A-55682, JUNE 30, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 483

A-55682: Jun 30, 1934

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AS FOLLOWS: YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO CERTIFICATE OF SETTLEMENT NO. 0326230. THIS PARTICULAR PAYMENT WILL BE MADE BY REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR TO DEPOSIT ONE CENT TO "SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT" TO PREVENT OVERDRAFT. IN ORDER THAT SUFFICIENT FUNDS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT. IT IS CLEAR THAT AN AMOUNT FOR EXCHANGE MAY BE CHARGED IN SETTLEMENTS AGAINST MONEYS REGULARLY APPROPRIATED. IT IS NOT APPARENT. WHILE THE AMOUNT IS SMALL. YET THE PRINCIPLE INVOLVED IS ONE THAT MAY CAUSE OVERPAYMENTS IN SAID . THIS QUESTION IS SUBMITTED FOR DECISION IN ORDER THAT FUTURE CASES. ARE AS FOLLOWS: THAT THE BELL TELEPHONE CO. THAT BILLS WERE SUBMITTED FOR THE PERIOD DECEMBER 1. WHICH AMOUNT WAS COLLECTED (APPARENTLY IN UNITED STATES CURRENCY) FROM THE PERSONS INVOLVED IN THE TRANSMISSION OF THE UNOFFICIAL MESSAGES.

A-55682, JUNE 30, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 483

TELEPHONES - COLLECTION FOR USE FOR PERSONAL MESSAGES GOVERNMENT FACILITIES, OWNED OR SUBSCRIBED FOR, SHOULD NOT BE USED FOR PRIVATE OR PERSONAL PURPOSES, BUT WHEN SO USED UNDER EMERGENT CONDITIONS, THE COLLECTION FOR THEIR USE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES SHOULD BE IN SUFFICIENT AMOUNT TO PERMIT PAYMENT OF THE BILLS IN TERMS OF UNITED STATES CURRENCY WITHOUT ANY LOSS TO THE GOVERNMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JUNE 30, 1934:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE MATTER PRESENTED BY THE CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, DIVISION OF DISBURSEMENT, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, IN HIS LETTER OF MAY 15, 1934, AS FOLLOWS:

YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO CERTIFICATE OF SETTLEMENT NO. 0326230, CLAIM NO. 0202012 (4), DATED MAY 7, 1934, IN FAVOR OF THE BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY OF CANADA FOR $3.51, TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR PAYMENT, TO BE CHARGED TO "SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT" OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, SHOWING A BALANCE OF ONLY $3.50 (BUREAU OF IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION) VOUCHER NOS. 17892, 20386, AND 23150.

THIS PARTICULAR PAYMENT WILL BE MADE BY REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR TO DEPOSIT ONE CENT TO "SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT" TO PREVENT OVERDRAFT, AND IN ORDER THAT SUFFICIENT FUNDS WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT.

IT IS CLEAR THAT AN AMOUNT FOR EXCHANGE MAY BE CHARGED IN SETTLEMENTS AGAINST MONEYS REGULARLY APPROPRIATED, BUT IT IS NOT APPARENT, WHERE A DEFINITE SUM HAS BEEN SET ASIDE IN "SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT," AS IN THE CASE IN QUESTION, HOW A CHARGE MAY BE MADE IN EXCESS OF THE BALANCE. WHILE THE AMOUNT IS SMALL, YET THE PRINCIPLE INVOLVED IS ONE THAT MAY CAUSE OVERPAYMENTS IN SAID ,SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT.'

THIS QUESTION IS SUBMITTED FOR DECISION IN ORDER THAT FUTURE CASES, INVOLVING SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT PAYMENTS, MAY BE CONSIDERED.

THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE ISSUANCE OF THE SETTLEMENT REFERRED TO IN THE LETTER, SUPRA, ARE AS FOLLOWS: THAT THE BELL TELEPHONE CO. OF CANADA, LTD., ENTERED INTO A CONTRACT (NO. LI 2585) WITH THE UNITED STATES FOR FURNISHING TELEPHONE SERVICE TO THE UNITED STATES IMMIGRATION INSPECTOR'S OFFICE, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, MONTREAL, QUEBEC; THAT BILLS WERE SUBMITTED FOR THE PERIOD DECEMBER 1, 1933, TO MARCH 1, 1934, AMOUNTING TO $53.51, CANADIAN CURRENCY; THAT SAID BILLS INCLUDED CERTAIN UNOFFICIAL MESSAGES AMOUNTING TO $3.50, CANADIAN CURRENCY, WHICH AMOUNT WAS COLLECTED (APPARENTLY IN UNITED STATES CURRENCY) FROM THE PERSONS INVOLVED IN THE TRANSMISSION OF THE UNOFFICIAL MESSAGES, AND PLACED IN THE SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FOR PAYMENT THEREFROM TO THE TELEPHONE COMPANY, AS IS REQUIRED TO BE DONE IN SUCH CASES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SUPPLEMENT NO. 2, GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 40, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE; THAT IN THE SETTLEMENT OF THE BILLS THERE WERE ISSUED BY THIS OFFICE TWO SETTLEMENTS, ONE CHARGING THE APPLICABLE APPROPRIATION TO COVER THE OFFICIAL SERVICES AMOUNTING TO $50.01, PAYABLE IN CANADIAN CURRENCY, THE OTHER CHARGING THE SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT TO COVER THE UNOFFICIAL MESSAGES AMOUNTING TO $3.50 PAYABLE, ALSO, IN CANADIAN CURRENCY; AND THAT IN EACH SETTLEMENT THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES WAS REQUESTED TO ARRANGE WITH THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF NEW YORK FOR THE PURCHASE OF A DRAFT FOR PAYMENT OF THE RESPECTIVE AMOUNTS IN FOREIGN CURRENCY.

UPON RECEIPT OF ADVICE FROM THE TREASURER THAT THE TOTAL COST IN THE UNITED STATES CURRENCY OF THE DRAFTS PURCHASED ON THE ROYAL BANK OF CANADA, MONTREAL, QUEBEC, CANADA, IN FAVOR OF THE BELL TELEPHONE CO. OF CANADA, LTD., FOR $50.01 AND $3.50, CANADIAN CURRENCY, TO COVER THE SETTLEMENTS ABOVE REFERRED TO, WAS $50.20 AND $3.51, RESPECTIVELY, SUCH CURRENCY THEN BEING AT A PREMIUM OF 3/8 PERCENT CERTIFICATES OF SETTLEMENT WERE ISSUED BY THIS OFFICE, ONE CHARGING THE APPLICABLE APPROPRIATION WITH THE SUM OF $50.20 FOR PAYMENT BY TREASURY WARRANT, THE OTHER CHARGING "SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT," DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, WITH THE SUM OF $3.51 FOR PAYMENT BY J. L. SUMMERS, DISBURSING CLERK OF YOUR DEPARTMENT.

THE QUESTION RAISED IN THE LETTER HEREINBEFORE QUOTED RELATES TO THE LATTER CERTIFICATE OF SETTLEMENT, CHARGING THE SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT WITH THE SUM OF $3.51, WHEREAS THE ONLY SUM AVAILABLE THEREFOR IN SAID ACCOUNT WAS $3.50. WITH RESPECT TO THIS PARTICULAR CASE IT IS STATED THAT PROPER ADJUSTMENT WILL BE MADE BY REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR TO DEPOSIT THE DIFFERENCE, NAMELY, 1 CENT, TO THE SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT AND THE PRESENT QUESTION, THEREFORE, RELATES PRIMARILY TO SIMILAR CASES ARISING IN THE FUTURE.

UNDER GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 40, SUPPLEMENT NO. 2, OF THIS OFFICE, IT IS PROVIDED THAT WHERE, UNDER EMERGENT CONDITIONS, GOVERNMENT FACILITIES, OWNED OR SUBSCRIBED FOR, ARE USED FOR OTHER THAN OFFICIAL BUSINESS, COLLECTION BE MADE FROM THE USER FOR THE DETERMINED VALUE OF SUCH USE AND BE ACCOUNTED FOR THROUGH A PROPER DISBURSING OFFICER'S SPECIAL DEPOSIT ACCOUNT. THIS REGULATION CONTEMPLATES, IN CASES SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED, THAT COLLECTION BE MADE IN A SUM AMPLY SUFFICIENT TO COVER THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR PAYING THAT PART OF THE BILL COVERING THE CHARGE FOR UNOFFICIAL USE OF THE SERVICE. IN NO EVENT SHOULD PUBLIC FUNDS BEAR ANY COST INCIDENTAL TO THE PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE UNOFFICIAL USE OF ITS FACILITIES. WITH THIS IN VIEW THE SECRETARY OF LABOR IS BEING ADVISED IN A SEPARATE COMMUNICATION OF TODAY THAT HEREAFTER ANY COLLECTION MADE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR FOR UNOFFICIAL USE OF GOVERNMENT FACILITIES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES SHOULD BE IN SUCH AMOUNTS AS WILL PERMIT THE PAYMENT OF BILLS, SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED, IN TERMS OF UNITED STATES CURRENCY WITHOUT ANY LOSS TO THE GOVERNMENT.