A-91771, FEBRUARY 25, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 681

A-91771: Feb 25, 1938

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EXCHANGE - LOSS BY - OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES - TRANSFERS BETWEEN FOREIGN-DUTY STATIONS EXCHANGE RELIEF UPON SALARIES AND FIXED ALLOWANCES BASED UPON LIVING CONDITIONS AT A PARTICULAR FOREIGN STATION IS FOR COMPUTATION AT THE RATES APPLICABLE AT THAT STATION UPON THE DATES THEY REGULARLY ACCRUED. WHERE THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER FOREIGN DUTY STATION. IS FOR COMPUTATION AT THE RATE APPLICABLE TO THE NEW STATION WHERE THERE IS CONSUMED IN THE TRAVEL NO MORE TIME THAN NECESSARY FOR DIRECT TRANSIT IN A DIFFERENT FOREIGN COUNTRY WHILE EN ROUTE. IF THERE IS A SOJOURN IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY EN ROUTE. WILL BE CONSIDERED THE EMPLOYEE'S NEW STATION UP TO THE TIME OF DEPARTURE THEREFROM AND EXCHANGE RELIEF COMPUTED ACCORDINGLY.

A-91771, FEBRUARY 25, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 681

EXCHANGE - LOSS BY - OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES - TRANSFERS BETWEEN FOREIGN-DUTY STATIONS EXCHANGE RELIEF UPON SALARIES AND FIXED ALLOWANCES BASED UPON LIVING CONDITIONS AT A PARTICULAR FOREIGN STATION IS FOR COMPUTATION AT THE RATES APPLICABLE AT THAT STATION UPON THE DATES THEY REGULARLY ACCRUED, OR, WHERE THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER FOREIGN DUTY STATION, AT THE RATES APPLICABLE TO THE OLD STATION UPON THE LAST DAY AT THAT STATION. EXCHANGE RELIEF UPON SALARIES AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ACCRUING AFTER DEPARTURE FROM THE OLD STATION AND DURING THE TRAVEL THROUGH FOREIGN COUNTRIES ON TRANSFER BETWEEN TWO FOREIGN DUTY STATIONS, IS FOR COMPUTATION AT THE RATE APPLICABLE TO THE NEW STATION WHERE THERE IS CONSUMED IN THE TRAVEL NO MORE TIME THAN NECESSARY FOR DIRECT TRANSIT IN A DIFFERENT FOREIGN COUNTRY WHILE EN ROUTE, BUT IF THERE IS A SOJOURN IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY EN ROUTE, THAT COUNTRY, FOR EXCHANGE RELIEF PURPOSES, WILL BE CONSIDERED THE EMPLOYEE'S NEW STATION UP TO THE TIME OF DEPARTURE THEREFROM AND EXCHANGE RELIEF COMPUTED ACCORDINGLY. THE HOLDING IN 15 COMP. GEN. 914, THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS ENTITLED TO COMPUTE EXCHANGE LOSSES IN CONNECTION WITH OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES STATIONED IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND TEMPORARILY ABSENT FROM OFFICIAL STATION ON LEAVE, ON THE BASIS OF THE RATE APPLICABLE TO THE OFFICIAL STATION OR TO THE PLACE WHERE ON LEAVE, WHICHEVER IS MORE FAVORABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT, IS ONLY FOR APPLICATION IN SUCH CASES AND IS NOT FOR APPLICATION TO TRANSFERS BETWEEN OFFICIAL FOREIGN-DUTY STATIONS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, FEBRUARY 25, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 10, 1938, REQUESTS DECISION UPON MATTERS SET FORTH IN A DESPATCH FROM THE DISTRICT ACCOUNTING AND DISBURSING OFFICER AT PARIS, DATED DECEMBER 10, 1937, AS FOLLOWS:

I HAVE THE HONOR TO BRING TO THE ATTENTION OF THE DEPARTMENT A SERIES OF SUSPENSIONS WHICH HAVE BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE RELATING TO WHAT IS FELT TO BE AN ERRONEOUS INTERPRETATION OF THE TERM "ACCRUAL DATE," IN THE CASES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED FROM ONE POST TO ANOTHER AND WHO ARE EN ROUTE AT THE END OF THE MONTH.

AS INSTANCE OF THESE SUSPENSIONS MAY BE CITED THE FOLLOWING:

CHART

(UNTITLED TABLE OMITTED)

OTHER SUSPENSIONS OF SIMILAR CHARACTER ARE THE FOLLOWING:

VO. NO. 17609--- MARCH 1936, 19-1161000

22200--- JUNE 1936, 19-1161000

7540--- OCTOBER 1936, 19-1171000

7541--- OCTOBER 1936, 19-1171000

15656--- FEBRUARY 1937, 19-1171000

WHEN THE FIRST EXCEPTION OF THIS TYPE WAS RECEIVED A REPLY WAS SUBMITTED POINTING OUT WHAT WERE REGARDED TO BE ITS MISINTERPRETATIONS OF THE EXISTING RULINGS, AND IT WAS HOPED THAT THIS WOULD BE ACCEPTED. SUSPENSIONS CONTINUE TO BE RECEIVED, HOWEVER, AND IT IS BELIEVED THAT A CONCLUSIVE RULING SHOULD BE OBTAINED.

IN SOME INSTANCES NO AUTHORITY FOR THE SUSPENSION IS CITED; IN OTHERS COMP. GEN. XV. P. 212 IS MISQUOTED TO THE EFFECT THAT "EXCHANGE RELIEF ON SALARY AND QUARTERS UPON TRANSFER OF STATION IS TO BE COMPUTED AT RATES IN EFFECT AT NEW POST ON DATE OF ACCRUAL.'

THE TRUE READING OF THE RULING CITED IS TO QUOTE THE SYLLABUS "EXCHANGE LOSSES ON SALARIES OR ALLOWANCES ACCRUING OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES ARE FOR COMPUTATION AS OF THE DATE THE SALARIES OR ALLOWANCES ACCRUED IRRESPECTIVE OF WHERE THE CHECK THEREFOR WAS CASHED. THIS RULE IS FOR APPLICATION, HOWEVER, TO THOSE ALLOWANCES WHICH ACCRUE AT REGULAR INTERVALS AND NOT ALLOWANCES SUCH AS PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE.'

IT IS FELT THAT THE "ACCRUAL DATE" IN THE CASE OF A TRANSFER IS THE DATE THE OFFICER LEAVES OR IN THE CASE OF RENT ALLOWANCES THE DATE THE ALLOWANCE TERMINATES AT THE POST, AND NOT THE ARBITRARY END OF THE MONTH WITHOUT REFERENCE TO WHAT THE STATUS OF THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE ON THAT DATE. IT SEEMS HARDLY SOUND TO HOLD THAT A RENT ALLOWANCE EARNED AND PAID ON QUARTERS IN GLASGOW WHERE THE QUARTERS ACTUALLY WERE SHOULD BE COMPENSATED AT THE RATE OF DAIREN WHERE AT THE TIME OF PAYMENT THE EMPLOYEE HAD NEVER BEEN.

PAYMENT OF EXCHANGE LOSS ON RENT ON THIS BASIS WOULD MOREOVER BE CONTRARY TO THE EXPRESS IMPLICATION OF THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF FEBRUARY 13, 1936 (A-70002), WHICH SAYS IN THE SYLLABUS "WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON LEAVE FOR SUCH SHORT PERIODS AS TO NEGATIVE ANY ASSUMPTION THAT HE HAS FAILED TO MAINTAIN HIS LIVING QUARTERS AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION, THE BASIC RATE PRESCRIBED FOR HIS OFFICIAL STATION IS FOR APPLICATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF EXCHANGE RELIEF WITH RESPECT TO THE ALLOWANCE FOR RENT OF QUARTERS.'

IN THE CASE OF EXCHANGE LOSS ON SALARY AND COST OF LIVING ALLOWANCES, THE SUSPENSIONS ARE EQUALLY AT VARIANCE WITH THE RULINGS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL. THOSE PAYMENTS HAVE ALWAYS BEEN REGARDED AS ACCRUING AND ARE REGULARLY PAID ON THE DAY AN OFFICER LEAVES HIS OLD POST, BECAUSE HE IS AT THAT TIME DROPPED FROM THE ROLLS. THIS WOULD SEEM TO BRING SUCH PAYMENTS CLEARLY INTO THE CATEGORY OF FRACTIONAL PAYMENTS WITH REGARD TO WHICH THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL IN HIS DECISION OF APRIL 16, 1936 COMP. GEN. XV P. 914 (A-64560) (A 72951) HOLDS "EXCHANGE LOSSES ON SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES PAYABLE REGULARLY AT AN EMPLOYEE'S FOREIGN STATION ARE FOR COMPUTATION AS OF THE LAST DATE OF THE ACCRUAL PERIOD IRRESPECTIVE OF WHEN PAYMENT IS MADE, BUT WHERE FRACTIONAL PARTS OF ACCRUAL PERIODS ARE INVOLVED LOSSES ARE FOR COMPUTATION AS OF THE LAST DAY OF THE FRACTIONAL PERIOD.'

IT IS ALSO RELEVANT TO POINT OUT THAT HITHERTO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE HAS WHEN THE RATE OF THE NEW POST HAS BEEN LESS FAVORABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT, HELD THAT THE RATE OF THE OLD POST IS APPLICABLE UP TO THE TIME OF THE DEPARTURE THEREFROM OF THE EMPLOYEE. A CASE IN POINT IS THE EXCEPTION TAKEN ON VOUCHER NO. 3413 OF THE SEPTEMBER 19334 ACCOUNTS OF VICTOR M. LENZER IN WHICH IT IS STATED, THAT "EXCHANGE RELIEF ON SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES ACCRUING SUBSEQUENT TO MARCH 31, 1934 IS COMPUTED ON THE RATE AND PLACE OF DATE OF ACCRUAL, THE LAST DAY OF SERVICE AT OLD POST IN THE CASE OF A TRANSFER.'

NO REASON HAS BEEN ADVANCED FOR REVERSING THIS RULING, AND THE REVERSAL IS AS INDICATED IN DIRECT CONFLICT WITH THE ESTABLISHED RULINGS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL. THE GOOD OFFICES OF THE DEPARTMENT ARE RESPECTFULLY SOLICITED IN OBTAINING A DECISION TO RECTIFY THE SITUATION, AND PREVENT FURTHER SUSPENSIONS OF THIS CHARACTER.

THE ACT OF MARCH 26, 1934, 48 STAT. 466, AS AMENDED, PROVIDED AS FOLLOWS:

THAT THERE ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE APPROPRIATED ANNUALLY SUCH SUMS AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO ENABLE THE PRESIDENT, IN HIS DISCRETION AND UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE AND NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF ANY OTHER ACT AND UPON RECOMMENDATION OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUDGET, TO MEET LOSSES SUSTAINED ON AND AFTER JULY 15, 1933, BY OFFICERS, ENLISTED MEN, AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES WHILE IN SERVICE IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES DUE TO THE APPRECIATION OF FOREIGN CURRENCIES IN THEIR RELATION TO THE AMERICAN DOLLAR * * *.

THE OBJECT OF THIS LEGISLATION IS "TO MEET LOSSES SUSTAINED" AND ACCORDINGLY THIS STATUTE AND THE REGULATIONS ISSUED THEREUNDER BY THE PRESIDENT ARE TO BE CONSTRUED WITH THIS OBJECT IN VIEW. MUCH OF THE CONFUSION IN THE INTERPRETATION OF THE ACT AND REGULATIONS APPEARS TO HAVE RESULTED FROM THE FAILURE TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES ACCRUING WHILE THE OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES ARE AT THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS, FROM SALARIES AND ALLOWANCES ACCRUING WHILE IN TRANSIT BETWEEN STATIONS. EXCHANGE RELIEF UPON SALARIES AND FIXED ALLOWANCES BASED UPON LIVING CONDITIONS AT A PARTICULAR FOREIGN STATION IS FOR COMPUTATION AT THE RATES APPLICABLE AT THAT STATION, EITHER UPON THE DATES THEY REGULARLY ACCRUED PRIOR TO DEPARTURE OR UPON THE LAST DAY AT THAT STATION. EXCHANGE RELIEF UPON SALARIES AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, ACCRUING AFTER DEPARTURE FROM THE OLD STATION AND DURING THE PERIOD OF TRAVEL THROUGH FOREIGN COUNTRIES ON TRANSFER BETWEEN TWO FOREIGN DUTY STATIONS, IS FOR COMPUTATION AT THE RATE APPLICABLE TO THE NEW STATION PROVIDED THERE IS NO SUBSTANTIAL STAY (THAT IS MORE THAN NECESSARY FOR DIRECT TRANSIT THROUGH A FOREIGN COUNTRY) IN A DIFFERENT FOREIGN COUNTRY DURING THE PERIOD OF TRAVEL. 16 COMP. GEN. 156; 17 ID. 255; A-64560, FEBRUARY 15, 1936. THERE BE A SOJOURN IN A FOREIGN COUNTRY WHILE EN ROUTE, SUCH COUNTRY, FOR PURPOSES OF COMPUTING EXCHANGE RELIEF, WILL BE CONSIDERED AS THE EMPLOYEE'S NEW STATION UP TO THE TIME OF DEPARTURE THEREFROM, THE FOREGOING RULE TO BE APPLIED ACCORDINGLY.

IT IS ONLY WHEN AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS TEMPORARILY ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON LEAVE THAT THE GOVERNMENT IS ENTITLED TO COMPUTE EXCHANGE LOSSES ON THE BASIS OF THE RATE APPLICABLE TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION OR TO THE PLACE WHERE HE SPENDS HIS LEAVE, WHICHEVER MAY BE THE MORE FAVORABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT. 15 COMP. GEN. 914. THAT RULE HAS NO APPLICATION TO SITUATIONS INVOLVING TRANSFERS BETWEEN OFFICIAL FOREIGN DUTY STATIONS.

ON VOUCHER NO. 15607 THERE WAS PAID TO MAURICE PASQUET EXCHANGE RELIEF ON SALARY FOR THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 1 TO 10, 1937, AMOUNTING TO $8.06, COMPUTED ON EXCHANGE RATES IN EFFECT FEBRUARY 10 AT GLASGOW, AND ON RENTAL ALLOWANCE, FEBRUARY 1 TO 15, 1937, $3.09, BASED ON EXCHANGE RATES AT GLASGOW, FEBRUARY 15, 1937, FROM WHICH STATION HE WAS TRANSFERRED EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 10, 1937. THE STATEMENT OF DIFFERENCES DISALLOWED CREDIT FOR THESE AMOUNTS UPON THE GROUND THAT THE EXCHANGE RELIEF SHOULD HAVE BEEN COMPUTED AT THE RATE FOR DAIREN, MANCHURIA, THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION. THE PAYMENTS WERE FOR COMPUTATION PROPERLY AT THE RATES IN EFFECT ON THE DATE THE OFFICER LEFT THE OLD STATION BUT IN VIEW OF THE SMALL DIFFERENCE IN THE EXCHANGE RATES ON FEBRUARY 10 AND 15, AS APPLIED TO THE RENTAL ALLOWANCE, CREDIT WILL BE ALLOWED FOR THE AMOUNTS AS PAID.

THE OTHER VOUCHERS REFERRED TO IN THE DESPATCH WILL BE REAUDITED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.