A-15454, SEPTEMBER 8, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 181

A-15454: Sep 8, 1926

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BEFORE ANY REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE COMMISSION WERE APPOINTED. IN SUPPORT OF YOUR REQUEST IT IS STATED: WHILE THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 6. THERE WERE NO FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR ITS USE UNTIL THE APPROVAL OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3. NO EMPLOYEES WERE ENGAGED OR PLACED UPON THE PAY ROLL OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION UNTIL MAY 7. TO CARRY OUT THE DUTY WITH WHICH IT WAS CHARGED AND SAVE CERTAIN TRACTS FROM DESTRUCTION BY IMPENDING BUILDING OPERATIONS THE COMMISSION HAD TO PROCEED AT ONCE WITH ITS WORK OF ACQUIRING LANDS FOR PARK. WERE MADE WERE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE ON MARCH 17. THE EXECUTIVE OFFICIAL OF WHICH WAS THE SAME AS THAT OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION.

A-15454, SEPTEMBER 8, 1926, 6 COMP. GEN. 181

PERSONAL SERVICES - APPRAISERS - NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION THE APPROPRIATION OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1247, CONTEMPLATES THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCH SERVICES UNDER ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISION BY PERSONS REGULARLY EMPLOYED IN ACCORDANCE WITH CIVIL-SERVICE RULES AND REGULATIONS AT RATES OF PAY SPECIFIED IN THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923. CREDIT MAY BE ALLOWED, HOWEVER, FOR PAYMENT MADE FOR APPRAISEMENTS IN AN EMERGENCY UNDER A CONTRACT EXECUTED IN APRIL, 1925, BEFORE ANY REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE COMMISSION WERE APPOINTED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO MAJ. U.S. GRANT, 3D, EXECUTIVE AND DISBURSING OFFICER, NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION, SEPTEMBER 8, 1926:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 5, 1926, REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT C-311-DC OF MAY 4, 1926, DISALLOWING CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF LIEUT.COL. C. O. SHERRILL, FOR A PAYMENT IN THE SUM OF $400 MADE TO EDWARD P. SCHWARTZ, INC., FOR SERVICES RENDERED UNDER CONTRACT AS APPRAISER. IN SUPPORT OF YOUR REQUEST IT IS STATED:

WHILE THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION WAS ESTABLISHED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 6, 1924, THERE WERE NO FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR ITS USE UNTIL THE APPROVAL OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, THE FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THAT ACT BEING MADE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE. NO EMPLOYEES WERE ENGAGED OR PLACED UPON THE PAY ROLL OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION UNTIL MAY 7, 1925. BUT TO CARRY OUT THE DUTY WITH WHICH IT WAS CHARGED AND SAVE CERTAIN TRACTS FROM DESTRUCTION BY IMPENDING BUILDING OPERATIONS THE COMMISSION HAD TO PROCEED AT ONCE WITH ITS WORK OF ACQUIRING LANDS FOR PARK, PARKWAY, AND PLAYGROUND PURPOSES. THE REPORTS UPON THE EIGHT ITEMS OF PURCHASE FOR WHICH THE CHARGES OF E. P. SCHWARTZ, INC., WERE MADE WERE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE ON MARCH 17, 1925, APRIL 1, 1925, APRIL 1, 1925, APRIL 21, 1925, APRIL 21, 1925, APRIL 21, 1925, APRIL 21, 1925, AND APRIL 27, 1925, ALL PRIOR TO DATE OF APPOINTMENT OF THE FIRST APPOINTMENT MADE BY SAID COMMISSION.

SAID E. P. SCHWARTZ, INC., HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY MAKING APPRAISALS FOR THE COMMISSION IN CHARGE OF THE STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDINGS, THE EXECUTIVE OFFICIAL OF WHICH WAS THE SAME AS THAT OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION. THE PREVIOUS SERVICES HAD BEEN REGARDED AS SATISFACTORY AND EFFICIENT AND THE TERMS OF PROPOSED SERVICE TO THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION WERE CONSIDERED VERY REASONABLE.

THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION PROVIDED, BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925,"FOR EACH AND EVERY PURPOSE REQUISITE FOR AND INCIDENT TO THE WORK OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION.' THIS WORDING ITSELF EXPRESSED AND WAS INTENDED TO EXPRESS THE FACT THAT ALL THE EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE PROPOSED PURCHASES COULD NOT BE FORESEEN AND THAT THE APPROPRIATION MIGHT BE USED FOR SUCH EXPENSES EVEN THOUGH NOT EXPLICITLY STATED. THESE WORDS ARE BELIEVED TO EXPRESS DEFINITELY THE INTENTION OF CONGRESS THAT THE MENTION OF CERTAIN PARTICULAR EXPENDITURES LATER IN SECTION 3 OF THE ACT SHOULD NOT BE REGARDED AS EXCLUDING EXPENDITURES FOR OTHER PURPOSES, THE ONLY OBJECT IN MENTIONING "THE EXPENSES OF SURVEYS, ASCERTAINMENT OF TITLE, CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS, IF ANY, AND NECESSARY CONVEYANCING TO BE PAID FROM SAID APPROPRIATIONS," BEING TO ASSURE CONGRESS THAT THE LUMP-SUM APPROPRIATION MENTIONED IN THIS ACT WAS TO COVER EVERYTHING TO BE EXPENDED IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONTEMPLATED PARK EXTENSION, INCLUDING THE ITEMS NAMED, THE ENTIRE SUM BEING DIVIDED BETWEEN THE GENERAL FUNDS OF THE TREASURY AND THE REVENUES DERIVED BY TAXATION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA RESIDENTS, IN THE SAME PROPORTION AS OTHER DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA EXPENSES; THAT NO LATER REQUEST WOULD BE MADE FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR INCIDENTAL OR UNFORESEEN EXPENSES; AND THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHOULD NOT BE CHARGED AGAINST REGULAR APPROPRIATIONS MADE EXCLUSIVELY FROM MONEYS OF THE UNITED STATES.

FURTHERMORE, BY ACT OF JUNE 6, 1924, SAID COMMISSION "IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO ACQUIRE SUCH LANDS AS IN ITS JUDGMENT SHALL BE NECESSARY AND DESIRABLE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ADJACENT AREAS IN MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE FOR SUCH PURPOSES, FOR SUITABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK, PARKWAY, AND PLAYGROUND SYSTEM. THAT SAID COMMISSION IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO ACQUIRE SUCH LANDS BY PURCHASE WHEN THEY CAN BE ACQUIRED AT PRICES REASONABLE IN THE JUDGMENT OF SAID COMMISSION, OTHERWISE BY CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS.' THE SERVICE OF AN EXPERIENCED APPRAISER WAS A LEGITIMATE AND INDISPENSABLE PRELIMINARY TO ASCERTAINING WHETHER THE PRICES OBTAINABLE WERE REASONABLE AND THE COST OF CONDEMNATION PROCEEDINGS COULD BE AVOIDED. THE COMMISSION HAD NO EMPLOYEES IN ITS OFFICE QUALIFIED FOR THIS PURPOSE; IT REGARDED THE EMPLOYMENT OF THIS FIRM, OFFERING VERY REASONABLE TERMS, AS THE ONLY METHOD FOR CARRYING OUT THE WORK IN SUCH A WAY AS TO PROTECT THE UNITED STATES AGAINST OVERCHARGES.

IT IS SUBMITTED THAT THE EXPRESSION IN SECTION 3 OF SAID ACT OF JUNE 6, 1924,"FOR THE PAYMENT OF ITS EXPENSES AND FOR THE ACQUISITION OF THE LANDS HEREIN AUTHORIZED TO BE ACQUIRED," COULD AND SHOULD REASONABLY BE HELD AS COVERING SUCH EXPENSES OF APPRAISAL. COST OF SURVEYS IS SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED. IN A COMMUNITY ALREADY FULLY MAPPED AND GENERALLY SUBDIVIDED, SURVEYS PRELIMINARY TO PURCHASE OF LAND ARE USEFUL AND NECESSARY ONLY TO PERMIT CHECK OF THE AREAS IT IS PROPOSED TO PURCHASE AND DETERMINATION OF THE UNIT COST TO BE PAID. DETERMINATION OF SUCH UNIT COST IS OF NO PRACTICAL VALUE EXCEPT FOR THE PURPOSE OF JUDGING WHETHER THE PRICE ASKED IS REASONABLE, AS REQUIRED BY THE WORDS OF THE ACT ITSELF; AND AN APPRAISAL IS AN INSEPARABLE ADJUNCT OF A SURVEY FOR THIS PURPOSE.

PAYMENTS FOR APPRAISALS ARE COMMONLY MADE BY CORPORATIONS ACQUIRING TIMBERLANDS, MINING LANDS, ETC., AS A NECESSARY PART OF THE INVESTIGATION NATURALLY PRELIMINARY TO SUCH PURCHASES.

IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO THESE REASONS FOR BELIEVING THAT THE APPROPRIATION ACT ITSELF WAS INTENDED TO EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZE JUST SUCH PAYMENTS AS THOSE MADE TO THIS APPRAISING FIRM, FOR NECESSARY SERVICES AT VERY REASONABLE RATES,BEFORE THE SPECIALLY QUALIFIED PERSONNEL COULD BE SET UP IN THIS OFFICE TO HANDLE SUCH WORK.

THE ACT OF JUNE 6, 1924, 43 STAT. 463, CREATED THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK COMMISSION FOR THE PURPOSE OF A COMPREHENSIVE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PARK, PARKWAY, AND PLAYGROUND SYSTEM OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL AND AUTHORIZED IT TO ACQUIRE BY PURCHASE OR CONDEMNATION THE LANDS NECESSARY TO THAT END. THE FIRST APPROPRIATION FOR ITS ACTIVITIES WAS MADE IN THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1247, AND PROVIDED THEREIN FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923. THIS APPROPRIATION FOR PERSONAL SERVICES CONTEMPLATES THAT ALL PERSONAL SERVICES REQUIRED BY THE COMMISSION BE PERFORMED UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE COMMISSION BY PERSONS REGULARLY EMPLOYED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CIVIL- SERVICE RULES AND REGULATIONS AT RATES OF COMPENSATION AUTHORIZED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923 AND DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE PROCUREMENT OF SUCH SERVICES BY CONTRACT TO BE RENDERED WITHOUT ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISION. THIS GENERAL RULE HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY CALLED TO THE ATTENTION OF YOURSELF AND YOUR PREDECESSOR, COLONEL SHERRILL, IN CONNECTION WITH THE ACTIVITIES OF THE VARIOUS OFFICES AND COMMISSIONS WITH WHICH YOU HAVE BEEN ASSOCIATED. SEE PARTICULARLY A-6982 OF JANUARY 6, 1925, WITH REFERENCE TO EMPLOYMENT OF APPRAISERS IN CONNECTION WITH THE ROCK CREEK AND POTOMAC PARKWAY; A-11664 OF NOVEMBER 16, 1925, AND JANUARY 19, 1926, EMPLOYMENT OF ARCHITECTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE MERIDIAN HILL PARK; 5 COMP. GEN. 450 AND 629, EMPLOYMENT OF ARCHITECTS ON THE ARLINGTON MEMORIAL BRIDGE; 4 COMP. GEN. 356, EMPLOYMENT OF A BROKER TO NEGOTIATE THE PURCHASE OF SITES BY THE OFFICE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE STATE, WAR, AND NAVY BUILDINGS. SEE ALSO 4 COMP. GEN. 710, 908, AND 977; 5 ID. 968 AND 1015; 26 COMP. DEC. 635 AND 800.

IN VIEW OF ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES APPEARING AND THE EMERGENCY CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THE APPRAISING IN THIS CASE WAS OBTAINED, CREDIT WILL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR THE PAYMENT IN QUESTION.

SHOULD IT BE DEEMED NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE TO PROCURE SUCH SERVICES BY CONTRACT FOR ANY OF THE ORGANIZATIONS WITH WHICH YOU ARE CONNECTED, THE MATTER SHOULD BE PRESENTED TO THE CONGRESS, AS SUCH CONTRACTS CAN NOT BE SANCTIONED IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR.