A-19394, AUGUST 12, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 106

A-19394: Aug 12, 1927

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SHOULD BE DONE TO PRESERVE OR PROTECT A GOVERNMENT BUILDING IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER AN APPROPRIATION PROVIDING A LIMITED AMOUNT FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY THEREFOR. REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS: SOME YEARS AGO A MOVEMENT OF A KEYSTONE OF THE INTERIOR ARCH ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE ROTUNDA OF THE NEW NATIONAL MUSEUM BUILDING WAS DISCOVERED. IN WHICH IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE CONDITION MAY BE A SERIOUS ONE AND THAT A MOVEMENT OF THE PIERS MAY BE IN PROGRESS WITHOUT FURTHER KEYSTONE DISPLACEMENT. AFTER MAKING A THOROUGH EXAMINATION THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THIS BUILDING AND OTHERS ASSOCIATED WITH HIM EXPRESS THE OPINION THAT THE CONDITION IS NOT SO SERIOUS AS THE SUPERVISING ARCHITECT HOLDS.

A-19394, AUGUST 12, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 106

CONTRACTS - PERSONAL SERVICES - ENGINEERS THE HIRE BY CONTRACT OF ENGINEERS TO RENDER AN OPINION AS TO WHAT, IF ANYTHING, SHOULD BE DONE TO PRESERVE OR PROTECT A GOVERNMENT BUILDING IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER AN APPROPRIATION PROVIDING A LIMITED AMOUNT FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY THEREFOR, SUCH APPROPRIATION CONTEMPLATING THE PROCUREMENT OF SUCH SERVICES BY DIRECT EMPLOYMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH CIVIL -SERVICE RULES AND REGULATIONS AND AT RATES PRESCRIBED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL GINN TO THE SECRETARY, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION, AUGUST 12, 1927:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 2, 1927, REQUESTING DECISION OF A QUESTION PRESENTED AS FOLLOWS:

SOME YEARS AGO A MOVEMENT OF A KEYSTONE OF THE INTERIOR ARCH ON THE EAST SIDE OF THE ROTUNDA OF THE NEW NATIONAL MUSEUM BUILDING WAS DISCOVERED. AT THAT TIME THE OFFICE OF THE SUPERVISING ARCHITECT IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT MADE A REPORT, WITH CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS, GIVING AN OPINION AS TO THE CAUSE OF DISPLACEMENT, AND RECOMMENDING THAT A CAREFUL WATCH BE MAINTAINED AND MOVEMENT, IF ANY, MEASURED FROM TIME TO TIME. THIS HAS BEEN DONE, AND WHILE THE MOVEMENT APPARENTLY HAS LESSENED, THE SUPERVISING ARCHITECT HAS MADE A FURTHER REPORT, IN WHICH IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE CONDITION MAY BE A SERIOUS ONE AND THAT A MOVEMENT OF THE PIERS MAY BE IN PROGRESS WITHOUT FURTHER KEYSTONE DISPLACEMENT.

AFTER MAKING A THOROUGH EXAMINATION THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THIS BUILDING AND OTHERS ASSOCIATED WITH HIM EXPRESS THE OPINION THAT THE CONDITION IS NOT SO SERIOUS AS THE SUPERVISING ARCHITECT HOLDS. TO DETERMINE THE MATTER WE DESIRE TO OBTAIN THE OPINION OF AT LEAST TWO EXPERIENCED ENGINEERS OUTSIDE THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE.

THE APPROPRIATION FOR BUILDING REPAIRS, NATIONAL MUSEUM, 1928, AS CONTAINED IN THE BAIL FOR EXECUTIVE OFFICE AND SUNDRY INDEPENDENT EXECUTIVE BUREAUS, ETC., READS AS FOLLOWS: "FOR REPAIRS OF BUILDINGS, SHOPS, AND SHEDS, INCLUDING ALL NECESSARY LABOR AND MATERIAL, $13,000, OF WHICH AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $8,620 MAY BE EXPENDED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.' YOUR OPINION IS ASKED WHETHER THE SERVICES OF ENGINEERS AS ABOVE MENTIONED CAN BE PAID LEGALLY FROM THIS APPROPRIATION.

THE MATTER IS ONE OF IMPORTANCE, AS IF THE SUPERVISING ARCHITECT IS CORRECT AN APPROPRIATION OF $35,000 OR MORE MUST BE OBTAINED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

THE AUTHORITY IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT OF FEBRUARY 11, 1927, 44 STAT. 1080, TO EXPEND A LIMITED AMOUNT FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE PROCUREMENT OF SUCH SERVICES BY CONTRACT, BUT CONTEMPLATES THE PROCUREMENT OF SUCH SERVICES BY DIRECT EMPLOYMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH CIVIL-SERVICE RULES AND REGULATIONS AND AT RATES PRESCRIBED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1488. WHERE THERE IS A GOVERNMENT SERVICE QUALIFIED AND AVAILABLE FOR THE WORK DESIRED IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO SECURE ITS PERFORMANCE BY OUTSIDE AGENCIES. 1 COMP. GEN. 409. AND THE ENGAGING OF EXPERTS NOT IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE TO EXPRESS OPINIONS AS TO WHAT SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT BE DONE IN THE MATTER OF PRESERVING OR PROTECTING GOVERNMENT BUILDINGS IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY THEREFOR.