B-176226, AUG 14, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 85

B-176226: Aug 14, 1972

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IS DEEMED TO BE A LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT (D.C.). AS THE AGENCY IS NOT AN INDEPENDENT OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. IT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS AND MOVING EXPENSES FOR NEW EMPLOYEES BUT TO THE REGULATIONS THAT GOVERN D.C. WHICH ARE THE SAME AS THOSE FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND. 1972: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 7. SO LONG AS SUCH REIMBURSEMENTS ARE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT? (2) CAN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REDEVELOPMENT LAND AGENCY REIMBURSE NEW EMPLOYEES FOR THEIR EXPENSES.

B-176226, AUG 14, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 85

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - REDEVELOPMENT LAND AGENCY - TRAVEL EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT TO PROSPECTIVE AND NEW EMPLOYEES THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REDEVELOPMENT LAND AGENCY (RLA), ALTHOUGH A FEDERAL CORPORATION, IS DEEMED TO BE A LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT (D.C.) FOR THE PURPOSES OF TITLE I OF THE HOUSING ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED (5 D.C. CODE 717AG)), WHICH PROVIDES FOR FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES, AND AS THE AGENCY IS NOT AN INDEPENDENT OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, IT IS NOT SUBJECT TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT REGULATIONS AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS AND MOVING EXPENSES FOR NEW EMPLOYEES BUT TO THE REGULATIONS THAT GOVERN D.C. EMPLOYEES, WHICH ARE THE SAME AS THOSE FOR FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND, THEREFORE, IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORITY, RLA MAY NOT PAY TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR PREEMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS OR RELOCATION EXPENSES TO NEW EMPLOYEES.

TO EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REDEVELOPMENT LAND AGENCY, AUGUST 14, 1972:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 7, 1972, REQUESTING OUR DECISION TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(1) CAN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REDEVELOPMENT LAND AGENCY REIMBURSE APPLICANTS FOR PERMANENT PROFESSIONAL AND SUPERVISORY POSITIONS ACTUAL TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED FOR THE PURPOSE OF EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS WITH THE AGENCY, SO LONG AS SUCH REIMBURSEMENTS ARE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT?

(2) CAN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REDEVELOPMENT LAND AGENCY REIMBURSE NEW EMPLOYEES FOR THEIR EXPENSES, INCLUDING THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES, HOUSEHOLD GOODS, AND PERSONAL EFFECTS, INCURRED IN MOVING TO THE WASHINGTON AREA TO BEGIN EMPLOYMENT WITH THE AGENCY, SO LONG AS REIMBURSEMENTS ARE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT?

YOU RECOGNIZE THAT THE TYPES OF EXPENDITURES INVOLVED MAY NOT BE MADE BY FEDERAL AGENCIES IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES OR AUTHORIZATION. HOWEVER, YOU STATE THAT WHILE THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA REDEVELOPMENT LAND AGENCY (RLA) IS A FEDERAL CORPORATION (THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, CH. 736, 60 STAT. 790), IT IS A LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY FOR ALL THE PURPOSES OF TITLE I OF THE HOUSING ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED (5 D.C. CODE 717AG) DERIVED FROM TITLE VI, SECTION 609, OF THE ACT OF JULY 15, 1949, CH. 338, 63 STAT. 441). TITLE I OF THE HOUSING ACT OF 1949 PERTAINS TO THE EXTENSION OF FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES FOR COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND REDEVELOPMENT IN THE FORM OF LOANS AND GRANTS. YOU ALSO STATE THAT:

HUD IS CHARGED WITH PROMULGATING REGULATIONS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE HOUSING ACT OF 1949, AND HAS DONE SO IN PART IN THE FORM OF THE HUD URBAN RENEWAL HANDBOOK. SUCH REGULATIONS SPECIFY THOSE EXPENDITURES OF LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCIES WHICH ARE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES INCIDENTAL TO CARRYING OUT AN URBAN RENEWAL PROJECT AND THUS PAYABLE FROM FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE BY THE APPLICABLE LOAN AND GRANT CONTRACT. SUCH REGULATIONS (RHA 7217.1, CHAPTER 1, SECTION 4, PAGE 14) STATE THE FOLLOWING IN REGARD TO THE TWO QUESTIONS STATED ABOVE:

"PROJECT COSTS MAY INCLUDE (1) TRAVEL EXPENSE FOR EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS INCURRED BY APPLICANTS FOR PERMANENT PROFESSIONAL AND SUPERVISORY POSITIONS OF THE LPA, AND (2) MOVING EXPENSES INCURRED BY NEW LPA EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS, FOR SUCH POSITIONS.

"THE INCURRING OF THESE EXPENSES SHALL BE AUTHORIZED IN EACH CASE IN ADVANCE BY OFFICIAL ACTION (AS DESCRIBED IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF THIS SECTION). SPECIFIC ACTION IS REQUIRED WITH RESPECT TO EACH INDIVIDUAL APPLICANT OR EMPLOYEE CONCERNED. THE RESOLUTION OR OTHER OFFICIAL ACTION SHALL INCLUDE A DETERMNATON THAT THE EXPENSE IS REASONABLE AND NECESSARY IN THE PARTICULAR CASE."

THE ABOVE REGULATIONS PERMIT LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCIES TO REIMBURSE PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES TRAVEL EXPENSES AND NEW EMPLOYEES MOVING EXPENSES SUBJECT TO CERTAIN CONDITIONS. INASMUCH AS THE AGENCY IS CONSIDERED BY LAW (5 D.C. CODE 717(A)) TO BE A LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY FOR ALL THE PURPOSES OF TITLE I OF THE HOUSING ACT OF 1949, IT IS OUR POSITION THAT WE, REGARDLESS OF OUR STATUS OTHERWISE AS A FEDERAL AGENCY, ARE LAWFULLY ABLE TO MAKE THE SAME EXPENDITURES ***.

IN SUPPORT OF THE POSITION STATED ABOVE YOU ALSO NOTE OUR DETERMINATION THAT ONCE FEDERAL FUNDS ARE TRANSFERRED TO STATE OR LOCAL AGENCIES PURSUANT TO LOAN AND GRANT CONTRACTS, THE CONDITIONS OF THE LOAN AND GRANT CONTROL THE EXPEDITURE OF SUCH FUNDS, AND NOT THE FEDERAL STATUTORY RESTRICTIONS GENERALLY APPLICABLE TO THE EXPENDITURES OF APPROPRIATED MONEYS.

IN B-121019, DECEMBER 17, 1954, COPY ENCLOSED, IT WAS HELD THAT RLA APPEARED TO BE A LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT AND NOT AN "INDEPENDENT OFFICE OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT." SEE ALSO B-121019, JUNE 7, 1955, COPY ENCLOSED. WE RECOGNIZE THAT FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES, SUCH AS THE FEDERAL TORT CLAIMS ACT, RLA HAS BEEN CONSIDERED TO BE A FEDERAL AGENCY. GODDARD, ET AL. V. UNITED STATES, 287 F.2D 343(1961). HOWEVER, FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS CASE WE SHALL CONSIDER RLA TO BE A LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DECISIONS CITED ABOVE.

WE HAVE CAREFULLY CONSIDERED THE REGULATIONS QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER. IS OUR VIEW THAT SUCH REGULATIONS ARE TO BE USED AS GUIDELINES FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF RULES BY A LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY SHOULD NO LOCAL POLICIES EXIST. IN THIS CONNECTION YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO URBAN RENEWAL HANDBOOK, RHM 7217.1, CHAPTER 1, SECTION 4, PARAGRAPH 2, WHICH STATES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

2 LOCAL PUBLIC PRACTICE

A. ADOPTION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT POLICIES. LOCAL GOVERNMENT MEANS THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CITY, COUNTY, OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION WHICH ESTABLISHED THE LOCAL AGENCY OR FOR WHICH IT WAS ESTABLISHED. IN THE CASE OF A REGIONAL AUTHORITY OR AGENCY, LOCAL GOVERNMENT MEANS THE MUNICIPALITY, COUNTY, OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION IN WHICH THE LOCAL AGENCY CENTRAL OFFICE IS LOCATED.

(1) WHEN THE LOCAL AGENCY IS A UNIT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ITS ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICES ARE GOVERNED BY STATE OR LOCAL REGULATIONS SIMILARLY APPLICABLE TO ALL OTHER EMPLOYEES OF THAT GOVERNING UNIT, THE LOCAL AGENCY MUST FOLLOW THE LOCAL REGULATIONS WITH RESPECT TO ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICES, SUBJECT TO THE SPECIFIC LIMITATIONS IN THIS CHAPTER. A COPY OF THE APPLICABLE POLICIES MUST BE RETAINED IN THE LOCAL AGENCY'S OFFICE AND MUST REMAIN AVAILABLE FOR HUD REVIEW.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE REGULATIONS AND INASMUCH AS RLA IS DEEMED TO BE A LOCAL PUBLIC AGENCY WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS CASE, IT FOLLOWS THAT RLA SHOULD APPLY THE TRAVEL AND RELOCATION REGULATION APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE REGULATIONS FOR SUCH EMPLOYEES ARE THE SAME AS THOSE FOR EMPLOYEES OF FEDERAL AGENCIES. SEE 5 U.S.C. 5701; 5 U.S.C. 5721; OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB) CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 10, 1971, SECTION 1.1; AND OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 1, 1971, SECTIONS 1.2B AND C.

AS YOU HAVE NOTED IN YOUR LETTER, THERE ARE ESTABLISHED RULES THAT AN AGENCY OR INSTRUMENTALITY WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS CITED ABOVE MAY NOT PROPERLY PAY EITHER TRAVEL EXPENSES TO PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES FOR PREEMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS (40 COMP. GEN. 221(1960)) OR RELOCATION EXPENSES TO NEW EMPLOYEES (7 COMP. GEN. 203(1927)) UNLESS THERE IS SPECIFIC AUTHORITY THEREFOR. WE ARE NOT AWARE OF ANY AUTHORITY WHICH WOULD EXEMPT RLA FROM THE ABOVE RULES SO AS TO PERMIT IT TO MAKE EXPENDITURES OF THE TYPE HERE INVOLVED.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE YOUR QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.