A-21667, MARCH 10, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 558

A-21667: Mar 10, 1928

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CLAIMS - ACCEPTANCE OF PAYMENT WHERE A CLAIM IS SUBMITTED TO A DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES AND A VOUCHER IS STATED FOR AN AMOUNT LESS THAN THAT CLAIMED. PAYMENT OF AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT TO THE CLAIMANT IS NOT AUTHORIZED WHERE THE VOUCHER IS CERTIFIED AS CORRECT AND JUST AND THE AMOUNT STATED THEREON IS ACCEPTED WITHOUT PROTEST. WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED ITS CLAIM FOR $2. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT THERE WAS NO AGREEMENT FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF ANY SPECIFIC EXPENSE AND THAT THE PAYMENTS MADE WERE IN ACCORDANCE WITH RATES ESTABLISHED FOR THE FOREST SERVICE. IT IS UNDERSTOOD TO BE THE PRACTICE OF LUMBER COMPANIES OPERATING NEAR THE PUBLIC DOMAIN TO FURNISH THEIR WORKMEN TO ASSIST IN CONTROLLING THE FIRES WHICH OTHERWISE MIGHT SPREAD TO THE PROPERTIES OF THE LUMBER COMPANIES.

A-21667, MARCH 10, 1928, 7 COMP. GEN. 558

CLAIMS - ACCEPTANCE OF PAYMENT WHERE A CLAIM IS SUBMITTED TO A DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES AND A VOUCHER IS STATED FOR AN AMOUNT LESS THAN THAT CLAIMED, PAYMENT OF AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT TO THE CLAIMANT IS NOT AUTHORIZED WHERE THE VOUCHER IS CERTIFIED AS CORRECT AND JUST AND THE AMOUNT STATED THEREON IS ACCEPTED WITHOUT PROTEST.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, MARCH 10, 1928:

THE YOSEMITE LUMBER CO. REQUESTED, FEBRUARY 14, 1928, REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 0202541, DATED NOVEMBER 14, 1927, WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED ITS CLAIM FOR $2,114.74 AS ALLEGED DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF ITS PARTICIPATION IN THE FIGHTING OF FOREST FIRES FROM SEPTEMBER 1 TO 4, 1926, IN THE YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, AND THE AMOUNT OF $4,108.01 PAID IT ON VOUCHER 352 IN THE NOVEMBER, 1926, ACCOUNTS OF FRED L. CONNOR. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT THERE WAS NO AGREEMENT FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF ANY SPECIFIC EXPENSE AND THAT THE PAYMENTS MADE WERE IN ACCORDANCE WITH RATES ESTABLISHED FOR THE FOREST SERVICE, INTERIOR DEPARTMENT.

THE OCCURRENCE OF A FIRE IN THE YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK IN SEPTEMBER, 1926, MADE IT NECESSARY FOR THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE TO SECURE THE ASSISTANCE OF AVAILABLE MEN, AND IT IS UNDERSTOOD TO BE THE PRACTICE OF LUMBER COMPANIES OPERATING NEAR THE PUBLIC DOMAIN TO FURNISH THEIR WORKMEN TO ASSIST IN CONTROLLING THE FIRES WHICH OTHERWISE MIGHT SPREAD TO THE PROPERTIES OF THE LUMBER COMPANIES. THE PROPERTY OF THE YOSEMITE LUMBER CO. WAS ENDANGERED BY THE PARTICULAR FIRE AND IT IS REPORTED THAT---

IT IS THE USUAL POLICY OF LUMBER COMPANIES AND OTHER EMPLOYERS OF LARGE CREWS WORKING IN DISTRICTS WHERE FOREST FIRES ARE TO BE EXPECTED TO PAY THEIR CREWS WHEN CALLED INTO FIRE-FIGHTING SERVICE AT THE REGULAR RATES, AS WAS DONE IN THIS CASE BY YOSEMITE LUMBER CO., THEN RENDERING A BILL TO THE FOREST SERVICE AT THE REGULAR FOREST SERVICE RATES, THE DIFFERENCE BEING ABSORBED BY THE LUMBER OF MINING COMPANY. THIS IS DONE AS A MATTER OF GOOD ADMINISTRATION BY THE LUMBER COMPANIES TO GUARANTEE AMPLE PAY TO THEIR MEN WHEN ASSIGNED TO FIRE FIGHTING WORK, AS TO DO OTHERWISE WOULD DISRUPT THEIR ORGANIZATION AND CAUSE A GREAT DEAL OF DISSATISFACTION.

THE COMPANY SUBMITTED A CLAIM OF $4,138.60 TO THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE AS REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENDITURES MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE FIGHTING OF THIS PARTICULAR FIRE UNDER THE DIRECTION OF GOVERNMENT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. A VOUCHER WAS STATED IN THE SUM OF $4,108.01 IN FAVOR OF THE YOSEMITE LUMBER CO. AS REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENDITURES AT THE USUAL FOREST SERVICE RATES, AND AN OFFICIAL OF THE COMPANY CERTIFIED THAT THE VOUCHER "WAS CORRECT AND JUST AND THAT PAYMENT THEREFOR HAS NOT BEEN RECEIVED.' CHECK NO. 14332, DATED NOVEMBER 15, 1926, DRAWN ON THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES IN FAVOR OF THE YOSEMITE LUMBER CO. FOR $4,108.01 WAS ACCEPTED BY THE COMPANY WITHOUT PROTEST IN REIMBURSEMENT OF ITS EXPENDITURES. THEREAFTER A SUPPLEMENTAL CLAIM WAS SUBMITTED FOR A BALANCE OF $2,114.74 AND SAID CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED, AS HEREINBEFORE STATED.

IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT THE SUBMISSION OF A CLAIM TO A DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES AND CERTIFICATION OF A VOUCHER THEREFOR AS CORRECT AND JUST AND ACCEPTANCE OF PAYMENT THEREON WITHOUT PROTEST PRECLUDE A CLAIMANT FROM SUBMITTING A FURTHER CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES BY REASON OF THE ITEMS OR SERVICES FOR WHICH PAYMENT WAS MADE AND ACCEPTED. SEE ST. LOUIS, BROWNSVILLE AND MEXICO RAILROAD COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 268 U.S. 169, WHEREIN IT WAS SAID THAT THE "ACQUIESCENCE BY THE CLAIMANT IN PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF A SMALLER AMOUNT THAN IS DUE WILL ORDINARILY AFFECT THE DISCHARGE" OF LIABILITY. THE APPLICATION OF THAT RULE TO THE FACTS OF THIS CASE REQUIRES AFFIRMANCE OF THE SETTLEMENT AS MADE. ACCORDINGLY, THE DISALLOWANCE MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.