B-166452, APRIL 17, 1969, 48 COMP. GEN. 678

B-166452: Apr 17, 1969

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TERM AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE WHO WITHIN 1 YEAR AFTER BECOMING ELIGIBLE FOR AND RECEIVING FULL PAYMENT OF THE INITIAL $60 ANNUAL UNIFORM ALLOWANCE PROVIDED FOR MALE MAINTENANCE NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES OF THE SERVICE IS PROMOTED TO A SUPERVISORY POSITION IN WHICH AN EMPLOYEE IS ALLOWED AN ANNUAL UNIFORM ALLOWANCE OF $125. IF HE WAS REQUIRED TO PURCHASE A SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT UNIFORM HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO THE $125 ALLOWANCE FROM THE DATE OF PROMOTION. A-30 PRESCRIBING THE $125 ANNUAL UNIFORM ALLOWANCE FOR SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES CONTEMPLATE THAT AN EMPLOYEE WILL REMAIN SUBJECT TO SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS DURING THE ANNUAL PERIOD TO WHICH THE LIMITATION APPLIES.

B-166452, APRIL 17, 1969, 48 COMP. GEN. 678

UNIFORMS--CIVILIAN PERSONNEL--ALLOWANCES--TERM AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE WHO WITHIN 1 YEAR AFTER BECOMING ELIGIBLE FOR AND RECEIVING FULL PAYMENT OF THE INITIAL $60 ANNUAL UNIFORM ALLOWANCE PROVIDED FOR MALE MAINTENANCE NONSUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES OF THE SERVICE IS PROMOTED TO A SUPERVISORY POSITION IN WHICH AN EMPLOYEE IS ALLOWED AN ANNUAL UNIFORM ALLOWANCE OF $125, IF HE WAS REQUIRED TO PURCHASE A SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT UNIFORM HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO THE $125 ALLOWANCE FROM THE DATE OF PROMOTION, NOTHWITHSTANDING THE YEAR COVERED BY THE PAYMENT RECEIVED HAD NOT EXPIRED, IN VIEW OF THE FACT 5 U.S.C. 5901 AND SECTION 4C OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-30 PRESCRIBING THE $125 ANNUAL UNIFORM ALLOWANCE FOR SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES CONTEMPLATE THAT AN EMPLOYEE WILL REMAIN SUBJECT TO SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS DURING THE ANNUAL PERIOD TO WHICH THE LIMITATION APPLIES.

TO HAROLD P. DANZ, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, APRIL 17, 1969:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13, 1969, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE S94 (WR) AF, REQUESTING OUR ADVANCE DECISION WHETHER A VOUCHER COVERING PAYMENT OF UNIFORM ALLOWANCE IN FAVOR OF MR. ROBERT D. LAKE, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, WESTERN REGION, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

YOU REPORT THAT EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 6, 1968, THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ESTABLISHED A POLICY THAT ALL MAINTENANCE EMPLOYEES WOULD BE REQUIRED TO WEAR UNIFORMS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES. IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH POLICY ADMINISTRATIVE STANDARDS WERE PRESCRIBED PROVIDING FOR THE PAYMENT OF UNIFORM ALLOWANCES IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5901-5903 AND BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-30, REVISED, AUGUST 20, 1966. UNDER THE ADMINISTRATIVE STANDARDS ALL MALE MAINTENANCE EMPLOYEES IN NONSUPERVISORY POSITIONS ARE ENTITLED TO AN INITIAL UNIFORM ALLOWANCE OF $60, AND ALL EMPLOYEES IN SUPERVISORY POSITIONS ARE ENTITLED TO AN INITIAL ALLOWANCE OF $125.

ON OCTOBER 6, 1968, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE POLICY, MR. LAKE OCCUPIED A NONSUPERVISORY POSITION AND, ACCORDINGLY, WAS PAID AN INITIAL UNIFORM ALLOWANCE OF $60 COVERING THE 1-YEAR PERIOD FROM OCTOBER 6, 1968, TO OCTOBER 6, 1969. SUCH PAYMENT WAS MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 6F OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-30, WHICH AUTHORIZES PAYMENT OF THE FULL INITIAL UNIFORM ALLOWANCE IN ADVANCE OF THE YEAR OF SERVICE.

ON JANUARY 26, 1969, MR. LAKE WAS PROMOTED TO A SUPERVISORY POSITION AND, THUS, BECAME ELIGIBLE FOR THE HIGHER UNIFORM ALLOWANCE OF $125 APPLICABLE TO SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES. IN VIEW THEREOF, MR. LAKE'S EMPLOYING OFFICE SUBMITTED A VOUCHER REQUESTING PAYMENT OF AN INITIAL ALLOWANCE OF $125 TO MR. LAKE COVERING THE PERIOD JANUARY 26, 1969, TO JANUARY 26, 1970. YOU REPORT, HOWEVER, THAT SUCH VOUCHER WAS CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF ONLY $65 SINCE AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF $65, TOGETHER WITH THE $60 ALLOWANCE PREVIOUSLY PAID TO MR. LAKE, WOULD HAVE RESULTED IN HIS RECEIVING A TOTAL PAYMENT IN EXCESS OF $125 FOR THE 1-YEAR PERIOD FROM OCTOBER 6, 1968, TO OCTOBER 6, 1969.

IN PROTESTING THE SUSPENSION OF $60 FROM HIS VOUCHER MR. LAKE POINTS OUT THAT AFTER HIS PROMOTION ON JANUARY 26, 1969, HE NO LONGER WAS ABLE TO WEAR THE UNIFORMS WHICH HE PURCHASED WITH THE ORIGINAL $60 UNIFORM ALLOWANCE. SINCE HE WAS REQUIRED TO PURCHASE COMPLETELY NEW UNIFORMS UPON HIS PROMOTION TO THE SUPERVISORY POSITION, MR. LAKE BELIEVES THAT HE IS ENTITLED TO RECEIVE THE FULL $125 ALLOWANCE WHICH INITIALLY IS AUTHORIZED FOR SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES.

SECTION 5901 OF TITLE 5, U.S.C. AUTHORIZES AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $125 TO BE APPROPRIATED ANNUALLY FOR EACH EMPLOYEE WHO IS REQUIRED BY LAW OR REGULATION TO WEAR A PRESCRIBED UNIFORM IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES. THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED IS REQUIRED TO (1) FURNISH TO EACH SUCH EMPLOYEE UNIFORMS AT A COST NOT TO EXCEED $125 A YEAR, OR (2) PAY TO EACH SUCH EMPLOYEE AN ALLOWANCE FOR UNIFORMS NOT TO EXCEED $125 A YEAR. THE ALLOWANCES ARE REQUIRED TO BE PAID IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET PURSUANT TO 5 U.S.C. 5903.

IN THAT REGARD SECTION 4C OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-30 PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

DETERMINING COMMENCEMENT OF ANNUAL ALLOWANCES OR ALLOTMENTS. THE ANNUAL PERIOD TO WHICH THE LIMITATION OF $125 PER EMPLOYEE APPLIES SHALL BEGIN WITH THE DATE ON WHICH AN EMPLOYEE FIRST BECOMES ELIGIBLE FOR A UNIFORM OR A UNIFORM ALLOWANCE UNDER THE ACT.

THE REGULATIONS CONTAIN NO PROVISION COVERING THE CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO WITHIN 1 YEAR AFTER BECOMING ELIGIBLE FOR AND RECEIVING FULL PAYMENT OF AN INITIAL UNIFORM ALLOWANCE IS PROMOTED OR ASSIGNED TO ANOTHER POSITION REQUIRING A DIFFERENT UNIFORM. HOWEVER, WE BELIEVE THAT BOTH THE STATUTE AND SECTION 4C OF THE REGULATIONS, QUOTED ABOVE, MUST BE CONSTRUED AS CONTEMPLATING THAT THE EMPLOYEE WILL REMAIN SUBJECT TO SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME UNIFORM REQUIREMENTS DURING THE ANNUAL PERIOD TO WHICH THE $125 LIMITATION APPLIES. TO HOLD OTHERWISE WOULD, IN OUR OPINION, CONSTITUTE AN UNREASONABLE AND ILLOGICAL CONSTRUCTION OF THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS.

THEREFORE, IN THE PRESENT CASE WE BELIEVE THAT FOR PURPOSES OF APPLYING THE ANNUAL LIMITATION OF $125 THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE REGARDED AS HAVING COMMENCED A NEW 1-YEAR PERIOD ON THE DATE (JANUARY 26, 1969) THAT HE WAS PROMOTED TO THE SUPERVISORY POSITION AND THEREBY BECAME ELIGIBLE FOR THE UNIFORM ALLOWANCE APPLICABLE TO SUPERVISORS. WE EMPHASIZE, HOWEVER, THAT THE ABOVE RULING IS PREDICATED UPON THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE HERE INVOLVED WAS REQUIRED TO PURCHASE SUBSTANTIALLY DIFFERENT UNIFORMS AS A RESULT OF HIS PROMOTION.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.