A-39748, DECEMBER 16, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 238

A-39748: Dec 16, 1931

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THAT APPROPRIATION RATHER THAN ANY OTHER APPROPRIATION FOR RENT OR MAINTENANCE OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS IS AVAILABLE FOR THE RENTING OF NECESSARY GARAGE QUARTERS FOR THE WASHINGTON CITY POST OFFICE INCIDENT TO THE AUTHORITY GIVEN THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY FOR THE EXTENSION. THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS AUTHORIZED TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR THE EXTENSION. THIS DEPARTMENT IS ABOUT READY TO PROCEED WITH THE WORK OF EXTENDING THE WASHINGTON CITY POST OFFICE. IS NOW IN RECEIPT OF A LETTER FROM THE FOURTH ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL. COPY OF WHICH IS ATTACHED. IN WHICH IT IS REQUESTED THAT THIS DEPARTMENT COOPERATE WITH THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN PROVIDING TEMPORARY GARAGE ACCOMMODATIONS TO TAKE THE PLACE OF THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT-OWNED POST- OFFICE GARAGE LOCATED ON THE SITE UNTIL NEW GARAGE ACCOMMODATIONS ARE PROVIDED IN THE EXTENDED BUILDING.

A-39748, DECEMBER 16, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 238

APPROPRIATIONS - PUBLIC BUILDINGS - RENT OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION HAVING BEEN MADE UNDER THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT FOR RENT OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR THE ACCOMMODATION OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND MOVING EXPENSES INCIDENT THERETO, THAT APPROPRIATION RATHER THAN ANY OTHER APPROPRIATION FOR RENT OR MAINTENANCE OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS IS AVAILABLE FOR THE RENTING OF NECESSARY GARAGE QUARTERS FOR THE WASHINGTON CITY POST OFFICE INCIDENT TO THE AUTHORITY GIVEN THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY FOR THE EXTENSION, REMODELING, AND ENLARGEMENT OF SUCH POST OFFICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, DECEMBER 16, 1931:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 30, 1931, AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1930 (46 STAT. 1012), THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS AUTHORIZED TO ENTER INTO CONTRACTS FOR THE EXTENSION, REMODELING, AND ENLARGEMENT OF THE POST OFFICE, WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ON LAND ALREADY OWNED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN SQUARE 678, INCLUDING THE EXTENSION OF EXISTING MECHANICAL EQUIPMENT, MAIL-HANDLING CONVEYANCES, AND OTHER APPARATUS WHERE NECESSARY, IN AN AMOUNT NOT EXCEEDING $4,000,000.

THIS DEPARTMENT IS ABOUT READY TO PROCEED WITH THE WORK OF EXTENDING THE WASHINGTON CITY POST OFFICE, UNDER THE ABOVE LEGISLATION, AND IS NOW IN RECEIPT OF A LETTER FROM THE FOURTH ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, COPY OF WHICH IS ATTACHED, IN WHICH IT IS REQUESTED THAT THIS DEPARTMENT COOPERATE WITH THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN PROVIDING TEMPORARY GARAGE ACCOMMODATIONS TO TAKE THE PLACE OF THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT-OWNED POST- OFFICE GARAGE LOCATED ON THE SITE UNTIL NEW GARAGE ACCOMMODATIONS ARE PROVIDED IN THE EXTENDED BUILDING.

THE PRESENT POST-OFFICE GARAGE IS LOCATED ON THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED PROPERTY DESCRIBED IN THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1930, BUT WAS NOT ERECTED BY THIS DEPARTMENT, AND THE QUESTION ARISES AS TO WHETHER THIS DEPARTMENT MAY ASSIST IN OR TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PROVISION OF TEMPORARY GARAGE QUARTERS FOR THE POST OFFICE FROM ANY APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT.

THE GARAGE LOCATED ON THE POST-OFFICE SITE IS EQUIPPED FOR THE STORAGE AND REPAIR OF POST-OFFICE AUTOMOTIVE EQUIPMENT. THIS DEPARTMENT IN THE PAST HAS NOT CONSIDERED SUCH A GARAGE AS A PART OF THE POST-OFFICE BUILDINGS WHICH IT HAS BEEN CALLED UPON TO ERECT, AND HAS NOT PROVIDED FOR SUCH FACILITIES IN ITS ESTIMATES TO CONGRESS. IT HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THAT SUCH FACILITIES SHOULD BE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR IN THE LEGISLATION IF THEY ARE TO BE ERECTED AS PARTS OF POST-OFFICE BUILDINGS.

CONTRARY TO THE STATUS OF OTHER POST-OFFICE BUILDINGS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY THE WASHINGTON CITY POST OFFICE IS NOT A BUILDING UNDER THE CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, AS PROVIDED IN 30 STAT. 614, AND IS NOT ONE OF THE PROJECTS CONTEMPLATED UNDER THE TERMS OF THE ACT OF MAY 25, 1926, AND THE AMENDMENTS THEREOF. THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1930, DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR THE RENTAL OR OTHER PROVISION OF TEMPORARY GARAGE ACCOMMODATIONS.

AMONG THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE OFFICE OF THE SUPERVISING ARCHITECT, THERE HAS BEEN INCLUDED OVER A PERIOD OF YEARS THE ITEM "RENT OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS," AND FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1932 THIS ITEM READS AS FOLLOWS:

"RENT OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS: FOR RENT OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND ALTERATIONS OF SAME FOR THE ACCOMMODATION OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS AND MOVING EXPENSES INCIDENT THERETO, AND THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO ENTER INTO LAPSES FOR THIS PURPOSE FOR PERIODS NOT EXCEEDING THREE YEARS, $1,000,000.'

THE PURPOSE OF THE ABOVE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION IS TO PERMIT THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO READILY PROVIDE TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR FEDERAL ACTIVITIES OCCUPYING BUILDINGS UNDER THE CUSTODY AND CONTROL OF THE TREASURY, AT SUCH TIMES THAT IT BECOMES NECESSARY UNDER PROPER AUTHORIZATION TO REBUILD OR REMODEL SUCH BUILDINGS, AND IN THIS CONNECTION, CONGRESS HAS FURTHER PROVIDED THAT CERTAIN ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE SUPERVISING ARCHITECT ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF SUCH TEMPORARY QUARTERS THE SAME AS IF USED FOR FEDERAL BUILDINGS FROM WHICH THE ACTIVITIES WERE TEMPORARILY REMOVED. SUCH AUTHORIZATION IS CONTAINED IN 33 STAT. 1161 AND 38 STAT. 22. BY MEANS OF THE ABOVE AUTHORIZED USE OF THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS MENTIONED, THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS ENABLED TO TAKE CARE OF FEDERAL ACTIVITIES HOUSED IN BUILDINGS UNDER THE CONTROL AND CUSTODY OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT WITHOUT EMBARRASSMENT TO THE DEPARTMENTS CONCERNED BECAUSE OF A POSSIBLE LACK OF APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF RENT, BUT THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS "OPERATING FORCE" AND "OPERATING SUPPLIES" CONTAIN PROVISIONS WHICH SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDE THEIR USE IN ANY PUBLIC BUILDING IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA EXCEPT THE CUSTOMHOUSE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING CIRCUMSTANCES, YOUR CONSIDERATION AND YOUR DECISION ARE RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THIS DEPARTMENT MAY PROVIDE TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR THE WASHINGTON CITY POST OFFICE GARAGE DURING THE ERECTION OF THE NEW POST-OFFICE BUILDING, AND IF SUCH TEMPORARY QUARTERS SHOULD BE PROVIDED BY THIS DEPARTMENT, WHETHER PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE FROM THE APPROPRIATION "RENT FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS" OR FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE BUILDING.

IN LETTER OF NOVEMBER 4, 1931, FROM THE FOURTH ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL, COPY OF WHICH WAS TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER, IT IS STATED TO BE ASSUMED THE EXPENSES OF THE TEMPORARY GARAGE QUARTERS MADE NECESSARY BY REASON OF THE AUTHORIZED EXTENSION, REMODELING AND ENLARGEMENT OF THE WASHINGTON CITY POST OFFICE WILL BE PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE ERECTION OF THE EXTENSION. THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION, AS MADE BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1931, 46 STAT. 1586, PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1930, 46 STAT. 1012, PROVIDES MERELY $2,500,000 FOR COMMENCEMENT OF EXTENSION OF THE WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, POST OFFICE, AND IT IS TO BE NOTED THE SAID ACT OF JULY 3, 1930, CONTAINS NO PROVISION WITH RESPECT TO THE PROCURING, OR RENTING OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR GARAGE OR OTHER PURPOSES DURING THE ERECTION OF THE EXTENSION. THIS CONNECTION THERE SHOULD NOT BE OVERLOOKED THE PROVISIONS IN THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877, 19 STAT. 370, THAT NO CONTRACT SHALL BE MADE FOR THE RENT OF ANY BUILDING OR PART THEREOF FOR GOVERNMENT PURPOSES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNTIL AN APPROPRIATION THEREFOR SHALL HAVE BEEN MADE IN TERMS BY THE CONGRESS. THE CONSTRUCTION APPROPRIATION IN THE PRESENT MATTER NOT BEING MADE IN SPECIFIC TERMS AVAILABLE FOR RENTAL EXPENSES MAY NOT BE USED FOR SUCH PURPOSES WHETHER TEMPORARY OR OTHERWISE.

WHILE THE APPROPRIATION FOR VEHICLE ALLOWANCE, ETC., UNDER THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IS MADE SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1923, 42 STAT. 1255, FOR LEASING QUARTERS FOR THE HOUSING OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILES AT A REASONABLE ANNUAL RENTAL, IT IS NOT TO BE ASSUMED THAT THIS APPROPRIATION WAS INTENDED TO BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF RENTALS AT PLACES WHERE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURPOSE EVEN WHEN AS IN THE PRESENT MATTER, THE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE TO BE VACATED TEMPORARILY SO THAT SUCH QUARTERS MAY BE EXTENDED AND ENLARGED AS PROVIDED BY LAW, THE WORK TO BE PERFORMED UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT.

NEITHER OF THE PROVISIONS IN THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1905, 33 STAT. 1161, AND JUNE 23, 1913, 38 STAT. 22, AUTHORIZING THE USE OF CERTAIN APPROPRIATIONS TO SECURE TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR THE USE OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS, PENDING THE ALTERATION, IMPROVEMENT OR REPAIRS TO OR THE REMODELING, RECONSTRUCTION OR ENLARGEMENT OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS BELONGING TO THE UNITED STATES, ARE APPLICABLE HERE, BECAUSE, AS STATED IN YOUR LETTER, THE WASHINGTON CITY POST OFFICE, AUTHORIZED TO BE EXTENDED AND ENLARGED, IS NOT A PUBLIC BUILDING "UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT" AS CONTEMPLATED BY THESE TWO ACTS. FURTHERMORE, IT APPEARS THAT BEGINNING WITH THE FISCAL YEAR 1927 THERE HAS BEEN PROVIDED A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION EACH FISCAL YEAR FOR THE RENT OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS, THE APPROPRIATION FOR 1932, AS MADE BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 23, 1931, 46 STAT. 1231, BEING THAT QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER. WHILE APPARENTLY THIS APPROPRIATION WAS MADE WITH A VIEW TO TAKING CARE OF CONTINGENCIES ARISING IN THE CARRYING OUT OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS ACT OF MAY 25, 1926, 44 STAT. 630, THERE IS NOTHING IN THE ACT AUTHORIZING SUCH AN APPROPRIATION NOR IN THE APPROPRIATION ITSELF, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE APPROPRIATION IS TO BE USED ONLY IN THE CASES ARISING UNDER THE ACT OF 1926 OR ITS AMENDMENTS.

WHILE THE EXTENSION AND ENLARGEMENT OF THE WASHINGTON CITY POST OFFICE IS NOT A PROJECT UNDER THE ACT OF 1926, IT IS LISTED AMONG MISCELLANEOUS PUBLIC BUILDINGS PROJECTS IN THE DEFICIENCY ACT OF MARCH 4, 1931, MAKING THE INITIAL APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURPOSE. FURTHERMORE, AS ABOVE INDICATED, THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE RENT OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS UNDER THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IS NOT LIMITED TO PROJECTS UNDER THE ACT OF 1926 BUT IS GENERAL IN ITS TERMS AS PROVIDING FUNDS FOR THE RENT OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS WHEN MADE NECESSARY BY REASON OF ENLARGING OR EXTENDING PUBLIC BUILDINGS WHEN THE CONSTRUCTION WORK IS UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT AND THE CONSTRUCTION APPROPRIATION DOES NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE THEREFOR. IN ADDITION TO OTHER CONSIDERATIONS, THIS APPROPRIATION IS MADE AVAILABLE SPECIFICALLY FOR PURPOSES SUCH AS INVOLVED IN THE PRESENT MATTER AND THAT FACT PRECLUDES THE USE OF ANY OTHER APPROPRIATION FOR SUCH PURPOSE.

ACCORDINGLY, IN SPECIFIC ANSWER TO THE QUESTION SUBMITTED, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THE APPROPRIATION,"RENT OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS," IS AVAILABLE TO PAY FOR SUCH RENTALS AS MAY BE NECESSARY INCIDENT TO THE EXTENSION OF THE WASHINGTON CITY POST OFFICE.

YOUR ATTENTION IN THIS CONNECTION IS INVITED TO DECISION OF THIS OFFICE TO YOU OF AUGUST 29, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 88, THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF WHICH PROVIDED THAT THERE SHOULD BE REPORTED TO THIS OFFICE THE CASES INVOLVING UNEXPENDED APPROPRIATIONS FOR RENT UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT WHEN TEMPORARY QUARTERS ARE FURNISHED BY THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT. IT APPEARING THAT THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR VEHICLE ALLOWANCE, ETC., FISCAL YEAR, 1932, AS MADE BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 23, 1931, 46 STAT. 1241, CONTAINS A PROVISO THAT SAID APPROPRIATION WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THE GOVERNMENT OWNED POST OFFICE GARAGE AT WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, SUCH UNEXPENDED AMOUNT ALLOTTED THEREFOR UNDER THE APPROPRIATION APPEARS TO BE FOR REVERTING TO THE TREASURY.