B-131993, JUN. 28, 1957

B-131993: Jun 28, 1957

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THE NEW YORK CITY NATIONAL SHRINES ADVISORY BOARD WAS APPOINTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 341. THAT ACT SETS OUT THE PURPOSES OF THE BOARD AS FOLLOWS: "THE FUNCTIONS OF THE BOARD SHALL BE TO RENDER ADVICE TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AND TO FURTHER PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN THE REHABILITATION AND THE PRESERVATION OF THOSE HISTORIC PROPERTIES IN THE NEW YORK CITY AREA THAT ARE OF GREAT NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE. IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER THAT THE BOARD IS COMPRISED OF EMINENT BUSINESS MEN OF NEW YORK CITY WHO SERVE WITHOUT COMPENSATION AND WHO HAVE NEVER REQUESTED REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED. THAT THE PRIVATE AND CIVIC ACTIVITIES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD ARE SUCH THAT ASSEMBLING A QUORUM HAS BEEN DIFFICULT AND PRECLUDED COMPLETION AND APPROVAL OF THE REPORT UNTIL A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE DEADLINE DATE.

B-131993, JUN. 28, 1957

TO MR. JOHN J. BACKENSKY, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, REGION FIVE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR:

ON MAY 23, 1957, REFERENCE A-20, YOU TRANSMITTED TO US AN INVOICE DATED FEBRUARY 7, 1957, FROM THE HAGSTROM COMPANY, INCORPORATED, TO THE NEW YORK CITY NATIONAL SHRINES ADVISORY BOARD FOR $4,528.71, AND REQUESTED OUR DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF THE PAYMENT THEREOF.

THE NEW YORK CITY NATIONAL SHRINES ADVISORY BOARD WAS APPOINTED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 341, 84TH CONGRESS, APPROVED AUGUST 11, 1955, 69 STAT. 632. THAT ACT SETS OUT THE PURPOSES OF THE BOARD AS FOLLOWS:

"THE FUNCTIONS OF THE BOARD SHALL BE TO RENDER ADVICE TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR AND TO FURTHER PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN THE REHABILITATION AND THE PRESERVATION OF THOSE HISTORIC PROPERTIES IN THE NEW YORK CITY AREA THAT ARE OF GREAT NATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE, IDENTIFIED AS THE FEDERAL HALL NATIONAL MEMORIAL, CASTLE CLINTON NATIONAL MONUMENT, AND THE STATUTE OF LIBERTY NATIONAL MONUMENT. THE BOARD SHALL CONDUCT A STUDY OF THESE HISTORIC PROPERTIES AND SUBMIT RECOMMENDATIONS CONCERNING THEIR PRESERVATION AND ADMINISTRATION TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, SUCH REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE BOARD TO BE TRANSMITTED TO THE CONGRESS BY THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, TOGETHER WITH HIS RECOMMENDATIONS THEREON, WITHIN ONE YEAR FOLLOWING THE DATE OF THE ESTABLISHING OF THE BOARD. * * *"

THE INVOICE TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER COVERS THE PRODUCTION OF THE REPORT REQUIRED BY THE QUOTED PORTION OF THE STATUTE, TOGETHER WITH CERTAIN LETTERHEADS AND ENVELOPES.

IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER THAT THE BOARD IS COMPRISED OF EMINENT BUSINESS MEN OF NEW YORK CITY WHO SERVE WITHOUT COMPENSATION AND WHO HAVE NEVER REQUESTED REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED; THAT THE BOARD CONSIDERED THE REQUIREMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 341 THAT ITS REPORT BE SUBMITTED WITHIN ONE YEAR AS MANDATORY; THAT THE PRIVATE AND CIVIC ACTIVITIES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD ARE SUCH THAT ASSEMBLING A QUORUM HAS BEEN DIFFICULT AND PRECLUDED COMPLETION AND APPROVAL OF THE REPORT UNTIL A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE DEADLINE DATE; AND THAT, IN VIEW OF THE PRESSURE TO COMPLY WITH THE LAW, THE SECRETARY OF THE BOARD, WHO WAS UNACQUAINTED WITH GOVERNMENT PROCEDURES, PROCEEDED WITHOUT AUTHORITY FROM THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE AND PLACED THE PRINTING ORDER IN THE MANNER THAT COMMONLY WOULD BE USED AMONG PRIVATE BUSINESS MEN UNDER LIKE CONDITIONS.

WHILE THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1957, PUBLIC LAW 573, 84TH CONGRESS, CONTAINS IN THE AMOUNT APPROPRIATED TO THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE FOR MANAGEMENT AND PROTECTION (70 STAT. 573) THE SUM OF $15,000 TO CARRY OUT THE FUNCTIONS OF THE BOARD, WHICH IS AVAILABLE FOR THE COST OF PRINTING AND BINDING, IT IS CLEAR THAT THIS PRINTING WAS NOT ACCOMPLISHED IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING RULES AND REGULATIONS PERTAINING THERETO. HOWEVER, SINCE THE BOARD ACCEPTED AND USED THE MATERIALS PRODUCED AND THE REPORT AS PRINTED IS IN LINE WITH THE BOARD'S OBJECTIVES AND PURPOSES, IT IS EQUALLY CLEAR THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS ACTUALLY RECEIVED THE BENEFIT OF THE PRINTING. MOREOVER, THERE IS NOW IN THE RECORD A LETTER DATED JUNE 18, 1957, FROM THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE REGARDING THE PRINTING COVERED BY THE INVOICE HERE INVOLVED, WHICH STATES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"I HAVE NOTED YOUR REQUEST FOR INFORMATION AS TO WHETHER A WAIVER WOULD HAVE BEEN ISSUED BY THIS OFFICE IF REQUESTED IN VIEW OF THE NATURE OF THE WORK AND THE SHORT PERIOD OF TIME IN WHICH COMPLETION WAS REQUIRED. VIEW OF THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, A WAIVER WOULD HAVE BEEN GRANTED HAD THE REQUEST BEEN MADE.'

ALSO, THE REPORT OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE INDICATES THAT THE PRICE CHARGED FOR THE PRINTING IS NOT GROSSLY OUT OF LINE CONSIDERING THE TYPE OF JOB DONE AND THE GREAT SPEED REQUIRED IN COMPLETING IT.

THEREFORE, IN VIEW OF THE UNUSUAL RELATIONSHIP EXISTING BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT AND THE BOARD, THE URGENCY OF THE TIME ELEMENT IN PRINTING THE REPORT, AND THE SHORT LIFE SPAN AND TEMPORARY NATURE OF THE BOARD, WE WILL NOT QUESTION THE FAILURE TO OBTAIN A WAIVER FOR FIELD PRINTING OR THE FAILURE TO ADVERTISE FORMALLY FOR COMPETITIVE BIDS. THE INVOICE, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE PAID AS PRESENTED, IF OTHERWISE PROPER.