B-137499, DEC 19, 1958

B-137499: Dec 19, 1958

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CONCERNING AN ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENT BY THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE THAT EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES REFUND THE OUTGOING TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES NOTWITHSTANDING THE EMPLOYEES HAVE SERVED 12 MONTHS OR MORE OF THE AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE. THAT A REFUND OF THOSE COSTS IS REQUIRED BY THE STATUTE IN THE EVENT OF A VIOLATION OF THE AGREEMENT. YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY INDICATES YOUR DEPARTMENT'S AGREEMENT WITH OUR VIEW BUT SAYS "WE ARE WITHHOLDING FURTHER ACTION WITH THE U. S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE UNTIL YOUR RULING IS RECEIVED.". OUR HOLDING IS THAT THE STATUTE AND THE REGULATIONS PROMULGATED THEREUNDER. REQUIRE THE CONCLUSION THAT THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE AGREEMENTS ARE INEFFECTIVE AND WITHOUT VALIDITY SO FAR AS THEY PURPORT TO OBLIGATE THE EMPLOYEES TO REFUND THE OUTGOING TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IN THOSE INSTANCES IN WHICH THEY HAVE COMPLETED 12 MONTHS OR MORE OF THE AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE.

B-137499, DEC 19, 1958

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

MR. SECRETARY:

WE REFER TO OUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 10, 1958, TO YOU, AND YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S REPLY OF DECEMBER 8, 1958, CONCERNING AN ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENT BY THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE THAT EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES REFUND THE OUTGOING TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES NOTWITHSTANDING THE EMPLOYEES HAVE SERVED 12 MONTHS OR MORE OF THE AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE.

IN OUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 10 WE POINTED OUT THE REQUIREMENT OF SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946 AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1950, PUBLIC LAW 830, 64 STAT. 985, OF A WRITTEN AGREEMENT FOR 12 MONTHS OF SERVICE AS A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO ALLOWANCE OF THE OUTGOING TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, AND THAT A REFUND OF THOSE COSTS IS REQUIRED BY THE STATUTE IN THE EVENT OF A VIOLATION OF THE AGREEMENT. WE QUESTIONED THE VALIDITY OF THE REFERRED TO REQUIREMENT OF THE FISH AND WILDLIFE AGREEMENTS. OUR LETTER STATED, HOWEVER, WE WOULD WITHHOLD FINAL ACTION PENDING AN EXPRESSION OF THE VIEWS OF YOUR DEPARTMENT. YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY INDICATES YOUR DEPARTMENT'S AGREEMENT WITH OUR VIEW BUT SAYS "WE ARE WITHHOLDING FURTHER ACTION WITH THE U. S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE UNTIL YOUR RULING IS RECEIVED."

OUR HOLDING IS THAT THE STATUTE AND THE REGULATIONS PROMULGATED THEREUNDER, EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10177, DATED OCTOBER 27, 1950, REQUIRE THE CONCLUSION THAT THE FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE AGREEMENTS ARE INEFFECTIVE AND WITHOUT VALIDITY SO FAR AS THEY PURPORT TO OBLIGATE THE EMPLOYEES TO REFUND THE OUTGOING TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IN THOSE INSTANCES IN WHICH THEY HAVE COMPLETED 12 MONTHS OR MORE OF THE AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE.