A-68180, DECEMBER 16, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 519

A-68180: Dec 16, 1935

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1935: REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 27. THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ADVISED THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR THAT EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK FUNDS WERE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF OPERATOR PERMITS (TRUCK DRIVERS-) FOR ENROLLEES OF THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS ON DUTY AT FORT DUPONT AND THE NATIONAL ARBORETUM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. AT THE PRESENT TIME APPROXIMATELY TWENTY TRUCKS ARE IDLE BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT THE DRIVERS THEREOF DO NOT HAVE PERMITS. THEY ARE NOT FINANCIALLY ABLE TO PERSONALLY PAY FOR THEM. IT IS CUSTOMARY FOR AN ENROLLEE OF THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS TO ALLOT $25.00 PER MONTH TO HIS DEPENDENT FAMILY.

A-68180, DECEMBER 16, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 519

PERMITS TO OPERATE TRUCKS IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - MEMBERS OF CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS THE EMPLOYMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS BEING LARGELY IN THE NATURE OF RELIEF, THE COST OF OBTAINING PERMITS BY THEM TO OPERATE TRUCKS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, MADE NECESSARY BY THEIR EMPLOYMENT IN A CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CAMP, MAY BE CONSIDERED A PART OF THE COST OF THE OPERATION OF THE CAMP AND CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND AVAILABLE FOR SUCH COSTS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE DIRECTOR, EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK DECEMBER 16, 1935:

REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 27, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

ON OCTOBER 28, 1935, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ADVISED THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR THAT EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK FUNDS WERE NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE OF OPERATOR PERMITS (TRUCK DRIVERS-) FOR ENROLLEES OF THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS ON DUTY AT FORT DUPONT AND THE NATIONAL ARBORETUM IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

PERMIT ME TO ASK IF IT MAY NOT BE POSSIBLE TO CHANGE THE DECISION SO AS TO PERMIT THE PAYMENT OF DRIVERS' LICENSES FOR THE TRUCK DRIVERS OF THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS FROM THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK FUNDS IN ORDER THAT THE WORK AT THE LOCATIONS STATED MAY PROGRESS.

AT THE PRESENT TIME APPROXIMATELY TWENTY TRUCKS ARE IDLE BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT THE DRIVERS THEREOF DO NOT HAVE PERMITS, AND THEY ARE NOT FINANCIALLY ABLE TO PERSONALLY PAY FOR THEM. AS YOU KNOW, IT IS CUSTOMARY FOR AN ENROLLEE OF THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS TO ALLOT $25.00 PER MONTH TO HIS DEPENDENT FAMILY, RETAINING ONLY $5.00 PER MONTH FOR HIMSELF, OUT OF WHICH HE HAS TO TAKE CARE OF HIS OWN INCIDENTAL EXPENSES. ACCOUNT OF THE TRUCK DRIVERS BEING GROUNDED AND THE TRUCKS OUT OF COMMISSION, IT MEANS THAT THE WORK IN THE DISTRICT AND AT FORT DUPONT IS BEING RETARDED, TO SAY NOTHING OF THE ACTUAL LOSS ARISING FROM IDLE EQUIPMENT AND ENROLLEES, AND THE PLACING OF TRUCK DRIVERS ON WORK WITH WHICH THEY ARE NOT FAMILIAR.

IT WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL BE GOOD ENOUGH TO GIVE THIS SUBJECT YOUR ATTENTION, WITH THE HOPE ON OUR PART WHICH WILL BE CONCURRED IN BY THE TECHNICAL AGENCY INVOLVED, THAT PROMPT REMEDY MAY BE OFFERED.

THE RECORDS OF THIS OFFICE SHOW THAT THE CLAIM OF THE DIRECTOR OF VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC, WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR $24, IN PAYMENT FOR EIGHT MOTOR VEHICLE OPERATORS' PERMITS FURNISHED MEMBERS OF THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WAS DISALLOWED BY SETTLEMENT OF OCTOBER 18, 1935, FOR THE REASON THAT THE APPROPRIATION SOUGHT TO BE CHARGED DID NOT APPEAR AVAILABLE FOR MOTOR VEHICLE PERMITS FOR DRIVERS OF CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS VEHICLES.

IN DECISION REPORTED IN 6 COMP. GEN. 432, IT WAS HELD BY THIS OFFICE THAT THE COST OF DRIVERS' PERMITS FOR THE OPERATION OF FEDERALLY OWNED VEHICLES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WAS NOT A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST A FEDERAL APPROPRIATION, BASING THIS CONCLUSION UPON THE CASE OF JOHNSON V. STATE OF MARYLAND, 254 U.S. 51, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT A STATE HAD NO POWER TO REQUIRE THE OPERATOR OF A FEDERALLY OWNED VEHICLE TO SUBMIT TO EXAMINATION OR TO PAY THE FEE FOR A PERMIT TO DRIVE. SEE ALSO 3 COMP. GEN. 663.

SECTION 13 OF THE ACT OF APRIL 23, 1924, 43 STAT. 109, PROVIDES:

THAT ALL MOTOR VEHICLES OWNED AND OFFICIALLY USED BY THE UNITED STATES OR BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SHALL CARRY REGISTRATION TAGS OF THE SAME CHARACTER AND THE OPERATOR OF ANY SUCH MOTOR VEHICLE SHALL BE SUBJECT TO THE SAME REGULATIONS AND PROVISIONS AS APPLY TO ALL OTHER MOTOR VEHICLES OPERATED WITHIN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ALL SUCH REGISTRATION TAGS AND ALL REGISTRATION CERTIFICATES TO BE FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE.

SECTION 7 (E) OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TRAFFIC ACT, APPROVED MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1119, PROHIBITS ANY INDIVIDUAL OPERATING A VEHICLE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WITHOUT FIRST OBTAINING AN OPERATOR'S PERMIT, AND SECTION 7 (A) PRESCRIBES THE FEE TO BE CHARGED FOR SUCH PERMITS. WHEN ORIGINALLY ENACTED, THIS SECTION CONTAINED NO EXCEPTION IN FAVOR OF GOVERNMENT OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES. SUBSEQUENT TO THE DECISION IN 6 COMP. GEN. 432, SUPRA, BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 18, 1929, 45 STAT. 1226, THERE WAS ADDED TO SECTION 7 (A) OF THE TRAFFIC ACT, THE FOLLOWING PROVISO:

PROVIDED, THAT ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY, NAVY, MARINE CORPS, AND COAST GUARD SHALL BE ISSUED, WITHOUT CHARGE, A PERMIT TO OPERATE GOVERNMENT- OWNED VEHICLES, WHILE ENGAGED IN OFFICIAL BUSINESS, UPON THE PRESENTATION OF A CERTIFICATE FROM THEIR COMMANDING OFFICERS TO THE EFFECT THAT THEY ARE ASSIGNED TO OPERATE A GOVERNMENT VEHICLE AND ARE QUALIFIED TO DRIVE, AND UPON PROVING TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE DIRECTOR OF TRAFFIC THAT THEY ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE TRAFFIC REGULATIONS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

UNDER THE ESTABLISHED RULES OF STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION, THE CONGRESS BY HAVING THUS MADE A SPECIFIC EXCEPTION IN THE CASES NAMED IN THE FOREGOING PROVISO, EVIDENCED AN INTENTION THAT ALL OTHERS NOT SO EXCEPTED SHOULD BE SUBJECT TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THAT ACT. ACCORDINGLY, IT MUST BE HELD AS A MATTER OF LAW THAT ALL OPERATORS OF GOVERNMENT VEHICLES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, EXCEPT THOSE NAMED IN THE PROVISO, ARE NOW REQUIRED TO HAVE OPERATORS' PERMITS. IN THE CASE OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, THE EXPENSE OF OBTAINING SUCH PERMITS IS CONSIDERED A PERSONAL EXPENSE NECESSARY TO QUALIFY THEMSELVES FOR THE POSITION FOR WHICH APPOINTED. 3 COMP. GEN. 663; 6 ID. 432. HOWEVER, THE MEMBERS OF THE CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS OCCUPY A DIFFERENT STATUS FROM REGULAR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES. THEIR EMPLOYMENT ON CONSERVATION PROJECTS IS LARGELY IN THE NATURE OF RELIEF,AND THE PAYMENTS TO THEM ARE OF A VERY RESTRICTED NATURE, THE GREATER PORTION BEING ALLOTTED TO THEIR DEPENDENTS, IF ANY. TO REQUIRE THEM TO BEAR THE EXPENSE OF OPERATORS' PERMITS WOULD DEFEAT TO A CERTAIN EXTENT THE OBJECT FOR WHICH THEY ARE ENLISTED IN THE CORPS. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THEREFORE, THE COST OF OPERATORS' PERMITS, RENDERED NECESSARY BY THEIR EMPLOYMENT IN A CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CAMP, MAY BE CONSIDERED A PART OF THE COST OF THE OPERATION OF THE CAMP AND CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND AVAILABLE FOR SUCH COSTS.