B-15535, MARCH 26, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 566

B-15535: Mar 26, 1941

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PHOTOGRAPHIC PASSES FOR EMPLOYEES - APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY WHERE IT HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY AS AN INCIDENT TO THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AND FOR THE ADEQUATE PROTECTION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY TO HAVE THE EMPLOYEES OF THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION IDENTIFIED WITH PHOTOGRAPHIC PASSES OR CARDS. 1941: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13. AS FOLLOWS: THE FACILITIES FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF ELECTRIC ENERGY BEING CONSTRUCTED AND OPERATED BY THIS DEPARTMENT THROUGH THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION IN OREGON AND WASHINGTON ARE OF VITAL PRESENT IMPORTANCE TO NATIONAL DEFENSE. THEY ARE IN NEED OF EVERY AVAILABLE PROTECTION. WE ARE ADOPTING THE PRACTICE RECOMMENDED BY THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION IN SUCH CASES OF REQUIRING EACH EMPLOYEE TO CARRY OR WEAR A PHOTOGRAPHIC PASS OR IDENTIFICATION CARD WITHOUT WHICH IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO GAIN ACCESS TO SUCH GOVERNMENT PROPERTIES.

B-15535, MARCH 26, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 566

PHOTOGRAPHIC PASSES FOR EMPLOYEES - APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY WHERE IT HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE NECESSARY AS AN INCIDENT TO THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AND FOR THE ADEQUATE PROTECTION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY TO HAVE THE EMPLOYEES OF THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION IDENTIFIED WITH PHOTOGRAPHIC PASSES OR CARDS, THE COST OF THE REQUIRED PHOTOGRAPHS NEED NOT BE CHARGED TO THE EMPLOYEES BUT MAY BE CONSIDERED AN EXPENSE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES OF SAID ADMINISTRATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, MARCH 26, 1941:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13, 1941, AS FOLLOWS:

THE FACILITIES FOR THE TRANSMISSION OF ELECTRIC ENERGY BEING CONSTRUCTED AND OPERATED BY THIS DEPARTMENT THROUGH THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION IN OREGON AND WASHINGTON ARE OF VITAL PRESENT IMPORTANCE TO NATIONAL DEFENSE. HENCE, THEY ARE IN NEED OF EVERY AVAILABLE PROTECTION. WE ARE ADOPTING THE PRACTICE RECOMMENDED BY THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION IN SUCH CASES OF REQUIRING EACH EMPLOYEE TO CARRY OR WEAR A PHOTOGRAPHIC PASS OR IDENTIFICATION CARD WITHOUT WHICH IT WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE TO GAIN ACCESS TO SUCH GOVERNMENT PROPERTIES.

THE PREPARATION OF SUCH A PASS OR IDENTIFICATION CARD REQUIRES A PHOTOGRAPHIC NEGATIVE OF THE EMPLOYEE FOR WHOM IT IS INTENDED. THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION HAS ITS OWN PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES AVAILABLE FOR TAKING THE REQUIRED NEGATIVES FOR THIS PURPOSE. THE PURCHASE AND OPERATION OF SUCH PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT FOR PURPOSES WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE BONNEVILLE ACT HAS ALREADY BEEN AUTHORIZED BY YOUR OPINION NO. B-3304, DATED MAY 12, 1939. IT WOULD BE VERY MUCH TO THE GOVERNMENT'S ADVANTAGE TO USE THIS EQUIPMENT TO TAKE THE REQUIRED NEGATIVES SINCE MUCH TROUBLE AND DELAY WOULD BE AVOIDED AND NEGATIVES OF STANDARDIZED TYPE AND FORM OBTAINED.

YOUR OPINION IS ACCORDINGLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION MAY, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, PHOTOGRAPH ITS EMPLOYEES AND, WITHOUT COST TO THEM, PROVIDE THE NEGATIVES FOR USE IN PREPARING THE DESIRED PASSES AND IDENTIFICATION CARDS.

WE ARE AWARE OF YOUR DECISION REPORTED AT 15 COMP. GEN. 433, HOLDING THAT THE COSTS OF PHOTOGRAPHS FOR USE ON PASSES TO IDENTIFY TEMPORARY SUBSTITUTES OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT ARE PERSONAL EXPENSES AND HENCE NOT CHARGEABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIAL STATUTORY AUTHORITY. HOWEVER, IN 2 COMP. GEN. 429, IT WAS HELD PROPER TO REIMBURSE EMPLOYEES OF THE CUSTOMS SERVICE FOR THE MAKING OF PHOTOGRAPHS TO BE ISSUED IN CONNECTION WITH IDENTIFICATION CERTIFICATES TO BE CARRIED BY THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION IN ORDER THAT THEY MIGHT IDENTIFY THEMSELVES IN THE COURSE OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS. ALSO, THE TAKING AND FURNISHING OF PHOTOGRAPHS FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH IDENTIFICATION CARDS AND PASSES, AS HERE CONTEMPLATED, MIGHT NOT BE DEEMED WITHIN THE RULE PROHIBITING THE SUPPLYING OF PERSONAL FURNISHINGS AS THAT RULE IS STATED AND APPLIED IN SUCH DECISIONS AS THOSE FOUND AT 2 COMP. GEN. 493 AND 2 COMP. GEN. 652. IN ADDITION, IT IS BELIEVED THAT THIS SITUATION IS DISTINGUISHED FROM THAT PASSED UPON BY THE OPINION IN 15 COMP. GEN. 430, SUPRA, FOR THE REASON THAT THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION HAS ITS OWN PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES AVAILABLE FOR TAKING PHOTOGRAPHS.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, I AM IN DOUBT AS TO WHETHER THIS DEPARTMENT, ACTING THROUGH THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION, MAY CARRY THROUGH ITS PROPOSED PLAN WITHOUT CHARGING EMPLOYEES FOR SUPPLYING THE PHOTOGRAPHS REQUIRED IN PREPARING THE NECESSARY PASSES AND IDENTIFICATION CARDS. THE CONTEMPLATED ACTION WILL BE HELD IN ABEYANCE UNTIL THE EXISTING DOUBT IS RESOLVED BY YOUR ADVANCE OPINION.

IN A DECISION OF FEBRUARY 12, 1941, B-14854, 20 COMP. GEN. 447, TO THE UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION RELATING TO A SIMILAR QUESTION IT WAS SAID:

IN VIEW OF THE REPRESENTATIONS MADE IN YOUR LETTER AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT THE BADGES REFERRED TO ARE NECESSARY TO AFFORD ADEQUATE PROTECTION FOR GOVERNMENT RECORDS, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT THE COST THEREOF MAY BE CONSIDERED A NECESSARY EXPENSE WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, AS MADE BY THE ACT OF APRIL 18, 1940, 54 STAT. 116. ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

WHAT WAS SAID IN THAT CASE APPEARS TO BE EVEN MORE APPLICABLE TO THE PRESENT MATTER. ACCORDINGLY, IF IT BE DETERMINED ADMINISTRATIVELY NECESSARY AS AN INCIDENT TO THE NATIONAL DEFENSE AND FOR THE ADEQUATE PROTECTION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY TO HAVE THE EMPLOYEES OF THE BONNEVILLE POWER ADMINISTRATION IDENTIFIED WITH PHOTOGRAPHIC PASSES OR CARDS, THE COST OF THE REQUIRED PHOTOGRAPHS, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED IN YOUR SUBMISSION, MAY BE CONSIDERED AN EXPENSE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE BY LAW FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES OF SAID ADMINISTRATION AND NEED NOT BE CHARGED TO THE EMPLOYEES.