B-127390, MAY 11, 1956, 35 COMP. GEN. 639

B-127390: May 11, 1956

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WILL BE AWAY FROM HIS POSITION FOR A ONE-YEAR PERIOD OF RESEARCH AND STUDY IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REQUESTED OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS RECEIVED A ROCKEFELLER PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD MAY BE PAID HIS SALARY DURING THE PERIOD HE WILL BE AWAY FROM HIS POSITION UNDERTAKING A PROGRAM OF STUDY AND RESEARCH UNDER THE AWARDS PROGRAM. HIS TRAVEL AND LIVING EXPENSES WILL BE PAID UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE AWARDS PROGRAM. THE STUDY AND RESEARCH WHICH THE EMPLOYEE IS TO UNDERTAKE WILL TAKE HIM TO EUROPEAN RESEARCH CENTERS FOR APPROXIMATELY A YEAR'S STUDY OF METHODS THAT HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED AND FINDINGS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE IN AQUATIC BIOLOGY. IT IS STATED THAT THE RESEARCH AND STUDY IS NOT A TYPE THAT THE EMPLOYEE WOULD NORMALLY BE EXPECTED TO DO AT HIS OWN EXPENSE BUT IT IS ACTUALLY AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE SCIENTIFIC PROGRAM OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY AND WOULD ENABLE THE EMPLOYEE TO GIVE MORE EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IN HIS HIGHLY COMPLICATED FIELD.

B-127390, MAY 11, 1956, 35 COMP. GEN. 639

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRAINING - APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY FOR SALARY DURING ROCKEFELLER AWARD STUDY A GEOLOGICAL SURVEY EMPLOYEE WHO RECEIVED A ROCKEFELLER PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD, AND WILL BE AWAY FROM HIS POSITION FOR A ONE-YEAR PERIOD OF RESEARCH AND STUDY IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES, MAY NOT BE PAID HIS REGULAR SALARY FROM AN APPROPRIATION WHICH LIMITS RESEARCH TO RESOURCES OF THE UNITED STATES, ITS TERRITORIES AND POSSESSION, NOR MAY HIS SALARY BE PAID FROM GENERAL APPROPRIATIONS IN VIEW OF THE EXTENDED DURATION OF THE ABSENCE AND THE LACK OF ESSENTIALLY TO THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, MAY 11, 1956:

IN LETTER DATED MARCH 21, 1956, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REQUESTED OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS RECEIVED A ROCKEFELLER PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD MAY BE PAID HIS SALARY DURING THE PERIOD HE WILL BE AWAY FROM HIS POSITION UNDERTAKING A PROGRAM OF STUDY AND RESEARCH UNDER THE AWARDS PROGRAM. HIS TRAVEL AND LIVING EXPENSES WILL BE PAID UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE AWARDS PROGRAM.

THE STUDY AND RESEARCH WHICH THE EMPLOYEE IS TO UNDERTAKE WILL TAKE HIM TO EUROPEAN RESEARCH CENTERS FOR APPROXIMATELY A YEAR'S STUDY OF METHODS THAT HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED AND FINDINGS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE IN AQUATIC BIOLOGY, PALEONTOLOGY, STRATIGRAPHY AND SEDIMENTATION. IT IS STATED THAT THE RESEARCH AND STUDY IS NOT A TYPE THAT THE EMPLOYEE WOULD NORMALLY BE EXPECTED TO DO AT HIS OWN EXPENSE BUT IT IS ACTUALLY AN ESSENTIAL PART OF THE SCIENTIFIC PROGRAM OF THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY AND WOULD ENABLE THE EMPLOYEE TO GIVE MORE EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IN HIS HIGHLY COMPLICATED FIELD. THE APPROPRIATION ACT 69 STAT. 141, 145, FROM WHICH THE EMPLOYEE'S SALARY WOULD BE PAID APPROPRIATES FUNDS---

FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY FOR THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY TO PERFORM SURVEYS, INVESTIGATIONS, AND RESEARCH COVERING TOPOGRAPHY, GEOLOGY, AND THE MINERAL AND WATER RESOURCES OF THE UNITED STATES, ITS TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS; CLASSIFY LANDS AS TO MINERAL CHARACTER AND WATER AND POWER RESOURCES; * * * PUBLISH AND DISSEMINATE DATA RELATIVE TO THE FOREGOING ACTIVITIES * *

IT IS CLEAR FROM THE SPECIFIC LANGUAGE OF THE ACT THAT THE SURVEYS, INVESTIGATIONS AND RESEARCH AUTHORIZED BY IT ARE LIMITED TO THE TOPOGRAPHY, GEOLOGY, AND THE MINERAL AND WATER RESOURCES OF THE UNITED STATES, ITS TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS. THERE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE ANYTHING IN THE ACT OR ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY TO INDICATE THAT THE CONGRESS CONTEMPLATED SURVEYS, INVESTIGATIONS, AND RESEARCH IN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES OR ANY PLACE OTHER THAN SPECIFICALLY STATED IN THE APPROPRIATION ACT. ALSO, CONCERNING THE TRAINING OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES, WE HAVE FOLLOWED CONSISTENTLY, EXCEPT FOR SUFFICIENTLY COMPELLING REASONS (34 COMP. GEN. 587), THE ESTABLISHED RULE THAT APPROPRIATIONS MADE IN GENERAL TERMS FOR PARTICULAR PURPOSES MAY BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF TUITION AND EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE TRAINING OF SELECTED CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES IN SPECIALIZED COURSES OF INSTRUCTION OF BRIEF DURATION AT PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS WHEN IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE INSTRUCTION IS DIRECTLY CONNECTED WITH AND ESSENTIAL TO THE FULFILLMENT OF THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION IS MADE. SEE 34 COMP. GEN. 168; 32 ID. 339; AND 31 ID. 623. THESE DECISIONS COVER A PERIOD OF ONE OR TWO WEEKS OF TRAINING FOR A SPECIFIC AND EXISTING ADMINISTRATIVE NEED AS DISTINGUISHED FROM GENERAL TRAINING OF EXPECTED FUTURE BENEFITS TO AN AGENCY. IT IS CLEAR THAT A TRAINING PERIOD EXTENDING FOR A YEAR MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS OF BRIEF DURATION AS THAT TERM IS USED IN THE ESTABLISHED RULE. MOREOVER, WHILE THE RESEARCH AND STUDY MAY BE DESIRABLE FROM AN ADMINISTRATIVE VIEW AND MIGHT ULTIMATELY RESULT IN THE EMPLOYEE GIVING MORE EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IN HIS FIELD, SUCH FACTS DO NOT MAKE IT SO ESSENTIAL TO THE PROPER PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES AS TO OBVIATE THE NECESSITY FOR SPECIFIC APPROVAL OF SUCH RESEARCH AND STUDY BY THE CONGRESS. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE ABOVE-CITED APPROPRIATION IS NOT AVAILABLE TO PAY THE SALARY OF THE EMPLOYEE DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS RESEARCH AND STUDY UNDER THE ROCKEFELLER PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD.

ALSO, WHILE THE BREAKDOWN OF THE AWARD BETWEEN TRAVELING EXPENSES AND LIVING EXPENSES IS NOT SHOWN, WE HAVE HELD THAT COST-OF-LIVING ALLOWANCES PAID TO EMPLOYEES STATIONED IN FOREIGN AREAS IS TO BE REGARDED AS ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION (28 COMP. GEN. 465). THEREFORE, IT APPEARS THAT THE PROPOSED PAYMENT OF THE LIVING EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE MIGHT BE IN VIOLATION OF 18 U.S.C. 1914 WHICH PROHIBITS A PERSON, ASSOCIATION, OR CORPORATION FROM MAKING ANY CONTRIBUTION TO, OR IN ANY WAY SUPPLEMENTING THE SALARY OF ANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL OR EMPLOYEE FOR THE SERVICES PERFORMED BY HIM FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES.