B-164699, JUL. 8, 1968

B-164699: Jul 8, 1968

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TO LIEUTENANT SNIDER: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 11. IT IS CLEAR FROM THE RECORD THAT NO AUTHORIZED ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIAL IS IN A POSITION TO CERTIFY THAT THESE CALLS WERE OFFICIAL AND MADE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPHS 2210.5B AND 2210.9 AFM 100-22 AND BY 31 U.S.C. 680A. TO THE EFFECT THAT THE USE OF THE TELEPHONE IN SUCH INSTANCES WAS NECESSARY IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT.'. REQUIRES THE BASE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER TO CERTIFY PURSUANT TO 31 U.S.C. 680A THAT USE OF THE TELEPHONE FOR OFFICIAL LONG DISTANCE CALLS FOR WHICH PAYMENT IS TO BE MADE WAS NECESSARY IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. WE HAVE HELD IN SIMILAR CASES THAT CONTRACTS FOR TELEPHONE SERVICES MUST BE VIEWED AS HAVING BEEN MADE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 680A AND THAT THE ACT CONTAINS NO AUTHORITY FOR ITS WAIVER BY AN OFFICER OR AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT IN ANY CASE.

B-164699, JUL. 8, 1968

TO LIEUTENANT SNIDER:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 11, 1968, FORWARDED BY THE ASSISTANT CHIEF, MATERIEL ACCOUNTING DIVISION, ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION RELATIVE TO PAYMENT OF A CLAIM BY SOUTHWESTERN BELL TELEPHONE COMPANY FOR $480.04, COVERING CHARGES FOR CERTAIN UNOFFICIAL LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE CALLS PLACED FROM ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE DURING THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 23, 1966, THROUGH AUGUST 14, 1967.

IT IS CLEAR FROM THE RECORD THAT NO AUTHORIZED ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIAL IS IN A POSITION TO CERTIFY THAT THESE CALLS WERE OFFICIAL AND MADE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPHS 2210.5B AND 2210.9 AFM 100-22 AND BY 31 U.S.C. 680A.

SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF MAY 10, 1939, 53 STAT. 738 (31 U.S.C. 680A), PROVIDES THAT:

"* * * NO PART OF ANY APPROPRIATION FOR ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR AGENCY SHALL BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS EXCEPT FOR THE TRANSACTION OF PUBLIC BUSINESS WHICH THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT REQUIRE TO BE SO TRANSACTED; AND ALL SUCH PAYMENTS SHALL BE SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR AGENCY CONCERNED, OR SUCH SUBORDINATES AS HE MAY SPECIALLY DESIGNATE, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE USE OF THE TELEPHONE IN SUCH INSTANCES WAS NECESSARY IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT.'

PARAGRAPH 2210.9 AFM 100-22, REQUIRES THE BASE COMMUNICATIONS OFFICER TO CERTIFY PURSUANT TO 31 U.S.C. 680A THAT USE OF THE TELEPHONE FOR OFFICIAL LONG DISTANCE CALLS FOR WHICH PAYMENT IS TO BE MADE WAS NECESSARY IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT.

YOU REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER THE STATUTORY AND REGULATORY PROVISIONS QUOTED ABOVE PROHIBIT PAYMENT IN THIS CASE EVEN THOUGH THE CONTRACTOR PROVIDED SERVICES CALLED FOR BY THE CONTRACT. YOU ALSO INQUIRE WHETHER IT WOULD BE PERMISSIBLE TO PAY THE CONTRACTOR FOR THE TOLL CHARGES FOR CALLS MADE BY IDENTIFIED PERSONS WITH SUBSEQUENT COLLECTIONS FROM SUCH PERSONS USED TO REIMBURSE THE APPROPRIATIONS.

WE HAVE HELD IN SIMILAR CASES THAT CONTRACTS FOR TELEPHONE SERVICES MUST BE VIEWED AS HAVING BEEN MADE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. 680A AND THAT THE ACT CONTAINS NO AUTHORITY FOR ITS WAIVER BY AN OFFICER OR AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT IN ANY CASE-- NOR DOES ANY SUCH AUTHORITY OTHERWISE EXIST. CONSEQUENTLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF ACTUAL PRIOR COLLECTION FROM THE INDIVIDUALS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE AMOUNTS DUE FOR SAID CALLS, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO LEGAL BASIS FOR PAYING THE CLAIM. SEE B-36190, AUGUST 12, 1943, AND B-90487, NOVEMBER 29, 1949.