B-112026, NOVEMBER 17, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 239

B-112026: Nov 17, 1952

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REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO AUTHORIZE THE ALLOWANCE OF A CASH AWARD ONLY IN THOSE CASES WHERE THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY HAS APPROVED AN EFFICIENCY AWARDS COMMITTEE'S DETERMINATION WHICH SHOWS THAT THE CHANGES OF PROCEDURES AND METHODS UPON WHICH AN AWARD IS BASED WERE PUT INTO OPERATION ON OR AFTER OCTOBER 28. 1952: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 22. YOU REQUEST A DECISION ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS: (1) MAY THE DETERMINATION OF THE EFFICIENCY AWARDS COMMITTEE BE ACCEPTED AND THE ATTACHED VOUCHER CERTIFIED IN THE FULL AMOUNT OF $225? (2) IF THE ANSWER TO (1) IS IN THE NEGATIVE. MAY IT BE CERTIFIED IN A LESSER AMOUNT BASED UPON THE UNSUPPORTED CLAIM THAT SOME $450 WAS SAVED IN THE YEAR 1950.

B-112026, NOVEMBER 17, 1952, 32 COMP. GEN. 239

AWARDS - SUGGESTIONS, INVENTIONS, ETC. - INCENTIVE AWARDS PROGRAM THE MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT PLAN AND AWARDS PROVISION OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949, AND REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO AUTHORIZE THE ALLOWANCE OF A CASH AWARD ONLY IN THOSE CASES WHERE THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY HAS APPROVED AN EFFICIENCY AWARDS COMMITTEE'S DETERMINATION WHICH SHOWS THAT THE CHANGES OF PROCEDURES AND METHODS UPON WHICH AN AWARD IS BASED WERE PUT INTO OPERATION ON OR AFTER OCTOBER 28, 1949, AND THAT THE AWARD DOES NOT EXCEED 25 PERCENT OF THE ESTIMATED SAVINGS IN THE FIRST YEAR OF OPERATION NOR EXCEED AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THREE TIMES THE STEP-INCREASE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S GRADE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO FREDERICK C. MOORE, FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION, NOVEMBER 17, 1952:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1952, SUBMITTING A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $225, REPRESENTING THE SUM AWARDED AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION BY SAID COMMISSION'S EFFICIENCY AWARDS COMMITTEE, FOR EFFICIENCY, RESULTING IN ADMINISTRATIVE SAVINGS, UNDER TITLE X, MANAGEMENT IMPROVEMENT PLAN AND AWARDS, OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 28, 1949, PUBLIC LAW 429, 63 STAT. 971, COVERING THE PERIOD 1943 TO 1951, INCLUSIVE. IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER, AND THE ENCLOSURES THERETO, YOU REQUEST A DECISION ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(1) MAY THE DETERMINATION OF THE EFFICIENCY AWARDS COMMITTEE BE ACCEPTED AND THE ATTACHED VOUCHER CERTIFIED IN THE FULL AMOUNT OF $225?

(2) IF THE ANSWER TO (1) IS IN THE NEGATIVE, MAY IT BE CERTIFIED IN A LESSER AMOUNT BASED UPON THE UNSUPPORTED CLAIM THAT SOME $450 WAS SAVED IN THE YEAR 1950, WITHOUT EVIDENCE THAT THE ACTION RESULTING IN THE SAVINGS WAS TAKEN SUBSEQUENT TO OCTOBER 28, 1949?

(3) WAS I WITHIN MY RIGHTS AS A CERTIFYING OFFICER IN QUESTIONING THE ACTION OF THE EFFICIENCY AWARDS COMMITTEE OR SHOULD I ACCEPT ITS DETERMINATIONS IN ANY CASE?

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT YOUR PRIMARY DOUBT AS TO THE LEGALITY OF HE AWARD IN QUESTION ARISES BY REASON OF LACK OF EITHER A FACTUAL SHOWING OR A DETERMINATION BY THE COMMITTEE THAT THE REVISED PROCEDURES WERE PLACED IN OPERATION SUBSEQUENT TO OCTOBER 28, 1949, THE DATE OF APPROVAL OF PUBLIC LAW 429.

UNDER SECTION 1001 OF TITLE X, SUPRA, THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET IS RESPONSIBLE FOR ISSUING AND ADMINISTERING REGULATIONS UNDER WHICH DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES ARE REQUIRED TO MAKE SYSTEMATIC REVIEWS OF THEIR ACTIVITIES ON A CONTINUING BASIS, ONE OF THE PURPOSES OF SUCH REVIEWS BEING TO IDENTIFY SUPERVISORS AND EMPLOYEES WHOSE PERSONAL EFFORTS HAVE CAUSED THEIR UNITS TO BE OUTSTANDING IN EFFICIENCY AND ECONOMY OF OPERATIONS SO THAT THEY CAN BE GIVEN INCENTIVE AWARDS. SECTION 1002 THEREOF AUTHORIZED ESTABLISHMENT IN EACH DEPARTMENT OF AN EFFICIENCY AWARDS COMMITTEE AND PROVIDED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, FOR CASH AWARDS TO BE MADE BY THE COMMITTEE, SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, TO SUPERVISORS AND EMPLOYEES WHOSE SUPERIOR ACCOMPLISHMENTS CONTRIBUTED TO OUTSTANDING EFFICIENCY AND ECONOMY IN ADMINISTRATION.

SUPPLEMENT NO. 1, CIRCULAR NO. A-8, DATED FEBRUARY 28, 1950, ISSUED BY THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, CONTAINS INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE ADMINISTRATION OF INCENTIVE AWARDS, AUTHORIZES THE ESTABLISHMENT, UNDER SECTION 1002, SUPRA, OF THE EFFICIENCY AWARDS COMMITTEE, AND SETS OUT THE FUNCTIONS OF SAID COMMITTEE. FURTHER, SAID INSTRUCTIONS AUTHORIZE THE GRANTING OF CASH AWARD BY THE COMMITTEE, SUBJECT TO THE APPROVAL OF THE AGENCY HEAD, TO AN EMPLOYEE COVERED BY TITLE X, FOR SAVINGS MADE IN THE CONDUCT OF HIS OWN OPERATIONS AFTER OCTOBER 28, 1949, WHETHER SUCH SAVINGS ARE THE RESULT OF A SUGGESTION OR PERSONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT AND LIMITS SUCH AN AWARD TO NOT TO EXCEED 25 PERCENT OF THE ESTIMATED SAVINGS IN THE FIRST YEAR OF OPERATION, NOR AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THREE TIMES THE STEP-INCREASE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S GRADE.

THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT STATUTES TAKE EFFECT AT THE DATE OF THEIR PASSAGE AND ARE TO BE APPLIED PROSPECTIVELY AND NOT RETROACTIVELY, UNLESS A RETROACTIVE CONSTRUCTION IS REQUIRED BY EXPRESS LANGUAGE OR NECESSARY IMPLICATION. IN LINE WITH THAT GENERAL RULE, THE REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, REFERRED TO ABOVE, WERE PROMULGATED TO CARRY OUT PROSPECTIVELY THE SPECIFIC PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE HERE INVOLVED. THUS, THE LAW AND REGULATIONS AUTHORIZE THE ALLOWANCE OF A CASH AWARD ONLY WHERE THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN SATISFIED:

(1) THE CHANGES OF PROCEDURES AND METHODS UPON WHICH THE AWARD IS TO BE BASED MUST HAVE BEEN PUT INTO OPERATION ON OR AFTER OCTOBER 28, 1959.

(2) THE AWARD MUST BE LIMITED TO NOT TO EXCEED 25 PERCENT OF THE ESTIMATED SAVINGS IN THE FIRST YEAR OF OPERATION, AND IT MAY NOT EXCEED AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO THREE TIMES THE STEP-INCREASE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S GRADE.

(3) THERE MUST BE APPROVAL OF THE AWARD BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY. THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT THOSE CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN MET, IT WOULD NOT BE PROPER FOR A CERTIFYING OFFICER TO CERTIFY AN AWARD FOR PAYMENT AS A LAWFUL EXPENDITURE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS.

IN THE INSTANT CASE THE RECORD CONTAINS AN EXCERPT FROM THE MINUTES OF THE SEPTEMBER 4, 1952, MEETING OF THE EFFICIENCY AWARDS COMMITTEE, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

THE COMMITTEE RESCINDED ITS ACTION OF AUGUST 13, 1952, GRANTING AN AWARD TO THE SUGGESTOR, AND RECONSIDERED ENTRY NO. 97 ON THE BASIS OF BOTH THE ORIGINAL SUBMITTAL AND THE SUPPLEMENTAL SUBMITTAL, DATED SEPTEMBER 4, 1952. AFTER RECONSIDERATION, THE COMMITTEE, COMMITTEEMEN SECHREST AND TURNER DISSENTING, VOTED TO GRANT A CASH AWARD TO THE SUGGESTOR IN THE AMOUNT OF $225.00 FOR SAVINGS MADE IN THE CONDUCT OF HIS OWN OPERATIONS IN THE CALENDAR YEAR 1950. THE CLERK TO PREPARE AND SEND TO COMMITTEEMEN SECHREST AND TURNER AN EXCERPT FROM THE MINUTES AUTHORIZING THIS AWARD. (ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT SUCH DETERMINATION OF THE COMMITTEE DOES NOT SHOW THAT THE AWARD WAS BASED UPON CHANGES PLACED IN OPERATION ON OR AFTER OCTOBER 28, 1949, AND THAT THE AWARD IS LIMITED TO AN AMOUNT NOT EXCEEDING 25 PERCENT OF THE ESTIMATED SAVINGS IN THE FIRST YEAR OF OPERATION, WHICH DEFECTS ARE NOT CONSIDERED AS BEING CURED BY THE SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION FURNISHED. ALSO, NO INFORMATION HAS BEEN SUBMITTED SHOWING THE REQUIRED APPROVAL BY THE HEAD OF THE COMMISSION. ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT ON THE PRESENT RECORD. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

IT FOLLOWS FROM THE ABOVE THAT THE CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT OF A LESSER AMOUNT BASED UPON THE UNSUPPORTED CLAIM THAT SOME $450 WAS SAVED IN THE YEAR 1950 MAY NOT BE MADE. WITH RESPECT TO YOUR FINAL QUESTION, IT MAY BE STATED THAT, SINCE UNDER 31 U.S.C. 82D YOU, AS CERTIFYING OFFICER, ARE ENTITLED TO REQUEST A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON DOUBTFUL QUESTIONS OF LAW, AND SINCE, IN THIS CASE, THE WORDING OF THE AWARD RAISED A QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THE ABOVE-MENTIONED REQUIREMENTS OF THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS WERE SATISFIED, IT WAS PROPER FOR YOU TO HAVE REQUESTED DECISION IN THE MATTER.