B-141200, DEC. 14, 1959

B-141200: Dec 14, 1959

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THE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS YOU ASK IS WHETHER THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE REMAINS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY BE ALLOWED UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 8. INCLUDING MATTERS AS TO WHICH THE AGENCY DOES NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT RECORDS TO PERMIT FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE ISSUES INVOLVED. IS RETURNED HEREWITH FOR PAYMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CITED SECTION 322. IS WHETHER UPON PAYMENT OF THIS VOUCHER AN INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES WOULD ARISE. DOUBTFUL DEBT MATTERS PROPERLY ARE FOR REPORT TO AND SETTLEMENT BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION. WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE WAS IN AN OFFICIAL TRAVEL STATUS OR WAS ON LEAVE AT THE TIME OR HAD BEEN ACTUALLY SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE WHILE IN ALASKA PRIOR TO HIS DEATH.

B-141200, DEC. 14, 1959

TO MISS SUE BUTCHER, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, REGION 5, FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY:

YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 29, 1959, FORWARDED HERE NOVEMBER 6 BY THE AUDIT BRANCH, FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER FOR $284.94 MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT TO THE RAILWAY EXPRESS AGENCY, INC., FOR TRANSPORTING THE REMAINS OF THE DECEDENT, JAMES N. BURRUS, FROM ANCHORAGE, ALASKA, TO LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA.

THE SPECIFIC QUESTIONS YOU ASK IS WHETHER THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE REMAINS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY BE ALLOWED UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 8, 1940, PUBLIC LAW 729, 54 STAT. 743, 5 U.S.C. 103A, SINCE THE DEATH EVIDENTLY OCCURRED AFTER ALASKA BECAME A STATE. PROCLAMATION NO. 3269 DATED JANUARY 3, 1959. HOWEVER, SECTION 322 OF THE TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 1940, 54 STAT. 955, 49 U.S.C. 66, REQUIRES THAT PAYMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF "PERSONS OR PROPERTY FOR OR ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES" BY ANY COMMON CARRIER SUBJECT TO THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE ACT, OR THE CIVIL AERONAUTICS ACT OF 1938, SHALL BE MADE UPON THE PRESENTATION OF BILLS THEREFOR (SUBJECT, OF COURSE, TO APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE EXAMINATION; 20 COMP. GEN. 347), PRIOR TO AUDIT AND SETTLEMENT BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. ALSO, SEE TITLE 5, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE MANUAL, SECTION 6015.10. THEREUNDER, ADMINISTRATIVE AGENCIES SHALL FORWARD DIRECT TO OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION SUCH CLAIMS BY CARRIERS AS MAY INVOLVE DOUBTFUL QUESTIONS OF LAW OR FACT, INCLUDING MATTERS AS TO WHICH THE AGENCY DOES NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT RECORDS TO PERMIT FINAL DETERMINATION OF THE ISSUES INVOLVED.

THEREFORE, THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER, WHICH COVERS GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING NO. C-71040-AN DATED MAY 13, 1959--- RAILWAY EXPRESS AGENCY BILL NO. K/8/6182--- AND WHICH APPEARS TO BE IN ORDER, IS RETURNED HEREWITH FOR PAYMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CITED SECTION 322.

THE ULTIMATE DETERMINATION TO BE MADE IN THIS CASE, HOWEVER, IS WHETHER UPON PAYMENT OF THIS VOUCHER AN INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES WOULD ARISE. DOUBTFUL DEBT MATTERS PROPERLY ARE FOR REPORT TO AND SETTLEMENT BY THE CLAIMS DIVISION, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. THE CORRESPONDENCE AND PAPERS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER HEREWITH FURNISH INSUFFICIENT INFORMATION, NAMELY, THE DATE AND PLACE OF DEATH, WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE WAS IN AN OFFICIAL TRAVEL STATUS OR WAS ON LEAVE AT THE TIME OR HAD BEEN ACTUALLY SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE WHILE IN ALASKA PRIOR TO HIS DEATH, AND TO WHAT EXTENT THE AUTHORITY OF THE "HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT" IN SUCH MATTERS UNDER PUBLIC LAW 729 HAD BEEN DELEGATED TO ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS IN ALASKA. SUCH INFORMATION, TOGETHER WITH SUCH OTHER INFORMATION AS MAY BE PERTINENT TO THE CASE, AND INCLUDING COPIES OF APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS, SHOULD BE FORWARDED TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FOR ADJUDICATION. R.S. 236, 31 U.S.C. 71; 1 G.A.O. MANUAL, SECTION 3030.30, AND 4 ID. 5020.