A-93206, APRIL 28, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 874

A-93206: Apr 28, 1938

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RELATES TO A CHANGE IN OFFICIAL STATION REQUIRED IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ACTIVITY UNDER WHICH THE PERSON TRANSFERRED IS EMPLOYED AND FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED IS AVAILABLE. NOT TO A REPORTING TO FIRST DUTY STATION UNDER A NEW APPOINTMENT SUCH AS IS REQUIRED TO BE AT THE EMPLOYEE'S OWN EXPENSE. NOTWITHSTANDING THERE IS INVOLVED A CHANGE IN TITLE OF THE POSITION OR IN THE GRADE OR SALARY RATE OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE. IS AS FOLLOWS: THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT DATED JANUARY 7. IS DISALLOWED BECAUSE MR. GORMAN'S DESIGNATION AND SALARY WERE CHANGED FROM STATE DIRECTOR. THE EMPLOYEES RETAINED WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE REGIONAL OFFICES.

A-93206, APRIL 28, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 874

TRAVELING EXPENSES - CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - CHANGE OF STATION - "TRANSFER" DEFINED THE TERM "TRANSFER" AS USED IN STATUTES AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES "ON TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER" UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, RELATES TO A CHANGE IN OFFICIAL STATION REQUIRED IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ACTIVITY UNDER WHICH THE PERSON TRANSFERRED IS EMPLOYED AND FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED IS AVAILABLE, AND NOT TO A REPORTING TO FIRST DUTY STATION UNDER A NEW APPOINTMENT SUCH AS IS REQUIRED TO BE AT THE EMPLOYEE'S OWN EXPENSE, OR TO A TRANSFER FROM ONE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT TO ANOTHER, BUT, IF THE CHANGE IN OFFICIAL STATION--- DIRECTED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT--- INVOLVES NO BREAK IN SERVICE, NO TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT BY OPERATION OF LAW, AND NO CHANGE IN THE APPROPRIATION TO BE CHARGED WITH THE SALARY AND TRAVELING EXPENSES, IT MAY BE REGARDED AS A "TRANSFER" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE SAID STATUTES, NOTWITHSTANDING THERE IS INVOLVED A CHANGE IN TITLE OF THE POSITION OR IN THE GRADE OR SALARY RATE OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE. COMP. GEN. 871, DISTINGUISHED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATOR OF PUBLIC WORKS, APRIL 28, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 7, 1938, IS AS FOLLOWS:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT DATED JANUARY 7, 1938, BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 3AO.293, SHERIDAN P. GORMAN PAYEE, WHEREIN TRAVEL FROM RICHMOND, VIRGINIA, TO ATLANTA, GEORGIA, IS DISALLOWED BECAUSE MR. GORMAN'S DESIGNATION AND SALARY WERE CHANGED FROM STATE DIRECTOR, $6,000 PER ANNUM, TO FINANCE EXAMINER AT $4,000 PER ANNUM.

IN ORDER TO COMPLETE THE REMAINING PROGRAM OF THE PUBLIC WORKS ADMINISTRATION WITH A MINIMUM OF ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE I ESTABLISHED EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 1, 1937, SEVEN REGIONAL OFFICES IN LIEU OF THE STATE OFFICES. THIS CONSOLIDATION OF THE FIELD ACTIVITIES OF THE P.W.A. RESULTED IN THE SEPARATION OF AROUND FIVE HUNDRED EMPLOYEES OUT OF AN APPROXIMATE TOTAL OF TWELVE HUNDRED THEN IN THE STATE OFFICES. THE EMPLOYEES RETAINED WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE REGIONAL OFFICES. THEY WERE SELECTED ON THE BASIS OF COMPARATIVE EFFICIENCY AND SPECIAL FITNESS FOR THE WORK TO WHICH THEY WERE TO BE ASSIGNED. MR. GORMAN WAS SELECTED FOR ASSIGNMENT AS FINANCE EXAMINER IN REGION III, ATLANTA, GEORGIA, BECAUSE IT WAS BELIEVED THAT HIS PREVIOUS SERVICE AS FINANCE EXAMINER PLUS THE EXPERIENCE HE GAINED WHILE SERVING AS STATE DIRECTOR FOR VIRGINIA PARTICULARLY QUALIFIED HIM FOR THAT POSITION. HIS TRANSFER AND CHANGE IN STATUS WERE EFFECTED WITHOUT A BREAK IN SERVICE, AND THE ACTION TAKEN WAS UNQUESTIONABLY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT. PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES HAD BEEN DULY AUTHORIZED BY ME PRIOR TO THE ACTUAL TRANSFER OF MR. GORMAN.

IN MY OPINION ALLOWANCE OF TRAVEL EXPENSES TO MR. GORMAN IS FULLY JUSTIFIED. INASMUCH AS THE AUDIT DIVISION OF YOUR OFFICE HAS DISALLOWED PAYMENT OF THESE EXPENSES I AM SUBMITTING THE CASE TO YOU FOR DECISION. THIS RULING OF THE AUDIT DIVISION, IF IT IS WIDELY APPLICABLE, WOULD SERIOUSLY HAMPER THE EFFICIENT AND ECONOMICAL ADMINISTRATION OF THIS ORGANIZATION AND I, THEREFORE, URGE YOUR CAREFUL CONSIDERATION OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES OUTLINED HEREIN.

VOUCHER NO. 3A0.293 IN FAVOR OF THIS EMPLOYEE, SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC WORKS ON SCHEDULE NO. S- 4450 FOR AUDIT BEFORE PAYMENT, WAS RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION FOR REASONS SET FORTH IN THE PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT DATED JANUARY 7, 1938, AS FOLLOWS:

ORDER P.W. 1924 DATED OCT. 25, 1937, AUTHORIZES A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION RICHMOND VA., TO ATLANTA, GA., TOGETHER WITH A CHANGE IN STATUS AND SALARY FROM STATE DIRECTOR AT $6,000 TO FINANCE EXAMINER AT $4,000.

IT APPEARS THAT THE DUTIES UNDER THE LATTER POSITION AND SALARY HAVE NO CONNECTION WITH THE FORMER. SUCH BEING THE CASE, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THERE HAS BEEN A REAPPOINTMENT TO AN ENTIRELY NEW POSITION AND EXPENSES INCURRED IN REPORTING TO FIRST DUTY STATION UNDER THE NEW APPOINTMENT ARE REQUIRED TO BE BORNE BY THE EMPLOYEE.

14 COMP. GEN. 871.

THE FACTS IN THIS CASE DISTINGUISH IT FROM THE CASE CONSIDERED IN 14 COMP. GEN. 871, CITED AS AUTHORITY FOR THE AUDIT ACTION, SUPRA.

SECTION 2 OF THE TREASURY-POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1938, ACT OF MAY 14, 1937, 50 STAT. 163, IDENTICAL IN TERMS WITH SECTIONS APPEARING IN PRIOR ANNUAL APPROPRIATION ACTS, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1938 AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS SHALL BE AVAILABLE ALSO FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THEM ON TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR ANY TRANSFER EFFECTED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.

WITH REFERENCE TO A SIMILAR PROVISION IT WAS HELD IN DECISION OF JANUARY 22, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 564, 566, AS FOLLOWS:

THE PROVISION IN SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 15, 1934, PERMITTING PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ON TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER, DOES NOT AND WAS NOT INTENDED, OF COURSE, TO DISTURB THE LONG ESTABLISHED RULE REQUIRING THOSE EMPLOYED TO PLACE THEMSELVES AT THEIR FIRST DUTY STATION AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE, * * *

THE PUBLISHED DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE HAVE NOT DRAWN A CLEAR LINE OF DEMARCATION BETWEEN A ,TRANSFER" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE PROVISION HERE INVOLVED AND A REPORTING TO FIRST DUTY STATION UNDER A NEW APPOINTMENT SUCH AS IS REQUIRED TO BE AT THE EMPLOYEE'S OWN EXPENSE.

THE TERM "TRANSFER" AS USED IN THE STATUTE, SUPRA, IS NOT TO BE UNDERSTOOD IN THE SAME SENSE AS THAT TERM IS UNDERSTOOD IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND REGULATIONS, IN WHICH CONNECTION IT IS USED TO DESIGNATE CHANGES FROM ONE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT TO ANOTHER AS WELL AS FROM ONE POSITION TO ANOTHER WITHINT A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT. ON THE CONTRARY, THE TERM AS USED IN THIS STATUTE MUST BE UNDERSTOOD AS RELATING ONLY TO A CHANGE IN OFFICIAL STATION REQUIRED IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ACTIVITY UNDER WHICH THE PERSON TRANSFERRED IS EMPLOYED AND FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED IS AVAILABLE.

IF A CHANGE IN OFFICIAL STATION OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE--- DIRECTED FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT--- INVOLVES NO BREAK IN SERVICE, NO TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT BY OPERATION OF LAW, NO CHANGE IN THE APPROPRIATION TO BE CHARGED WITH THE SALARY AND TRAVELING EXPENSES OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, AND NO CHANGE IN THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT UNDER WHICH THE SERVICES IS TO BE PERFORMED, SUCH CHANGE IN STATION MAY BE REGARDED AS A "TRANSFER" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STATUTE, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER, IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH TRANSFER, THERE IS INVOLVED A CHANGE IN TITLE OF THE POSITION OR IN THE GRADE OR SALARY RATE OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE. OF COURSE, REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO SUCH TRANSFERS IS NOT AUTHORIZED EXCEPT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS AND SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS PRESCRIBED IN THE STATUTE.

IF IN THE PRESENT CASE THE TRANSFER OF SHERIDAN P. GORMAN MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS ABOVE INDICATED AND THE REIMBURSEMENT OF HIS TRAVEL EXPENSES WAS AUTHORIZED BY YOU IN THE ORDER DIRECTING THE TRANSFER, THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION MAY BE RESUBMITTED FOR AUDIT IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT ACCOMPANIED BY A SHOWING OF THE FACTS WITH RESPECT THERETO.