B-157375, AUG. 19, 1965

B-157375: Aug 19, 1965

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

WILEY IS SURVIVED BY FOUR CHILDREN. TWO OF WHICH WERE BORN OF HIS FIRST MARRIAGE AND THE REMAINING TWO CHILDREN WERE BORN OF HIS SECOND MARRIAGE. WILEY WAS GRANTED A DIVORCE FROM HIS THIRD WIFE. JAMES WAS LISTED AS THE COOWNER OF MR. WILEY IS ALSO SURVIVED BY HIS MOTHER. NO BENEFICIARY OF THE UNPAID COMPENSATION WAS DESIGNATED BY MR. JAMES IS ENTITLED TO THE UNPAID COMPENSATION AS THE SURVIVING SPOUSE OF BILLY L. TO THE BENEFICIARY OR BENEFICIARIES DESIGNATED BY THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN WRITING TO RECEIVE SUCH COMPENSATION FILED WITH THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WAS EMPLOYED AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH. " APPARENTLY THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT MR. WILEY WAS LEGALLY DIVORCED FROM ALL THREE OF HIS FORMER WIVES.

B-157375, AUG. 19, 1965

TO MR. GEORGE W. CAREY, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 26, 1965, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE 130, TRANSMITTING FOR OUR CONSIDERATION A PAYROLL VOUCHER FOR $1,067.64, REPRESENTING UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE AT THE DEATH OF BILLY L. WILEY, A DECEASED EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION IN HURON, SOUTH DAKOTA, AND REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO THE PAYMENT THEREOF.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. WILEY HAD BEEN MARRIED THREE TIMES AND THAT ALL THREE MARRIAGES ENDED IN DIVORCE. MR. WILEY IS SURVIVED BY FOUR CHILDREN, TWO OF WHICH WERE BORN OF HIS FIRST MARRIAGE AND THE REMAINING TWO CHILDREN WERE BORN OF HIS SECOND MARRIAGE. HE HAD NO CHILDREN BY HIS THIRD WIFE.

MR. WILEY WAS GRANTED A DIVORCE FROM HIS THIRD WIFE, IRENE R. WILEY (NOW IRENE R. JAMES), ON JULY 16, 1962, BY THE NINTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT COURT IN HURON, SOUTH DAKOTA. HOWEVER, IMMEDIATELY THEREAFTER, MR. WILEY AND HIS FORMER WIFE, IRENE R. JAMES, COMMENCED LIVING TOGETHER AND CONTINUED TO LIVE TOGETHER AS HUSBAND AND WIFE UNTIL MR. WILEY'S DEATH ON JUNE 22, 1965. IRENE R. JAMES WAS LISTED AS THE COOWNER OF MR. WILEY'S AUTOMOBILE AND MADE ALL OF THE ARRANGEMENTS FOR MR. WILEY'S FUNERAL.

IN ADDITION TO THREE FORMER WIVES AND FOUR CHILDREN, MR. WILEY IS ALSO SURVIVED BY HIS MOTHER. NO BENEFICIARY OF THE UNPAID COMPENSATION WAS DESIGNATED BY MR. WILEY. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT MR. WILEY AND HIS FORMER WIFE IRENE HAD BEEN COHABITING AS HUSBAND AND WIFE FOR CLOSE TO THREE YEARS IMMEDIATELY PRIOR TO THE DATE OF HIS DEATH, YOU APPARENTLY QUESTION WHETHER IRENE R. JAMES IS ENTITLED TO THE UNPAID COMPENSATION AS THE SURVIVING SPOUSE OF BILLY L. WILEY.

THE ACT OF AUGUST 3, 1950, 64 STAT. 395, 5 U.S.C. 61F, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"IN ORDER TO FACILITATE THE SETTLEMENT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF DECEASED CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT * * * ALL UNPAID COMPENSATION DUE SUCH AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH SHALL BE PAID TO THE PERSON OR PERSONS SURVIVING AT THE DATE OF DEATH, IN THE FOLLOWING ORDER OF PRECEDENCE, AND SUCH PAYMENT SHALL BE A BAR TO RECOVERY BY ANY OTHER PERSON OF AMOUNTS SO PAID:

"FIRST, TO THE BENEFICIARY OR BENEFICIARIES DESIGNATED BY THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN WRITING TO RECEIVE SUCH COMPENSATION FILED WITH THE GOVERNMENT AGENCY IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WAS EMPLOYED AT THE TIME OF HIS DEATH, AND RECEIVED BY SUCH AGENCY PRIOR TO THE OFFICER'S OR EMPLOYEE'S DEATH;

"SECOND, IF THERE BE NO SUCH BENEFICIARY, TO THE WIDOW OR WIDOWER OF SUCH OFFICER, OR EMPLOYEE;

"THIRD, IF THERE BE NO BENEFICIARY OR SURVIVING SPOUSE, TO THE CHILD OR CHILDREN OF SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, AND DESCENDANTS OF DECEASED CHILDREN, BY REPRESENTATION;

"FOURTH, IF NONE OF THE ABOVE, TO THE PARENTS OF SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, OR THE SURVIVOR OF THEM; "

APPARENTLY THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT MR. WILEY WAS LEGALLY DIVORCED FROM ALL THREE OF HIS FORMER WIVES. THE COHABITATION OF MR. WILEY AND HIS FORMER WIFE IRENE R. JAMES DURING THE THREE YEARS SUBSEQUENT TO THEIR LEGAL DIVORCE ON JULY 16, 1962, DID NOT CREATE A LEGAL HUSBAND AND WIFE RELATIONSHIP UNDER THE LAWS OF SOUTH DAKOTA SINCE COMMON LAW MARRIAGES HAVE NOT BEEN RECOGNIZED IN THAT STATE SINCE JULY 1, 1959. SEE 1960 SUPPLEMENT TO THE SOUTH DAKOTA CODE OF 1939, TITLE 14, SECTION 14.0110. THEREFORE, IRENE R. JAMES IS NOT THE LEGAL WIDOW OF BILLY L. WILEY.

SINCE THERE IS NO DESIGNATED BENEFICIARY AND NO LEGAL WIDOW, WE HOLD THAT, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATUTORY PROVISIONS, THE FOUR SURVIVING CHILDREN ARE ENTITLED TO THE UNPAID COMPENSATION. WE NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT ONE OF THE CHILDREN, ALLEN L. WILEY, IS ONLY 12 YEARS OF AGE. WE SUGGEST THAT IT MIGHT BE APPROPRIATE TO MAKE PAYMENT OF HIS SHARE OF THE UNPAID COMPENSATION TO HIS MOTHER, ALICE HAMILTON, AS HIS NATURAL GUARDIAN, ASSUMING OF COURSE, THAT A LEGAL GUARDIAN HAS NOT BEEN APPOINTED BY A COURT OF COMPETENT JURISDICTION.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF MODIFIED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.