B-120757, AUG 9, 1954

B-120757: Aug 9, 1954

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PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JULY 16. IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER THAT THE PLAN IS EXPECTED TO IMPROVE MORAL AND WILL BE IN KEEPING WITH THE PRECEDENT ESTABLISHED BY THE NAVY. THE PLAN WILL BE ADOPTED ON A PERMANENT BASIS. IN A MEMORANDUM FURNISHED THIS OFFICE WHICH WAS PREPARED BY THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL. IT IS CONTENDED THAT THE PURPOSE OF THAT PROVISION OF LAW WAS TO PERMIT MONTHLY PAYMENTS IN VIEW OF THE METHOD OF PROVIDING PAY ON AN ANNUAL BASIS (SECTIONS 1261- 1267. THAT IS. REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL DEBATES ON THE MEASURE IN SUPPORT OF THAT VIEW. IT IS CLEAR THAT THE LANGUAGE "THE SUMS HEREINBEFORE ALLOWED" REFERS TO THE PAY OF OFFICERS ONLY.

B-120757, AUG 9, 1954

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF JULY 16, 1954, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, REQUESTING APPROVAL OF A PROPOSAL TO SERVICE TEST FOR A SIX MONTH PERIOD A PLAN PROVIDING FOR THE SEMIMONTHLY PAYMENT OF THE MILITARY PERSONNEL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE ON AN OPTIONAL BASIS.

IT IS STATED IN THE LETTER THAT THE PLAN IS EXPECTED TO IMPROVE MORAL AND WILL BE IN KEEPING WITH THE PRECEDENT ESTABLISHED BY THE NAVY, MARINE CORPS, CIVIL SERVICE AND INDUSTRY AND THAT IF THE TEST PROVES SUCCESSFUL, THE PLAN WILL BE ADOPTED ON A PERMANENT BASIS.

DOUBT AS TO THE LEGALITY OF THE PLAN ARISES BY REASON OF SECTION 1268, REVISED STATUTES (10 U.S.C. 861), WHICH PROVIDES THAT:

"THE SUMS HEREINBEFORE ALLOWED SHALL BE PAID IN MONTHLY PAYMENTS BY THE PAYMASTER."

IN A MEMORANDUM FURNISHED THIS OFFICE WHICH WAS PREPARED BY THE OFFICE OF THE JUDGE ADVOCATE GENERAL, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, IT IS CONTENDED THAT THE PURPOSE OF THAT PROVISION OF LAW WAS TO PERMIT MONTHLY PAYMENTS IN VIEW OF THE METHOD OF PROVIDING PAY ON AN ANNUAL BASIS (SECTIONS 1261- 1267, REVISED STATUTES); THAT IS, TO PERMIT MONTHLY PAYMENTS, AS OPPOSED TO ANNUAL PAYMENTS, RATHER THAN TO RESTRICT PAYMENTS TO MONTHLY PERIODS. REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE CONGRESSIONAL DEBATES ON THE MEASURE IN SUPPORT OF THAT VIEW.

THE SECTIONS IMMEDIATELY PRECEDING THE CITED SECTION 1268, REVISED STATUTES (SECTIONS 1261-1267), COVER, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, THE PAY OF OFFICER PERSONNEL. HENCE, IT IS CLEAR THAT THE LANGUAGE "THE SUMS HEREINBEFORE ALLOWED" REFERS TO THE PAY OF OFFICERS ONLY. THIS IS RECOGNIZED BY THE LANGUAGE EMPLOYED IN CARRYING THE PROVISION INTO THE U.S.C. (10 U.S.C. 861) AS FOLLOWS:

"THE SUMS ALLOWED TO OFFICERS FOR PAY, RENTAL ALLOWANCES, AND SUBSISTENCE SHALL BE PAID IN MONTHLY PAYMENTS."

SINCE BY ITS TERMS THE REQUIREMENT OF THE STATUTE IS MADE APPLICABLE TO OFFICERS ONLY, NO LEGAL OBJECTION IS PERCEIVED TO THE PROPOSED TEST OF THE PLAN PROVIDING FOR THE SEMIMONTHLY PAYMENT TO ENLISTED PERSONNEL OF THE AIR FORCE.

HOWEVER, INSOFAR AS OFFICERS OF THE AIR FORCE ARE CONCERNED, THE DIRECTION OF SECTION 1268, REVISED STATUTES, THAT OFFICERS "SHALL BE PAID IN MONTHLY PAYMENTS," IS SO PLAIN AND UNABIGUOUS AS TO PRECLUDE ANY OTHER INTERPRETATION. MOREOVER, EXAMINATION OF THE REPORTS OF THE PERTINENT CONGRESSIONAL DEBATES (PARTS 4, 5, AND 6, CONGRESSIONAL GLOBE, 41ST CONGRESS, 2D SESSION (1869-1970)), HERETOFORE REFERRED TO, DISCLOSES NO COMMENT WHATSOEVER ON THIS PARTICULAR LANGUAGE. AS INDICATED, THE STATUTE CLEARLY PROVIDES FOR MONTHLY PAYMENTS ONLY AND THERE IS FOUND NO JUSTIFICATION FOR THE SUGGESTED VIEW THAT THE PROVISION WAS NOT INTENDED TO BE RESTRICTIVE BUT WAS INTENDED MERELY TO REQUIRE THAT PAYMENTS BE MADE NOT LESS FREQUENTLY THAN MONTHLY.

HOWEVER, SINCE THE PLAN OBVIOUSLY IS MERITORIOUS AND THE ADDITIONAL COST INCURRED THEREBY WOULD APPEAR TO BE RELATIVELY MINOR, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WILL INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION TO THE INCLUSION OF OFFICERS, ALONG WITH ENLISTED PERSONNEL, IN THE TESTING OF THIS PLAN WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT BEFORE THE PLAN IS ADOPTED ON A PERMANENT BASIS APPROPRIATE STATUTORY AUTHORITY THEREFOR IS OBTAINED BY YOUR DEPARTMENT.