B-135817, MAY 23, 1958

B-135817: May 23, 1958

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FOREST SERVICE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 1. ARE FREQUENTLY CONDUCTED AT RELATIVELY ISOLATED LOCATIONS IN THE NATIONAL FORESTS WHERE FIELD CONDITIONS ESSENTIAL TO THE TRAINING SUBJECTS ARE AVAILABLE. BECAUSE OF THE FULL SCHEDULE OF INTENSIVE TRAINING WHICH MUST BE COVERED IN A FEW DAYS AT THESE SESSIONS AND ALSO BECAUSE TRAVEL DISTANCES ARE PROHIBITIVE. THE PARTICIPANTS ARE HELD IN CAMPS AT THE TRAINING LOCATION BOTH DAY AND NIGHT. QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE ARE PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT SINCE USUALLY NO OTHER FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR MANY MILES DISTANCE. WERE THIS NOT DONE. IT IS IN CONNECTION WITH THIS OFF-SHIFT RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY AT ISOLATED LOCATIONS THAT THE VOLLEY BALL AND NET AND PITCHING HORSESHOES HAVE BEEN PURCHASED.'.

B-135817, MAY 23, 1958

TO MR. REED H. JENSEN, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, FOREST SERVICE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 1, 1958 (FILE A DISBURSEMENT VOUCHERS), TRANSMITTING AN UNPAID INVOICE IN THE AMOUNT OF $17.95, SUBMITTED BY CAPLAN SPORT SHOP, PORTLAND, OREGON, AND COVERING THE PURCHASE OF A VOLLEY BALL AND NET, AND A SET OF PITCHING HORSESHOES, FOR USE BY INDIVIDUALS ATTENDING "IN-SERVICE" TRAINING SESSIONS CONDUCTED BY THE FOREST SERVICE. YOU REQUEST A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE INVOICE MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT FROM THE APPROPRIATION "FOREST PROTECTION AND UTILIZATION - NATIONAL FOREST PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT.'

IN YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 1, 1958, YOU STATE:

"PROPER CONDUCT OF THE WORK OF THE FOREST SERVICE NECESSITATES INTENSIVE FIELD TRAINING OF BOTH YEAR-LONG AND SHORT-TERM SEASONAL EMPLOYEES. TRAINING SESSIONS, PARTICULARLY IN CONNECTION WITH FOREST FIRE PROTECTION ACTIVITIES, ARE FREQUENTLY CONDUCTED AT RELATIVELY ISOLATED LOCATIONS IN THE NATIONAL FORESTS WHERE FIELD CONDITIONS ESSENTIAL TO THE TRAINING SUBJECTS ARE AVAILABLE. BECAUSE OF THE FULL SCHEDULE OF INTENSIVE TRAINING WHICH MUST BE COVERED IN A FEW DAYS AT THESE SESSIONS AND ALSO BECAUSE TRAVEL DISTANCES ARE PROHIBITIVE, THE PARTICIPANTS ARE HELD IN CAMPS AT THE TRAINING LOCATION BOTH DAY AND NIGHT. QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE ARE PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT SINCE USUALLY NO OTHER FACILITIES ARE AVAILABLE FOR MANY MILES DISTANCE. TO PROVIDE ACTIVITY FOR THE MEN DURING THE NON-WORKING HOURS THE FOREST SERVICE CONSIDERS IT DESIRABLE TO PROVIDE FOR AND ENCOURAGE RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY OF A WHOLESOME NATURE. WERE THIS NOT DONE, THE MEN WOULD BECOME RESTLESS AND SLUGGISH DUE TO INACTIVITY, THEREBY DETRACTING FROM THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE TRAINING EFFORT. IT IS IN CONNECTION WITH THIS OFF-SHIFT RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY AT ISOLATED LOCATIONS THAT THE VOLLEY BALL AND NET AND PITCHING HORSESHOES HAVE BEEN PURCHASED.'

THE APPROPRIATION FOR FOREST PROTECTION AND UTILIZATION, ACT OF JULY 1, 1957, PUBLIC LAW 85-77, TITLE II, RELATED AGENCIES, 71 STAT. 268, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"FOR EXPENSES NECESSARY FOR FOREST PROTECTION AND UTILIZATION, AS FOLLOWS:

"FOREST LAND MANAGEMENT: FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE FOREST SERVICE, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR, INCLUDING THE ADMINISTRATION, IMPROVEMENT, DEVELOPMENT, AND MANAGEMENT OF LANDS UNDER FOREST SERVICE ADMINISTRATION, FIGHTING AND PREVENTING FOREST FIRES ON OR THREATENING SUCH LANDS AND FOR LIQUIDATION OF OBLIGATIONS INCURRED IN THE PRECEDING FISCAL YEAR FOR SUCH PURPOSES, CONTROL OF WHITE PINE BLISTER RUST AND OTHER FOREST DISEASES AND INSECTS ON FEDERAL AND NON-FEDERAL LANDS; $68,750,000, OF WHICH $5,000,000 FOR FIGHTING AND PREVENTING FOREST FIRES AND $1,760,000 FOR INSECT AND DISEASE CONTROL SHALL BE APPORTIONED FOR USE, PURSUANT TO SECTION 3679 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED, TO THE EXTENT NECESSARY UNDER THE THEN EXISTING CONDITIONS: PROVIDED, THAT NOT MORE THAN $100,000 MAY BE USED FOR ACQUISITION OF LAND UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 1, 1911, AS AMENDED (16 U.S.C. 513-519): PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT FUNDS APPROPRIATED FOR "COOPERATIVE RANGE IMPROVEMENTS," PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF APRIL 24, 1950 (16 U.S.C. 580H), MAY BE ADVANCED TO THIS APPROPRIATION.'

SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES, 31 U.S.C. 628, PROVIDES:

"ALL SUMS APPROPRIATED FOR THE VARIOUS BRANCHES OF EXPENDITURE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE SHALL BE APPLIED SOLELY TO THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPECTIVELY MADE, AND FOR NO OTHERS.'

THE GENERAL RULE RESPECTING THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR FURNISHING RECREATIONAL AND ENTERTAINMENT FACILITIES TO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, IS THAT STATED IN DECISION OF AUGUST 10, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 147, WHERE IT WAS HELD (QUOTING THE SYLLABUS), AS FOLLOWS:

"THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE FURNISHING OF RECREATIONAL AND ENTERTAINMENT FACILITIES FOR GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL IS UNAUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY OR AUTHORITY BY NECESSARY IMPLICATION, NOTWITHSTANDING IT MAY BE HIGHLY DESIRABLE TO FURNISH SUCH FACILITIES BECAUSE OF THE ABSENCE THEREOF OTHERWISE AND THE LOCATION OF THE WORK--- IN THIS CASE, A RIVER AND HARBOR APPROPRIATION PROJECT AT MIDWAY ISLAND.'

SEE ALSO, DECISION OF MAY 5, 1956, B-49169.

THE SAME PRINCIPLES AS SET FORTH IN 18 COMP. GEN. 147 WERE REAFFIRMED IN 27 COMP. GEN. 679, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

"WHILE RECREATIONAL AND ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMS FOR CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES AT FIELD ACTIVITIES OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT MAY BE ADMINISTRATIVELY DESIRABLE, THEY HAVE AT MOST ONLY AN INDIRECT BEARING UPON THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE DEPARTMENT'S APPROPRIATIONS WERE MADE, AND, IN THE ABSENCE OF A CLEAR LEGISLATIVE EXPRESSION THAT APPROPRIATED FUNDS BE USED IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH PROGRAMS, THE USE THEREOF FOR THE PAYMENT OF SALARIES OF CIVILIAN PERSONNEL--- EITHER ON A FULL TIME OR A PART TIME BASIS--- TO DEVELOP, ORGANIZE, AND SUPERVISE EMPLOYEE RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES IS NOT AUTHORIZED.'

YOU STATE THAT YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH THE HOLDINGS IN 18 COMP. GEN. 147 AND 27 ID. 679, BUT THAT IT IS YOUR OPINION THAT THE HOLDINGS IN THE REFERRED-TO DECISIONS ARE NOT DETERMINATIVE OF THE PRESENT MATTER SINCE "THE CIRCUMSTANCES CITED IN THOSE DECISIONS WOULD APPEAR TO RELATE TO PROVIDING A GENERALIZED RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY PRIMARILY IN THE INTEREST OF THE INDIVIDUAL'S PERSONAL HEALTH AND WELFARE," WHEREAS, IN THE PRESENT MATTER,"THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TRAINING EFFORT IS DIRECTLY ENHANCED AND THE AUTHORIZED PURPOSES OF THE APPROPRIATION TO BE CHARGED ARE FURTHERED BY THE PROPOSED TRANSACTION.'

WHILE THE TRAINING EFFORT MAY BE ENHANCED TO SOME SLIGHT DEGREE BY THE FURNISHING OF ATHLETIC EQUIPMENT FOR THE USE OF EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN THE TRAINING PROGRAM, IT WOULD SEEM THAT, AT MOST, THE FURNISHING OF SUCH EQUIPMENT HAS ONLY AN INDIRECT BEARING UPON THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS MADE. IN OUR DECISION OF OCTOBER 14, 1943, B-37344, TO THE AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER AT THE UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, INVOLVING A SOMEWHAT SIMILAR MATTER, IT WAS HELD THAT A DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATION FOR WHITE PINE BLISTER RUST CONTROL COULD NOT BE USED TO PURCHASE ATHLETIC EQUIPMENT FOR THE USE OF FEDERAL EMPLOYEES STATIONED AT TWO ISOLATED CAMPS.

THERE APPEARS TO BE NOTHING IN THE APPROPRIATION WHICH COULD BE CONSIDERED AS MAKING IT AVAILABLE FOR THE ATHLETIC EQUIPMENT SUCH AS COVERED BY THE INVOICE. WHILE THE FURNISHING OF SUCH EQUIPMENT MAY BE HIGHLY DESIRABLE, PARTICULARLY UNDER THE CONDITIONS SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER, THEY CONSTITUTE EXPENSES OF A KIND WHICH HAVE CONSISTENTLY BEEN REGARDED AS NOT CHARGEABLE TO APPROPRIATED FUNDS, IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION. ACCORDINGLY, ON THE PRESENT RECORD, YOU ARE NOT AUTHORIZED TO CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE INVOICE WHICH IS HEREWITH RETURNED.