A-2051, AUGUST 25, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 200

A-2051: Aug 25, 1924

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IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT FOR "GARAGE" TO THE VARIOUS SCHOOL OFFICIALS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. EVIDENCE OF OWNERSHIP IS NOT REQUIRED ON VOUCHERS FOR MOTOR VEHICLE ALLOWANCE UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 29. 1924: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE THE VALIDITY OF PAYMENTS MADE BY J. EACH VOUCHER BEARING A CERTIFICATE READING: I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE GARAGE WAS FURNISHED BY ME FOR THE AUTOMOBILE USED FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS. THE APPROPRIATION DESIGNATED FOR PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHERS IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF JUNE 29. 41 STAT. 1125) HAD PROVIDED AN ALLOWANCE "FOR GARAGE" FOR EACH OF THE OFFICIALS IN QUESTION AND THE VOUCHERS WERE EVIDENTLY PREPARED FOLLOWING THE LANGUAGE OF THE PRIOR APPROPRIATIONS.

A-2051, AUGUST 25, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 200

MOTOR VEHICLE ALLOWANCE - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOL OFFICIALS THE PROVISION FOR "MOTOR VEHICLE" ALLOWANCE IN THE ACT OF JUNE 29, 1922, 42 STAT. 688, IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT FOR "GARAGE" TO THE VARIOUS SCHOOL OFFICIALS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. EVIDENCE OF OWNERSHIP IS NOT REQUIRED ON VOUCHERS FOR MOTOR VEHICLE ALLOWANCE UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 29, 1922, 42 STAT. 688, FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL OFFICIALS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, BUT EVIDENCE OF THE USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND THE AMOUNT OF THE EXPENSE INCURRED MUST BE SHOWN IN THE ABSENCE OF A REGULATION OR AUTHORIZATION PRESCRIBING A COMMUTED ALLOWANCE NOT IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM PRESCRIBED IN THE LAW.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, AUGUST 25, 1924:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE THE VALIDITY OF PAYMENTS MADE BY J. R. LUSBY, DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UPON VOUCHERS STATED TO BE "FOR GARAGE FOR AUTOMOBILE" FOR VARIOUS OFFICIALS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THE VOUCHERS COVERING THE MONTHS OF JULY AND AUGUST, 1922, EACH VOUCHER BEARING A CERTIFICATE READING:

I HEREBY CERTIFY THAT THE ABOVE GARAGE WAS FURNISHED BY ME FOR THE AUTOMOBILE USED FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

THE APPROPRIATION DESIGNATED FOR PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHERS IS FOUND IN THE ACT OF JUNE 29, 1922, 42 STAT. 688, IN THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE:

FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES * * * INCLUDING AN ALLOWANCE OF NOT EXCEEDING $312 PER ANNUM FOR A MOTOR VEHICLE FOR EACH THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS, THE SUPERINTENDENT OF JANITORS, THE TWO ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENTS, THE DIRECTOR OF PRIMARY INSTRUCTION, THE SCHOOL CABINET-MAKER, THE SUPERVISING PRINCIPAL IN CHARGE OF THE WHITE SPECIAL SCHOOLS, THE CHIEF MEDICAL AND SANITARY INSPECTOR OF SCHOOLS, AND THE SUPERVISING PRINCIPAL OF THE COLORED SPECIAL SCHOOLS * * *.

THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR PRIOR YEARS (SEE ACT OF FEBRUARY 22, 1921, 41 STAT. 1125) HAD PROVIDED AN ALLOWANCE "FOR GARAGE" FOR EACH OF THE OFFICIALS IN QUESTION AND THE VOUCHERS WERE EVIDENTLY PREPARED FOLLOWING THE LANGUAGE OF THE PRIOR APPROPRIATIONS, OVERLOOKING THE CHANGE IN WORDING. THE CHANGE IN THE LANGUAGE OF THE APPROPRIATION IS DISCLOSED BY THE HEARING ON THE DISTRICT APPROPRIATION BILL FOR 1923, TO HAVE BEEN MADE TO CONFORM THE ALLOWANCE TO THE FACTS, THE ALLOWANCE THERETOFORE HAVING BEEN CONSIDERED AND USED FOR MAINTENANCE OF AUTOMOBILES AND NOT RESTRICTED TO PAYMENT OF GARAGE RENT. IT IS APPARENT FROM THE TERMS OF THE PROVISION AND THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ENACTMENT THAT THE ALLOWANCE WAS INTENDED TO ENABLE THE OFFICIALS MENTIONED TO USE MOTOR VEHICLES IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES AS A MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE VARIOUS AND SCATTERED SCHOOL ACTIVITIES IN THE DISTRICT. IF ANY OF THE OFFICIALS IN QUESTION IS NOT REQUIRED TO USE AND DOES NOT IN FACT USE A MOTOR VEHICLE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS, THE REASON FOR THE ALLOWANCE IS REMOVED AND THE ALLOWANCE IS NOT PAYABLE. IT IS NECESSARY, THEREFORE, THAT THE PAYMENTS OF SUCH ALLOWANCES BE SUPPORTED BY EVIDENCE SHOWING ACTUAL USE BY THE RESPECTIVE OFFICIALS OF A MOTOR VEHICLE DURING THE MONTH FOR WHICH THE ALLOWANCE IS CLAIMED. FURTHERMORE, THE APPROPRIATION DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR THE MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE IN ALL CASES, BUT, BY THE USE OF THE WORDS "NOT EXCEEDING," INDICATES THAT SOME RESTRICTION THEREON WAS INTENDED. WHILE IT IS WITHIN THE POWER OF THE COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO PROVIDE IN ADVANCE BY REGULATION OR BY SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION IN INDIVIDUAL CASES FOR A COMMUTED ALLOWANCE NOT EXCEEDING THE MAXIMUM TO THE RESPECTIVE OFFICERS FOR EACH MONTH THEY USE AN AUTOMOBILE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, SUCH ALLOWANCE TO APPROXIMATE THE ACTUAL COST TO THE OFFICERS IN QUESTION FOR MAINTAINING THEIR RESPECTIVE MACHINES, HAVING DUE REGARD TO THE MAKE OF THE MACHINE AND THE EXTENT TO WHICH USED FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES, IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH A REGULATION OR AUTHORIZATION THERE CAN BE ALLOWED UNDER THE LAW ONLY THE AMOUNT SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN ACTUALLY EXPENDED BY THE RESPECTIVE OFFICIALS IN THE MAINTENANCE, OPERATION, OR HIRE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE FOR USE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. THERE IS NO REQUIREMENT THAT THE OFFICER SHOW THAT HE IS THE OWNER OF THE VEHICLE USED BY HIM.

PAYMENTS ON THE VOUCHERS AS SUBMITTED WERE UNAUTHORIZED AND CREDIT FOR SUCH PAYMENTS CAN NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS IN THE ABSENCE OF ADDITIONAL EVIDENCE SUCH AS INDICATED HEREIN.