B-108547, MARCH 25, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 480

B-108547: Mar 25, 1952

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PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES FOR POSITIONS SPECIFICALLY EXCEPTED FROM THE COMPETITIVE CIVIL SERVICE FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE'S POINT IV ACTIVITIES IN FOREIGN AREAS MAY BE REIMBURSED TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO REPORTING FOR PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS TO DETERMINE THEIR QUALIFICATIONS FOR SUCH POSITIONS WHEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT SAID EXPENSES ARE ESSENTIAL IN ASCERTAINING AN INDIVIDUAL'S QUALIFICATIONS AND ADAPTABILITY FOR EMPLOYMENT IN A PARTICULAR AREA. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13. IT IS STATED THAT FUNDS FOR THE POINT IV ACTIVITIES ARE TRANSFERRED TO THE DEPARTMENT FROM THE TECHNICAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION AND THE INSTITUTE OF INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT FOR TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES.

B-108547, MARCH 25, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 480

TRAVELING EXPENSES - PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES - PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS UNDER THE ACT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE MUTUAL SECURITY ACT OF 1951, PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES FOR POSITIONS SPECIFICALLY EXCEPTED FROM THE COMPETITIVE CIVIL SERVICE FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE'S POINT IV ACTIVITIES IN FOREIGN AREAS MAY BE REIMBURSED TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO REPORTING FOR PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS TO DETERMINE THEIR QUALIFICATIONS FOR SUCH POSITIONS WHEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT SAID EXPENSES ARE ESSENTIAL IN ASCERTAINING AN INDIVIDUAL'S QUALIFICATIONS AND ADAPTABILITY FOR EMPLOYMENT IN A PARTICULAR AREA.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, MARCH 25, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13, 1952, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES FOR YOUR DEPARTMENT'S PARTICIPATION IN POINT IV ACTIVITIES UNDER THE ACT OF INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT ( PUBLIC LAW 535, 81ST CONGRESS, 64 STAT. 204, AS AMENDED) AND THE MUTUAL SECURITY ACT OF 1951 ( PUBLIC LAW 165, 82D CONGRESS, 65 STAT. 375), LEGALLY MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO REPORTING FOR REQUIRED PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS--- THE CONTEMPLATED APPOINTMENTS BEING TO EXPECTED POSITIONS.

IT IS STATED THAT FUNDS FOR THE POINT IV ACTIVITIES ARE TRANSFERRED TO THE DEPARTMENT FROM THE TECHNICAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION AND THE INSTITUTE OF INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT FOR TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES, THE NEAR, MIDDLE AND FAR EAST, AS WELL AS AFRICAN AND ASIAN AREAS, AND THAT ONE OF THE MAJOR PROBLEMS CONFRONTING YOUR DEPARTMENT IN ITS PARTICIPATION IN THIS PROGRAM IS THE RECRUITMENT OF EXPERTS IN THE VARIOUS FIELDS OF AGRICULTURE FOR WORK IN THE FOREIGN AREAS INVOLVED. IT IS POINTED OUT THAT SUCH RECRUITMENT INVOLVES NOT ONLY A DETERMINATION OF THE APPLICANT'S QUALIFICATIONS FOR THE JOB BUT ALSO HIS PERSONAL SUITABILITY FOR ASSIGNMENT TO A PARTICULAR POST OF FOREIGN DUTY AS WELL AS THE ADAPTABILITY OF HIS FAMILY TO FOREIGN LIVING CONDITIONS.

IN YOUR LETTER YOU REFER TO THE GENERAL RULE WHICH PROHIBITS THE PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES FOR PREAPPOINTMENT INTERVIEWS AND THE EXCEPTION RECOGNIZED BY DECISION OF THIS OFFICE, DATED NOVEMBER 8, 1951, B-106116 (31 COMP. GEN. 175), IN CASES "WHERE PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES ARE TO BE APPOINTED TO POSITIONS EXCEPTED FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND REGULATIONS AND THE CLASSIFICATION ACT.' HOWEVER, SINCE THE INDIVIDUALS EMPLOYED BY YOUR DEPARTMENT FOR FOREIGN DUTY UNDER THE POINT IV PROGRAM ARE GIVEN EXCEPTED APPOINTMENTS UNDER SCHEDULE A OF THE CIVIL SERVICE RULES AND REGULATIONS APPARENTLY YOU ARE IN DOUBT WHETHER THE EXCEPTION WILL APPLY IN THEIR CASES DESPITE THE FACT THAT SALARIES FOR THE POSITIONS ARE FIXED AT RATES ESTABLISHED BY THE TECHNICAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION AND NOT PURSUANT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 954.

AS INDICATED IN THE SAID DECISION OF NOVEMBER 8, 1951, THE RULE THAT GOVERNMENT AGENCIES MAY NOT PAY OR REIMBURSE AN INDIVIDUAL FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES INCIDENT TO DETERMINATION OF HIS QUALIFICATIONS TO HOLD A GOVERNMENT POSITION SUBJECT TO THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS IS BASED UPON THE FACT THAT THE FUNCTION OF ASCERTAINING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES FOR SUCH POSITIONS IS VESTED IN THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. IT FOLLOWS, THEREFORE, THAT WHERE THE POSITIONS TO BE FILLED ARE NOT SUBJECT TO THE CIVIL SERVICE RULES AND REGULATIONS RESPECTING APPOINTMENTS THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR DETERMINING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF APPLICANTS FOR SUCH POSITIONS IS UPON THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES AND THE PAYMENT BY THEM OF ANY NECESSARY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE DETERMINATION IS PROPER IF FUNDS OTHERWISE ARE AVAILABLE THEREFOR.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE POSITIONS INVOLVED IN YOUR SUBMISSION ARE UNDER SCHEDULE A, RULE VI, OF THE CIVIL SERVICE RULES AND REGULATIONS AND, THEREFORE, SPECIFICALLY ARE EXCEPTED FROM THE COMPETITIVE CIVIL SERVICE SO THAT APPOINTMENTS THERETO MAY BE MADE WITHOUT EXAMINATION BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. ACCORDINGLY, THE EXCEPTION TO THE GENERAL RULE AS RECOGNIZED IN THE SAID DECISION OF NOVEMBER 8, 1951, CLEARLY IS APPLICABLE IN THE CASES OF PROSPECTIVE APPOINTEES TO SUCH POSITIONS, AND THE PAYMENT OF OTHERWISE PROPER TRAVELING EXPENSES INCIDENT TO PREAPPOINTMENT INTERVIEWS MAY BE MADE WHEN IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT SUCH EXPENSES ARE ESSENTIAL IN ASCERTAINING AN INDIVIDUAL'S QUALIFICATIONS AND ADAPTABILITY FOR EMPLOYMENT IN A PARTICULAR AREA.