B-48715, APRIL 10, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 741

B-48715: Apr 10, 1945

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THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF AN EMPLOYEE'S DEPENDENTS EXCEPT AS INCIDENTAL TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE HIMSELF. AN EMPLOYEE'S DEPENDENTS MAY NOT AT THIS TIME BE RETURNED TO THEIR HOME IN THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR PERSONAL REASONS WHEN THERE IS NO PRESENT ADMINISTRATIVE INTENT OR DESIRE TO RETURN THE EMPLOYEE. 1945: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 22. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE NATIONAL WAR AGENCY APPROPRIATION ACT. WHEREIN IS FOUND THE FOLLOWING: " OFFICE OF THE COORDINATOR OF INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS "SALARIES AND EXPENSES: FOR ALL NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE OFFICE OF THE COORDINATOR OF INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS. OF EMPLOYEES FOR WHOM SUCH EXPENSES WERE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT ON THEIR ASSIGNMENT TO POSTS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES.

B-48715, APRIL 10, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 741

TRANSPORTATION - DEPENDENTS - RETURN TO U.S. FROM FOREIGN POSTS - PRIOR TO CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS UNDER THE CURRENT STATUTORY PROVISIONS AUTHORIZING THE OFFICE OF INTER- AMERICAN AFFAIRS TO PAY THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES' DEPENDENTS IN RETURNING TO THEIR HOMES IN THE UNITED STATES FROM FOREIGN POSTS, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF AN EMPLOYEE'S DEPENDENTS EXCEPT AS INCIDENTAL TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE HIMSELF, AND, THEREFORE, AN EMPLOYEE'S DEPENDENTS MAY NOT AT THIS TIME BE RETURNED TO THEIR HOME IN THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR PERSONAL REASONS WHEN THERE IS NO PRESENT ADMINISTRATIVE INTENT OR DESIRE TO RETURN THE EMPLOYEE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF INTER AMERICAN AFFAIRS, APRIL 10, 1945:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 22, 1945, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE NATIONAL WAR AGENCY APPROPRIATION ACT, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 372, APPROVED JUNE 28, 1944, WHEREIN IS FOUND THE FOLLOWING:

" OFFICE OF THE COORDINATOR OF INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS

"SALARIES AND EXPENSES: FOR ALL NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE OFFICE OF THE COORDINATOR OF INTER-AMERICAN AFFAIRS, INCLUDING * * *; EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTING EMPLOYEES OF THE OFFICE OF THE COORDINATOR AND THEIR EFFECTS FROM THEIR HOMES TO THEIR PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT IN THE OTHER AMERICAN REPUBLICS, OR FROM THEIR HOMES IN THE OTHER AMERICAN REPUBLICS TO THEIR EMPLOYMENT, AND RETURN, WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE COORDINATOR; TRAVEL EXPENSES OF DEPENDENTS AND TRANSPORTATION OF PERSONAL EFFECTS, FROM THEIR PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT TO THEIR HOMES IN THE UNITED STATES OR IN THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES OR IN THE OTHER AMERICAN REPUBLICS, OF EMPLOYEES FOR WHOM SUCH EXPENSES WERE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT ON THEIR ASSIGNMENT TO POSTS IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES; * * *.' (ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

CLEARLY THIS OFFICE IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTING EMPLOYEES AND THEIR EFFECTS FROM THEIR HOMES TO THEIR FOREIGN POSTS, AND RETURN, WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE COORDINATOR, AND TO PAY THE EXPENSES OF DEPENDENTS RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH EXPENSES WERE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT WHEN THE EMPLOYEE WAS ASSIGNED TO A FOREIGN POST. HOWEVER, WHEN THE DEPENDENTS MAY BE RETURNED TO THEIR HOMES IS NOT INDICATED, AND IT IS THIS POINT WHICH PROMPTS THIS SUBMISSION.

THIS OFFICE IS NOW CONFRONTED WITH THIS SITUATION: IN MAY, 1943, ONE OF OUR EMPLOYEES, MR. RALPH HILTON, WAS TRANSFERRED TO LIMA, PERU FOR DUTY, AND HIS EXPENSES AND THE EXPENSES OF HIS WIFE AND SMALL DAUGHTER WERE AUTHORIZED AND PAID IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE FIRST SUPPLEMENTAL NATIONAL DEFENSE APPROPRIATION ACT, 1943, PUBLIC LAW 678. THAT TIME MR. HILTON WAS INFORMED THAT SUBJECT TO THE AVAILABILITY OF SUBSEQUENT APPROPRIATIONS THE EXPENSES OF RETURNING HIS DEPENDENTS TO THE UNITED STATES WOULD BE BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT. IT NOW APPEARS THAT THE CLIMATE AT LIMA IS HAVING A DELETERIOUS EFFECT UPON THE HEALTH OF MR. HILTON'S SIX-YEAR OLD DAUGHTER AND IT IS HIGHLY DESIRABLE TO REMOVE THE CHILD AND ITS MOTHER TO A MORE SALUBRIOUS CLIMATE IN THE UNITED STATES BUT IT IS DESIRED TO EXERCISE THE AUTHORITY GRANTED IN THE ACT ABOVE-QUOTED AND AUTHORIZE AND PAY THE EXPENSES OF THE FAMILY IN RETURNING TO THIS COUNTRY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. IN THIS CONNECTION, THE QUESTION HAS ARISEN AS TO WHETHER THIS OFFICE ENJOYS SUFFICIENT AUTHORITY TO RETURN MRS. HILTON AND HER DAUGHTER AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. I AM NOT AWARE OF ANY STATUTORY PROVISION WHICH WOULD RESTRICT THE PLAIN TERMS OF THE QUOTED PORTION OF THE ACT OF JUNE 28, 1944 BY REQUIRING THAT THE AUTHORIZATION AND PAYMENT OF SUCH EXPENSES BE PREDICATED UPON THE TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEE BACK TO THE UNITED STATES, AND IN THE ABSENCE THEREOF, I ASSUME THAT NO QUESTION WOULD BE RAISED BY YOUR OFFICE IN THE EVENT MRS. HILTONAND HER DAUGHTER ARE RETURNED PRIOR TO COMPLETION OF MR. HILTON'S FOREIGN ASSIGNMENT.

IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE QUESTION HERE PRESENTED MAY ARISE IN OTHER AND DIFFERENT CASES, AND YOUR ADVICE IS REQUESTED IN ORDER THAT THERE MAY BE NO DOUBT THAT THE OFFICE OF THE COORDINATOR MAY IN ANY CASE AUTHORIZE AND PAY THE EXPENSES OF RETURNING FAMILIES TO THEIR HOMES AT ANY TIME IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DEEMED NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE SO TO DO. IT IS UNDERSTOOD, OF COURSE, THAT NO SUCH ACTION WILL BE TAKEN IN THOSE INSTANCES WHERE THE TRAVELING EXPENSES OF DEPENDENTS WERE NOT PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT UPON ASSIGNMENT OF THE EMPLOYEE TO A FOREIGN POST.

IN DECISION OF OCTOBER 24, 1932, A-45077, TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, IT WAS HELD:

* * * THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF FAMILIES OF FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS CLEARLY CONTEMPLATES REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH EXPENSES ONLY WHEN NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRAVEL OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE HIMSELF IN GOING TO AND RETURNING FROM HIS POST, AND, OF COURSE, CONTEMPLATES THAT THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE PERFORM SUCH TRAVEL UNDER CONDITIONS ENTITLING HIM TO REIMBURSEMENT FROM PUBLIC FUNDS. WHERE THE OFFICER ACTUALLY PERFORMS THE TRAVEL UNDER CONDITIONS ENTITLING HIM TO REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, NO OBJECTION WILL BE MADE BY THIS OFFICE TO THE FAMILY PRECEDING, ACCOMPANYING OR FOLLOWING HIM BUT I FIND NO AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE FAMILY WHEN THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE DOES NOT INTEND TO AND/OR CANNOT MAKE THE TRIP HIMSELF. ACCORDINGLY, IN ANSWER TO QUESTION 1 IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE FAMILY OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE MAY TRAVEL FROM AND TO HIS POST OF DUTY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ONLY IN CONNECTION WITH AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE HIMSELF.

ALSO, SEE DECISION A-89110, DATED SEPTEMBER 27, 1937; AND 16 COMP. GEN. 228.

THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS OF OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS NOT AUTHORIZED OR PERMITTED UNDER ORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES EXCEPT AS INCIDENTAL TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE. WHEN THE CONGRESS HAS CONSIDERED THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS OF CIVILIANS OR MILITARY OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE SEPARATE AND APART FROM THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE, IT HAS SO PROVIDED IN EXPRESS TERMS. SEE ACT OF JUNE 5, 1942, 56 STAT. 314, WITH RESPECT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS OF PERSONNEL OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT ASSIGNED TO DUTY IN RESTRICTED ZONES.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT IF, AS STATED IN YOUR SUBMISSION, IT IS NOT INTENDED OR DESIRED TO RETURN THE EMPLOYEE TO THE UNITED STATES AT THIS TIME, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO RETURN HIS DEPENDENTS TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES STATED.