A-84180, MARCH 13, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 850

A-84180: Mar 13, 1937

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS WITHOUT PROPER SHOWING OF AUTHORITY - AVAILABILITY OF EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT FUNDS PAYMENT OF COMMUTED SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES TO A RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEE WHILE IN ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS CONVENED FOR POULTRY PRODUCTION AND IMPROVEMENT PURPOSES IS UNAUTHORIZED WHERE NEITHER THE SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION FOR ATTENDANCE. NOR EVIDENCE OF THE AUTHORITY OF THE OFFICER ALLEGED TO HAVE GIVEN SAME IS FURNISHED. WHEN ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED FOR PREAUDIT THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION FOR THE REASON THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR ATTENDING THE MEETING AT JAMESTOWN ON AUGUST 22. THE EXPENSES THEREBY INCURRED WERE NOT ALLOWABLE AND AS TO THE MEETINGS ATTENDED AT FARGO AUGUST 23 TO 29.

A-84180, MARCH 13, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 850

TRAVELING EXPENSES - ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS WITHOUT PROPER SHOWING OF AUTHORITY - AVAILABILITY OF EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT FUNDS PAYMENT OF COMMUTED SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES TO A RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEE WHILE IN ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS CONVENED FOR POULTRY PRODUCTION AND IMPROVEMENT PURPOSES IS UNAUTHORIZED WHERE NEITHER THE SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION FOR ATTENDANCE, NOR EVIDENCE OF THE AUTHORITY OF THE OFFICER ALLEGED TO HAVE GIVEN SAME IS FURNISHED, FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THE EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1935, 49 STAT. 117, BEING AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS ONLY "WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED.'

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, MARCH 13, 1937:

THERE HAS BEEN RESUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR PREAUDIT, VOUCHER NO. 8161 IN FAVOR OF B. B. CURTIS, ASSISTANT DISTRICT SUPERVISOR, RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION FOR $38, PER DIEM FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 21 TO 30, 1936, WHILE AWAY FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS AT MINOT, N.DAK., AND ATTENDING MEETINGS RELATIVE TO VARIOUS PHASES OF POULTRY PRODUCTION AT JAMESTOWN AND FARGO, N.DAK.

WHEN ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED FOR PREAUDIT THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION FOR THE REASON THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORITY FOR ATTENDING THE MEETING AT JAMESTOWN ON AUGUST 22, 1936, THE EXPENSES THEREBY INCURRED WERE NOT ALLOWABLE AND AS TO THE MEETINGS ATTENDED AT FARGO AUGUST 23 TO 29, 1936, FURTHER EXPLANATION WAS REQUIRED AS TO THE NATURE THEREOF SHOWING MR. CURTIS' STATUS WHILE ATTENDING AND THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT IN SUCH ATTENDANCE.

MR. CURTIS INFORMED THE ASSISTANT REGIONAL DIRECTOR, LINCOLN, NEBR., UNDER DATE OF JANUARY 16, 1937, THAT HE WAS GIVEN SPECIFIC AUTHORITY BY H. R. WOOD, STATE DIRECTOR FOR NORTH DAKOTA, TO ATTEND THE MEETING AT JAMESTOWN AT WHICH THE NATIONAL POULTRY IMPROVEMENT PLAN WAS DISCUSSED AND THAT THE MEETINGS AT FARGO, N.DAK., WERE IN THE NATURE OF A SCHOOL WHICH TOOK UP MANY PHASES OF POULTRY PRODUCTION. MR. CURTIS STATES THAT AS A RESULT OF SUCH ATTENDANCE AT FARGO HE PASSED AN EXAMINATION QUALIFYING HIM AS A FLOCK INSPECTOR, PAYING THE LICENSE FEE FROM HIS OWN FUNDS AND WAS THEREBY ENABLED TO DO SELECTING WORK FREE OF CHARGE FOR RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION CLIENTS.

AS TO THE ATTENDANCE AT FARGO, IT MAY BE STATED THAT IF IT WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF MR. CURTIS QUALIFYING FOR HIS POSITION WITH THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION THE EXPENSES INCIDENT THERETO ARE PERSONAL EXPENSES TO BE BORNE BY HIM RATHER THAN CHARGEABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS. ON THE OTHER HAND, IF THE OFFICIAL DUTIES OF THE POSITION OF MR. CURTIS DID NOT REQUIRE HIM TO BE A LICENSED POULTRY INSPECTOR IT IS NOT UNDERSTOOD UPON WHAT BASIS IT IS PROPOSED TO CHARGE PUBLIC FUNDS FOR EXPENSES INCURRED BY HIM IN ACQUIRING SUCH A STATUS.

ASIDE FROM THE FOREGOING IT DOES NOT APPEAR FROM THE RECORD THAT MR. CURTIS WAS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED AS REQUIRED BY LAW TO ATTEND THE MEETINGS IN QUESTION EITHER AT JAMESTOWN OR AT FARGO. WHILE SECTION 3 OF THE EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1935 (49 STAT. 117) PROVIDES THAT THE PRESIDENT MAY AUTHORIZE EXPENDITURES FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES INCLUDING THE EXPENSE OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS "WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED," AND IN THE EXECUTIVE ORDER OF APRIL 30, 1935 (NO. 7027) ESTABLISHING THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION IT IS PROVIDED THAT IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS THE ADMINISTRATOR IS AUTHORIZED TO EMPLOY THE SERVICES AND MEANS MENTIONED IN SAID SECTION 3, THE ONLY SHOWING AS TO SPECIFIC AUTHORITY GIVEN MR. CURTIS TO ATTEND THESE MEETINGS AS REQUIRED BY LAW IS A STATEMENT BY HIM THAT HE WAS GIVEN SPECIFIC AUTHORITY TO ATTEND THE MEETING AT JAMESTOWN BY H. R. WOOD, THE STATE DIRECTOR. THE EVIDENCE OF SUCH AUTHORITY HAS NOT BEEN FURNISHED AND THERE HAS BEEN NO SHOWING THAT MR. WOOD HAD AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE THE INCURRING OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS SUCH AS INVOLVED IN THE PRESENT MATTER.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES UPON THE PRESENT RECORD NO PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION AND IT WILL BE RETAINED IN THE FILES OF THIS OFFICE.