A-8420, MARCH 28, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 818

A-8420: Mar 28, 1925

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WILL NOT BE DISTURBED. THE EMPLOYEE WAS. OR EMOLUMENTS ARE FIXED BY LAW OR REGULATIONS. UNLESS THE SAME IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW. THE APPROPRIATION THEREFOR EXPLICITLY STATES THAT IT IS FOR SUCH ADDITIONAL PAY. IS AN ALLOWANCE. IN THE LATTER DECISION IT WAS HELD. WHOSE SALARY IS FIXED BY LAW. IS ORDERED TO CHANGE HIS REGULAR STATION FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE COST OF TRANSPORTING HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IS A PERSONAL EXPENSE AND NOT A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT. TO ENABLE THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS TO ADJUST THE COMPENSATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES IN THE FIELD SERVICE FOR WHICH APPROPRIATIONS WERE MADE THEREIN. AS SALARIES FIXED PURSUANT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT ARE FIXED BY LAW WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 1765.

A-8420, MARCH 28, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 818

TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES OF THE RECLAMATION SERVICE, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, AND BUREAU OF MINES IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY THEREFOR, THE COST OF PACKING, CRATING, HAULING, AND TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES OF THE RECLAMATION SERVICE, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, AND BUREAU OF MINES, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, UPON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION MAY NOT BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS. PAYMENTS MADE INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OCCURRING ON OR PRIOR TO DECEMBER 6, 1924, WILL NOT BE DISTURBED, HOWEVER, IF OTHERWISE REGULAR. (MODIFIED BY 4 COMP. GEN. 941; ID. 1069.)

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, MARCH 28, 1925:

IN CONNECTION WITH THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, THERE IF FOR CONSIDERATION THE LEGALITY OF THE PRACTICE IN THE RECLAMATION SERVICE, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, AND BUREAU OF MINES, OF ALLOWING EMPLOYEES REIMBURSEMENT FOR PACKING, CRATING, HAULING, AND TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, UNDER BUREAU REGULATIONS, INCIDENT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OF THE EMPLOYEES.

AS AN EXAMPLE, THERE HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR CREDIT IN THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS AMOUNT SHOWN ON VOUCHER NO. 6379, IN FAVOR OF FRED A. LICHTENHELD, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF MINES, WHICH INCLUDES AN ITEM OF $15 FOR DRAYAGE OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM RESIDENCE TO FREIGHT DEPOT, WASHINGTON, D.C., NOVEMBER 15, 1924, INCIDENT TO ORDER OF THE SAME DATE, CHANGING THE OFFICIAL STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO FORT WASHAKIE, WYO.

THE EMPLOYEE WAS, IN ADDITION, AUTHORIZED TO SHIP HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, NOT EXCEEDING 5,300 POUNDS, BETWEEN THE TWO STATIONS ON GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING, UNDER PARAGRAPHS 1049, ETC., OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE MANUAL OF THE BUREAU OF MINES.

SECTION 1765, REVISED STATUTES, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

NO OFFICER IN ANY BRANCH OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE, OR ANY OTHER PERSON WHOSE SALARY, PAY, OR EMOLUMENTS ARE FIXED BY LAW OR REGULATIONS, SHALL RECEIVE ANY ADDITIONAL PAY, EXTRA ALLOWANCE, OR COMPENSATION, IN ANY FORM WHATEVER, FOR THE DISBURSEMENT OF PUBLIC MONEY, OR FOR ANY OTHER SERVICE OR DUTY WHATEVER, UNLESS THE SAME IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW, AND THE APPROPRIATION THEREFOR EXPLICITLY STATES THAT IT IS FOR SUCH ADDITIONAL PAY, EXTRA ALLOWANCE, OR COMPENSATION.

PACKING, CRATING, AND SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT WHERE AUTHORIZED BY LAW, IS AN ALLOWANCE, AND WHERE NOT SO AUTHORIZED WOULD BE AN "EXTRA ALLOWANCE" WITHIN THE TERMS OF SECTION 1765, REVISED STATUTES. 15 COMP. DEC. 731; 19 ID. 758. IN THE LATTER DECISION IT WAS HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

WHERE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES, WHOSE SALARY IS FIXED BY LAW, IS ORDERED TO CHANGE HIS REGULAR STATION FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT, THE COST OF TRANSPORTING HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IS A PERSONAL EXPENSE AND NOT A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT.

THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, 43 STAT. 704, PROVIDED APPROPRIATIONS UNDER SPECIFIC HEADINGS, INCLUDING THE RECLAMATION SERVICE, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, AND BUREAU OF MINES, TO ENABLE THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS TO ADJUST THE COMPENSATION OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES IN THE FIELD SERVICE FOR WHICH APPROPRIATIONS WERE MADE THEREIN, TO CORRESPOND SO FAR AS PRACTICABLE TO THE RATES ESTABLISHED BY THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1923, FOR POSITIONS IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

AS SALARIES FIXED PURSUANT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT ARE FIXED BY LAW WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 1765, REVISED STATUTES, SO ALSO WOULD SALARIES OF FIELD EMPLOYEES, FOR WHICH APPROPRIATIONS WERE PROVIDED IN THE CITED ACT, WHICH ARE "FIXED" TO CORRESPOND TO SUCH RATES, BE CONSIDERED AS FIXED BY LAW. 4 COMP. GEN. 607. THERE IS NO PROVISION IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT OF JUNE 5, 1924, 43 STAT. 415, 419, 420, APPROPRIATING FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1925, WHICH PROPERLY MAY BE CONSTRUED AS AUTHORIZING REIMBURSING EMPLOYEES OF THE RECLAMATION SERVICE, GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, OR BUREAU OF MINES FOR COSTS OF PACKING, CRATING, HAULING, OR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UPON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION.

FURTHERMORE, THE FACT THAT THE CONGRESS HAS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES OF SEVERAL SERVICES UNDER CERTIAN CIRCUMSTANCES AND CONDITIONS WOULD INDICATE THAT SUCH EXTRAORDINARY ALLOWANCES MAY NOT PROPERLY BE MADE BY REGULATION OR CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT ALONE, EVEN WHERE THE COMPENSATION IS NOT FIXED BY LAW OR REGULATION.

CREDIT WILL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR PAYMENTS MADE FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS TO EMPLOYEES OF THE THREE SERVICES MENTIONED AS REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED FOR PACKING, CRATING, HAULING, OR TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OCCURRING SUBSEQUENT TO DECEMBER 6, 1924. BUT IN VIEW OF THE LONG-CONTINUED PRACTICE AND THE APPARENT GROUND FOR THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE DECISIONS HOLDING SUCH ALLOWANCES UNAUTHORIZED APPLIED ONLY TO EMPLOYEES WHOSE COMPENSATION WAS FIXED BY LAW OR REGULATION, SUCH PAYMENTS INCIDENT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION OCCURRING ON OR PRIOR TO DECEMBER 6, 1924, IF OTHERWISE REGULAR, WILL NOT BE DISTURBED. SEE DECISION OF MARCH 12, 1925. 4 COMP. GEN. 755.