A-87672, AUGUST 19, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 171

A-87672: Aug 19, 1937

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A DISBURSING OFFICER WHO MAKES PAYMENT TO AN ASSIGNOR CONTRARY TO ASSIGNMENT SLIPS ACCOMPANYING THE VOUCHERS INVOLVED IS LIABLE FOR THE OVERPAYMENT TO THE ASSIGNOR. FROM THE ACTING ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS AS FOLLOWS: THIS HAS REFERENCE TO DISBURSING OFFICE VOUCHER NO. 2478. PARTICULAR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO CHECK NO. 7937. YOU WILL NOTE THAT VOUCHER FORM 9-015. WAS USED AND THAT CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER WAS MADE BY R. R. BOSWELL IS NOT LISTED ON THE VOUCHER AS A PAYEE. THERE IS NO INDICATION ON THE FACE OF THE VOUCHER THAT THE FULL AMOUNT OF $49.00 IS NOT PAYABLE TO F. ATTENTION IS ALSO INVITED TO GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FORM 2084. WITHHOLDING CREDIT IN THE AMOUNT OF $14.50 PAID TO LAWRENCE MARSH WHICH WAS INCLUDED IN CHECK NO. 24157.

A-87672, AUGUST 19, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 171

COMPENSATION - ASSIGNMENTS - GEOLOGICAL SURVEY FIELD EMPLOYEES - DISBURSING OFFICER'S LIABILITY FOR PAYMENTS CONTRARY TO ASSIGNMENT NOTICE EMPLOYEES OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY EMPLOYED IN THE FIELD HAVING BEEN AUTHORIZED BY ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906, 34 STAT. 727, TO MAKE ASSIGNMENTS OF THEIR PAY UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, AND THERE BEING NO REQUIREMENT THAT SUCH ASSIGNMENTS TAKE A PARTICULAR FORM, A DISBURSING OFFICER WHO MAKES PAYMENT TO AN ASSIGNOR CONTRARY TO ASSIGNMENT SLIPS ACCOMPANYING THE VOUCHERS INVOLVED IS LIABLE FOR THE OVERPAYMENT TO THE ASSIGNOR, NOTWITHSTANDING THE NONEXISTENCE OF INDICATION OF ASSIGNMENT ON THE FACE OF THE VOUCHER, THE UNAUTHORIZED PAYMENT NOT AFFECTING THE RIGHT OF THE ASSIGNEE TO THE PAYMENT, AND THE METHOD USED IN NOTIFYING OF THE ASSIGNMENT BEING THAT THERETOFORE ACCEPTED AND ACTED UPON BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER AS NOTICE OF ASSIGNMENT.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, AUGUST 19, 1937:

LETTER DATED JULY 10, 1937, FROM THE ACTING ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY IS AS FOLLOWS:

THIS HAS REFERENCE TO DISBURSING OFFICE VOUCHER NO. 2478, PAID BY THIS OFFICE ON JULY 21, 1934, FOR THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, UNDER SYMBOL NO. 94-909. PARTICULAR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO CHECK NO. 7937, DATED JULY 21, 1934, FOR $49.00, ISSUED IN FAVOR OF F. L. CORCORAN AND MAILED TO HIM AT PIERRE, SOUTH DAKOTA.

PLEASE NOTE COMMUNICATION OF THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, DATED JUNE 29, 1934, ATTACHED TO THE ORIGINAL PAID VOUCHER, AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF $42.00 TO R. R. BOSWELL COVERING AN AMOUNT DUE HIM FROM F. L. CORCORAN IN CONNECTION WITH AN ASSIGNMENT MADE TO THIS EMPLOYEE. YOU WILL NOTE THAT VOUCHER FORM 9-015, PARTY PAY AND SUBSISTENCE ROLL, WAS USED AND THAT CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER WAS MADE BY R. R. BOSWELL, JUNIOR TOPOGRAPHIC ENGINEER, AND THAT R. R. BOSWELL IS NOT LISTED ON THE VOUCHER AS A PAYEE. FURTHERMORE, THERE IS NO INDICATION ON THE FACE OF THE VOUCHER THAT THE FULL AMOUNT OF $49.00 IS NOT PAYABLE TO F. L. CORCORAN.

ATTENTION IS ALSO INVITED TO GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FORM 2084, DATED JULY 24, 1936, NOTICE OF EXCEPTION OF $14.50, IN CONNECTION WITH DISBURSING OFFICE VOUCHER NO. 8283, PAID IN AUGUST 1934 FOR THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, UNDER SYMBOL NO. 94-909, WITHHOLDING CREDIT IN THE AMOUNT OF $14.50 PAID TO LAWRENCE MARSH WHICH WAS INCLUDED IN CHECK NO. 24157, DATED AUGUST 21, 1934, IN THE AMOUNT OF $24.50. REPLY TO THIS EXCEPTION WAS MADE BY THIS OFFICE ON NOVEMBER 2, 1936, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED FOR PAYMENT DID NOT CLEARLY INDICATE ON THE FACE THEREOF THAT PAYMENT OF $14.50 SHOULD BE WITHHELD FROM THE AMOUNT DUE LAWRENCE MARSH AND MADE TO W. D. LEECH, CHIEF OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY PARTY, WHO HAD MADE AN ADVANCE TO THIS EMPLOYEE, THAT THIS OFFICE HAS BEEN UNABLE TO OBTAIN REFUND FROM MR. MARSH, AND THAT SUGGESTION WAS MADE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR THAT THE CLAIM OF MR. LEECH FOR THE AMOUNT OF $14.50 BE SUBMITTED TO YOUR OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT NO ACTION WAS TAKEN PURSUANT TO THIS SUGGESTION.

ACTION IS AGAIN BEING TAKEN BY THIS OFFICE AT THE PRESENT TIME TO CONTACT MR. CORCORAN WITH A VIEW TO OBTAINING REFUND. ANY DEVELOPMENTS INCIDENT TO THIS ACTION WILL BE PROMPTLY REPORTED TO THE U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, WASHINGTON, D.C. THIS OFFICE HAS BEEN UNSUCCESSFUL IN ITS EFFORTS TO OBTAIN REFUND FROM MR. LAWRENCE MARSH.

THERE IS PRESENTED HEREWITH, CLAIM OF MR. R. R. BOSWELL, P.O. BOX 62, ROLLA, MISSOURI, FOR THE AMOUNT OF $42.00, COVERING ASSIGNMENT MADE TO F. L. CORCORAN, TOGETHER WITH LETTER DATED JUNE 21, 1937, FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY CONCERNING THE TWO ASSIGNMENTS IN QUESTION.

IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE WHAT ACTION MAY BE TAKEN TO MAKE PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNTS DUE MESSRS. R. R. BOSWELL AND W. D. LEECH, I.E., $42.00 AND $14.50, RESPECTIVELY.

WITH RESPECT TO ASSIGNMENTS OF PAY BY EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY THE SUNDRY CIVIL ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906, 34 STAT. 727, PROVIDES---

THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO PERMIT SCIENTIFIC AND OTHER EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, EMPLOYED IN THE FIELD, TO MAKE ASSIGNMENTS OF THEIR PAY, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE, DURING SUCH TIME AS THEY MAY BE IN THE EMPLOY OF THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY. * * *

THE APPLICABLE REGULATION PRESCRIBED, PARAGRAPH 36 OF THE FISCAL REGULATIONS OF THE UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, IS AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AUTHORIZES THE CHIEF DISBURSING CLERK OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT AND THE SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENTS OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY TO DEPOSIT THE PAY OF ANY EMPLOYEE WITH ANY PERSON OR BANK ON THE RECEIPT OF PAY VOUCHERS AND ON THE WRITTEN REQUEST OF THE EMPLOYEE, PROVIDED, HOWEVER, THAT THE UNITED STATES IS RELEASED FROM REPAYMENT OF THE MONEY AND FROM ANY LIABILITY BY REASON OF THE DEPOSIT. THE PER DIEM AMOUNT ALLOWED IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, BEING ESSENTIALLY ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION, MAY LIKEWISE BE ASSIGNED. THE AUTHORITY FOR MAKING ASSIGNMENTS APPLIES TO PAY AND PER DIEM ONLY; IT DOES NOT APPLY TO OTHER ITEMS FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE CLAIMED, SUCH AS TRAVELING EXPENSES OR FIELD EXPENSES.

AN EXAMINATION OF DISBURSING OFFICE VOUCHER NO. 2478 OF G. F. ALLEN FOR THE PERIOD JUNE 16 TO JUNE 29, 1934, SHOWS COMPENSATION DUE F. L. CORCORAN, RODMAN, UNITED STATES GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, IN THE AMOUNT OF $49. ATTACHED TO THE OUTSIDE OF THE VOUCHER THERE IS A SLIP OF PAPER BEARING THE NOTATION "F. L. CORCORAN PER DIEM ASSIGNED TO R. R. BOSWELL.' ATTACHED TO THE INSIDE OF THE VOUCHER AND MADE A PART THEREOF THERE APPEAR TWO FORMS APPARENTLY ADOPTED BY THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY FOR THE PURPOSE OF INDICATING THAT AN ASSIGNMENT OF PAY HAS BEEN MADE BY ITS EMPLOYEE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF 1906, SUPRA. FORM 9-027 CONSISTS OF A LETTER TO THE DISBURSING OFFICER SIGNED BY F. L. CORCORAN AND AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT OF $42 TO R. R. BOSWELL FROM ANY AMOUNT DUE MR. CORCORAN FOR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE OR SALARY FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE 1934. THE OTHER FORM IS HEADED "DRAW CHECKS AS FOLLOWS" AND INDICATES THAT A CHECK IS TO BE DRAWN IN FAVOR OF F. L. CORCORAN IN THE AMOUNT OF $7 AND A CHECK IN FAVOR OF R. R. BOSWELL IN THE AMOUNT OF $42. NOTWITHSTANDING SUCH NOTICE, F. L. CORCORAN WAS PAID THE FULL AMOUNT DUE FOR THE PERIOD INVOLVED INCLUDING THE SUM OF $42 AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID TO R. R. BOSWELL.

WHILE YOU STATE THERE IS NO INDICATION ON THE FACE OF THE VOUCHER THAT THE FULL AMOUNT OF $49 WAS NOT PAYABLE TO F. L. CORCORAN, IT APPEARS THAT IN SIMILAR CASES FORMS ATTACHED TO VOUCHERS AS INDICATED HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT TO PLACE THE DISBURSING OFFICER ON NOTICE OF AN ASSIGNMENT MADE AND PAYMENT HAS BEEN ACCORDINGLY. IN THIS CONNECTION IT WAS STATED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR IN LETTER OF JUNE 21, 1937, TO YOU, THAT---

* * * THIS (THE CORCORAN CASE) AND THE LEECH-MARSH CASE, WHICH IS IDENTICAL IN EVERY RESPECT EXCEPT AS TO THE AMOUNT INVOLVED AND WHICH I THINK SHOULD ALSO BE SETTLED AT THIS TIME, DIFFERED IN NO RESPECT FROM DOZENS OF OTHERS SUBMITTED TO THE DIVISION OF DISBURSEMENT FOR PAYMENT--- VOUCHERS WHICH CARRIED ASSIGNMENT SLIPS AND LISTS SHOWING THE NAMES OF THE EMPLOYEES AND THE AMOUNT DUE TO EACH AND WHICH WERE CORRECTLY PAID BY THE DIVISION OF DISBURSEMENT. * * *

THERE IS ALSO OF RECORD COPY OF LETTER DATED OCTOBER 26, 1934, TO MR. CORCORAN FROM G. F. ALLEN, CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, WHEREIN MR. CORCORAN WAS ADVISED THAT HE WAS OVERPAID THE AMOUNT OF $42 AND WAS REQUESTED TO REFUND THAT AMOUNT. IT IS FURTHER STATED IN SAID LETTER THAT "OUR RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU ASSIGNED $42 OF THIS AMOUNT TO R. R. BOSWELL, BUT INADVERTENTLY IT WAS NOT DEDUCTED.'

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING IT APPEARS THAT AN ASSIGNMENT OF PAY WAS MADE AS AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1906, SUPRA, AND THAT THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY GAVE NOTICE THAT SUCH AN ASSIGNMENT HAD BEEN MADE BY ATTACHING SUCH FORMS AND NOTICE TO VOUCHER NO. 2478 AS HAD THERETOFORE BEEN ACCEPTED AND ACTED UPON BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER AS NOTICE OF AN ASSIGNMENT OF PAY. THERE BEING NOTHING IN THE LAW OR IN THE REGULATIONS PROVIDING FOR A PARTICULAR FORM OR MANNER OF ASSIGNMENT, ANY LANGUAGE, HOWEVER INFORMAL, IF IT SHOWS THE INTENTION OF THE OWNER OF THE CHOSE IN ACTION TO TRANSFER IT, IS SUFFICIENT TO VEST THE PROPERTY THEREIN IN THE ASSIGNEE.

THE STATEMENT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER THAT HE HAD INADVERTENTLY FAILED TO DEDUCT THE AMOUNT ASSIGNED INDICATES THAT PAYMENT WAS MADE TO THE ASSIGNOR AFTER NOTICE OF ASSIGNMENT. IN 16 COMP. DEC. 643, INVOLVING PAYMENT OF SALARY TO AN ASSIGNOR AFTER AN ASSIGNMENT HAD BEEN MADE BY A TEACHER IN ALASKA UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF MARCH 21, 1906, 34 STAT. 824, IT WAS HELD--- ,THE PAYMENT TO THE TEACHER, AFTER NOTICE OF THE ASSIGNMENT, WAS UNAUTHORIZED, AND YOU WOULD BE LIABLE THEREFOR IN THE SETTLEMENT OF YOUR ACCOUNT. THIS UNAUTHORIZED PAYMENT DOES NOT AFFECT THE RIGHT OF THE ASSIGNEE TO PAYMENT.'

IN VIEW OF THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE ASSIGNMENT OF PAY DUE EMPLOYEES OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY AND SINCE IT APPEARS THAT SUCH AN ASSIGNMENT WAS MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PRACTICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BY NOTICE AS HERETOFORE INDICATED, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE DISBURSING OFFICER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ERRONEOUS PAYMENT OF $42 TO THE ASSIGNOR AFTER NOTICE OF ASSIGNMENT. ACCORDINGLY, SETTLEMENT WILL BE MADE BY THIS OFFICE IN FAVOR OF R. R. BOSWELL IN THE AMOUNT OF $42, AND THE AMOUNT OF THE ERRONEOUS PAYMENT WHICH HAS BEEN DISALLOWED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF G. F. ALLEN SHOULD BE REMITTED WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY.

WITH RESPECT TO THE ERRONEOUS PAYMENT OF $14.50 TO LAWRENCE MARSH AFTER NOTICE OF ASSIGNMENT OF THAT AMOUNT TO W. D. LEECH, UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES SIMILAR TO THE CORCORAN-BOSWELL CASE, SETTLEMENT IN FAVOR OF THE ASSIGNEE, W. D. LEECH, WILL BE DEFERRED UNTIL RECEIPT OF A PROPER CLAIM THEREFOR IN THIS OFFICE. HOWEVER, THE AMOUNT OF THE ERRONEOUS PAYMENT, I.E., $14.50, WHICH HAS BEEN DISALLOWED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF G. F. ALLEN, SHOULD BE REMITTED WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY.