A-17294, JUNE 16, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 821

A-17294: Jun 16, 1927

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HE WAS FORMALLY ASSIGNED PUBLIC QUARTERS. THE OFFICER IS NOT ENTITLED TO RENTAL ALLOWANCE. 1927: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE CLAIM OF FIRST LIEUT. WHILE HE IS ON FIELD OR SEA DUTY. NOR WHILE AN OFFICER WITH OR WITHOUT DEPENDENTS IS ASSIGNED AS QUARTERS AT HIS PERMANENT STATION THE NUMBER OF ROOMS PROVIDED BY LAW FOR AN OFFICER OF HIS RANK OR A LESS NUMBER OF ROOMS IN ANY PARTICULAR CASE WHEREIN. OR STATION WHERE PUBLIC QUARTERS ARE AVAILABLE WILL BE ASSIGNED THEREAT AS QUARTERS THE NUMBER OF ROOMS PRESCRIBED BY LAW FOR AN OFFICER OF HIS RANK. IT IS STATED: * * * (A) EVERY OFFICER ON REPORTING FOR PERMANENT DUTY AT A POST. WHERE THERE ARE PUBLIC QUARTERS. WILL BE IMMEDIATELY ASSIGNED ADEQUATE QUARTERS.

A-17294, JUNE 16, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 821

RENTAL ALLOWANCE - ASSIGNMENT OF QUARTERS WHERE AN OFFICER OF THE ARMY REPORTED AT HIS NEW STATION UNACCOMPANIED BY HIS FAMILY AND LEFT IMMEDIATELY WITH HIS ORGANIZATION FOR AN OVERLAND MARCH, AND, UPON RETURN OF THE REGIMENT, HE WAS FORMALLY ASSIGNED PUBLIC QUARTERS, REPORTED BY HIS COMMANDING OFFICER AS INTENDED FOR ASSIGNMENT TO HIM ON HIS FIRST ARRIVAL AT THE STATION, THERE HAS BEEN AN ASSIGNMENT OF ADEQUATE PUBLIC QUARTERS UNDER SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 627, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MAY 31, 1924, 43 STAT. 250, AND THE OFFICER IS NOT ENTITLED TO RENTAL ALLOWANCE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JUNE 16, 1927:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE CLAIM OF FIRST LIEUT. F. E. BERTHOLET, CAVALRY, UNITED STATES ARMY, FOR RENTAL ALLOWANCE AS WITH DEPENDENTS, OCTOBER 2 TO NOVEMBER 14, 1925, UNDER SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 627, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MAY 31, 1924, 43 STAT. 250, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES HEREAFTER SHOWN. THE CITED PROVISION AUTHORIZES A RENTAL ALLOWANCE TO OFFICERS OF THE ARMY AT ALL TIMES EXCEPT AS PROVIDED IN THE FOURTH PARAGRAPH OF THE SECTION. THE FOURTH AND FIFTH PARAGRAPHS PROVIDE:

NO RENTAL ALLOWANCE SHALL ACCRUE TO AN OFFICER, HAVING NO DEPENDENTS, WHILE HE IS ON FIELD OR SEA DUTY, NOR WHILE AN OFFICER WITH OR WITHOUT DEPENDENTS IS ASSIGNED AS QUARTERS AT HIS PERMANENT STATION THE NUMBER OF ROOMS PROVIDED BY LAW FOR AN OFFICER OF HIS RANK OR A LESS NUMBER OF ROOMS IN ANY PARTICULAR CASE WHEREIN, IN THE JUDGMENT OF COMPETENT SUPERIOR AUTHORITY OF THE SERVICE CONCERNED, A LESS NUMBER OF ROOMS WOULD BE ADEQUATE FOR THE OCCUPANCY OF THE OFFICER AND HIS DEPENDENTS.

REGULATIONS IN EXECUTION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION IN PEACE AND IN WAR SHALL BE MADE BY THE PRESIDENT, AND SHALL, WHENEVER PRACTICABLE IN HIS JUDGMENT, BE UNIFORM FOR ALL OF THE SERVICES CONCERNED, INCLUDING ADJUNCT FORCE THEREOF.

THE EXECUTIVE ORDER OF AUGUST 13, 1924, PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF MAY 31, 1924, CITED, PROVIDES UNDER SUBPARAGRAPH (B), PARAGRAPH 11, IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

(B) EVERY OFFICER PERMANENTLY STATIONED AT A POST, YARD, OR STATION WHERE PUBLIC QUARTERS ARE AVAILABLE WILL BE ASSIGNED THEREAT AS QUARTERS THE NUMBER OF ROOMS PRESCRIBED BY LAW FOR AN OFFICER OF HIS RANK, OR A LESS NUMBER OF ROOMS DETERMINED BY COMPETENT SUPERIOR AUTHORITY, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED, TO BE ADEQUATE IN THE PARTICULAR CASE FOR THE OCCUPANCY OF THE OFFICER AND HIS DEPENDENTS, IF ANY * * *.

IN SUBPARAGRAPH (A), PARAGRAPH 2, SECTION III, CIRCULAR NO. 66, WAR DEPARTMENT, 1924, IT IS STATED:

* * * (A) EVERY OFFICER ON REPORTING FOR PERMANENT DUTY AT A POST, CAMP, OR STATION, WHERE THERE ARE PUBLIC QUARTERS, WILL BE IMMEDIATELY ASSIGNED ADEQUATE QUARTERS, IF AVAILABLE, AS DETERMINED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 3.

LIEUTENANT BERTHOLET WAS RELIEVED FROM DUTY AS INSTRUCTOR WITH THE GEORGIA NATIONAL GUARD AND UPON EXPIRATION OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE REPORTED TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION, CAMP MARFA, TEX., OCTOBER 2, 1925, UNACCOMPANIED BY HIS FAMILY. THE GOVERNMENT MAINTAINS PUBLIC QUARTERS AT CAMP MARFA FOR OFFICERS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, BUT AS THE REGIMENT WAS UNDER ORDERS FOR AN OVERLAND MARCH AND THE FAMILY OF THE OFFICER HAD NOT ACCOMPANIED HIM, FORMAL ASSIGNMENT OF QUARTERS SEEMS NOT TO HAVE BEEN MADE TO THE OFFICER UNTIL THE RETURN OF THE REGIMENT FROM ITS MANEUVERS NOVEMBER 15, 1925. THE NINTH INDORSEMENT, JANUARY 4, 1926, THE COMMANDING OFFICER AT CAMP MARFA REPORTED:

1. QUARTERS WERE NOT ASSIGNED TO LIEUTENANT BERTHOLET ON HIS ARRIVAL FOR THE REASON THAT HE WAS TO LEAVE WITH THE REGIMENT THE SECOND DAY AFTER HIS ARRIVAL FOR THE MARCH TO FORT CLARK AND THE QUARTERS WHICH WERE TO BE ASSIGNED TO HIM NEEDED SOME REPAIRS.

2. UNOCCUPIED QUARTERS COULD HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED TO LIEUTENANT BERTHOLET ON OCTOBER 2, 1925.

THE EXECUTIVE ORDER AND THE REGULATIONS ARE SPECIFIC THAT AVAILABLE ADEQUATE QUARTERS SHALL BE ASSIGNED IMMEDIATELY UPON AN OFFICER'S REPORTING AT A NEW STATION. THESE REGULATIONS WERE OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN KNOWN TO THE CLAIMANT AS WELL AS TO HIS COMMANDING OFFICER. HAD THE OFFICER'S FAMILY ACCOMPANIED HIM TO CAMP MARFA IT IS VERY PROBABLE HE WOULD HAVE SECURED THE ASSIGNMENT TO HIMSELF OF AVAILABLE PUBLIC QUARTERS. TO WHAT, IF ANY, EXTENT THE INABILITY OF THE OFFICER OR HIS DEPENDENTS TO UTILIZE SUCH AVAILABLE ADEQUATE QUARTERS AT HIS STATION DURING THE OFFICER'S ABSENCE WITH THE REGIMENT CONTRIBUTED TO THE FAILURE TO FORMALLY ASSIGN THE QUARTERS WAS NOT INVESTIGATED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT BEFORE TRANSMITTAL OF THE CLAIM. IT APPEARS, HOWEVER, THAT A PARTICULAR SET OF QUARTERS HAD BEEN SELECTED FOR THE OFFICER'S OCCUPANCY BY THE COMMANDING OFFICER BEFORE THE OFFICER'S ARRIVAL AT HIS NEW STATION. THE COMMANDING OFFICER REPORTS THAT SUCH QUARTERS NEEDED SOME REPAIRS BUT THAT THERE WERE OTHER UNOCCUPIED QUARTERS THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ASSIGNED TO HIM. WHETHER THE FACT THAT PARTICULAR QUARTERS HAD BEEN SELECTED FOR ASSIGNMENT TO HIM WAS COMMUNICATED TO THE CLAIMANT IS NOT SHOWN, BUT THERE IS A REASONABLE PRESUMPTION THAT AN OFFICER REPORTING AT A NEW STATION WHERE HE WOULD PROBABLY RESIDE WITH HIS FAMILY FOR SEVERAL MONTHS WOULD EVINCE SUFFICIENT INTEREST IN THE QUARTERS AVAILABLE FOR THE OCCUPANCY OF HIMSELF AND DEPENDENTS TO MAKE AT LEAST CASUAL INQUIRY RESPECTING THEM.

THE ASSIGNMENT OF PUBLIC QUARTERS IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE IN ANY PARTICULAR FORM; ANY SETTING APART OF AVAILABLE ADEQUATE PUBLIC QUARTERS AT HIS STATION FOR THE USE OF AN OFFICER AND HIS DEPENDENTS OF WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN INFORMED BY CASUAL INQUIRY IS A SUFFICIENT ASSIGNMENT UNDER THE LAW.