B-173503, SEP 15, 1971

B-173503: Sep 15, 1971

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AS COURT WAS OPEN ON A 24-HOUR BASIS AND EMPLOYEES WERE REQUIRED TO BE AVAILABLE ON MOMENT'S NOTICE. SUCH EXPENSE WAS NECESSARY FOR THE OPERATION OF THE COURT. MANY OF THESE INDIVIDUALS IT IS STATED WORKED 16 HOURS A DAY AND COULD NOT RETURN TO THEIR HOMES. YOU ARE UNAWARE OF ANY SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF LODGING FOR COURT EMPLOYEES. UNTIL AN APPROPRIATION THEREFOR SHALL HAVE BEEN MADE IN TERMS BY THE CONGRESS *** .". THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE HAVE BEEN HELD APPLICABLE TO THE RENTAL OF BUILDINGS BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT. AS THE RENTAL OF QUARTERS UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED WAS NECESSARY TO THE FUNCTION OF THE SUPERIOR COURT. THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED AND MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN LINE WITH THE ABOVE.

B-173503, SEP 15, 1971

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - PAYMENT OF QUARTERS EXPENSE DECISION ALLOWING CERTIFICATION OF VOUCHER REPRESENTING HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS, ROOM CHARGES ONLY, PROVIDED EMPLOYEES OF THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DURING "MAY DAY DEMONSTRATIONS." AS COURT WAS OPEN ON A 24-HOUR BASIS AND EMPLOYEES WERE REQUIRED TO BE AVAILABLE ON MOMENT'S NOTICE, SUCH EXPENSE WAS NECESSARY FOR THE OPERATION OF THE COURT. PAYMENT MAY BE MADE UNDER PUBLIC SAFETY PROVISION OF THE 1971 D.C. APPROPRIATION ACT WHICH MAKES AVAILABLE FUNDS FOR RENTAL OF QUARTERS.

TO MR. O. F. MALTAGLIATI:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 6, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURES, TRANSMITTED A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,087.05 DRAWN IN FAVOR OF THE QUALITY MOTEL, 415 NEW JERSEY AVENUE, N.W., WASHINGTON, D. C.

THE PAYMENT REPRESENTS HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS - ROOM CHARGES ONLY - PROVIDED VARIOUS EMPLOYEES OF THE SUPERIOR COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA DURING THE "MAY DAY DEMONSTRATIONS."

YOU POINT OUT THAT CHIEF JUDGE HAROLD H. GREENE UNDER AUTHORITY OF PUBLIC LAW 91-358 OFFICIALLY DECLARED SUPERIOR COURT TO BE OPEN ON A 24 HOUR BASIS DURING THE DEMONSTRATIONS. THE PAPERS SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER SHOW THAT THE COURT REQUIRED CERTAIN INDIVIDUALS BE AVAILABLE ON A MOMENT'S NOTICE. MANY OF THESE INDIVIDUALS IT IS STATED WORKED 16 HOURS A DAY AND COULD NOT RETURN TO THEIR HOMES, AND THE CHIEF JUDGE THEREFORE DECIDED TO HOUSE THEM IN THE QUALITY MOTEL.

YOU STATE YOUR AWARENESS OF THE ABOVE WORK SITUATION, BUT YOU ARE UNAWARE OF ANY SPECIFIC APPROPRIATION AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF LODGING FOR COURT EMPLOYEES. YOU ASK WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY THE VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT.

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1877, 19 STAT. 370, 40 U.S.C. 34, PROHIBITS THE EXECUTION OF ANY CONTRACT "FOR THE RENT OF ANY BUILDING, OR PART OF ANY BUILDING, TO BE USED FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, UNTIL AN APPROPRIATION THEREFOR SHALL HAVE BEEN MADE IN TERMS BY THE CONGRESS *** ." THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE HAVE BEEN HELD APPLICABLE TO THE RENTAL OF BUILDINGS BY THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 424 (1937), 34 ID. 593 (1955), 35 ID. 314 (1955). HOWEVER, THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1971 WHICH UNDER "PUBLIC SAFETY" PROVIDES FUNDS FOR THE OPERATION OF THE COURTS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - STATES IN SECTION 11 IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"APPROPRIATIONS IN THIS ACT SHALL BE AVAILABLE, WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE COMMISSIONER, FOR THE RENTAL OF QUARTERS *** ."

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE PROVISION, AND AS THE RENTAL OF QUARTERS UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED WAS NECESSARY TO THE FUNCTION OF THE SUPERIOR COURT, IT MAY BE REGARDED AS A PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE SUBJECT TO AUTHORIZATION BY THE COMMISSIONER (MAYOR).

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED AND MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN LINE WITH THE ABOVE.