A-3881, AUGUST 27, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 214

A-3881: Aug 27, 1924

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THE EXPENDITURE OF AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF THIS LIMITATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF REMODELING A BUILDING AT AN ARMY POST INTO OFFICERS' QUARTERS AND THE CHARGING OF THE EXPENDITURE TO TWO FISCAL-YEAR APPROPRIATIONS IS UNAUTHORIZED. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THE MATERIAL USED IN THE BUILDING MADE THE EXPENDITURE IN EXCESS OF A STATUTORY LIMIT OF $20. THE FACTS IN THE CASE ARE SUMMARIZED BY THE QUARTERMASTER GENERAL IN LETTER OF MARCH 22. TELEGRAPHIC NOTICE OF THIS APPROVAL WAS FORWARDED TO THE POST UNDER DATE OF JUNE 24. FUNDS AVAILABLE AT FORT SILL WERE TO BE USED FOR THIS REMODELING. A LETTER CONFIRMING THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR WAS MAILED TO FORT SILL ON JUNE 30.

A-3881, AUGUST 27, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 214

PUBLIC BUILDINGS - REPAIRS AND ALTERATIONS SECTION 1136, REVISED STATUTES, LIMITS THE TOTAL AMOUNT TO BE EXPENDED FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF PERMANENT BARRACKS OR QUARTERS AND BUILDINGS IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY TO NOT EXCEEDING $20,000 FOR ANY ONE STRUCTURE, AND THE EXPENDITURE OF AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF THIS LIMITATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF REMODELING A BUILDING AT AN ARMY POST INTO OFFICERS' QUARTERS AND THE CHARGING OF THE EXPENDITURE TO TWO FISCAL-YEAR APPROPRIATIONS IS UNAUTHORIZED.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, AUGUST 27, 1924:

SETTLEMENT M-584877-W, DATED SEPTEMBER 26, 1923, DISALLOWED THE CLAIM OF CRANE AND CO. FOR $3,936.34, FOR MATERIAL FURNISHED THE WAR DEPARTMENT FOR A HEATING PLANT AT FORT SILL, OKLA., IN CONNECTION WITH THE REMODELING OF A CERTAIN BUILDING INTO AN APARTMENT FOR OFFICERS' QUARTERS. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT THE MATERIAL USED IN THE BUILDING MADE THE EXPENDITURE IN EXCESS OF A STATUTORY LIMIT OF $20,000 FOR A SINGLE BUILDING.

UNDER DATE OF JUNE 13, 1922, THE SECRETARY OF WAR APPROVED THE EXPENDITURE OF $20,000 FOR REMODELING A BUILDING, C-3, FORT SILL, OKLA., INTO 18 SETS OF QUARTERS FOR OFFICER-INSTRUCTORS. THE FACTS IN THE CASE ARE SUMMARIZED BY THE QUARTERMASTER GENERAL IN LETTER OF MARCH 22, 1924, TO THE ADJUTANT GENERAL OF THE ARMY, AS FOLLOWS:

1. UNDER DATE OF JUNE 13, 1922, THE SECRETARY OF WAR APPROVED AN EXPENDITURE OF $20,000 FOR REMODELING BUILDING C-3, FORT SILL, INTO 18 SETS OF QUARTERS FOR OFFICER-INSTRUCTORS. TELEGRAPHIC NOTICE OF THIS APPROVAL WAS FORWARDED TO THE POST UNDER DATE OF JUNE 24,1922. FUNDS AVAILABLE AT FORT SILL WERE TO BE USED FOR THIS REMODELING. A LETTER CONFIRMING THE APPROVAL OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR WAS MAILED TO FORT SILL ON JUNE 30, 1924. IN THIS LETTER IT WAS REQUESTED THAT TWO COPIES OF PLANS AND SPECIFICATIONS BE RETURNED FOR FILE IN THIS OFFICE. IN ORDER THAT FUNDS MIGHT BE OBLIGATED BEFORE THE CLOSE OF THE FISCAL YEAR 1922, THE FOLLOWING PURCHASES WERE IMMEDIATELY MADE:

TABLE

BRICKS --------------------------------------------------- $4,697.58

LUMBER --------------------------------------------------- 13,411.21

18,098.79

2. ON JULY 27, 1922, AFTER THE BEGINNING OF THE FISCAL YEAR 1923, A REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDS FOR THE COMPLETION OF THIS PROJECT WAS RECEIVED FROM THE QUARTERMASTER, FORT SILL. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS REQUEST THE SECRETARY OF WAR WAS REQUESTED TO APPROVE AN EXPENDITURE OF $1,900, MAKING A TOTAL OF $20,000 FOR BUILDING C-3. AT THE SAME TIME A REQUEST WAS SUBMITTED FOR AN EXPENDITURE OF $12,000 FOR REMODELING A SMALL BUILDING ADJACENT TO BUILDING C-3 TO HOUSE A HEATING PLANT. APPROVAL FOR THIS EXPENDITURE WAS OBTAINED ON AUGUST 7, 1922, AND FORT SILL WAS NOTIFIED BY TELEGRAM OF AUGUST 8, 1922. THE ADDITIONAL ALLOTMENT OF $1,900 FOR BUILDING C-3 PROPER AND $12,000 FOR THE HEATING PLANT WAS ALLOTTED FROM 1923 FUNDS. A TOTAL OF $32,000 WAS APPROVED AND AUTHORIZED FOR THESE TWO PROJECTS FROM THE TWO FISCAL YEARS 1922 AND 1923.

3. WHEN A FINAL REPORT WAS MADE BY THE QUARTERMASTER, FORT SILL, IN AN EFFORT TO SETTLE SEVERAL OUTSTANDING ACCOUNTS COVERING WORK DONE ON THIS PROJECT, IT WAS FOUND THAT THE FOLLOWING AMOUNTS HAD BEEN ACTUALLY OBLIGATED IN CONNECTION WITH THE RECONSTRUCTION OF THE BUILDING AND THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE HEATING PLANT:

TABLE

B. AND Q ------------------------------------------------- $30,820.35

R. S ----------------------------------------------------- 10,106.50

W. AND S ------------------------------------------------- 3,374.30

44,301.15

THE OVERDRAFT UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "B. AND Q.' WAS TAKEN CARE OF FROM ANNUAL REPAIR FUNDS.

IT APPEARS THAT AUGUST 18, 1922, CLAIMANT QUOTED ESTIMATES FOR MATERIAL FOR THE COMPLETE INSTALLATION OF A LOW-PRESSURE STEAM-HEATING SYSTEM, WHICH WAS REQUIRED FOR THE BUILDING IN QUESTION, AND A WRITTEN ORDER THEREFOR ISSUED, MATERIAL BEING DELIVERED IN OCTOBER, 1922, INVOICED AT $3,949.54, LESS CREDITS OF $13.20, OR $3,936.34.

SECTION 1136, REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDES:

PERMANENT BARRACKS OR QUARTERS AND BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES OF A PERMANENT NATURE SHALL NOT BE CONSTRUCTED UNLESS DETAILED ESTIMATES SHALL HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY SUBMITTED TO CONGRESS, AND APPROVED BY A SPECIAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE SAME, EXCEPT WHEN CONSTRUCTED BY THE TROOPS; AND NO SUCH STRUCTURES, THE COST OF WHICH SHALL EXCEED TWENTY THOUSAND DOLLARS, SHALL BE ERECTED UNLESS BY SPECIAL AUTHORITY OF CONGRESS. * * *

FROM THE FACTS PRESENTED IT IS REASONABLY INFERRED THE SECRETARY OF WAR AUTHORIZED THE EXPENDITURE OF $20,000 PURSUANT TO STATUTE CITED AND WAS AWARE OF THE LIMIT PROVIDED FOR THEREIN, AND THAT THE EXPENDITURE IN EXCESS OF $20,000 WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF CONGRESS WOULD BE UNAUTHORIZED. THE FACT THAT THE EXPENDITURE OF $20,000 WAS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID OUT OF THE 1922 APPROPRIATION AND THAT THE STATUTORY LIMIT WAS NOT EXCEEDED AND THAT THE OTHER EXPENDITURES WERE ALLOCATED TO THE 1923 APPROPRIATION DOES NOT VALIDATE THE PAYMENTS OR TAKE THE CASE FROM UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 1136, REVISED STATUTES; OTHERWISE THE VERY PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE WOULD BE DEFEATED AND THERE COULD BE CARRIED ON AN EXTENDED AND CONTINUED BUILDING PROGRAM BY ALLOCATING THE AMOUNT TO BE EXPENDED OVER SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEARS.

THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1921, 4 2 STAT., 68, MAKING APPROPRIATION FOR THE ARMY FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1922, PROVIDING (P. 83) FOR AN EXPENDITURE OF $6,860,000, WHICH WAS MADE AVAILABLE "FOR BARRACKS, QUARTERS, * * * ADMINISTRATION AND OFFICE BUILDINGS * * * NECESSARY FOR THE SHELTER OF TROOPS * * * AND FOR ADMINISTRATION PURPOSES * * *; FOR CONSTRUCTING AND REPAIRING PUBLIC BUILDINGS AT MILITARY POSTS; * * *.'

THERE WAS ALSO AVAILABLE $2,000,000 (P. 81):

* * * FOR PROCURING AND INTRODUCING WATER TO BUILDINGS AND PREMISES AT SUCH MILITARY POSTS AND STATIONS AS FROM THEIR SITUATIONS REQUIRE TO BE BROUGHT FROM A DISTANCE; FOR THE INSTALLATION AND EXTENSION OF PLUMBING WITHIN BUILDINGS WHERE THE SAME IS NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR IN OTHER APPROPRIATIONS; FOR THE PURCHASE AND REPAIR OF FIRE APPARATUS * * * FOR REPAIRS TO WATER AND SEWER SYSTEMS AND PLUMBING * * *.

A SIMILAR PROVISION FOR BARRACKS AND QUARTERS APPEARS IN THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1922, 42 STAT. 732, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED JUNE 30, 1923. THE SAID ACT OF JUNE 30, 1922, CONTAINED (P. 732) THE FOLLOWING PROVISION:

FOR THE CONSTRUCTION AND ENLARGEMENT AT MILITARY POSTS OF SUCH BUILDINGS AS IN THE JUDGMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR MAY BE NECESSARY, INCLUDING ALL APPURTENANCES THERETO, $910,000, INCLUDING $400,000 FOR CONTINUING CONSTRUCTION OF POST AT FORT BENNING, GEORGIA: PROVIDED, THAT APARTMENT BUILDINGS MAY BE CONSTRUCTED OUT OF THIS APPROPRIATION AT A COST NOT TO EXCEED $150,000 EACH, AND TO PROVIDE FOR NOT LESS THAN EIGHTEEN FAMILIES EACH; $55,000 FOR CONSTRUCTION OF ONE HOSPITAL WARD AT LETTERMAN GENERAL HOSPITAL, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA; $262,000 FOR GENERAL CONSTRUCTION AT EDGEWOOD ARSENAL AND CAMP LEWIS; AND $198,000 FOR CONTINUING CONSTRUCTION AND ENLARGEMENT OF BARRACKS FOR GUARDS AT THE UNITED STATES DISCIPLINARY BARRACKS, FORT LEAVENWORTH, KANSAS.

THE PROVISION OF THIS ACT WITH REFERENCE TO THE CONSTRUCTION OF APARTMENTS WAS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE REMODELING OF BARRACKS OR STRUCTURES ALREADY ERECTED. THE PAYMENTS IN EXCESS OF $20,000 FOR THE WORK IN QUESTION WERE MADE IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 1136, REVISED STATUTES.

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM PRESENTED.