A-81981, JANUARY 19, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 667

A-81981: Jan 19, 1937

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AS FOLLOWS: FOR MANY YEARS CHIEFS OF BUREAUS OF THIS DEPARTMENT HAVE FOLLOWED THE PRACTICE OF DELEGATING TO THEIR SUBORDINATE OFFICIALS AUTHORITY TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS TO EMPLOYEES UNDER THEIR SUPERVISION. THE MAJORITY OF WHOM ARE AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS. - CHIEFS OF BUREAU ARE AUTHORIZED (A) TO DIRECT TRAVEL WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND IN THE PARTS OF CANADA AND MEXICO CONTIGUOUS TO THE UNITED STATES BY THEIR EMPLOYEES GENERALLY. IT IS CERTAIN THAT THE OPERATING BUREAUS OF THIS DEPARTMENT WOULD TAKE VIGOROUS CORRECTIVE STEPS SHOULD ANY UNAUTHORIZED PERSON ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS. THE SCRUTINY WHICH IS EXERCISED IN THIS DEPARTMENT OVER ALL TRAVEL PERFORMED. IT IS HOPED YOU WILL NOT INSIST UPON THIS REQUIREMENT.

A-81981, JANUARY 19, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 667

DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY - TRAVEL ORDERS - AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT AUTHORITY TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS TO AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT PERSONNEL MAY BE DELEGATED TO RESPONSIBLE OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THAT DEPARTMENT, AND ORDERS DELEGATING SUCH AUTHORITY NEED NOT BE FILED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN THE ABSENCE OF CIRCUMSTANCES NECESSITATING INQUIRY AS TO THE AUTHENTICITY OF TRAVEL ORDERS SO ISSUED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JANUARY 19, 1937:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 25, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

FOR MANY YEARS CHIEFS OF BUREAUS OF THIS DEPARTMENT HAVE FOLLOWED THE PRACTICE OF DELEGATING TO THEIR SUBORDINATE OFFICIALS AUTHORITY TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS TO EMPLOYEES UNDER THEIR SUPERVISION. THIS HAS BEEN AN ESSENTIAL PRACTICE INASMUCH AS THIS DEPARTMENT HAS OVER SIXTEEN HUNDRED FIELD STATIONS AND THOUSANDS OF PROJECT LEADERS, THE MAJORITY OF WHOM ARE AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS.

ALTHOUGH THE REVISED REGULATIONS OF THIS DEPARTMENT WHICH BECAME EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1936, PROVIDE FOR DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY BY BUREAU CHIEFS TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS (3421G), SUCH A PROVISION DOES NOT DIFFER MATERIALLY FROM THE FORMER REGULATION ON THAT SUBJECT. PARAGRAPH 2 OF THE OLD FISCAL REGULATIONS PROVIDED THAT:

"GENERAL BUREAU AUTHORIZATIONS.--- CHIEFS OF BUREAU ARE AUTHORIZED (A) TO DIRECT TRAVEL WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND IN THE PARTS OF CANADA AND MEXICO CONTIGUOUS TO THE UNITED STATES BY THEIR EMPLOYEES GENERALLY, AND TRAVEL WITHIN THE TERRITORIES AND INSULAR POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES BY THEIR EMPLOYEES THERE STATIONED; (B) TO ALLOW SUBSISTENCE DURING TRAVEL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS; (C) TO AUTHORIZE USE OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES FOR TRAVEL; (D) TO ISSUE PURCHASE ORDERS FOR SUPPLIES OR JOB WORK; (E) TO INCUR SUCH OTHER EXPENSES AS MAY BE NECESSARY PROPERLY TO CARRY ON THE WORK OF THEIR BUREAUS; AND (F) TO DELEGATE ANY PART OF THIS AUTHORITY TO THEIR SUBORDINATES.'

HERETOFORE YOUR OFFICE HAS NOT REQUIRED THIS DEPARTMENT TO FILE WITH YOU A SCHEDULE OF OFFICIALS AUTHORIZED TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS. UNAUTHORIZED ISSUANCE OF TRAVEL ORDERS WOULD, OF COURSE, BECOME KNOWN IMMEDIATELY TO A BUREAU. IT IS CERTAIN THAT THE OPERATING BUREAUS OF THIS DEPARTMENT WOULD TAKE VIGOROUS CORRECTIVE STEPS SHOULD ANY UNAUTHORIZED PERSON ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS.

IN VIEW OF THE SATISFACTORY MANNER IN WHICH THIS MATTER HAS BEEN HANDLED IN THE PAST, THE SCRUTINY WHICH IS EXERCISED IN THIS DEPARTMENT OVER ALL TRAVEL PERFORMED, AND THE APPARENT LACK OF COMPENSATING ADVANTAGES WHICH WOULD ACCRUE FROM A REQUIREMENT THAT COPIES OF FORMAL WRITTEN AUTHORIZATION TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS GIVEN BY CHIEFS OF BUREAUS TO THEIR SUBORDINATE OFFICIALS, BE SENT TO YOUR OFFICE, IT IS HOPED YOU WILL NOT INSIST UPON THIS REQUIREMENT.

THERE IS NO OBJECTION BY THIS OFFICE TO THE DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS TO RESPONSIBLE OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF YOUR DEPARTMENT. 7 COMP. GEN. 656; 14 ID. 643; 15 ID. 801. IN THE ABSENCE OF FACTS OR CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH MIGHT NECESSITATE INQUIRY BY THIS OFFICE AS TO THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE TRAVEL ORDERS SO ISSUED, IT WILL NOT BE REQUIRED THAT ALL ORDERS DELEGATING TO SUBORDINATES AUTHORITY TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS BE FILED IN THIS OFFICE.