B-117239, OCTOBER 15, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 170

B-117239: Oct 15, 1953

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GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL - LOG SEALING REPORTS WHILE THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT PERSONAL SERVICES FOR THE GOVERNMENT MAY NOT BE OBTAINED UPON A CONTRACTUAL BASIS BUT ARE REQUIRED TO BE PERFORMED BY REGULAR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND SUBJECT TO ITS SUPERVISION. " REPORTS OF THE DEFECTS WHICH ARE NORMALLY NOTED ONLY MENTALLY BY THE SCALERS AND DEDUCTED IN ARRIVING AT THE "NET SCALE.'. 1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 23. IT APPEARS THAT THE FOREST SERVICE REGULARLY PROCURES FROM THIS BUREAU COPIES OF REPORTS OF LOG SCALING IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF FOREST TIMBER THE COST OF WHICH IS BORNE BY THE PURCHASER. THE FOREST SERVICE HAS FOUND IT NECESSARY IN ADDITION TO THE LOG SCALING REPORT OF THE "NET SCALE" TO PROCURE REPORTS OF THE DEFECTS WHICH ARE NORMALLY CONSIDERED ONLY MENTALLY BY THE SCALERS AND DEDUCTED IN ARRIVING AT THE NET SCALE.

B-117239, OCTOBER 15, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 170

PERSONAL SERVICES - PRIVATE CONTRACT V. GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL - LOG SEALING REPORTS WHILE THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT PERSONAL SERVICES FOR THE GOVERNMENT MAY NOT BE OBTAINED UPON A CONTRACTUAL BASIS BUT ARE REQUIRED TO BE PERFORMED BY REGULAR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND SUBJECT TO ITS SUPERVISION, THE FOREST SERVICE, IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF FOREST TIMBER, MAY PROCURE BY CONTRACT FROM A COMMERCIAL SCALING BUREAU, IN ADDITION TO THE LOG SCALING REPORT OF THE "NET SCALE," REPORTS OF THE DEFECTS WHICH ARE NORMALLY NOTED ONLY MENTALLY BY THE SCALERS AND DEDUCTED IN ARRIVING AT THE "NET SCALE.'

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO REED H. JENSEN, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, OCTOBER 15, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1953 (A DISBURSEMENT R- 6 VOUCHERS) REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED IN FAVOR OF THE PUGET SOUND LOG SCALING AND GRADING BUREAU. IT APPEARS THAT THE FOREST SERVICE REGULARLY PROCURES FROM THIS BUREAU COPIES OF REPORTS OF LOG SCALING IN CONNECTION WITH THE SALE OF FOREST TIMBER THE COST OF WHICH IS BORNE BY THE PURCHASER. HOWEVER, THE FOREST SERVICE HAS FOUND IT NECESSARY IN ADDITION TO THE LOG SCALING REPORT OF THE "NET SCALE" TO PROCURE REPORTS OF THE DEFECTS WHICH ARE NORMALLY CONSIDERED ONLY MENTALLY BY THE SCALERS AND DEDUCTED IN ARRIVING AT THE NET SCALE. THIS REQUIRES ADDITIONAL WORK BY THE SCALERS IN RECORDING THE ESTIMATED DEFECTS AND THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED COVERS PAYMENT FOR SUCH SERVICES. IT IS REPORTED THAT IT IS HIGHLY IMPRACTICABLE AND UNNECESSARILY EXPENSIVE TO HAVE THIS SERVICE RENDERED BY REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE FOREST SERVICE. IN THAT CONNECTION THE FOLLOWING REMARKS ARE CONTAINED IN A MEMORANDUM ACCOMPANYING THE VOUCHER:

THIS SCALING SERVICE IS PERFORMED UNDER SPECIFICATIONS ADOPTED BY THE FOREST SERVICE OFFICIAL LOG SCALING AND GRADING RULES USED IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND THE DECIMAL "C" SCALE RULE. THE SCALER WORKS ENTIRELY ON HIS OWN IN APPLYING THE SCALE SPECIFICATIONS AND RULES AND IS SUBJECT ONLY TO PERIODIC CHECK TO DETERMINE THAT THE PUBLISHED REPORTS COMPLY WITH THE SPECIFICATIONS. HIS WORK DOES NOT REQUIRE CONSTANT SUPERVISION. HE IS CHECKED AGAINST THE SPECIFICATION. IN ADDITION, HE FURNISHES HIS OWN TOOLS, EQUIPMENT, TRANSPORTATION, ETC. MAKES THE NECESSARY ARRANGEMENTS AND CONTACTS WITH DUMP OPERATORS AS TO TIME AND PLACE OF SCALING.

SINCE DETERMINATION OF THE AMOUNT OF DEFECT IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE WHOLE SCALE OPERATION INVOLVING GOVERNMENT LOGS, THE SERVICE OBVIOUSLY COULD NOT BE SECURED FROM ANOTHER SOURCE. THE CHARGE OF 5 CENTS PER THOUSAND FOR COMPILING AND FURNISHING THE AMOUNT OF DEFECT IS CONSIDERED JUST AND REASONABLE.

THE GENERAL RULE ESTABLISHED BY THE DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS IS THAT PERSONAL SERVICES MAY NOT BE OBTAINED UPON A CONTRACTUAL BASIS BUT ARE REQUIRED TO BE PERFORMED BY REGULAR EMPLOYEES WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND SUBJECT TO ITS SUPERVISION. 18 COMP. GEN. 539; 19 ID. 594. EXCEPTIONS TO SUCH RULE HAVE BEEN RECOGNIZED IN A FEW CASES WHERE EMPLOYEES WERE AVAILABLE OR QUALIFIED TO PERFORM THE WORK AND WHERE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS ENCOUNTERED IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF AN OBJECT FOR WHICH A PARTICULAR APPROPRIATION WAS MADE SO NECESSITATED. IN THIS CONNECTION IT MAY BE OBSERVED THAT THE REQUIREMENT IS ONE OF POLICY RATHER THAN POSITIVE LAW AND WHERE IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT IT WOULD BE SUBSTANTIALLY MORE ECONOMICAL, FEASIBLE, OR NECESSARY BY REASON OF UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES TO HAVE THE WORK INVOLVING PERSONAL SERVICES PERFORMED BY NON GOVERNMENT PARTIES THIS OFFICE WILL NOT OBJECT TO THE PROCUREMENT OF SUCH WORK THROUGH PROPER CONTRACT ARRANGEMENT. 31 COMP. GEN. 372. UPON THE FACTS PRESENTED IN YOUR SUBMISSION THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE PROCUREMENT OF THE DEFECT SCALE REPORTS BY CONTRACT.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS HEREWITH RETURNED, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER OBJECTION.