A-56916, SEPTEMBER 17, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 225

A-56916: Sep 17, 1934

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ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS - RESTORATION OF REDUCED GRADE AND SALARY WHERE THE REDUCTION IN THE GRADE AND SALARY RATE OF AN EMPLOYEE BECAUSE OF LACK OF FUNDS WAS ACTUALLY CONSUMMATED BY THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE CONDITION ON THE RECOMMENDATION FOR REDUCTION MADE BY THE EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE SUPERIOR. ON THE BASIS THAT THE RECOMMENDATION WAS OVERLOOKED. IS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE STATUTE PROHIBITING ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS AND PAYMENT OF THE INCREASED SALARY RATE IS NOT AUTHORIZED. AS FOLLOWS: IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOUR CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO DISALLOWANCE MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON VOUCHER NO. 65062 PAID JUNE 19. WAS EMPLOYED BY THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AT THE SUPPLY DEPOT.

A-56916, SEPTEMBER 17, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 225

ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS - RESTORATION OF REDUCED GRADE AND SALARY WHERE THE REDUCTION IN THE GRADE AND SALARY RATE OF AN EMPLOYEE BECAUSE OF LACK OF FUNDS WAS ACTUALLY CONSUMMATED BY THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE CONDITION ON THE RECOMMENDATION FOR REDUCTION MADE BY THE EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE SUPERIOR, A SUBSEQUENT PARTIAL RESTORATION IN GRADE AND SALARY RATE WITHOUT PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL, ON THE BASIS THAT THE RECOMMENDATION WAS OVERLOOKED, IS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE STATUTE PROHIBITING ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS AND PAYMENT OF THE INCREASED SALARY RATE IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, SEPTEMBER 17, 1934:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 25, 1934, AS FOLLOWS:

IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOUR CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO DISALLOWANCE MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON VOUCHER NO. 65062 PAID JUNE 19, 1934, BY J. L. SUMMERS, DISBURSING CLERK, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, SYMBOL NO. 10005, ON WHICH $16.30 PAID TO J. S. BENJAMIN HAS BEEN DISALLOWED.

DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1933 JOHN S. BENJAMIN, CARPENTER, WITH COMPENSATION AT $1,860 PER ANNUM, WAS EMPLOYED BY THE UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AT THE SUPPLY DEPOT, PERRY POINT, MD. BECAUSE OF CURTAILMENT OF FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1934 ALL OFFICERS IN CHARGE OF FIELD STATIONS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE WERE REQUESTED AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER DURING MAY AND JUNE 1933 TO MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REDUCING EXPENDITURES. THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE SUPPLY DEPOT MADE CERTAIN RECOMMENDATIONS, AMONG THEM THAT JOHN S. BENJAMIN, CARPENTER, BE DEMOTED TO LABORER AT $1,200 PER ANNUM, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1933, WITH THE RESERVATION, HOWEVER, THAT THIS RECOMMENDATION BE NOT APPROVED UNTIL CONSIDERATION HAD BEEN GIVEN TO A CHANGE IN POLICY WITH RESPECT TO THE RECONDITIONING OF FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT, WHICH DUTIES WERE THEN BEING PERFORMED BY MR. BENJAMIN AND COULD NOT BE HANDLED BY THE AVERAGE HANDY MAN OR LABORER. UNFORTUNATELY, THIS RESERVATION OF THE OFFICER IN CHARGE WAS OVERLOOKED IN THE RUSH OF WORK OCCASIONED BY THE NUMEROUS SEPARATIONS, DEMOTIONS, ETC., WHICH WERE MADE AT THAT TIME; AND THE DEMOTION OF MR. BENJAMIN FROM CARPENTER AT $1,860 PER ANNUM TO LABORER AT $1,200 PER ANNUM WAS APPROVED BY THIS DEPARTMENT ON JUNE 17, 1933, TO BE EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1933. IT WAS FOUND LATER THAT IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO RECONDITION FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT AT THE SUPPLY DEPOT AND THAT THE SERVICES OF MR. BENJAMIN WOULD BE REQUIRED AS A CARPENTER IN HIS OLD CAPACITY AND RECOMMENDATION WAS MADE FOR THE CANCELATION OF THE PREVIOUS ACTION, CHANGING MR. BENJAMIN'S STATUS TO LABORER AT $1,200, WHICH RECOMMENDATION WAS APPROVED BY THIS DEPARTMENT ON AUGUST 3, 1933. AT THE SAME TIME THE STATUS OF THIS EMPLOYEE WAS CHANGED FROM CARPENTER AT $1,860 TO CARPENTER AT $1,680.

I MAY SAY IN THIS CONNECTION THAT THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE SUPPLY DEPOT REPORTS THAT BY THE RECONDITIONING OF FURNITURE AND EQUIPMENT THERE HAS BEEN SAVED FOR THE GOVERNMENT ABOUT $3,500.

IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES AS SET FORTH HEREIN, IT APPEARS TO ME THAT THE ACTION OF THIS DEPARTMENT WAS JUSTIFIED AND THAT CREDIT FOR PAYMENTS MADE IN ACCORDANCE THEREWITH SHOULD BE ALLOWED.

THE FACTS SHOW THAT JOHN S. BENJAMIN WAS FORMALLY REDUCED FROM CARPENTER, $1,860 PER ANNUM, TO LABORER $1,200 PER ANNUM, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1933, BY APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION. IT IS IMMATERIAL THAT THE EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE SUPERIOR IN THE FIELD MAY HAVE PLACED A CONDITION ON THE RECOMMENDATION FOR REDUCTION, THE FACT BEING THAT THE FORMAL REDUCTION WAS ACTUALLY CONSUMMATED BY THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY WITHOUT REFERENCE TO THE CONDITION ON THE RECOMMENDATION FOR REDUCTION. NO SUCH ERROR WAS COMMITTED AS JUSTIFIES THE CONCLUSION THAT A SUBSEQUENT PROMOTION OF THE EMPLOYEE TO $1,680 PER ANNUM WAS MERELY THE CORRECTION OF AN ERROR RATHER THAN AN ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTION IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1515, THERE APPEARING TO HAVE BEEN NO PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL GIVEN IN THE CASE. ON THE CONTRARY, THE FACT THAT THERE WAS NO ATTEMPT TO RESTORE THE EMPLOYEE TO HIS FORMER SALARY RATE OF $1,860 PER ANNUM--- THE NEW APPOINTMENT BEING AT $1,680 PER ANNUM--- SHOWS BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE ACTION WAS NOT THE CORRECTION OF AN ERROR, BUT SIMPLY AN ADMINISTRATIVE REDUCTION BECAUSE OF LACK OF FUNDS, AND A SUBSEQUENT ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTION WITHOUT PRESIDENTIAL APPROVAL IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE STATUTE. SEE DECISIONS OF OCTOBER 25, 1933, A-51530, AND FEBRUARY 24, 1934, A-53802.

ACCORDINGLY, THE AUDIT ACTION IN THIS CASE WAS CORRECT AND IS APPROVED AND SIMILAR ACTION WILL BE TAKEN FOR PERIODS SUBSEQUENT TO THAT CONSIDERED HERETOFORE IN THE AUDIT.