A-42907, SEPTEMBER 27, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 378

A-42907: Sep 27, 1932

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APPROPRIATIONS MADE PURSUANT TO THAT ACT ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF HIS BURIAL EXPENSES. FOR WHICH OTHER FUNDS WERE NOT AVAILABLE. IT APPEARS THAT THE DECEASED WAS EMPLOYED AS A WARD ATTENDANT AT THE SAID FITZSIMONS GENERAL HOSPITAL WHEN HE DIED. THE QUARTERMASTER AT THE HOSPITAL HAS REPORTED THAT THE FATHER OF THE DECEASED WAS NOTIFIED WHEN DEATH OCCURRED AND WAS REQUESTED TO FURNISH INSTRUCTIONS AS TO DISPOSITION OF THE REMAINS WITH FUNDS TO COVER THE COST. ADVISED THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO RAISE FUNDS TO COVER EMBALMING THE BODY. AS IT WAS NECESSARY. THE REMAINS WERE TURNED OVER TO THE OLINGER MORTUARIES. THE ITEMIZED BILL OF THIS CLAIMANT FOR $58.50 IS FOR CASKET. THE QUESTION IS WHETHER APPROPRIATED FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH SERVICES.

A-42907, SEPTEMBER 27, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 378

BURIAL EXPENSES - CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE ARMY WHO DIED AT HIS PERMANENT STATION AT A PERMANENT MILITARY HOSPITAL IN THE UNITED STATES DID NOT DIE "WHILE ON DUTY IN THE FIELD" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS USED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 9, 1928, 45 STAT. 251, AUTHORIZING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE BURIAL EXPENSE OF CERTAIN MILITARY PERSONNEL AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY, AND APPROPRIATIONS MADE PURSUANT TO THAT ACT ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF HIS BURIAL EXPENSES, EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT NECESSARILY INCURRED, ON ACCOUNT OF THE INDIGENCY OF THE EMPLOYEE, IN THE DISPOSITION OF THE REMAINS AS A SANITARY MEASURE, FOR WHICH OTHER FUNDS WERE NOT AVAILABLE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, SEPTEMBER 27, 1932:

THE OLINGER MORTUARIES (INC.), DENVER, COLO., HAS FILED CLAIM FOR $58.50 FOR THE PREPARATION FOR BURIAL, ETC., OF THE BODY OF CURTIS POWELL, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE MEDICAL DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY WHO DIED AT FITZSIMONS GENERAL HOSPITAL, DENVER, COLO., ON SEPTEMBER 28, 1931.

IT APPEARS THAT THE DECEASED WAS EMPLOYED AS A WARD ATTENDANT AT THE SAID FITZSIMONS GENERAL HOSPITAL WHEN HE DIED. THE QUARTERMASTER AT THE HOSPITAL HAS REPORTED THAT THE FATHER OF THE DECEASED WAS NOTIFIED WHEN DEATH OCCURRED AND WAS REQUESTED TO FURNISH INSTRUCTIONS AS TO DISPOSITION OF THE REMAINS WITH FUNDS TO COVER THE COST; THAT THE FATHER FURNISHED THE DENVER OFFICE OF THE AMERICAN EXPRESS AGENCY WITH THE COST OF TRANSPORTING THE REMAINS BY EXPRESS TO LUMBER CITY, GA., BUT ADVISED THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO RAISE FUNDS TO COVER EMBALMING THE BODY; AND THAT, AS IT WAS NECESSARY, OF COURSE, THAT EMBALMING BE DONE PROMPTLY, THE REMAINS WERE TURNED OVER TO THE OLINGER MORTUARIES, THEIR SERVICES BEING THE CHEAPEST AVAILABLE. THE ITEMIZED BILL OF THIS CLAIMANT FOR $58.50 IS FOR CASKET, EMBALMING, SHIPPING CASE AND HEARSE TO DEPOT, AND THE QUESTION IS WHETHER APPROPRIATED FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH SERVICES.

THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1897, 30 STAT. 86, PROVIDES:

* * * THAT HEREAFTER THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS SHALL NOT AUTHORIZE ANY EXPENDITURE IN CONNECTION WITH TRANSPORTATION OF REMAINS OF DECEASED EMPLOYEES, EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED BY LAW.

THE WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT OF FEBRUARY 23, 1931, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1932, 46 STAT. 1277, 1302, UNDER "CEMETERIAL EXPENSES," PROVIDES:

* * * FOR RECOVERY OF BODIES AND THE DISPOSITION OF REMAINS OF MILITARY PERSONNEL AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY UNDER ACT APPROVED MARCH 9, 1928, * * *.

THE SAID ACT OF MARCH 9, 1928, 45 STAT. 251, AUTHORIZES APPROPRIATIONS FROM TIME TO TIME OF SUCH SUMS AS MAY BE NECESSARY FOR BURIAL EXPENSES, ETC., OF DESIGNATED MILITARY PERSONNEL, AND---

* * * FOR INTERMENT OR PREPARATION AND TRANSPORTATION TO THEIR HOMES OF THE REMAINS OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY IN THE EMPLOY OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT WHO DIE ABROAD, IN ALASKA, IN THE CANAL ZONE, OR ON ARMY TRANSPORTS, OR WHO DIE WHILE ON DUTY IN THE FIELD; * * *.

THIS LANGUAGE IS PRACTICALLY IDENTICAL WITH THE LANGUAGE USED IN PRIOR WAR DEPARTMENT ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS PROVIDING FOR THE DISPOSITION OF REMAINS OF OFFICERS, SOLDIERS, AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES, EXCEPT THAT PRIOR TO THE FISCAL YEAR 1923 THERE WAS PROVISION FOR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ,WHO DIE WHILE ON DUTY IN THE FIELD OR AT MILITARY POSTS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES.' SEE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1921, 41 STAT. 1386. HOWEVER, THE PROVISION FOR THE BURIAL EXPENSES OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES WHO DIE AT MILITARY POSTS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES WAS CHALLENGED BY MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE IN THE HEARINGS ON THE WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION BILL FOR 1923--- SEE PAGE 39 OF THE REPORT OF SUCH HEARINGS (NONMILITARY ACTIVITIES/--- SUCH PROVISION WAS ELIMINATED FROM THE BILL AND HAS NOT APPEARED IN SUBSEQUENT APPROPRIATION ACTS, NOR IS IT IN THE PERMANENT LEGISLATION CONCERNING THE MATTER CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 9, 1928, SUPRA. IT IS THUS EVIDENT THAT THE PRESENT PROVISION FOR THE PAYMENT OF BURIAL EXPENSES, ETC., FOR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE ARMY "WHO DIE WHILE ON DUTY IN THE FIELD" DOES NOT INCLUDE EMPLOYEES WHO DIE AT MILITARY POSTS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES, AND THAT "DUTY IN THE FIELD" IS USED IN A MILITARY SENSE RATHER THAN TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN EMPLOYEES IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE AT WASHINGTON, D.C., AND THOSE IN THE WAR DEPARTMENT FIELD SERVICE AT STATIONS AWAY FROM WASHINGTON. THAT THE LATTER CLASS OF EMPLOYEES HAVE NOT BEEN CONSIDERED AS COMING WITHIN THE CITED PROVISION MERELY BECAUSE THEY WERE STATIONED AWAY FROM WASHINGTON, SEE THE HEARINGS ON THE WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION BILL FOR 1927, AT PAGE 811, AND FOR 1929 (NONMILITARY ACTIVITIES), AT PAGE 33.

THE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE IN THIS CASE DIED AT HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT A PERMANENT GENERAL MILITARY HOSPITAL AND CONSEQUENTLY MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING DIED "WHILE ON DUTY IN THE FIELD" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF MARCH 9, 1928, AND IT FOLLOWS THAT THE APPROPRIATIONS MADE PURSUANT TO SUCH ACT ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR HIS BURIAL EXPENSES EXCEPT TO THE EXTENT NECESSARILY INCURRED, ON ACCOUNT OF THE INDIGENCY OF THE EMPLOYEE, IN THE DISPOSITION OF THE REMAINS AS A SANITARY MEASURE, FOR WHICH OTHER FUNDS WERE NOT AVAILABLE. SEE 2 COMP. DEC. 347; 6 ID. 447; 11 ID. 789; 26 ID. 321; A-22914, JUNE 4, 1928. THE ITEM OF $23.50 CLAIMED FOR A CASKET AND $5 FOR HEARSE, OR A TOTAL OF $28.50, MAY BE VIEWED AS EXPENSES NECESSARILY INCURRED IN THIS RESPECT. IT APPEARS THERE WAS DUE THE DECEASED AT THE DATE OF HIS DEATH ACCRUED SALARY IN THE AMOUNT OF $21.67. SUCH AMOUNT OF ACCRUED SALARY WILL BE ALLOWED THE CLAIMANT IN PARTIAL PAYMENT FOR THE SAID NECESSARY EXPENSES, AND THE BALANCE OF $6.83 WILL BE ALLOWED UNDER THE SAID WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION "CEMETERIAL EXPENSES" FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1932. ITEMS OF $20 CLAIMED FOR EMBALMING AND $10 FOR SHIPPING CASE DO NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN NECESSARY EXPENSES IN THIS RESPECT AND ACCORDINGLY MAY NOT BE ALLOWED UNDER THE APPROPRIATION.