B-111443, SEPTEMBER 25, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 140

B-111443: Sep 25, 1952

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1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF AUGUST 18. SHALL NOT EXCEED A SUM SUFFICIENT TO PROVIDE FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF IN EXCESS OF FOUR HUNDRED EMPLOYEES AT ANY TIME DURING THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR * * * THE LETTER STATES IN EFFECT THAT THE ABOVE-QUOTED LANGUAGE IS ADMINISTRATIVELY INTERPRETED TO MEAN THAT FUNDS FOR THIS ACTIVITY ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE TRANSFERRED IN THE AMOUNT DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY BY THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET. IT IS STATED THAT. A BUDGET FOR THIS ACTIVITY WILL BE PREPARED UNDER WHICH REDUCTION WILL BE MADE IN THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES TO 400 AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE AND IN OTHER ITEMS OF EXPENSE COMMENSURATE WITH THE REDUCED FORCE.

B-111443, SEPTEMBER 25, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 140

APPROPRIATIONS - MARITIME ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYMENT CEILING LIMITATION UNDER THE PROVISO IN THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1953, LIMITING FUNDS TRANSFERRED FROM THE VESSEL OPERATIONS REVOLVING FUND TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION TO AN AMOUNT SUFFICIENT TO PROVIDE FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF NOT MORE THAN 400 EMPLOYEES AT ANY TIME DURING THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR, FUNDS MAY BE TRANSFERRED IN THE AMOUNT ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, TO BE NECESSARY TO OPERATE AN ORGANIZATION OF 400 EMPLOYEES, AFTER TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE COST OF COMPLIANCE WITH REDUCTION IN FORCE PROCEDURE THE PAYMENT OF TERMINAL LEAVE, AND RELATED ITEMS OF ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES OTHER THAN PERSONAL SERVICES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, SEPTEMBER 25, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF AUGUST 18, 1952, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE PROPER INTERPRETATION OF A PROVISO TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF THE MARITIME ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, CONTAINED IN THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1953, PUBLIC LAW 455, APPROVED JULY 5, 1952, 66 STAT. 413, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THAT FUNDS TRANSFERRED TO THIS APPROPRIATION FROM THE VESSEL OPERATION REVOLVING FUND ESTABLISHED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 45, EIGHTY-SECOND CONGRESS, SHALL NOT EXCEED A SUM SUFFICIENT TO PROVIDE FOR THE EMPLOYMENT OF IN EXCESS OF FOUR HUNDRED EMPLOYEES AT ANY TIME DURING THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR * * *

THE LETTER STATES IN EFFECT THAT THE ABOVE-QUOTED LANGUAGE IS ADMINISTRATIVELY INTERPRETED TO MEAN THAT FUNDS FOR THIS ACTIVITY ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE TRANSFERRED IN THE AMOUNT DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY BY THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, AS PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 2, 1951, 65 STAT. 59, TO OPERATE AN ORGANIZATION OF 400 EMPLOYEES, AFTER TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE COST OF COMPLIANCE WITH REDUCTION IN FORCE PROCEDURES, THE PAYMENT OF TERMINAL LEAVE, AND RELATED ITEMS OF ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES OTHER THAN PERSONAL SERVICES.

ALSO, IT IS STATED THAT, IF SUCH INTERPRETATION BE CONCURRED IN BY THIS OFFICE, A BUDGET FOR THIS ACTIVITY WILL BE PREPARED UNDER WHICH REDUCTION WILL BE MADE IN THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES TO 400 AS SOON AS PRACTICABLE AND IN OTHER ITEMS OF EXPENSE COMMENSURATE WITH THE REDUCED FORCE, WHICH WOULD ESTABLISH A LIMITATION ON THE TOTAL AMOUNT TO BE TRANSFERRED RATHER THAN ON THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES, EXCEPT THAT UPON REDUCTION OF THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES TO 400, THAT NUMBER WOULD NOT AGAIN BE EXCEEDED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1953.

WHILE THE LANGUAGE OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED PROVISO IN THE ACT OF 1952 IS SOMEWHAT AMBIGUOUS, AN EXAMINATION OF THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY THEREOF DISCLOSES THAT THE LEGISLATIVE INTENT WAS TO RESTRICT THE EMPLOYMENT OF A FORCE TO NOT MORE THAN 400 EMPLOYEES AT ANY TIME DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1953 TO ADMINISTER MARITIME ACTIVITIES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE.

THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF ANY INTENTION IN EITHER THE LANGUAGE OR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE PROVISION TO DENY THE USE OF AMOUNTS NECESSARY TO DEFRAY THE COSTS OF COMPLIANCE WITH TIMELY REDUCTION IN FORCE PROCEDURES AND RELATED TERMINAL LEAVE PAYMENTS, OR TO REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF OTHER ITEMS OF ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES BELOW THAT NECESSARY TO OPERATE AN ORGANIZATION OF 400 EMPLOYEES.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THIS OFFICE CONCURS IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE INTERPRETATION OF THE STATUTORY PROVISIONS INVOLVED, WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT STEPS HAVE BEEN OR ARE BEING TAKEN TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES TO 400 AS SOON AS POSSIBLE UNDER THE REDUCTION IN FORCE PROCEDURES.