A-44158, AUGUST 26, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 289

A-44158: Aug 26, 1932

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ECONOMY ACT - VACANT POSITIONS ABOLISHED IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO RENDER INOPERATIVE THE IMPOUNDING PROVISIONS OF SECTION 203 OF THE ECONOMY ACT BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION PURPORTING TO ABOLISH. PROVISION WAS MADE (46 STAT. 320) FOR A STUDY BY THE OFFICE OF EDUCATION OF THE "QUALIFICATIONS OF TEACHERS IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS. DUE TO THE TEMPORARY NATURE OF THIS STUDY IT WAS NECESSARY IN ORGANIZING THE STAFF TO MAKE SOME OF THE APPOINTMENTS INDEFINITE. TO RUN DURING SUCH PART OF THE THREE-YEAR PERIOD AS WAS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE SPECIFIC ASSIGNED TASKS. OTHER APPOINTMENTS WERE ON A STRICTLY TEMPORARY BASIS OR ON A "WHEN ACTUALLY EMPLOYED" BASIS. IT HAS BEEN THE PRACTICE TO TERMINATE APPOINTMENTS ON THE COMPLETION OF ASSIGNED TASKS AND TO ABOLISH THE POSITIONS HELD BY THE PERSONS WHOSE SERVICES WERE TERMINATED.

A-44158, AUGUST 26, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 289

ECONOMY ACT - VACANT POSITIONS ABOLISHED IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO RENDER INOPERATIVE THE IMPOUNDING PROVISIONS OF SECTION 203 OF THE ECONOMY ACT BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION PURPORTING TO ABOLISH, AFTER JULY 1, 1932, POSITIONS BECOMING VACANT, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THERE MAY BE NO FURTHER NEED FOR THE PARTICULAR SERVICES. THE STATUTE PROVIDES THE ONLY METHOD BY WHICH IMPOUNDING MAY BE WAIVED I.E., BY ACTION OF THE PRESIDENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, AUGUST 26, 1932:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 17, 1932, AS FOLLOWS:

IN THE ACT OF CONGRESS, APPROVED MAY 14, 1930, MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1931, PROVISION WAS MADE (46 STAT. 320) FOR A STUDY BY THE OFFICE OF EDUCATION OF THE "QUALIFICATIONS OF TEACHERS IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THE SUPPLY OF AVAILABLE TEACHERS, THE FACILITIES AVAILABLE AND NEEDED FOR TEACHER- TRAINING, INCLUDING COURSES OF STUDY AND METHODS OF TEACHING" AT A TOTAL COST OF NOT TO EXCEED $200,000. SAID ACT APPROPRIATED $50,000 FOR THIS STUDY FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1931, AND SUBSEQUENT ACTS APPROPRIATED $80,000 FOR 1932, AND $50,000 FOR 1933. THE STUDY MUST BE COMPLETED BY JUNE 30, 1933. THE LEGISLATION PROVIDED THAT EXPERTS AND SPECIALISTS FOR THE STUDY MIGHT BE APPOINTED WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE CIVIL SERVICE ACT OF JANUARY 16, 1883.

DUE TO THE TEMPORARY NATURE OF THIS STUDY IT WAS NECESSARY IN ORGANIZING THE STAFF TO MAKE SOME OF THE APPOINTMENTS INDEFINITE, TO RUN DURING SUCH PART OF THE THREE-YEAR PERIOD AS WAS REQUIRED TO COMPLETE SPECIFIC ASSIGNED TASKS. OTHER APPOINTMENTS WERE ON A STRICTLY TEMPORARY BASIS OR ON A "WHEN ACTUALLY EMPLOYED" BASIS. HERETOFORE, IT HAS BEEN THE PRACTICE TO TERMINATE APPOINTMENTS ON THE COMPLETION OF ASSIGNED TASKS AND TO ABOLISH THE POSITIONS HELD BY THE PERSONS WHOSE SERVICES WERE TERMINATED.

AT THE PRESENT TIME THERE IS ONE SPECIALIST EMPLOYED ON THIS STUDY WHOSE WORK WILL BE COMPLETED ON SEPTEMBER 30 AND SEVERAL OTHERS WHOSE WORK WILL BE COMPLETED ON OR BEFORE DECEMBER 31, 1932. THESE DATES FOR THE COMPLETION OF THE WORK WERE UNDERSTOOD BY THE INDIVIDUALS CONCERNED AND AMOUNTS ONLY SUFFICIENT TO COVER SALARIES FOR THE THREE OR SIX MONTHS PERIOD AS THE CASE MAY BE WERE PROVIDED FOR IN THE BUDGET ESTIMATES FOR THIS LAST YEAR OF THE STUDY.

I RESPECTFULLY REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER, IN VIEW OF SEC. 203 OF THE LEGISLATIVE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, THE POSITIONS HELD BY THE PERSONS REFERRED TO ABOVE MAY BE ABOLISHED ON THE COMPLETION OF THEIR ASSIGNED TASKS WITHOUT IMPOUNDING IN THE TREASURY AMOUNTS EQUIVALENT TO THE SALARIES THAT WOULD BE PAID THEM IF THEY WERE EMPLOYED FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE FISCAL YEAR.

THE APPROPRIATION IN QUESTION, ACT OF APRIL 22, 1932, 47 STAT. 127, IS WORDED AS FOLLOWS:

FOR ALL EXPENSES, INCLUDING PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ELSEWHERE, PURCHASE AND RENTAL OF EQUIPMENT, PURCHASE OF SUPPLIES, TRAVELING EXPENSES, PRINTING, AND ALL OTHER INCIDENTAL EXPENSES NOT INCLUDED IN THE FOREGOING TO ENABLE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, THROUGH THE OFFICE OF EDUCATION, AT A TOTAL COST OF NOT TO EXCEED $200,000, TO MAKE A STUDY OF THE QUALIFICATIONS OF TEACHERS IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THE SUPPLY OF AVAILABLE TEACHERS, THE FACILITIES AVAILABLE AND NEEDED FOR TEACHER-TRAINING, INCLUDING COURSES OF STUDY AND METHODS OF TEACHING, $50,000: PROVIDED, THAT THE UNEXPENDED BALANCES OF THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THESE PURPOSES FOR THE FISCAL YEARS 1931 AND 1932 SHALL REMAIN AVAILABLE FOR THE SAME PURPOSES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1933: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT SPECIALISTS AND EXPERTS FOR SERVICE IN THIS INVESTIGATION MAY BE EMPLOYED AT RATES TO BE FIXED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO CORRESPOND TO THOSE ESTABLISHED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923, AS AMENDED, AND WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE CIVIL SERVICE ACT OF JANUARY 16, 1883.

THE WORDING OF THE 1933 APPROPRIATION, SUPRA, IS IDENTICAL WITH THAT FOR 1932, EXCEPT AS TO THE AMOUNT.

SECTION 203 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 403, PROVIDES:

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. THE APPROPRIATIONS OR PORTIONS OF APPROPRIATIONS UNEXPENDED BY THE OPERATION OF THIS SECTION SHALL NOT BE USED FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSES BUT SHALL BE IMPOUNDED AND RETURNED TO THE TREASURY, AND A REPORT OF ALL SUCH VACANCIES, THE NUMBER THEREOF FILLED, AND THE AMOUNTS UNEXPENDED, FOR THE PERIOD BETWEEN JULY 1, 1932, AND OCTOBER 31, 1932, SHALL BE SUBMITTED TO CONGRESS ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEXT REGULAR SESSION: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH IMPOUNDING OF FUNDS MAY BE WAIVED IN WRITING BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES IN CONNECTION WITH ANY APPROPRIATION OR PORTION OF APPROPRIATION, WHEN, IN HIS JUDGMENT, SUCH ACTION IS NECESSARY AND IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

THE IMPOUNDING REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 203 ARE MANDATORY AND MAY BE WAIVED ONLY BY ACTION OF THE PRESIDENT. THERE IS NOTHING IN THE APPROPRIATION, SUPRA, LIMITING ITS USE TO COMPENSATION OF EMPLOYEES FOR PORTIONS OF A YEAR ONLY. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT WOULD NOT BE PERMISSIBLE TO RENDER THE IMPOUNDING PROVISIONS INOPERATIVE BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION PURPORTING TO ABOLISH, AFTER JULY 1, 1932, POSITIONS BECOMING VACANT. THE STATUTE PROVIDES THE ONLY METHOD BY WHICH THE IMPOUNDING MAY BE WAIVED; THAT IS, BY ACTION OF THE PRESIDENT. SEE A- 43755, AUGUST 11, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 233. YOUR SUBMISSION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.