A-3795, JULY 31, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 139

A-3795: Jul 31, 1924

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PERSONAL FURNISHINGS - RUBBER GLOVES IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SHOWING THAT RUBBER GLOVES WERE NECESSARY TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF A PUBLIC DUTY OR PURPOSE RATHER THAN FOR THE PERSONAL PROTECTION AND COMFORT OF THE EMPLOYEES. THAT THEY WERE NOT TO BE USED REGULARLY BY AN EMPLOYEE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE USUAL DUTIES FOR WHICH ENGAGED. PAYMENT FOR SUCH ARTICLES IS NOT AUTHORIZED. WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED THE CLAIM OF THE POTOMAC RUBBER CO. IT IS SEVERALLY STATED IN A RATHER GENERAL WAY: (1) THAT THE WORK IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH THIS MATERIAL WAS USED COULD NOT BE ACCOMPLISHED AS EXPEDITIOUSLY AND SATISFACTORILY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT WITHOUT THEM. (2) THAT THIS EQUIPMENT IS NOT SUCH AS THE EMPLOYEES REASONABLY COULD BE REQUIRED TO FURNISH AS PART OF THE REGULAR DUTIES OF THE POSITIONS TO WHICH THEY WERE APPOINTED OR FOR WHICH THEIR SERVICES WERE ENGAGED. (3) THAT THE ARTICLES WERE NOT INTENDED FOR THE INDIVIDUAL USE OF ANY ONE PERSON BUT FOR THE USE OF DIFFERENT EMPLOYEES.

A-3795, JULY 31, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 139

PERSONAL FURNISHINGS - RUBBER GLOVES IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SHOWING THAT RUBBER GLOVES WERE NECESSARY TO THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF A PUBLIC DUTY OR PURPOSE RATHER THAN FOR THE PERSONAL PROTECTION AND COMFORT OF THE EMPLOYEES, AND THAT THEY WERE NOT TO BE USED REGULARLY BY AN EMPLOYEE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE USUAL DUTIES FOR WHICH ENGAGED, PAYMENT FOR SUCH ARTICLES IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, JULY 31, 1924:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 25, 1924, REQUESTING REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 029902, DATED JUNE 6, 1924, WHEREIN WAS DISALLOWED THE CLAIM OF THE POTOMAC RUBBER CO. (INC.), FOR 12 PAIRS OF MEN'S RUBBER STOCKINET GLOVES, IN THE TOTAL SUM OF $19.80, DELIVERED TO THE BUREAU OF STANDARDS.

TO ESTABLISH THE PROPRIETY OF THIS PURCHASE AS A CHARGE UPON THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE BUREAU OF STANDARDS, IT IS SEVERALLY STATED IN A RATHER GENERAL WAY:

(1) THAT THE WORK IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH THIS MATERIAL WAS USED COULD NOT BE ACCOMPLISHED AS EXPEDITIOUSLY AND SATISFACTORILY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT WITHOUT THEM.

(2) THAT THIS EQUIPMENT IS NOT SUCH AS THE EMPLOYEES REASONABLY COULD BE REQUIRED TO FURNISH AS PART OF THE REGULAR DUTIES OF THE POSITIONS TO WHICH THEY WERE APPOINTED OR FOR WHICH THEIR SERVICES WERE ENGAGED.

(3) THAT THE ARTICLES WERE NOT INTENDED FOR THE INDIVIDUAL USE OF ANY ONE PERSON BUT FOR THE USE OF DIFFERENT EMPLOYEES.

THE APPROPRIATION PROPOSED TO BE CHARGED WITH THIS PURCHASE IS THAT FOR "INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH, BUREAU OF STANDARDS, 1924," STATED TO HAVE BEEN TRANSFERRED TO BUREAU OF STANDARDS UNDER THE FORTIFICATION ACT OF MAY 21, 1920, WHICH APPROPRIATION DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE FOR ARTICLES OF THIS CHARACTER, BUT IF, AS INDICATED, SUCH ARTICLES ARE FOR A GENERAL USE, THEN THEY MORE PROPERLY ARE CHARGEABLE, IF AT ALL, TO THE APPROPRIATION DIGESTED AS "EQUIPMENT, BUREAU OF STANDARDS, 1924.' SEE DECISION OF JUNE 12, 1924, A-3050.

RUBBER GLOVES ARE ESSENTIALLY PERSONAL FURNISHINGS OF A CHARACTER FOR WHICH THE PUBLIC FUNDS ARE SELDOM MADE AVAILABLE, AND WHERE THE USE OF FUNDS IS TO BE SANCTIONED FOR SUCH ARTICLES IT MUST BE BY REASON OF A CLEAR IMPLICATION OF A NECESSITY TO ACCOMPLISH A PUBLIC PURPOSE. IN THIS CASE IT IS NOT DISCLOSED THAT THE PUBLIC DUTY OR PURPOSE WAS IMPOSSIBLE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT WITHOUT SUCH ARTICLES, BUT IT IS STATED THAT RESULTS COULD NOT BE OBTAINED AS EXPEDITIOUSLY AND SATISFACTORILY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT WITHOUT THEM. IT IS CLEAR THAT THE ARTICLES ARE INTENDED FOR THE COMFORT AND PROTECTION OF THE EMPLOYEES UNDER LIKE CONDITIONS THAT MIGHT EXIST IN ANY COMMERCIAL PURSUIT. MASONS, CARPENTERS, TRANSPORTATION MEN, MACHINISTS, AND CHEMISTS IN MANY LINES OF INDUSTRY ARE CONSTANTLY OCCUPIED MANUALLY IF WAYS AND WITH MATERIALS THAT ARE LIABLE TO CASUALLY INFLICT MINOR INJURY OR DISCOMFORT. IT IS PRESUMED FROM THE STATEMENT SUBMITTED IN SUPPORT OF THE PURCHASE IN THIS CASE THAT THE PARTICULAR DUTIES ARE NO MORE INJURIOUS OR UNPLEASANT THAN UNDER PRIVATE CONDITIONS, AND I AM NOT AWARE THAT IN THE USUAL OCCUPATIONS UNDER SIMILAR CONDITIONS WITH PRIVATE ENTERPRISES IT IS CUSTOMARY TO SUPPLY PERSONAL FURNISHINGS OF THIS KIND BY WAY OF PROTECTION IN WHAT MAY BE SAID TO CONSTITUTE THE USUAL AND CUSTOMARY DUTIES FOR WHICH EMPLOYED. IF, HOWEVER, IT IS THE CUSTOM IN SOME PRIVATE UNDERTAKINGS TO FURNISH SUCH ARTICLES TO EMPLOYEES, THEN THERE IS THIS DISTINCTION TO BE REGARDED, THAT THE PRIVATE INTERESTS HAVE A RIGHT OF SELF-DETERMINATION AS TO THE USE OF THE FUNDS THUS UTILIZED IN SUPPLYING PERSONAL FURNISHINGS THOUGHT DESIRABLE, WHEREAS PUBLIC FUNDS ARE ONLY AVAILABLE FOR EXPENDITURES NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATIONS ARE MADE.

THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH ARTICLES IN THE NATURE OF PERSONAL FURNISHINGS MAY BE PURCHASED WERE SET FORTH IN DECISION OF JANUARY 19, 1924, 3 COMP. GEN. 433, AND THE PURCHASE HERE INVOLVED WAS NOT MADE UNTIL APRIL, 1924. THEREFORE, IN THE ABSENCE OF A DEFINITE SHOWING AS TO THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE TO BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE USE OF THESE GLOVES; THAT THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT THE EMPLOYEE RECEIVES THE PRINCIPAL BENEFIT RESULTING FROM SAID USE; IN OTHER WORDS, THAT THE NEED FOR THE GLOVES IS NOT PRIMARILY TO PROTECT THE HANDS OF THE EMPLOYEES FROM DISCOLORATIONS, DISCOMFORTS, OR MINOR OR POSSIBLE INJURIES; AND THAT THE GLOVES ARE NOT USED REGULARLY BY THE EMPLOYEE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE PRINCIPAL OR ORDINARY DUTIES OF THE POSITION FOR WHICH EMPLOYED, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE PURCHASE FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS WAS NOT AUTHORIZED.