B-124426, OCT. 31, 1955

B-124426: Oct 31, 1955

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ATTORNEY AT LAW: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED AUGUST 30. PHARO BY THE GOVERNMENT WHILE HE WAS IN RECEIPT OF SIMILAR ALLOWANCES (BOARD AND ROOM) FURNISHED BY THE HOSPITAL PLUS THE SUM OF $10 PER MONTH OVER AND ABOVE THE VALUE OF THE ROOM AND BOARD. SO FAR AS IS PERTINENT TO THE INSTANT CASE. THE FACTS OF RECORD HERE SHOW THAT THE OFFICER-INTERNS ASSIGNED TO DUTY AT THE CHARITY HOSPITAL WERE PAID. OF WHICH $25 PER MONTH WAS WITHHELD TO COVER RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE FURNISHED THE OFFICER INTERNS BY THE HOSPITAL. THE NET RESULT OF THE ARRANGEMENT WAS THAT THE OFFICER- INTERNS ASSIGNED TO DUTY THERE WERE FURNISHED QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE AT NO EXPENSE TO THEMSELVES. WE HAVE HELD IN SIMILAR CASES THAT OFFICER-INTERNS FURNISHED QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE BY A HOSPITAL ARE NOT ENTITLED TO RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES AS MILITARY OFFICERS UPON THE BASIS THAT THE QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE ARE CONSIDERED AS BEING FURNISHED ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT. 30 COMP.

B-124426, OCT. 31, 1955

TO MR. WALLER M. COLLIE, JR., ATTORNEY AT LAW:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED AUGUST 30, 1954, REQUESTING THAT FURTHER CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN THE MATTER OF THE INDEBTEDNESS OF MR. MILAM B. PHARO TO THE UNITED STATES, IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,108.17, INCIDENT TO SERVICES RENDERED BY HIM AS AN INTERN AT CHARITY HOSPITAL, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY IN THE NAVAL RESERVE.

THE INDEBTEDNESS REPRESENTS RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES PAID TO MR. PHARO BY THE GOVERNMENT WHILE HE WAS IN RECEIPT OF SIMILAR ALLOWANCES (BOARD AND ROOM) FURNISHED BY THE HOSPITAL PLUS THE SUM OF $10 PER MONTH OVER AND ABOVE THE VALUE OF THE ROOM AND BOARD.

SO FAR AS IS PERTINENT TO THE INSTANT CASE, THE FACTS OF RECORD HERE SHOW THAT THE OFFICER-INTERNS ASSIGNED TO DUTY AT THE CHARITY HOSPITAL WERE PAID, GENERALLY, THE SUM OF $35 PER MONTH, OF WHICH $25 PER MONTH WAS WITHHELD TO COVER RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE FURNISHED THE OFFICER INTERNS BY THE HOSPITAL. THE NET RESULT OF THE ARRANGEMENT WAS THAT THE OFFICER- INTERNS ASSIGNED TO DUTY THERE WERE FURNISHED QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE AT NO EXPENSE TO THEMSELVES--- PLUS AN ADDITIONAL CASH STIPEND OF $10 PER MONTH.

WE HAVE HELD IN SIMILAR CASES THAT OFFICER-INTERNS FURNISHED QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE BY A HOSPITAL ARE NOT ENTITLED TO RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES AS MILITARY OFFICERS UPON THE BASIS THAT THE QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE ARE CONSIDERED AS BEING FURNISHED ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT. 30 COMP. GEN. 246. ALSO, WE HAVE HELD THAT ANY CASH STIPEND PAID TO OFFICER-INTERNS LIKEWISE ACCRUED TO THE BENEFIT OF THE GOVERNMENT. 32 COMP. GEN. 454.

IT IS YOUR CONTENTION THAT MR. PHARO RECEIVED $35 PER MONTH IN CASH FROM THE HOSPITAL AND WAS CHARGED $25 PER MONTH FOR BOARD AND ROOM. BECAUSE OF THAT FEATURE YOU FEEL MR. PHARO'S SITUATION IS DIFFERENT FROM THOSE CASES WHERE QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE ARE FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE, AND AT MOST, HE WOULD BE INDEBTED ONLY FOR THE $35 PER MONTH PAID TO HIM BY THE HOSPITAL DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION.

WE PERCEIVE NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SITUATION IN WHICH QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE ARE FURNISHED IN KIND AND THE SITUATION IN WHICH A CASH ALLOWANCE MADE IS FOR THE SAME PURPOSE, SUCH AS HERE. THERE SEEMS LITTLE DOUBT BUT THAT THE $35 PER MONTH WAS COMPOSED OF THE VALUE OF THE QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE FURNISHED TO THE INTERNS ($25) AND AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT OF $10 IN CASH, APPARENTLY FOR MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES. IN ANOTHER CASE BEFORE OUR OFFICE INVOLVING THE CHARITY HOSPITAL IN NEW ORLEANS, IT IS INDICATED THAT THE $25 ACTUALLY WAS DEDUCTED FROM THE $35 PRIOR TO PAYMENT. MOREOVER, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT, PRIOR TO 1949, IT WAS THE PRACTICE OF THE HOSPITAL TO FURNISH QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE WITH NO VALUE PLACED THEREON PLUS A CASH STIPEND OF $10 PER MONTH. LATER, IN AN ATTEMPT TO PERMIT ENTITLEMENT OF OFFICER-INTERNS TO THEIR MILITARY ALLOWANCES, THE HOSPITAL PLACED A VALUE OF $25 ON THE BOARD AND ROOM AND FURNISHED STATEMENTS TO THE NAVY DEPARTMENT THAT PAYMENTS OF $35 PER MONTH WERE BEING MADE TO INTERNS, OF WHICH AMOUNT $25 REPRESENTED A CHARGE FOR BOARD AND ROOM. WE DO NOT VIEW SUCH AN ARRANGEMENT AS SUFFICIENT TO NEGATIVE THE FACT THAT AN INTERN IS BEING FURNISHED QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE (BOARD AND ROOM). TO HOLD OTHERWISE WOULD IMPROPERLY DISCRIMINATE AGAINST THOSE INTERNS WHO HAVE BEEN DENIED GOVERNMENT RENTAL AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES BECAUSE OF HAVING BEEN FURNISHED ROOM AND BOARD WITHOUT ANY VALUE BEING PLACED THEREON.

ACCORDINGLY, IT IS AGAIN REQUESTED THAT MR. PHARO REMIT THE AMOUNT OF HIS INDEBTEDNESS BY CHECK, BANK DRAFT OR POSTAL MONEY ORDERS MADE PAYABLE TO THE UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, TO THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS:

U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE

P. O. BOX 2610

WASHINGTON 13, D.C.

THE DELAY IN REPLYING TO YOUR LETTER IS REGRETTED. HOWEVER, IT WAS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN CERTAIN PAY RECORDS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY WHICH CONSUMED APPRECIABLE TIME.