A-21557, FEBRUARY 15, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 482

A-21557: Feb 15, 1928

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ARE SIGNED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. WHILE TRANSFERS WHICH DO NOT INVOLVE SUCH A CHANGE ARE STILL SIGNED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS. THIS OFFICE IS IN DOUBT ON THE POINTS MENTIONED BELOW. IT IS THEREFORE REQUESTED THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL BE ASKED TO RENDER A DECISION RELATIVE THERETO. 1. MAY SUCH DISALLOWED CLAIMS BE NOW APPROVED WHERE THE TRANSFERS WERE MADE UNDER THE SPECIFIED CONDITIONS AND SIGNED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS? 2. IT IS NOT STATED IN YOUR SUBMISSION UPON WHAT AUTHORITY THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS SIGNED ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS AND TRANSFERS IN THE INDIAN SERVICE PRIOR TO JANUARY 19. IS VESTED BY STATUTE IN THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT.

A-21557, FEBRUARY 15, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 482

TRAVELING EXPENSES - TRANSFERS BETWEEN DUTY STATIONS THE ACT OF DECEMBER 22, 1927, 45 STAT. 50, MAKING TRAVEL EXPENSE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEARS 1926, 1927, 1928, AND 1929, AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH TRANSFERS BETWEEN DUTY STATIONS, LIMITS ITS PROVISIONS TO SUCH TRANSFERS AS CONTAIN AUTHORITY FROM THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT FOR INCURRING TRAVELING EXPENSES. THIS REQUIRES AUTHORITY FROM THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT, OR AN ASSISTANT HEAD AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE TO ACT IN PLACE OF THE HEAD, AND AN AUTHORIZATION SIGNED BY A SUBORDINATE OFFICER DOES NOT ENTITLE TO RELIEF UNDER SAID ACT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, FEBRUARY 15, 1928:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 3, 1928, REQUESTING DECISION UPON A QUESTION PRESENTED IN A LETTER ADDRESSED TO YOU BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 6 OF THE FIRST DEFICIENCY ACT, FISCAL YEAR 1928, APPROVED DECEMBER 22, 1927, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEARS 1926, 1927, 1928, AND 1929 AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS SHALL BE AVAILABLE ALSO FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THEM ON TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR ANY TRANSFER EFFECTED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.'

THE ACT STATES THAT THE EXPENSES MAY BE ALLOWED WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE "HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT" DIRECTING THE TRANSFER. PRIOR TO ABOUT JANUARY 19, 1926, THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS SIGNED ALL ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS AND ALL TRANSFERS IN THE INDIAN SERVICE; AND SINCE THAT TIME ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS AND TRANSFERS WHICH INVOLVED A CHANGE OF TITLE, PAY, OR DUTIES, ARE SIGNED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, WHILE TRANSFERS WHICH DO NOT INVOLVE SUCH A CHANGE ARE STILL SIGNED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS.

DURING THE FISCAL YEARS 1926 AND 1927 THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL DISALLOWED A NUMBER OF TRAVEL EXPENSE VOUCHERS FOR EMPLOYEES OF THIS SERVICE INCIDENT TO TRANSFERS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REASONS WITHOUT APPLICATION BY THE EMPLOYEE, THE LETTERS OF TRANSFER BEING SIGNED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS AND STATING THAT SUCH EXPENSES WOULD BE ALLOWED.

THIS OFFICE IS IN DOUBT ON THE POINTS MENTIONED BELOW. IT IS THEREFORE REQUESTED THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL BE ASKED TO RENDER A DECISION RELATIVE THERETO.

1. MAY SUCH DISALLOWED CLAIMS BE NOW APPROVED WHERE THE TRANSFERS WERE MADE UNDER THE SPECIFIED CONDITIONS AND SIGNED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS?

2. AS TO FUTURE TRANSFERS WHICH DO NOT INVOLVE A CHANGE OF TITLE, PAY, OR DUTIES, MAY THE LETTERS OF TRANSFER CONTAINING AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES BE SIGNED, AS NOW, BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, OR MUST THEY BE SIGNED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR?

IT IS NOT STATED IN YOUR SUBMISSION UPON WHAT AUTHORITY THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS SIGNED ORIGINAL APPOINTMENTS AND TRANSFERS IN THE INDIAN SERVICE PRIOR TO JANUARY 19, 1926, NOR THE REASONS FOR THE CHANGE IN SUCH PRACTICE. THE ACT OF DECEMBER 22, 1927, 45 STAT. 50, QUOTED IN YOUR SUBMISSION, MAKES THE TRAVEL EXPENSE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE RESPECTIVE FISCAL YEARS AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH TRANSFERS BETWEEN DUTY STATIONS ONLY "WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER.' IN CONSTRUING SIMILAR PROVISIONS IN OTHER STATUTES IN WHICH THE AUTHORITY TO DO, OR AUTHORIZE A PARTICULAR THING TO BE DONE, IS VESTED BY STATUTE IN THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT, IT HAS BEEN UNIFORMLY HELD THAT THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT MAY NOT DELEGATE THAT AUTHORITY ENTIRELY TO A SUBORDINATE, ALTHOUGH SUCH AUTHORITY MAY BE DELEGATED TO AN ASSISTANT HEAD AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE TO ACT IN PLACE OF THE HEAD. 19 COMP. DEC. 628; 2 COMP. GEN. 459; 3 ID. 371, 460, 694, 777, 797; A 9543, MAY 26, 1925. WHEN THE CONGRESS HAS CONSIDERED THAT SUCH POWER SHOULD BE DELEGATED IT HAS AUTHORIZED SUCH ACTION BY SPECIFIC LEGISLATION AS EVIDENCED IN THE ACT OF MAY 22, 1926, 44 STAT. 620, AUTHORIZING THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO DELEGATE TO SUPERVISORY OFFICERS THE POWER VESTED IN HIM UNDER SECTION 169, REVISED STATUTES, TO MAKE TEMPORARY OR EMERGENCY APPOINTMENTS OF PERSONS FOR DUTY IN THE FIELD. EVEN THIS POWER OF APPOINTMENT IS MADE SUBJECT TO CONFIRMATION BY THE SECRETARY.

IT MUST BE HELD, THEREFORE, THAT THE ACT OF DECEMBER 22, 1927, SUPRA, CAN ONLY BE APPLIED, IN THE CASE OF EMPLOYEES OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT, TO THOSE TRANSFERS IN WHICH THE ORDER AUTHORIZING THE TRANSFER CONTAINED AN AUTHORIZATION BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR OR AN ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO INCUR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE SUBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE UNITED STATES. AN AUTHORIZATION SIGNED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS WOULD NOT SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STATUTE.