B-123592, MAY 11, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 587

B-123592: May 11, 1955

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1955: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 12. YOU POINT OUT THAT THE UNIVAC IS A HIGHLY COMPLICATED COMPUTER AND THAT BECAUSE OF ITS RECENT DEVELOPMENT THERE IS A VERY LIMITED SUPPLY OF SPECIALISTS QUALIFIED TO SERVE AS ENGINEERS. THE PURPOSE OF HAVING THE EMPLOYEES ATTEND THE TRAINING COURSE IS THAT THEY MAY LEARN UNIVAC MAINTENANCE ENGINEERING AND THE MOST EFFECTIVE UTILIZATION OF THE COMPUTER EQUIPMENT TO CENSUS OPERATIONS. YOUR LETTER SUGGESTS THAT THE TRAINING WILL RESULT IN A SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT IN THAT IT WILL ENABLE A REDUCTION IN THE PRESENT REQUIREMENTS FOR COSTLY CONTRACT EMPLOYMENT OF TECHNICAL AND ENGINEERING SERVICES NECESSARY FOR THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE UNIVAC SYSTEM.

B-123592, MAY 11, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 587

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRAINING SCHOOLS - PERSONAL V. GOVERNMENT EXPENSE EXPENSES OF A TRAINING COURSE AT A PRIVATE FIRM FOR SEVERAL EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF THE CENSUS IN THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF UNIVAC EQUIPMENT MAY BE PAID FROM THE BUREAU'S APPROPRIATIONS FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES IN VIEW OF THE EXPECTED FUTURE BENEFIT TO THE AGENCY, THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF ECONOMY AND EFFICIENCY, AND THE FACT THAT THE TRAINING CAN BE OBTAINED ONLY FROM THE BUILDERS OF THE EQUIPMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL CAMPBELL TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, MAY 11, 1955:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 12, 1955, REQUESTING A DECISION WHETHER SEVERAL EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF THE CENSUS PRESENTLY ASSIGNED AS UNIVAC TECHNICIANS AND ENGINEERS MAY BE AUTHORIZED TO ATTEND, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, A 16-WEEK TRAINING COURSE FOR ENGINEERS CONDUCTED BY THE REMINGTON RAND CORPORATION AT PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, IN THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF UNIVAC EQUIPMENT.

YOU ADVISE THAT THE BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, IN AN EFFORT TO CARRY OUT ITS RESPONSIBILITIES MORE EFFICIENTLY AND ECONOMICALLY, HAS ACQUIRED FROM THE REMINGTON RAND CORPORATION TWO HIGH-SPEED UNIVAC ELECTRONIC COMPUTERS AT A COST OF APPROXIMATELY TWO MILLION DOLLARS. YOU POINT OUT THAT THE UNIVAC IS A HIGHLY COMPLICATED COMPUTER AND THAT BECAUSE OF ITS RECENT DEVELOPMENT THERE IS A VERY LIMITED SUPPLY OF SPECIALISTS QUALIFIED TO SERVE AS ENGINEERS, TECHNICIANS, AND PROGRAMMERS ON THIS TYPE OF EQUIPMENT.

THE PURPOSE OF HAVING THE EMPLOYEES ATTEND THE TRAINING COURSE IS THAT THEY MAY LEARN UNIVAC MAINTENANCE ENGINEERING AND THE MOST EFFECTIVE UTILIZATION OF THE COMPUTER EQUIPMENT TO CENSUS OPERATIONS, AND FURTHER, THAT THEY MAY BE QUALIFIED TO INSTRUCT OTHER PERSONNEL IN SUCH MATTERS. YOUR LETTER SUGGESTS THAT THE TRAINING WILL RESULT IN A SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT IN THAT IT WILL ENABLE A REDUCTION IN THE PRESENT REQUIREMENTS FOR COSTLY CONTRACT EMPLOYMENT OF TECHNICAL AND ENGINEERING SERVICES NECESSARY FOR THE OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE UNIVAC SYSTEM.

YOU STATE THAT WHEREAS THE TUITION AND ENROLLMENT CHARGES FOR THIS TRAINING COURSE ARE $2,425, FOR EACH STUDENT, THE CORPORATION IS OFFERING THE COURSE, WITHOUT CHARGE, TO A LIMITED NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES OF PURCHASERS OF THE UNIVAC. WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL PAY THE REGULAR COMPENSATION, TRAVEL EXPENSES, AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE (SLIDING SCALE AFTER 30 DAYS) FOR THE EMPLOYEES PARTICIPATING IN THE PROGRAM. TRAINEES WILL BE GIVEN INSTRUCTIONS EIGHT HOURS EACH DAY, FIVE DAYS EACH WEEK. TO PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT YOU SAY THAT EACH PARTICIPATING TRAINEE WILL BE REQUIRED TO EXECUTE A TRAINING AGREEMENT, A COPY OF WHICH ACCOMPANIED YOUR LETTER. THE ESSENCE OF THE AGREEMENT IS TO REQUIRE A TRAINEE TO REIMBURSE THE UNITED STATES FOR ANY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE TRAINING COURSE "AS THE DEPARTMENT MAY CONSIDER REASONABLE" IN THE EVENT HE VOLUNTARILY SEPARATES HIMSELF FROM THE DEPARTMENT, UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES NOT MUTUALLY ACCEPTABLE, WITHIN A PERIOD OF NOT LESS THAN TWO YEARS FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF THE COURSE.

THE DOUBT AS TO THE AVAILABILITY OF THE APPROPRIATION " SALARIES AND EXPENSES, BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, 1955"--- AVAILABLE " FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY FOR COLLECTING, COMPILING AND PUBLISHING CURRENT STATISTICS PROVIDED BY LAW"--- FOR EXPENSES OF THIS TRAINING IS SAID TO ARISE BECAUSE THE DECISIONS RELATIVE TO THE MATTER AND CITED IN YOUR LETTER, NAMELY, 34 COMP. GEN. 168; 32 ID. 340 (339), 31 ID. 623; AND 29 ID. 96, DEAL WITH SITUATIONS INVOLVING TRAINING AT PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS OF ONLY ONE OR TWO WEEKS' DURATION WHEREAS THE PROPOSED TRAINING COVERS A PERIOD OF SIXTEEN WEEKS. IN SUPPORT OF YOUR CONTENTION THAT THIS TRAINING FALLS WITHIN THE PRINCIPLE OF THE CITED DECISIONS, YOU EMPHASIZE THAT THE COMPLEXITIES OF THE UNIVAC EQUIPMENT MAKE IT IMPRACTICABLE TO TRAIN A MAINTENANCE ENGINEER IN LESS THAN SIXTEEN WEEKS, AND, THEREFORE, YOU URGE THAT SUCH PERIOD OF TRAINING IS NOT UNREASONABLE AND SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED.

THE PUBLISHED DECISIONS CITED IN YOUR LETTER, AND A NUMBER OF UNPUBLISHED DECISIONS, HAVE ADHERED TO THE ESTABLISHED RULE REFERRED TO BY YOU THAT AN APPROPRIATION MADE IN GENERAL TERMS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES MAY BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF TUITION AND EXPENSES, INCIDENT TO THE TRAINING OF SELECTED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES IN SPECIALIZED COURSES OF INSTRUCTION OF "BRIEF DURATION" AT PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS, WHEN IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE INSTRUCTION IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED WITH AND IS ESSENTIAL TO THE FULFILLMENT OF THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION IS MADE AND IS NOT FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OR KNOWLEDGE OF THE EMPLOYEE.

IT IS OBSERVED THAT THE TYPE OF TRAINING COURSES CONSIDERED IN THE CITED DECISIONS, WHICH YOU POINT OUT COVERED A PERIOD OF ONLY ONE OR TWO WEEKS, HAD TO DO WITH TRAINING FOR A SPECIFIC AND EXISTING ADMINISTRATIVE NEED--- AS DISTINGUISHED FROM GENERAL TRAINING OF EXPECTED FUTURE BENEFIT TO THE AGENCY. IN SUCH LATTER CONNECTION SEE, FOR EXAMPLE, THE RECENT ACTION OF THE CONGRESS AUTHORIZING THE USE OF THE APPROPRIATION " SALARIES AND EXPENSES, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE" CONTAINED IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1955, PUBLIC LAW 374, APPROVED MAY 28, 1954, 68 STAT. 145, FOR EXPENSES PERTAINING TO CONTRACT EMPLOYEE TRAINING ADMINISTRATIVELY CONTEMPLATED TO COVER A PERIOD OF APPROXIMATELY FOUR MONTHS.

MANIFESTLY, A COURSE OF SPECIAL TRAINING EXTENDING OVER A PERIOD OF SIXTEEN WEEKS HARDLY MAY BE REGARDED TO BE OF "BRIEF DURATION" AS THAT TERM IS USED AND APPLIED IN THE REFERRED-TO RULE AND, THEREFORE, EXCEPTIONS TO SUCH RULE MUST BE SUFFICIENTLY COMPELLING TO AUTHORIZE EXPENDITURES THEREFOR. IN THE PRESENT CASE THE BUREAU HAS MADE AN EXPENSIVE CAPITAL INVESTMENT IN HIGHLY TECHNICAL AND HIGHLY COMPLICATED COMPUTING EQUIPMENT. IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED ADMINISTRATIVELY THAT THE SPECIAL TRAINING OF SELECTED PERSONNEL OF THE BUREAU WILL RESULT IN GREATER EFFICIENCY AND ECONOMY IN THE USE OF SUCH EQUIPMENT ON CENSUS ACTIVITIES BY INCREASING THE KNOW-HOW OF SUCH MEMBERS OF ITS REGULAR STAFF AND REDUCING THE "REQUIREMENTS FOR HIGHLY TECHNICAL AND ENGINEERING WORK INCIDENTAL TO THE OPERATION OF THE UNIVAC FROM OUTSIDE SOURCES.'

TAKING THOSE FACTS INTO CONSIDERATION, AND THE FURTHER FACT THAT TRAINING OF THE NATURE HERE IN QUESTION CAN BE OBTAINED ONLY UNDER THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE BUILDERS OF UNIVAC, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT WE WILL NOT QUESTION EXPENDITURES FROM THE CITED APPROPRIATION INCIDENT TO THE SAID EMPLOYEES ATTENDING THE TRAINING COURSE HERE INVOLVED IF OTHERWISE PROPER.

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