A-6044, APRIL 11, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 845

A-6044: Apr 11, 1925

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REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED OF A VOUCHER TRANSMITTED FOR COMPENSATION TO HON. DUBOIS WAS APPOINTED TO THE COMMISSION ON JULY 3. WAS NOT NOTIFIED OF HIS APPOINTMENT UNTIL JULY 15. THESE PROVISIONS HAVE BEEN HELD TO BE DIRECTORY ONLY. THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS HAVE FOLLOWED THE DECISION CITED AND HELD THAT UNLESS AN APPOINTMENT STIPULATED TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE AS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO MAKE THE APPOINTMENT EFFECTIVE. THAT IS. THE OATH MUST BE TAKEN BEFORE THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT. THE DECISIONS HAVE BEEN THAT THERE MUST BE AN ACCEPTANCE OF APPOINTMENT TO ENTITLE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE TO COMPENSATION. ACCORDINGLY PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

A-6044, APRIL 11, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 845

EFFECTIVE DATE OF APPOINTMENTS TO ENTITLE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE TO COMPENSATION UNDER AN APPOINTMENT, THE APPOINTMENT MUST BE ACCEPTED EITHER FORMALLY, OR BY ENTRY UPON DUTY OR BY TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE. NO PAYMENT MAY BE MADE PRIOR TO TAKING THE OATH BUT THE OATH WHEN TAKEN MAY RELATE BACK TO THE DATE OF THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE APPOINTMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY RESTRICTION IN THE APPOINTMENT ITSELF.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO WILLIAM H. SMITH, SPECIAL DISBURSING OFFICER, INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION, APRIL 11, 1925:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 1, 1924, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED OF A VOUCHER TRANSMITTED FOR COMPENSATION TO HON. FRED. T. DUBOIS, COMMISSIONER ON THE PART OF THE UNITED STATES OF THE INTERNATIONAL JOINT COMMISSION OF THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA FOR THE PERIOD FROM JULY 3 TO 14, 1924, INCLUSIVE, AMOUNTING TO $250.

IT APPEARS THAT MR. DUBOIS WAS APPOINTED TO THE COMMISSION ON JULY 3, 1924, BUT WAS NOT NOTIFIED OF HIS APPOINTMENT UNTIL JULY 15, 1924, ON WHICH DATE HE TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE. SECTION 1757, REVISED STATUTES, AND THE ACT OF MAY 13, 1884, 23 STAT. 21, REQUIRE GENERALLY THAT AN OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE BEFORE ENTERING UPON HIS DUTIES. THESE PROVISIONS HAVE BEEN HELD TO BE DIRECTORY ONLY. UNITED STATES V. EATON, 169 U.S. 331. THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS HAVE FOLLOWED THE DECISION CITED AND HELD THAT UNLESS AN APPOINTMENT STIPULATED TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE AS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO MAKE THE APPOINTMENT EFFECTIVE, THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO COMPENSATION FROM THE DATE OF ACCEPTANCE OF THE APPOINTMENT, PROVIDED THE OATH HAD BEEN TAKEN PRIOR TO THE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION; THAT IS, THE OATH MUST BE TAKEN BEFORE THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT, BUT THE OATH HAVING BEEN TAKEN THE RIGHT TO COMPENSATION MAY RELATE BACK TO THE DATE OF THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE APPOINTMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY RESTRICTION IN THE APPOINTMENT ITSELF. SEE 24 COMP. DEC. 547.

THE DECISIONS HAVE BEEN THAT THERE MUST BE AN ACCEPTANCE OF APPOINTMENT TO ENTITLE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE TO COMPENSATION. ACCEPTANCE MAY BE SHOWN BY FORMAL ACCEPTANCE, BY ENTRY ON DUTY, OR BY TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE. NO EVIDENCE HAS BEEN PRESENTED SHOWING THAT MR. DUBOIS ACCEPTED THE APPOINTMENT AS COMMISSIONER ON ANY DATE PRIOR TO JULY 15, 1924, AND ACCORDINGLY PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED IS NOT AUTHORIZED.