B-139304, JUN 29, 1959

B-139304: Jun 29, 1959

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PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO 3RD INDORSEMENT. THE TOTAL DISCOUNT OF $15.06 WAS COLLECTED FROM MESSRS. ARE NET. SCHULTZ IS THAT THE INVOICES DID NOT BEAR A DATE AND THEREFORE THE DISCOUNT DATE COULD NOT PROPERLY BE COMPUTED. STATED THAT THE INVOLVED INVOICES WERE RECEIVED AT THAT OFFICE ON JANUARY 6. THAT THE FINAL DATE ON WHICH PAYMENT COULD HAVE BEEN MADE ON THESE INVOICES AND THE DISCOUNT PROPERLY DEDUCTED WAS JANUARY 13. PAYMENT ON THE INVOICE WAS NOT MADE UNTIL JANUARY 14. STATED IN PART AS FOLLOWS: "IT IS TRUE THAT THE ELECTRIC BILLS WE SEND OUT DO NOT SHOW THE DATE THEY LEAVE THE OFFICE EXCEPT POST MARK. IN THE EXTREME RIGHT HAND CORNER OF THE BILL THE DATE THAT THE GROSS RATE IS APPLICABLE IS GIVEN.

B-139304, JUN 29, 1959

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

CHIEF OF ENGINEERS DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO 3RD INDORSEMENT, DATED APRIL 9, 1959, FORWARDING A REQUEST OF THE DISBURSING OFFICE, U.S. ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT, VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI, FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM OF MR. HAROLD G. SCHULTZ, AN EMPLOYEE OF THAT OFFICE, FOR REFUND OF $7.53 REPRESENTING LOST DISCOUNT COLLECTED FROM HIM.

THE TOTAL DISCOUNT OF $15.06 WAS COLLECTED FROM MESSRS. SCHULTZ AND ARLEDGE IN THE AMOUNTS OF $7.53 EACH. MR. ARLEDGE HAS NOT MADE A CLAIM FOR THE AMOUNT COLLECTED FROM HIM. THE DISCOUNT REPRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE OF 10 PERCENT BETWEEN THE GROSS RATES AND NET RATES OF THE ELECTRICAL BILL FOR THE SARDIS DAM FIELD OFFICE FOR THE PERIOD BETWEEN NOVEMBER 17 AND DECEMBER 17, 1958.

THE DISCOUNT PROVISION OF SCHEDULE B-2 OF CONTRACT NO. DA-22-052-ENG 1395 WITH THE TALLAHATCHIS VALLEY ELECTRIC POWER ASSOCIATION PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"PAYMENT

"ABOVE RATES, INCLUDING SURCHARGE, ARE NET, THE GROSS RATES BEING TEN PAID WITHIN TEN (10) DAYS FROM DATE OF BILL, THE GROSS RATES SHALL APPLY."

THE ONLY CONTENTION RAISED BY MR. SCHULTZ IS THAT THE INVOICES DID NOT BEAR A DATE AND THEREFORE THE DISCOUNT DATE COULD NOT PROPERLY BE COMPUTED.

THE SUPERINTENDENT, SARDIS DAN FIELD OFFICE, BY 3RD INDORSEMENT DATED MARCH 12, 1959, STATED THAT THE INVOLVED INVOICES WERE RECEIVED AT THAT OFFICE ON JANUARY 6, 1959, AND THAT THE FINAL DATE ON WHICH PAYMENT COULD HAVE BEEN MADE ON THESE INVOICES AND THE DISCOUNT PROPERLY DEDUCTED WAS JANUARY 13, 1959. PAYMENT ON THE INVOICE WAS NOT MADE UNTIL JANUARY 14, 1959.

THE MANAGER OF THE TALLAHATCHIE VALLEY ELECTRIC POWER ASSOCIATION BY LETTER DATED MARCH 11, 1959, TO MR. MCLAUGHLIN, COMPTROLLER, U.S. ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT, VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI, STATED IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"IT IS TRUE THAT THE ELECTRIC BILLS WE SEND OUT DO NOT SHOW THE DATE THEY LEAVE THE OFFICE EXCEPT POST MARK. HOWEVER, IN THE EXTREME RIGHT HAND CORNER OF THE BILL THE DATE THAT THE GROSS RATE IS APPLICABLE IS GIVEN. IN THE CASE OF THE BILLS REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, IT IS ALWAYS THE 13TH OF THE MONTH. THIS IS THE SAME BILLING THAT GOES TO ALL OTHER CONSUMERS OF THE ASSOCIATION. IT IS RATHER IMPRACTICAL TO HAVE BOTH THE BILLING DATE AND THE DISCOUNT DATE, SINCE IN MOST CASES THESE BILLS ARE MAILED OUT MORE THAN TEN DAYS IN ADVANCE OF THE DISCOUNT DATE.

"WE HAVE CHECKED ON OTHER BILLS GOING OUT ON THE SAME ROUTE, IN FACT, ON THE SAME ROAD AS THE U.S. ENGINEERS FIELD OFFICE AT SARDIS DAM, AND A NUMBER OF THESE BILLS WERE PAID ON JANUARY 3RD. THIS IS DEFINITE PROOF TO US THAT ALL OF THE BILLS WERE MAILED NOT LATER THAN JANUARY 3RD. AS A RULE, THESE BILLS GO OUT ON THE FIRST OR SECOND OF EACH MONTH. OUR POLICY IS, AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN, THAT IF FOR ANY REASON BILLS ARE NOT MAILED OUT AT LEAST TEN DAYS BEFORE THE DATE OF THE DISCOUNT THAT THE DISCOUNT IS EXTENDED. THAT, WE FEEL, IS A PART OF OUR RATE SCHEDULE."

THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT ALSO SHOWS THAT ALTHOUGH MR. ARLEDGE DELAYED FOR 2 DAYS THE PROCESSING OF THE INVOICES ON WHICH THE DISCOUNT WAS DEDUCTED, THE INVOICES WERE IN MR. SCHULTZ'S HANDS ON JANUARY 13, 1959, AND COULD HAVE BEEN PAID ON THAT DATE EXCEPT FOR HIS OVERSIGHT IN HAVING THAN VOUCHED AND PASSED FOR PAYMENT.

THIS OFFICE KNOWS OF NO GENERAL AUTHORITY FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF CHARGES AGAINST EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR LOSSES SUSTAINED BY THE GOVERNMENT AS THE RESULT OF ERROR IN JUDGMENT OR NEGLECT OF DUTY. ACCORDINGLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN A SPECIFIC PROVISION OF LAW, AN APPROPRIATE REGULATION, OR OTHERWISE, THE CHARGES AGAINST MESSRS. SCHULTS AND ARLEDGE, IN THE AMOUNT OF $7.53 EACH, SHOULD BE REMOVED AND, IF OTHERWISE PROPER, ACTION TAKEN TO REFUND THE AMOUNTS COLLECTED.

THE VOUCHERS SUBMITTED WITH YOUR REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.