A-36981, AUGUST 8, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 59

A-36981: Aug 8, 1931

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PERSONAL SERVICES - BOILER INSPECTION - INSURANCE AS APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE SUPPORT OF GOVERNMENTAL ACTIVITIES ARE GENERALLY NOT CONSIDERED AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF INSURANCE TO COVER DIRECTLY LOSS OR DAMAGE TO GOVERNMENT PROPERTY AND AS THE INSPECTION OF GOVERNMENT STEAM BOILERS IS A MATTER OF PERSONAL SERVICE ORDINARILY REQUIRED TO BE PERFORMED BY REGULARLY APPOINTED GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES UNDER RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISION AND IS NOT SUCH TYPE OF SERVICE AS IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PROCURED UNDER CONTRACT WITH PRIVATE FIRMS. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR CONTINUING A PRACTICE OF SECURING INSPECTION OF BOILERS AT THE DIFFERENT NATIONAL HOMES FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS BY THE PURCHASE OF BOILER INSURANCE.

A-36981, AUGUST 8, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 59

PERSONAL SERVICES - BOILER INSPECTION - INSURANCE AS APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE SUPPORT OF GOVERNMENTAL ACTIVITIES ARE GENERALLY NOT CONSIDERED AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF INSURANCE TO COVER DIRECTLY LOSS OR DAMAGE TO GOVERNMENT PROPERTY AND AS THE INSPECTION OF GOVERNMENT STEAM BOILERS IS A MATTER OF PERSONAL SERVICE ORDINARILY REQUIRED TO BE PERFORMED BY REGULARLY APPOINTED GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES UNDER RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISION AND IS NOT SUCH TYPE OF SERVICE AS IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PROCURED UNDER CONTRACT WITH PRIVATE FIRMS, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR CONTINUING A PRACTICE OF SECURING INSPECTION OF BOILERS AT THE DIFFERENT NATIONAL HOMES FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS BY THE PURCHASE OF BOILER INSURANCE, THE MANAGEMENT OF SUCH HOMES BEING NOW A DIRECT FUNCTION OF THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, THE CORPORATION FORMERLY OPERATING AND MANAGING SUCH HOMES HAVING CEASED TO EXIST PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1930, 46 STAT. 1016.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, AUGUST 8, 1931:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO FIRST INDORSEMENT (54), DIRECTOR BUREAU OF NATIONAL HOMES, VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, DATED JANUARY 20, 1931, FORWARDING TO THIS OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT AS A CLAIM A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF THE HOOVEN-HUFFMAN CO., DAYTON, OHIO, IN THE AMOUNT OF $16.08, STATED TO BE "FOR GUARANTEED INSPECTION OF BOILERS AND PLANT AT BATTLE MOUNTAIN SANITARIUM, N.H.D.V.S., HOT SPRINGS, S.DAK., FROM MARCH 1, 1930, TO JUNE 30, 1930, BOTH DATES INCLUSIVE: 3 MONTHS, (1 QUARTER).'

IT APPEARS THAT THE CLAIMANT MAINTAINS AN INSURANCE AGENCY AND THAT THE AMOUNT CLAIMED IS FOR PARTIAL PREMIUM ON STEAM BOILER POLICY NO. 15402 ISSUED THROUGH SUCH AGENCY BY THE HARTFORD STEAM BOILER INSPECTION AND INSURANCE CO. AGREEING TO INDEMNIFY THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE CAUSED BY THE EXPLOSION, COLLAPSE, OR RUPTURE OF ANY OF SOME 78 SCHEDULED STEAM BOILERS LOCATED AT VARIOUS BRANCHES OF THE HOME. THE POLICY COVERED THE FOUR-YEAR PERIOD JUNE 30, 1927, TO JUNE 30, 1931, NOW EXPIRED, AND THE TOTAL PREMIUM THEREON AS STATED IN THE ORIGINAL POLICY IS $4,086.59, SUBSEQUENTLY INCREASED BY AMENDMENTS COVERING OTHER BOILERS TO A TOTAL PREMIUM OF $4,567.23, APPARENTLY PAYABLE IN ARREARS BY QUARTERS FOR EACH BRANCH OF THE HOME COVERED BY THE POLICY. THE DIRECTOR BUREAU OF NATIONAL HOMES, IN HIS FIRST INDORSEMENT OF MARCH 18, 1931, TO THIS OFFICE RELATIVE TO THE MATTER STATES THAT---

* * * IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE PRACTICE OF THE NATIONAL HOME TO HAVE BOILERS INSPECTED BY A REGULAR BOILER INSURANCE COMPANY. THE PRIMARY OBJECT WAS TO INSURE CAREFUL INSPECTION; THE INSPECTION FEATURE BEING A NECESSARY INCIDENT.

THERE HAVE BEEN TAKEN UP IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE NATIONAL HOME FROM YEAR TO YEAR VARIOUS AMOUNTS PAID BY THE BOILER INSURANCE COMPANY HOLDING THE CONTRACT AT THE TIME, ON ACCOUNT OF ACCIDENTS. * * *

THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS AT DIFFERENT TIMES HAVE HAD OCCASION TO POINT OUT THAT IT IS THE SETTLED POLICY OF THE UNITED STATES TO ASSUME ITS OWN RISKS, AND THE ESTABLISHED RULE IS THAT, UNLESS EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED, APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE SUPPORT OF GOVERNMENTAL ACTIVITIES ARE GENERALLY NOT CONSIDERED AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF INSURANCE TO COVER DIRECTLY LOSS OR DAMAGE TO GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. SEE 13 COMP. DEC. 779; 22 ID. 674; 23 ID. 297; 4 COMP. GEN. 690. FROM THE REPORT QUOTED ABOVE, HOWEVER, IT APPEARS THAT THE PRIMARY OBJECT OF PROCURING THE STEAM-BOILER INSURANCE HERE IN QUESTION WAS TO PROVIDE FOR ADEQUATE INSPECTION SERVICE OF THE BOILERS BY THE INTERESTED INSURANCE COMPANY. IN VIEW OF THESE CIRCUMSTANCES AND THE FACT THAT THE ARRANGEMENT FOR THIS INSURANCE WAS MADE WHILE THE HOMES WERE UNDER THE MANAGEMENT OF THE CORPORATION KNOWN AS THE NATIONAL HOME FOR DISABLED VOLUNTEER SOLDIERS, WHICH HAS CEASED TO EXIST PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1930, 46 STAT. 1016, AND, ALSO AS IT APPEARS THE UNITED STATES HAS SECURED THE BENEFITS OF SUCH POLICIES, INCLUDING, IN ADDITION TO THE INSPECTION SERVICE, PAYMENTS FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE, PAYMENTS OF PREMIUMS UNDER THE POLICY HERE INVOLVED, WHICH HAS NOW EXPIRED, WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED ON THAT BASIS AND THE PRESENT CLAIM, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT AND PROPER, WILL BE ALLOWED.

HOWEVER, AS THE INSPECTION OF GOVERNMENT STEAM BOILERS IS A MATTER OF PERSONAL SERVICE ORDINARILY REQUIRED TO BE PERFORMED BY REGULARLY APPOINTED GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES UNDER RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATIVE SUPERVISION AND IS NOT SUCH TYPE OF SERVICE AS IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PROCURED UNDER CONTRACT WITH PRIVATE FIRMS, AND, ALSO, IN VIEW OF THE OBJECTIONABLE INSURANCE FEATURE OF THE DESCRIBED PRACTICE, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT SUCH PRACTICE OF SECURING BOILER INSPECTION BY MEANS OF PURCHASING INSURANCE SHOULD BE DISCONTINUED AS NOT AUTHORIZED BY LAW OR UNDER APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE NATIONAL HOMES, NOW GOVERNMENTAL ACTIVITIES NO LONGER OPERATED OR MANAGED BY A CORPORATION.