B-29903, NOVEMBER 2, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 427

B-29903: Nov 2, 1942

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AFTER HE IS REQUIRED FOR PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT TO EMBARK. THERE IS A DELAY IN SAILING BECAUSE OF PRESENT WAR CONDITIONS NECESSITATING SECRECY IN SHIP MOVEMENTS. 1942: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 27. AS FOLLOWS: THERE ARE ENCLOSED COPIES OF LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 2. IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY ALL CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES APPOINTED FOR DUTY BEYOND THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES. FROM THE DATE OF THEIR SAILING FROM THE UNITED STATES UNTIL THEY REPORT FOR DUTY TO THE OFFICER UNDER WHOM THEY ARE TO SERVE. AS WILL BE NOTED FROM THE REPORT OF THE COMMANDANT OF THE FOURTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT. THE TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED TO CIVILIANS RECRUITED FOR EMPLOYMENT AT PEARL HARBOR PROVIDE THAT THE APPOINTMENTS ARE EFFECTIVE THE DATE THE EMPLOYEES SAIL FROM THE WEST COAST AND THAT THE EMPLOYEES SHALL BE CARRIED ON THE ROLLS OF THE FOURTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT OR AT THE NAVY YARD.

B-29903, NOVEMBER 2, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 427

COMPENSATION - EFFECTIVE DATE - NAVY DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES APPOINTED FOR OVERSEAS DUTY UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 13, 1940, AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION AT ACTUAL-EMPLOYMENT RATES TO CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, APPOINTED FOR DUTY BEYOND THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES,"FROM THE DATE OF THEIR SAILING" UNTIL THEY REPORT FOR DUTY OVERSEAS, AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE ALLOWED COMPENSATION FROM THE DATE OF EMBARKATION ON A VESSEL WHERE, AFTER HE IS REQUIRED FOR PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT TO EMBARK, THERE IS A DELAY IN SAILING BECAUSE OF PRESENT WAR CONDITIONS NECESSITATING SECRECY IN SHIP MOVEMENTS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, NOVEMBER 2, 1942:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 27, 1942, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE ARE ENCLOSED COPIES OF LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 2, 1942, FROM THE COMMANDANT OF THE FOURTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT, PEARL HARBOR, HAWAII, AND OF THE ENCLOSURES FORMING PART THEREOF, SUGGESTING THAT IN THE INTERPRETATION OF PUBLIC ACT 615--- 76TH CONGRESS, APPROVED JUNE 13, 1940 (54 STAT. 383; 34 U.S.C. SEC. 506), THE DATE OF EMBARKATION OF EMPLOYEES BE CONSIDERED THE DATE OF THEIR SAILING FROM THE UNITED STATES.

THE CITED ACT READS:

"THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, IN HIS DISCRETION, IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY ALL CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES APPOINTED FOR DUTY BEYOND THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES, AND IN ALASKA, FROM THE DATE OF THEIR SAILING FROM THE UNITED STATES UNTIL THEY REPORT FOR DUTY TO THE OFFICER UNDER WHOM THEY ARE TO SERVE, AND WHILE RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES BY THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE AND WITH DUE EXPEDITION, COMPENSATION AT A RATE CORRESPONDING TO THEIR RATE OF PAY WHILE ACTUALLY EMPLOYED.'

AS WILL BE NOTED FROM THE REPORT OF THE COMMANDANT OF THE FOURTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT, THE TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED TO CIVILIANS RECRUITED FOR EMPLOYMENT AT PEARL HARBOR PROVIDE THAT THE APPOINTMENTS ARE EFFECTIVE THE DATE THE EMPLOYEES SAIL FROM THE WEST COAST AND THAT THE EMPLOYEES SHALL BE CARRIED ON THE ROLLS OF THE FOURTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT OR AT THE NAVY YARD, PEARL HARBOR, WHILE EN ROUTE FROM THE WEST COAST TO HONOLULU.

IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE ACT IS TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE WHILE EN ROUTE OVERSEAS TO HIS STATION OF DUTY. WHEN HE EMBARKS, PURSUANT TO ORDERS, HE IS TO ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES EN ROUTE TO HIS STATION REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE EMBARKATION OR SAILING DATES COINCIDE.

PARTICULAR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO PARAGRAPH 2 OF THE COMMANDANT'S REPORT SETTING FORTH THE SERIOUS DIFFICULTIES THAT WILL BE ENCOUNTERED UNDER EXISTING WAR CONDITIONS UNLESS THE DATE OF EMBARKATION IS TREATED AS THE DETERMINING DATE FOR AN EMPLOYEE ENROLLED AT PEARL HARBOR.

THE NAVY DEPARTMENT PROPOSES ISSUING INSTRUCTIONS THAT, FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE ACT OF JUNE 13, 1940, SUPRA, THE DATE OF EMBARKATION OF EMPLOYEES APPOINTED FOR DUTY BEYOND THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES AND IN ALASKA, SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS THE DATE OF THEIR SAILING FROM THE UNITED STATES.

AS THE QUESTION INVOLVES THE AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATED MONIES, THE MATTER IS BROUGHT TO YOUR ATTENTION PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE PROPOSED INSTRUCTIONS FOR ANY COMMENT THAT YOU MAY DEEM APPROPRIATE.

FROM THE ENCLOSURES WITH YOUR LETTER IT APPEARS THAT THERE ARE INVOLVED SITUATIONS WHERE THE EMPLOYEES ARE REQUIRED TO EMBARK AND TO REMAIN ON VESSELS HELD IN READINESS FOR DEPARTURE, AND THAT THE ENSUING DELAY IS DUE TO PRESENT WAR CONDITIONS NECESSITATING SECRECY AND THE AWAITING OF A PROPITIOUS TIME TO PUT TO SEA.

WHILE THE TERM "SAILING" USUALLY CONNOTES MOVEMENT AND ACTUAL DEPARTURE OF A VESSEL, IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE BASIC PURPOSE OF THE CITED ACT OF JUNE 13, 1940, 54 STAT. 383, IS TO ALLOW COMPENSATION TO CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVY APPOINTED FOR DUTY BEYOND THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THEIR NECESSARY TRANSIT OR TRAVEL TIME BEYOND SUCH LIMITS IN GOING TO AND FROM THEIR OVERSEAS STATIONS. THIS SEEMS CLEAR FROM THE CONTEXT OF THE STATUTE, WHICH NOT ONLY ALLOWS COMPENSATION TO SUCH EMPLOYEES WHILE PROCEEDING FROM THE UNITED STATES TO THE OVERSEAS STATIONS BUT, ALSO,"WHILE RETURNING" TO THE UNITED STATES "BY THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE AND WITH DUE EXPEDITION.' THE PRESENT STATUTE SUPERSEDED SIMILAR PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1902, 32 STAT. 663, LIMITED TO EMPLOYEES APPOINTED FOR DUTY IN THE PHILIPPINE, HAWAIIAN, AND SAMOAN ISLANDS, GUAM AND PUERTO RICO. SUCH ORIGINAL LEGISLATION CONTAINED A PROVISION THAT IN CASES WHERE THE APPOINTEE IS NOT TO FILL AN EXISTING VACANCY, HIS PAY "WHILE TRAVELING" MIGHT BE CHARGED TO THE ANNUAL APPROPRIATION OF THE BUREAU CONCERNED. THAT PROVISION, APPARENTLY OBSOLETE, WAS NOT CARRIED FORWARD INTO THE PRESENT ACT, BUT THE REFERENCE THEREIN TO THE EMPLOYEE'S PAY "WHILE TRAVELING" SUPPORTS THE CONCLUSION THAT THE BASIC PURPOSE OF THE PRECEDING PROVISIONS IN THE EARLIER STATUTE, REPEATED IN THE PRESENT STATUTE, WAS TO ALLOW PAY FOR NECESSARY TRAVEL TIME BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND THE FOREIGN STATION, WHICH WOULD INCLUDE PERIODS OF UNAVOIDABLE DELAY WHILE IN A TRAVEL STATUS. ORDINARILY THERE IS NO NEED TO BOARD A VESSEL PRIOR TO THE DATE ON WHICH IT IS TO DEPART AND, RESOLVING THE DOUBT IN HARMONY WITH THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE STATUTE TO ALLOW COMPENSATION FOR NECESSARY TRAVEL TIME ON THE VESSEL, I BELIEVE THE CONCLUSION IS JUSTIFIED THAT THE TERM "FROM THE DATE OF SAILING" WAS USED IN A SENSE SUFFICIENTLY BROAD TO AUTHORIZE THE ALLOWANCE OF SUCH COMPENSATION FOR A PERIOD OF UNAVOIDABLE DELAY AFTER EMBARKATION, WHERE THE GOVERNMENT FOR ITS OWN PURPOSES REQUIRES AN EMPLOYEE TO EMBARK ON A CERTAIN DAY AND THE SUBSEQUENT DELAY IN DEPARTURE IS DUE WHOLLY TO MATTERS BEYOND HIS CONTROL. IT SHOULD BE UNDERSTOOD, HOWEVER, AND THE PROPOSED NAVY DEPARTMENT INSTRUCTIONS IN THE MATTER SHOULD MAKE IT CLEAR, THAT NO COMPENSATION IS AUTHORIZED FOR ANY PERIOD PRIOR TO THE TIME IT BECOMES NECESSARY FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT AN EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY EMBARK FOR DEPARTURE FROM THE UNITED STATES.