A-5557, DECEMBER 30, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 574

A-5557: Dec 30, 1924

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IS NOT A PERSONAL FURNISHING AND CREDIT FOR SUCH PURCHASE FROM PUBLIC FUNDS MAY BE ALLOWED. ARE NOT PERSONAL FURNISHINGS WHICH THE EMPLOYEES COULD REASONABLY BE EXPECTED TO FURNISH IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR REGULAR DUTIES AND THEIR PURCHASE FROM PUBLIC FUNDS IS AUTHORIZED. WHEREIN THERE WAS DISALLOWED $1 ON VOUCHER 120 COVERING PURCHASE OF ONE PAIR OF RUBBER GLOVES FOR USE OF EMPLOYEES OPERATING MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE AND $9.50 ON VOUCHER 146 COVERING PURCHASE OF SEVERAL PAIRS OF RUBBER GLOVES FOR USE OF ELECTRICIANS IN REPAIRING ELECTRIC LINES. DISALLOWANCE WAS UPON THE GROUND THAT THE ARTICLES WERE FOR THE BENEFIT AND PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES AND WERE NOT CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION BECAUSE IT DID NOT SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE THE PURCHASE OF SUCH ARTICLES.

A-5557, DECEMBER 30, 1924, 4 COMP. GEN. 574

PERSONAL FURNISHINGS - RUBBER GLOVES ONE PAIR OF RUBBER GLOVES PURCHASED FOR THE USE OF ANY EMPLOYEE OF THE YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, WHO MAY BE CALLED UPON, WHEN THE OCCASION ARISES, TO LEAVE HIS REGULAR WORK AND OPERATE A MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE, THERE BEING NO REGULAR MIMEOGRAPH OPERATOR AT THE PARK, IS NOT A PERSONAL FURNISHING AND CREDIT FOR SUCH PURCHASE FROM PUBLIC FUNDS MAY BE ALLOWED. SPECIAL LINEMAN'S RUBBER GLOVES FOR THE USE AND PROTECTION OF ELECTRICIANS WORKING IN EMERGENCY CASES ON LINES OF HIGH VOLTAGE, THE GLOVES BEING RETURNED TO STOCK IMMEDIATELY AFTER SUCH USE AND ACCOUNTED FOR AS GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, ARE NOT PERSONAL FURNISHINGS WHICH THE EMPLOYEES COULD REASONABLY BE EXPECTED TO FURNISH IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR REGULAR DUTIES AND THEIR PURCHASE FROM PUBLIC FUNDS IS AUTHORIZED.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, DECEMBER 30, 1924:

L. L. CUMBERLAND, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, APPLIED SEPTEMBER 3, 1924, FOR A REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. C-13361-I, DATED JULY 26, 1924, OF HIS ACCOUNT FOR THE QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 1924, WHEREIN THERE WAS DISALLOWED $1 ON VOUCHER 120 COVERING PURCHASE OF ONE PAIR OF RUBBER GLOVES FOR USE OF EMPLOYEES OPERATING MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE AND $9.50 ON VOUCHER 146 COVERING PURCHASE OF SEVERAL PAIRS OF RUBBER GLOVES FOR USE OF ELECTRICIANS IN REPAIRING ELECTRIC LINES, THE APPROPRIATION CHARGED BEING,"YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, 1924.'

DISALLOWANCE WAS UPON THE GROUND THAT THE ARTICLES WERE FOR THE BENEFIT AND PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES AND WERE NOT CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION BECAUSE IT DID NOT SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE THE PURCHASE OF SUCH ARTICLES.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE RUBBER GLOVES, VOUCHER 120, THE EVIDENCE DISCLOSES THAT THE OFFICE DOES NOT EMPLOY A REGULAR MIMEOGRAPH OPERATOR, ANY ONE OF THE EMPLOYEES BEING CALLED UPON WHEN OCCASION ARISES TO LEAVE HIS REGULAR WORK WHICH DOES NOT REQUIRE RUBBER GLOVES TO OPERATE THE MIMEOGRAPH FOR A SHORT TIME; THAT THE MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE COULD NOT BE OPERATED AS RAPIDLY AND EFFICIENTLY WITHOUT THE USE OF THE GLOVES; AND THAT THEY ARE ACCOUNTED FOR AS GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, BEING RETURNED TO STOCK AFTER EACH USE OF THEM BY AN EMPLOYEE.

WITH REFERENCE TO VOUCHER 146, IT IS STATED THAT:

THESE GLOVES WERE PURCHASED FOR THE USE OF THE ELECTRICAL DIVISION OF THE YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, WHICH INCLUDES MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, OPERATION, IMPROVEMENT, AND CONSTRUCTION WORK ON TELEPHONE LINES, TELEGRAPH LINES, AND ELECTRICAL LINES. THE EMPLOYEES IN THIS DEPARTMENT VARY FROM 5 OR 6 EMPLOYEES TO 12 OR 15 EMPLOYEES, DEPENDING ON THE SEASON OF THE YEAR AND THE WORK TO BE DONE. THE POSITIONS INCLUDE CHIEF ELECTRICIAN, THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, ASSISTANT CHIEF ELECTRICIAN, FOREMEN LINEMEN, POWER-HOUSE OPERATORS, LABORERS, TEAMSTERS, PACKERS, DRILLERS, ETC. APPROXIMATELY 95 PERCENT OR MORE OF THE WORK OF THESE EMPLOYEES IS ON TELEPHONE AND TELEGRAPH LINES WHERE THE AMOUNT OF CURRENT CARRIED IS SMALL, AND IN THE REPAIR OR REBUILDING OF OUR ELECTRICAL TRANSMISSION LINES THE POWER PLANT IS SHUT DOWN SO THAT IN PRACTICALLY ALL CASES THESE EMPLOYEES ARE WORKING ON SAFE LINES. THEY ARE REQUIRED TO FURNISH, AND DO FURNISH, THE ORDINARY WORKMAN'S OR LINEMAN'S GLOVES OF CLOTH OR LEATHER FOR THEIR ORDINARY PROTECTION, BUT OCCASIONS WILL ARISE WHEN IT IS NECESSARY TO HAVE THE EMPLOYEES WORK ON LINES THAT CARRY 2,200 VOLTS. THIS NECESSITY GENERALLY ARISES THROUGH SOME TROUBLE ON THE LINE THAT OCCURS WHEN IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO SHUT DOWN THE PLANT. IN SUCH CASES REGULAR LINEMAN'S GLOVES OF RUBBER THAT ARE PROOF AGAINST THESE HIGH VOLTAGES ARE FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT AS A MATTER OF SAFETY JUST AS THE LINE HOSE AND THE LINE BLANKET ARE FURNISHED IN SUCH CASES FOR THE SAME REASON. WHEN SUCH EMERGENCIES ARISE, THE GLOVES ARE ISSUED FROM THE GOVERNMENT STOCK TO THE EMPLOYEE DESIGNATED TO TAKE CARE OF THIS TROUBLE, AND IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE WORK IS COMPLETED, THEY ARE RETURNED TO STOCK AND ACCOUNTED FOR AS GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. IT WOULD BE MANIFESTLY UNFAIR AND UNJUST TO REQUIRE ALL OF THE EMPLOYEES IN THE ELECTRICAL DEPARTMENT TO FURNISH THEMSELVES WITH LINEMAN'S RUBBER GLOVES OF THIS CHARACTER, WHICH ARE MADE TO WITHSTAND HEAVY VOLTAGE. THE GLOVES ARE IN THE NATURE OF SAFETY APPLIANCES WHICH ALL ELECTRICAL AND POWER COMPANIES IN THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA ARE REQUIRED TO FURNISH TO THEIR EMPLOYEES UNDER THE REGULATIONS OF THE SAFETY DEPARTMENT OF THE WORKMAN'S COMPENSATION INSURANCE AND SAFETY LAWS. THESE REGULATIONS ARE ADOPTED AND ENFORCED BY THE INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT COMMISSION OF THE STATE.

WHEN THESE EMERGENCIES ARISE, THE MOST AVAILABLE, COMPETENT EMPLOYEE IS SELECTED FOR REPAIRING THIS TROUBLE OR CUTTING OFF THE SECTION OF THE LINE ON WHICH THE TROUBLE IS FOUND, AND IT IS ONLY EMERGENCY AND OCCASIONAL USE THAT IS MADE OF THESE GLOVES. BECAUSE PRACTICALLY ALL OF THE WORK OF THESE EMPLOYEES IS ON LINES OF LOW VOLTAGE OR NONE AT ALL, THERE IS PRACTICALLY NO DANGER, AND IT IS NOT NECESSARY FOR THEM TO PROVIDE THEMSELVES WITH GLOVES OF THIS CHARACTER IN THEIR REGULAR WORK, AND IT IS UNFAIR TO REQUIRE EMPLOYEES TO PROVIDE A PROTECTION THAT IS NOT REGULARLY NEEDED AND IS NOT A CONDITION OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT. * * *

IN VIEW OF THE FACTS NOW APPEARING CREDIT FOR THE PAYMENTS IN QUESTION IS ALLOWABLE UNDER THE GENERAL PRINCIPLES ANNOUNCED IN 3 COMP. GEN. 433. SEE 3 COMP. GEN. 848.

UPON REVIEW A DIFFERENCE OF $10.50 IS CERTIFIED FOR CREDIT IN THE SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT'S ACCOUNT.