A-43722, AUGUST 2, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 168

A-43722: Aug 2, 1932

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ECONOMY ACT - TRANSFER OF APPROPRIATIONS - PERSONAL SERVICES FUNDS TRANSFERRED UNDER SECTION 317 OF THE ECONOMY ACT TO AN APPROPRIATION CONTAINING A LIMITED AMOUNT FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR ANY OR ALL OF THE OBJECTS PROVIDED FOR BY THE APPROPRIATION. A QUESTION HAS ARISEN UPON WHICH I WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH TO HAVE YOUR DECISION. THE QUESTION WITH WHICH I AM IMMEDIATELY CONCERNED IS WHETHER TRANSFERS BETWEEN APPROPRIATIONS WHEN AUTHORIZED UNDER THE SECTION OF THE LAW ABOVE MENTIONED MAY OPERATE TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE EXPENDED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THOSE CASES WHERE THE APPROPRIATION TO BE AUGMENTED CONTAINS A PERSONNEL LIMITATION. THE PURPOSE OF SECTION 317 WAS TO GIVE SUCH ELASTICITY TO THE 1933 APPROPRIATIONS AS WOULD ENABLE THE BEST USE POSSIBLE OF THE REDUCED APPROPRIATIONS.

A-43722, AUGUST 2, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 168

ECONOMY ACT - TRANSFER OF APPROPRIATIONS - PERSONAL SERVICES FUNDS TRANSFERRED UNDER SECTION 317 OF THE ECONOMY ACT TO AN APPROPRIATION CONTAINING A LIMITED AMOUNT FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR ANY OR ALL OF THE OBJECTS PROVIDED FOR BY THE APPROPRIATION, INCLUDING PERSONAL SERVICES, BUT NO LIMITATION IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR EXPENDITURE FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE, INCLUDING PERSONAL SERVICES, MAY BE EXCEEDED BY MORE THAN 15 PERCENT BY REASON OF SUCH TRANSFER. THE AUTHORITY IN SECTION 317 OF THE ECONOMY ACT TO MAKE TRANSFERS BETWEEN DIFFERENT APPROPRIATIONS DOES NOT SUPERSEDE OR CANCEL THE AUTHORITY IN CERTAIN APPROPRIATIONS TO MAKE TRANSFERS BETWEEN SUBITEMS OF THE SAME APPROPRIATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, AUGUST 2, 1932:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 29, 1932, AS FOLLOWS:

IN THE CONSIDERATION OF REQUESTS FOR TRANSFER OF APPROPRIATIONS UNDER SECTION 317 OF THE LEGISLATIVE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1933, APPROVED JUNE 30, 1932, A QUESTION HAS ARISEN UPON WHICH I WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH TO HAVE YOUR DECISION. AS YOU KNOW, VARIOUS APPROPRIATION ITEMS CONTAIN A LIMITATION AS TO THE AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE EXPENDED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES, AND THE QUESTION WITH WHICH I AM IMMEDIATELY CONCERNED IS WHETHER TRANSFERS BETWEEN APPROPRIATIONS WHEN AUTHORIZED UNDER THE SECTION OF THE LAW ABOVE MENTIONED MAY OPERATE TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE EXPENDED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES IN THOSE CASES WHERE THE APPROPRIATION TO BE AUGMENTED CONTAINS A PERSONNEL LIMITATION.

AS YOU KNOW, THE PURPOSE OF SECTION 317 WAS TO GIVE SUCH ELASTICITY TO THE 1933 APPROPRIATIONS AS WOULD ENABLE THE BEST USE POSSIBLE OF THE REDUCED APPROPRIATIONS. SECTION 216 OF THE ACT, WHICH RELATES TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE FURLOUGHS, IS INTIMATELY INVOLVED AND YOU WILL APPRECIATE, I AM SURE, THAT THE NECESSITY FOR ADMINISTRATIVE FURLOUGHS WILL BE GREATLY EXTENDED IF THE LIMITATIONS ON PERSONAL SERVICES CONTAINED IN THE SEVERAL APPROPRIATIONS ARE NOT TO BE REGARDED AS CHANGED BY TRANSFERS OF APPROPRIATIONS UNDER SECTION 317. THIS, OF COURSE, IS ASIDE FROM THE FACT THAT IN MANY CASES THE PURPOSE TO BE ACCOMPLISHED BY A TRANSFER OF APPROPRIATIONS UNDER SECTION 317 CAN NOT BE MET IF THE PERSONNEL LIMITATION IS TO REMAIN UNCHANGED.

IN CONNECTION WITH THIS MATTER I WOULD ALSO APPRECIATE YOUR ADVICE AS TO WHETHER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 317 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, ABOVE MENTIONED, SUPERSEDE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1933 THE AUTHORITY NOW CONFERRED UPON CERTAIN DEPARTMENTS IN THE 1933 APPROPRIATION ACTS TO MAKE TRANSFERS BETWEEN SUBITEMS OF AN APPROPRIATION AS DISTINGUISHED FROM TRANSFERS BETWEEN APPROPRIATIONS. IN THIS LATTER CONNECTION I REFER YOU TO THE ACT MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1933 (PUBLIC NO. 269) WHICH, ON PAGE 37, CONTAINS A PROVISION RELATING TO INTERCHANGEABILITY OF SUBITEMS OF AN APPROPRIATION.

SECTION 317 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 411, PROVIDES:

NOT TO EXCEED 12 PERCENTUM OF ANY APPROPRIATION FOR AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT, INCLUDING THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1933, MAY BE TRANSFERRED, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET (OR, IN THE CASE OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT AND NAVY DEPARTMENT, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE PRESIDENT), TO ANY OTHER APPROPRIATION OR APPROPRIATIONS UNDER THE SAME DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT, BUT NO APPROPRIATION SHALL BE INCREASED MORE THAN 15 PERCENTUM BY SUCH TRANSFERS: PROVIDED, THAT A STATEMENT OF ALL TRANSFERS OF APPROPRIATIONS MADE HEREUNDER SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE ANNUAL BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1935, AND A STATEMENT OF ALL TRANSFERS OF APPROPRIATIONS MADE HEREUNDER UP TO THE TIME OF THE SUBMISSION OF THE ANNUAL BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1934, AND ALL CONTEMPLATED TRANSFERS DURING THE REMAINDER OF THE FISCAL YEAR 1933, SHALL BE INCLUDED IN THE ANNUAL BUDGET FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1934.

SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 5, 1882, 22 STAT. 255, PROVIDES:

THAT NO CIVIL OFFICER, CLERK, DRAUGHTSMAN, COPYIST, MESSENGER, ASSISTANT MESSENGER, MECHANIC, WATCHMAN, LABORER, OR OTHER EMPLOYEE SHALL AFTER THE FIRST DAY OF OCTOBER NEXT BE EMPLOYED IN ANY OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS, OR SUBORDINATE BUREAUS OR OFFICES THEREOF AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, EXCEPT ONLY AT SUCH RATES AND IN SUCH NUMBERS, RESPECTIVELY, AS MAY BE SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED FOR BY CONGRESS FOR SUCH CLERICAL AND OTHER PERSONAL SERVICES FOR EACH FISCAL YEAR; AND NO CIVIL OFFICER, CLERK, DRAUGHTSMAN, COPYIST, MESSENGER, ASSISTANT MESSENGER, MECHANIC, WATCHMAN, LABORER, OR OTHER EMPLOYEE SHALL HEREAFTER BE EMPLOYED AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT IN ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR SUBORDINATE BUREAU OR OFFICE THEREOF OR BE PAID FROM ANY APPROPRIATION MADE FOR CONTINGENT EXPENSES, OR FOR ANY SPECIFIC OR GENERAL PURPOSE, UNLESS SUCH EMPLOYMENT IS AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT THEREFOR SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED IN THE LAW GRANTING THE APPROPRIATION, AND THEN ONLY FOR SERVICES ACTUALLY RENDERED IN CONNECTION WITH AND FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE APPROPRIATION FROM WHICH PAYMENT IS MADE, AND AT THE RATE OF COMPENSATION USUAL AND PROPER FOR SUCH SERVICES * * *

SECTION 317 OF THE ECONOMY ACT, SUPRA, DOES NOT LIMIT THE TRANSFERS THEREIN AUTHORIZED TO NONPERSONAL SERVICE APPROPRIATIONS, AND IF THE APPROPRIATION TO BE AUGMENTED WAS ENTIRELY A PERSONAL SERVICE APPROPRIATION, THERE WOULD BE NO DOUBT THAT IT MIGHT BE AUGMENTED TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY SECTION 317, AND THE TOTAL SO AUGMENTED WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR THE PURPOSES OF THAT APPROPRIATION, OTHERWISE, THE TRANSFER WOULD BE A NULLITY. THE MATTER IS NOT SO FREE FROM DOUBT WHEN THE TRANSFER IS TO AN APPROPRIATION NOT EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE FOR PERSONAL SERVICES, BUT WHICH CONTAINS A LIMITED AMOUNT SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE FOR SUCH SERVICES. SAID SECTION 317 IS, HOWEVER, IN THE NATURE OF REMEDIAL LEGISLATION AND WAS ENACTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF RELIEVING TO THE EXTENT SO AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY CONDITIONS LIKELY TO ARISE FROM REDUCED APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1933. THIS SECTION WILL, THEREFORE, BE CONSTRUED LIBERALLY TO ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH ENACTED. ACCORDINGLY, IT WILL BE HELD THAT FUNDS TRANSFERRED TO AN APPROPRIATION CONTAINING A LIMITED AMOUNT FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR ANY AND ALL OF THE OBJECTS PROVIDED FOR BY THE APPROPRIATION, INCLUDING PERSONAL SERVICES, BUT THAT NO LIMITATION IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR EXPENDITURE FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE, INCLUDING PERSONAL SERVICES, MAY BE EXCEEDED BY MORE THAN 15 PERCENT BY REASON OF THE TRANSFER OF SUCH FUNDS. IN OTHER WORDS, IN SO FAR AS THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 317 ARE CONCERNED, THE LIMITATION ON THE AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE EXPENDED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES UNDER A GIVEN APPROPRIATION WILL BE REGARDED AS A SEPARATE APPROPRIATION FOR PERSONAL SERVICES AND MAY BE AUGMENTED AS SUCH BY TRANSFERS TO THE EXTENT PROVIDED FOR UNDER SAID SECTION 317.

THE AUTHORITY IN SECTION 317 TO MAKE TRANSFERS BETWEEN DIFFERENT APPROPRIATIONS WITHIN THE LIMITATIONS THEREIN PRESCRIBED IS NOT INCONSISTENT WITH THE AUTHORITY IN PARTICULAR APPROPRIATION ACTS TO MAKE TRANSFERS BETWEEN SUBITEMS OF THE SAME APPROPRIATION. CONSEQUENTLY, NEITHER PROVISION SUPERSEDES OR CANCELS THE OTHER AND BOTH MAY BE AVAILED OF CONCURRENTLY.