B-152900, JULY 13, 1966, 46 COMP. GEN. 31

B-152900: Jul 13, 1966

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UNDER THE RULE THAT RECEIPTS COLLECTED FROM A COMMON CARRIER FOR THE VALUE OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY LOST OR DAMAGED IN TRANSIT ARE FOR CREDIT TO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. TO THE EFFECT THAT WHERE THE FREIGHT BILL FOR THE SHIPMENT IN WHICH PROPERTY DAMAGE OR LOSS OCCURRED IS IN EXCESS OF THE COST OF REPAIRS. 1966: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 24. WHICH AMOUNT MEMBERS OF YOUR STAFF WERE INFORMALLY ADVISED WOULD BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. OUR RECORDS SHOW THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE DAMAGES WAS $33. SEVERAL LEGAL ACTIONS AROSE OVER THE MATTER AND THEY WERE SETTLED BY A CONSENT JUDGMENT UNDER WHICH MAIN TRUCKING AND RIGGING COMPANY WAS AWARDED THE SUM OF $33.

B-152900, JULY 13, 1966, 46 COMP. GEN. 31

MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS - SPECIAL ACCOUNT V. MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS - PROPERTY DAMAGE COLLECTIONS. UNDER THE RULE THAT RECEIPTS COLLECTED FROM A COMMON CARRIER FOR THE VALUE OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY LOST OR DAMAGED IN TRANSIT ARE FOR CREDIT TO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY LAW, OR THE RECOVERY COMES WITHIN THE EXCEPTION IN 21 COMP. DEC. 632, AS AMPLIFIED, TO THE EFFECT THAT WHERE THE FREIGHT BILL FOR THE SHIPMENT IN WHICH PROPERTY DAMAGE OR LOSS OCCURRED IS IN EXCESS OF THE COST OF REPAIRS, OR REPLACEMENT, THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED FROM THE BILL TO COVER SUCH COSTS REMAINS IN THE APPROPRIATION, THE AMOUNTS WITHHELD FROM A CARRIER'S FREIGHT BILLS OTHER THAN THE ONE FOR THE SHIPMENT IN WHICH A DAMAGE OCCURRED MAY NOT BE TRANSFERRED FROM MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS TO THE "NO- YEAR" FUND ACCOUNT CHARGED WITH THE ORIGINAL COST OF THE PROPERTY AND THE COSTS OF REPAIR, THE "NO-YEAR" FUND NOT OVERCOMING THE GENERAL RULE AND THE EXCEPTION TO THE RULE; THEREFORE, THE AMOUNT RECOVERED FOR THE PROPERTY DAMAGE MAY NOT BE DEPOSITED TO AUGMENT THE "NO-YEAR" ACCOUNT.

TO THE DIRECTOR, UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY, JULY 13, 1966:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 24, 1966, REQUESTING THAT THE COLLECTION OF $14,882 MADE BY OUR TRANSPORTATION DIVISION FROM THE MAIN TRUCKING AND RIGGING CO., INC., ON ACCOUNT OF DAMAGES SUFER): TO A SHIPMENT OF ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT WHICH THE CARRIER DELIVERED IN A DAMAGED CONDITION, AND WHICH AMOUNT MEMBERS OF YOUR STAFF WERE INFORMALLY ADVISED WOULD BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS, BE TRANSFERRED AND CREDITED TO THE "NO-YEAR" FUND ACCOUNT "67X1124 ACQUISITION AND CONSTRUCTION OF RADIO FACILITIES, UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY;,

OUR RECORDS SHOW THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE DAMAGES WAS $33,682.62, WHICH YOUR AGENCY REFERRED TO OUR OFFICE AS BEING ADMINISTRATIVELY UNCOLLECTIBLE. WE WITHHELD $28,564.62 FROM THE AMOUNTS OTHERWISE DUE THE CARRIER AND THIS, ADDED TO THE $5,118 IN FREIGHT CHARGES WITHHELD BY YOUR AGENCY AND OTHERWISE DUE THE CARRIER UNDER THE TRANSPORTATION CONTRACT, EQUALED THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE REPORTED DAMAGES. SEVERAL LEGAL ACTIONS AROSE OVER THE MATTER AND THEY WERE SETTLED BY A CONSENT JUDGMENT UNDER WHICH MAIN TRUCKING AND RIGGING COMPANY WAS AWARDED THE SUM OF $33,682.62 WITHHELD AND THE UNITED STATES ON ITS COUNTERCLAIM FOR DAMAGES WAS AWARDED AGAINST THE CARRIER THE SUM OF $20,000. THUS, UPON PAYMENT TO THE CARRIER FROM THE AMOUNT WITHHELD BY OUR OFFICE OF THE NET JUDGMENT OF $13,682.62 IN ITS FAVOR, A BALANCE OF $14,882 ($28,564.62 LESS $13,682.62) RESULTED WHICH IS THE AMOUNT TO WHICH YOUR LETTER REFERS.

WHILE YOU AGREE THAT THE DEPOSIT OF THIS AMOUNT TO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS WAS IN ACCORDANCE WITH NUMEROUS DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT, YOU REQUEST AN EXCEPTION BE MADE IN THE PRESENT CASE. JUSTIFICATION OF THE EXCEPTION YOUR LETTER STATES:

THE RATIONALE OF THE MANY DECISIONS, BASED UPON THE STATUTE (31 U.S.C. 484), IS THAT THE SET-OFF RECOVERED BY THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED AS A CREDIT TO THE INDIVIDUAL AGENCY INVOLVED, WHEN TO DO SO WOULD INCREASE THE APPROPRIATION OF THAT AGENCY. IN THIS CASE, HOWEVER, NONE OF THE EXPENDITURES INVOLVED CAME OUT OF THE CURRENT ANNUAL APPROPRIATION OF THE AGENCY. THE CONGRESS HAS, FROM TIME TO TIME, ADDED TO OUR ANNUAL APPROPRIATIONS ADDITIONAL SUMS OF MONEY FOR ,ACQUISITION AND CONSTRUCTION OF RADIO FACILITIES", SPECIFICALLY PROVIDING THAT THEY ARE "TO REMAIN AVAILABLE UNTIL EXPENDED;, THE ORIGINAL COST OF THE DAMAGED ELECTRONIC FACILITIES, AND ALL THE COSTS INVOLVED IN THEIR REPAIR AND TRANSPORTATION OCCASIONED BY THE ACCIDENT, WERE CHARGED AGAINST THESE "NO-YEAR" FUNDS. AS A MATTER OF FACT, THESE FUNDS HAVE BEEN DEPLETED BY $28,564.62 BECAUSE OF THIS INCIDENT AND THE CREDIT OF $13,682.62 ($14,882), WITHHELD BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WILL NOT EVEN MAKE IT WHOLE, MUCH LESS INCREASE THE APPROPRIATION.

YOU QUOTE FROM AND CITE THE DECISION OF MARCH 17, 1915, OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, 21 COMP. DEC. 632, AS BEING A COMPARABLE CASE AND AS A BASIS FOR THE EXCEPTION REQUESTED.

FOR MANY YEARS THE GENERAL RULE APPLIED IN THE DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN CONNECTION WITH RECEIPTS COLLECTED FROM COMMON CARRIERS FOR THE VALUE OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY LOST OR DAMAGED IN TRANSIT IS THAT THE FUNDS ARE TO BE CREDITED TO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS UNLESS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO BE CREDITED TO SOME OTHER FUND. THIS RULE IS BASED UPON AN INTERPRETATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 484 THAT REQUIRES SUCH AMOUNTS BE COVERED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. SEE 3 COMP. GEN. 808; 5 ID. 928; 15 ID. 683; 28 ID. 666. THE ONLY GENERAL EXCEPTION THAT HAS UNIFORMLY BEEN APPLIED TO THE RULE THAT SUCH MONEYS MUST BE DEPOSITED INTO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS IS WHERE THE APPROPRIATION OR FUND INVOLVED IS BY STATUTE MADE REIMBURSABLE, AS FOR EXAMPLE, THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION SUPPLY SYSTEM UNDER 72 STAT. 1105, 38 U.S.C. 5011, WHERE THE STATUTE SETTING UP THE REVOLVING SUPPLY FUND PROVIDES FOR THE FUND BEING CREDITED WITH "RECEIPTS FROM CARRIERS AND OTHERS FOR LOSS OF OR DAMAGES TO PERSONAL PROPERTY", OR WHERE THE AGENCY INVOLVED HAS SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY TO DEPOSIT SUCH RECEIPTS INTO THE APPROPRIATION SUCH AS THE MILITARY AGENCIES HAVE UNDER PUBLIC LAW 617, 84TH CONG., 70 STAT. 336, 31 U.S.C. 489A. WHERE SUCH SPECIFIC AUTHORITY OF LAW EXISTS, THE RECEIPTS, OF COURSE, WOULD BE CREDITED AS DIRECTED BY LAW TO THE APPLICABLE APPROPRIATION OR FUND BUT IF THERE IS NO SUCH SPECIFIC AUTHORITY, THE RECEIPTS ARE CONSIDERED FOR THE GENERAL USE OF THE UNITED STATES AND FOR CREDIT TO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS.

THE ONLY EXCEPTION MADE TO THE RULE ENUNCIATED ABOVE IS IN CASES COMING STRICTLY WITHIN THE HOLDING OF THE DECISION CITED BY YOU, 21 COMP. DEC. 632, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT WHERE, IN THE SETTLEMENT OF A CLAIM FOR FREIGHT CHARGES, AN AMOUNT IS WITHHELD OR DEDUCTED THEREFROM OFFSETTING THE AMOUNT PAID FOR DAMAGES FROM THE SAME APPROPRIATION, AND THE SUM FOUND DUE THE CLAIMANT MERELY REDUCED, NO CHARGE SHOULD BE RAISED AGAINST SAID APPROPRIATION FOR THE AMOUNT THUS SET OFF. THE DECISION IN 21 COMP. DEC. 632 WAS AMPLIFIED IN 8 COMP. GEN. 615 AND 28 ID. 666. THOSE DECISIONS SET FORTH THE GENERAL RULE THAT RECOVERIES FROM COMMON CARRIERS EITHER IN ACTUAL CASH OR BY DEDUCTIONS FROM CARRIERS' BILLS FOR DAMAGE TO OR LOSS OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY WHILE IN TRANSIT ARE FOR DEPOSITING AND COVERING INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS, THE ONLY EXCEPTION BEING IN CASES STRICTLY WITHIN THE HOLDING IN 21 COMP. DEC. 632, THAT IS, WHERE THE FREIGHT BILL FOR THE PARTICULAR SHIPMENT OF THE PROPERTY DAMAGED OR LOST IS IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT PAID FOR REPAIRS OR REPLACEMENT, IN WHICH EVENT, THE SAME APPROPRIATION BEING INVOLVED, THE BILL IS MERELY REDUCED, AND THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED TO COVER THE COST OF REPAIRS OR REPLACEMENT IS ALLOWED TO REMAIN TO THE CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATION. IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE AMOUNT WITHHELD BY OUR OFFICE DOES NOT REPRESENT FREIGHT ON THE PARTICULAR SHIPMENT ON WHICH THE DAMAGE OCCURRED BUT DEDUCTIONS FROM THE CARRIER'S BILLS OTHER THAN THAT FOR THE SHIPMENT ON WHICH THE LOSS OR DAMAGE OCCURRED. HENCE THE RULE IN 21 COMP. DEC. 632 AS AMPLIFIED IN 8 COMP. GEN. 615 AND 28 ID. 666 WOULD NOT AUTHORIZE DEPOSIT OF THE $14,882 TO YOUR AGENCY'S APPROPRIATION BUT, ON THE CONTRARY, WOULD REQUIRE SUCH AMOUNT TO BE CREDITED TO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS OF THE TREASURY.

ALTHOUGH YOU STATE THAT THE ORIGINAL COST OF THE DAMAGED PROPERTY AND THE COSTS OF REPAIR WERE ALL CHARGED AGAINST "NO-YEAR" FUNDS, SUCH FACT DOES NOT MAKE THE NO-YEAR FUND REIMBURSABLE OR SUPPLY STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR COVERING INTO SUCH FUND RECEIPTS FROM CARRIERS FOR LOSS OR DAMAGE SUCH AS 31 U.S.C. 489A DOES FOR THE MILITARY AGENCIES. THEREFORE, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE PRESENT SITUATION QUALIFIED AS AN EXCEPTION TO OUR GENERAL RULE OF DEPOSITING FUNDS RECOVERED FOR LOSS AND DAMAGE INTO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS EITHER BY REASON OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY OR UNDER THE SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES APPEARING IN 21 COMP. DEC. 632, 8 COMP. GEN. 615 AND 28 COMP. GEN. 666. ALSO, UNDER SUCH RULE THE SUM OF $5,118 IN FREIGHT CHARGES WITHHELD BY YOUR AGENCY TOGETHER WITH THE SUM OF $14,882 BALANCE TOGETHER EQUAL THE $20,000 WHICH THE GOVERNMENT RECOVERED ON ACCOUNT OF ITS DAMAGE CLAIM AND UNDER THE STATED RULE IS FOR DEPOSIT INTO MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. IT IS REQUESTED THAT APPROPRIATE DEPOSIT ACTION BE TAKEN ACCORDINGLY BY YOUR AGENCY WITH ADVICE TO US WHEN SUCH TRANSFER HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED. AS FAR AS THE MATTER OF AUGMENTING APPROPRIATIONS IS CONCERNED, BOTH THE INITIAL COSTS OF THE PROPERTY AND ITS REPAIR ARE UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE BEEN PROPERLY PAYABLE FROM AND WERE CHARGED TO YOUR AGENCY'S NO-YEAR FUNDS. ALSO, THE FREIGHT ON THE DAMAGED SHIPMENT IS PROPERLY PAYABLE THEREFROM AND WAS AWARDED THE CARRIER BY THE JUDGMENT WHICH IN EFFECT DIRECTED THAT SUM WHICH WAS INCLUDED IN THE AMOUNT OF $33,682.62 WITHHELD (LESS THE $20,000 AWARDED ON THE GOVERNMENT'S DAMAGE CLAIM) BE PAID IT. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES TO PERMIT THE $5,118 TO REMAIN IN THE NO-YEAR ACCOUNT WOULD AMOUNT TO AN IMPROPER AUGMENTATION OF THE FUND.

WE TRUST WHAT IS SAID ABOVE WILL EXPLAIN WHY WE DO NOT FEEL WARRANTED IN APPROVING THE ADJUSTMENT PROPOSED OR IN GRANTING AN EXCEPTION TO THE LONGSTANDING DECISIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING OFFICERS.