B-126918, MAR. 28, 1956

B-126918: Mar 28, 1956

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BOUNDS WAS INJURED 25 OCTOBER 1946 AT THE CHARLESTON ORDNANCE DEPOT. WAS PLACED ON THE ROLLS OF THE U.S. HE WAS ALSO PLACED IN A LEAVE-WITHOUT PAY STATUS ON 17 FEBRUARY 1947 THROUGH 15 SEPTEMBER 1947. IN JUNE 1947 HE WAS INADVERTENTLY PAID FOR ANNUAL LEAVE IN THE AMOUNT OF SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY DOLLARS ($700.00) FOR FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY (550) HOURS ANNUAL LEAVE WHICH WAS COMMENSURATE WITH THE PERIOD 20 FEBRUARY 1947 THROUGH 22 MAY 1947. BOUNDS WAS NOTIFIED BY LETTER DATED 16 NOVEMBER 1949 OF THIS EXCEPTION AND WAS REQUESTED TO REFUND THIS AMOUNT. HE STATED THAT HE WAS UNABLE AT THAT TIME TO REIMBURSE THE GOVERNMENT THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE OVER-PAYMENT. FINAL COLLECTION WAS MADE ON THE PAYROLL FOR THE PAY PERIOD ENDING 15 OCTOBER 1955. "4.

B-126918, MAR. 28, 1956

TO THE HONORABLE, THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE:

BY 4TH INDORSEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 3, 1956, THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, TRANSMITTED HERE FOR CONSIDERATION THE LETTER OF DECEMBER 21, 1955, FROM P. A. REYNOLDS, CAPTAIN, FC, FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING OFFICER, CHARLESTON TRANSPORTATION CORPS DEPOT, U.S. ARMY, NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, WHO REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER ONE WILLIAM K. BOUNDS MAY BE RECREDITED WITH 550 HOURS' ANNUAL LEAVE UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES STATED BY HIM, AS FOLLOWS:

"2. MR. WILLIAM K. BOUNDS WAS INJURED 25 OCTOBER 1946 AT THE CHARLESTON ORDNANCE DEPOT, NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. AND WAS PLACED ON THE ROLLS OF THE U.S. EMPLOYEE'S COMPENSATION BUREAU AS OF 20 FEBRUARY 1947 THROUGH 15 SEPTEMBER 1947. HE WAS ALSO PLACED IN A LEAVE-WITHOUT PAY STATUS ON 17 FEBRUARY 1947 THROUGH 15 SEPTEMBER 1947. IN JUNE 1947 HE WAS INADVERTENTLY PAID FOR ANNUAL LEAVE IN THE AMOUNT OF SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY DOLLARS ($700.00) FOR FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY (550) HOURS ANNUAL LEAVE WHICH WAS COMMENSURATE WITH THE PERIOD 20 FEBRUARY 1947 THROUGH 22 MAY 1947, PLACING HIM IN A DUAL PAY STATUS SINCE HE HAD ALREADY RECEIVED THREE HUNDRED FIFTY FOUR DOLLARS AND ONE CENT ($354.01) FROM THE COMPENSATION BUREAU FOR THE SAME PERIOD.

"3. THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TOOK EXCEPTION TO THE PAYMENT OF SEVEN HUNDRED SEVENTY DOLLARS ($770.00) FOR FIVE HUNDRED FIFTY (550) HOURS OF LEAVE 10 AUGUST 1949. MR. BOUNDS WAS NOTIFIED BY LETTER DATED 16 NOVEMBER 1949 OF THIS EXCEPTION AND WAS REQUESTED TO REFUND THIS AMOUNT. HE STATED THAT HE WAS UNABLE AT THAT TIME TO REIMBURSE THE GOVERNMENT THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE OVER-PAYMENT, BUT COLLECTION COULD BE MADE IN INSTALLMENTS OF FIVE DOLLARS ($5.00) PER PAY PERIOD BY PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS. COLLECTION BY PAYROLL DEDUCTIONS BEGAN ON THE PAY PERIOD ENDING 11 DECEMBER 1949. FINAL COLLECTION WAS MADE ON THE PAYROLL FOR THE PAY PERIOD ENDING 15 OCTOBER 1955.

"4. TO DATE NO LEAVE HAS BEEN RECREDITED TO MR. BOUNDS. IN VIEW OF CURRENT LEAVE REGULATIONS WHICH STATE THAT EMPLOYEES WILL HAVE AS THEIR MAXIMUM ACCRUAL FIGURE TWO HUNDRED AND FORTY (240) HOURS OR THE AMOUNT OF LEAVE TO THE CREDIT OF THE EMPLOYEE AS OF THE BEGINNING OF THE LEAVE YEAR 1953, WHICH IN MR. BOUNDS CASE WAS FOUR HUNDRED AND FOUR (404) HOURS AS OF 1 JANUARY 1953, DOUBT EXISTS AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF RECREDITING THE FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY HOURS RETROACTIVE TO 1 JANUARY 1953 AND HOW THE MAXIMUM ACCRUAL FIGURE SHOULD BE DETERMINED, INASMUCH AS THIS WILL EVENTUALLY CONCERN EXPENDITURE OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS IN THE EVENT PAYMENT FOR LUMP SUM LEAVE WOULD HAVE TO BE EFFECTED.'

SINCE THE QUESTION PRESENTED BY THE FINANCE OFFICER DOES NOT ARISE FROM A VOUCHER PRESENTED TO HIM FOR PAYMENT, HE IS NOT BY LAW ENTITLED TO A DECISION BY OUR OFFICE. SEE 25 COMP. DEC. 653, 1 COMP. GEN. 376. HOWEVER, THE QUESTION PRESENTED BEING ONE OF GENERAL INTEREST TO YOUR DEPARTMENT, WE DEEM IT PROPER TO RENDER OUR DECISION TO YOU AS HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT.

FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS CASE WE ASSUME THAT THE EMPLOYEE ELECTED TO RECEIVE DISABILITY COMPENSATION DURING THE INVOLVED PERIOD. SINCE, UPON THAT BASIS, HE WAS NOT ENTITLED TO ANY OTHER BENEFITS FROM THE UNITED STATES DURING THAT SAME PERIOD THE LUMP-SUM PAYMENT FOR ANNUAL LEAVE WAS IN ERROR. UPON COMPLETION OF THE REFUND OF THAT ERRONEOUS PAYMENT HE WAS ENTITLED TO BE RESTORED, SO FAR AS POSSIBLE, TO THE SAME SITUATION AS THOUGH PAYMENT HAD NOT BEEN MADE FOR SUCH ANNUAL LEAVE. THAT IS TO SAY, THE 550 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE FOR WHICH PAYMENT WAS ERRONEOUSLY MADE AND WHICH PAYMENT HAS BEEN RECOVERED SHOULD BE RECREDITED TO HIM AS OF THE DATE THE PAYMENT WAS MADE TO HIM IN JUNE 1947. OUR AUDIT DIVISION REPORTS THAT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE LEAVE YEAR 1947 HE HAD CARRIED FORWARD 518 HOURS' ANNUAL LEAVE TO WHICH WAS ADDED 32 HOURS ACCRUED UP TO FEBRUARY 16, 1947, AFTER WHICH DATE HE WAS PLACED IN A LEAVE-WITHOUT-PAY STATUS THROUGH SEPTEMBER 15, 1947, MAKING A TOTAL OF 550 HOURS TO HIS CREDIT AS OF JULY 24, 1947, THE DATE WHEN THE 90-DAY MAXIMUM WAS REDUCED. THAT AMOUNT THUS BECAME THE MAXIMUM THAT COULD BE CARRIED FORWARD AT THE END OF THAT OR ANY SUBSEQUENT LEAVE YEAR SUBJECT TO REDUCTION IN ANY LEAVE YEAR IF THE EMPLOYEE USED MORE THAN THE LEAVE WHICH ACCRUED DURING THAT YEAR. SEE 27 COMP. GEN. 120. HIS LEAVE ACCOUNT SHOULD BE RECONSTRUCTED ON THAT BASIS.

IN CONNECTION WITH THIS CASE WE HAVE ASCERTAINED THAT MR. BOUNDS ALSO DREW EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION PAYMENT DURING THE PERIOD MARCH 10, 1948, TO JANUARY 12, 1949, WHILE IN A LEAVE-WITHOUT-PAY STATUS, BUT WAS CREDITED WITH LEAVE ACCRUAL DURING THAT PERIOD. THIS CREDIT IS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE STATUTORY PROVISIONS OF THE EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION ACT--- SEE 29 COMP. GEN. 73--- AND SUCH LEAVE ACCRUAL SHOULD BE CANCELED BEFORE RECONSTRUCTING HIS LEAVE ACCOUNT.