A-30154, FEBRUARY 11, 1930, 9 COMP. GEN. 353

A-30154: Feb 11, 1930

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ARMY - POST EXCHANGES - INDEBTEDNESS OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES SINCE THE DEBT OF A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT TO A POST EXCHANGE IS NOT A DEBT DUE THE UNITED STATES. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW TO OFFSET AGAINST THE AMOUNT OF COMPENSATION DUE SUCH AN EMPLOYEE AT THE TERMINATION OF HIS SERVICE THE AMOUNT OF HIS INDEBTEDNESS TO THE POST EXCHANGE. 1930: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE CLAIM OF RUSSEL A. INASMUCH AS CLAIMANT SIGNED A VOUCHER ON WHICH DEDUCTION WAS MADE FOR THE LOST TOOLS. IT MAY BE PRESUMED THAT NO QUESTION IS RAISED AS TO SAID DEDUCTION. A POST EXCHANGE IS AN ASSOCIATION OF MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS STATIONED AT THE POST AT WHICH THE EXCHANGE IS MAINTAINED. THE ARMY REGULATIONS(210- 65) PROVIDE THAT ITS OPERATION IS CONDUCTED BY AN EXCHANGE OFFICER DETAILED BY AND UNDER THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE POST AND SUBJECT TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE EXCHANGE COUNCIL.

A-30154, FEBRUARY 11, 1930, 9 COMP. GEN. 353

ARMY - POST EXCHANGES - INDEBTEDNESS OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES SINCE THE DEBT OF A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT TO A POST EXCHANGE IS NOT A DEBT DUE THE UNITED STATES, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW TO OFFSET AGAINST THE AMOUNT OF COMPENSATION DUE SUCH AN EMPLOYEE AT THE TERMINATION OF HIS SERVICE THE AMOUNT OF HIS INDEBTEDNESS TO THE POST EXCHANGE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, FEBRUARY 11, 1930:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE CLAIM OF RUSSEL A. KINSEY FOR ARREARS OF PAY FOR SERVICES RENDERED AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT AT THE FAIRFIELD AIR DEPOT, FAIRFIELD, OHIO, FROM MAY 1 TO 15, 1926, IN THE AMOUNT OF $25.

IT APPEARS THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT HAD A CLAIM OF $2.50 AGAINST THE CLAIMANT FOR TOOLS LOST BY HIM. INASMUCH AS CLAIMANT SIGNED A VOUCHER ON WHICH DEDUCTION WAS MADE FOR THE LOST TOOLS, IT MAY BE PRESUMED THAT NO QUESTION IS RAISED AS TO SAID DEDUCTION, LEAVING THE NET AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM OF $22.50.

AGAINST THE NET AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM THE WAR DEPARTMENT HAS SET UP A CLAIM IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT DUE CLAIMANT FOR A DEBT OWED BY HIM AT THE POST EXCHANGE AT THE FAIRFIELD AIR DEPOT.

A POST EXCHANGE IS AN ASSOCIATION OF MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS STATIONED AT THE POST AT WHICH THE EXCHANGE IS MAINTAINED. THE ARMY REGULATIONS(210- 65) PROVIDE THAT ITS OPERATION IS CONDUCTED BY AN EXCHANGE OFFICER DETAILED BY AND UNDER THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE POST AND SUBJECT TO THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE EXCHANGE COUNCIL. THE BUILDINGS IN WHICH EXCHANGES ARE CONDUCTED ARE CONSTRUCTED, EQUIPPED, AND MAINTAINED FROM PUBLIC FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR THE PURPOSE, BUT THE EXPENSES OF FITTING UP THE BUILDINGS FOR EXCHANGE USE AND OF THE GOODS SOLD BY THE EXCHANGE ARE DEFRAYED FROM THE FUNDS OF THE EXCHANGE, WHICH ARE RECEIVED FROM THE VARIOUS ORGANIZATIONS BELONGING TO THE EXCHANGE AND FROM THE RECEIPTS OF SALES OF GOODS. THE ARMY REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT THE COMMANDING OFFICER OF THE POST IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONDUCT AND OPERATION OF THE POST EXCHANGE AND UNDER HIM THE EXCHANGE OFFICER IS IN CHARGE OF AND RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONDUCT FOR ITS MANAGEMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REGULATIONS.

THE POST EXCHANGE IS NOT ESTABLISHED UNDER SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY, BUT IS MAINTAINED UNDER SPECIAL REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT. IT IS RECOGNIZED AS A GOVERNMENT INSTRUMENTALITY OR AGENCY FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES BUT INDEBTEDNESS OF A SOLDIER TO SUCH EXCHANGE IS NOT AN INDEBTEDNESS TO THE GOVERNMENT. SEE 25 COMP. DEC. 960, WHICH DECISION HELD THAT THE PROPERTY OF AN EXCHANGE IS NOT PROPERTY BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES.

IT APPEARS THAT CLAIMANT WAS GRANTED CREDIT BY THE POST EXCHANGE, THOUGH NO APPLICATION THEREFOR MADE BY HIM HAS BEEN FOUND IN THE FILES OF THE POST EXCHANGE AT THE FAIRFIELD AIR DEPOT.

SINCE THE INDEBTEDNESS OF THE CLAIMANT TO THE POST EXCHANGE IS NOT AN INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES, THERE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ANY AUTHORITY TO OFFSET THE CLAIM OF THE POST EXCHANGE AGAINST THE AMOUNT OTHERWISE DUE CLAIMANT FROM THE UNITED STATES. ACCORDINGLY, THE CLAIM OF RUSSELL A. KINSEY WILL BE ALLOWED.