B-119341, MARCH 31, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 423

B-119341: Mar 31, 1954

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APPROPRIATIONS - POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - AVAILABILITY FOR MOVING AGENCIES FROM POST OFFICE BUILDING THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS IS NOT AVAILABLE TO PAY THE COST OF MOVING CERTAIN AGENCIES FROM GOVERNMENT-OWNED POST OFFICE BUILDINGS AND TO PAY THE RENT FOR THOSE AGENCIES FOR SPACE IN PRIVATELY-OWNED BUILDINGS TO WHICH THEY MAY BE MOVED IN ORDER THAT THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT MAY UTILIZE THE VACATED SPACE FOR REGIONAL OFFICES. 1954: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 18. REQUESTING TO BE ADVISED WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS IS AVAILABLE TO PAY THE COST OF MOVING CERTAIN AGENCIES FROM GOVERNMENT-OWNED POST OFFICE BUILDINGS AND TO PAY THE RENT FOR THOSE AGENCIES FOR SPACE IN PRIVATELY OWNED BUILDINGS TO WHICH THEY WOULD BE MOVED.

B-119341, MARCH 31, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 423

APPROPRIATIONS - POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - AVAILABILITY FOR MOVING AGENCIES FROM POST OFFICE BUILDING THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS IS NOT AVAILABLE TO PAY THE COST OF MOVING CERTAIN AGENCIES FROM GOVERNMENT-OWNED POST OFFICE BUILDINGS AND TO PAY THE RENT FOR THOSE AGENCIES FOR SPACE IN PRIVATELY-OWNED BUILDINGS TO WHICH THEY MAY BE MOVED IN ORDER THAT THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT MAY UTILIZE THE VACATED SPACE FOR REGIONAL OFFICES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, MARCH 31, 1954:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 18, 1954, REQUESTING TO BE ADVISED WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS IS AVAILABLE TO PAY THE COST OF MOVING CERTAIN AGENCIES FROM GOVERNMENT-OWNED POST OFFICE BUILDINGS AND TO PAY THE RENT FOR THOSE AGENCIES FOR SPACE IN PRIVATELY OWNED BUILDINGS TO WHICH THEY WOULD BE MOVED.

IT IS STATED THAT THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IS PLANNING TO ESTABLISH REGIONAL OFFICES IN VARIOUS CITIES AND IT IS DESIRED IN MOST CASES THAT SUCH OFFICES BE LOCATED IN THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED POST OFFICE BUILDINGS IN THOSE CITIES IN ORDER THAT CLOSE LIAISON MAY BE MAINTAINED BETWEEN THE REGIONAL OFFICE AND THE RELATED POSTAL ACTIVITY PRESENTLY LOCATED THEREIN. IT IS EXPLAINED THAT IN ORDER TO OBTAIN SPACE IN THOSE BUILDINGS IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO REMOVE OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES OCCUPYING THAT SPACE BUT DUE TO BUDGET AND APPROPRIATION LIMITATIONS RELATING TO THOSE AGENCIES IT IS FREQUENTLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR THEM TO PAY EITHER THE COST OF MOVING OR THE RENT FOR COMMERCIAL SPACE.

IT IS POINTED OUT THAT UNLESS SUCH AGENCIES CAN BE MOVED AND THE REGIONAL OFFICES ESTABLISHED IN THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED POST OFFICE BUILDINGS, THE REGIONAL OFFICES WILL HAVE TO LEASE COMMERCIAL SPACE AND PAY THE GOING RATE THEREFOR AND CONSEQUENTLY THE COST TO YOUR DEPARTMENT WILL BE THE SAME WHETHER SUCH COMMERCIAL SPACE IS OCCUPIED BY THE REGIONAL OFFICES OR THOSE OTHER AGENCIES. IN VIEW THEREOF AND SINCE IN MOST INSTANCES THE AGENCIES INVOLVED WILL BE UNABLE TO OBTAIN APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THIS PURPOSE UNTIL THE FISCAL YEAR 1956, IT IS PROPOSED TO PAY FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS THE COST OF MOVING THOSE AGENCIES AND THE RENT ON THEIR BEHALF FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE FISCAL YEAR 1954 AND FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1955.

FUNDS CONTAINED IN THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS, POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1954, 67 STAT. 71, ARE AVAILABLE " FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR, AND FOR OTHER ACTIVITIES CONDUCTED BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT PURSUANT TO LAW.' WHILE SUCH FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE FOR RENT OF COMMERCIAL SPACE NEEDED BY CERTAIN ACTIVITIES OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT AND FOR OTHER EXPENSES NECESSARY FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS, I FIND NOTHING IN SUCH LANGUAGE OR THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF SUCH PROVISION INDICATING THAT THE FUNDS CONTAINED THEREIN PROPERLY MAY BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF RENT FOR SPACE OCCUPIED BY OTHER AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT.

THE QUESTION PRESENTED HERE IS SIMILAR TO THAT CONSIDERED IN B 86457, JUNE 3, 1949, ADDRESSED TO THE THEN POSTMASTER GENERAL, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT THE PAYMENT OF RENT BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR THE MAILS EXAMINING SECTION, BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, WOULD CONSTITUTE AN IMPROPER AUGMENTATION OF FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT AND, ALSO, WOULD BE CONTRARY TO SECTION 3678, REVISED STATES, WHICH PROVIDES THAT ALL SUMS APPROPRIATED FOR THE VARIOUS BRANCHES OF EXPENDITURE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE SHALL BE APPLIED SOLELY TO THE OBJECT FOR WHICH THEY ARE MADE AVAILABLE AND FOR NO OTHERS. SEE ALSO 16 COMP. GEN. 333; 22 ID. 462, AND 27 ID. 391.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF LEGISLATION SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZING PAYMENT BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT OF MOVING EXPENSES AND RENT FOR AGENCIES UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES CONSIDERED HEREIN, IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE APPROPRIATION FOR POSTAL OPERATIONS IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR DEFRAYING SUCH EXPENSES.