B-160729, FEB. 21, 1968

B-160729: Feb 21, 1968

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BOARD OF INVESTIGATION THAT EMPLOYEE WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE RELIEF UNDER 31 U.S.C. 82A-1 MAY NOT BE GRANTED. THE FACTS OF RECORD IN THIS MATTER ARE REPORTED HERE AS FOLLOWS: ON AUGUST 15. IT IS REPORTED THAT YOU LOCKED THE CAGE DOOR WHEN YOU LEFT AND THAT YOU WERE ABSENT FROM THE CAGE FOR A PERIOD OF TWO OR THREE MINUTES. UPON RETURNING TO THE CAGE YOU FOUND THAT YOUR CASH TRAY WAS ON THE COUNTER AND THAT THE $515 THAT IT CONTAINED WAS MISSING. PULLED THE DRAWER OUT AND HAD EMPTIED MY CASH TRAY OF ALL THE BILLS THAT WERE IN IT.'. ON THE BASIS OF THIS REPORT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION DETERMINED THAT YOU WERE WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE IN THE MATTER AND RELIEF UNDER 31 U.S.C. 82A-1 WAS REQUESTED AND RECOMMENDED.

B-160729, FEB. 21, 1968

ACCOUNTABLE OFFICERS - RELIEF DECISION TO ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER REAFFIRMING DENIAL OF RELIEF INCIDENT TO THEFT OF FUNDS FROM CASH TRAY AT V.A. HOSPITAL. WHERE SECRET SERVICE INVESTIGATION OF THEFT FROM CASH TRAY DOES NOT SUPPORT FINDING OF V.A. BOARD OF INVESTIGATION THAT EMPLOYEE WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE RELIEF UNDER 31 U.S.C. 82A-1 MAY NOT BE GRANTED.

TO MR. JOSEPH R. FAZIO:

YOUR UNSIGNED LETTER OF JANUARY 30, 1968, REQUESTS RECONSIDERATION OF OUR DECISION WHICH DENIED RELIEF TO YOU INCIDENT TO THE THEFT OF FUNDS FROM YOUR CASH TRAY ON AUGUST 15, 1966, AT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION HOSPITAL, AT PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA.

THE FACTS OF RECORD IN THIS MATTER ARE REPORTED HERE AS FOLLOWS: ON AUGUST 15, 1966, WHILE ACTING AS ALTERNATE CASHIER, YOU LEFT YOUR CASHIER'S CAGE FOR A VISIT TO THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE. IT IS REPORTED THAT YOU LOCKED THE CAGE DOOR WHEN YOU LEFT AND THAT YOU WERE ABSENT FROM THE CAGE FOR A PERIOD OF TWO OR THREE MINUTES. UPON RETURNING TO THE CAGE YOU FOUND THAT YOUR CASH TRAY WAS ON THE COUNTER AND THAT THE $515 THAT IT CONTAINED WAS MISSING. YOU STATED: "I ASSUME THAT IN MY ABSENCE SOMEBODY HAD REACHED THROUGH THE WINDOW, PULLED THE DRAWER OUT AND HAD EMPTIED MY CASH TRAY OF ALL THE BILLS THAT WERE IN IT.'

ON SEPTEMBER 20, 1966, A BOARD OF INVESTIGATION OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION CONCLUDED THAT THE DRAWER IN QUESTION COULD BE OPENED AND THE CASH TRAY REMOVED FROM THE DRAWER BY A PERSON REACHING THROUGH A GLASS PARTITION.

THE REPORT OF THE BOARD STATED IT TO BE "THE FEELING OF THE BOARD * * * THAT MR. FAZIO TOOK ALL NORMAL AND ACCEPTABLE SECURITY PRECAUTIONS WHEN HE LEFT THE AGENT CASHIER'S OFFICE.' ON THE BASIS OF THIS REPORT THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION DETERMINED THAT YOU WERE WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE IN THE MATTER AND RELIEF UNDER 31 U.S.C. 82A-1 WAS REQUESTED AND RECOMMENDED.

THE LAW FOUND AT 31 U.S.C. 82A-1 PROVIDES, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS AUTHORIZED, AFTER CONSIDERATION OF THE PERTINENT FINDINGS AND IF IN CONCURRENCE WITH THE DETERMINATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED, TO RELIEVE ANY DISBURSING OR OTHER ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER OR AGENT * * * CHARGED WITH RESPONSIBILITY ON ACCOUNT OF PHYSICAL LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS * * * IF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT DETERMINES (1) THAT SUCH LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OCCURRED WHILE SUCH OFFICER OR AGENT WAS ACTING IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES * * * AND (2) THAT SUCH LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF SUCH OFFICER OR AGENT. * *

THIS MATTER WAS INVESTIGATED BY THE SECRET SERVICE AND IN VIEW OF THE FINDINGS MADE IN THAT INVESTIGATION WE WERE UNABLE TO CONCUR WITH THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION FINDING THAT YOU WERE FREE FROM FAULT.

NOTHING CONTAINED IN YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 30, 1968, FORMS A BASIS TO CHANGE OUR DECISION. THE STATEMENTS SUBMITTED IN YOUR BEHALF BY CO WORKERS ARE TO THE EFFECT THAT WHEN MAKING CASH DISBURSEMENTS YOU DO NOT REMOVE YOUR CASH TRAY FROM ITS DRAWER. WE CANNOT ACCEPT THESE STATEMENTS AS ESTABLISHING THAT ON THE DAY OF THE THEFT, YOU DID NOT HAVE THE CASH TRAY ON THE COUNTER.

WE REGRET THAT WE ARE UNABLE TO CONCUR IN THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION DETERMINATION BUT SUCH CONCURRENCE IS A CONDITION PRECEDENT UNDER 31 U.S.C. 82A-1 TO A GRANT OF THE RELIEF SOUGHT. ACCORDINGLY, OUR PREVIOUS ACTIONS IN THIS MATTER ARE SUSTAINED AND THE REQUESTED RELIEF DENIED.