B-142593, MAY 11, 1960

B-142593: May 11, 1960

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CONCERNING SUCH REQUEST YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO RENDER DECISIONS ONLY AT THE REQUEST OF DISBURSING OFFICERS. WHILE YOU THUS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A DECISION IT MAY BE STATED THAT WE CANNOT AGREE WITH YOUR VIEW THAT SINCE THE ARMY SEEKS RECOVERY FOR THE VALUE OF PROPERTY LOSSES BY CASH COLLECTION FROM THE ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER. THE PROVISIONS OF LAW PERTAINING TO THE ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROPERTY UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY ARE CONTAINED IN 10 U.S.C. 4832-4840. IN SUBSTANCE PROVIDE THAT AN ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER OF THE ARMY IS HELD PECUNIARILY LIABLE ON THE BASIS OF AN APPROVED REPORT OF SURVEY BY THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY OR HIS DESIGNEE.

B-142593, MAY 11, 1960

TO HEIN, SMITH AND MOONEY:

YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 8, 1960, CONCERNS A REQUEST ON BEHALF OF YOUR CLIENT, A RESERVE OFFICER, FOR A "RULING" ON ARMY PRACTICE DEALING WITH PROPERTY ACCOUNTABILITY IN CONJUNCTION WITH COMMAND RESPONSIBILITY. CONCERNING SUCH REQUEST YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL IS AUTHORIZED TO RENDER DECISIONS ONLY AT THE REQUEST OF DISBURSING OFFICERS, CERTIFYING OFFICERS, OR THE HEAD OF AN EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR OTHER ESTABLISHMENT NOT UNDER ANY OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS. SEE 31 U.S.C. 74 AND 82D.

WHILE YOU THUS ARE NOT ENTITLED TO A DECISION IT MAY BE STATED THAT WE CANNOT AGREE WITH YOUR VIEW THAT SINCE THE ARMY SEEKS RECOVERY FOR THE VALUE OF PROPERTY LOSSES BY CASH COLLECTION FROM THE ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER, CREDIT SHOULD ALSO BE GIVEN FOR THE VALUE OF PROPERTY FOUND ON INVENTORY TO BE IN EXCESS OF THE OFFICER'S ACCOUNT. INASMUCH AS EXCESS PROPERTY IDENTIFIED DURING A PHYSICAL INVENTORY HAS NO RELATION TO PROPERTY ACTUALLY LOST WE SEE NO BASIS, EQUITABLE OR OTHERWISE, ON WHICH LOSSES MIGHT PROPERLY BE OFFSET BY INVENTORY GAINS.

THE PROVISIONS OF LAW PERTAINING TO THE ACCOUNTABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR PROPERTY UNDER THE CONTROL OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY ARE CONTAINED IN 10 U.S.C. 4832-4840. THESE PROVISIONS OF LAW AND ARMY REGULATIONS 25- 105, 735-10, 735-11, AND 140-120 ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO, IN SUBSTANCE PROVIDE THAT AN ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER OF THE ARMY IS HELD PECUNIARILY LIABLE ON THE BASIS OF AN APPROVED REPORT OF SURVEY BY THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY OR HIS DESIGNEE, WHICH FIXES THE RESPONSIBILITY AND DETERMINES THE VALUE OF THE PROPERTY LOST, DAMAGED, OR DESTROYED. COLLECTION IS MADE BY CASH SETTLEMENT OR STOPPAGE OF PAY DUE OR TO BECOME DUE. SINCE THE LAW AND THE ARMY REGULATIONS INVOLVED ARE ABUNDANTLY CLEAR ON THE SUBJECT OF PROPERTY ACCOUNTABILITY WE FIND NO REASON TO QUESTION THEIR PROPRIETY.