B-109469, JULY 9, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 15

B-109469: Jul 9, 1952

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THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF WHICH IS TO INCREASE AND BRING UP TO DATE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE PERSONNEL INVOLVED WITH RESPECT TO THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED IN THE COURSE OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT. OR EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUCH PURPOSES OR ARE PROVIDED FOR IN EXPRESS TERMS IN SOME GENERAL APPROPRIATION. PROVIDED SUCH MEMBERSHIP IS OTHERWISE PROPER. PUBLICATIONS AND SERVICES AVAILABLE THEREBY WAS ESSENTIAL TO THE WORK OF THE AGENCY AND THE ONLY OTHER ALTERNATIVE WAS THE PURCHASING OF A LARGE NUMBER OF BOOKS AND THE NECESSARY LIBRARY SERVICE INCIDENT THERETO. EVEN THOUGH THE VOUCHER IS WRITTEN AS " N.Y.O.D. " IT ACTUALLY COVERS FOUR SEPARATE MEMBERSHIPS FOR THE FOUR INDIVIDUALS NAMED THEREIN AND THE AMOUNT PROPOSED TO BE PAID THEREUNDER IS FOUR TIMES THE COST OF A SINGLE MEMBERSHIP.

B-109469, JULY 9, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 15

FEES - MEMBERSHIP OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN PRIVATE ASSOCIATIONS IN VIEW OF THE INHIBITION IN SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, AGAINST PAYMENT FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF MEMBERSHIP FEES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN SOCIETIES AND ASSOCIATIONS, ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP FEES OF EMPLOYEES OF THE NEW YORK ORDNANCE DISTRICT IN THE SOCIETY FOR ADVANCEMENT OF MANAGEMENT, THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF WHICH IS TO INCREASE AND BRING UP TO DATE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE PERSONNEL INVOLVED WITH RESPECT TO THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED IN THE COURSE OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT, MAY NOT BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS. 19 COMP. GEN. 937 AND 24 COMP. GEN. 814, DISTINGUISHED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO LT. COL. R. A. LOCKWOOD, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, JULY 9, 1952:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED BY REFERENCE FROM THE EXECUTIVE OFFICER, OFFICE CHIEF OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 16, 1952, FILE REFERENCE FINKE-QA 158, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF THE ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP FEES FOR THE YEAR ENDING DECEMBER 1952, OF FOUR EMPLOYEES OF THE NEW YORK ORDNANCE DISTRICT IN THE SOCIETY FOR ADVANCEMENT OF MANAGEMENT ( NEW YORK CHAPTER), IN VIEW OF THE INHIBITIONS CONTAINED IN SECTION 8 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 26, 1912, 37 STAT. 184, 5 U.S.C. 83.

THE CITED SECTION PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

NO MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT SHALL BE EXPENDED FOR MEMBERSHIP FEES OR DUES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES OR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION OR FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE OF ANY PERSON AT ANY MEETING OR CONVENTION OF MEMBERS OF ANY SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION, UNLESS SUCH FEES, DUES, OR EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID BY SPECIFIC APPROPRIATIONS FOR SUCH PURPOSES OR ARE PROVIDED FOR IN EXPRESS TERMS IN SOME GENERAL APPROPRIATION.

THIS OFFICE HAS HELD THAT THIS PROVISION DID NOT PROHIBIT A FEDERAL AGENCY FROM JOINING A SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION IN ITS OWN NAME, PROVIDED SUCH MEMBERSHIP IS OTHERWISE PROPER. SEE 24 COMP. GEN. 814 AND CASES CITED THEREIN. ALSO, IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THIS PROVISION DID NOT PROHIBIT A FEDERAL AGENCY FROM PAYING FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS THE COST OF ASSESSMENTS AND STOCK PURCHASES FOR SEVERAL OF ITS EMPLOYEES IN A LIBRARY ASSOCIATION WHERE ACCESS TO THE BOOKS, PUBLICATIONS AND SERVICES AVAILABLE THEREBY WAS ESSENTIAL TO THE WORK OF THE AGENCY AND THE ONLY OTHER ALTERNATIVE WAS THE PURCHASING OF A LARGE NUMBER OF BOOKS AND THE NECESSARY LIBRARY SERVICE INCIDENT THERETO. SEE 19 COMP. GEN. 937.

HOWEVER, THE PRESENT CASE DOES NOT APPEAR TO FALL IN THE FIRST CATEGORY SINCE, EVEN THOUGH THE VOUCHER IS WRITTEN AS " N.Y.O.D. MEMBERSHIP IN SOCIETY FOR ADVANCEMENT OF MANAGEMENT," IT ACTUALLY COVERS FOUR SEPARATE MEMBERSHIPS FOR THE FOUR INDIVIDUALS NAMED THEREIN AND THE AMOUNT PROPOSED TO BE PAID THEREUNDER IS FOUR TIMES THE COST OF A SINGLE MEMBERSHIP. NOR DOES IT APPEAR TO FALL WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE SECOND CATEGORY MENTIONED ABOVE. THE FILE FORWARDED WITH YOUR LETTER DOES INDICATE THAT THE SOCIETY PROVIDES CERTAIN PUBLICATIONS TO ITS MEMBERS, BUT IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT MORE THAN ONE MEMBERSHIP--- IN THE NAME OF THE NEW YORK ORDNANCE DISTRICT ITSELF--- WOULD BE NECESSARY TO SECURE SUCH PUBLICATIONS. MOREOVER, IT IS STATED IN THE THIRD ENDORSEMENT OF DECEMBER 17, 1951, FROM THE NEW YORK ORDNANCE DISTRICT TO THE UNITED STATES ARMY REGIONAL ACCOUNTS OFFICE THAT " THE PURPOSE OF THE MEMBERSHIP IN THE SOCIETY FOR ADVANCEMENT OF MANAGEMENT IS TO PROVIDE KEY PERSONNEL ACCESS TO CONFERENCES, PUBLICATIONS, ETC., OF THE SOCIETY IN ORDER THAT THEY MAY BE FULLY SCHOOLED IN THE APPLICATION OF MANAGEMENT IN CIVILIAN INDUSTRIES TO ORDNANCE INSTALLATIONS; " THAT , MEMBERSHIP IS TAKEN IN THE NAMES OF MORE THAN ONE PERSON BECAUSE OF THE SIMILAR DUTIES OF THE KEY PERSONNEL NAMED IN THE MEMBERSHIP REQUEST DEFINITELY REQUIRE THAT ALL HAVE SIMILAR BASIC KNOWLEDGE; " AND THAT " THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE MEMBERSHIP IS TO KEEP KEY PERSONNEL ABREAST OF MANAGEMENT PROBLEMS WITHIN CIVILIAN INDUSTRY AND THE POSSIBLE SOLUTION OF SUCH PROBLEMS AND THE APPLICABILITY AND INSTALLATION OF NEW METHODS OF MANAGEMENT FOR INCREASED EFFICIENCY OF ORDNANCE INSTALLATIONS AND ACTIVITIES. THIS KNOWLEDGE WILL BE GAINED THROUGH CONFERENCE ATTENDANCE AND THROUGH THE PUBLICATIONS PROVIDED BY THE SOCIETY.'

IT SEEMS APPARENT FROM THE ABOVE, THAT THE ACCESSIBILITY OF PUBLICATIONS TO MEMBERS IS OF COMPARATIVELY MINOR IMPORTANCE AS A REASON FOR THE PROPOSED MEMBERSHIP, THE PRIMARY PURPOSE THEREOF BEING TO INCREASE AND BRING UP TO DATE THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE PERSONNEL INVOLVED WITH RESPECT TO THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED IN THE COURSE OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT. WHILE IT MAY BE TRUE THAT THE NEW YORK ORDNANCE DISTRICT WOULD BENEFIT BY SUCH INCREASED AND UP TO DATE KNOWLEDGE ON THE PART OF ITS EMPLOYEES, SUCH MATTERS, PERTAINING AS THEY DO TO THE EDUCATION OF THE EMPLOYEES AND THEIR FITNESS TO FILL THEIR RESPECTIVE POSITIONS, ARE PRIMARILY THE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEE AND NOT OF THE EMPLOYING AGENCY. THIS WOULD APPEAR TO BE EXACTLY WHAT WAS INTENDED TO BE PREVENTED BY SECTION 8 OF THE 1912 ACT, SUPRA, AS INDICATED BY THE PORTION OF THE HEARINGS THEREON QUOTED IN 19 COMP. GEN. 937.

WHILE SECTION 606 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1952, 65 STAT. 445, MAKES APPROPRIATIONS THEREIN FOR TRAVEL ALSO AVAILABLE FOR ALL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS OF TECHNICAL, SCIENTIFIC, PROFESSIONAL OR SIMILAR ORGANIZATIONS, THERE IS NOTHING THEREIN AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF MEMBERSHIP FEES OR DUES IN A SOCIETY OR ASSOCIATION. NOR HAS ANY OTHER GENERAL PROVISION BEEN CALLED TO ATTENTION WHICH WOULD AUTHORIZE SUCH PAYMENTS. ACCORDINGLY AND IN THE ABSENCE OF AN APPROPRIATION EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZING SUCH EXPENDITURE, PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH TOGETHER WITH THE SUPPORTING PAPERS, IS NOT AUTHORIZED.