B-144427, JUN. 16, 1961

B-144427: Jun 16, 1961

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CLAIMED BY MEAT INSPECTORS WHO WERE NOT PARTY-PLAINTIFFS IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS CASES CITED BELOW. IN THE EVENT WE HAVE NO OBJECTION TO SUCH PROCESSING OF VOUCHERS. YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY ASKS WHETHER THE PROPOSED SUMMARY OF FACTS TO BE ATTACHED TO AND IN SUPPORT OF THE CURRENT PAY ADJUSTMENT VOUCHERS WILL SUFFICE FOR PURPOSES OF OUR AUDIT OF THE RETROACTIVE NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL PAYMENTS IN QUESTION. THE COURT HELD THAT THE PLAINTIFFS THEREIN WERE DUE HOURLY NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL PAY FOR THE HOURS WORKED OVERTIME DAILY BETWEEN 6:00 P.M. THAT SUCH NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL WAS DUE IN ADDITION TO ANY OVERTIME PAY PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED FOR SUCH NIGHT HOURS. SUCH PAY SUMMARIES WERE BASED UPON THE AVAILABLE RECORDS (TIME AND ATTENDANCE REPORTS.

B-144427, JUN. 16, 1961

TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE:

ON JUNE 7, 1961, YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REQUESTED AN EXPRESSION OF OUR VIEWS AS TO WHETHER, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED BELOW, THERE WOULD BE ANY OBJECTION TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCESSING OF OTHERWISE CORRECT VOUCHERS BY THE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICES OF YOUR DEPARTMENT FOR PAYMENT OF THE NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL COMPENSATION, FOR OVERTIME HOURS, CLAIMED BY MEAT INSPECTORS WHO WERE NOT PARTY-PLAINTIFFS IN THE COURT OF CLAIMS CASES CITED BELOW. ALSO, IN THE EVENT WE HAVE NO OBJECTION TO SUCH PROCESSING OF VOUCHERS, YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY ASKS WHETHER THE PROPOSED SUMMARY OF FACTS TO BE ATTACHED TO AND IN SUPPORT OF THE CURRENT PAY ADJUSTMENT VOUCHERS WILL SUFFICE FOR PURPOSES OF OUR AUDIT OF THE RETROACTIVE NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL PAYMENTS IN QUESTION.

IN AVILES, ET AL. AND MCMAHON, ET AL., CT.CL. NOS. 278-56 AND 30-57, DECIDED OCTOBER 5, 1960, THE COURT HELD THAT THE PLAINTIFFS THEREIN WERE DUE HOURLY NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL PAY FOR THE HOURS WORKED OVERTIME DAILY BETWEEN 6:00 P.M. AND 6:00 A.M., AND THAT SUCH NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL WAS DUE IN ADDITION TO ANY OVERTIME PAY PREVIOUSLY RECEIVED FOR SUCH NIGHT HOURS. HENCE, IN RESPONSE TO THE COURT'S ORDER IN THOSE CASES, AND TO OUR LETTER OF JANUARY 4, 1961, B-128573, B-130591, THE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE FURNISHED A SUMMARY COMPUTATION FOR EACH OF THE PLAINTIFFS LISTED IN THE ABOVE-CITED COURT DECISIONS. SUCH PAY SUMMARIES WERE BASED UPON THE AVAILABLE RECORDS (TIME AND ATTENDANCE REPORTS, OR PAY CARDS WHERE SUCH REPORTS WERE NOT AVAILABLE) COVERING THE PERIOD FROM JULY 1, 1950, TO MARCH 18, 1961. THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE INFORMS US THAT UNCONTESTED STIPULATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE BASED UPON THE COMPUTATIONS ADMINISTRATIVELY FURNISHED IN THE COURT CASES. IN THAT LIGHT, WE APPROVE THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S PROPOSAL, THAT THE CRITERIA FOLLOWED IN THE COMPUTATIONS IN THE COURT CASES UPON APPROVAL BY THE COURT TO BE USED FOR SETTLEMENT OF CLAIMS FILED BY THE MEAT-INSPECTOR EMPLOYEES WHO WERE NOT PARTY-PLAINTIFFS IN THE COURT CASES.

IN THAT CONNECTION WE NOTE THE REFERENCE TO THE FACT THAT OUR CLAIMS DIVISION HAS REFERRED TO THE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT SOME OF THE INDIVIDUAL CLAIMS WE HAVE RECEIVED FROM MEAT INSPECTORS COVERING PERIODS, IN SOME INSTANCES, FOR TEN YEARS PRIOR TO MARCH 19, 1961, THE DATE ON WHICH ADMINISTRATIVE PAYMENT OF NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL CURRENTLY IS BEING PAID IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COURT OF CLAIMS' RULE. ALSO, THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY SAYS THAT THE PROCEDURE IN SUCH CASES NORMALLY WOULD BE--- AS IN THE COURT CASES--- TO FURNISH US A SIMILAR COMPUTATION OF NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL FOR USE BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION IN ISSUING CERTIFICATES OF SETTLEMENT, WHICH, WHEN ISSUED, WOULD ENABLE THE ORDERLY CLOSING OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE RECORDS ON EACH SUCH CLAIM. YOUR FIRST QUESTION STATED IN THE THIRD PARAGRAPH OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER, IS AS FOLLOWS:

"IN RECENT WEEKS, THE VOLUME OF CLAIMS BEING SUBMITTED HAS INCREASED APPRECIABLY AND IT APPEARS THAT THE NUMBER WILL ASSUME SUBSTANTIAL PROPORTIONS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. IT WOULD SEEM THAT IN THE INTEREST OF EFFICIENCY AND ECONOMY OF OPERATIONS, THOSE CLAIMS WITH RESPECT TO WHICH, ON THE BASIS OF THE ESTABLISHED CRITERIA, THERE IS NO QUESTION AS TO ENTITLEMENT OF THE CLAIMANT TO PAYMENT, COULD BE PROCESSED IN THIS DEPARTMENT, THUS EXPEDITING THE HANDLING OF THE CLAIM. ACCORDINGLY, WE WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR VIEWS AS TO WHETHER THERE WOULD BE ANY OBJECTION TO THIS DEPARTMENT ADMINISTRATIVELY PROCESSING SUCH CLAIMS.'

IN THE LIGHT OF THE ABOVE COURT CASES, WHICH, IN EFFECT, HAVE SETTLED THE BASIC GENERAL QUESTIONS OF FACT AND OF THE APPLICABLE LAW, WE BELIEVE, AS STATED ABOVE, SUCH SUMMARY INFORMATION GENERALLY WOULD FORM A SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF NIGHT DIFFERENTIAL TO THE INDIVIDUAL CLAIMANTS WITHIN THE TEN-YEAR PERIOD PRIOR TO THE DATE THAT THE CLAIM IS FIRST RECEIVED, 31 U.S.C. 237, AND ASSUMING THAT THE SAME CRITERIA ARE APPLIED ADMINISTRATIVELY TO EACH CLAIM. WE NOTE THAT YOUR DEPARTMENT'S ABOVE- QUOTED SUGGESTION IS DIRECTED TO NONDOUBTFUL CLAIMS OF THE CHARACTER THEREIN DESCRIBED. ON THAT BASIS, WE SEE NO OBJECTION TO YOUR DEPARTMENT'S ADMINISTRATIVELY PROCESSING SUCH NONDOUBTFUL CLAIMS FOR PAYMENT IN THE USUAL MANNER AS FOR RETROACTIVE ADJUSTMENTS OF PAY ON PAYROLL VOUCHERS CURRENTLY PROCESSED. THE ABOVE QUOTED GENERAL QUESTION ACCORDINGLY IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE. OUR OFFICE INTENDS TO NOTIFY EACH CLAIMANT THAT HIS CLAIM HAS BEEN REFERRED TO YOUR DEPARTMENT FOR SETTLEMENT. REGARDING THOSE CLAIMS AFFECTED BY THE PROVISIONS OF THE 10- YEAR BARRING STATUTE EACH CLAIMANT WILL BE FURTHER ADVISED OF THE PORTION OF HIS CLAIM WHICH IS BARRED.

WITH REFERENCE TO THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER A SUMMARY BASED ON AVAILABLE TIME AND ATTENDANCE REPORTS WILL SUFFICE FOR THE PURPOSES OF AUDIT BY OUR OFFICE, WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE QUESTION ESSENTIALLY IS DIRECTED TO WHETHER OUR AUDIT PROCEDURES WOULD REQUIRE YOUR DEPARTMENT TO RETAIN PRIOR PAID PAYROLL VOUCHERS OR DOCUMENTS OTHER THAN THE BASIC RECORDS, SUCH AS THE TIME AND ATTENDANCE REPORTS AND THE PAY CARDS, ON WHICH THE SUMMARY INFORMATION SUPPORTING THE CURRENT PAY ADJUSTMENT VOUCHER HAS BEEN BASED. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE BELIEVE SUCH REPORTS AND PAY CARDS WILL SUFFICE FOR PURPOSES OF OUR AUDIT OF THE SUMMARY OF THE PAY ADJUSTMENTS.