A-15115, AUGUST 3, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 97

A-15115: Aug 3, 1926

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THE EXPENDITURE OF MONEY FOR LABOR TO REPAIR A COUNTY ROAD DAMAGED BY REASON OF EMERGENT HAULING THEREON BY THE BUREAU IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROSECUTION OF ITS AUTHORIZED INVESTIGATIONS IS NOT AUTHORIZED. 1926: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 17. IN ORDER TO CONTINUE AND ENLARGE UPON THESE EXPERIMENTS IT WAS DECIDED IN OCTOBER. WHERE LAND AND BUILDINGS WERE AVAILABLE WITHOUT PAYMENT OF RENT AT THE MISSISSIPPI COASTAL PLAIN EXPERIMENT STATION AND WHERE THE DEPARTMENT HAS OTHER PROJECTS. THE PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS WERE COMPLETED LATE IN DECEMBER. SUBSEQUENT TO THAT TIME THE FORCE OF THE SHEEP FARM WAS ENGAGED IN REMOVING FENCES. AS IT WAS ESSENTIAL THAT THE SHEEP BE MOVED TO MCNEILL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO AVOID POSSIBLE ABORTIONS OF PREGNANT EWES BY LATE SHIPMENT OR THE GREATLY INCREASED COSTS OF SHIPMENT AND EXPERIMENTAL COMPLICATIONS BY SHIPPING AFTER LAMBING.

A-15115, AUGUST 3, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 97

APPROPRIATIONS - REPAIRS TO COUNTY ROAD DAMAGED BY DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AS THE APPROPRIATION FOR GENERAL EXPENSES OF THE BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927 CONTAINS NO SPECIFIC PROVISION FOR REPAIRS TO PUBLIC ROADS, THE EXPENDITURE OF MONEY FOR LABOR TO REPAIR A COUNTY ROAD DAMAGED BY REASON OF EMERGENT HAULING THEREON BY THE BUREAU IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROSECUTION OF ITS AUTHORIZED INVESTIGATIONS IS NOT AUTHORIZED, IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING OF ANY RESTRICTION IMPOSED BY THE COUNTY WITH RESPECT TO HEAVY HAULING OVER THE ROAD AT ANY PERIOD OF THE YEAR BY THE PUBLIC GENERALLY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, AUGUST 3, 1926:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 17, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION UPON A MATTER PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS THE BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY OF THIS DEPARTMENT CONDUCTED EXPERIMENTS ON SHEEP PARASITES ON LEASED PREMISES SITUATED IN FAIRFAX COUNTY, VIRGINIA. IN ORDER TO CONTINUE AND ENLARGE UPON THESE EXPERIMENTS IT WAS DECIDED IN OCTOBER, 1925, TO MOVE THE ANIMALS AND EQUIPMENT TO MCNEILL, MISSISSIPPI, WHERE LAND AND BUILDINGS WERE AVAILABLE WITHOUT PAYMENT OF RENT AT THE MISSISSIPPI COASTAL PLAIN EXPERIMENT STATION AND WHERE THE DEPARTMENT HAS OTHER PROJECTS. THE PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS WERE COMPLETED LATE IN DECEMBER, 1925, AND SUBSEQUENT TO THAT TIME THE FORCE OF THE SHEEP FARM WAS ENGAGED IN REMOVING FENCES, BUILDINGS, AND EQUIPMENT, AND GETTING THESE READY FORSHIPMENT.

AS IT WAS ESSENTIAL THAT THE SHEEP BE MOVED TO MCNEILL AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO AVOID POSSIBLE ABORTIONS OF PREGNANT EWES BY LATE SHIPMENT OR THE GREATLY INCREASED COSTS OF SHIPMENT AND EXPERIMENTAL COMPLICATIONS BY SHIPPING AFTER LAMBING, AS WELL AS TO AVOID ADDITIONAL RENTAL ON THE VIRGINIA LAND AFTER THE PROJECT THERE WAS CLOSED, THE LEASE WAS TERMINATED EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 28, 1926, AND ALL ARRANGEMENTS MADE TO MOVE BEFORE THAT DATE. BECAUSE OF THE FACILITIES FOR LOADING AND THE READY SECURING OF THE NECESSARY CARS, THE BUREAU WAS OBLIGED TO TRUCK ITS ANIMALS AND EQUIPMENT TO BURKE, VIRGINIA, LOCATED ON THE SOUTHERN RAILWAY, A DISTANCE OF SOME EIGHT MILES.

ALTHOUGH THE TRUCKS USED WERE NOT IN EXCESS OF THREE AND A HALF TONS CAPACITY AND WERE ALL EQUIPPED WITH PNEUMATIC TIRES, THERE WAS, BECAUSE OF THAWS AND RAINS, CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE DONE TO TWO SECTIONS OF ROAD IN FAIRFAX COUNTY. ONE OF THESE ROADS OF CLAY AND CORDUROY LEADING FROM THE FARM TO THE HARD-SURFACED ROAD AT OAKTON, VIRGINIA, ABOUT TWO MILES, BECAUSE OF ITS NATURE WAS BADLY CUT UP AND WAS MADE VIRTUALLY IMPASSABLE. ANOTHER STRETCH OF ROAD LEADING FROM THE ALEXANDRIA-FAIRFAX CONCRETE HIGHWAY TO BURKE WAS ALSO BADLY TORN UP.

THE RESIDENTS AND OFFICIALS OF FAIRFAX COUNTY HAVE APPEALED TO THE DEPARTMENT TO REPAIR THESE TWO STRETCHES OF ROAD OR AT LEAST AID IN REPAIRING THEM. BECAUSE THE DEPARTMENT WAS, AS INDICATED ABOVE, OBLIGED TO USE THESE ROADS WITHIN CERTAIN TIME LIMITS IRRESPECTIVE OF THE CHANGING WEATHER AND THE RESULTANT CONDITIONS OF THE ROADS, THESE ROADS WERE DAMAGED MORE THAN THEY MIGHT HAVE BEEN HAD IT BEEN POSSIBLE TO CONFINE THE HAULING TO COLD DAYS WHILE THE ROADS WERE FROZEN OR MAKE THE MOVE LATER IN THE SPRING. AFTER CONSIDERING ALL THESE PHASES OF THE CASE THE DEPARTMENT IS INCLINED TO THE BELIEF THAT IT WOULD BE NO MORE THAN RIGHT TO REPAIR, TO SOME EXTENT AT LEAST, THE DAMAGED ROADS.

THE DEPARTMENT IS ABLE TO PROVIDE THROUGH THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS TRUCKS AND ENGINEERING SUPERVISION INCIDENT TO ITS REGULAR WORK WITHOUT EXTRA COST TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE LOCAL VIRGINIA AUTHORITIES WILL PROVIDE MATERIALS. THE THIRD ELEMENT NECESSARY IS LABOR, ESTIMATED AT $300, AND THIS THE DEPARTMENT IS WILLING TO PROVIDE IF ITS FUNDS MAY BE USED FOR SUCH A PURPOSE. YOUR DECISION IS THEREFORE REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THIS DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO EXPEND MONEY FOR LABOR TO REPAIR THESE ROADS. THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED IN THE EXPERIMENT IS CARRIED IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927 UNDER THE HEAD OF ,GENERAL EXPENSES, BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY.'

IT HAS BEEN HELD IN THE CASE OF A PRIVATE ROAD DAMAGED BY HEAVY HAULING INCIDENT TO THE CONSTRUCTION AND OPERATION OF AN ARMY CAMP THAT THE OWNERS OF SUCH ROAD WERE ENTITLED TO PAYMENT FOR SUCH DAMAGE. 27 COMP. DEC. 237. BUT YOUR SUBMISSION PRESENTS THE CASE OF WHAT WOULD APPEAR TO BE A COUNTY ROAD OF SUCH CONSTRUCTION THAT IT MIGHT BE DAMAGED BY HEAVY HAULING THEREON AT TIMES DURING A SEASON OF THE YEAR WHEN IT IS NATURALLY LEAST ABLE TO BEAR SUCH TRAFFIC WITHOUT DAMAGE. IT ALSO WOULD APPEAR THAT THE HEAVY HAULING BY THE BUREAU AT THE TIME WAS EMERGENT. THERE IS NO SHOWING, HOWEVER, OF ANY RESTRICTION BY THE COUNTY WITH RESPECT TO HEAVY HAULING THEREON AT ANY SEASON OF THE YEAR BY THE PUBLIC GENERALLY.

WHILE IT DOES NOT SO APPEAR FROM YOUR SUBMISSION, IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE TRUCKING WAS DONE BY AND UNDER THE IMMEDIATE SUPERVISION OF THE BUREAU AND NOT BY A CONTRACTOR. IN THIS CONNECTION IT MAY BE MENTIONED THAT IN A DECISION, MAY 22, 1909, THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY ADVISED THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, WITH REFERENCE TO A QUESTION OF WITHHOLDING PAYMENTS TO A CONTRACTOR BY REASON OF A CLAIM ASSERTED BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AGAINST THE CONTRACTOR FOR DAMAGES DONE TO CERTAIN STREETS BY REASON OF HEAVY HAULING BY THE CONTRACTOR IN CONNECTION WITH HIS CONTRACT FOR CHANGES IN THE EAST FRONT OF THE TREASURY BUILDING, THAT AS UNDER HIS CONTRACT THE CONTRACTOR WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR DAMAGES TO PERSONS OR PROPERTY WHICH MIGHT OCCUR IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROSECUTION OF THE WORK, THE CLAIM WAS PRIMARILY A MATTER FOR ADJUSTMENT BETWEEN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND THE CONTRACTOR.

IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR GENERAL EXPENSES OF THE BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927 (ACT OF MAY 11, 1926, 44 STAT. 506), THERE IS A PROVISION AS FOLLOWS:

FOR ALL NECESSARY EXPENSES FOR INVESTIGATIONS AND EXPERIMENTS IN ANIMAL HUSBANDRY; FOR EXPERIMENTS IN ANIMAL FEEDING AND BREEDING, INCLUDING COOPERATION WITH THE STATE AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS, INCLUDING REPAIRS AND ADDITIONS TO AND ERECTION OF BUILDINGS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO CARRY ON THE EXPERIMENTS, INCLUDING THE EMPLOYMENT OF LABOR IN THE CITY OF WASHINGTON AND ELSEWHERE, RENT OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND ALL OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES, * * *.

AS, HOWEVER, THE APPROPRIATION CONTAINS NO SPECIFIC PROVISION FOR REPAIRS TO PUBLIC ROADS DAMAGES BY REASON OF THE BUREAU'S ACTIVITIES, IT MUST BE HELD, IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING OF ANY RESTRICTION BY THE COUNTY WITH RESPECT TO HEAVY HAULING OVER THE ROAD AT ANY PERIOD OF THE YEAR BY THE PUBLIC GENERALLY, THAT NO PART THEREOF MAY LAWFULLY BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF LABOR IN THE REPAIR OF THE ROAD AS A NECESSARY EXPENSE IN CONNECTION WITH THE BUREAU'S AUTHORIZED INVESTIGATIONS.