B-127510, JUN. 17, 1965

B-127510: Jun 17, 1965

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ESTIMATED THAT AS MANY AS 1300 FORMER AND PRESENT EMPLOYEES WERE INVOLVED AND THAT THE GROSS OVERPAYMENTS COULD APPROXIMATE $25. SINCE THE OVERPAYMENTS IN QUESTION (1) WERE MADE BECAUSE OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE MISINTERPRETATION OF STATUTE. (4) WERE MADE APPROXIMATELY 10 YEARS AGO. WE WILL NOT OBJECT IF NOT FURTHER ACTION TO COLLECT THE DEBTS IS TAKEN ON THE BASIS OF A REASONABLE DETERMINATION THAT THE COST OF IDENTIFYING AND COLLECTING THE INDIVIDUAL DEBTS WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED BY THE AMOUNT OF MONEY WHICH COULD BE RECOVERED.

B-127510, JUN. 17, 1965

TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

WE REFER TO THE LETTER OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT) OF JUNE 4, 1965, CONCERNING THE COLLECTION OF OVERPAYMENTS OF COMPENSATION MADE TO CERTAIN UNGRADED EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY BETWEEN FEBRUARY 28 AND JUNE 28, 1955, AS THE RESULT OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE MISINTERPRETATION OF SECTION 2 (C) OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY INCREASE ACT OF 1955, APPROVED JUNE 28, 1955, CH. 189, 69 STAT. 174.

YOUR ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS IN PART:

"TO INSTITUTE COLLECTION PROCEDURES AT THIS TIME WOULD REQUIRE A MASSIVE REVIEW OF PERSONNEL AND PAY RECORDS TO ASCERTAIN AND ARRANGE FOR REPAYMENT ON THE PART OF THOSE EMPLOYEES WHO REMAIN ON OUR ROLLS. IN NOVEMBER 1963 THE OFFICE OF INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AS A RESULT OF SELECTED SAMPLES, ESTIMATED THAT AS MANY AS 1300 FORMER AND PRESENT EMPLOYEES WERE INVOLVED AND THAT THE GROSS OVERPAYMENTS COULD APPROXIMATE $25,000. COLLECTION PROCEDURES UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES COULD BE CARRIED OUT ONLY AT A DISPROPORTIONATE ADMINISTRATIVE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE AMOUNT INVOLVED.'

SINCE THE OVERPAYMENTS IN QUESTION (1) WERE MADE BECAUSE OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE MISINTERPRETATION OF STATUTE, WHICH HAS BEEN CORRECTED, (2) DID NOT INVOLVE ANY ERROR OR FRAUD BY THE DEBTORS, (3) DID NOT INVOLVE ANY CONTINUING PAYMENTS, AND (4) WERE MADE APPROXIMATELY 10 YEARS AGO, WE WILL NOT OBJECT IF NOT FURTHER ACTION TO COLLECT THE DEBTS IS TAKEN ON THE BASIS OF A REASONABLE DETERMINATION THAT THE COST OF IDENTIFYING AND COLLECTING THE INDIVIDUAL DEBTS WOULD NOT BE JUSTIFIED BY THE AMOUNT OF MONEY WHICH COULD BE RECOVERED.