAT ON WHICH FULL- TIME EMPLOYEES ARE ENGAGED IS NOT AUTHORIZED. 5 COMP. GEN. 537.

THE GRANTING OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE, WITH OR WITHOUT PAY, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERMITTING EMPLOYEES TO ATTEND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS IS GENERALLY A MATTER WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION SUBJECT TO STATUTORY LIMITATIONS.

IN VIEW OF THE STATEMENT IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER TO THE EFFECT THAT YOU HAVE DISCONTINUED THE PRACTICE OF PERMITTING EMPLOYEES TO ENGAGE IN SCHOOL WORK DURING OFFICIAL HOURS EXCEPT WHEN ON LEAVE WITHOUT PAY, CREDIT WILL BE ALLOWED FOR SALARY PAYMENTS NOT OTHERWISE OBJECTIONABLE HERETOFORE MADE TO EMPLOYEES SO ENGAGED.