B-126466, AUG. 31, 1956

B-126466: Aug 31, 1956

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE: IT HAS COME TO ATTENTION IN THE AUDIT OF THE PAY ACCOUNTS OF PERSONNEL OF THE AIR FORCE THAT REENLISTMENT BONUS PAYMENTS ARE BEING MADE ON THE SIXTH AND SUBSEQUENT ANNIVERSARY DATES OF CERTAIN INDEFINITE-TERM REENLISTMENTS WHICH WE VIEW AS NOT AUTHORIZED BY LAW. THE ANNIVERSARY PAYMENTS INVOLVED ARE THOSE BEING MADE IN CONNECTION WITH REENLISTMENTS FOR AN INDEFINITE PERIOD WHICH WERE ENTERED INTO PRIOR TO JULY 16. SUCH PAYMENTS ARE OBJECTIONABLE BECAUSE THEY ARE BEING COMPUTED UNDER SECTION 208 (A) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949. IT IS OUR VIEW THAT. ALL REENLISTMENT BONUS PAYMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO BE COMPUTED UNDER EITHER SECTION 207 OR SECTION 208 AND THAT PAYMENTS UNDER ONE OF SUCH SECTIONS MAY NOT BE MIXED WITH PAYMENTS UNDER THE OTHER.

B-126466, AUG. 31, 1956

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

IT HAS COME TO ATTENTION IN THE AUDIT OF THE PAY ACCOUNTS OF PERSONNEL OF THE AIR FORCE THAT REENLISTMENT BONUS PAYMENTS ARE BEING MADE ON THE SIXTH AND SUBSEQUENT ANNIVERSARY DATES OF CERTAIN INDEFINITE-TERM REENLISTMENTS WHICH WE VIEW AS NOT AUTHORIZED BY LAW. THE ANNIVERSARY PAYMENTS INVOLVED ARE THOSE BEING MADE IN CONNECTION WITH REENLISTMENTS FOR AN INDEFINITE PERIOD WHICH WERE ENTERED INTO PRIOR TO JULY 16, 1954, AND SUCH PAYMENTS ARE OBJECTIONABLE BECAUSE THEY ARE BEING COMPUTED UNDER SECTION 208 (A) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, ADDED BY SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1954, 68 STAT. 488, INSTEAD OF SECTION 207 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT.

IT IS OUR VIEW THAT, WITH RESPECT TO ANY ONE REENLISTMENT, ALL REENLISTMENT BONUS PAYMENTS ARE REQUIRED TO BE COMPUTED UNDER EITHER SECTION 207 OR SECTION 208 AND THAT PAYMENTS UNDER ONE OF SUCH SECTIONS MAY NOT BE MIXED WITH PAYMENTS UNDER THE OTHER. IN OTHER WORDS, IT SEEMS PLAIN THAT THE THIRD FOOTNOTE TO THE TABLE IN SECTION 208 IS TO BE READ IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE PROVISIONS IN SUCH TABLE WHICH SPECIFICALLY REFER TO THAT FOOTNOTE AND, ALSO, TO THE OTHER PROVISIONS OF SECTION 208, AND, THEREFORE, THAT THE FOOTNOTE APPLIES ONLY TO A REENLISTMENT FOR WHICH BOTH THE INITIAL BONUS PAYMENT AND THE ANNIVERSARY PAYMENTS ARE PROPERLY FOR COMPUTATION UNDER SECTION 208. WHILE SECTION 207 (E) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT AUTHORIZES PERSONS WHO WERE IN THE SERVICE ON OR BEFORE JULY 16, 1954, TO ELECT TO TAKE THE BENEFITS OF SECTION 208, SUCH ELECTION IS AUTHORIZED ONLY WITH RESPECT TO REENLISTMENTS ENTERED INTO ON OR AFTER JULY 16, 1954.

IN A DECISION TO CAPTAIN H. T. RUGGIERO, DISBURSING OFFICER, THROUGH HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, DATED FEBRUARY 25, 1955, B-121531, 34 COMP. GEN. 404, WE SAID, AFTER DISCUSSING THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF THE ABOVE SECTION 208, THAT "THE CONCLUSION IS REQUIRED, THEREFORE, THAT THE AMENDATORY ACT OF JULY 16, 1954 (ADDING SECTION 208), IS EFFECTIVE ONLY ON AND AFTER THE DATE OF ITS ENACTMENT AND THAT THE BENEFITS AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT DO NOT APPLY TO ANY REENLISTMENT ENTERED INTO PRIOR TO JULY 16, 1954.'

WE ARE CONVINCED THAT THE QUOTED STATEMENT EMBODIES THE PROPER INTERPRETATION OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SECTION 208. IT FOLLOWS THAT THE TABLE IN THAT SECTION AND THE FOOTNOTES TO SUCH TABLE HAVE NO APPLICATION TO A REENLISMENT WHICH WAS ENTERED INTO BEFORE JULY 16, 1954.

OUR AIR FORCE AUDIT BRANCH ON MAY 9, 1956, AND ON JUNE 20, 1956, ADVISED THE DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, OF OUR INTERPRETATION OF THE APPLICATION OF THE THIRD FOOTNOTE TO THE TABLE IN SECTION 208. APPARENTLY PAYMENTS ARE STILL BEING MADE CONTRARY TO THAT INTERPRETATION AND HENCE THE MATTER IS BROUGHT TO YOUR ATTENTION FOR APPROPRIATE ACTION.

WE, OF COURSE, ARE REQUIRED TO TAKE EXCEPTION TO ERRONEOUS PAYMENTS OF THE NATURE DESCRIBED ABOVE.