B-14208, FEBRUARY 6, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 436

B-14208: Feb 6, 1941

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APPROPRIATIONS - FISCAL YEAR - AVAILABILITY BEYOND - TRANSPORTATION SERVICES( WHERE THE NEED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES AROSE IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1940 AND A PURCHASE ORDER OR OTHER VALID AGREEMENT WAS EXECUTED DURING THAT FISCAL YEAR WITH A MOTOR-VAN TRANSPORTATION COMPANY PROVIDING FOR PERFORMANCE OF THE NECESSARY TRANSPORTATION SERVICE. THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1940 WAS PROPERLY OBLIGATED FOR THE SERVICE EVEN THOUGH THE ACTUAL TRANSPORTATION OF THE EFFECTS OCCURRED IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1941. 1 COMP. AS OLLOWS: THERE IS PRESENTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION THE DETERMINATION OF THE FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WITH THE COST OF SERVICES RENDERED IN THE MOTOR-VAN TRANSPORTATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES' HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1941.

B-14208, FEBRUARY 6, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 436

APPROPRIATIONS - FISCAL YEAR - AVAILABILITY BEYOND - TRANSPORTATION SERVICES( WHERE THE NEED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES AROSE IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1940 AND A PURCHASE ORDER OR OTHER VALID AGREEMENT WAS EXECUTED DURING THAT FISCAL YEAR WITH A MOTOR-VAN TRANSPORTATION COMPANY PROVIDING FOR PERFORMANCE OF THE NECESSARY TRANSPORTATION SERVICE, THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1940 WAS PROPERLY OBLIGATED FOR THE SERVICE EVEN THOUGH THE ACTUAL TRANSPORTATION OF THE EFFECTS OCCURRED IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1941. 1 COMP. GEN. 655, DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, FEBRUARY 6, 1941:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 28, 1940, AS OLLOWS:

THERE IS PRESENTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION THE DETERMINATION OF THE FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WITH THE COST OF SERVICES RENDERED IN THE MOTOR-VAN TRANSPORTATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES' HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1941, COVERED BY CONTRACTS OR PURCHASE ORDERS DATED IN THE FISCAL YEAR 1940.

IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 1940 ( PUBLIC, 785, SEPT. 18, 1940, 76TH CONGRESS), SEVERAL VOUCHERS COVERING SUCH SERVICES WERE PREAUDITED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AND CERTIFIED WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THEY BE CHARGED TO A 1941 FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION. A CITATION WAS MADE TO A DECISION (1 COMP. GEN. 655), WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT THE ISSUANCE OF APRIL, 1921, OF SHIPPING ORDERS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF AN EMPLOYEE OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, DID NOT IN ITSELF OBLIGATE THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1921, BUT WAS DEPENDENT ON THE TRANSPORTATION INVOLVED THEREIN BEING IN FACT PERFORMED WITHIN THAT FISCAL YEAR.

THE FACTS OF THE CASE INDICATE THAT TRANSPORTATION WAS EFFECTED BY A RAILWAY COMPANY, UNDER A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING. THE DECISION WOULD APPEAR INAPPLICABLE TO CASES INVOLVING MOTOR-VAN TRANSPORTATION PROCURED UNDER CONTRACT OR UNDER AUTHORIZED OPEN MARKET PURCHASE ORDERS, IF BILLS OF LADING ARE NOT USED. IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE AT THE TIME THE CONTRACT IS EXECUTED OR THE PURCHASE ORDER IS ISSUED, THERE THEN BEING AN EXISTING NEED FOR SUCH SERVICES, IS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE (16 COMP. GEN. 37).

INASMUCH AS THE TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 1940 PROHIBITS OUR FORWARDING TRANSPORTATION VOUCHERS TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR PREAUDIT, WE DESIRE YOUR DECISION WITH REGARD TO THIS MATTER.

IN 1 COMP. GEN. 655, IT WAS HELD---

THE ISSUANCE IN APRIL 1921 OF SHIPPING ORDERS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF AN EMPLOYEE OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE DID NOT OBLIGATE THE APPROPRIATION FOR " FIELD INVESTIGATIONS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, 1921," WHEN THE TRANSPORTATION WAS NOT EFFECTED UNTIL IN AUGUST 1921 AND THE COST THEREOF SHOULD ACCORDINGLY BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1922.

THE GENERAL RULE RELATIVE TO OBLIGATING A FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION FOR A PAYMENT TO BE MADE DURING THE SUCCEEDING FISCAL YEAR IS THAT THE CONTRACT WHICH IMPOSES THE OBLIGATION MUST BE MADE WITHIN THE FISCAL YEAR THE APPROPRIATION FOR WHICH IS SOUGHT TO BE CHARGED AND THAT THE NEED TO SUPPLY WHICH THE CONTRACT WAS MADE MUST HAVE ARISEN WITHIN THAT FISCAL YEAR. 16 COMP. GEN. 37, AND DECISIONS THEREIN CITED.

THE BASIS FOR THE DECISION IN 1 COMP. GEN. 655 WAS THAT THE SHIPPING ORDERS REFERRED TO IN THAT CASE COULD NOT BE REGARDED AS CREATING A CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION. SUCH ORDERS CONSTITUTED MERELY THE AUTHORIZATION TO THE APPROPRIATE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE TO INCUR THE OBLIGATION.

YOUR SUBMISSION DOES NOT IDENTIFY THE PARTICULAR VOUCHERS REFERRED TO BUT A SEARCH OF THE RECORDS DISCLOSES SEVERAL VOUCHERS COVERING TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHICH WERE PREAUDITED AND CERTIFIED BY THIS OFFICE PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE TRANSPORTATION ACT OF 1940, WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1941 WOULD BE CHARGED THEREWITH RATHER THAN THE FISCAL YEAR 1940 INDICATED ON THE VOUCHERS WHEN RECEIVED FOR PREAUDIT. SEVERAL SUCH VOUCHERS, NUMBERS 11- 81429, 11-81430, 11-81431, 11-81432 AND 11-86599, 11-87253, 11-87255, 11- 87256, IN FAVOR OF VARIOUS MOTOR-VAN TRANSPORTATION AND STORAGE COMPANIES, FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES OF THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE, WERE LOCATED IN THE OCTOBER 1940 ACCOUNTS OF G. F. ALLEN, CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER. SAID VOUCHERS WERE PAID UNDER THE 1941 APPROPRIATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PREAUDIT CERTIFICATION. THE VOUCHERS SHOW THAT THE TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED TO THE RESPECTIVE EMPLOYEES WERE DATED LATE IN JUNE 1940 AND WHILE COPIES OF THE PURCHASE ORDERS ISSUED TO THE MOTOR VAN CARRIERS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES ARE NOT ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHERS, IT IS STATED THAT THE PURCHASE ORDERS WERE LIKEWISE ISSUED LATE IN JUNE 1940. IN SOME OF THESE CASES THE TRAVEL ORDERS STATED THAT THE CHANGE OF HEADQUARTERS WOULD BE EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1940, AND IN OTHERS, THAT THE TRAVEL AUTHORITY WOULD TERMINATE UPON ARRIVAL AT THE NEW HEADQUARTERS. IN EACH CASE IT IS STATED ON THE VOUCHERS THAT THE DELAY WAS DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE COULD NOT FIND SUITABLE QUARTERS PRIOR TO THE TIME THE TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS TOOK PLACE. IN ANOTHER VOUCHER NOT LISTED ABOVE, NAMELY, VOUCHER NUMBER 11-87734, THE TRANSPORTATION WAS FURNISHED JULY 11, 1940, PURSUANT TO AN AGREEMENT (UNNUMBERED CONTRACT) EXECUTED WITH THE TRANSPORTATION COMPANY JUNE 29, 1940.

AS IT REASONABLY APPEARS IN ALL THESE CASES THAT THE NEED FOR THE SERVICES AROSE DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1940, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT WHERE IT IS SHOWN THE RESPECTIVE PURCHASE ORDER OR OTHER VALID AGREEMENT WAS IN FACT EXECUTED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1940, THE APPROPRIATION FOR THAT YEAR WAS PROPERLY OBLIGATED. ACCORDINGLY, INSTRUCTIONS ARE BEING ISSUED TO TRANSFER THE CHARGES IN THESE CASES FROM THE 1941 APPROPRIATION TO THE 1940 FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION WHERE THE FACTS AS TO THE DATE OF THE CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION SO WARRANT.