A-59956, FEBRUARY 26, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 644

A-59956: Feb 26, 1935

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

DEPOSITIONS - NOTARIES PUBLIC AND STENOGRAPHIC SERVICES IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE THAT IT IS THE ESTABLISHED PRACTICE IN THE STATE COURTS TO DISREGARD AS OBSOLETE OR OTHERWISE IMPRACTICABLE THE STATE STATUTES FIXING THE FEE OF NOTARIES PUBLIC FOR TAKING DEPOSITIONS. WHICH DATE IS SUBSEQUENT TO THE PAYMENTS MADE ON THE ABOVE VOUCHERS. I AM STILL OF THE OPINION THAT AUTHORITY SIGNED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO INCUR THIS EXPENSE AND DIRECTING THIS OFFICE TO MAKE PAYMENT IS ALL THAT IS. THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES IS AUTHORIZED TO SETTLE AND ADJUST ALL CLAIMS FOR OR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AND BALANCES CERTIFIED BY HIM ARE MADE FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE UPON THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT.

A-59956, FEBRUARY 26, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 644

DEPOSITIONS - NOTARIES PUBLIC AND STENOGRAPHIC SERVICES IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE THAT IT IS THE ESTABLISHED PRACTICE IN THE STATE COURTS TO DISREGARD AS OBSOLETE OR OTHERWISE IMPRACTICABLE THE STATE STATUTES FIXING THE FEE OF NOTARIES PUBLIC FOR TAKING DEPOSITIONS, THE FEES SO FIXED BY STATUTE CONSTITUTE PAYMENT IN FULL FOR ALL SERVICES RENDERED IN TAKING SUCH DEPOSITIONS AND NO ADDITIONAL FEES MAY BE ALLOWED FOR STENOGRAPHIC SERVICES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO BERT M. BATES, UNITED STATES MARSHAL, FEBRUARY 26, 1935:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 14, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

I AM IN RECEIPT OF YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 11, IN REPLY TO MY LETTER TO YOU UNDER DATE OF JANUARY 5, WITH REFERENCE TO CERTAIN ITEMS FOR WHICH CREDIT HAS BEEN WITHHELD ON VOUCHERS NO. 57, 58, 60, AND 127 OF MY ACCOUNTS FOR THE QUARTER ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 1933.

REGARDLESS OF THE COMPTROLLER'S DECISION DATED NOVEMBER 27, 1934,WHICH DATE IS SUBSEQUENT TO THE PAYMENTS MADE ON THE ABOVE VOUCHERS, I AM STILL OF THE OPINION THAT AUTHORITY SIGNED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL TO INCUR THIS EXPENSE AND DIRECTING THIS OFFICE TO MAKE PAYMENT IS ALL THAT IS, AND SHOULD BE, NECESSARY FOR THE DEPARTMENT TO GIVE ME CREDIT FOR THESE ITEMS.

WITH RESPECT TO THE STATEMENTS IN YOUR LETTER, IT MAY BE STATED THAT UNDER SECTIONS 304 AND 305 OF THE BUDGET AND ACCOUNTING ACT, 42 STAT. 24, THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES IS AUTHORIZED TO SETTLE AND ADJUST ALL CLAIMS FOR OR AGAINST THE UNITED STATES AND BALANCES CERTIFIED BY HIM ARE MADE FINAL AND CONCLUSIVE UPON THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT.

IN A LETTER OF AUGUST 18, 1934, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, ADDRESSED TO A NOTARY PUBLIC IN A SIMILAR CASE, IT WAS STATED:

THE SITUATION OF WHICH YOU COMPLAIN IS NOT UNDER OUR CONTROL AS THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS A SEPARATE AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT AND IS CHARGED WITH THE FINAL AUDIT OF ACCOUNTS OF DISBURSING OFFICERS AND IS NOT SUBJECT TO DIRECTION FROM THE EXECUTIVE BRANCHES OF THE SERVICE.

VOUCHER NO. 57 IN FAVOR OF MARY G. ELLIOTT, CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA, WAS FOR 16 PAGES OF TRANSCRIPT FOR WHICH SHE WAS PAID 50 CENTS EACH, AND A NOTARY FEE OF 20 CENTS FOR EACH 90 WORDS; A TOTAL OF $16. THE NORTH CAROLINA CODE OF 1931, CHAPTER 59, SECTION 3178, PROVIDES THAT NOTARIES PUBLIC AND OTHER PERSONS ACTING AS SUCH SHALL BE ALLOWED FOR THEIR NECESSARY SERVICES, WHERE NO OTHER FEE IS FIXED, 20 CENTS FOR EACH 90 WORDS. ACCORDINGLY, THE FEE OF 20 CENTS FOR EACH 90 WORDS IS THE MAXIMUM ALLOWED UNDER THE STATUTE AND THE DISALLOWANCE FOR THE CHARGES FOR STENOGRAPHIC SERVICES WAS THEREFOR CORRECT.

VOUCHERS 58 AND 60, BOTH IN FAVOR OF RALPH W. CURRIE, DALLAS, TEXAS, ARE IN PAYMENT OF DEPOSITIONS AT THE RATE OF 15 CENTS PER 100 WORDS, SWEARING WITNESSES AT 15 CENTS EACH, AND, IN ADDITION, ATTENDANCE FEE FOR COURT REPORTER OF $10 FOR EACH VOUCHER. THE COMPLETE TEXAS STATUTES, 1928, TITLE 61, ARTICLE 3945, PROVIDES FOR TAKING DEPOSITION OF WITNESS AT 15 CENTS PER 100 WORDS AND FOR SWEARING A WITNESS TO DEPOSITION, MAKING A CERTIFICATE THEREFOR, WITH SEAL AND ALL OTHER BUSINESS CONNECTED WITH SUCH DEPOSITION, 50 CENTS. THERE IS NO STATUTORY PROVISION FOR THE ADDITIONAL CHARGE OF $10 FOR A COURT REPORTER. SEE IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOREGOING 11 COMP. GEN. 428.

VOUCHER 127, IN FAVOR OF GRACE BOHANNON, NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, IS IN PAYMENT OF NOTARY FEE OF $1, ATTENDANCE FEE $2.50, TRANSCRIPT AT 40 CENTS PER PAGE FOR TEN PAGES, OR A TOTAL OF $7.50. CHAPTER 8 OF THE CODE OF TENNESSEE, 1932, PROVIDES A FEE FOR EACH DEPOSITION TAKEN OF $1. EVIDENCE HAS NOW BEEN SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE THAT THE STATUTORY FEE OF $1 PROVIDED BY THE TENNESSEE STATUTES IS CONSIDERED LOCALLY AS NOT COVERING ALL SERVICES INCIDENT TO THE DEPOSITION AND THAT IT IS CUSTOMARY TO ALLOW, IN ADDITION THERETO, CHARGES FOR STENOGRAPHIC SERVICES SUCH AS CLAIMED IN THIS CASE. SEE DECISION OF TODAY UPON NOTARY AND STENOGRAPHIC SERVICES IN THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, A-53796, 14 COMP. GEN. 642. THEREFORE, CREDIT WILL BE ALLOWED FOR THIS ITEM, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.

UPON REVIEW, THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT WITH RESPECT TO VOUCHERS NOS. 57, 58 AND 60 MUST BE, AND IS, SUSTAINED.