B-24823, APRIL 3, 1942, 21 COMP. GEN. 905

B-24823: Apr 3, 1942

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ARE NOT PRIVATE RESIDENCES OR PRIVATE APARTMENTS WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23. SO THAT THE INSTALLATION OF TELEPHONES THEREIN AT PUBLIC EXPENSE WHEN NECESSARY FOR THE TRANSACTION OF PUBLIC BUSINESS IS AUTHORIZED. 1942: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 24. AS FOLLOWS: THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY AND THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE HELD. ARE PRIVATE RESIDENCES OR PRIVATE APARTMENTS WITHIN THE MEANING CONTEMPLATED IN SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23. IT APPEARS THAT THESE DECISIONS HAVE. EXCEPTION TO THIS GENERAL RULE WAS MADE IN THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL APRIL 27. IN A ROOM EQUIPPED AND USED AS AN OFFICE FOR THE TRANSACTION OF PUBLIC BUSINESS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF LIGHTHOUSES AT TIMES WHEN THE OFFICE OUTSIDE THE RESERVATION IS OFFICIALLY CLOSED.

B-24823, APRIL 3, 1942, 21 COMP. GEN. 905

TELEPHONES - INSTALLATION IN TENTS, ETC., OCCUPIED BY ARMY OFFICERS TEMPORARY BUILDINGS, TENTS, OR OTHER STRUCTURES AT MILITARY POSTS OR CAMPS, NOT AVAILABLE FOR FAMILY OCCUPANCY BUT USED BY ARMY OFFICERS AS TEMPORARY SLEEPING QUARTERS AS WELL AS FOR THE TRANSACTION OF PUBLIC BUSINESS, ARE NOT PRIVATE RESIDENCES OR PRIVATE APARTMENTS WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912, PROHIBITING EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR TELEPHONE SERVICE INSTALLED IN SUCH RESIDENCES OR APARTMENTS, SO THAT THE INSTALLATION OF TELEPHONES THEREIN AT PUBLIC EXPENSE WHEN NECESSARY FOR THE TRANSACTION OF PUBLIC BUSINESS IS AUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, APRIL 3, 1942:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 24, 1942, AS FOLLOWS:

THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY AND THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES HAVE HELD, IN A LONG SERIES OF DECISIONS, THAT GOVERNMENT-OWNED BUILDINGS, OR PARTS THEREOF, OCCUPIED BY INDIVIDUALS AS QUARTERS, ARE PRIVATE RESIDENCES OR PRIVATE APARTMENTS WITHIN THE MEANING CONTEMPLATED IN SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912 (37 STAT. 414). IT APPEARS THAT THESE DECISIONS HAVE, WITH ONE EXCEPTION, CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT TELEPHONE SERVICE MAY NOT BE PROVIDED AT PUBLIC EXPENSE IN AN OFFICE OF AN INDIVIDUAL LOCATED IN HIS RESIDENCE IF THE INDIVIDUAL INVOLVED HAS AN OFFICE WITH TELEPHONE SERVICE ELSEWHERE. EXCEPTION TO THIS GENERAL RULE WAS MADE IN THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL APRIL 27, 1925 (A 7856) 4 COMP. GEN. 891, WHICH PROVIDES THAT:

"THE INSTALLATION OF A TELEPHONE IN THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED RESIDENCE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT OF LIGHTHOUSES, IN A ROOM EQUIPPED AND USED AS AN OFFICE FOR THE TRANSACTION OF PUBLIC BUSINESS IN THE ADMINISTRATION OF LIGHTHOUSES AT TIMES WHEN THE OFFICE OUTSIDE THE RESERVATION IS OFFICIALLY CLOSED, IS NOT WITHIN THE PROHIBITION BY SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912, 37 STAT. 414, AGAINST THE EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR TELEPHONE SERVICE INSTALLED IN PRIVATE RESIDENCES.'

THIS DECISION MADE REFERENCE TO AND QUOTED AN ADVANCE DECISION TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE MARCH 8, 1919, 88 MS. COMP. DEC. 1157 IN WHICH IT WAS STATED:

"THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF 1912, SUPRA, HAVE BEEN CONSTRUED AS NOT PROHIBITING THE INSTALLATION OF TELEPHONES IN A GOVERNMENT-OWNED HOUSE OF AN EMPLOYEE, WHERE THE WORK REQUIRES THE USE OF A TELEPHONE AND THAT IS THE LOGICAL AND NECESSARY PLACE TO HAVE A TELEPHONE IN CONDUCTING THE GOVERNMENT'S BUSINESS. (19 COMP. DEC. 212; ID., 350.)

COMMANDING OFFICERS OF MAJOR UNITS OF MILITARY ORGANIZATIONS, AND OTHER OFFICERS ASSIGNED TO IMPORTANT STAFF DUTIES AT MILITARY POSTS AND CAMPS DURING THE CURRENT NATIONAL EMERGENCY, HAVE RESPONSIBILITIES WHICH MAKE THEM SUBJECT TO CALL AT ALL HOURS OF THE DAY AND NIGHT, AND IT IS CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL TO THE PROPER AND EFFICIENT PERFORMANCE OF THEIR RESPECTIVE FUNCTIONS THAT THESE OFFICERS MAY BE REACHED BY TELEPHONE AND MAY HAVE ACCESS TO TELEPHONE FACILITIES FOR THE INITIATION OF TELEPHONE CALLS AT ALL TIMES. THESE OFFICERS ARE BILLETED IN TEMPORARY BUILDINGS, OR TENTS, OR OTHER STRUCTURES THAT MAY BE AVAILABLE. SUCH BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES ARE NOT USED AS QUARTERS FOR THE FAMILIES OF THESE OFFICERS, AND THE WAR DEPARTMENT DOES NOT CONSIDER SUCH TEMPORARY BILLETING FACILITIES AS PRIVATE RESIDENCES OR PRIVATE APARTMENTS IN THE SENSE CONTEMPLATED IN SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912, REFERRED TO ABOVE. THE OFFICE OF AN OFFICER EXERCISING MILITARY COMMAND OR IMPORTANT STAFF FUNCTIONS ESSENTIAL TO THE EFFICIENT OPERATION OF THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT IS WHERE HE IS CALLED UPON TO PERFORM THE FUNCTIONS OF HIS POSITION, WITHOUT REGARD TO WHETHER OR NOT HE MAY HAVE AN OFFICE ELSEWHERE FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF OTHER FUNCTIONS AT OTHER TIMES. THE BILLETING FACILITIES PROVIDED FOR SUCH OFFICERS ARE, IN FACT, OFFICES FOR THE TRANSACTION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS, WITHOUT REGARD TO THE FACT THAT THEY ARE PROVIDED WITH BEDS AND ARE ALSO USED AS TEMPORARY SLEEPING QUARTERS. THE TELEPHONE SERVICE REQUIRED BY SUCH OFFICERS IN THE TRANSACTION OF IMPORTANT OFFICIAL BUSINESS IS REQUIRED AT THE PLACE WHERE THE BUSINESS IS TRANSACTED AND, TO THE EXTENT THAT ANY OTHER OFFICE IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE IMMEDIATE TRANSACTION OF THE BUSINESS INVOLVED, THAT OFFICER HAS NO OTHER OFFICE ELSEWHERE.

THE WAR DEPARTMENT REQUESTS ADVISE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE EXPENDITURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS FOR TELEPHONE FACILITIES AND SERVICES IN TEMPORARY BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES USED TO HOUSE OFFICERS IN CAMPS AND CANTONMENTS BEING CONSTRUCTED FOR THE EXPANDING ARMY, AND REQUIRED FOR THE TRANSACTION OF NECESSARY OFFICIAL BUSINESS, WILL BE CONSIDERED IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED BY SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912 (37 STAT. 414).

SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912, 37 STAT. 414, PROVIDES:

THAT NO MONEY APPROPRIATED BY THIS OR ANY OTHER ACT SHALL BE EXPENDED FOR TELEPHONE SERVICE INSTALLED IN ANY PRIVATE RESIDENCE OR PRIVATE APARTMENT OR FOR TOLLS OR OTHER CHARGES FOR TELEPHONE SERVICE FROM PRIVATE RESIDENCES OR PRIVATE APARTMENTS, EXCEPT FOR LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS REQUIRED STRICTLY FOR THE PUBLIC BUSINESS, AND SO SHOWN BY VOUCHERS DULY SWORN TO AND APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, DIVISION, BUREAU, OR OFFICE IN WHICH THE OFFICIAL USING SUCH TELEPHONE OR INCURRING THE EXPENSE OF SUCH TOLLS SHALL BE EMPLOYED.

IN VIEW OF THE EXPLANATION SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER IT MAY BE CONCLUDED THAT TEMPORARY BUILDINGS, TENTS, OR OTHER STRUCTURES, AT MILITARY POSTS OR CAMPS USED BY OFFICERS FOR THE TRANSACTION OF PUBLIC BUSINESS, AND NOT AVAILABLE FOR FAMILY OCCUPANCY, ARE NOT PRIVATE RESIDENCES OR PRIVATE APARTMENTS WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED SECTION OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 23, 1912, NOTWITHSTANDING SUCH STRUCTURES ARE USED BY SUCH OFFICERS AS TEMPORARY SLEEPING QUARTERS ALSO, AND ACCORDINGLY THIS OFFICE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE INSTALLATION OF TELEPHONES THEREIN WHEN NECESSARY FOR THE TRANSACTION OF PUBLIC BUSINESS. 4 COMP. GEN. 891; 19 COMP. DEC. 350.