A-67555, NOVEMBER 30, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 458

A-67555: Nov 30, 1935

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - OATHS - WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION PROJECT EMPLOYEES THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION IS AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR BUREAU WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24. ARE AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM THESE FUNCTIONS. IS NOT A PREREQUISITE TO THE ISSUANCE TO THEM OF TRAVEL ORDERS OR TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1935. AS FOLLOWS: THERE HAVE BEEN TWO PARTICULAR QUESTIONS RAISED WITH RESPECT TO THE TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEES OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION. I SHALL ACCORDINGLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WILL LET ME HAVE YOUR DECISION ON EACH OF THESE QUESTIONS FOR THE GUIDANCE OF THE ADMINISTRATION. THESE QUESTIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS: (1) SECTION 8 OF THE SUNDRY CIVIL APPROPRIATION ACT.

A-67555, NOVEMBER 30, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 458

TRAVELING EXPENSES - OATHS - WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION PROJECT EMPLOYEES THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION IS AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR BUREAU WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912, 37 STAT. 487, PROVIDING FOR THE ADMINISTERING OF OATHS BY VARIOUS OFFICERS TO TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT AND OTHER EXPENSE ACCOUNTS, AND THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE CENTRAL OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATION AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, OR A CLERK IN SAID OFFICE UNDER HIS JURISDICTION AND DESIGNATED BY HIM, MAY ADMINISTER SUCH OATHS, BUT NEITHER THE CHIEF CLERKS OF THE VARIOUS STATE OFFICES, NOR CLERKS IN SAID STATE OR DISTRICT OFFICES APPOINTED BY SAID CHIEF CLERKS OR THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE CENTRAL OFFICE, ARE AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM THESE FUNCTIONS. THE TAKING OF AN OATH OF OFFICE BY EMPLOYEES ENGAGED ON WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION PROJECTS AND PAID THE SECURITY WAGES PRESCRIBED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7046, DATED MAY 20, 1935, IS NOT A PREREQUISITE TO THE ISSUANCE TO THEM OF TRAVEL ORDERS OR TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1935, 49 STAT. 115, FOR EXPENSES OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL PROPERLY INCURRED AND ACCOUNTED FOR ON SWORN VOUCHERS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION, NOVEMBER 30, 1935:

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

THERE HAVE BEEN TWO PARTICULAR QUESTIONS RAISED WITH RESPECT TO THE TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEES OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION, ON WHICH THERE SEEMS TO BE SOME UNCERTAINTY, AND I SHALL ACCORDINGLY APPRECIATE IT IF YOU WILL LET ME HAVE YOUR DECISION ON EACH OF THESE QUESTIONS FOR THE GUIDANCE OF THE ADMINISTRATION. THESE QUESTIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

(1) SECTION 8 OF THE SUNDRY CIVIL APPROPRIATION ACT, APPROVED AUGUST 24, 1912, MAKES CERTAIN PROVISIONS FOR THE ADMINISTRATING OF OATHS TO TRAVEL- REIMBURSEMENT ACCOUNTS. AMONG THE PERSONS AUTHORIZED TO ADMINISTER SUCH OATHS ARE INCLUDED "CHIEF CLERKS OF THE VARIOUS EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND BUREAUS, OR CLERKS DESIGNATED BY THEM FOR THE PURPOSE * * *.' WHILE IT IS REALIZED THAT THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION MAY NOT, STRICTLY SPEAKING, BE CLASSED EITHER AS AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR BUREAU, IT WILL BE ASSUMED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SUBMISSION THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 8 OF THE SUNDRY CIVIL APPROPRIATION ACT, REFERRED TO ABOVE, ARE APPLICABLE.

THE SPECIFIC QUESTION RAISED IS WHETHER OR NOT THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE CENTRAL OFFICE OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION IS AUTHORIZED IN HIS CAPACITY AS CHIEF CLERK TO ADMINISTER OATHS ON TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT ACCOUNTS, AND WHETHER OR NOT SUCH AUTHORITY IS VESTED IN CHIEF CLERKS OF THE STATE OFFICES OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION; ALSO, IS THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE CENTRAL OFFICE, OR THE CHIEF CLERK IN A STATE OFFICE OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION, AUTHORIZED TO DESIGNATE CLERKS IN THE STATE OR DISTRICT OFFICES TO ADMINISTER SUCH OATHS?

(2) IS THE TAKING OF AN OATH OF OFFICE A PREREQUISITE TO THE ISSUANCE OF A TRAVEL ORDER TO AN EMPLOYEE AND TO REIMBURSEMENT ON ACCOUNT OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL PERFORMED? IT MAY BE STATED IN EXPLANATION OF THIS QUESTION THAT IT IS THE POLICY OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION TO REQUIRE EVERY ADMINISTRATIVE EMPLOYEE, BOTH IN WASHINGTON AND IN THE FIELD, TO TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE ON THE PRESCRIBED FORM. BUT THERE ARE SEVERAL THOUSAND EMPLOYEES WHO ARE REQUIRED TO TRAVEL IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES WHO MAY NOT, IN THE USUAL SENSE, BE TERMED ADMINISTRATIVE EMPLOYEES.

THE PERSONS REFERRED TO ARE CONSIDERED PROJECT EMPLOYEES AND, THEREFORE, HAVE NOT BEEN REQUIRED TO TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE. THESE PERSONS ARE PROJECT TIMEKEEPERS, PROJECT SUPERVISORS, ETC., AS WELL AS PROJECT WORKERS, THE VERY NATURE OF WHOSE WORK REQUIRES A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF TRAVEL. THEY ARE PAID THE SECURITY WAGE, AND WE ARE, THEREFORE, CONFRONTED WITH THE PROBLEM OF MAKING PROVISIONS FOR THE EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE TRAVEL REQUIRED IN CARRYING OUT THEIR DUTIES, THE MAJORITY OF WHICH TRAVEL IS BY MEANS OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

THE QUESTION IS WHETHER OR NOT IT IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY THAT THIS CLASS OF EMPLOYEES BE REQUIRED TO EXECUTE AN OATH OF OFFICE IN ORDER TO BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES, PROVIDING, OF COURSE, SUCH REIMBURSEMENT IS OTHERWISE IN ORDER.

IT WILL BE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL LET ME HAVE YOUR DECISION ON THE TWO FOREGOING QUESTIONS AT THE EARLIEST POSSIBLE DATE.

WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR FIRST QUESTION, SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 24, 1912 (37 STAT. 487), PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

AFTER JUNE THIRTIETH, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND TWELVE, POSTMASTERS, ASSISTANT POSTMASTERS, COLLECTORS OF CUSTOMS, COLLECTORS OF INTERNAL REVENUE, CHIEF CLERKS OF THE VARIOUS EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND BUREAUS, OR CLERKS DESIGNATED BY THEM FOR THE PURPOSE, THE SUPERINTENDENT, THE ACTING SUPERINTENDENT, CUSTODIAN, AND PRINCIPAL CLERKS OF THE VARIOUS NATIONAL PARKS AND OTHER GOVERNMENT RESERVATIONS, SUPERINTENDENT, ACTING SUPERINTENDENTS, AND PRINCIPAL CLERKS OF THE DIFFERENT INDIAN SUPERINTENDENCIES OR INDIAN AGENCIES, AND CHIEFS OF FIELD PARTIES, ARE REQUIRED, EMPOWERED, AND AUTHORIZED, WHEN REQUESTED, TO ADMINISTER OATHS, REQUIRED BY LAW OR OTHERWISE, TO ACCOUNTS FOR TRAVEL OR OTHER EXPENSES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES, WITH LIKE FORCE AND EFFECT AS OFFICERS HAVING A SEAL; FOR SUCH SERVICES WHEN SO RENDERED, OR WHEN RENDERED ON DEMAND AFTER SAID DATE BY NOTARIES PUBLIC, WHO AT THE TIME ARE ALSO SALARIED OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES, NO CHARGE SHALL BE MADE; AND ON AND AFTER JULY FIRST, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND TWELVE, NO FEE OR MONEY PAID FOR THE SERVICES HEREIN DESCRIBED SHALL BE PAID OR REIMBURSED BY THE UNITED STATES.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE PROVISION OF THE QUOTED ACT AUTHORIZING OATHS TO EXPENSE ACCOUNTS TO BE ADMINISTERED BY "CHIEF CLERKS OF THE VARIOUS EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND BUREAUS, OR CLERKS DESIGNATED BY THEM FOR THE PURPOSE" HAS REFERENCE AND APPLIES ONLY TO THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND BUREAUS IN WASHINGTON AND THAT THE CHIEF CLERKS ARE AUTHORIZED TO DESIGNATE ONLY CLERKS IN THEIR OFFICES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT. HAD CONGRESS INTENDED OTHERWISE, THE SPECIFIC ENUMERATION OF THE VARIOUS CLASSES OF FIELD EMPLOYEES NAMED IN THE ACT WOULD HAVE BEEN UNNECESSARY (19 COMP. DEC. 254; 11 COMP. GEN. 36; A-24621, OCTOBER 6, 1928).

THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION MUST BE CONSIDERED AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR BUREAU WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STATUTE (3 COMP. GEN. 87; 6 ID. 849). THEREFORE THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE CENTRAL OFFICE OF THE ADMINISTRATION AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT OR A CLERK IN SAID OFFICE UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF AND DESIGNATED BY THE CHIEF CLERK MAY ADMINISTER OATHS TO ACCOUNTS FOR TRAVEL OR OTHER EXPENSES AGAINST THE UNITED STATES.

THE CHIEF CLERKS OF THE VARIOUS STATE OFFICES OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION, HOWEVER, ARE MANIFESTLY NOT "CHIEF CLERKS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS OR BUREAUS" WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE ACT, SUPRA, NOR DO THEY COME WITHIN ANY OF THE OTHER DESIGNATIONS APPEARING IN THE ACT. THEREFORE, THE ADMINISTRATION OF OATHS TO EXPENSE ACCOUNTS BY THEM OR BY CLERKS IN THE STATE OR DISTRICT OFFICES DESIGNATED BY SUCH CHIEF CLERKS TO PERFORM SUCH FUNCTIONS MAY NOT BE ACCEPTED AS COMPLYING WITH THE REQUIREMENT THAT EXPENSE ACCOUNTS BE SWORN TO BY THE PERSON CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT. IT MAY BE STATED ALSO THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY IN THE ACT, SUPRA, FOR THE CHIEF CLERK OF THE CENTRAL OFFICE OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT TO DESIGNATE CLERKS OUTSIDE OF SAID CENTRAL OFFICE FOR THIS PURPOSE.

YOUR SECOND QUESTION IS UNDERSTOOD TO RELATE SOLELY TO THE TRAVEL OF PROJECT EMPLOYEES PAID THE SECURITY WAGES PRESCRIBED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7046, DATED MAY 20, 1935, AS AMENDED, AND/OR ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO AND NOT TO DEPARTMENTAL EMPLOYEES AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, OR REGULAR FIELD EMPLOYEES REQUIRED BY LAW OR REGULATIONS TO TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE. WITH RESPECT TO SAID PROJECT EMPLOYEES, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE TAKING OF AN OATH OF OFFICE WOULD NOT BE A PREREQUISITE TO THE ISSUANCE OF TRAVEL ORDERS OR TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM FUNDS PROVIDED BY THE EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1935, APPROVED APRIL 8, 1935 (49 STAT. 115), FOR EXPENSES OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL PROPERLY INCURRED AND ACCOUNTED FOR ON SWORN VOUCHERS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS DECLARED APPLICABLE TO THOSE EMPLOYEES BY BULLETIN NO. 35 OF YOUR ADMINISTRATION, DATED NOVEMBER 7, 1935.