A-4325, AUGUST 18, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 187

A-4325: Aug 18, 1924

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ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE COST OF EXTENSIVE REPAIRS AND ALTERATIONS TO THE NATIONAL RESEARCH BUILDING AT NINETEENTH AND B STREETS NW. THE ALLOTMENT OF SPACE IN WHICH IS UNDER ITS CONTROL. 1924: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 23. ARE AVAILABLE FOR MODIFICATION AND ALTERATIONS. THE DISTRICT ENGINEER'S OFFICE WAS NOTIFIED BY THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS COMMISSION TO VACATE ITS PRESENT QUARTERS IN THE OLD LAND OFFICE BUILDING AND HAS BEEN ASSIGNED TO QUARTERS IN THE NATIONAL RESEARCH BUILDING. THE RESEARCH BUILDING AT NINETEENTH AND B STREETS WILL BE SUITABLE FOR THE NEEDS OF THIS OFFICE AFTER SOME REMODELING WORK HAS BEEN DONE. WHICH WILL INCLUDE REARRANGEMENT OF THE PARTITIONS ON THE FIRST AND SECOND FLOORS.

A-4325, AUGUST 18, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 187

PUBLIC BUILDINGS - REPAIRS AND ALTERATIONS - JURISDICTION OF THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS COMMISSION A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION HAVING BEEN PROVIDED FOR REPAIRS AND ALTERATIONS OF PUBLIC BUILDINGS UNDER THE JURISDICTION AND CONTROL OF THE SUPERINTENDENT STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDINGS, THE PROVISIONS APPEARING IN VARIOUS APPROPRIATIONS FOR PROJECTS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE DISTRICT ENGINEER, UNITED STATES ARMY, ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE COST OF EXTENSIVE REPAIRS AND ALTERATIONS TO THE NATIONAL RESEARCH BUILDING AT NINETEENTH AND B STREETS NW., WASHINGTON, D.C., TO PROVIDE SUFFICIENT FLOOR SPACE FOR OCCUPANCY AS THE OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ENGINEER. THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS COMMISSION MAY NOT GRANT AUTHORITY FOR THE ALTERATION OR REPAIR OF A PUBLIC BUILDING IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE ALLOTMENT OF SPACE IN WHICH IS UNDER ITS CONTROL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, AUGUST 18, 1924:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 23, 1924, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER THREE APPROPRIATIONS: ,INCREASING WATER SUPPLY, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; " WASHINGTON AQUEDUCT, D.C., 1925," AND ,RECLAMATION OF ANACOSTIA RIVER FLATS, D.C., " PROVIDED IN THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 574, 575, AND 572, RESPECTIVELY, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1923, ARE AVAILABLE FOR MODIFICATION AND ALTERATIONS, COSTING APPROXIMATELY $15,000, TO THE NATIONAL RESEARCH BUILDING AT NINETEENTH AND B STREETS NW., WASHINGTON, D.C., TO MAKE IT SUITABLE FOR OCCUPANCY AS THE OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ENGINEER, UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE, WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE DISTRICT ENGINEER'S OFFICE WAS NOTIFIED BY THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS COMMISSION TO VACATE ITS PRESENT QUARTERS IN THE OLD LAND OFFICE BUILDING AND HAS BEEN ASSIGNED TO QUARTERS IN THE NATIONAL RESEARCH BUILDING. THE DISTRICT ENGINEER STATES AS FOLLOWS:

2. THE RESEARCH BUILDING AT NINETEENTH AND B STREETS WILL BE SUITABLE FOR THE NEEDS OF THIS OFFICE AFTER SOME REMODELING WORK HAS BEEN DONE, WHICH WILL INCLUDE REARRANGEMENT OF THE PARTITIONS ON THE FIRST AND SECOND FLOORS, THE ADDITION OF A THIRD FLOOR, NEW HEATING ARRANGEMENTS, CHANGES IN THE PLUMBING, PAINTING, ETC. AFTER REMODELING 5,144 SQUARE FEET WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR OFFICE SPACE AS AGAINST 4,611 SQUARE FEET NOW AVAILABLE IN THIS OFFICE. WITHOUT THE ADDITION OF THE THIRD FLOOR THERE WOULD BE A SACRIFICE OF OVER 1,000 SQUARE FEET, WHICH WOULD UNDULY CROWD THE PERSONNEL AND FILES.

3. BY CONFERENCE WITH THE SUPERINTENDENT STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDINGS, COLONEL SHERRILL HAS AGREED TO TAKE CARE OF ALL OF THIS WORK PROVIDED THIS OFFICE PAYS A PORTION OF THE COST, WHICH IS NOT WITHIN THE SCOPE OF WORK USUALLY PERFORMED BY HIS OFFICE IN PREPARING PUBLIC QUARTERS FOR OCCUPANCY. THE APPROXIMATE COST TO THIS OFFICE WILL BE $15,000, AND IT IS PROPOSED TO TRANSFER TO THE SUPERINTENDENT STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDINGS, FROM APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE CHARGE OF THIS OFFICE, SUCH SUM AS MAY BE REQUIRED. EVERY EFFORT WILL BE MADE TO VACATE THE OLD LAND OFFICE BUILDING AS SOON AFTER JUNE 25 AS PRACTICABLE.

THE PREMISES IN QUESTION WERE ACQUIRED FOR THE UNITED STATES UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1922, 42 STAT. 646, WHICH PLACED THE CONTROL THEREOF UNDER THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDINGS. THE ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 529, UNDER THE HEADING ,STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDINGS" CONTAINS AN ITEM FOR "REPAIRS," AND IN THE BUDGET, 1925, PAGE 70, CONTAINING THE ITEMIZATION OF THE TOTAL APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDINGS, APPEARS THE ITEM "REPAIRS AND ALTERATIONS," WITH A SUBHEADING ,BUILDINGS, $27,800.' THIS CONSTITUTES A SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION FOR REPAIRS AND ALTERATIONS TO ALL BUILDINGS UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDINGS, AND IS EXCLUSIVE OF APPROPRIATIONS IN GENERAL TERMS WHICH, BUT FOR THE SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION, MIGHT HAVE BEEN APPLICABLE. 1 COMP. GEN. 312, AND CASES THEREIN CITED. SEE ALSO 3 COMP GEN. 328.

FURTHERMORE, THE THREE APPROPRIATIONS MENTIONED BY YOU AS POSSIBLY AVAILABLE, AND IN ADDITION THE APPROPRIATION "PRESERVATION AND MAINTENANCE OF EXISTING RIVER AND HARBOR WORKS," ACT OF JUNE 7, 1924, 43 STAT. 515, WHICH THE DISTRICT ENGINEER SUGGESTS AS POSSIBLY AVAILABLE, HAVE BEEN CAREFULLY EXAMINED AND THERE IS NO EXPRESSION USED IN THE LANGUAGE MAKING THE APPROPRIATIONS THAT MIGHT REASONABLY BE CONSTRUED AS AUTHORIZING THE EXPENDITURE OF THE ESTIMATED AMOUNT FOR SUCH EXTENSIVE MODIFICATIONS AND ALTERATIONS TO A PUBLIC BUILDING IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA UNDER THE JURISDICTION AND CONTROL OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF THE STATE, WAR, AND NAVY DEPARTMENT BUILDINGS.

IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE PROVISION IN THE ACT OF JULY 25, 1912, 37 STAT. 206, AUTHORIZING THE LOCAL OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE RIVER AND HARBOR IMPROVEMENTS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO RENT QUARTERS WHEN NO PUBLIC BUILDING IS AVAILABLE, IS SUFFICIENT TO AUTHORIZE THE PROPOSED EXPENDITURE IN ALTERING A PUBLIC BUILDING TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE OFFICE IN LIEU OF RENTING A PRIVATELY-OWNED BUILDING. THERE IS NO MERIT IN THIS SUGGESTION. THE AUTHORITY TO RENT COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE CONSTRUED TO AUTHORIZE REPAIRS AND ALTERATIONS TO A PUBLIC BUILDING.

UNDER DATE OF JUNE 25, 1924, THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS COMMISSION THROUGH ITS ACTING CHAIRMAN ADVISED THE DISTRICT ENGINEER AS FOLLOWS:

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THERE IS NO OTHER GOVERNMENT OWNED BUILDING AVAILABLE AND ALSO IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT RENTAL OF ADEQUATE SPACE FOR YOUR OFFICE IN A PRIVATELY OWNED BUILDING WOULD COST BETWEEN $10,000 AND $15,000 A YEAR, YOU ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO MAKE THE NECESSARY ALTERATIONS TO THE NATIONAL RESEARCH BUILDING AT 19TH AND B STREETS, IN ORDER TO FIT IT FOR YOUR OCCUPANCY.

THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS COMMISSION WAS CREATED AND ITS DUTIES DEFINED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1919, 40 STAT. 1269. NO PROVISION APPEARS IN THAT ACT WHEREUNDER THE COMMISSION MAY GRANT AUTHORITY FOR THE ALTERATION OR REMODELING OF A PUBLIC BUILDING, THE ALLOTMENT OF SPACE IN WHICH IS UNDER ITS CONTROL, TO MEET THE NEEDS OF A PARTICULAR OFFICE, SPACE FOR WHICH HAS BEEN ASSIGNED BY IT IN SUCH BUILDING, AND SUCH ACTION CAN NOT IN ANY MANNER OBLIGATE APPROPRIATIONS NOT OTHERWISE AVAILABLE FOR THE REPAIRS OR ALTERATIONS. WHILE THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS COMMISSION HAD AUTHORITY TO REQUIRE THE REMOVAL OF THE OFFICE OF THE DISTRICT ENGINEER FROM THE OLD LAND OFFICE BUILDING TO THE NATIONAL RESEARCH BUILDING, IT COULD NOT AUTHORIZE THE PROPOSED ALTERATIONS IN THE LATTER BUILDING TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE OFFICE.