A-19696, SEPTEMBER 14, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 203

A-19696: Sep 14, 1927

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DO NOT OPERATE TO RELIEVE THE MARSHAL OF THE OBLIGATION TO BEAR THE EXPENSES INCIDENT TO REPORTING TO THE PLACE WHERE HIS DUTIES ARE TO BE PERFORMED. THAT WERE INCURRED DURING THE PERIOD FROM JULY 16. IT IS ASSERTED THAT HE ENTERED UPON THE DUTIES OF HIS OFFICE ON THAT DATE BY REQUESTING THE CHIEF OF OFFICE OF THE PANAMA CANAL. DEPUTY MARSHAL: YOU ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO CONDUCT BUSINESS OF OFFICE OF MARSHAL OF THE CANAL ZONE IN MY NAME WHILE I AM ABSENT. THE RADIOGRAM IS STATED TO HAVE BEEN SENT UPON THE SUGGESTION OF THE GOVERNOR OF THE PANAMA CANAL FOR THE PURPOSE OF RELIEVING AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE MOMENT AN EMBARRASSING SITUATION THAT HAD ARISEN IN THE MARSHAL'S OFFICE AT THE CANAL ZONE DUE TO THE REMOVAL FROM OFFICE WHILE ABSENT FROM THE CANAL ZONE OF MR.

A-19696, SEPTEMBER 14, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 203

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FIRST-DUTY STATION - UNITED STATES MARSHALS UNDER THE LONG-ESTABLISHED RULE THAT HAS BEEN FOLLOWED BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT, OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES UPON THEIR APPOINTMENT TO POSITIONS IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES MUST BEAR THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN REPORTING TO THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY. THE TAKING OF THE OATH OF OFFICE BY A NEWLY APPOINTED UNITED STATES MARSHAL, THE EXECUTION OF AN OFFICIAL BOND, AND THE DESIGNATION OF A DEPUTY TO ACT IN HIS ABSENCE, BEFORE PROCEEDING TO HIS POST OF DUTY, DO NOT OPERATE TO RELIEVE THE MARSHAL OF THE OBLIGATION TO BEAR THE EXPENSES INCIDENT TO REPORTING TO THE PLACE WHERE HIS DUTIES ARE TO BE PERFORMED.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, SEPTEMBER 14, 1927:

THERE HAS BEEN SUBMITTED BY THE PANAMA CANAL FOR SETTLEMENT AN UNPAID VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF JOHN T. BARRETT, MARSHAL OF THE CANAL ZONE, IN THE AMOUNT OF $82.88 TO COVER EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF THAT OFFICIAL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO THE CANAL ZONE, THAT WERE INCURRED DURING THE PERIOD FROM JULY 16, 1927, TO AUGUST 3, 1927, WHILE PROCEEDING TO HIS POST OF DUTY UNDER AN APPOINTMENT OF JULY 6, 1927.

IT APPEARS FROM THE RECORD AS SUBMITTED THAT AFTER HIS APPOINTMENT AS MARSHAL OF THE CANAL ZONE MR. BARRETT QUALIFIED FOR THE OFFICE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., ON JULY 16, 1927, BY TAKING THE PRESCRIBED OATH OF OFFICE AND EXECUTING THE REQUIRED BOND, AND IT IS ASSERTED THAT HE ENTERED UPON THE DUTIES OF HIS OFFICE ON THAT DATE BY REQUESTING THE CHIEF OF OFFICE OF THE PANAMA CANAL, WASHINGTON, D.C., TO SEND A RADIOGRAM TO THE CANAL ZONE, READING AS FOLLOWS:

FROM JOHN T. BARRETT, MARSHAL OF THE CANAL ZONE, TO CHARLES L. PARKER, DEPUTY MARSHAL: YOU ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO CONDUCT BUSINESS OF OFFICE OF MARSHAL OF THE CANAL ZONE IN MY NAME WHILE I AM ABSENT.

THE RADIOGRAM IS STATED TO HAVE BEEN SENT UPON THE SUGGESTION OF THE GOVERNOR OF THE PANAMA CANAL FOR THE PURPOSE OF RELIEVING AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE MOMENT AN EMBARRASSING SITUATION THAT HAD ARISEN IN THE MARSHAL'S OFFICE AT THE CANAL ZONE DUE TO THE REMOVAL FROM OFFICE WHILE ABSENT FROM THE CANAL ZONE OF MR. BARRETT'S PREDECESSOR, EFFECTIVE AS OF JUNE 27, 1927.

IT IS AN ESTABLISHED RULE OF LONG STANDING THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC STATUTE OR CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT TO THE CONTRARY AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT, UPON HIS APPOINTMENT TO AN OFFICE OR POSITION IN THE SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES, MUST BEAR THE EXPENSES INCURRED BY HIM IN REPORTING TO HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY OR FIRST DUTY STATION. SEE 4 COMP. DEC. 629; 5 ID. 179; ID. 662; 11 ID. 691; 22 ID. 577; 26 ID. 920; 5 COMP. GEN. 274; ID. 941; ID. 987. AND THE TAKING OF AN OATH OF OFFICE BEFORE PROCEEDING TO THE POST DOES NOT OPERATE TO PLACE THE OFFICER IN A DUTY OR OFFICIAL TRAVEL STATUS WHILE REPORTING FOR DUTY. SEE DECISION OF JUNE 14, 1921, TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IN RE DISTRICT JUDGE FOR THE DISTRICT OF PORTO RICO.

A "TRAVEL STATUS" FOR WHICH EXPENSES OF TRAVEL ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT WAS DEFINED IN THE ACT OF APRIL 6, 1914, 38 STAT. 318, AS BEING "WHILE TRAVELING ON DUTY OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY," AND BY THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, 44 STAT. 688, AS BEING "WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY.'

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1926, 44 STAT. 924, AMENDING THE PANAMA CANAL ACT, THE APPOINTMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE DISTRICT JUDGE, THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY, AND THE MARSHAL OF THE CANAL ZONE FOR A TERM OF FOUR YEARS EACH IS AUTHORIZED AND IT IS PROVIDED THEREIN THAT "EACH SHALL RESIDE WITHIN THE CANAL ZONE DURING HIS TERM OF OFFICE.' THUS UNDER THIS ENACTMENT THEMARSHAL'S POST OF DUTY WAS ESTABLISHED AND FIXED AS BEING IN THE CANAL ZONE, AT WHICH PLACE HE IS REQUIRED, EXCEPT DURING AUTHORIZED LEAVE OF ABSENCE, TO RESIDE DURING HIS TERM OF OFFICE.

THE CANAL ZONE HAVING BEEN DESIGNATED BY LAW AS THE POST OF DUTY OF THE MARSHAL OF THE CANAL ZONE, UNDER THE RULE REFERRED TO ABOVE THE MARSHAL IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES EXCEPT FOR AUTHORIZED TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM SAID POST OF DUTY.

THE ARRANGEMENTS MADE BY THE MARSHAL IN WASHINGTON, D.C., RELATIVE TO THE SENDING OF THE RADIOGRAM, THE EXECUTION OF HIS BOND, ETC., CAN NOT BE HELD TO BE SUCH AN ENTRY UPON DUTY AS TO OPERATE TO PLACE HIM IN A TRAVEL STATUS OR TO RELIEVE HIM OF THE OBLIGATION TO BEAR THE EXPENSE OF REPORTING AT HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, OR, IN OTHER WORDS, TO RELIEVE HIM OF SUCH EXPENSES AS HE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO BEAR HAD HE PROCEEDED DIRECTLY TO THE CANAL ZONE WITHOUT MAKING SUCH ARRANGEMENTS WHILE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE DO NOT WARRANT THE REIMBURSING OF THE MARSHAL FOR THE EXPENSE OF PLACING HIMSELF IN THE CANAL ZONE, HIS DUTY STATION, AND THE CLAIM SUBMITTED COVERING SUCH EXPENSE WILL, ACCORDINGLY, BE DISALLOWED.