B-24356 March 18, 1942

B-24356: Mar 18, 1942

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My dear General Hershey: I have your letter of March 5. As follows: "There is presented for your consideration the following matter. The following is contained: "'Sec. 4. There is contained the following: "'(d) The Chief of Finance. Is hereby designated. "There is doubt as to the position. Of the Selective Service System who certify vouchers which are paid by the Chief of Finance. There are respectfully presented the following questions. "1. Are not disbursing functions of the Selective Service System 'under the jurisdiction of the War Department'? "3. Are the provisions of section 2 of the act of December 29. 1941 applicable to all employees of the Selective Service System who certify vouchers which are paid through the Chief of Finance.

B-24356 March 18, 1942

Director, Selective Service System.

My dear General Hershey:

I have your letter of March 5, 1942, as follows:

"There is presented for your consideration the following matter.

"In Section 4 of Public Law 389-77th Congress, approved December 29, 1941, to be effective on the first day of the fourth month following the date of its enactment, the following is contained:

"'Sec. 4. Nothing contained herein shall apply to the disbursing functions under the jurisdiction of the War Department, the Navy Department (including the Marine Corps), and the Panama Canal, except those pertaining to departmental salaries and expenses in the District of Columbia.'

"In Section 10(d) of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, as amended, there is contained the following:

"'(d) The Chief of Finance, United States Army, is hereby designated, empowered, and directed to act as the fiscal, disbursing, and accounting agent of the Director of Selective Service in carrying out the provisions of this Act.'

"There is doubt as to the position, under the provisions of the act of December 29, 1941, of employees, both in National Headquarters and in the field, of the Selective Service System who certify vouchers which are paid by the Chief of Finance, United States Army, and there are respectfully presented the following questions.

"1. What does the phrase 'disbursing functions under the jurisdiction of the War Department' mean?

"2. Inasmuch as the Chief of Finance, United States Army, has been 'designated, empowered, and directed to act as the fiscal, disbursing, and accounting agent of the Director of Selective Service', are not disbursing functions of the Selective Service System 'under the jurisdiction of the War Department'?

"3. Are the provisions of section 2 of the act of December 29, 1941 applicable to all employees of the Selective Service System who certify vouchers which are paid through the Chief of Finance, United States Army, as 'fiscal, disbursing, and accounting agent of the Director of Selective Service'?"

Section 4 of the act of December 29, 1941, Public Law 389, quoted in your letter, was sponsored by the Secretary of the Navy for the express purpose of making the said act inapplicable to disbursements made by the agencies named therein, the exception with respect to disbursing functions pertaining to departmental salaries and expenses in the District of Columbia being appropriate because actual disbursements on account thereof are made by the Division of Disbursement, Treasury Department, and not by the named agencies. In a proposed report to the Congress the Secretary of the Navy suggested the inclusion in the bill H.R. 5604 of the provision which became section 4 of Public Law 389 and explained the purpose and desirability thereof, in part, as follows:

"Executive Order No. 6728, dated May 29, 1934, provides that the first paragraph of section 4 of Executive Order No. 6166, of June 10, 1933, be revoked insofar as and to the extent that it is applicable to the disbursing functions under the jurisdiction of the War Department, the Navy Department (including the Marine Corps), and the Panama Canal, except those pertaining to departmental salaries and expenses in the District of Columbia.

"Since disbursing officers of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps perform disbursing duties independent of the centralized disbursing system, it is the opinion of the Navy Department that the proposed legislation should not be applicable to the military services."

In commenting on the proposed report this office advised the Director, Bureau of the Budget, in part, as follows:

"***as pointed out in the proposed report of the Secretary of the Navy, Executive Order No. 6728, dated May 29, 1934, made section 4 of Executive Order No. 6166, supra, inapplicable to 'the disbursing functions under the jurisdiction of the War Department, the Navy Department (including the Marine corps), and the Panama Canal, except those pertaining to departmental salaries and expenses in the District of Columbia.' that is to say, disbursing functions or the War Department, the Navy Department (including the Marine Corps), and the Panama Canal, except these pertaining to departmental salaries and expenses in the District of Columbia, are not performed by the Division of Disbursement, Treasury Department, and, except with respect to disbursing functions of those agencies pertaining to departmental salaries and expenses in the District of Columbia, the provisions of Executive Order No. 6166 transferring additional responsibilities to certifying officers are not applicable to certifying officers in those agencies. For that reason the Secretary of the Navy proposes to recommend an amendment to the bill H.R. 5064 making said bill inapplicable, in effect, to such disbursing and certifying officers.

"Since the disbursing functions of the War Department, the Navy Department (including the Marine Corps), and the Panama Canal, except those pertaining to departmental salaries and expenses in the District of Columbia, have not been affected by section 4 of Executive Order No. 6166, the confusion resulting from the issuance of the duties and responsibilities of disbursing and certifying officers does not relate to those agencies. Consequently, the need for clarifying legislation as represented by the bill H.R. 5064 is not so immediate and imperative as to those agencies except to the extent that disbursing functions of those agencies have been transferred to the Division of Disbursement of the Treasury Department."

Under the circumstances and having regard for the legislative background of the said section 4, including the purposes thereof and Executive Order No. 6166, June 10, 1933, it would appear that the expression "disbursing functions under the jurisdiction of the War Department", was intended to relate to the functions of actually disbursing funds--to the paying of vouchers, etc.

Section 10(d) of the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, 54 Stat. 885, 894, as amended, quoted in your letter, designates the Chief of Finance as the fiscal, disbursing, and accounting agent of the Director of Selective Service. In connection therewith, section 606.2 of the Selective Service Regulations provides as follows:

"606.2 Chief of Finance, United States Army, fiscal, disbursing and accounting agent. The Chief of Finance, United States Army, is designated as the fiscal, disbursing, and accounting agent of the director of Selective Service. Disbursement of funds for the Selective Service System shall be made by the Chief of Finance, upon properly certified vouchers, through designated finance officers."

The pertinent provisions of law with respect to disbursements under the Chief of Finance are contained in sections 171 to 174, inclusive, Title 10, U.S. Code, as follows:

"171. Composition of Finance Department. The Finance Department shall consist of one Chief of Finance with the rank, pay, and allowances of a Major General, one hundred and seventy-six officers in grades from colonel to second lieutenant, inclusive, and nine hundred enlisted men."

"172. Duties of Chief of Finance. The Chief of Finance, under the authority of the Secretary, shall be charged with the disbursement of all funds of the War Department, including the pay of the Army and the mileage for officers and the accounting therefor; and with such other fiscal and accounting duties as may be required by law, or assigned to him by the Secretary of War."

"173. Delegation of duties by disbursing officers. Under such regulations as may be prescribed by the Secretary of War, officers of the Finance Department, accountable for public moneys, may intrust moneys to other officers or warrant officers for the purpose of having them make disbursements as their agents, and the officer or warrant officer to whom the moneys are intrusted, as well as the officer who intrusts the moneys to him, shall be held pecuniarily responsible therefor to the United States."

"174. Supervision of disbursements by disbursing officers. It shall be the duty of the Secretary of War to cause frequent inquiries to be made as t the necessity, economy, and propriety of all disbursements made by disbursing officers of the Army, and as to their strict conformity to the law appropriating the money; also to ascertain whether the disbursing officers of the Army comply with the law in keeping their accounts and making their deposits; such inquiries to be made by officers of the inspection department of the Army, or others detailed for that purpose; Provided, That no officer so detailed shall be in any way connected with the department or corps making the disbursement."

Thus, it appears that the Chief of Finance is the disbursing agent for the Selective Service System; that disbursements are not actually made by the Chief of Finance but are made through him by finance (disbursing) officers under the War Department in accordance with the disbursing system prevailing in the said Department; and that the Chief of Finance and the various disbursing officers of that system are under the administrative control and supervision of the Secretary of War. Also, it appears that appropriations for the pay of selective service trainees are made directly to the War Department (Public Law 139, 77th Congress), and that funds appropriated for the Selective Service System (Public Law 28, 77th Congress), are allotted to the War Department for disbursements pertaining to the Selective Service System. See War Department Finance Bulletin No. 27, March 3, 1942. Under the circumstances, payments actually made through the Chief of Finance by disbursing officers of the Army, or finance officers under the War Department, are to be regarded as "disbursing functions under the jurisdiction of the War Department" within the meaning of the act of December 29, 1941, Public Law 389. In this connection, it should be noted that the disbursing activities performed under the Chief of Finance for the Selective Service System appear to be no different, in any material way, form those performed under the Chief Disbursing Officer, Treasury Department, for other Government agencies, by virtue of Executive Order No 6166, June 10, 1933, which transferred to the Treasury Department, the "function of disbursement."

Therefore, since the act of December 29, 1941, expressly excludes "disbursing functions under the jurisdiction of the War Department", there is no requirement o flaw that payments made for the Selective Service System by or under the Chief of Finance, War Department, be made upon vouchers certified by bonded certifying officers and, consequently, there is no legal requirement that persons who certify vouchers on behalf of the Selective Service System for payment by disbursing officers under the War Department be bonded.

The questions proposed are answered accordingly.

Respectfully,

Lindsay C. Warren Comptroller General of the United States