B-153269, APRIL 16, 1964, 43 COMP. GEN. 687

B-153269: Apr 16, 1964

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THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY UPON DETERMINATION THAT IT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT MAY AUTHORIZE AN ARRANGEMENT WITH THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT THAT IT INCLUDE IN ITS PLANS FOR NEW LEASED FACILITIES SPACE FOR THE EXAMINATION OF CUSTOMS MAIL AND FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF THE ADDITIONAL COST TO CONSTRUCT THE LEASED SPACE AUTHORIZED BY 39 U.S.C. 2102 AND 2103. YOU ADVISE THAT THE TOTAL ESTIMATED BUILDING AREA IN EACH OF THESE FACILITIES IS APPROXIMATELY 125. YOU POINT OUT THAT WE HAVE RECOGNIZED (27 COMP. - THE DUTIES PERFORMED BY CUSTOMS AND DEPARTMENTAL PERSONNEL ARE CLOSELY RELATED AND DEPENDENT. ABOUT 70 PERCENT OF THIS ORIGINAL VOLUME IS RETURNED IMMEDIATELY TO POST OFFICE CUSTODY FOR WORKING.

B-153269, APRIL 16, 1964, 43 COMP. GEN. 687

POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT - LEASES - SUBLEASING TO OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES ALTHOUGH IN THE ABSENCE OF AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT MAY NOT USE ANNUAL RENTAL, OR ANY OTHER, APPROPRIATIONS TO PLAN AND PAY FOR SPACE IN NEW LEASED FACILITIES FOR CUSTOMS MAIL EXAMINATION, UNDER 31 U.S.C. 686, PROVIDING FOR ONE GOVERNMENT AGENCY TO MAKE AVAILABLE TO ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY, PURSUANT TO INFORMAL AGREEMENT, SURPLUS SPACE IN LEASED PREMISES AND TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE PROPORTIONATE COST OF THE SPACE, UTILITIES, AND SERVICES, INCLUDING LIGHT, HEAT, FUEL, WATER AND JANITOR SERVICES, THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY UPON DETERMINATION THAT IT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT MAY AUTHORIZE AN ARRANGEMENT WITH THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT THAT IT INCLUDE IN ITS PLANS FOR NEW LEASED FACILITIES SPACE FOR THE EXAMINATION OF CUSTOMS MAIL AND FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF THE ADDITIONAL COST TO CONSTRUCT THE LEASED SPACE AUTHORIZED BY 39 U.S.C. 2102 AND 2103, AND THE PROPORTIONATE RENTAL COST, EFFECTIVE WITH FISCAL YEAR 1966, TO PERMIT THE CUSTOMS BUREAU TO BUDGET FUNDS FOR BOTH THE LEASED SPACE TO BE CONSTRUCTED AND THE SPACE ALREADY OCCUPIED.

TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, APRIL 16, 1964:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 10, 1964, ADVISES THAT IN THE COURSE OF PLANNING CERTAIN BUILDINGS TO BE CONSTRUCTED PURSUANT TO YOUR DEPARTMENT'S LEASING AUTHORITY UNDER SECTIONS 2102 AND 2103 OF TITLE 39, U.S.C. THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN REQUESTED BY THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, TO FURNISH THE BUREAU CERTAIN SPACE TO PERFORM ITS MAIL EXAMINING RESPONSIBILITIES. THE BUREAU HAS ASKED FOR 12,700 SQUARE FEET IN THE PLANNED SAN FRANCISCO AMF POST OFFICE, 4,000 SQUARE FEET IN PLANNED LOS ANGELES (WORLDWAY) POSTAL FACILITY AND 28,000 SQUARE FEET IN THE PLANNED POSTAL PLANT AT OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA. YOU ADVISE THAT THE TOTAL ESTIMATED BUILDING AREA IN EACH OF THESE FACILITIES IS APPROXIMATELY 125,000, 335,000, AND 750,000 SQUARE FEET, RESPECTIVELY.

YOU REQUEST A DECISION WHETHER THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT MAY PLANT SPACE FOR CUSTOMS MAIL EXAMINATION IN ITS NEW LEASED FACILITIES, AND PAY FOR THE SAME OUT OF ITS ANNUAL RENTAL APPROPRIATIONS. IF THIS CANNOT BE DONE--- AND IN VIEW OF OUR DECISIONS OF JUNE 3, 1949, B 86457, AND 33 COMP. GEN. 423, YOU STATE THAT IT WOULD SEEM IT CANNOT BE DONE--- YOU REQUEST OUR DECISION WHETHER THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT MAY INCLUDE SPACE FOR CUSTOMS MAIL EXAMINATION IN ITS LEASE CONSTRUCTION IF IT RECEIVES REIMBURSEMENT UNDER 31 U.S.C. 686 FOR THE PROPORTIONATE RENTAL COST OF THE SPACE AND ALL UTILITIES AND SERVICES INVOLVED. YOU POINT OUT THAT WE HAVE RECOGNIZED (27 COMP. GEN. 317) THAT A GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY CAN SUPPLY PART OF ITS LEASED SPACE TO ANOTHER GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY AND BE REIMBURSED FOR THE PROPORTIONATE COST OF THE SPACE AND BUILDING SERVICES.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE MATTER YOUR LETTER DISCLOSES THAT---

THE DUTIES PERFORMED BY CUSTOMS AND DEPARTMENTAL PERSONNEL ARE CLOSELY RELATED AND DEPENDENT. THE POST OFFICE HAS COMPLETE CUSTODY OF ARTICLES OF MAIL UNTIL WE OPEN AND DUMP THE SACKS AND DELIVER THE ARTICLES TO THE CUSTOMS BUREAU FOR EXAMINATION. ABOUT 70 PERCENT OF THIS ORIGINAL VOLUME IS RETURNED IMMEDIATELY TO POST OFFICE CUSTODY FOR WORKING, DISPATCH AND DELIVERY. THE REMAINING 30 PERCENT IS PROCESSED BY THE CUSTOMS PEOPLE AND THE MAJOR PORTION OF THIS IS THEN RETURNED FOR POST OFFICE HANDLING. WHERE THE OPERATION IS NOT LARGE, THE SACKS ARE DUMPED IN THE POST OFFICE WORKROOM AND DELIVERED IN HAMPERS TO THE CUSTOMS ENCLOSURE. WHERE LARGE VOLUMES ARE INVOLVED AND THE SACKS ARE RECEIVED OVER CONVEYOR BELTS, THE DUMPING OPERATION IS USUALLY ACCOMPLISHED BY POST OFFICE EMPLOYEES WORKING WITH THE CUSTOMS SPACE.

IF THE CUSTOMS UNIT IS NOT LOCATED IN THE SAME BUILDING AS THE POST OFFICE, THE MAIL MUST BE TRANSPORTED BETWEEN THE POST OFFICE AND THE CUSTOMS BUILDING AND RETURNED BY POSTAL EMPLOYEES AND VEHICLES. IF THE MAIL IS NOT DUMPED IN THE POST OFFICE AND TRANSPORTED LOOSE IN HAMPERS, POSTAL EMPLOYEES ARE DETAILED TO THE CUSTOMS UNIT TO PERFORM THIS WORK IN THEIR SPACE. LOCATION OF BOTH FUNCTIONS IN ONE BUILDING WOULD RESULT IN CONSIDERABLE SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT BOTH IN TERMS OF VEHICLES AND MAN- HOURS.

THERE ARE OTHER FUNCTIONS WHERE POSTAL AND CUSTOMS EMPLOYEES MUST CLOSELY COORDINATE THEIR WORK, WHICH EMPHASIZES THE ADVANTAGES FOR THE TWO WORK AREAS TO BE CONTIGUOUSLY LOCATED IN THE SAME BUILDING. ONE OF THESE FUNCTIONS IS THE HANDLING OF REGISTERED ARTICLES. ANOTHER IS THE EXAMINATION OF PRINTS AND PAPERS FOR THE DETECTION OF FOREIGN PROPAGANDA AND SUBVERSIVE MATERIAL.

BECAUSE OF THE FOREGOING YOU STATE THAT THERE ARE DEFINITE ADVANTAGES TO THE GOVERNMENT IF THE NECESSARY SPACE FOR CUSTOMS MAIL EXAMINATION IS PLANNED INTO YOUR NEW LEASED FACILITIES. YOU REPORT THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD SAVE SUBSTANTIAL SUMS OF MONEY FROM THE ELIMINATION OF VEHICULAR USE AND MANPOWER IN TRANSPORTING AND HANDLING MAIL; AND THAT THE MAIL PROCESSING WOULD BE FASTER AND CONSIDERABLY MORE CONVENIENT.

YOU STATE THAT THE MATTER HAS BEEN DISCUSSED BETWEEN REPRESENTATIVES OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS AND THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION. YOU ADVISE THAT THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION TAKES THE POSITION THAT SINCE THE SPACE INVOLVED IS PRIMARILY FOR CUSTOMS MAIL EXAMINATION, IT IS SPECIAL PURPOSE SPACE AS OPPOSED TO THE USUAL GENERAL PURPOSES SPACE FOR WHICH THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION IS RESPONSIBLE. THEREFORE, YOU STATE THAT BUDGET BULLETIN NO. 61-4 OF NOVEMBER 10, 1960, WHICH RELATES TO MONEYS AVAILABLE TO AGENCIES FOR GENERAL PURPOSE SPACE, IS NOT APPLICABLE. YOU REPORT THAT THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS INFORMALLY ACQUIESCES IN THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATOR'S POSITION.

YOU STATE THAT IT IS PROPOSED, ONCE A LEASED BUILDING IS DESIGNED AND CONSTRUCTED, THAT YOUR DEPARTMENT PAY THE RENT ON THE ENTIRE BUILDING AND BE REIMBURSED BY THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS FOR THE PROPORTIONATE COST OF THE CUSTOMS SPACE AND OF ALL UTILITIES AND SERVICES INCLUDING LIGHT, FUEL, WATER AND JANITOR SERVICES. YOU REPORT THAT IF, IN THE UNLIKELY EVENT THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS DISCONTINUED USE OF THIS SPACE IT COULD READILY BE PUT TO POSTAL USE. IN VIEW OF THE OPERATIONAL ADVANTAGES AND MONETARY SAVINGS RESULTING FROM A COMBINED OPERATION YOUR DEPARTMENT WOULD LIKE TO INCLUDE IN ITS NEW LEASED FACILITIES PLANS THE NECESSARY SPACE FOR CUSTOMS MAIL EXAMINATION ON THE BASIS OUTLINED ABOVE.

ALSO, YOU REQUEST A DECISION WHETHER YOUR DEPARTMENT SHOULD BE REIMBURSED, PURSUANT TO OUR HOLDING IN 27 COMP. GEN. 317, FOR THE AMOUNT OF SPACE PRESENTLY BEING USED BY THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS IN LEASED POST OFFICE FACILITIES.

AS INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER, IN B-86457, JUNE 3, 1949, WE HELD THAT THE PAYMENT OF RENT BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR THE MAILS EXAMINING SECTION, BUREAU OF CUSTOMS, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, WOULD CONSTITUTE AN IMPROPER AUGMENTATION OF FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, AND, ALSO, WOULD BE CONTRARY TO SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES, 31 U.S.C. 628, WHICH PROVIDES THAT ALL SUMS APPROPRIATED FOR THE VARIOUS BRANCHES OF EXPENDITURE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE SHALL BE APPLIED SOLELY TO THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH THEY ARE MADE AVAILABLE AND FOR NO OTHERS. SEE, ALSO, 16 COMP. GEN. 333; 22 ID. 462; 27 ID. 391; AND 33 ID. 423. ACCORDINGLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF LEGISLATION SPECIFICALLY SO AUTHORIZING, THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT MAY NOT USE ITS ANNUAL RENTAL APPROPRIATIONS, OR ANY OTHER APPROPRIATION, TO PLAN AND PAY FOR SPACE FOR CUSTOMS MAIL EXAMINATION IN ITS NEW LEASED FACILITIES.

HOWEVER, AS INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER, THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7 (A) OF THE ACT OF MAY 21, 1920, 41 STAT. 613, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 601 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 417, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 20, 1942, 56 STAT. 661 (31 U.S.C. 686), HAVE BEEN HELD TO CONSTITUTE SUFFICIENT AUTHORITY FOR ONE GOVERNMENT AGENCY TO MAKE AVAILABLE TO ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY, UNDER AN INFORMAL ARRANGEMENT, SURPLUS SPACE IN LEASED PREMISES AND TO RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE PROPORTIONATE COST OF THE SPACE AND OF ALL UTILITIES AND SERVICES INVOLVED, INCLUDING THE COST OF LIGHT, HEAT, FUEL, WATER AND JANITOR SERVICES. SEE 24 COMP. GEN. 851; 26 COMP. GEN. 677; AND 27 COMP. GEN. 307.

IF THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY DETERMINES IT TO BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT TO DO SO, THERE WOULD BE NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT MAKING AN ARRANGEMENT WITH YOUR DEPARTMENT PURSUANT TO 31 U.S.C. 386 WHEREUNDER YOUR DEPARTMENT WOULD INCLUDE IN ITS NEW LEASED FACILITIES PLANS, THE NECESSARY SPACE FOR CUSTOMS MAIL EXAMINATION AND THE OCCUPANCY THEREOF AND BE REIMBURSED FOR THE ADDITIONAL COST INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PLANS AS WELL AS FOR THE PROPORTIONATE RENTAL COST OF THE SPACE AND ALL THE UTILITIES AND SERVICES INVOLVED, ON THE BASIS OUTLINED IN YOUR LETTER AND SET FORTH ABOVE.

WHAT IS STATED ABOVE CONCERNING THE USE OF POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATIONS TO PAY FOR LEASED SPACE FOR CUSTOMS MAIL EXAMINATION WOULD HAVE EQUAL APPLICATION TO LEASED SPACE PRESENTLY BEING USED BY THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS FOR SUCH PURPOSE. YOUR THIRD QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

IN VIEW OF ALL THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES AND SINCE WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED BY THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS THAT IT HAS NEVER INCLUDED FUNDS IN ITS BUDGET FOR SUCH COSTS--- ALTHOUGH WE PRESUME YOUR DEPARTMENT HAS--- WE WOULD HAVE NO OBJECTION TO MAKING THE REIMBURSEMENT PROVISION IN SUCH ARRANGEMENT, AS WELL AS THE REIMBURSEMENT FOR SPACE PRESENTLY OCCUPIED BY THE BUREAU, EFFECTIVE WITH THE BEGINNING OF FISCAL YEAR 1966, IN ORDER TO GIVE THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUDGET FOR SUCH COSTS.