A-34028, NOVEMBER 12, 1930, 10 COMP. GEN. 214

A-34028: Nov 12, 1930

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO SIGN OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS AND PAPERS ONLY WHEN THE SECRETARY. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARIES ARE TEMPORARILY ABSENT. 1930: THERE WAS SUBMITTED FOR PREAUDIT A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF ROBERT E. THE VOUCHER IS SUPPORTED BY A COPY OF WHAT PURPORTS TO BE AN APPOINTMENT ADDRESSED TO THE PAYEE AND SIGNED BY "F. THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION FOR THE REASON THAT THE PAYEE'S APPOINTMENT WAS SIGNED BY THE CHIEF CLERK. THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED TO THIS OFFICE WITH A NOTATION ON THE PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT CALLING ATTENTION TO LETTER OF FEBRUARY 4. THE CLAIM WAS RETURNED TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE SECRETARY OR AN ASSISTANT SECRETARY.

A-34028, NOVEMBER 12, 1930, 10 COMP. GEN. 214

TREASURY DEPARTMENT - AUTHORITY OF CHIEF CLERK TO SIGN OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1917, 39 STAT. 1083, AS AMENDED, THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED TO SIGN OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS AND PAPERS ONLY WHEN THE SECRETARY, THE UNDERSECRETARY, AND THE ASSISTANT SECRETARIES ARE TEMPORARILY ABSENT. THERE SHOULD FOLLOW THE DESIGNATION OF "CHIEF CLERK," AFTER THE SIGNATURE, THE WORDS,"IN THE TEMPORARY ABSENCE OF THE SECRETARY, THE UNDERSECRETARY, AND THE ASSISTANT SECRETARIES.'

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, NOVEMBER 12, 1930:

THERE WAS SUBMITTED FOR PREAUDIT A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF ROBERT E. GREENE, SPECIAL EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF NARCOTICS. THE VOUCHER IS SUPPORTED BY A COPY OF WHAT PURPORTS TO BE AN APPOINTMENT ADDRESSED TO THE PAYEE AND SIGNED BY "F. A. BIRGFELD, CHIEF CLERK.'

THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION FOR THE REASON THAT THE PAYEE'S APPOINTMENT WAS SIGNED BY THE CHIEF CLERK, AND THERE DID NOT APPEAR TO BE ANY AUTHORITY FOR THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT TO SIGN SUCH OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS. THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED TO THIS OFFICE WITH A NOTATION ON THE PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT CALLING ATTENTION TO LETTER OF FEBRUARY 4, 1930, FROM THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL IN THE MATTER OF THE CLAIM OF THE MOORE DRY DOCK CO. FOR $44.07, WITHHELD AS LIQUIDATED DAMAGES UNDER A CONTRACT WITH THE COAST GUARD. THE VOUCHER IN SUPPORT OF THE CLAIM IN THAT CASE SHOWED THAT THE DAMAGES HAD BEEN REMITTED "BY DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY, F. A. BIRGFELD, CHIEF CLERK.' THE CLAIM WAS RETURNED TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT FOR CONSIDERATION BY THE SECRETARY OR AN ASSISTANT SECRETARY. THE LETTER OF FEBRUARY 4, 1930, REFERRED TO, WAS IN REPLY TO THE LETTER RETURNING THAT CLAIM TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT AND STATED THAT THE SIGNING BY MR. BIRGFELD, CHIEF CLERK, WAS DURING THE TEMPORARY ABSENCE OF THE SECRETARY, THE UNDERSECRETARY, AND THE ASSISTANT SECRETARIES AND WAS PURSUANT TO SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1917, 39 STAT. 1083, AS AMENDED, WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THE CHIEF CLERK AND SUPERINTENDENT OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT SHALL BE THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT, AND MAY BE DESIGNATED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO SIGN OFFICIAL PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS DURING THE TEMPORARY ABSENCE OF THE SECRETARY, UNDERSECRETARY, AND ASSISTANT SECRETARIES OF THE DEPARTMENT.

THERE WAS ATTACHED TO THE LETTER OF FEBRUARY 4, 1930, A COPY OF A LETTER DATED AUGUST 9, 1926, TO MR. F. A. BIRGFELD, CHIEF CLERK, SIGNED BY THE ACTING SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERRING TO YOUR DESIGNATION EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1924, TO SIGN OFFICIAL PAPERS AND DOCUMENTS DURING THE TEMPORARY ABSENCE OF THE SECRETARY, THE UNDERSECRETARY, AND THE ASSISTANT SECRETARIES OF THE TREASURY, YOU ARE HEREBY DIRECTED WHEN SO SIGNING TO DO SO IN THE FOLLOWING FORM:

"BY DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY (SIGNATURE), CHIEF CLERK.'

UNDER THE STATUTE QUOTED, AND THE DESIGNATION OF THE SECRETARY PURSUANT THERETO, THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT HAS AUTHORITY TO SIGN OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS AND PAPERS, INCLUDING APPOINTMENTS, PROVIDED THE SECRETARY, THE UNDERSECRETARY, AND THE ASSISTANT SECRETARIES ARE TEMPORARILY ABSENT AND HE SIGNS IN THE FORM DIRECTED IN THE LETTER OF AUGUST 9, 1936, SUPRA. BUT THE BEGINNING OF A LETTER OR PAPER WITH THE WORDS "BY DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY," AND THE SIGNING MERELY AS CHIEF CLERK IS NOT A COMPLIANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENT.

IN THE PRESENT CASE IF AT THE TIME THE CHIEF CLERK SIGNED THE APPOINTMENT THE SECRETARY, THE UNDERSECRETARY, AND THE ASSISTANT SECRETARIES WERE TEMPORARILY ABSENT, AND YOU WILL SO ADVISE THIS OFFICE, THE LEGALITY OF THE APPOINTMENT WILL NOT BE FURTHER QUESTIONED. BUT, HEREAFTER, WHEN THE CHIEF CLERK SIGNS DOCUMENTS AND PAPERS WHICH HE IS AUTHORIZED TO SIGN ONLY WHEN THE SECRETARY, THE UNDERSECRETARY, AND THE ASSISTANT SECRETARIES ARE TEMPORARILY ABSENT, THERE SHOULD FOLLOW DESIGNATION "CHIEF CLERK," AFTER THE SIGNATURE, THE WORDS "IN THE TEMPORARY ABSENCE OF THE SECRETARY, THE UNDERSECRETARY, AND THE ASSISTANT SECRETARIES.'