A-84431, MARCH 30, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 895

A-84431: Mar 30, 1937

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1937" IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE THROUGH PROPER ADVERTISING. IS AUTHORIZED IN VIEW OF THE SHOWING IN THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS AS TO THE NEED FOR THE GREATER HORSEPOWER OF THE VEHICLE OF THE HIGHER BIDDER. IS SUBJECT TO DEDUCTION OF NOT LESS THAN ONE-FIFTH OF THE PER DIEM FOR LODGINGS SO FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE PURCHASING OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT IS CONTEMPLATING THE PROPOSED PURCHASE OF AN AUTOMOBILE AND A TWO-WHEELED SEMI-TRAILER FOR THE USE OF A TRAVELING SUPERVISOR OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. THE AUTOMOBILE WOULD BE OF THE FOUR-DOOR SEDAN TYPE AND IS REQUIRED FOR HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES. IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE LIVING QUARTERS FOR THIS EMPLOYEE IN LIEU OF PERMANENT QUARTERS AND WILL PERMIT HIM TO COVER HIS LARGE TERRITORY ADVANTAGEOUSLY.

A-84431, MARCH 30, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 895

AUTOMOBILE AND TRAILER PURCHASES - INDIAN SERVICE - APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY, ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN LOWEST BID, AND PER-DIEM DEDUCTIONS FOR TRAILER TRAVEL THE APPROPRIATION "INDIAN SCHOOLS, SUPPORT, 1937" IS AVAILABLE FOR THE PURCHASE THROUGH PROPER ADVERTISING, OF A SEMITRAILER OF THE TOURIST OR HOUSE TYPE FOR ATTACHING TO A GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR USE AS QUARTERS BY A TRAVELING SUPERVISOR OF SECONDARY EDUCATION, SUBJECT, HOWEVER, TO THE TOTAL VEHICLE EXPENDITURE LIMITATION PLACED UPON THE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE INDIAN SERVICE BY THE APPLICABLE PORTION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1937, 49 STAT. 1764. ACCEPTANCE OF OTHER THAN LOWEST BID, INVOLVING ONLY A SLIGHT DIFFERENCE IN COST, IN CONNECTION WITH THE PURCHASE OF AN AUTOMOBILE FOR USE WITH TRAILER ATTACHED, ON THE BASIS OF INSUFFICIENT HORSEPOWER OF THE AUTOMOBILE OF THE LOW BIDDER, IS AUTHORIZED IN VIEW OF THE SHOWING IN THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS AS TO THE NEED FOR THE GREATER HORSEPOWER OF THE VEHICLE OF THE HIGHER BIDDER. AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS USING A GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND TRAILER, ALTHOUGH ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, IS SUBJECT TO DEDUCTION OF NOT LESS THAN ONE-FIFTH OF THE PER DIEM FOR LODGINGS SO FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, MARCH 30, 1937:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 6, 1937, AS FOLLOWS:

IN ACCORDANCE WITH A REQUEST BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS OF THE OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, THE PURCHASING OFFICER OF THE DEPARTMENT IS CONTEMPLATING THE PROPOSED PURCHASE OF AN AUTOMOBILE AND A TWO-WHEELED SEMI-TRAILER FOR THE USE OF A TRAVELING SUPERVISOR OF SECONDARY EDUCATION. THE AUTOMOBILE WOULD BE OF THE FOUR-DOOR SEDAN TYPE AND IS REQUIRED FOR HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES. THE SEMI-TRAILER, WHICH WOULD BE OF THE FAMILIAR "TOURIST" OR "HOUSE" TYPE TOWED BY THE AUTOMOBILE, IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE LIVING QUARTERS FOR THIS EMPLOYEE IN LIEU OF PERMANENT QUARTERS AND WILL PERMIT HIM TO COVER HIS LARGE TERRITORY ADVANTAGEOUSLY.

IT IS PROPOSED THAT THERE WILL BE A DEDUCTION OF ONE-FIFTH OF THIS EMPLOYEE'S PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR THE USE OF GOVERNMENT QUARTERS, JUST AS WOULD BE DONE IF HE WERE USING PERMANENT QUARTERS AT ONE OF THE RESERVATIONS ON A PER DIEM BASIS. IT IS EXPECTED THAT HE WILL BE REQUIRED TO REMAIN AT EACH RESERVATION FOR A PERIOD VARYING FROM TWO TO SIX WEEKS. WHILE STATIONED AT A RESERVATION, THE EMPLOYEE WILL DISCONNECT THE TRAILER AND USE THE AUTOMOBILE ALONE ON OFFICIAL DUTY IN AND AROUND THE RESERVATION. THE EMPLOYEE WILL RETURN TO THE TRAILER IN THE EVENING, JUST AS HE WOULD RETURN TO PERMANENT QUARTERS IF SUCH WERE FURNISHED FOR USE ON EACH OF THE RESERVATIONS. THE COST OF THE CAR AND ALSO OF THE TRAILER IS PROPOSED TO BE CHARGED TO THE ND,"INDIAN SCHOOLS, SUPPORT, 1937," AS PROVIDED IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR.

THE IMMEDIATE NEED FOR THE AUTOMOBILE IS MORE URGENT THAN THE NEED FOR THE TRAILER, AND FOR THAT REASON BIDS HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAKEN ON THE PROPOSED PURCHASE OF THE AUTOMOBILE BUT ADVERTISING FOR THE TRAILER HAS BEEN DEFERRED PENDING YOUR CONSIDERATION OF THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED IN THIS LETTER.

THERE IS ENCLOSED A COPY OF THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS RECEIVED UNDER ADVERTISEMENT U.S.D.I. 2146 FOR THE AUTOMOBILE. THERE IS ALSO ENCLOSED A COPY OF THE ADVERTISEMENT. BY REFERENCE TO THE SERVICE REQUIREMENTS GIVEN ON PAGE 2 OF THIS ADVERTISEMENT, YOU WILL SEE THAT BIDDERS WERE INFORMED AS TO THE PROSPECTIVE USE OF THIS AUTOMOBILE FOR TOWING THE "HOUSE" TYPE TRAILER. THE LOWEST BID RECEIVED OFFERS A GRAHAM "CRUSADER" MODEL, WHICH IS POWERED BY A 70 HP. ENGINE, AS MAY BE SEEN FROM THE ENCLOSED GRAHAM LITERATURE. THE DEPARTMENT HAS HAD NO EXPERIENCE WITH THIS OR ANY OTHER MODEL AS A TOWING VEHICLE FOR A "HOUSE" TYPE TRAILER, BUT IN THE LIGHT OF MUCH GENERAL EXPERIENCE WITH MOTOR VEHICLES OR VARIOUS TYPES UNDER VARIOUS CONDITIONS, IT IS THE OPINION OF RESPONSIBLE TECHNICIANS IN THE DEPARTMENT THAT THIS LOW BID IS NOT FULLY RESPONSIVE TO THE ADVERTISED SERVICE REQUIREMENTS IN RESPECT TO ENGINE POWER, AND THAT THE OTHER TWO BIDS, EACH OFFERING A VEHICLE HAVING APPROXIMATELY 85 HP., ARE OBVIOUSLY IN ACCORD WITH THE DISCLOSED NEED. IT IS OF FURTHER SIGNIFICANCE THAT ONE OF THE OTHER TWO BIDDERS HAS REFRAINED FROM OFFERING HIS 60 HP. MODEL WHICH SELLS FOR LESS, AND THAT UNDER HIS BID THE DEPARTMENT COULD OBTAIN HIS 85 HP. MODEL INSTEAD OF THE 70 HP. GRAHAM BY THE SMALL ADDITIONAL EXPENDITURE OF $2.06, IF OTHERWISE PROPER.

THERE SEEMS NO QUESTION AS TO THE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS PURCHASE FOR THE GOVERNMENT BEING IN THIS INSTANCE THE FORD 85 HP. MODEL, OFFERED IN THE SECOND LOWEST BID. THE QUESTION IS WHETHER YOU ARE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONCLUSION THAT THE LOWEST BID FAILS TO MEET THE ADVERTISED REQUIREMENTS. YOUR DECISION IS THEREFORE REQUESTED ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

1. ARE APPROPRIATED MONIES, AS INDICATED ABOVE, AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT FOR A TRAILER OF THE TYPE DESCRIBED AND FOR THE PURPOSE STATED, IF PURCHASED UNDER PROPER ADVERTISING AND IN ALL RESPECTS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES?

2. IF THE ANSWER TO THE FIRST QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, MAY THE DEPARTMENT PROCEED IMMEDIATELY TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE BID OF THE NORTHWEST MOTOR COMPANY ON THE FORD MODEL 78 (85HP.) SEDAN AS THE LOWEST BID MEETING THE ADVERTISED SPECIFICATIONS IN ADVERTISEMENT U.S.D.I. 2146 FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE AUTOMOBILE, WHICH IS MOST URGENTLY NEEDED, WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE PURCHASE OF THE TRAILER WILL BE SUBSEQUENTLY ACCOMPLISHED WITHIN A REASONABLE TIME?

3. IF THE ANSWER TO THE FIRST QUESTION IS IN THE NEGATIVE, MAY THE DEPARTMENT PROCEED TO THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LOW BID OF THE GRAHAM PAIGE MOTORS CORPORATION ON THE GRAHAM MODEL "CRUSADER" (70HP.) SEDAN UNDER ADVERTISEMENT U.S.D.I. 2146 FOR THE PURCHASE OF THE AUTOMOBILE, IN VIEW OF THE URGENT NEED THEREFOR, REGARDLESS OF THE POSSIBLE EFFECT CAUSED IN THIS ADVERTISEMENT BY THE SECOND PARAGRAPH IN THE SERVICE REQUIREMENTS?

YOUR EARLY CONSIDERATION OF THESE QUESTIONS IS REQUESTED AND WILL BE APPRECIATED, SO THAT THE PURCHASE OF AN AUTOMOBILE FOR THIS EMPLOYEE MAY NOT BE DELAYED TO SUCH AN EXTENT AS TO INTERFERE WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD, OF COURSE, THAT THE QUESTION AS TO THE NEEDS OF THE INDIAN SERVICE WITH RESPECT TO THE PURCHASE OF AN AUTOMOBILE OR TRAILER IS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION WHEN THERE IS AN APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE THEREFOR.

THE ACT OF JUNE 22, 1936, 49 STAT. 1772, PROVIDES:

FOR THE SUPPORT OF INDIAN SCHOOLS NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR, AND OTHER EDUCATIONAL AND INDUSTRIAL PURPOSES IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, INCLUDING EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES AUTHORIZED BY TREATY PROVISIONS, CARE OF CHILDREN OF SCHOOL AGE ATTENDING PRIVATE SCHOOLS, AND TUITION FOR INDIAN PUPILS ATTENDING PUBLIC SCHOOLS, $5,379,820: * * *

AND THE SAME ACT, PAGE 1764, PROVIDES:

VEHICLES, INDIAN SERVICE: NOT TO EXCEED $290,000 OF APPLICABLE APPROPRIATIONS MADE HEREIN FOR THE BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR THE MAINTENANCE, REPAIR, AND OPERATION OF MOTOR PROPELLED AND HORSE-DRAWN PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES FOR THE USE OF EMPLOYEES IN THE INDIAN FIELD SERVICE, AND THE TRANSPORTATION OF INDIAN SCHOOL PUPILS, AND NOT TO EXCEED $160,000 OF APPLICABLE APPROPRIATIONS MAY BE USED FOR THE PURCHASE AND EXCHANGE OF MOTOR PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES, AND SUCH VEHICLES SHALL BE USED ONLY FOR OFFICIAL SERVICE, INCLUDING THE TRANSPORTATION OF INDIAN SCHOOL PUPILS.

IT APPEARS THAT THE NEEDS OF THE UNITED STATES, INDIAN SERVICE, WERE SET FORTH IN THE ADVERTISEMENT OF JANUARY 25, 1937, FOR BIDS FOR FURNISHING THE AUTOMOBILE IN THIS CASE AND THAT BIDDERS WERE ADVISED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, AS TO CERTAIN SERVICE REQUIREMENTS AS FOLLOWS:

C. SERVICE REQUIREMENTS.--- C-1. THE AUTOMOBILE TO BE PURCHASED UNDER THIS ADVERTISEMENT WILL BE USED BY THE SUPERVISOR OF SECONDARY EDUCATION OF THE U.S. INDIAN SERVICE TO TRAVEL TO THE MANY INDIAN RESERVATIONS. WILL TRAVEL OVER ALL KINDS OF ROADS, INCLUDING ROADS OF POOR GRADE, ROUGH TRAILS IN HILLY AND SOMETIMES MOUNTAINOUS COUNTRY WHERE MANY DANGEROUS CURVES IN THE ROADS WILL BE TRAVERSED. THE AUTOMOBILE WILL BE SUBJECTED TO A MOST SEVERE SERVICE.

SINCE IT IS EXPECTED ALSO TO USE THIS AUTOMOBILE FOR TOWING A HOUSE TYPE TWO-WHEEL TRAILER WHICH WILL WEIGHT APPROXIMATELY 2,000 POUNDS, THE POWER OF THE ENGINE SHALL BE ADEQUATE TO NEGOTIATE THE ROADS WITH THE TRAILER ATTACHED TO THE AUTOMOBILE.

FOR REASONS HEREINAFTER STATED, THE FIRST QUESTION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATION, SUPRA, AS TO THE TOTAL AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE EXPENDED FOR VEHICLES FOR THE INDIAN SERVICE AND SUBJECT TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 3709, REVISED STATUTES, WITH RESPECT TO ADVERTISING.

WITH REFERENCE TO QUESTION 2, THERE BEING A DIFFERENCE OF ONLY $2.06 BETWEEN THE TWO BIDS AND IN VIEW OF THE SHOWING IN THE ADVERTISING AS TO THE NEED FOR THE INCREASED HORSEPOWER, NO OBJECTION WILL BE RAISED IF AWARD IS MADE TO THE NORTHWEST MOTOR CO., AS ADMINISTRATIVELY PROPOSED.

THE ANSWERING OF QUESTIONS 1 AND 2 IN THE AFFIRMATIVE MAKES ANSWER TO QUESTION 3 UNNECESSARY.

IT IS OBSERVED THAT THE TRAILER WHICH IS PROPOSED TO BE PURCHASED IS TO BE OF A "HOUSE" TYPE AND IS INTENDED TO PROVIDE LIVING QUARTERS OR LODGING FOR THE TRAVELING SUPERVISOR OF SECONDARY EDUCATION OF THE INDIAN SERVICE AND THAT THERE WILL BE A DEDUCTION OF ONE-FIFTH OF THE EMPLOYEE'S AUTHORIZED PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR THE USE OF SUCH GOVERNMENT OWNED QUARTERS OR LODGING PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 47 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

IN DECISION OF NOVEMBER 6, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 473, IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

THE ATTACHING OF PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILERS TO GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILES TO PROVIDE ACCOMMODATIONS TO ITINERANT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, IS MAINLY A MATTER OF ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITY, BUT PAYMENTS OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WOULD NOT BE AUTHORIZED WHILE AN EMPLOYEE OCCUPIED SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS.

AND IN DECISION OF FEBRUARY 16, 1937, A-83026, 16 COMP. GEN. 762, IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

THERE BEING NO SPECIFIC STATUTE OR REGULATION APPLICABLE, AND THE MATTER OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES TO FEDERAL OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN A TRAVEL STATUS USING PERSONALLY OWNED TRAILERS ATTACHED TO GOVERNMENT OWNED CARS FIRST HAVING BEEN CONSIDERED IN DECISION A-81050, DATED NOVEMBER 6, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 473, THE HOLDING OF SAID DECISION THAT PER DIEM ALLOWANCES ARE NOT AUTHORIZED IN SUCH CASES MAY BE REGARDED AS NOT APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL SO PERFORMED PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1937.

SEE ALSO DECISION OF MARCH 16, 1937, A-84466, 16 COMP. GEN. 863.

THE DECISIONS, SUPRA, RELATE TO THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILERS WHEREAS THE TRAILER IN THE CASE HERE PRESENTED IS TO BE OWNED BY THE GOVERNMENT AND ATTACHED TO A GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE. HENCE THE EMPLOYEE USING THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND TRAILER WILL BE IN THE STATUS OF TRAVELING BY MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT AND, THEREFORE, ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE (THE EMPLOYEE BEING REQUIRED TO OBTAIN HIS MEALS AT HIS OWN EXPENSE) LESS THE AUTHORIZED DEDUCTION FOR THE LODGING (TRAILER) FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT. IN THIS CONNECTION IT MAY BE OBSERVED THAT INSOFAR AS THE DEDUCTION OF NOT LESS THAN ONE-FIFTH OF THE PER DIEM IS CONCERNED IT WOULD APPEAR IMMATERIAL WHETHER THE QUARTERS OR LODGINGS FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT BE A ROOM OR BED IN A BUILDING, OR A "TOURIST" OR "HOUSE" TYPE TRAILER. IN EITHER CASE THE ACCOMMODATIONS FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT RELIEVE THE EMPLOYEE OF THE BURDEN OF PAYING FOR HIS LODGING AND THIS, OF COURSE, FORMS THE BASIS FOR THE DEDUCTION FROM THE OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM.