A-99355, DECEMBER 5, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 502

A-99355: Dec 5, 1938

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DOES NOT ENTITLE THE OFFICER TO A PROPORTIONATE SHARE OF THE FREE CALLS ALLOWED THE GOVERNMENT ON THE BASIS OF THE CHARGE FOR THE TRUNK LINE AND WHICH ARE NOT INCREASED IN NUMBER BECAUSE OF THE ATTACHING OF ADDITIONAL TELEPHONES TO THE SWITCHBOARD. 16 COMP. IS AS FOLLOWS: IT APPEARS FROM INFORMATION RECEIVED IN THE NAVY DEPARTMENT THAT AN ORDER WAS PLACED ON NOVEMBER 1. 3.00 ADDITIONAL ORDERS WERE PLACED ON NOVEMBER 30. APPEAR THAT THERE ARE SIX TELEPHONES. WAS ADVISED THAT FROM DATE OF INSTALLATION OF PRIVATE TELEPHONE IN HIS QUARTERS HE WAS CHARGEABLE WITH ONE-SIXTH OF THE COST OF MAINTENANCE OF THE SWITCHBOARD. THE OFFICER IN CHARGE NOW CONTENDS THAT AS HE IS COMPELLED TO PAY ONE- SIXTH OF THE CHARGES FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SWITCHBOARD.

A-99355, DECEMBER 5, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 502

TELEPHONES - PRIVATE QUARTERS - PROPORTIONATE SWITCHBOARD, ETC., EXPENSE LIABILITY AND ALLOTMENT OF GOVERNMENT FREE CALLS PAYMENT BY AN OFFICER OF HIS PROPORTIONATE SHARE OF THE TOTAL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF TELEPHONE SWITCHBOARD, ETC., SERVICE BECAUSE OF THE INSTALLATION, IN HIS QUARTERS, OF A PRIVATE TELEPHONE CONNECTED WITH THE SWITCHBOARD, DOES NOT ENTITLE THE OFFICER TO A PROPORTIONATE SHARE OF THE FREE CALLS ALLOWED THE GOVERNMENT ON THE BASIS OF THE CHARGE FOR THE TRUNK LINE AND WHICH ARE NOT INCREASED IN NUMBER BECAUSE OF THE ATTACHING OF ADDITIONAL TELEPHONES TO THE SWITCHBOARD. 16 COMP. GEN. 59, AMPLIFIED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, DECEMBER 5, 1938:

YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 14, 1938, IS AS FOLLOWS:

IT APPEARS FROM INFORMATION RECEIVED IN THE NAVY DEPARTMENT THAT AN ORDER WAS PLACED ON NOVEMBER 1, 1937, FOR THE FOLLOWING TELEPHONE SERVICE AT THE NAVAL RADIO STATION, CHELTENHAM, MARYLAND:

CHART

PER MONTH PBX-B 40 LINE OAK SWITCHBOARD --------------------------- $8.00 TRUNK LINE (INCLUDING 50 MESSAGES) ---------------------- 4.50 15/2 EXCHANGE MILEAGE (PER TRUNK) ----------------------- 15.75 STATIONS 6 AT 50 CENTS EACH ---- ------------------------ 3.00

ADDITIONAL ORDERS WERE PLACED ON NOVEMBER 30, 1937, FOR ONE SERVICE CONNECTION AND ON JUNE 22, 1938, FOR SERVICE CONNECTIONS FOR 4 PBX TELEPHONES AND 1 PBX EXTENSION TELEPHONE. IT WOULD, THEREFORE, APPEAR THAT THERE ARE SIX TELEPHONES, OFFICIAL AND PRIVATE, CONNECTED WITH THE SWITCHBOARD.

THE OFFICER IN CHARGE, NAVAL RADIO STATION, CHELTENHAM, MARYLAND, WAS ADVISED THAT FROM DATE OF INSTALLATION OF PRIVATE TELEPHONE IN HIS QUARTERS HE WAS CHARGEABLE WITH ONE-SIXTH OF THE COST OF MAINTENANCE OF THE SWITCHBOARD, THE TRUNK LINE AND EXCHANGE MILEAGE PLUS ADDITIONAL CHARGE OF FIFTY CENTS FOR ONE STATION AND THE COST OF PERSONAL CALLS.

THE OFFICER IN CHARGE NOW CONTENDS THAT AS HE IS COMPELLED TO PAY ONE- SIXTH OF THE CHARGES FOR MAINTENANCE OF THE SWITCHBOARD, TRUNK LINE, INCLUDING FIFTY MESSAGES, EXCHANGE MILEAGE, AND STATIONS, HE IS ENTITLED TO MAKE, WITHOUT ADDITIONAL CHARGE THEREFOR, PERSONAL CALLS TO THE EXTENT OF ONE-SIXTH OF THE ALLOWED TOTAL OF FIFTY CALLS.

IT WOULD APPEAR THAT AS THE OFFICER IN CHARGE IS REQUIRED TO PAY ONE- SIXTH OF THE TOTAL COST OF TELEPHONE SERVICE THAT HE SHOULD BE ENTITLED TO A PROPORTIONATE SHARE OF THE ALLOWED NUMBER OF CALLS FOR HIS PERSONAL USE.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER THE OFFICER IN CHARGE, NAVAL RADIO STATION, CHELTENHAM, MARYLAND, IS ENTITLED TO ONE-SIXTH OF THE FIFTY CALLS INCLUDED IN THE TRUNK LINE CHARGE OR 8 2/3 PERSONAL CALLS PER MONTH WITHOUT CHARGE.

SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912, 37 STAT. 414 PROVIDES:

THAT NO MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT SHALL BE EXPENDED FOR TELEPHONE SERVICE INSTALLED IN ANY PRIVATE RESIDENCE OR PRIVATE APARTMENT OR FOR TOLLS OR OTHER CHARGES FOR TELEPHONE SERVICE FROM PRIVATE RESIDENCES OR PRIVATE APARTMENTS, EXCEPT FOR LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS REQUIRED STRICTLY FOR THE PUBLIC BUSINESS, AND SO SHOWN BY VOUCHERS DULY SWORN TO AND APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, DIVISION, BUREAU, OR OFFICE IN WHICH THE OFFICIAL USING SUCH TELEPHONE OR INCURRING THE EXPENSE OF SUCH TOLLS SHALL BE EMPLOYED.

IN 16 COMP. GEN. 59, IT WAS HELD A SIMILAR CASE THAT AN OFFICER OF THE UNITED STATES HAVING A TELEPHONE IN HIS PRIVATE QUARTERS CONNECTED WITH A SWITCHBOARD OPERATED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO PAY A PROPORTIONATE SHARE OF THE WHOLE COST OF THE TELEPHONE EXPENSES DEPENDENT UPON THE NUMBER OF TELEPHONES OPERATING THROUGH THAT SWITCHBOARD. THERE WAS NOT CONSIDERED IN THAT CASE ANY QUESTION OF THE NUMBER OF FREE CALLS WHICH MIGHT BE UTILIZED.

IN THE PRESENT CASE IT APPEARS THAT THE NUMBER OF FREE CALLS IS DEPENDENT UPON THE CHARGE FOR THE TRUNK LINE AND IS NOT INCREASED BY ATTACHING ADDITIONAL TELEPHONES TO THE SWITCHBOARD. IN OTHER WORDS, THE GOVERNMENT WAS ENTITLED TO THE 50 FREE CALLS REGARDLESS OF THE INSTALLATION OF THE TELEPHONE IN THE OFFICER'S PRIVATE QUARTERS. HENCE, TO PERMIT THE OFFICER TO HAVE THE BENEFIT OF ANY OF THE FREECALLS TO WHICH THE GOVERNMENT WAS ENTITLED BEFORE THE INSTALLATION OF THE PRIVATE TELEPHONE WOULD RESULT IN THE USE OF APPROPRIATED MONEYS FOR TELEPHONE SERVICE IN PRIVATE QUARTERS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912, SUPRA, AS THE OFFICER WOULD THEREBY BE RECEIVING SOME BENEFIT OF THE PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF FIVE-SIXTHS OF THE SWITCHBOARD AND TRUNK LINE CHARGES.

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTIONS SPECIFICALLY, YOU ARE INFORMED THAT THE PAYMENT BY THE OFFICER OF ONE-SIXTH OF THE CHARGES DOES NOT ENTITLE HIM TO ANY FREE CALLS.