B-126127, NOVEMBER 30, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 314

B-126127: Nov 30, 1955

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RENTALS - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SPACE - PRIOR APPROPRIATION NECESSITY - TEMPORARY USES THE PROHIBITION IN 40 U.S.C. 34 AGAINST THE EXECUTION OF A CONTRACT FOR RENT OF BUILDINGS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO BE USED FOR GOVERNMENTAL PURPOSES UNTIL AN APPROPRIATION HAS BEEN MADE IS COMPREHENSIVE AND APPLIES TO ALL USES WHETHER TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT. FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF RENT FOR THE TEMPORARY USE OF THE STAGE AND AUDITORIUM FACILITIES IN CONSTITUTION HALL IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE RENTAL OF BUILDINGS. SUBMITS FOR DECISION THE QUESTION WHETHER CURRENT APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE AVAILABLE TO PAY FOR THE TEMPORARY USE OF THE STAGE AND AUDITORIUM FACILITIES IN CONSTITUTION HALL.

B-126127, NOVEMBER 30, 1955, 35 COMP. GEN. 314

RENTALS - DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SPACE - PRIOR APPROPRIATION NECESSITY - TEMPORARY USES THE PROHIBITION IN 40 U.S.C. 34 AGAINST THE EXECUTION OF A CONTRACT FOR RENT OF BUILDINGS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO BE USED FOR GOVERNMENTAL PURPOSES UNTIL AN APPROPRIATION HAS BEEN MADE IS COMPREHENSIVE AND APPLIES TO ALL USES WHETHER TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT, AND, THEREFORE, FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF RENT FOR THE TEMPORARY USE OF THE STAGE AND AUDITORIUM FACILITIES IN CONSTITUTION HALL IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE RENTAL OF BUILDINGS.

TO THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, NOVEMBER 30, 1955:

YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 18, 1955, SUBMITS FOR DECISION THE QUESTION WHETHER CURRENT APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE AVAILABLE TO PAY FOR THE TEMPORARY USE OF THE STAGE AND AUDITORIUM FACILITIES IN CONSTITUTION HALL.

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT A SITUATION HAS ARISEN WHERE IT WOULD BE DESIRABLE FOR THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS TO BE AUTHORIZED TO EXPEND $500 OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE USE OF THE STAGE AND AUDITORIUM FACILITIES IN CONSTITUTION HALL FOR A PERIOD OF APPROXIMATELY THREE HOURS. SUCH SPACE WOULD BE UTILIZED FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONDUCTING AN IN- SERVICE TRAINING PROGRAM FOR THE 4,000 EDUCATIONAL EMPLOYEES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SCHOOL SYSTEM. NONE OF THE SCHOOL AUDITORIUM FACILITIES WILL ACCOMMODATE MORE THAN 1,900 PERSONS AND BECAUSE SPEAKERS ON THE PROGRAM ARE NATIONAL AUTHORITIES IN THEIR FIELDS WITH VERY BUSY SCHEDULES, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO DIVIDE THE EDUCATIONAL EMPLOYEES INTO GROUPS FOR SEPARATE SCHEDULES.

IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT IF IT IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR THE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS TO USE THE FACILITIES IN CONSTITUTION HALL, IT WILL THEN BE NECESSARY TO USE LESS SATISFACTORY FACILITIES IN THE NATIONAL GUARD ARMORY WHERE THE COST OF PROVIDING A PUBLIC ADDRESS SYSTEM, A SPEAKER'S PLATFORM, A SUFFICIENT NUMBER OF FOLDING CHAIRS, AND THE NUMBER OF GUARDS REQUIRED BY REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE USE OF THE ARMORY WILL EXCEED BY $200 THE COST OF FACILITIES IN CONSTITUTION HALL.

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877, 19 STAT. 370 (40 U.S.C. 34), PROHIBITS THE EXECUTION OF ANY CONTRACT ,FOR THE RENT OF ANY BUILDING, OR PART OF ANY BUILDING, TO BE USED FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNTIL AN APPROPRIATION THEREFOR SHALL HAVE BEEN MADE IN TERMS BY THE CONGRESS.' THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE HAVE BEEN HELD APPLICABLE TO THE RENTAL OF BUILDINGS BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. 17 COMP. GEN. 424; AND 34 ID. 593.

THE LANGUAGE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1956, 69 STAT. 248, WHICH PROVIDES FUNDS FOR THE OPERATION OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS OF THE DISTRICT, CONTAINS NO EXPRESS AUTHORIZATION FOR ANY OF THESE FUNDS TO BE EXPENDED FOR THE RENTAL OF BUILDINGS.

IT IS CONTENDED IN YOUR LETTER THAT THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877, DOES NOT APPLY TO THE PRESENT SITUATION, BECAUSE THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE PROPOSED USE OF THE STAGE AND AUDITORIUM FACILITIES IN CONSTITUTION HALL DIFFER FROM THE ARRANGEMENTS AND CONDITIONS USUALLY ASSOCIATED WITH LANDLORD-TENANT RELATIONSHIP AS IMPLIED BY THE USE OF THE WORD "RENTAL" AND CUSTOMARY RENTAL ARRANGEMENTS OF BUILDINGS OR BUILDING SPACE ARE FOR PERIODS OF MUCH LONGER DURATION THAN IS HERE CONTEMPLATED AND USUALLY RESULT IN TENANT CONTROL OF THE FACILITIES WITH MOST OF THE RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF OWNERSHIP PASSING TO THE TENANT. IT IS FURTHER CONTENDED THAT INASMUCH AS THE TEMPORARY USE OF CERTAIN FACILITIES WHICH ARE PECULIAR TO A SPECIFIC BUILDING WILL NOT RESULT IN ANY EXPANSION OF THE PROGRAM OR FUNCTIONS OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, THE USUAL RESTRICTIONS RESULTING FROM THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION TO RENT BUILDINGS OR SPACE THEREIN ARE NOT FOR APPLICATION.

THE WORDS "TO BE USED FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT," AS APPEARING IN THE ACT ARE COMPREHENSIVE AND APPLY TO ALL USES FOR SUCH PURPOSES WHETHER TEMPORARY OR PERMANENT. IT WAS HELD, IN THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY DATED MAY 11, 1905, (11 COMP. DEC. 678) THAT THE PROHIBITION IN THE ACT APPLIED TO THE RENTING OF TWO ROOMS IN THE DISTRICT FOR THE ANNUAL MEETING OF SUPERVISING INSPECTORS OF STEAM VESSELS, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE FACT THAT THE ROOMS WERE RENTED FOR A PERIOD OF ONLY SIXTEEN DAYS' DURATION. AND IN DECISION OF THIS OFFICE DATED MAY 8, 1944, B-41454 (23 COMP. GEN. 859), IT WAS RECOGNIZED THAT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT ARE EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO THE RENTING, FOR CONFERENCE PURPOSES, OF SPACE IN HOTELS, WHERE THE CONTROL OVER THE PREMISES RESERVED TO THE HOTEL MANAGEMENT WOULD BE ANALOGOUS TO THE CONTROL RESERVED TO THE MANAGEMENT OF CONSTITUTION HALL UNDER THE PROPOSED CONTRACT.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, WE CONCLUDE THAT THE PROHIBITION CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877, IS APPLICABLE TO A CONTRACT FOR THE TEMPORARY USE BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OF THE STAGE AND AUDITORIUM FACILITIES IN CONSTITUTION HALL. ACCORDINGLY SUCH A CONTRACT MAY NOT BE ENTERED INTO IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS APPROPRIATION PROVISION FOR THE RENTAL OF BUILDINGS OR PARTS OF BUILDINGS.