A-21459, MARCH 1, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 539

A-21459: Mar 1, 1928

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR PROCURING. 1928: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 26. ON THE TRANSCONTINENTAL AIR MAIL ROUTE THE AIR MAIL CONTRACTORS HAVE AGREED TO FURNISH THE NECESSARY DISTRIBUTING SPACE WITHOUT CHARGE. AN APPROPRIATE PARAGRAPH WAS INCLUDED IN THEIR CONTRACTS ACCORDINGLY. IT IS ESSENTIAL. THE DEPARTMENT IS OBLIGED TO SECURE A SMALL SPACE IN THE HANGAR AT FORT WORTH. FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISTRIBUTING AIR MAIL THAT IS CONNECTED BETWEEN TWO SMALL ROUTES RADIATING INTO SOUTH TEXAS AND THE LONG OVERNIGHT ROUTE BETWEEN FORT WORTH AND CHICAGO. THE QUESTION IS RAISED AS TO WHETHER THIS SERVICE HAS THE AUTHORITY TO PAY FOR SUCH SPACE FROM THE CONTRACT AIR MAIL APPROPRIATION WHICH CARRIES A CLAUSE READING "AND FOR THE INCIDENTAL EXPENSES THEREOF.'.

A-21459, MARCH 1, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 539

APPROPRIATIONS - POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - AIR MAIL SERVICE THE APPROPRIATION "CONTRACT AIR MAIL," BEING FOR INLAND TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL BY AIRCRAFT UNDER CONTRACT, IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR PROCURING, BY RENTAL OR OTHERWISE, SPACE AT LANDING FIELDS OR ELSEWHERE FOR THE PURPOSE OF SORTING AND DISTRIBUTING THE MAIL, THE SORTING AND DISTRIBUTING BEING OPERATIONS SEPARATE AND DISTINCT FROM THE TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH MAIL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, MARCH 1, 1928:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 26, 1928, AS FOLLOWS:

IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF CONTRACT AIR MAIL SERVICE, IT HAS BECOME NECESSARY TO PROVIDE SPACE AT A FEW OF THE LANDING FIELDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISTRIBUTING CERTAIN AIR MAIL AT SUCH POINTS. ON THE TRANSCONTINENTAL AIR MAIL ROUTE THE AIR MAIL CONTRACTORS HAVE AGREED TO FURNISH THE NECESSARY DISTRIBUTING SPACE WITHOUT CHARGE, AND AN APPROPRIATE PARAGRAPH WAS INCLUDED IN THEIR CONTRACTS ACCORDINGLY. IT IS ESSENTIAL, INCIDENT TO THE OPERATION OF THE SERVICE, THAT A PORTION OF THE MAIL BE WORKED AT A FEW OF THE FIELDS ON SOME ROUTES.

EFFECTIVE WITH FEBRUARY 6, THE DEPARTMENT IS OBLIGED TO SECURE A SMALL SPACE IN THE HANGAR AT FORT WORTH, OWNED BY THE CITY, FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISTRIBUTING AIR MAIL THAT IS CONNECTED BETWEEN TWO SMALL ROUTES RADIATING INTO SOUTH TEXAS AND THE LONG OVERNIGHT ROUTE BETWEEN FORT WORTH AND CHICAGO. THE QUESTION IS RAISED AS TO WHETHER THIS SERVICE HAS THE AUTHORITY TO PAY FOR SUCH SPACE FROM THE CONTRACT AIR MAIL APPROPRIATION WHICH CARRIES A CLAUSE READING "AND FOR THE INCIDENTAL EXPENSES THEREOF.' THE WORDING OF THE ENTIRE APPROPRIATION IS QUOTED BELOW:

"FOR THE INLAND TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL BY AIRCRAFT, UNDER CONTRACT,AND FOR THE INCIDENTAL EXPENSES THEREOF, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ACT APPROVED FEBRUARY 2, 1925, AND AMENDED JUNE 3, 1926, $2,000,000: PROVIDED, THAT $12,000 OF THIS APPROPRIATION SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, INCIDENTAL AND TRAVEL EXPENSES.'

YOUR OPINION AS TO THE AUTHORITY OF THE DEPARTMENT TO COVER SUCH CHARGE WITHIN THE WORDING MENTIONED IS RESPECTFULLY DESIRED.

THE APPROPRIATION QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, ACT OF JANUARY 26, 1927, 44 STAT. 1050, IS FOR THE ,TRANSPORTATION OF MAIL BY AIRCRAFT, UNDER CONTRACT, AND FOR THE INCIDENTAL EXPENSES THEREOF, IN ACCORDANCE" WITH THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 2, 1925, 43 STAT. 805, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 692, SECTION 4 OF WHICH AS AMENDED PROVIDES:

THAT THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO CONTRACT WITH ANY INDIVIDUAL, FIRM, OR CORPORATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF AIR MAIL BY AIRCRAFT BETWEEN SUCH POINTS AS HE MAY DESIGNATE, AND TO FURTHER CONTRACT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION BY AIRCRAFT OF FIRST-CLASS MAIL OTHER THAN AIR MAIL AT FIXED RATES PER POUND, INCLUDING EQUIPMENT, UNDER SUCH RATES, RULES, AND REGULATIONS AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE, NOT EXCEEDING $3 PER POUND FOR AIR MAIL FOR THE FIRST ONE THOUSAND MILES AND NOT TO EXCEED 30 CENTS PER POUND ADDITIONAL FOR EACH ADDITIONAL ONE HUNDRED MILES OR FRACTIONAL PART THEREOF FOR ROUTES IN EXCESS OF ONE THOUSAND MILES IN LENGTH, AND NOT EXCEEDING 60 CENTS PER POUND FOR FIRST-CLASS MAIL OTHER THAN AIR MAIL FOR THE FIRST ONE THOUSAND MILES, AND NOT TO EXCEED 6 CENTS PER POUND ADDITIONAL FOR EACH ADDITIONAL ONE HUNDRED MILES OR FRACTIONAL PART THEREOF FOR ROUTES IN EXCESS OF ONE THOUSAND MILES IN LENGTH. EXISTING CONTRACTS MAY BE AMENDED BY THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THE CONTRACTOR AND THE POSTMASTER GENERAL TO PROVIDE FOR A FIXED RATE PER POUND, INCLUDING EQUIPMENT, SAID RATE TO BE DETERMINED BY MULTIPLYING THE RATE HEREINABOVE PROVIDED BY A FRACTION, THE NUMERATOR OF WHICH IS THE PERCENTUM OF REVENUES DERIVED FROM AIR MAIL TO WHICH THE CONTRACTOR WAS PREVIOUSLY ENTITLED UNDER THE CONTRACT, AND THE DENOMINATOR OF WHICH IS EIGHTY.

THESE ACTS OF 1925 AND 1926 AUTHORIZE THE POSTMASTER GENERAL TO CONTRACT "FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF AIR MAIL BY AIRCRAFT" INCLUDING EQUIPMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION BY AIRCRAFT OF FIRST-CLASS MAIL. THE ACTS ALSO AUTHORIZE THE RATES FOR THE CARRYING OF THE MAIL AND AUTHORIZE EXISTING CONTRACTS TO BE AMENDED.

THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS LARGELY, MAY THE POSTMASTER GENERAL ACQUIRE SPACE ON A LANDING FIELD OR SEPARATE THEREFROM IN WHICH TO SORT AND DISTRIBUTE AIRPLANE MAIL? THE SUGGESTION IS MADE THAT THIS MAY BE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PROVISION IN THE APPROPRIATION "AND FOR THE INCIDENTAL EXPENSES THEREOF.'

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IN CONNECTION WITH CERTAIN AIR-MAIL ROUTES THE AIR- MAIL CONTRACTORS HAVE BEEN REQUIRED UNDER THEIR CONTRACT TO FURNISH DISTRIBUTING SPACE WITHOUT CHARGE. ASIDE FROM THIS IT IS NOT DISCLOSED WHETHER IN CONNECTION WITH THE USES OF THE LANDING FIELDS THERE MAY EXIST OR BE SUCH RIGHTS OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT AS TO ENTITLE PROPER FACILITIES TO BE FURNISHED FOR SUCH NEEDS AS ARE DIRECTLY CONNECTED WITH THE LOADING AND UNLOADING OF THE AIRPLANE MAIL; BUT BE THIS AS IT MAY, THE ACQUISITION OF A SPACE SPECIFICALLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF SORTING AND DISTRIBUTING SUCH MAIL RAISES A QUESTION OF WHAT ORDINARILY IS THE PLACE FOR HANDLING THE MAIL, WHICH PRESUMABLY IS THAT OF A POST-OFFICE BUILDING DULY AUTHORIZED AND PROVIDED FOR THAT PURPOSE BY THE CONGRESS IN SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS. THE SORTING AND DISTRIBUTING OF PARTICULAR MAIL DOES NOT NECESSARILY SEPARATE ITSELF FROM THE POST OFFICE PROVIDED FOR THAT PURPOSE. IF THE AIRPLANES COULD NOT OPERATE WITHOUT SUCH SORTING AND DISTRIBUTING THERE MIGHT ARISE A QUESTION, BUT I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THAT THE SERVICE IS DEPENDENT UPON SUCH SORTING AND DISTRIBUTING AT THE LANDING PLACES. SORTING AND DISTRIBUTING GENERALLY ARE PERFORMED AT THE POST OFFICE ITSELF, AND IT IS NOT TO BE ASSUMED THAT THE CONGRESS INTENDS UNDER AN APPROPRIATION IN GENERAL TERMS FOR INCIDENTAL EXPENSES THAT FOR EVERY METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION THAT MAY BE AUTHORIZED THERE MAY FOLLOW THEREFROM THE ESTABLISHMENT OF PLACES FOR HANDLING PARTICULAR MAIL. THE GENERAL AUTHORITY INCLUDED UNDER THE PHRASE "INCIDENTAL EXPENSES" IS MORE IN THE NATURE OF MINOR MATTERS DIRECTLY CONNECTED WITH THE OPERATION OR DOING OF THE THING ITSELF AND IS NOT AN AUTHORITY TO DO OR GO INTO EXPENDITURES OF MAJOR IMPORTANCE SUCH AS WOULD APPEAR TO BE THE PROVIDING OF SPACE FOR THE PURPOSE OF SORTING AND DISTRIBUTING AIRPLANE MAIL. IT WOULD SEEM TO FOLLOW IN THAT CONNECTION THAT NOT ONLY WOULD THE SPACE HAVE TO BE PROVIDED AND PAID FOR, BUT IT MIGHT ALSO BE NECESSARY TO PROVIDE A POSTAL FORCE TO DO THE SORTING AND DISTRIBUTING AS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE FORCE NORMALLY AUTHORIZED AND EMPLOYED AT THE POST OFFICE ITSELF.

I AM THUS CONSTRAINED TO REACH THE VIEW THAT AS A GENERAL PROPOSITION THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO EITHER ACQUIRE OR OTHERWISE OBTAIN SPACE FOR SORTING AND DISTRIBUTING AIRPLANE MAIL WHICH WOULD LEAD TO EXPENDITURES AS STATED.

THERE IS STATED IN YOUR SUBMISSION THE FACT THAT YOU FIND---

* * * THE DEPARTMENT IS OBLIGED TO SECURE A SMALL SPACE IN THE HANGAR AT FORT WORTH, OWNED BY THE CITY, FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISTRIBUTING AIR MAIL THAT IS CONNECTED BETWEEN TWO SMALL ROUTES RADIATING INTO SOUTH TEXAS AND THE LONG OVERNIGHT ROUTE BETWEEN FORT WORTH AND CHICAGO. * * *

THIS SEEMS TO MEAN THAT YOU ARE ACQUIRING A SEPARATE BUILDING OR SPACE, EVEN SEPARATE FROM THE LANDING FIELD, PRESUMABLY BY A RENTAL THEREOF. DO NOT FIND ANY AUTHORITY IN THE PHRASE ,INCIDENTAL EXPENSES" TO RENT SUCH SPACE, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER LOCATED ON OR OFF THE LANDING FIELD.