A-55954, JUNE 27, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 469

A-55954: Jun 27, 1934

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1934: THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE IN THE AUDIT OF THE DISBURSING ACCOUNTS OF CAPTAIN E. THE OVERPAYMENTS IN QUESTION WERE MADE UNDER FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MAY BE EPITOMIZED AS FOLLOWS: CHECK NO. 42891 WAS DRAWN MAY 1. IT IS SHOWN ON THE VOUCHER THAT DOMENIC BELFINO ENROLLED ON APRIL 9. THAT THE MONTHLY RATE OF ALLOTMENT WAS $15. WAS $22. THAT THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE ALLOTMENT ACCRUING OVER THIS PERIOD WAS $11. THAT THE SUBJECT CHECK WAS ISSUED TO THE ALLOTTEE IN THE SUM OF $15. WERE DRAWN ON JUNE 3. IT IS SHOWN THAT THE TWO MEMBERS IN QUESTION ENROLLED ON MAY 24. THAT THE MONTHLY RATE OF ALLOTMENT IN EACH CASE WAS $22.50. WAS $7 IN EACH CASE. - THAT THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE ALLOTMENT ACCRUING OVER THIS PERIOD WAS $5 IN EACH CASE.

A-55954, JUNE 27, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 469

DISBURSING OFFICERS - ACCOUNTABILITY FOR PAYMENTS FROM EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK FUNDS THE TERMS OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 6200, DATED JULY 11, 1933, RELATIVE TO THE ADMINISTRATION OF EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK, MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS RELIEVING DISBURSING OFFICERS FROM LIABILITY FOR IMPROPER PAYMENTS OF FUNDS COVERED THEREBY RESULTING FROM THEIR OWN ERRORS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK, JUNE 27, 1934:

THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE IN THE AUDIT OF THE DISBURSING ACCOUNTS OF CAPTAIN E. F. REA, FINANCE DEPARTMENT, UNITED STATES ARMY, SYMBOL NO. 200-843, THE QUESTION OF LIABILITY FOR OVERPAYMENTS MADE BY HIM FROM EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 31, 1933, 48 STAT. 22.

THE OVERPAYMENTS IN QUESTION WERE MADE UNDER FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MAY BE EPITOMIZED AS FOLLOWS:

CHECK NO. 42891 WAS DRAWN MAY 1, 1933, TO THE ORDER OF GRACE TROILA, ALLOTTEE OF DOMENIC BELINO, FOR $15, FOR PAYMENT OF ITEM NO. 9 ON PAY ROLL VOUCHER NO. 82, THE ENROLLEE BEING A MEMBER OF THE THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTH FORESTRY COMPANY, CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS, FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, MD. THE VOUCHER COVERS PAYMENT FOR THE MONTH OF APRIL 1933. WITH RESPECT TO ITEM 9, IT IS SHOWN ON THE VOUCHER THAT DOMENIC BELFINO ENROLLED ON APRIL 9, 1933; THAT THE MONTHLY RATE OF ALLOTMENT WAS $15; THAT THE TOTAL AMOUNT ACCRUING FOR THE PERIOD APRIL 9 TO APRIL 30, 1933, WAS $22; THAT THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE ALLOTMENT ACCRUING OVER THIS PERIOD WAS $11; THAT THE SUBJECT CHECK WAS ISSUED TO THE ALLOTTEE IN THE SUM OF $15, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE PAY ROLL SHOWED THE AMOUNT DUE TO THE ALLOTTEE TO BE $11, THUS RESULTING IN A CLEAR OVERPAYMENT OF $4 TO THE ALLOTTEE, WHICH OPERATED, TO THE EXTENT, AS AN OVERDRAFT IN THE DEPOSITORY ACCOUNT.

CHECKS NOS. 1,137,590 AND 1,137,604, CONSTITUTING ITEMS NOS. 11 AND 25, RESPECTIVELY, ON PAY ROLL VOUCHER NO. 152, WERE DRAWN ON JUNE 3, 1933, EACH IN THE SUM OF $6.00, TO THE ORDER OF EUGENIA EUBANKS AND MARIE LAUER, ALLOTTEES, RESPECTIVELY, OF JEFFERSON D. LEE AND RAYMOND D. MCKELVY, THE ENROLLEES BEING MEMBERS OF THE THREE HUNDRED AND FORTY FIRST COMPANY, CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS, FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, MD. THE VOUCHER COVERS PAYMENT FOR THE MONTH OF MAY 1933. WITH RESPECT TO ITEMS NOS. 11 AND 25, IT IS SHOWN THAT THE TWO MEMBERS IN QUESTION ENROLLED ON MAY 24, 1933, THAT THE MONTHLY RATE OF ALLOTMENT IN EACH CASE WAS $22.50, THAT THE TOTAL AMOUNT ACCRUING FOR THE PERIOD MAY 24, TO MAY 31, 1933, WAS $7 IN EACH CASE--- THAT THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE ALLOTMENT ACCRUING OVER THIS PERIOD WAS $5 IN EACH CASE--- THAT THE SUBJECT CHECKS WERE ISSUED TO THE ALLOTTEES IN THE SUM OF $6 EACH, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE PAY ROLL SHOWED THE AMOUNT DUE EACH ALLOTTEE TO BE $5 ONLY, THUS RESULTING IN A CLEAR OVERPAYMENT OF $1 IN EACH CASE, WHICH OPERATED, TO TO THAT EXTENT, AS AN OVERDRAFT IN THE DEPOSITORY ACCOUNT.

BY LETTER OF MARCH 13, 1934, THIS OFFICE REQUESTED THE DISBURSING OFFICER TO DEPOSIT THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE OVERDRAFTS, $6.00 FROM HIS NONOFFICIAL FUNDS TO HIS OFFICIAL CREDIT WITH THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES, UNDER THE OFFICER'S DISBURSING SYMBOL NO. 200-843. THE DISBURSING OFFICER UNDER DATE OF APRIL 17, 1934, REPLIES AS FOLLOWS:

OVERDRAFT ITEMS OF $4.00 AND $2.00.

UNDER DATE OF FEBRUARY 20, 1934, THE UNDERSIGNED REQUEST RELIEF FROM LIABILITY IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 6200. NO REPLY HAS BEEN RECEIVED.

WHILE THIS OFFICE HAS NO RECORD OF HAVING RECEIVED THE REQUEST FOR RELIEF REFERRED TO IN THE OFFICER'S REPLY, SUPRA, HE APPARENTLY BELIEVES THAT THE EXECUTIVE ORDER REFERRED TO RELIEVES HIM OF LIABILITY FOR THE OVERPAYMENTS HERE IN QUESTION. SAID EXECUTIVE ORDER ISSUED JULY 11, 1933, PROVIDES IN PART---

* * * NO DISBURSING OFFICER SHALL BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY PAYMENT MADE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE FOREGOING ACT AND SAID EXECUTIVE ORDERS, OR FOR THE UNCOLLECTED BALANCE OF ANY OVERPAYMENT INVOLVED.

IT IS FUNDAMENTAL THAT DISBURSING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE BOUND TO ACCOUNT FAITHFULLY AND FULLY FOR ALL MONEYS INTRUSTED TO THEIR CARE, AND IN SO ACCOUNTING THEY ARE PERSONALLY LIABLE TO THE UNITED STATES FOR SUCH MONEYS FOR WHICH THEY FAIL TO SHOW A LAWFUL USE IN THE EXPENDITURE THEREOF. IN OTHER WORDS, THE RELATION OF A DISBURSING OFFICER TO THE GOVERNMENT IS DIRECT AND PERSONAL, AND HE IS THEREFORE DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE LEGALITY OF PAYMENTS MADE BY HIM FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS. THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT MAY ALLOW CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF A DISBURSING OFFICER ONLY WHERE THE ACCOUNTS SHOW THAT THE PUBLIC FUNDS INTRUSTED TO HIS CARE WERE PROPERLY DISBURSED. CONVERSELY, HOWEVER, CREDIT MAY NOT BE ALLOWED WHERE HIS ACCOUNTS CLEARLY SHOW THAT THE PUBLIC FUNDS SO INTRUSTED TO HIS CARE WERE NOT PROPERLY DISBURSED. SEE, GENERALLY, DECISION OF MAY 7, 1934, A-52987, 13 COMP. GEN. 326.

IN THE INSTANT CASE THE FACTS WERE PROPERLY CERTIFIED TO THE DISBURSING OFFICER, THE PAY ROLLS IN THIS RESPECT CLEARLY SHOWING THE AMOUNT DUE EACH ALLOTTEE. THE ISSUANCE OF THE CHECKS BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER FOR AMOUNTS IN EXCESS OF THOSE SHOWN FROM THE FACTS CERTIFIED TO ON THE PAY ROLL TO BE DUE THE SEVERAL ALLOTTEES WAS DUE TO AN ERROR OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER, AND THE RESPONSIBILITY THEREFORE RESTS SOLELY WITH HIM UNDER HIS STATUTORY DUTIES, NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE ORDER, SUPRA.

ACCORDINGLY IT IS REQUESTED THE DISBURSING OFFICER BE INSTRUCTED TO DEPOSIT THE AMOUNT IN QUESTION TO THE CREDIT OF HIS OFFICIAL ACCOUNT WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY.