A-60700, APRIL 4, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 734

A-60700: Apr 4, 1935

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KLEFFNER IS ENTITLED TO RETIREMENT ANNUITY ON ACCOUNT OF INVOLUNTARY SEPARATION EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 28. A POSITION WHICH AT THAT TIME WAS OUTSIDE THE CLASSIFIED CIVIL SERVICE. YOU STATE THAT THIS CLAIM FOR ANNUITY WAS REJECTED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS JANUARY 20. WAS TWICE CONSIDERED ON APPEAL AND DENIED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR UNDER DATES OF MARCH 8. APPLICATION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE CLAIM WAS DENIED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS "ON THE GROUND THAT A REVIEW OF THE CLAIM DISCLOSED NO NEW AND MATERIAL EVIDENCE AND THAT NO LEGAL GROUNDS FOR A REVERSAL HAD BEEN ADVANCED WHICH WERE NOT CONSIDERED WHEN THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR'S DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 11. WAS RENDERED.'.

A-60700, APRIL 4, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 734

RETIREMENT - REOPENING OF SETTLED CLAIMS FOR ANNUITY PURSUANT TO THE WELL-ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLE THAT THE FINAL DETERMINATION OF A CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES BY AN EXECUTIVE OFFICER HAVING JURISDICTION THEREOF CANNOT BE REOPENED, SET ASIDE AND A DIFFERENT RESULT ORDERED BY ANY SUCCESSOR OF SUCH OFFICER EXCEPT FOR FRAUD, MANIFEST ERROR ON THE FACE OF THE PROCEEDINGS, SUCH AS AN ERROR IN CALCULATION, OR UPON PRESENTATION OF NEWLY DISCOVERED MATERIAL EVIDENCE SUFFICIENT IN A COURT OF LAW TO JUSTIFY A NEW TRIAL, THE UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION HAS NO AUTHORITY TO REOPEN OR RECONSIDER A CLAIM FOR RETIREMENT ANNUITY FINALLY SETTLED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, APRIL 4, 1935:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 6, 1935, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER GEORGE J. KLEFFNER IS ENTITLED TO RETIREMENT ANNUITY ON ACCOUNT OF INVOLUNTARY SEPARATION EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 28, 1921, FROM THE POSITION OF FEDERAL PROHIBITION INSPECTOR IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, A POSITION WHICH AT THAT TIME WAS OUTSIDE THE CLASSIFIED CIVIL SERVICE.

YOU STATE THAT THIS CLAIM FOR ANNUITY WAS REJECTED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF PENSIONS JANUARY 20, 1923, AND WAS TWICE CONSIDERED ON APPEAL AND DENIED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR UNDER DATES OF MARCH 8, 1923, AND SEPTEMBER 11, 1926, AND THAT AFTER ADMINISTRATION OF THE RETIREMENT ACT HAD BEEN TRANSFERRED TO THE VETERANS' ADMINISTRATION, APPLICATION FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE CLAIM WAS DENIED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS "ON THE GROUND THAT A REVIEW OF THE CLAIM DISCLOSED NO NEW AND MATERIAL EVIDENCE AND THAT NO LEGAL GROUNDS FOR A REVERSAL HAD BEEN ADVANCED WHICH WERE NOT CONSIDERED WHEN THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR'S DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 11, 1926, WAS RENDERED.' IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT NO MISTAKE OF FACT IS ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN MADE BY THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT IN ITS CONSIDERATION OF THIS CLAIM AND THAT NO NEWLY DISCOVERED MATERIAL EVIDENCE HAS SINCE BEEN DISCLOSED.

IT HAS LONG BEEN A WELL-ESTABLISHED PRINCIPLE THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATUTE SPECIFICALLY SO PROVIDING, THE FINAL DETERMINATION OF A CLAIM AGAINST THE UNITED STATES BY AN EXECUTIVE OFFICER HAVING JURISDICTION THEREOF CANNOT BE REOPENED, SET ASIDE AND A DIFFERENT RESULT ORDERED BY ANY SUCCESSOR OF SUCH OFFICER, EXCEPT FOR FRAUD, MANIFEST ERROR ON THE FACE OF THE PROCEEDINGS, SUCH AS AN ERROR IN CALCULATION, OR UPON PRESENTATION OF NEWLY DISCOVERED MATERIAL EVIDENCE SUFFICIENT IN A COURT OF LAW TO JUSTIFY A NEW TRIAL. UNITED STATES V. BANK OF THE METROPOLIS, 15 PET. 401; NOBLE V. UNION RIVER LOGGING RAILROAD CO., 147 U.S. 165; 11 COMP. DEC. 459; ID. 676; 14 ID. 795; 19 ID. 110; 27 ID. 415, 418; 2 COMP. GEN. 94. INSTANCES WHERE EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY HAS BEEN PROVIDED FOR REVISION OF A PREDECESSOR'S DECISIONS ARE FOUND IN THE WAR RISK INSURANCE AND WORLD WAR VETERANS' ACTS. 3 COMP. GEN. 41. THERE IS NO SPECIFIC PROVISION EITHER IN THE CIVIL RETIREMENT ACT, AS AMENDED, IN THE PROVISIONS OF THE ECONOMY ACT, AS AMENDED, REGARDING REORGANIZATION OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS, OR ELSEWHERE, WHICH ABROGATES THE GENERAL PRINCIPLE ABOVE STATED.

ACCORDINGLY, ON THE BASIS OF YOUR SUBMISSION, I HAVE TO ADVISE THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO REOPEN OR RECONSIDER THE CLAIM OF GEORGE J. KLEFFNER FOR A RETIREMENT ANNUITY WHICH WAS DENIED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR.