A-42320, JUNE 2, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 459

A-42320: Jun 2, 1932

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AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO NOTICE OF DISALLOWANCE ON VOUCHER NO. 20725 IN THE DECEMBER. ITEMS AGGREGATING $14.29 WERE SUSPENDED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED VOUCHER. THERE WAS FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE A MEMORANDUM DATED MARCH 14. YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THIS ACTION WAS TAKEN IN VIEW OF THE ACT THAT IT WAS NECESSARY TO ORDER THE TRANSFER VERBALLY IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION AND IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO SECURE THE WRITTEN TRANSFER UNTIL A SUBSEQUENT E.'. THERE WAS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER AT THE TIME THE SAME WAS FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AFTER PAYMENT BY THE DISBURSING CLERK A COPY OF A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 3. WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS: "THIS IS TO ADVISE YOU THAT YOUR HEADQUARTERS ARE HEREBY CHANGED FROM CLEVELAND.

A-42320, JUNE 2, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 459

TRAVELING EXPENSES - TRANSFERS BETWEEN DUTY STATIONS IN ORDER TO ENTITLE AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH TRANSFERS BETWEEN PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS, THE ORDER AUTHORIZING SUCH REIMBURSEMENT AND DIRECTING THE TRANSFER MUST BE SIGNED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT, OR BY SOME OFFICER AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO ACT AS SUCH, PRIOR TO THE PERFORMANCE OF THE TRAVEL AND THIS REQUIREMENT MAY NOT BE DISREGARDED IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, JUNE 2, 1932:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 20, 1932, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO NOTICE OF DISALLOWANCE ON VOUCHER NO. 20725 IN THE DECEMBER, 1931, ACCOUNTS OF R. D. ALLISON, DISBURSING CLERK OF THIS DEPARTMENT.

ON NOTICE OF EXCEPTION DATED MARCH 5, 1932, ITEMS AGGREGATING $14.29 WERE SUSPENDED IN CONNECTION WITH THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED VOUCHER. BY REPLY TO EXCEPTION DATED MARCH 31, 1932, THERE WAS FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE A MEMORANDUM DATED MARCH 14, 1932, FROM THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

"WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR MEMORANDUM OF MARCH 10, 1932, RELATIVE TO THE TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS OF SPECIAL AGENT O. G. HALL FROM CLEVELAND, OHIO, TO DETROIT, MICH., NOVEMBER 20, 1931, UPON AN ORDER DIRECTING THE TRANSFER DATED DECEMBER 3, 1931, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THIS ACTION WAS TAKEN IN VIEW OF THE ACT THAT IT WAS NECESSARY TO ORDER THE TRANSFER VERBALLY IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION AND IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO SECURE THE WRITTEN TRANSFER UNTIL A SUBSEQUENT E.'

THERE WAS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER AT THE TIME THE SAME WAS FORWARDED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AFTER PAYMENT BY THE DISBURSING CLERK A COPY OF A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 3, 1931, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

"THIS IS TO ADVISE YOU THAT YOUR HEADQUARTERS ARE HEREBY CHANGED FROM CLEVELAND, OHIO, TO DETROIT, MICHIGAN, EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 20, 1931.

"THIS CHANGE IS MADE FOR OFFICIAL REASONS AND NOT FOR YOUR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE. YOU WILL ACCORDINGLY BE ALLOWED YOUR NECESSARY EXPENSES IN CONNECTION THEREWITH.

VERY TRULY YOURS,

(SGND.) CHARLES P. SISSON,

ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL.'

THE DEPARTMENT IS NOW IN RECEIPT OF NOTICE OF DISALLOWANCE DATED APRIL 16, 1932, OF ITEMS AGGREGATING $14.29 IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, WHICH NOTICE OF DISALLOWANCE READS PRACTICALLY THE SAME AS THE ORIGINAL NOTICE OF EXCEPTION DATED MARCH 5.

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT BOTH THE NOTICE OF EXCEPTION AND NOTICE OF DISALLOWANCE READ IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"ORDER ISSUED PRIOR TO DATE OF TRANSFER SIGNED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OR ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER * * *.'

THIS PARTICULAR PHRASE IS NOT UNDERSTOOD. BY REFERENCE TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 23, 1931, 46 STAT. 1242, AS CITED IN BOTH NOTICES, IT IS NOTED THAT THE SAME READS AS FOLLOWS:

"APPROPRIATIONS * * * SHALL BE AVAILABLE ALSO FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THEM ON TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT * * * IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER.'

THERE IS NOTHING IN THE ACT CITED TO REQUIRE PRIOR WRITTEN AUTHORITY. THE DEPARTMENT REALIZED THAT THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE MUST REQUIRE SOME EVIDENCE OF THE DEPARTMENT'S COMPLIANCE WITH THE ACT IN QUESTION AND FOR THAT REASON HAS FURNISHED FROM TIME TO TIME A COPY OF A LETTER SIGNED BY AN ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL AUTHORIZING THE CHANGE OF HEADQUARTERS FROM ONE POINT TO ANOTHER. IN THIS CASE, HOWEVER, THE LETTER AUTHORIZING THE CHANGE OF HEADQUARTERS WAS DATED DECEMBER 3, 1931, AND CONFIRMED A VERBAL CHANGE OF HEADQUARTERS MADE ON NOVEMBER 20, 1931, WHICH CHANGE AS STATED ABOVE WAS MADE IN AN EMERGENCY. ASSUMING HOWEVER THAT HAD THERE BEEN A REQUIREMENT UNDER THE ACT REFERRED TO OR THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS THAT SUCH AUTHORIZATION SHOULD BE REDUCED TO WRITING, IT WOULD NOT SEEM JUST TO PENALIZE A GOVERNMENT OFFICER OR EMPLOYE FOR PERFORMING TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY AND BY VERBAL DIRECTION OF THE DEPARTMENT.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING IT WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL RECONSIDER THE ACTION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITH A VIEW TO ALLOWING THE ITEM IN QUESTION.

THE EMERGENCY FEATURE OF THE TRANSFER OF SPECIAL AGENT HALL'S HEADQUARTERS FROM CLEVELAND, OHIO, TO DETROIT, MICH., IS NOT EXPLAINED NOR IS IT STATED WHO ORALLY DIRECTED THE CHANGE ON NOVEMBER 20, 1931.

THE NECESSITY FOR THE PRIOR AND SPECIFIC AUTHORITY BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT ARISES FROM STATUTORY PROVISIONS, BEGINNING WITH THE ACT OF DECEMBER 22, 1927, 45 STAT. 50, AND EXTENDED BY THE ACT OF DECEMBER 20, 1928, 45 STAT. 1055; MAY 15, 1930, 46 STAT. 365; AND FEBRUARY 23, 1931, 46 STAT. 1242. SECTION 2 OF THE LAST-MENTIONED ACT PROVIDES:

APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1932 AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS SHALL BE AVAILABLE ALSO FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THEM ON TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR ANY TRANSFER EFFECTED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.

THE STATUTE REQUIRES, AS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO MAKING THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE, THAT THE TRAVEL BETWEEN OFFICIAL STATIONS MUST HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED "IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER.' MANIFESTLY, THE APPROVAL BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT AFTER THE TRAVEL HAS BEEN PERFORMED DOES NOT MEET THIS REQUIREMENT.

WHILE TRAVEL WHERE NO TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IS INVOLVED MAY BE PERFORMED IN AN EMERGENCY WITHOUT ORDERS AND SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVED UNDER CONDITIONS GIVEN IN PARAGRAPHS 5, 6, AND 7 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1931, IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 23, 1931, SUPRA, REQUIRES THAT THE ORDER DIRECTING THE TRANSFER AND SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZING THE EXPENSES, MUST BE ISSUED BEFORE THE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED IN THE CASE OF TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER, AND THIS REQUIREMENT MAY NOT BE DISREGARDED UNDER THE PLEA OF AN EMERGENCY. SEE 7 COMP. GEN. 482, 689, 832; A-33731, APRIL 13, 1931; A-33313, APRIL 14, 1931.

ACCORDINGLY, THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF DISBURSING CLERK R. D. ALLISON, DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IN THE SUM OF $14.29, MUST BE, AND IS, SUSTAINED. THE SUM SHOULD BE FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY.