A-59683, FEBRUARY 9, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 615

A-59683: Feb 9, 1935

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- THAT IS. AS FOLLOWS: IT IS THE DESIRE OF THIS DEPARTMENT. IF THERE WERE QUESTION OF EMERGENCY FUNDS WARRANTED TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR EXPENDITURE AS WELL AS FOR OBLIGATION. THE WAR DEPARTMENT IS BY EXECUTIVE DIRECTION THE ALLOTTEE OF THE FUND. OUR OBLIGATING AUTHORIZATION IS IN THE FORM OF "PROCUREMENT AUTHORITIES" FOR SPECIFIC AGGREGATE AMOUNTS. PAYMENT IS BY THE DISBURSING STAFF OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT. THERE IS THUS PRESENTED WITH RESPECT TO ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS IN OUR POSITIONS DEPENDENT UPON THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION FUND A SPECIAL SITUATION QUITE APART APPARENTLY FROM THOSE WHICH HAVE HITHERTO RECEIVED YOUR CONSIDERATION. GEN. 67 IS THAT THE SAVINGS MUST EXIST WITH RESPECT TO THE ENTIRE APPROPRIATION OR APPORTIONMENT INVOLVED.

A-59683, FEBRUARY 9, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 615

COMPENSATION - ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS - SAVINGS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS UNLESS AND UNTIL THERE HAS BEEN A DEFINITE APPORTIONMENT FOR PERSONAL SERVICES BY OR PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF THE PRESIDENT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1935 TO BE EXPENDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OUT OF THE TOTAL APPROPRIATION FOR EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK, THE COMMITMENTS AS OF JULY 1, 1934--- THAT IS, THE AMOUNT OF THE TOTAL SALARY RATES OF ALL EXISTING POSITIONS FILLED OR VACANT AS OF JULY 1, 1934, CONSTITUTE THE BASIS FOR LATER DETERMINING THE SAVINGS TO BE DERIVED ONLY FROM THE NONFILLING OF VACANCIES, ABSENCES WITHOUT PAY, REDUCTION IN COMPENSATION, ETC.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, FEBRUARY 9, 1935:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 11, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

IT IS THE DESIRE OF THIS DEPARTMENT, IF POSSIBLE, TO UTILIZE THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTION PROVISION IN SECTION 24 OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, AS A MEANS OF REMOVING CERTAIN INEQUALITIES IN THE COMPENSATION OF EMPLOYEES OF THIS DEPARTMENT PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK. THIS DISCRIMINATION HAS BEEN A SOURCE OF ADMINISTRATIVE CONCERN DURING THE RATHER LONG PERIOD OF ITS EXISTENCE.

IF THERE WERE QUESTION OF EMERGENCY FUNDS WARRANTED TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR EXPENDITURE AS WELL AS FOR OBLIGATION, THERE WOULD PRESUMABLY BE NO OTHER DIFFICULTY THAN THAT WHICH MIGHT ARISE IN EVIDENCING THE NECESSARY SAVINGS. IN THE CASE OF THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION FUND, HOWEVER, THIS DEPARTMENT OBLIGATES AND ADMINISTERS, BUT DOES NOT DISBURSE; THE WAR DEPARTMENT IS BY EXECUTIVE DIRECTION THE ALLOTTEE OF THE FUND. OUR OBLIGATING AUTHORIZATION IS IN THE FORM OF "PROCUREMENT AUTHORITIES" FOR SPECIFIC AGGREGATE AMOUNTS, CORRESPONDING UNIFORMLY TO ESTIMATES SUBMITTED BY THE DEPARTMENT. PAYMENT IS BY THE DISBURSING STAFF OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT.

THERE IS THUS PRESENTED WITH RESPECT TO ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS IN OUR POSITIONS DEPENDENT UPON THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION FUND A SPECIAL SITUATION QUITE APART APPARENTLY FROM THOSE WHICH HAVE HITHERTO RECEIVED YOUR CONSIDERATION. THE RULE IN 14 COMP. GEN. 67 IS THAT THE SAVINGS MUST EXIST WITH RESPECT TO THE ENTIRE APPROPRIATION OR APPORTIONMENT INVOLVED. USE OF THE APPROPRIATION AS THE UNIT IN THE CASES PRESENTED WOULD BE DIFFICULT TO THE POINT OF IMPRACTICABILITY. IT IS TO BE SUPPOSED THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT IN ITS CAPACITY OF PAYMASTER ONLY, WITHOUT CONTROL AND PRESUMABLY WITHOUT SYSTEMATIC RECORD OF APPOINTMENTS AND PERSONNEL CHANGES IN THE FOUR OR FIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS CONCERNED IN EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK, COULD KNOW NOTHING OF THE SAVINGS IN THE FUNDS APPORTIONED TO THIS DEPARTMENT EXCEPT UPON INFORMATION WHICH THE DEPARTMENT MIGHT AFFORD; HENCE SAVINGS CERTIFICATION BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT, EVEN IF AGRICULTURE ALONE WERE CONCERNED, COULD NOT BE EXPECTED. IT SEEMS A FAIR PRESUMPTION ALSO THAT A SIMILAR CONDITION EXISTS AS TO THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION FUND IN OTHER FEDERAL BRANCHES OUTSIDE OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT TO WHICH THE LATTER ISSUES PROCUREMENT AUTHORITIES. THUS, DEALING WITH THE APPROPRIATION AS A UNIT, IT APPEARS THAT ANY CERTIFICATION AS TO SAVINGS WOULD OF NECESSITY BE THE COMPOSITE RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL PARTICIPATING FEDERAL BRANCHES, AND PROMOTIONS IN ONE BRANCH WOULD BE DEPENDENT UPON SAVINGS OR DEARTH OF SAVINGS IN THE OTHERS.

THIS SEEMS OBVIOUSLY REPUGNANT TO THE PURPOSES OF THE PROMOTION PROVISION. BUT THE DIFFICULTY APPARENTLY DISAPPEARS, IF, USING THE ALTERNATIVE UNIT OF SAVINGS MEASUREMENT SPECIFIED IN 14 COMP. GEN. 67, THE APPORTIONMENT TO THE DEPARTMENT EFFECTED BY THE WAR DEPARTMENT PROCUREMENT AUTHORITIES MAY BE EMPLOYED AS THE BASIS OF SAVINGS COMPUTATION. THIS WOULD PLACE THE FUNDS ASSIGNED FOR OBLIGATION AND ADMINISTRATION BUT WITH RESERVATION OF DISBURSEMENT TO ANOTHER BRANCH IN THE SAME CATEGORY AS FUNDS TRANSFERRED BY TREASURY WARRANT FROM APPROPRIATIONS MADE INITIALLY TO ANOTHER DEPARTMENT. THE SAVINGS CERTIFICATION WOULD THEN REST UPON THE KNOWLEDGE AND RECORDS OF THE BRANCH IN WHICH THE APPOINTMENTS WERE ACTUALLY MADE; AND PROMOTIONS WITHIN A GIVEN DEPARTMENT WOULD BE INDEPENDENT OF CONDITIONS IN EXTERNAL ORGANIZATIONS EXPENDING THE SAME FUNDS.

IN VIEW OF THESE CONSIDERATIONS YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER UPON DETERMINATION BY THIS DEPARTMENT UNDER THE RULES PRESCRIBED BY YOUR OFFICE THAT ADEQUATE SALARY SAVINGS HAVE BEEN REALIZED IN THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION FUND ASSIGNED TO THE DEPARTMENT FOR OBLIGATION AND ADMINISTRATION, SUCH PROMOTIONS MAY BE MADE; AND WHETHER IN PLACING ON PAY ROLLS THE FORM OF CERTIFICATION PRESCRIBED IN 14 COMP. GEN. 1 THE WORD "APPORTIONMENT" MAY BE SUBSTITUTED FOR ,APPROPRIATION.'

SECTION 24 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, 48 STAT. 523, PROVIDES, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 7 (PROHIBITING ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS) OF THE TREASURY POST OFFICE APPROPRIATION ACT, FISCAL YEAR 1934, IS AMENDED BY ADDING AFTER THE FIRST PROVISO THEREOF A COLON AND THE FOLLOWING: "PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS MAY BE MADE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1935TO THE EXTENT THAT FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE THEREFOR, ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, FROM SAVINGS MADE IN THE AMOUNTS APPORTIONED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES FROM THE APPLICABLE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1935.'

THE GENERAL RULE FOR DETERMINING SAVINGS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS WAS STATED IN DECISION OF JUNE 9, 1934, A-54807, 13 COMP. GEN. 419, 421, AS FOLLOWS:

THE PURPOSE AND INTENT OF THAT PORTION OF SECTION 24 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, 48 STAT. 522, AMENDING SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1515, APPEARS TO BE TO PERMIT THE USE OF 1935 APPROPRIATIONS EXCLUSIVELY AVAILABLE FOR SALARY PAYMENTS, OR ADMINISTRATIVELY APPORTIONED FOR SALARY PAYMENTS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS FROM APPROPRIATION ITEMS AVAILABLE ALSO FOR OTHER PURPOSES, BY THE USE OF ANY SAVINGS THAT MAY BE MADE, ON AN ANNUAL BASIS, BY ADMINISTRATIVE ECONOMIES IN THE USE OF SUCH ANNUAL PERSONNEL APPROPRIATIONS OR ANNUAL ADMINISTRATIVE APPORTIONMENTS FOR PERSONNEL.

CONSEQUENTLY, AS A PREREQUISITE TO ANY SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE PROMOTIONS DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1935, THERE MUST BE A SHOWING OF THE AMOUNT SPECIFICALLY APPROPRIATED OR APPORTIONED FOR PERSONAL SERVICES FOR THE PARTICULAR OFFICE OR ACTIVITY INVOLVED, AND A SHOWING AS TO THE AMOUNT THEREOF NECESSARY TO PAY THE SALARIES FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR OF ALL POSITIONS, WHETHER FILLED OR VACANT, EXISTING ON JULY 1, 1934. THE DIFFERENCE, IF ANY, BETWEEN SAID TWO ACCOUNTS MAY BE REGARDED AS A SAVING AVAILABLE FOR PROMOTIONS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE PROVISION IN QUESTION. LIKEWISE, ANY SAVINGS RESULTING FROM THE NONFILLING OF VACANCIES EXISTING ON JULY 1, 1934, OR WHICH MAY OCCUR DURING THE FISCAL YEAR, PROVIDED IMPOUNDING THEREOF BE WAIVED BY THE PRESIDENT, AND ANY SAVINGS RESULTING FROM REDUCTIONS IN SALARIES OR FROM ABSENCES WITHOUT PAY, WHETHER VOLUNTARY OR INVOLUNTARY, WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH PROMOTIONS. * * *

THE ACT OF JUNE 16, 1933, 48 STAT. 275, MAKES AN APPROPRIATION FOR FURTHER CARRYING OUT THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 31, 1933, 48 STAT. 22,"TO BE EXPENDED IN THE DISCRETION AND UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE PRESIDENT.' THEREFORE, AN APPORTIONMENT MADE BY THE PRESIDENT FOR PERSONAL SERVICES FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1935 TO BE EXPENDED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OUT OF SAID TOTAL APPROPRIATION FOR EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK, PROPERLY WOULD BE THE BASIS FOR DETERMINING SAVINGS ON AN ANNUAL BASIS UNDER PROVISIONS OF SECTION 24, ACT OF MARCH 28, 1934, SUPRA.

UNLESS AND UNTIL SUCH DEFINITE APPORTIONMENT FOR PERSONAL SERVICES BE MADE UNDER SAID APPROPRIATION, THE COMMITMENTS AS OF JULY 1, 1934-- THAT IS, THE AMOUNT OF THE TOTAL SALARY RATES OF ALL EXISTING POSITIONS, FILLED OR VACANT, AS OF JULY 1, 1934, PAID OUT OF THE ALLOTMENTS TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE--- CONSTITUTE THE BASIS FOR LATER DETERMINING THE SAVINGS TO BE DERIVED FROM THE NONFILLING OF VACANCIES, ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY, REDUCTIONS IN COMPENSATION, ETC. 13 COMP. GEN. 450; 14 ID. 87, 89. THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.