B-15419, JUNE 5, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 859

B-15419: Jun 5, 1941

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

FOR PAYMENTS MADE DIRECTLY BY IT TO SUCH DISTRIBUTEE AS IT FINDS IS ENTITLED THERETO. THE POINT DIRECTLY IN ISSUE IS WHETHER OR NOT THIS SENTENCE MAY BE TAKEN AS AUTHORITY FOR DISBURSING OFFICERS IN THE FIELD TO PAY FINAL SALARIES DUE THE ESTATES OF DECEASED EMPLOYEES OF CONTRACTORS WITH THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE TERMS OF COST-PLUS-A-FIXED-FEE CONTRACTS. IF THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE IT IS ASSUMED THE DISBURSING OFFICER WILL HAVE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE LEGAL HEIRS UNDER THE PARTICULAR STATE LAWS INVOLVED IN EACH CASE. THAT THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WILL NOT QUESTION THIS PROCEDURE. SINCE THERE ARE CASES NOW BEING HELD UP PENDING RECEIPT OF YOUR REPLY IN THIS MATTER.

B-15419, JUNE 5, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 859

CONTRACTS - COST-PLUS - WAGES DUE DECEASED EMPLOYEES OF CONTRACTORS - PAYMENT PROCEDURE A CLAIM FOR UNPAID WAGES DUE A DECEASED EMPLOYEE OF A COST-PLUS-A FIXED- FEE CONTRACTOR NEED NOT BE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT BUT MAY BE PAID BY A DISBURSING OFFICER DIRECTLY TO SUCH DISTRIBUTEE OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEDENT AS MAY BE DETERMINED BY THE CONTRACTOR, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, TO BE ENTITLED THERETO, OR THE CONTRACTOR MAY BE REIMBURSED, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, TO BE ENTITLED THERETO, OR THE CONTRACTOR MAY BE REIMBURSED, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, FOR PAYMENTS MADE DIRECTLY BY IT TO SUCH DISTRIBUTEE AS IT FINDS IS ENTITLED THERETO.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, JUNE 5, 1941:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED FROM THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS A LETTER DATED MAY 19, 1941, AS FOLLOWS:

THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN IN THIS OFFICE AS TO THE PROPER INTERPRETATION TO BE PLACED ON THE LAST SENTENCE OF PARAGRAPH NEXT TO THE LAST OF YOUR DECISION B-15419, DATED MARCH 29, 1941, QUOTED AS FOLLOWS:

"PAYMENT ON SUCH VOUCHERS THUS SUPPORTED MAY BE MADE DIRECTLY BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER FROM THE APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE, AT THE REQUEST OF THE EMPLOYEE OR THE REPRESENTATIVE OF HIS ESTATE AND UPON HIS IDENTIFICATION TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER OR HIS PRESENTATIVE.'

THE POINT DIRECTLY IN ISSUE IS WHETHER OR NOT THIS SENTENCE MAY BE TAKEN AS AUTHORITY FOR DISBURSING OFFICERS IN THE FIELD TO PAY FINAL SALARIES DUE THE ESTATES OF DECEASED EMPLOYEES OF CONTRACTORS WITH THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE TERMS OF COST-PLUS-A-FIXED-FEE CONTRACTS, IN VIEW OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 43, WHICH REQUIRES ALL SUCH CLAIMS TO BE SUBMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT. IF THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE IT IS ASSUMED THE DISBURSING OFFICER WILL HAVE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE LEGAL HEIRS UNDER THE PARTICULAR STATE LAWS INVOLVED IN EACH CASE, AND THAT THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WILL NOT QUESTION THIS PROCEDURE.

SINCE THERE ARE CASES NOW BEING HELD UP PENDING RECEIPT OF YOUR REPLY IN THIS MATTER, YOUR EARLY ATTENTION WILL BE APPRECIATED.

WHILE GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 42 (REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER AS NO. 43), AND SUPPLEMENTS THERETO, REQUIRE THAT DEMANDS FOR AMOUNTS DUE DECEASED OR INCOMPETENT CREDITORS OF THE UNITED STATES BE PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE ON STANDARD FORM NO. 1055, FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT AS CLAIMS, IT WAS RECOGNIZED IN THE CITED DECISION OF MARCH 29, 1941, THAT CLAIMS FOR UNPAID WAGES OF EMPLOYEES OF COST-PLUS-A-FIXED-FEE CONTRACTORS, WHICH MIGHT BE PAID EITHER DIRECTLY BY THE GOVERNMENT OR BY THE CONTRACTOR WITH SUBSEQUENT REIMBURSEMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT, ARE NOT, STRICTLY SPEAKING, CLAIMS AGAINST THE UNITED STATES BUT ARE OF A CLASS WHICH PROPERLY MAY BE DISPOSED OF BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE AS THEREIN INDICATED.

ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENTS OF WAGES EARNED BUT UNPAID AT DATE OF DEATH OF AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CONTRACTOR MAY BE MADE DIRECTLY TO SUCH DISTRIBUTEE OF THE ESTATE OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE AS MAY BE DETERMINED BY THE CONTRACTOR, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, TO BE ENTITLED THERETO, SUCH MATTERS BEING OUTSIDE THE SCOPE OF GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 42. OR, IF SUCH PAYMENTS ARE NOT MADE, REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE TO THE CONTRACTOR, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER, FOR PAYMENTS MADE BY IT TO SUCH DISTRIBUTEE OF THE DECEASED EMPLOYEE'S ESTATE AS THE SAID CONTRACTOR FINDS IS ENTITLED THERETO.