A-14846, JUNE 30, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 1041

A-14846: Jun 30, 1926

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1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 14. AS FOLLOWS: ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING LEGISLATION WHICH WAS CARRIED IN THE WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927. TO CARRY THIS LEGISLATION INTO EFFECT IT IS NECESSARY FOR THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT TO TRANSFER TO THE SIGNAL CORPS OF THE ARMY FUNDS IN AN AMOUNT ESTIMATED AS SUFFICIENT TO COVER EXPENSES NECESSARILY INCIDENT TO THE TRANSMISSION OF MESSAGES. THE ORDINARY PROCEDURE IN TRANSFERRING FUNDS FROM ONE DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT TO ANOTHER IS BY TREASURY APPROPRIATION TRANSFER WARRANT. USING THIS METHOD TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE LEGISLATION QUOTED ABOVE IS UNDESIRABLE. THE AMOUNT OF FUNDS UNDER EACH APPROPRIATION WILL NECESSARILY BE SMALL.

A-14846, JUNE 30, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 1041

DEPARTMENTS, EXECUTIVE, SERVICES BETWEEN - ADVANCES TO SIGNAL CORPS FOR TRANSMISSION OF MESSAGES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF APRIL 15, 1926, 44 STAT. 267, AUTHORIZING THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS OR ESTABLISHMENTS TO "TRANSFER IN ADVANCE TO THE SIGNAL CORPS OF THE ARMY * * * SUCH AMOUNTS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO DEFRAY THE EXPENSES OF TRANSMITTING MESSAGES," THE TRANSFER OF SUCH AMOUNTS MAY BE MADE BY DISBURSING OFFICER'S CHECK, THE FUNDS TO BE DEPOSITED AND KEPT IN AN APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT IN THE TREASURY DESIGNATED "WAR DEPARTMENT MESSAGE CENTER," AND PROPERLY ACCOUNTED FOR BY THE FINANCE OFFICER UNDER SUCH HEADING.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, JUNE 30, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 14, 1926, AS FOLLOWS:

ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE FOLLOWING LEGISLATION WHICH WAS CARRIED IN THE WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927, APPROVED APRIL 15, 1926, 44 STAT. 267:

"* * * PROVIDED, THAT HEREAFTER THE HEAD OF ANY DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT, IN HIS DISCRETION, MAY TRANSFER IN ADVANCE TO THE SIGNAL CORPS OF THE ARMY, FROM APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF MESSAGES, SUCH AMOUNTS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO DEFRAY THE EXPENSE OF TRANSMITTING MESSAGES TURNED OVER BY HIM TO THAT CORPS, INCLUDING THE PAYMENT OF TOLL CHARGES OF COMMERCIAL CARRIERS, THE LEASING OF FACILITIES REQUIRED FOR TRANSMITTING MESSAGES, AND THE INSTALLATION AND MAINTENANCE OF SUCH FACILITIES.'

TO CARRY THIS LEGISLATION INTO EFFECT IT IS NECESSARY FOR THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT TO TRANSFER TO THE SIGNAL CORPS OF THE ARMY FUNDS IN AN AMOUNT ESTIMATED AS SUFFICIENT TO COVER EXPENSES NECESSARILY INCIDENT TO THE TRANSMISSION OF MESSAGES, PAYMENT OF TOLL CHARGES, ETC. THE ORDINARY PROCEDURE IN TRANSFERRING FUNDS FROM ONE DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT TO ANOTHER IS BY TREASURY APPROPRIATION TRANSFER WARRANT. USING THIS METHOD TO CARRY OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE LEGISLATION QUOTED ABOVE IS UNDESIRABLE, AS IT WOULD MEAN AT LEAST FORTY- TWO (42) NEW APPROPRIATION ACCOUNTS WOULD BE ADDED TO THE LEDGERS MAINTAINED IN THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE AND THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT AND A PROBABLE ADDITION OF THE SAME NUMBER OF ACCOUNTS TO THE LEDGERS OF YOUR OFFICE, WITH A STRONG PROBABILITY THAT THIS NUMBER MIGHT BE INCREASED FROM TWENTY-FIVE TO FORTY PERCENT. THE AMOUNT OF FUNDS UNDER EACH APPROPRIATION WILL NECESSARILY BE SMALL, LESS THAN $10.00 IN MANY INSTANCES, AND IT IS NOT BELIEVED THE AMOUNT OF WORK INVOLVED WOULD JUSTIFY HANDLING THESE TRANSFERS BY APPROPRIATION TRANSFER WARRANTS.

SUBJECT TO YOUR APPROVAL, THE FOLLOWING PLAN IS PROPOSED TO CARRY INTO EFFECT THE PROVISIONS OF THE LEGISLATION QUOTED ABOVE AND TO ELIMINATE THE LARGE AMOUNT OF WORK REQUIRED IF FUNDS ARE TRANSFERRED BY APPROPRIATION TRANSFER WARRANT:

A. THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT DESIRING TO HAVE THE SIGNAL CORPS TRANSMIT ITS MESSAGES WILL ADVANCE, BY CHECK DRAWN TO THE ORDER OF THE CHIEF SIGNAL OFFICER, U.S. ARMY, AT THE BEGINNING OF EACH FISCAL YEAR AN AMOUNT ESTIMATED AS SUFFICIENT TO COVER THE COST OF MESSAGES TO BE TRANSMITTED BY THE SIGNAL CORPS, AND SUCH ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS DURING THE YEAR AS MAY BE REQUIRED FOR THIS PURPOSE.

B. THE CHIEF SIGNAL OFFICER WILL, UPON RECEIPT OF CHECK, FORWARD SAME TO THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, U.S. ARMY, FOR COLLECTION AND DEPOSIT IN THE TREASURY OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE CREDIT OF AN APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT ENTITLED "WAR DEPARTMENT MESSAGE CENTER, 1927" (YEAR TO BE REDESIGNATED FOR EACH SUBSEQUENT FISCAL YEAR).

C. THE CHIEF OF FINANCE WILL ALLOCATE THESE FUNDS TO THE CHIEF SIGNAL OFFICER, WHO WILL HANDLE THEM IN THE SAME MANNER AS NOW PRESCRIBED FOR FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT.

D. BILLS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THIS FUND WILL BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT BY THE PROPER OFFICIAL OF THE SIGNAL CORPS TO THE FINANCE OFFICER, U.S. ARMY, WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR PAYMENT. THAT OFFICER WILL INCLUDE THE PAID VOUCHERS IN HIS REGULAR ACCOUNT TO BE SUBMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR FINAL AUDIT.

E. THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE WILL MAINTAIN A RECORD OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES FOR EACH DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR SUBDIVISION OF AN ESTABLISHMENT, USING A CODE SYSTEM ON ALL VOUCHERS, WHICH VOUCHERS, BEARING THEIR PROPER CODE NUMBER, WILL ACCOMPANY THE PAID ACCOUNTS TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, WHERE THEY MAY, IF DESIRED, BE AUDITED IN CONNECTION WITH THE AMOUNTS ADVANCED BY DEPARTMENTS, ESTABLISHMENTS, AND SUBDIVISIONS THEREOF.

F. AT THE CLOSE OF EACH FISCAL YEAR ANY BALANCE REMAINING TO THE CREDIT OF A DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR SUBDIVISION THEREOF NOT REQUIRED TO MEET AN OUTSTANDING UNLIQUIDATED OBLIGATION WILL, BY DIRECTION OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, BE REFUNDED TO THE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR SUBDIVISION ENTITLED THERETO BY CHECK DRAWN BY THE FINANCE OFFICER, U.S. ARMY, WASHINGTON, D.C. WHENEVER IT IS ASCERTAINED THAT THE AMOUNT TO THE CREDIT OF A DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR SUBDIVISION THEREOF IS GREATER THAN REQUIRED FOR THE FISCAL YEAR, ANY EXCESS AMOUNT MAY BE RETURNED TO THE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR SUBDIVISION THEREOF BY THE METHOD INDICATED ABOVE.

G. THE CHIEF OF FINANCE WILL FURNISH ANNUALLY, OR AT SHORTER INTERVALS IF DESIRED, TO THE HEAD OF ANY DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT A STATEMENT SHOWING THE CHARGES MADE AGAINST THE AMOUNT OF FUNDS ADVANCED AND THE UNEXPENDED BALANCE, IF ANY.

IF APPROVAL IS GIVEN TO ADOPT THE PROCEDURE HEREIN OUTLINED, PERMITTING THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT WHICH DESIRE TO UTILIZE THE SIGNAL CORPS FACILITIES IN THE TRANSMISSION OF MESSAGES TO MAKE ADVANCE PAYMENT BY CHECK TO THE SIGNAL CORPS, THE WORK OF THIS DEPARTMENT IN ACCOUNTING FOR THE RECEIPT AND EXPENDITURE THEREOF WILL BE GREATLY SIMPLIFIED AND ALL PAPER WORK IN CONNECTION THEREWITH REDUCED TO THE MINIMUM CONSISTENT WITH GOOD ACCOUNTING.

IN VIEW OF THE TERMS OF THE PROVISION QUOTED IN YOUR SUBMISSION THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO MAKING THE AUTHORIZED ADVANCES BY MEANS OF DISBURSING OFFICERS' CHECKS INSTEAD OF BY TRANSFER APPROPRIATION WARRANTS. EACH SUCH ADVANCE, HOWEVER, SHOULD BE SUPPORTED BY A VOUCHER IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER MAKING SAME, SHOWING THE APPROPRIATION OR APPROPRIATIONS FROM WHICH MADE AND THE AMOUNT CHARGEABLE TO EACH.

IN THE RENDERING OF ACCOUNTS BY THE FINANCE OFFICER UNDER THE APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT "WAR DEPARTMENT MESSAGE CENTER" THE MONTHLY ACCOUNT SHOULD CONTAIN AN ABSTRACT OR SCHEDULE OF ALL ADVANCES RECEIVED, SHOWING THE APPROPRIATION AND DEPARTMENT INVOLVED AND SUCH OTHER INFORMATION AS WILL READILY ENABLE THIS OFFICE TO IDENTIFY THE ITEM WITH THE CORRESPONDING ITEM IN THE ACCOUNT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER FROM WHOM THE ADVANCE WAS RECEIVED. EACH VOUCHER INVOLVING THE DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS FROM SUCH APPROPRIATION ACCOUNT SHOULD SHOW IN ADDITION TO THE DEPARTMENT INVOLVED, SUCH INFORMATION AS WILL DISCLOSE THE OBJECT OF THE EXPENDITURE, THE AUTHORITY FOR INCURRING THE SAME, AND ANY OTHER INFORMATION TENDING TO SHOW WHAT APPROPRIATION OF THE DEPARTMENT INVOLVED IS CHARGEABLE.

AT THE CLOSE OF EACH FISCAL YEAR, WHEN A FINAL REPORT IS MADE BY THE FINANCE OFFICER TO THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT INVOLVED RELATIVE TO THE FUNDS ADVANCED AND DISBURSED, A COPY THEREOF SHOULD BE FURNISHED THIS OFFICE WITH THE ACCOUNTS OF THE OFFICER CLOSING HIS ACCOUNT FOR THAT FISCAL YEAR. THIS REPORT SHOULD SHOW IN DETAIL THE AMOUNT OR AMOUNTS ADVANCED BY THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT UNDER EACH APPROPRIATION INVOLVED AND THE COST OF THE SERVICES AND AMOUNT OF EXPENDITURES CHARGEABLE THERETO, GIVING VOUCHER NUMBERS, DATES OF PAYMENTS, ETC., IDENTIFYING THE DISBURSEMENTS PREVIOUSLY MADE BY THE OFFICER. IT SHOULD ALSO SHOW SUCH OUTSTANDING OBLIGATIONS AS HAVE NOT BEEN LIQUIDATED, AND THE REFUNDS TO THE BUREAUS OR DEPARTMENTS INVOLVED SHOULD BE BASED UPON SUCH REPORT.

THE PLAN OF PROCEDURE AS OUTLINED IN YOUR LETTER, SUBJECT REQUIREMENTS HEREIN INDICATED, IS AUTHORIZED.