A-81256, NOVEMBER 16, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 495

A-81256: Nov 16, 1936

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NOTWITHSTANDING THEY ARE REQUIRED TO SERVE WITHOUT COMPENSATION. ARE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. IS AN "INDEPENDENT COMMISSION * * * OF THE GOVERNMENT" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF JUNE 3. 1936: REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 19. AS FOLLOWS: WE ARE SENDING YOU HEREWITH THE FOLLOWING VOUCHERS FOR THE TRAVELING EXPENSE OF THE COMMISSIONERS IN ATTENDING THE FIRST MEETING OF THIS COMMISSION AT INDIANAPOLIS ON AUGUST 4: TABLE 5-37. THAT IS. HAD BEEN DELETED FOR PAYMENT AS IS EXPLAINED BY THE FILE HEREWITH. WHICH IS HEREWITH BEING DONE. WHETHER THIS IS THE PROPER PROCEDURE APPARENTLY DEPENDS ON WHETHER THESE COMMISSIONERS ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

A-81256, NOVEMBER 16, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 495

TRAVELING EXPENSES AND PERSONNEL STATUS - NORTHWEST TERRITORY CELEBRATION COMMISSION THE MEMBERS OF THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY CELEBRATION COMMISSION CREATED BY PUBLIC RESOLUTION OF AUGUST 2, 1935, 49 STAT. 511, NOTWITHSTANDING THEY ARE REQUIRED TO SERVE WITHOUT COMPENSATION, AND PERSONS APPOINTED PURSUANT TO SECTION 3 (A) OF SAID RESOLUTION, ARE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES, RESPECTIVELY, OF THE UNITED STATES. THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY CELEBRATION COMMISSION CREATED BY PUBLIC RESOLUTION OF AUGUST 2, 1935, 49 STAT. 511, IS AN "INDEPENDENT COMMISSION * * * OF THE GOVERNMENT" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 689. PER-DIEM ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AND MILEAGE FOR USE OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE MAY BE PRESCRIBED WITHIN THE CONDITIONS AUTHORIZED BY THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 689, AND STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED THEREUNDER, IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL OF THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY CELEBRATION COMMISSION.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE CHAIRMAN, NORTHWEST TERRITORY CELEBRATION COMMISSION, NOVEMBER 16, 1936:

REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 19, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

WE ARE SENDING YOU HEREWITH THE FOLLOWING VOUCHERS FOR THE TRAVELING EXPENSE OF THE COMMISSIONERS IN ATTENDING THE FIRST MEETING OF THIS COMMISSION AT INDIANAPOLIS ON AUGUST 4:

TABLE

5-37. THOMAS A. JENKINS. 12-37. MISS BONNIE FARWELL.

8-37. GEORGE WHITE. 13-37. MRS. LELAND S. DUXBURY.

10-37. MRS. JULIA D. HEAUME. 14-37. JOSEPH E. HANZ.

11-37. MRS. SAMUEL J. CAMPBELL. 15-37. MRS. GEORGE B. AVERILL.

TWO OF THESE, THAT IS, THOSE OF GEORGE WHITE, CHAIRMAN, AND THOMAS A. JENKINS, HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY SENT TO THE REGIONAL DISBURSING OFFICER IN CLEVELAND, AND HAD BEEN DELETED FOR PAYMENT AS IS EXPLAINED BY THE FILE HEREWITH.

ACCORDING TO MR. LOOKER'S ADVICE, THESE SHOULD BE LISTED ON A SEPARATE SCHEDULE OF DISBURSEMENTS AND SUBMITTED TO YOUR OFFICE, WHICH IS HEREWITH BEING DONE. ACCORDING TO THE LETTER FROM THE DIVISION OF DISBURSEMENT OF OCTOBER 13, WHETHER THIS IS THE PROPER PROCEDURE APPARENTLY DEPENDS ON WHETHER THESE COMMISSIONERS ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. WE FRANKLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOUR INTERPRETATION OF AN EMPLOYEE IS. THEY WERE APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES AS MEMBERS OF THIS COMMISSION. THEY SERVE ENTIRELY WITHOUT PAY, BUT THE ACT PROVIDES THAT THEY SHALL RECEIVE ALL NECESSARY TRAVELING AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES.

PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT ASKED GOVERNOR MCNUTT OF INDIANA TO CALL THIS MEETING OF THE COMMISSION AND IT IS ENTIRELY OBVIOUS THAT THE MEMBERS WERE UNFAMILIAR WITH THE NECESSARY ROUTINE PROCEDURE INVOLVED. IT WILL BE SEEN FROM THE VOUCHERS APPENDED THAT PROBABLY NO MEMBER HAS TURNED IN THE AMOUNT WHICH HE OR SHE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO TURN IN UNDER THE ACCOUNT. FOR CITIZENS WHO ARE GIVING OF THEIR TIME AND WHO HAVE HAD NO PREVIOUS EXPLANATION OF WHAT WAS INVOLVED IN THE WAY OF RECEIPTS, IT IS RATHER EMBARRASSING TO NOW ASK THEM TO SUPPORT SUCH EXPENSE ACCOUNTS AS THEY NOW HAVE TURNED IN, ESPECIALLY WHERE THOSE ACCOUNTS ARE IN NO CASE EXCESSIVE, AND IN ALL CASES DONE IN THE SPIRIT OF SAVING MONEY FOR THE COMMISSION.

WHEN YOUR AUDITORS WERE HERE THE SUGGESTION WAS MADE THAT AT THE NEXT MEETING OF THE COMMISSION, WHICH WILL BE HELD NOVEMBER 17, THE COMMISSION TAKE STEPS TO PROVIDE A STANDARD BASIS OF TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE, AND THIS WILL BE CONSIDERED AT THAT MEETING. IT MIGHT BE WELL IF YOU WOULD ADVISE US FIRST AS TO WHETHER, IN YOUR INTERPRETATION, THE MEMBERS OF THIS COMMISSION ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT; AND SECONDLY, WOULD IT BE PROPER FOR THE COMMISSION TO ADOPT A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE INSTEAD OF ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE COST? ALSO, WHEN THEY TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE, WOULD IT BE YOUR INTERPRETATION THAT THEY COULD ADOPT A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE INSTEAD OF WHAT IS DEFINED AS ACTUAL COST IN THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS?

PUBLIC RESOLUTION APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1935, 49 STAT. 511, ESTABLISHED THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY CELEBRATION COMMISSION---

* * * TO BE COMPOSED OF FOURTEEN COMMISSIONERS AS FOLLOWS: THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES; TWO MEMBERS OF THE SENATE, ONE FROM EACH OF THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES, TO BE APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE; TWO MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, ONE FROM EACH OF THE TWO MAJOR PARTIES, TO BE APPOINTED BY THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES; THE REGENT OF THE STATE CHAPTER OF THE DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION OF EACH OF THE SIX STATES FORMED FROM THE NORTHWEST TERRITORY, NAMELY, OHIO, INDIANA, MICHIGAN, ILLINOIS, WISCONSIN, AND MINNESOTA; AND THREE INDIVIDUALS FROM PRIVATE LIFE, TO BE APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. THE COMMISSIONERS SHALL SERVE WITHOUT COMPENSATION AND SHALL SELECT A CHAIRMAN FROM AMONG THEIR NUMBER.

THE MEMBERS OF THIS COMMISSION ARE OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THEY MAY BE REQUIRED TO SERVE WITHOUT COMPENSATION. LIKEWISE PERSONS APPOINTED PURSUANT TO SECTION 3 (A) OF THE RESOLUTION ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES.

SECTION 3 (B) OF THE RESOLUTION PROVIDES:

(B) THE COMMISSION MAY MAKE SUCH EXPENDITURES AS ARE NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE INTENT AND PURPOSES OF THIS RESOLUTION, INCLUDING ALL NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE COMMISSIONERS.

AS THE COMMISSION IS AN "INDEPENDENT COMMISSION * * * OF THE GOVERNMENT" (SEE SEC. 2, ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 689), THE PROVISIONS OF SAID ACT, AS AMENDED, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED THEREUNDER, ARE APPLICABLE TO THE TRAVEL PERFORMED BY ITS MEMBERS AND EMPLOYEES. ACCORDINGLY, PER-DIEM ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCES AND MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES MAY BE PRESCRIBED WITHIN THE CONDITIONS AUTHORIZED BY THE STANDARDIZED TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH REGULATIONS ARE FOR OBSERVANCE IN ALL FUTURE TRAVEL BY SUCH MEMBERS.

THE VOUCHERS FORWARDED BY YOUR SUBMISSION WILL BE EXAMINED BY THIS OFFICE AND SUCH ACTION TAKEN THEREON AS MAY BE WARRANTED BY THE FACTS.