B-141573, JAN. 5, 1960

B-141573: Jan 5, 1960

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THE CHARGES INVOLVED WERE OCCASIONED BY THE FACT THAT EXTENSIVE REHABILITATION OF FAMILY QUARTERS AT FORT BELVOIR. THESE MOVES WERE ORDERED BY THE COMMANDING GENERAL AT FORT BELVOIR. SUCH MOVES HAVE NECESSITATED DISCONNECTING AND RECONNECTING TELEPHONES AND THE CHESAPEAKE AND POTOMAC TELEPHONE COMPANY HAS ASSESSED CHARGES FOR RECONNECTING THE TELEPHONES IN THE NEW QUARTERS. THE ENLISTED MEMBERS HAVE PREVIOUSLY PAID TELEPHONE CONNECTION CHARGES FOR THESE PARTICULAR TELEPHONES BUT THE TELEPHONE COMPANY IS REQUIRED TO CHARGE A RECONNECTION CHARGE UPON THE PHYSICAL MOVEMENT OF THE TELEPHONES. IT SEEMS TO BE YOUR CONTENTION THAT INASMUCH AS THE RELOCATION OF THE TELEPHONES INVOLVED WAS INVOLUNTARY AND BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE MEMBERS AFFECTED.

B-141573, JAN. 5, 1960

TO MAJOR H. A. DRAGOTTA, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY:

BY LETTER DATED DECEMBER 22, 1959, THE CHIEF OF ENTITLEMENTS AND DISBURSEMENTS DIVISION OF THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE FORWARDED YOUR REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION CONCERNING THE LEGALITY OF USING APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE PAYMENT OF CHARGES FOR RECONNECTING TELEPHONES IN THE RESIDENCES OF CERTAIN ENLISTED PERSONNEL OF THE ARMY.

THE CHARGES INVOLVED WERE OCCASIONED BY THE FACT THAT EXTENSIVE REHABILITATION OF FAMILY QUARTERS AT FORT BELVOIR, VIRGINIA, HAS MADE IT NECESSARY FOR CERTAIN ENLISTED PERSONNEL AND THEIR FAMILIES TO BE MOVED TO OTHER QUARTERS DURING THE REHABILITATION. THESE MOVES WERE ORDERED BY THE COMMANDING GENERAL AT FORT BELVOIR. SUCH MOVES HAVE NECESSITATED DISCONNECTING AND RECONNECTING TELEPHONES AND THE CHESAPEAKE AND POTOMAC TELEPHONE COMPANY HAS ASSESSED CHARGES FOR RECONNECTING THE TELEPHONES IN THE NEW QUARTERS. THE ENLISTED MEMBERS HAVE PREVIOUSLY PAID TELEPHONE CONNECTION CHARGES FOR THESE PARTICULAR TELEPHONES BUT THE TELEPHONE COMPANY IS REQUIRED TO CHARGE A RECONNECTION CHARGE UPON THE PHYSICAL MOVEMENT OF THE TELEPHONES.

THE SUBMISSION EVIDENCES KNOWLEDGE OF THE LAW CODIFIED AT 31 U.S.C. 679 AND PRIOR DECISIONS OF OUR OFFICE CONCERNING THE USE OF APPROPRIATED MONIES FOR THE PAYMENT OF TELEPHONE SERVICES IN THE PRIVATE RESIDENCES OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL. HOWEVER, IT SEEMS TO BE YOUR CONTENTION THAT INASMUCH AS THE RELOCATION OF THE TELEPHONES INVOLVED WAS INVOLUNTARY AND BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE MEMBERS AFFECTED, THE RECONNECTION CHARGES COULD CONCEIVABLY BE PROPERLY FOR PAYMENT FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS.

AS PREVIOUSLY HELD IN A LONG LINE OF DECISIONS, THE LANGUAGE CODIFIED AT 31 U.S.C. 679 LEAVES NO DOUBT BUT THAT PAYMENT FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS OF ANY PART OF THE EXPENSE OF FURNISHING TELEPHONE SERVICE TO GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL IN THEIR PRIVATE RESIDENCE IS NOT ALLOWED. SEE 35 COMP. GEN. 28, 30 AND DECISIONS CITED THEREIN. CLEARLY, THE RECONNECTIONS HERE INVOLVED WERE A PART OF THE TELEPHONE SERVICE RECEIVED BY THESE MEMBERS IN THEIR HOMES.

ACCORDINGLY, IN VIEW OF THE CLEAR PROHIBITION OF 31 U.S.C. 679, THE CHARGES INVOLVED CANNOT BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS.