A-38862, OCTOBER 22, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 144

A-38862: Oct 22, 1931

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IS UNAUTHORIZED. CAFETERIAS OPERATING IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS IN WHICH ELECTRIC CURRENT IS GENERATED BY GOVERNMENT-OWNED PLANTS. YOUR DECISION ON THE QUESTION INVOLVED WILL BE APPRECIATED. TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR SUBMISSION IS A COPY OF A LETTER DATED JANUARY 21. POST OFFICES REPORT THAT THE PLAN NOW IN EFFECT UNDER WHICH THE COST OF ELECTRIC CURRENT USED IN THESE COOPERATIVE CAFETERIAS IS NOT ENTIRELY SATISFACTORY AND SUGGESTED THAT THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT GIVE CONSIDERATION TO A CHANGE. UNDER THE PRESENT PLAN THE AMOUNT OF ELECTRIC CURRENT USED IN THE COOPERATIVE CAFETERIAS IS DETERMINED BY SEPARATE AND INDEPENDENT DIRECT LINE METERS. TO A LARGE EXTENT IS DETERMINED BY THE AMOUNT CONSUMED. THE AMOUNT USED IN THE COOPERATIVE CAFETERIA IS SMALL AS COMPARED TO THE AMOUNT USED IN THE FEDERAL BUILDING.

A-38862, OCTOBER 22, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 144

PUBLIC BUILDINGS - CAFETERIAS - ELECTRIC CURRENT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR, THE USE OF AN APPROPRIATION FOR THE PAYMENT OF ELECTRIC CURRENT TO BE PURCHASED UNDER CONTRACT FOR PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND FURNISHED TO CAFETERIAS OPERATING THEREIN, EITHER WITH OR WITHOUT REIMBURSEMENT, IS UNAUTHORIZED. CAFETERIAS OPERATING IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS IN WHICH ELECTRIC CURRENT IS GENERATED BY GOVERNMENT-OWNED PLANTS, MAY BE FURNISHED WITH SURPLUS ELECTRIC CURRENT, THROUGH SEPARATE METERS, MAY BE FURNISHED WITH AT NOT LESS THAN THE NET COST THEREOF, THE PROCEEDS FROM THE ELECTRIC CURRENT SO FURNISHED TO BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3618, REVISED STATUTES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, OCTOBER 22, 1931:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1931, AS FOLLOWS:

IT HAS BEEN SUGGESTED BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT BY LETTER OF JANUARY 31, 1931 (COPY ATTACHED) THAT ARRANGEMENTS BE MADE TO PERMIT CAFETERIAS OPERATED IN FEDERAL BUILDINGS BY POST OFFICE AND OTHER EMPLOYEES ON A NONPROFIT BASIS TO PURCHASE ELECTRIC CURRENT USED IN CONNECTION WITH CONTRACTS FOR THE BUILDINGS PROPER, THUS GIVING THE EMPLOYEES THE BENEFIT OF THE LOWER RATE USUALLY PREVAILING. UNDER THE SUGGESTED PLAN THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION "OPERATING SUPPLIES FOR PUBLIC BUILDINGS" WOULD BE REIMBURSED BY THE CAFETERIAS ON THE BASIS OF COST OF CURRENT USED.

YOUR DECISION ON THE QUESTION INVOLVED WILL BE APPRECIATED.

TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR SUBMISSION IS A COPY OF A LETTER DATED JANUARY 21, 1931, FROM THE DIRECTOR OF SERVICE RELATIONS, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, AS FOLLOWS:

THE COOPERATIVE CAFETERIA COMMITTEES OF THE CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, AND INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, POST OFFICES REPORT THAT THE PLAN NOW IN EFFECT UNDER WHICH THE COST OF ELECTRIC CURRENT USED IN THESE COOPERATIVE CAFETERIAS IS NOT ENTIRELY SATISFACTORY AND SUGGESTED THAT THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT GIVE CONSIDERATION TO A CHANGE.

UNDER THE PRESENT PLAN THE AMOUNT OF ELECTRIC CURRENT USED IN THE COOPERATIVE CAFETERIAS IS DETERMINED BY SEPARATE AND INDEPENDENT DIRECT LINE METERS. SINCE THE RATE FOR THE CURRENT USED, TO A LARGE EXTENT IS DETERMINED BY THE AMOUNT CONSUMED, THE AMOUNT USED IN THE COOPERATIVE CAFETERIA IS SMALL AS COMPARED TO THE AMOUNT USED IN THE FEDERAL BUILDING, THE RATE PAID BY THE CAFETERIA IS CONSIDERABLY GREATER THAN THAT PAID BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT. THEN, TOO, THE CAFETERIAS ARE REQUIRED TO PAY THE REGULAR COMMERCIAL RATES, WHEREAS THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, AS WE UNDERSTAND, OFTENTIMES EFFECTS CONTRACTS WHICH GIVE THEM A LOWER RATE. SOME BUILDINGS AND AT CERTAIN TIMES OF YEAR, AS WE UNDERSTAND, THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT MANUFACTURES THEIR OWN CURRENT, THE COST FOR WHICH, NO DOUBT, IS LESS THAN THE REGULAR COMMERCIAL RATE.

WE ARE ASKING THAT THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT GIVE CONSIDERATION TO A PLAN WHICH WILL ENABLE THE COOPERATIVE CAFETERIAS TO SECURE THE SAME RATE FOR ELECTRIC CURRENT AS THAT PAID BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IN THE RESPECTIVE BUILDINGS. THIS COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE REMOVAL OF THE DIRECT-LINE CAFETERIA METERS AND THE CURRENT USED IN THE COOPERATIVE CAFETERIAS SECURED THROUGH THE MAIN-LINE FEDERAL BUILDING METERS, THE COST OF CURRENT USED IN THE CAFETERIAS TO BE DETERMINED ON A PRO RATA BASIS AND REIMBURSEMENT MADE BY THE CAFETERIAS TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT. UNDER SUCH A PLAN THE CAFETERIAS WOULD RECEIVE A MUCH LOWER RATE, ALSO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT MIGHT SECURE A LOWER RATE, SINCE THE AMOUNT OF ELECTRIC CURRENT MEASURED THROUGH A SINGLE METER WOULD BE CONSIDERABLY INCREASED.

WE ARE ASKING AND HOPING THAT CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO SUCH PLAN, ESPECIALLY IN THE CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, AND INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA,OFFICES, AND IF THE PLAN PROVES PRACTICABLE AND SATISFACTORY TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, THAT IT BE EXTENDED TO SUCH OFFICES WHERE COOPERATIVE CAFETERIAS ARE IN OPERATION OR WHERE THEY MAY BE LATER ESTABLISHED.

COOPERATIVE CAFETERIAS IN FEDERAL BUILDINGS ARE OPERATED BY A REPRESENTATIVE COMMITTEE NAMED BY THE POSTMASTER OR FUNCTIONING OUT OF THE LOCAL SERVICE COUNCIL AND UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS PRESCRIBED BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT. THEY ARE NOT OPERATED FOR PROFIT TO ANY INDIVIDUAL OR GROUP AND SERVICE IS AVAILABLE TO ALL PERSONS CONNECTED WITH THE FEDERAL SERVICE IN THE RESPECTIVE CITIES. ESPECIAL CARE IS EXERCISED THAT SERVICE BE NOT EXTENDED TO ANY ONE OUTSIDE THE FEDERAL SERVICE.

COOPERATIVE CAFETERIAS IN THE FEDERAL SERVICE HAVE PROVED HELPFUL FROM HEALTH, ECONOMIC, AND SOCIAL POINTS OF VIEW AND THE POLICY OF EXTENDING THIS SERVICE IS COMMENDED AND APPRECIATED.

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 23, 1931, 46 STAT. 1217, MAKING ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1932 FOR THE TREASURY AND POST OFFICE DEPARTMENTS, PROVIDES, AT PAGE 1234:

OPERATING SUPPLIES: FOR FUEL, STEAM, GAS FOR LIGHTING AND HEATING PURPOSES, WATER, ICE, LIGHTING SUPPLIES, ELECTRIC CURRENT FOR LIGHTING, HEATING, AND POWER PURPOSES, TELEPHONE SERVICE FOR CUSTODIAL FORCES; REMOVAL OF ASHES AND RUBBISH, SNOW, AND ICE; CUTTING GRASS AND WEEDS, WASHING TOWELS, AND MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS FOR THE USE OF THE CUSTODIAL FORCES IN THE CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF COMPLETED AND OCCUPIED PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND THE GROUNDS THEREOF UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, INCLUDING THE WHARF AND MONUMENT AT JAMESTOWN, VIRGINIA, AND IN THE CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF THE EQUIPMENT AND FURNISHINGS IN SUCH BUILDINGS; MISCELLANEOUS SUPPLIES, TOOLS, AND APPLIANCES REQUIRED IN THE OPERATION (NOT EMBRACING REPAIRS) OF THE MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT, INCLUDING HEATING, PLUMBING, HOISTING, GAS PIPING, VENTILATING, VACUUM CLEANING AND REFRIGERATING APPARATUS, ELECTRIC-LIGHT PLANTS, METERS, INTERIOR PNEUMATIC -TUBE AND INTERCOMMUNICATING TELEPHONE SYSTEMS, CONDUIT WIRING, CALL-BELL AND SIGNAL SYSTEMS IN SUCH BUILDINGS, AND FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF ARTICLES OR SUPPLIES, AUTHORIZED HEREIN (INCLUDING THE CUSTOMHOUSE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, BUT EXCLUDING ANY OTHER PUBLIC BUILDING UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT WITHIN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND EXCLUDING ALSO MARINE HOSPITALS AND QUARANTINE STATIONS, MINTS, BRANCH MINTS, AND ASSAY OFFICES, AND PERSONAL SERVICES, EXCEPT FOR WORK DONE BY CONTRACT OR FOR TEMPORARY JOB LABOR UNDER EXIGENCY NOT EXCEEDING AT ONE TIME THE SUM OF $100 AT ANY ONE BUILDING), $3,242,800. * * *

IT HAS REPEATEDLY BEEN HELD THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR THE USE OF APPROPRIATED MONEYS FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF LUNCH ROOMS OR CAFETERIAS IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS IS UNAUTHORIZED.

IN DECISION OF NOVEMBER 14, 1924, A-4689, THERE WAS FOR CONSIDERATION A QUESTION SIMILAR TO THAT PRESENTED IN YOUR SUBMISSION; THAT IS TO SAY, THE USE OF THE HOSPITAL SUPPORT APPROPRIATION TO PAY FOR GAS IN CONNECTION WITH THE OPERATION OF A CAFETERIA IN ST. ELIZABETHS HOSPITAL, IT BEING CONTEMPLATED TO REIMBURSE THE HOSPITAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE GAS USED. WAS THERE SAID:

* * * THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF SUCH LUNCH ROOMS AND RESTAURANTS BY USE OF APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE CURRENT OPERATING EXPENSES OF SUCH DEPARTMENTS OR ESTABLISHMENTS IS CLEARLY NOT AUTHORIZED. (8 COMP. DEC. 643.) THE FACT THAT THE PLAN CONTEMPLATES THE REIMBURSEMENT OF THE APPROPRIATION USED FOR THE EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE PROCEDURE.

SECTION 3678 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDES:

ALL SUMS APPROPRIATED FOR THE VARIOUS BRANCHES OF EXPENDITURE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE SHALL BE APPLIED SOLELY TO THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPECTIVELY MADE, AND FOR NO OTHERS.

IN NONE OF THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT DOES THERE APPEAR ANY AUTHORITY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, FOR EXPENDITURES IN CONNECTION WITH THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF CAFETERIAS OPERATING IN SAID PUBLIC BUILDINGS.

I HAVE TO ADVISE, THEREFORE, THAT THERE IS NO APPROPRIATION UNDER YOUR CONTROL AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF ELECTRIC CURRENT TO BE PURCHASED UNDER CONTRACT FOR PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND FURNISHED TO CAFETERIAS OPERATING IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, EITHER WITH OR WITHOUT REIMBURSEMENT.

WITH REFERENCE TO CAFETERIAS IN PUBLIC BUILDINGS IN WHICH THE ELECTRIC CURRENT IS GENERATED BY A GOVERNMENT OWNED PLANT, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO OBJECTION TO FURNISHING SUCH CAFETERIAS, THROUGH SEPARATE METERS, AT NOT LESS THAN THE NET COST THEREOF, WITH SURPLUS ELECTRIC CURRENT NOT OTHERWISE NEEDED FOR GOVERNMENTAL PURPOSES, BUT THE PROCEEDS FROM THE ELECTRIC CURRENT SO FURNISHED WOULD HAVE TO BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3618, REVISED STATUTES. YOUR SUBMISSION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.