A-4444, AUGUST 22, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 199

A-4444: Aug 22, 1924

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THE PURCHASE OF A BRASCOLITE FIXTURE WITH LAMPS FOR INSTALLATION IN THE OFFICE OF THE NATIONAL BANK EXAMINERS IN THE UNITED STATES CUSTOMHOUSE BUILDING IN NEW YORK CITY (WHICH IS UNDER CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT) DOES NOT COMPRISE OFFICE EQUIPMENT FOR WHICH FEDERAL RESERVE FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE. IT IS TO BE SUPPLIED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY. THE AGENT EXPLAINS THAT REQUISITION WAS MADE FOR TOWELS ON JANUARY 16. THE SAME WERE NOT FURNISHED UNTIL MARCH 19. THAT IN THE MEANTIME IT WAS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN PARTIAL SUPPLY OF SUCH ESSENTIAL ARTICLES TO MEET EXISTING REQUIREMENTS. AS THIS TEMPORARY SUPPLY IS SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN REASONABLY NECESSARY AND THE PURCHASE HAS SUBSEQUENTLY BEEN APPROVED BY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY.

A-4444, AUGUST 22, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 199

EMERGENCY PURCHASES - VOLUNTARY PAYMENTS REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE PURCHASE FROM PRIVATE FUNDS OF AN EMPLOYEE OF A PARTIAL SUPPLY OF TOWELS FOR USE IN A FIELD OFFICE DURING THE DEFERRED RECEIPT OF A REQUISITIONED QUANTITY AUTHORIZED UPON SUBSEQUENT ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL. THE PURCHASE OF A BRASCOLITE FIXTURE WITH LAMPS FOR INSTALLATION IN THE OFFICE OF THE NATIONAL BANK EXAMINERS IN THE UNITED STATES CUSTOMHOUSE BUILDING IN NEW YORK CITY (WHICH IS UNDER CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT) DOES NOT COMPRISE OFFICE EQUIPMENT FOR WHICH FEDERAL RESERVE FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE, BUT BEING ESSENTIALLY A BUILDING FIXTURE SUCH AS BECOMES A PART OF THE REALTY WHEN ATTACHED, IT IS TO BE SUPPLIED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, IF DEEMED ADVISABLE, AND CHARGED TO SUCH APPROPRIATION AS MAY BE AVAILABLE UNDER THE CONTROL OF THAT DEPARTMENT.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, AUGUST 22, 1924:

REVIEW HAS BEEN REQUESTED OF SETTLEMENT 028305-T, DATED MAY 10, 1924, DISALLOWING THE CLAIM OF OWEN T. REEVES, CHIEF NATIONAL BANK EXAMINER, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF AMOUNT EXPENDED BY HIM FROM PRIVATE FUNDS FOR ONE DOZEN HUCK TOWELS AT $2.05, AND ONE TYPE AF 500-WATT BRASCOLITE WITH TWO 300 AND 500 WATT CLEAR LAMPS AT TOTAL PRICE OF $16.92, SAID ARTICLES HAVING BEEN PURCHASED BY HIM FOR USE IN HIS OFFICE IN THE UNITED STATES CUSTOMHOUSE BUILDING IN NEW YORK.

IN JUSTIFICATION OF THE EXPENDITURE FOR TOWELS, THE AGENT EXPLAINS THAT REQUISITION WAS MADE FOR TOWELS ON JANUARY 16, BUT THE SAME WERE NOT FURNISHED UNTIL MARCH 19, AND THAT IN THE MEANTIME IT WAS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN PARTIAL SUPPLY OF SUCH ESSENTIAL ARTICLES TO MEET EXISTING REQUIREMENTS. AS THIS TEMPORARY SUPPLY IS SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN REASONABLY NECESSARY AND THE PURCHASE HAS SUBSEQUENTLY BEEN APPROVED BY THE COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY, THE ITEM WILL NOW BE ALLOWED AS A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION "SALARIES AND EXPENSES, NATIONAL BANK EXAMINERS, SPECIAL FUND.'

WITH REFERENCE TO THE LIGHTING FIXTURES, CLAIMANT IN A LETTER TO THE COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY, DATED JUNE 12, 1924, STATED:

ON MARCH 5 I WROTE ADVISING YOU THAT CERTAIN CHANGES WERE BEING MADE IN THE OFFICE AND IT WAS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN BETTER LIGHTS. THE BUILDING, UNDER ITS REGULATIONS, COULD NOT INSTALL DROP LIGHTS. I RECOMMENDED THAT FOUR BRASCOLITE FIXTURES BE FURNISHED AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. THE LIGHTING FIXTURES IN THE NEW QUARTERS OF THE TYPING DEPARTMENT WERE INADEQUATE, AND IT WAS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY UNDER THE CONDITIONS TO FURNISH PROPER LIGHTING FACILITIES IN THAT ROOM. I RECEIVED NO ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF MY RECOMMENDATION UNTIL APRIL 12, WHEN IT WAS STATED THAT THE REQUEST FOR THE INSTALLATION OF LIGHTING FIXTURES HAD BEEN REFERRED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL FOR HIS DECISION WHETHER OR NOT THE FIXTURES COULD BE PAID FOR OUT OF THE GENERAL FUND. IN THE MEANTIME, IN ORDER TO HAVE THE WORK OF THIS OFFICE PROCEED, I PURCHASED A BRASCOLITE FIXTURE AT A FORTY PERCENT DISCOUNT AND THE BUILDING MECHANIC INSTALLED IT.

BOTH OF THESE ITEMS (I.E., TOWELS AND BRASCOLITE) CAN BE PROPERLY CLASSIFIED AS NECESSARY OFFICE EQUIPMENT AND PROPERTY OF THE GOVERNMENT.

IT HAS BEEN ASCERTAINED THAT BRASCOLITES ARE NOT REMOVABLE OFFICE EQUIPMENT BUT ARE ESSENTIALLY BUILDING FIXTURES, AND WHEN ONCE ATTACHED BECOME A PART OF THE REALTY AND SUBJECT TO THE LAWS APPLICABLE TO SUCH FIXTURES. THEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THIS SITUATION, IN RESPONSE TO A SUBMISSION UPON THIS SUBJECT THE COMPTROLLER OF THE CURRENCY WAS ADVISED BY THIS OFFICE, IN A LETTER DATED APRIL 9, 1924, THAT UPON THE UNDERSTANDING THE OFFICES OF THE BANK EXAMINERS ARE IN THE CUSTOMHOUSE BUILDING IN NEW YORK, WHICH IS A PUBLIC BUILDING UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, ANY NEED FOR FIXTURES OF THE CHARACTER REFERRED TO WOULD BE A QUESTION FOR CONSIDERATION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

ACCORDINGLY, UNDER THE CONDITIONS DISCLOSED, THE SPECIAL FUND HEREINBEFORE MENTIONED IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF THIS FIXTURE AND LAMPS, AND UPON THE FACTS APPEARING REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AMOUNT EXPENDED THEREFOR BY THE CHIEF NATIONAL BANK EXAMINER IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

AS INDICATED IN THE LETTER OF THIS OFFICE, DATED APRIL 9, 1924, THE MATTER APPEARS TO BE PROPER FOR SUBMISSION THROUGH OFFICIAL CHANNELS TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY FOR CONSIDERATION OF THE QUESTION OF ASSUMING THIS OBLIGATION AS AN EXPENSE OF EQUIPPING, MAINTAINING, OR OPERATING THE PUBLIC BUILDING, IN CONNECTION WITH THE INSTALLATION OF ANY ADDITIONAL FIXTURES WHICH, IT IS ASSERTED, ARE REQUIRED.