B-126680, FEB. 28, 1956

B-126680: Feb 28, 1956

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ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JANUARY 11. WHICH WERE THE SUBJECT OF 25 COMP. WERE ALLOWED UNDER THE 1945 AND 1946 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACTS AND THE INCREASES HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE ENCLOSED VOUCHERS. CLEMENTS' LETTER REPORTS THAT A SURVEY WAS MADE BY YOUR OFFICE IN 1953 WHICH INDICATED THAT MOST OF THE CASES UNDER THE SO-CALLED FARM DEBTORS ACT HAD BEEN COMPLETED AND NO FURTHER SPECIFIC REQUESTS WERE MADE OF CONGRESS FOR FUNDS TO PAY SUCH FEES BEGINNING WITH THE FISCAL YEAR 1954. HE REQUESTS ADVICE WHETHER IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO SEEK A DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION FROM THE CONGRESS FOR THE PAYMENT OF THESE VOUCHERS OR WHETHER THEY MAY BE PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION "1060925 FEES OF JURORS AND COMMISSIONERS.

B-126680, FEB. 28, 1956

TO HONORABLE HENRY P. CHANDLER, DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JANUARY 11, 1956, FROM MR. V. A. CLEMENTS, CHIEF AUDITOR OF YOUR OFFICE, ADDRESSED TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION, TRANSMITTING TWO VOUCHERS COVERING PAYMENT FOR SERVICES RENDERED BY MR. WALTER W. HINELY, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA, AS CONCILIATION COMMISSIONER UPON WHICH HE COMPLETED WORK AND FILED HIS FINAL REPORT ON NOVEMBER 5, 1955, AND NOVEMBER 7, 1955.

SECTION 203 OF TITLE II, U.S.C. PROVIDES FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF CONCILIATION COMMISSIONERS UNDER THE BANKRUPTCY LAWS APPLICABLE TO AGRICULTURAL COMPOSITIONS AND EXTENSIONS; AND, SUBSECTION (B) THEREOF PROVIDES THAT THE CONCILIATION COMMISSIONER SHALL RECEIVE A FEE OF $5 TO BE PAID OUT OF THE TREASURY FOR EACH CASE ASSIGNED TO HIM UPON COMPLETION OF HIS REQUIRED DUTIES. CERTAIN PERCENTAGE INCREASES ON SUCH FEES, WHICH WERE THE SUBJECT OF 25 COMP. GEN. 158, WERE ALLOWED UNDER THE 1945 AND 1946 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACTS AND THE INCREASES HAVE BEEN INCLUDED IN THE ENCLOSED VOUCHERS.

MR. CLEMENTS' LETTER REPORTS THAT A SURVEY WAS MADE BY YOUR OFFICE IN 1953 WHICH INDICATED THAT MOST OF THE CASES UNDER THE SO-CALLED FARM DEBTORS ACT HAD BEEN COMPLETED AND NO FURTHER SPECIFIC REQUESTS WERE MADE OF CONGRESS FOR FUNDS TO PAY SUCH FEES BEGINNING WITH THE FISCAL YEAR 1954. HE REQUESTS ADVICE WHETHER IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO SEEK A DEFICIENCY APPROPRIATION FROM THE CONGRESS FOR THE PAYMENT OF THESE VOUCHERS OR WHETHER THEY MAY BE PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION "1060925 FEES OF JURORS AND COMMISSIONERS, UNITED STATES COURTS, 1956.' IT IS INFORMALLY REPORTED THAT, SINCE THE PROGRAM IN CONNECTION WITH WHICH THE FEES ARE PAYABLE FOR THE MOST PART WAS COMPLETED IN 1949, IT IS EXPECTED THAT FEW, IF ANY, SIMILAR FEES HEREAFTER WILL BECOME DUE.

PRIOR TO THE FISCAL YEAR 1954 SPECIFIC LANGUAGE WAS INCLUDED IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR PAYMENT OF "FEES OF COMMISSIONERS" TO PAY THE FEES OF CONCILIATION COMMISSIONERS. THUS, THAT APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1953, 66 STAT. 569, READS "FOR FEES OF UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS AND OTHER COMMITTING MAGISTRATES ACTING UNDER TITLE 18, U.S.C. SECTION 3041, INCLUDING FEES AND EXPENSES OF CONCILIATION COMMISSIONERS.' COMMENCING WITH THE YEAR 54,"FEES OF COMMISSIONERS" AND "FEES OF JURORS" WERE APPROPRIATED FOR UNDER A SINGLE HEADING AND THE SPECIFIC LANGUAGE "INCLUDING FEES AND EXPENSES OF CONCILIATION COMMISSIONERS" WAS OMITTED. WHILE THERE IS NOTHING IN THE TESTIMONY OR REPORTS ON THE BILL WHICH BECAME THE 1954 APPROPRIATION WHICH EXPLAINS THE OMISSION, IT SEEMS THAT THE LANGUAGE WAS STRICKEN OUT IN AN ATTEMPT TO SHORTEN THE CONSOLIDATED LANGUAGE OF THE TWO PRIOR APPROPRIATIONS OR BECAUSE THE SURVEY REFERRED TO IN MR. CLEMENTS' LETTER INDICATED THE FEES OF CONCILIATION COMMISSIONERS HAD BEEN ADJUSTED AND PAID AND THE SPECIFIC LANGUAGE OMITTED WAS HENCE UNNECESSARY. IN EITHER EVENT, THERE WAS NO INTENTION TO PRECLUDE THEIR PAYMENT FROM CONSOLIDATED APPROPRIATION. ACCORDINGLY, AND AS THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION "FEES OF JURORS AND COMMISSIONERS, UNITED STATES COURTS, 1956," APPEARS GENERALLY TO BE AVAILABLE FOR FEES OF COMMISSIONERS BECOMING DUE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1956, OUR OFFICE HAS NO OBJECTION TO THE PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHERS IN QUESTION FROM THE APPROPRIATION "FEES OF JURORS AND COMMISSIONERS, UNITED STATES COURTS, 1956.'