A-43191, JULY 13, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 23

A-43191: Jul 13, 1932

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MAY BE DEFINED TO MEAN POSITIONS THE IMMEDIATE FILLING OF WHICH IS RENDERED NECESSARY BECAUSE OF A SUDDEN OR UNEXPECTED EXIGENCY OF THE SERVICE. OR AN ADDITION TO AN EXISTING HOSPITAL OR FACILITY IS TO BE OPENED. THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION IS NOW OPERATING FIFTY-TWO HOSPITALS AND TEN SOLDIERS' HOMES. IN WHICH THERE ARE INCLUDED HOSPITAL FACILITIES. DURING THE PRESENT FISCAL YEAR A NUMBER OF NEW HOSPITALS AND HOME FACILITIES WILL BE OPENED. SIX OF THE NEW HOSPITALS WILL BE READY FOR OPENING AND OPERATION WITHIN THE NEXT NINETY DAYS. THERE IS ENCLOSED A LIST OF THE POSITIONS ESSENTIAL TO THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF THE PRESENT HOSPITALS. SIMILAR STAFFS WILL HAVE TO BE CREATED FOR THE NEW INSTITUTIONS.

A-43191, JULY 13, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 23

ECONOMY ACT - APPOINTMENT OF EMERGENCY EMPLOYEES - VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION HOSPITALS THE TERM "EMERGENCY * * * POSITIONS" AS USED IN CLAUSE (B) OF SECTION 203 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 403, MAY BE DEFINED TO MEAN POSITIONS THE IMMEDIATE FILLING OF WHICH IS RENDERED NECESSARY BECAUSE OF A SUDDEN OR UNEXPECTED EXIGENCY OF THE SERVICE. WHERE THE NEED FOR AN APPOINTMENT CAN BE KNOWN IN ADVANCE, OR WHERE DELAY IN MAKING APPOINTMENT WOULD RESULT IN NO MORE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCE THAN IMPOSING OF NOT UNREASONABLE ADDITIONAL OR OVERTIME WORK OR THE ACCUMULATION OF WORK THAT MAY BE DONE LATER, THE VACANCY MAY BE FILLED ONLY UPON AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL IN WRITING BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. WHERE VACANCIES IN CERTAIN ESSENTIAL POSITIONS AT HOSPITALS, SUCH AS NURSES, ATTENDANTS, ETC., CREATE A SUDDEN OR UNEXPECTED EXIGENCY IN THE SERVICE, BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THE WORK, THE APPOINTMENT MAY BE MADE AS AN EMERGENCY POSITION WITHOUT THE WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL OF THE PRESIDENT, BUT THERE SHOULD BE SUBMITTED WITH THE PAY ROLL OR VOUCHER COVERING THE FIRST SALARY PAYMENT A SIGNED STATEMENT OF THE FACTS SHOWING THE EMERGENCY MAKING THE IMMEDIATE ACTION ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. WHERE A NEW HOSPITAL OR FACILITY, OR AN ADDITION TO AN EXISTING HOSPITAL OR FACILITY IS TO BE OPENED, THE PERSONNEL ESSENTIAL TO THE OPERATION THEREOF MAY BE EMPLOYED ONLY UNDER EXCEPTION (A) OF SECTION 203 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, UPON THE WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL OF THE PRESIDENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, JULY 13, 1932:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 5, 1932, AS FOLLOWS:

IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATION HAD WITH YOU ON JULY 1, 1932, I AM SUBMITTING FOR YOUR DECISION THE QUESTION WHICH HAS ARISEN IN CONNECTION WITH PUBLIC 212, 72 CONGRESS,"AN ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1933, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.'

THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION IS NOW OPERATING FIFTY-TWO HOSPITALS AND TEN SOLDIERS' HOMES, IN WHICH THERE ARE INCLUDED HOSPITAL FACILITIES. DURING THE PRESENT FISCAL YEAR A NUMBER OF NEW HOSPITALS AND HOME FACILITIES WILL BE OPENED, AND MANY ADDITIONS MADE TO EXISTING HOSPITALS. SIX OF THE NEW HOSPITALS WILL BE READY FOR OPENING AND OPERATION WITHIN THE NEXT NINETY DAYS.

THERE IS ENCLOSED A LIST OF THE POSITIONS ESSENTIAL TO THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF THE PRESENT HOSPITALS, AND SIMILAR STAFFS WILL HAVE TO BE CREATED FOR THE NEW INSTITUTIONS. THE PERSONNEL TURNOVER IS EXTREMELY HIGH, PARTICULARLY IN THE LOW-GRADE POSITIONS, SUCH AS ATTENDANTS, KITCHEN HELP, ETC., BUT THE NECESSITY FOR KEEPING ALL POSITIONS FILLED IS ESSENTIAL TO THE EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE OPERATION OF THE INSTITUTIONS, IF PROPER MEDICAL AND HOSPITAL CARE IS TO BE RENDERED TO THE SICK AND DISABLED.

SECTION 203 OF THE ABOVE REFERRED TO ACT READS IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"NO APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE TO ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT OR TO THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DURING THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1933, SHALL BE USED TO PAY THE COMPENSATION OF AN INCUMBENT APPOINTED TO ANY CIVIL POSITION UNDER THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT OR THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHICH IS VACANT ON JULY 1, 1932, OR TO ANY SUCH POSITION WHICH MAY BECOME VACANT AFTER SUCH DATE:PROVIDED, THAT THIS INHIBITION SHALL NOT APPLY (A) TO ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL POSITIONS THE FILLING OF WHICH MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED IN WRITING BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, (B) TO TEMPORARY, EMERGENCY, SEASONAL, OR COOPERATIVE POSITIONS, OR (C) TO COMMISSIONED, COMMISSIONED WARRANT, WARRANT, AND ENLISTED PERSONNEL, AND CADETS, OF THE COAST GUARD.'

IT IS MY BELIEF THAT THE PERSONNEL AT THESE INSTITUTIONS, SUCH AS DOCTORS, NURSES, DIETITIANS, ATTENDANTS, AND KITCHEN HELP, SHOULD BE CLASSED WITHIN THE EXCEPTION CONTAINED IN CLAUSE (B) OF THE PROVISO, AS OCCUPYING "EMERGENCY POSITIONS.' I PREDICATE THIS BELIEF ON THE FACT THAT IN ORDER TO SUCCESSFULLY OPERATE IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THESE POSITIONS BE MANNED AT ALL TIMES IN ORDER TO RENDER HUMANE AND EMERGENCY CARE TO THE SICK AND DISTRESSED, TO PRESERVE LIFE AND HEALTH, AND PREVENT THE SPREAD OF DISEASE.

I WOULD, THEREFORE, RESPECTFULLY REQUEST YOUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER I WOULD BE JUSTIFIED IN CLASSIFYING THOSE EMPLOYEES REFERRED TO AS OCCUPYING "EMERGENCY POSITIONS," IN ORDER THAT THERE MAY BE NO DELAY IN SECURING REPLACEMENTS, THUS AVOIDING A POSSIBLE IMPAIRMENT OF THE SERVICE NECESSARY TO RENDER PROPER TREATMENT TO SICK AND DISABLED MEN, OR PRECIPITATING A SITUATION WHICH MIGHT ENDANGER THE LIVES OF THE PATIENTS. I ALSO REQUEST THAT YOU INDICATE SUCH OTHER EMPLOYEES ON THE ATTACHED LIST AS MIGHT BE CLASSED AS OCCUPYING "EMERGENCY POSITIONS.'

I CAN ASSURE YOU THAT IN FILLING ANY VACANCIES CLASSED AS "EMERGENCY POSITIONS" IT IS MY INTENTION TO FULLY COMPLY WITH THE DESIRES OF THE PRESIDENT AND THE CONGRESS TO THE END THAT PROPER ECONOMY MAY BE EFFECTED IN ALL OF THESE INSTITUTIONS.

THE TERM "EMERGENCY * * * POSITIONS" AS USED IN CLAUSE (B) OF SECTION 203 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, PUBLIC NO. 212, 47 STAT. 403, MAY BE DEFINED TO MEAN THE POSITIONS THE IMMEDIATE FILLING OF WHICH IS RENDERED NECESSARY BECAUSE OF A SUDDEN OR UNEXPECTED EXIGENCY OF THE SERVICE.

WHERE THE NEED FOR AN APPOINTMENT CAN BE KNOWN IN ADVANCE, AS WHERE THERE IS AN ANTICIPATED VACANCY OR AN ANTICIPATED NEED FOR ADDITIONAL SERVICES, OR WHERE DELAY IN MAKING APPOINTMENT WOULD RESULT IN NO MORE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCE THAN IMPOSING OF NOT UNREASONABLE ADDITIONAL OR OVERTIME WORK ON OTHER OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OR THE ACCUMULATION OF WORK THAT MAY BE DONE LATER WITHOUT UNDUE IMPAIRMENT OF THE SERVICE, THE PROCEDURE MUST BE UNDER EXCEPTION (A) AND NOT UNDER EXCEPTION (B).

WITH RESPECT TO CERTAIN ESSENTIAL POSITIONS AT A HOSPITAL, SUCH AS NURSES, ATTENDANTS, ETC., AND BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THE WORK INVOLVED THE EXIGENCY MIGHT ARISE BY AN UNEXPECTED VACANCY IN THE REGULAR FORCE OR BY AN UNEXPECTED INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF PATIENTS, WHERE SUCH SITUATIONS ARISE, THE APPOINTMENTS MAY BE MADE FORTHWITH WITHOUT THE WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL OF THE PRESIDENT, BUT THERE SHOULD BE SUBMITTED FOR FILING WITH THE PAY ROLL OR VOUCHER COVERING THE FIRST SALARY PAYMENT A SIGNED STATEMENT OF THE FACTS OF THE EMERGENCY MAKING THE IMMEDIATE ACTION ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. WHERE THE ACTION IS DUE TO AN UNEXPECTED INCREASE IN PATIENTS THE EMPLOYMENT PRESUMABLY WILL BE NO LONGER THAN THE DURATION OF THE EMERGENCY CONDITION.

WHERE A NEW HOSPITAL OR FACILITY, OR AN ADDITION TO AN EXISTING HOSPITAL OR FACILITY, IS TO BE OPENED THE PERSONNEL ESSENTIAL TO THE OPERATION THEREOF MAY NOT BE ENGAGED UNDER EXCEPTION (B) OF SECTION 203, BUT MAY BE ENGAGED ONLY IF AND WHEN AUTHORIZED IN WRITING BY THE PRESIDENT AS PROVIDED UNDER EXCEPTION (A) THEREOF.