A-15437, SEPTEMBER 4, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 180

A-15437: Sep 4, 1926

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WHEN NEEDED TEMPORARILY FOR PERFORMANCE OF A PARTICULAR JOB FOR WHICH AN APPROPRIATION IS AVAILABLE AND FOR WHICH SERVICE QUALIFIED REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT AVAILABLE. AS FOLLOWS: CERTAIN OF THE NAVY YARDS AND NAVAL STATIONS HAVING CENTRAL POWER PLANTS FOR THE GENERATION OF ELECTRICAL ENERGY HAVE BEEN IN THE HABIT OF OBTAINING. THE ONLY PERSONS IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE WHO ARE QUALIFIED TO PERFORM THE ABOVE SERVICES ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT ON DUTY AT OTHER YARDS AND STATIONS. AS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FORETELL THE EXTENT OF THE WORK REQUIRED AND THE TIME NECESSARY FOR ITS ACCOMPLISHMENT. PLUS TRAVELING EXPENSES FROM THE FACTORY AND RETURN THERETO. * * * THE SERVICES REQUIRED IN CASES OF THE KIND REFERRED TO IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THIS LETTER ARE ONLY THE SERVICES OF EXPERT MECHANICS.

A-15437, SEPTEMBER 4, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 180

PERSONAL SERVICES - MECHANICS MECHANICS AND OTHER LIKE SERVICES IN A RECOGNIZED TRADE OR CRAFT, WHEN NEEDED TEMPORARILY FOR PERFORMANCE OF A PARTICULAR JOB FOR WHICH AN APPROPRIATION IS AVAILABLE AND FOR WHICH SERVICE QUALIFIED REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT AVAILABLE, MAY BE CONSIDERED NONPERSONAL SERVICES AND ENGAGED BY CONTRACT AFTER DUE COMPLIANCE WITH SECTIONS 3709 AND 3744, REVISED STATUTES, UPON EITHER A LUMP SUM OR A TIME AND EXPENSE BASIS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, SEPTEMBER 4, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 17, 1926, REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED, AS FOLLOWS:

CERTAIN OF THE NAVY YARDS AND NAVAL STATIONS HAVING CENTRAL POWER PLANTS FOR THE GENERATION OF ELECTRICAL ENERGY HAVE BEEN IN THE HABIT OF OBTAINING, BY SERVICE REQUISITIONS, THE SERVICES OF TURBINE EXPERTS FROM THE FACTORIES OF THE WESTINGHOUSE ELECTRIC AND MANUFACTURING COMPANY AND THE GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY TO MAKE DETAIL EXAMINATIONS AND OVERHAUL OF TURBO GENERATORS IN SUCH POWER PLANTS, THE CONTRACTS BEING MADE WITH THOSE COMPANIES AND NOT WITH THEIR EXPERTS. THE ONLY PERSONS IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE WHO ARE QUALIFIED TO PERFORM THE ABOVE SERVICES ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT ON DUTY AT OTHER YARDS AND STATIONS. AS IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO FORETELL THE EXTENT OF THE WORK REQUIRED AND THE TIME NECESSARY FOR ITS ACCOMPLISHMENT, IT HAS BEEN CUSTOMARY FOR THE CONTRACTS TO BE MADE AT A PER DIEM RATE, PLUS TRAVELING EXPENSES FROM THE FACTORY AND RETURN THERETO.

* * * THE SERVICES REQUIRED IN CASES OF THE KIND REFERRED TO IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THIS LETTER ARE ONLY THE SERVICES OF EXPERT MECHANICS, AND ARE NOT TO BE RENDERED IN CONNECTION WITH SCIENTIFIC INVESTIGATIONS AND RESEARCH WORK. WHILE THERE ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT AT YARDS AND STATIONS OTHER THAN THOSE WHERE THE SERVICES OF THE EXPERTS IN QUESTION ARE DESIRED, WHO COULD PERFORM SUCH DUTIES, TO DETACH THESE EMPLOYEES FROM THEIR REGULAR DUTIES WOULD SERIOUSLY HAMPER, IF NOT CRIPPLE, THE WORK OF THE STATIONS WHERE ASSIGNED, AND THE GOVERNMENT WOULD SUFFER BY REASON OF SUCH DETACHMENT. THE PERFORMANCE OF THE WORK IN THIS MANNER IS THEREFORE IMPRACTICABLE. THE NAVY DEPARTMENT KNOWS OF NO OTHER PERSONS IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE WHO ARE QUALIFIED TO PERFORM THE WORK REQUIRED.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO THE LEGALITY OF CONTRACTING WITH THE CONCERNS NAMED IN PARAGRAPH ONE FOR THE SERVICES OF TURBINE EXPERTS TO MAKE DETAIL EXAMINATIONS AND OVERHAUL OF TURBO GENERATORS IN CENTRAL POWER PLANTS AT NAVY YARDS AND NAVAL STATIONS WHERE EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THIS WORK.

AS THE SERVICE IN QUESTION IS NOT TO BE PERFORMED AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, THE ACT OF AUGUST 5, 1882, 22 STAT. 255, IS NOT APPLICABLE. SERVICES IN A RECOGNIZED TRADE OR CRAFT ARE ALSO EXCEPTED FROM THE PROVISIONS OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1488. COMP. GEN. 900.

THE ESTABLISHED RULE IS THAT PERSONAL SERVICES AS SUCH ARE FOR PERFORMANCE BY REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT, SUBJECT TO PROPER SUPERVISION, AND MAY NOT BE PERFORMED OTHERWISE. 5 COMP. GEN. 450, 629, 968. NONPERSONAL SERVICES HAVE BEEN DEFINED AS THOSE NECESSITATING THE FURNISHING OF BOTH PERSONAL SERVICES AND MATERIAL OR SUPPLIES. 5 COMP. GEN. 231. TO THIS DEFINITION OF NONPERSONAL SERVICES MAY ALSO BE ADDED TEMPORARY SERVICES OF LABORERS, MECHANICS, AND MEMBERS OF A RECOGNIZED TRADE OR CRAFT WHEN ENGAGED BY CONTRACT FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF A PARTICULAR JOB FOR WHICH THERE IS AN AVAILABLE APPROPRIATION. 6 COMP. DEC. 314. WHILE SERVICES OF THIS CHARACTER MAY, AND SHOULD, BE PERFORMED BY THE REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT, WHEN QUALIFIED AND AVAILABLE, NO OBJECTION WILL BE MADE, WHEN NO REGULAR EMPLOYEES ARE QUALIFIED OR AVAILABLE, TO CONTRACTING FOR SUCH SERVICES, AFTER DUE COMPLIANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 3709 AND 3744, REVISED STATUTES.

THE SERVICES OF EXPERT MECHANICS, WHEN REQUIRED ONLY AT INTERVALS FOR SHORT PERIODS TO OVERHAUL TURBO GENERATORS, WOULD APPEAR TO COME WITHIN THE DEFINITION OF NONPERSONAL SERVICES, AND MAY BE CONTRACTED FOR ACCORDINGLY.