A-19034, AUGUST 16, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 114

A-19034: Aug 16, 1927

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IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO CONTRACT WITH SUCH EMPLOYEES WITH A VIEW TO INCREASING THEIR COMPENSATION BY THE PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES TO THEIR DUTY STATION. IT IS URGED THAT THIS EMPLOYEE BECAME ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE EXPENSES IN QUESTION BY REASON OF HER APPOINTMENT OR CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT WHICH. IT IS CLAIMED. WAS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 196. WHILE IT WAS PRIOR TO THE FISCAL YEAR 1925 PERMISSIBLE FOR THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS TO CONTRACT WITH EMPLOYEES. WHEN THE COMPENSATION WAS PAYABLE FROM LUMP SUM APPROPRIATIONS. SUCH PRACTICE IS NO LONGER PERMISSIBLE WHEN THE EMPLOYMENT IS IN A FIELD SERVICE WHICH HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6.

A-19034, AUGUST 16, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 114

COMPENSATION, ALLOWANCES - TRAVELING EXPENSES TO FIRST DUTY STATION THE FIELD PERSONNEL OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE PAYABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR "PAY OF PERSONNEL AND MAINTENANCE OF HOSPITALS," HAVING BEEN CLASSIFIED PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, 43 STAT. 704, IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO CONTRACT WITH SUCH EMPLOYEES WITH A VIEW TO INCREASING THEIR COMPENSATION BY THE PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES TO THEIR DUTY STATION, SUCH ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION BEING IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 161.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, AUGUST 16, 1927:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 23, 1927, REQUESTING REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT DISALLOWING CREDIT FOR $14.45 CHARGED ON VOUCHER 55508 IN THE OCTOBER, 1926, ACCOUNTS OF J. L. SUMMERS, DISBURSING CLERK, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, REPRESENTING REIMBURSEMENT TO EFFIE J. HARRISON, A NURSE IN THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN TRAVELING FROM LITTLE ROCK, ARK., WHERE SHE TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE, TO NEW ORLEANS, LA., HER FIRST DUTY STATION.

IT IS URGED THAT THIS EMPLOYEE BECAME ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE EXPENSES IN QUESTION BY REASON OF HER APPOINTMENT OR CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT WHICH, IT IS CLAIMED, WAS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 196, REVISED STATUTES, AND WHICH PROVIDED FOR---

* * * COMPENSATION AT THE RATE OF $1,800 PER ANNUM, LESS SUCH DEDUCTIONS AS SHALL BE MADE FOR QUARTERS, SUBSISTENCE, OR LAUNDRY WHEN FURNISHED IN KIND, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SCHEDULE OF VALUATIONS APPROVED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, AND ACTUAL AND NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES, TOGETHER WITH TRANSPORTATION FROM PLACE OF APPOINTMENT TO FIRST STATION * * *.

WHILE IT WAS PRIOR TO THE FISCAL YEAR 1925 PERMISSIBLE FOR THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS TO CONTRACT WITH EMPLOYEES, WHEN THE COMPENSATION WAS PAYABLE FROM LUMP SUM APPROPRIATIONS, FOR THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION TO INCLUDE THE RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED IN PROCEEDING TO THEIR FIRST DUTY STATION, SUCH PRACTICE IS NO LONGER PERMISSIBLE WHEN THE EMPLOYMENT IS IN A FIELD SERVICE WHICH HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, 43 STAT. 704, OR SUBSEQUENT LEGISLATION. SAID ACT INCLUDED SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS TO ENABLE THE ADJUSTMENT OF SALARIES PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR "PAY OF PERSONNEL AND MAINTENANCE OF HOSPITALS," PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, 43 STAT. 710, AND IN SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 2, 1926, 44 STAT. 161, IT WAS PROVIDED:

THOSE CIVILIAN POSITIONS IN THE FIELD SERVICES UNDER THE SEVERAL EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS, THE COMPENSATION OF WHICH WAS FIXED OR LIMITED BY LAW BUT ADJUSTED FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1925 UNDER THE AUTHORITY AND APPROPRIATIONS CONTAINED IN THE ACT ENTITLED "AN ACT MAKING ADDITIONAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1925, TO ENABLE THE HEADS OF THE SEVERAL EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS TO ADJUST THE RATES OF COMPENSATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES IN CERTAIN OF THE FIELD SERVICES," APPROVED DECEMBER 6, 1924, MAY BE PAID UNDER THE APPLICABLE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1927 AT RATES NOT IN EXCESS OF THOSE PERMITTED FOR THEM UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SUCH ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924.

IT THUS APPEARS THAT THE SERVICE TO WHICH THE NURSE WAS APPOINTED HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED. SEE 5 COMP. GEN. 156. THE SALARIES HAVING BEEN FIXED BY SUCH CLASSIFICATION IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO CONTRACT FOR PAYMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION FOR ANY ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION IN THE GUISE OF TRAVELING EXPENSES NOT AUTHORIZED BY THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE ABSENT FROM HEADQUARTERS IN AN OFFICIAL TRAVEL STATUS. IT IS A WELL-ESTABLISHED RULE THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A LAWFUL CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT SO PROVIDING ALL EMPLOYEES MUST PLACE THEMSELVES AT THEIR FIRST DUTY STATION AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE. 4 COMP. GEN. 641; 5 ID. 987.

THE CASE CITED BY YOU, 6 COMP. GEN. 143, IS NOT APPLICABLE TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE NURSES AS THE SERVICE INVOLVED IN THAT CASE--- THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE--- HAD BEEN AUTHORIZED BY A LAW TO PAY THE TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF FAMILIES AND EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES IN "GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM THEIR POSTS.' SEE ACT OF JANUARY 5, 1923, 42 STAT. 1113, REFERRED TO IN THAT DECISION.

THE PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES TO NURSE HARRISON IN REPORTING TO HER FIRST DUTY STATION WAS, THEREFORE, NOT AUTHORIZED. UPON REVIEW THE SETTLEMENT IS SUSTAINED.