A-53116, JANUARY 22, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 202

A-53116: Jan 22, 1934

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

CONTRACTS - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT - STATE OFFICERS STATE OFFICERS HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO CONTRACT ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES UNLESS SPECIALLY APPOINTED BY PROPER FEDERAL AUTHORITY THEREFOR. 1934: THERE ARE BEFORE THIS OFFICE CONTRACTS A 6 FS-4525. WHEN THE CONTRACTS WERE RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE INQUIRIES WERE SUBMITTED TO THE CHIEF. "ALL PURCHASES AND OTHER OBLIGATIONS INCURRED BY THE OFFICIALS OF A STATE AND TRAVEL EXPENSES OF PERSONS UNDER ITS SUPERVISION WILL BE GOVERNED BY THE LAWS. WHERE THEY ARE IN EXCESS THE FEDERAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS WILL GOVERN.'. IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD THAT ANY EVIDENCE NEED BE SUBMITTED BY THE FOREST SERVICE. AS WAS STATED IN DECISION OF AUGUST 2. YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE STATEMENT CONTAINED IN DECISION OF OCTOBER 24.

A-53116, JANUARY 22, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 202

CONTRACTS - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT - STATE OFFICERS STATE OFFICERS HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO CONTRACT ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES UNLESS SPECIALLY APPOINTED BY PROPER FEDERAL AUTHORITY THEREFOR, AND IN SUCH CASES CONTRACTS MADE BY THEM SHOULD BE TRANSMITTED THROUGH THE FEDERAL ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OR AGENCY CONCERNED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR EXAMINATION AND FILING IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JANUARY 22, 1934:

THERE ARE BEFORE THIS OFFICE CONTRACTS A 6 FS-4525, DATED JULY 10, 1933, WITH CHESTER YOUNG, A 6 FS-4526, DATED JULY 10, 1933, WITH R. J. FLETCHER, A 6 FS-4667, DATED JULY 8, 1933, WITH THE RENTAL MACHINERY COMPANY, AND A 6 FS-4892, DATED JUNE 23, 1933, WITH THE UNDERWOOD ELLIOTT-FISHER COMPANY, SIGNED BY JOHN H. MARKHAM, GENERAL SUPERINTENDENT OF STATE C.C.C. CAMPS, STATE OF WASHINGTON, TOGETHER WITH CONTRACTS A 6 FS-4663, DATED JULY 28, 1933, WITH GEORGE W. KRUSE, AND A 6 FS-4862, DATED JULY 12, 1933, WITH DEFFENBAUGH BROS., SIGNED BY LYNN F. CRONEMILLER, STATE FORESTER, STATE OF OREGON, FOR THE RENTAL OF CERTAIN EQUIPMENT. WHEN THE CONTRACTS WERE RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE INQUIRIES WERE SUBMITTED TO THE CHIEF, FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOR EVIDENCE THAT THESE STATE EMPLOYEES HAD BEEN DESIGNATED AS CONTRACTING OFFICERS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROCEDURE STATED IN MY DECISION OF OCTOBER 24, 1933 (A-50882), TO YOU. REPLY HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM A. H. COUSINS, REGIONAL FISCAL OFFICER, PORTLAND, OREG., IN LETTER OF DECEMBER 19, 1933, TRANSMITTING A LETTER FROM MR. MARKHAM AS TO THE PROCEDURE FOLLOWED, AND A LETTER OF DECEMBER 4, 1933, FROM MR. COUSINS, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 5 OF "SUPPLEMENTAL REGULATIONS RELATING TO FISCAL TRANSACTIONS OF THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK PERFORMED BY STATES UNDER GENERAL DIRECTION OF U.S. FOREST SERVICE," ISSUED BY MR. ROBERT FECHNER, DIRECTOR EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK, APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT MAY 20, 1933, STATES:

"DEPARTMENTAL REGULATIONS.

"ALL PURCHASES AND OTHER OBLIGATIONS INCURRED BY THE OFFICIALS OF A STATE AND TRAVEL EXPENSES OF PERSONS UNDER ITS SUPERVISION WILL BE GOVERNED BY THE LAWS, RULES, AND REGULATIONS OF THE STATE, WHERE THEY DO NOT AUTHORIZE PRICES OR RATES OF TRAVEL IN EXCESS OF THOSE AUTHORIZED BY THE FEDERAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS, BUT WHERE THEY ARE IN EXCESS THE FEDERAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS WILL GOVERN.'

UNDER THIS AUTHORITY LYNN F. CRONEMILLER, STATE FORESTER, STATE OF OREGON, SIGNED THE CONTRACTS REFERRED TO AS THE PROPER STATE OFFICIAL IN CHARGE OF THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK OF THE STATE OF OREGON.

IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD THAT ANY EVIDENCE NEED BE SUBMITTED BY THE FOREST SERVICE.

AS WAS STATED IN DECISION OF AUGUST 2, 1933, ON THE BASIS OF THE CASES THEREIN CITED, A STATE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE HAS NO AUTHORITY TO CONTRACT ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES UNLESS SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATED BY PROPER FEDERAL AUTHORITY THEREFOR, AND YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE STATEMENT CONTAINED IN DECISION OF OCTOBER 24, 1933, THAT THE MERE DESIGNATION OF A STATE SERVICE OR AGENCY TO ACT ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 31, 1933, 48 STAT. 22, 23, FOR THE RELIEF OF UNEMPLOYMENT, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE OFFICERS OF SUCH STATE AGENCY OR ANY OTHER STATE OFFICERS TO CONTRACT ON BEHALF OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANY MORE THAN THE FACT OF EMPLOYMENT IN THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE CONSTITUTES ALL OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES THEREOF CONTRACTING OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES. SEE IN THIS CONNECTION BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 261 U.S. 385, AND JACOB REED'S SONS V. UNITED STATES, 273 U.S. 200.

APPARENTLY, THE DECISION OF OCTOBER 24, 1933, HAS NOT BEEN BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE REGIONAL FISCAL AGENT OF THE FOREST SERVICE AT PORTLAND, OREG., AND APPARENTLY NOT TO THE ATTENTION OF THE CHIEF, FINANCE AND ACCOUNTS, FOREST SERVICE, WHO FORWARDED THE LETTERS OF DECEMBER 4 AND 19, 1933, FROM MR. COUSINS WITHOUT COMMENT. IT IS REQUESTED THAT THE NECESSARY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION BE TAKEN TO SEE THAT HEREAFTER CONTRACTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ARE ENTERED INTO BY OFFICERS PROPERLY DESIGNATED AS CONTRACTING OFFICERS ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES, AND THAT THE CONTRACTS ENTERED INTO BY STATE OFFICERS SO DESIGNATED BE TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE THROUGH THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AFTER HAVING RECEIVED THE NECESSARY ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL AS STATED IN DECISION OF OCTOBER 24, 1933.