A-21663, MARCH 7, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 550

A-21663: Mar 7, 1928

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IN ORDER TO ENTITLE THEM TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE TRAVELING EXPENSES INVOLVED IN SUCH A TRANSFER THERE SHOULD BE A SHOWING BY CERTIFICATE OR OTHERWISE THAT THE TRANSFER WAS NOT FOR THEIR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE. WAS RETURNED WITH THE FOLLOWING NOTATION: "VOUCHER RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION. "ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES COVERING TRANSFERS SHOULD CONTAIN STATEMENT THAT THE TRANSFER WAS NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE. THE PROVISION REFERRED TO IS AS FOLLOWS: "SEC. 6. THE CONCLUSION SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN REACHED IN OVERSIGHT OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4. IT IS NOT ONLY PERMANENT IN CHARACTER BUT IS OF MUCH WIDER SCOPE THAN THE PROVISION IN SECTION 6 ABOVE QUOTED. IT SEEMS OBVIOUS THAT IT WAS NOT THE PURPOSE OF THE LATTER LEGISLATION TO REPEAL THIS OR OTHER SIMILAR CONTINUING PROVISIONS AFFECTING PARTICULAR DEPARTMENTS OR SERVICES.

A-21663, MARCH 7, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 550

TRAVELING EXPENSES - TRANSFERS BETWEEN STATIONS - DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, 36 STAT. 1265, AUTHORIZING THE TRANSFER OF EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FROM STATION TO STATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE SUCH TRANSFERS FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEES. IN ORDER TO ENTITLE THEM TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE TRAVELING EXPENSES INVOLVED IN SUCH A TRANSFER THERE SHOULD BE A SHOWING BY CERTIFICATE OR OTHERWISE THAT THE TRANSFER WAS NOT FOR THEIR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE. (AMPLIFIED BY 7 COMP. GEN. 656.)

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, MARCH 7, 1928:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 13, 1928, REQUESTING DECISION OF THE QUESTION THEREIN PRESENTED, AS FOLLOWS:

THE BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY OF THIS DEPARTMENT HAD RECENT OCCASION TO TRANSFER AN EMPLOYEE FROM ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA, TO FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, TO FILL A VACANCY CAUSED BY THE DEATH OF AN INSPECTOR AT THE LATTER POINT. THE EMPLOYEE'S ACCOUNT OF EXPENSES FOR THE TRAVEL, SENT TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR PREAUDIT, WAS RETURNED WITH THE FOLLOWING NOTATION:

"VOUCHER RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION.

"ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES COVERING TRANSFERS SHOULD CONTAIN STATEMENT THAT THE TRANSFER WAS NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE.

"SEE FIRST DEFICIENCY ACT APPROVED DEC. 22, 1927.'

THE PROVISION REFERRED TO IS AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 6. 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 AUDIT DIVISION HOLDS THIS SECTION APPLICABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE. THE CONCLUSION SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN REACHED IN OVERSIGHT OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, 36 STAT. 1265: "HEREAFTER OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY, WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, MAY BE ALLOWED ACTUAL TRAVELING EXPENSES, INCLUDING CHARGES FOR THE TRANSFER OF THEIR EFFECTS AND PERSONAL PROPERTY USED IN OFFICIAL WORK, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE.'

THIS LEGISLATION HAS BEEN MORE THAN ONCE THE SUBJECT OF CONSTRUCTION BY YOUR OFFICE. IT IS NOT ONLY PERMANENT IN CHARACTER BUT IS OF MUCH WIDER SCOPE THAN THE PROVISION IN SECTION 6 ABOVE QUOTED, AUTHORIZING AS IT DOES THE TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF THE EFFECTS AND PERSONAL PROPERTY OF THE TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE. IT SEEMS OBVIOUS THAT IT WAS NOT THE PURPOSE OF THE LATTER LEGISLATION TO REPEAL THIS OR OTHER SIMILAR CONTINUING PROVISIONS AFFECTING PARTICULAR DEPARTMENTS OR SERVICES, BUT TO SUPPLY AN AUTHORIZATION IN CASES WHERE IT WAS LACKING.

WHILE THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, 36 STAT. 1265, IS NOT REPEALED BY THE TEMPORARY PROVISION IN SECTION 6 OF THE DEFICIENCY ACT OF DECEMBER 22, 1927, SAID SECTION 6 IS APPLICABLE TO ALL EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS, AND THE PROVISO THERETO PLACES A RESTRICTION UPON THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH THE TRAVELING EXPENSE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEARS IN QUESTION MAY BE AVAILABLE--- THAT IS,"THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR ANY TRANSFER EFFECTED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.' THIS PROVISION MAKES NO EXCEPTION IN FAVOR OF ANY PARTICULAR DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT AND APPEARS, THEREFORE, TO BE EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO TRANSFERS OF EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AND DOES NOT IN ANY WAY CONFLICT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE PRIOR ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911.

ASIDE FROM ANY QUESTION AS TO THE APPLICABILITY OF THE PROVISO TO SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 22, 1927, TO EMPLOYEES OF YOUR DEPARTMENT, IT IS NOT TO BE ASSUMED, EVEN UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, THAT AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT MAY BE TRANSFERRED AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT FROM ONE STATION TO ANOTHER, FOR HIS OWN PERSONAL CONVENIENCE AND NOT DUE TO ANY NECESSITIES OF THE SERVICE. IT WOULD APPEAR, THEREFORE, THAT IN ALL CASES IN WHICH IT IS PROPOSED TO CHARGE THE EXPENSE OF A TRANSFER TO THE GOVERNMENT THERE SHOULD BE A SHOWING, BY PROPER CERTIFICATE OR OTHERWISE, THAT THE TRANSFER WAS NOT MADE FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE.