A-19723, SEPTEMBER 13, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 198

A-19723: Sep 13, 1927

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RECLAMATION SERVICE THE GRANTING OF LEAVES OF ABSENCE WITH PAY TO FIELD EMPLOYEES OF THE RECLAMATION SERVICE IS NOT FIXED BY STATUTE BUT IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. WHERE REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN ISSUED FIXING THE AMOUNT OF LEAVE ALLOWABLE UPON RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE AT TWO AND ONE-HALF DAYS FOR EACH MONTH OF SERVICE SINCE THE FIRST OF THE CALENDAR YEAR. SUCH REGULATIONS ARE CONTROLLING AND A FIELD OFFICER IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO GRANT LEAVE IN EXCESS OF THAT RATE. UNDER CONDITIONS AS FOLLOWS: IT APPEARS THAT IN 1913 CLAIMANT WAS EMPLOYED AS A JUNIOR CLERK AT $1. WHICH REQUEST APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE BOISE PROJECT AND FOR WHICH TIME HE WAS PAID HIS REGULAR RATE OF SALARY.

A-19723, SEPTEMBER 13, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 198

LEAVES OF ABSENCE - RESIGNATION - FIELD EMPLOYEES, RECLAMATION SERVICE THE GRANTING OF LEAVES OF ABSENCE WITH PAY TO FIELD EMPLOYEES OF THE RECLAMATION SERVICE IS NOT FIXED BY STATUTE BUT IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, AND WHERE REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN ISSUED FIXING THE AMOUNT OF LEAVE ALLOWABLE UPON RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE AT TWO AND ONE-HALF DAYS FOR EACH MONTH OF SERVICE SINCE THE FIRST OF THE CALENDAR YEAR, SUCH REGULATIONS ARE CONTROLLING AND A FIELD OFFICER IS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO GRANT LEAVE IN EXCESS OF THAT RATE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, SEPTEMBER 13, 1927:

ALBERT J. HENDLEY REQUESTED AUGUST 17, 1927, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 0152390, DATED JANUARY 5, 1927, DISALLOWING HIS CLAIM FOR $13.33, ALLEGED TO BE DUE HIM AS SALARY AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES RECLAMATION SERVICE DURING THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 7 TO 10, 1913, UNDER CONDITIONS AS FOLLOWS:

IT APPEARS THAT IN 1913 CLAIMANT WAS EMPLOYED AS A JUNIOR CLERK AT $1,200 PER ANNUM IN THE OFFICE OF THE RECLAMATION BUREAU AT BOISE, IDAHO; THAT HE APPLIED FOR SEVEN DAYS' ANNUAL LEAVE FROM FEBRUARY 3 TO 10, INCLUSIVE, WHICH REQUEST APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE BOISE PROJECT AND FOR WHICH TIME HE WAS PAID HIS REGULAR RATE OF SALARY; THAT HE DID NOT RETURN TO DUTY AT BOISE UPON THE TERMINATION OF HIS LEAVE BUT ON MARCH 6, 1913, SUBMITTED HIS RESIGNATION TO BECOME EFFECTIVE FROM AND AFTER FEBRUARY 11, 1913; THAT IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE LEAVE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR EFFECTIVE AT THAT TIME WHICH AUTHORIZED ANNUAL LEAVE AT THE RATE OF TWO AND ONE-HALF DAYS FOR EACH MONTH OF SERVICE SINCE THE FIRST OF THE CALENDAR YEAR, THE RESIGNATION WAS ACCEPTED EFFECTIVE AT THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS FEBRUARY 5, 1913. CLAIMANT WAS THEREAFTER REQUESTED TO REFUND THE AMOUNT OF $13.33 PAID HIM AS SALARY FOR THE FOUR DAYS FROM FEBRUARY 7 TO 10, INCLUSIVE. REFUND WAS MADE ON SEPTEMBER 15, 1913.

CLAIMANT NOW CONTENDS THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL OF THE LEAVE REQUEST AS SUBMITTED AND THE SUBSEQUENT ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL BY COMPETENT OFFICIAL OF THE VOUCHER COVERING THE SALARY PAYMENT TO FEBRUARY 10, 1913, MADE HIS RIGHT TO THE MONEY ABSOLUTE.

A PROVISION IN THE RECLAMATION MANUAL IN EFFECT DURING FEBRUARY, 1913, READS AS FOLLOWS:

THE SUPERVISING ENGINEERS IN THE FIELD ARE AUTHORIZED TO GRANT ANNUAL LEAVE TO EMPLOYEES IN THEIR RESPECTIVE DIVISIONS.

PARAGRAPH 19 OF THE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, DATED FEBRUARY 1, 1910, COVERING LEAVES OF ABSENCE OF EMPLOYEES OF THAT DEPARTMENT, INCLUDING FIELD SERVICE EMPLOYEES OUTSIDE OF WASHINGTON, PROVIDES:

19. ONLY ACCRUED LEAVE ALLOWED ON RESIGNATION, ETC.; EXCEPTIONS.--- ON SEPARATION FROM THE DEPARTMENT BY RESIGNATION, DISMISSAL, OR TRANSFER, EMPLOYEES WILL BE ALLOWED ONLY ACCRUED LEAVE AT THE RATE OF TWO AND ONE- HALF DAYS FOR EACH MONTH OF SERVICE SINCE THE FIRST OF THE CALENDAR YEAR; BUT HEADS OF BUREAUS MAY GRANT MORE THAN THIS (WITHIN THE LEGAL LIMIT) WHEN SEPARATION OCCURS AFTER THE MIDDLE OF THE YEAR AND THE EMPLOYEE HAS SERVED FIVE OR MORE YEARS AND THERE ARE OTHER MERITORIOUS REASONS FOR EXCEPTION TO THE RULE, IN THE LATTER CASE IN WRITING.

THERE IS NO STATUTE SPECIFICALLY GRANTING LEAVES OF ABSENCE WITH PAY TO EMPLOYEES OF THE RECLAMATION SERVICE OUTSIDE OF WASHINGTON, AND, THEREFORE, THE GRANTING OF SUCH LEAVE IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. BY THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 19 OF THE REGULATIONS QUOTED, SUPRA, THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AUTHORIZED THE OFFICERS IN CHARGE OF FIELD PROJECTS TO ALLOW EMPLOYEES ONLY ACCRUED LEAVE, UNDER CONDITIONS SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED, AT THE RATE OF TWO AND ONE- HALF DAYS FOR EACH MONTH OF SERVICE SINCE THE FIRST OF THE CALENDAR YEAR. IN THIS CASE THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE BOISE PROJECT EXCEEDED HIS AUTHORITY IN ALLOWING CLAIMANT'S REQUEST FOR LEAVE WITH PAY IN EXCESS OF THE RATE PROVIDED BY THE REGULATIONS AND THE SUBSEQUENT PAYMENT THEREOF BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER MAY NOT BE TAKEN AS CONTROLLING IN THE MATTER. CLAIMANT WAS PAID THE FULL AMOUNT OF SALARY DUE HIM TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE ACCEPTANCE OF HIS RESIGNATION AND THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR ANY FURTHER PAYMENT.