B-52379, OCTOBER 4, 1945, 25 COMP. GEN. 329

B-52379: Oct 4, 1945

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" IS NOT SATISFIED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT. 1945: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 8. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS SUBMITTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 201 (A) OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT. THE STATEMENTS OF THE COMMITTEE WHEN THE LAW WAS IN BILL FORM. ARE OF INTEREST. ) WHICH IS STILL IN FORCE. WHEN THE PERMANENT OFFICIAL STATION OF EMPLOYEES WAS CHANGED BY AUTHORIZED OFFICERS. HAD THE EFFECT OF REQUIRING THE MODIFICATION OF THE REGULATIONS UNDER THE 1911 ACT SO THAT THE SECRETARY IS NOW REQUIRED TO APPROVE EACH MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES. THIS SECTION WILL ALSO ELIMINATE CONSIDERABLE PAPER WORK AND DO AWAY WITH THE UNNECESSARY AND CUMBERSOME PROCEDURE OF REFERRING ALL SUCH ACTIONS THROUGH THE CHANNELS TO THE SECRETARY.

B-52379, OCTOBER 4, 1945, 25 COMP. GEN. 329

DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY - TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES' IMMEDIATE FAMILIES ON CHANGE OF STATION THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, AND SECTION 710 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ORGANIC ACT OF 1944 TO DELEGATE TO SUBORDINATE OFFICERS THE DISCRETION TO AUTHORIZE THE TRAVELING EXPENSES AND TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES DOES NOT INCLUDE AUTHORITY TO DELEGATE THE DISCRETION TO AUTHORIZE THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES' IMMEDIATE FAMILIES ON CHANGE OF STATION UNDER SECTION 201 (A) OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946; RATHER, SUCH EXPENSES MUST BE AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE, BY THE SECRETARY, THE UNDER SECRETARY OR THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY, IN THE ORDERS DIRECTING THE TRANSFER. THE REQUIREMENT IN SECTION 201 (A) OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946, THAT THE AUTHORIZATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF AN EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY IN CONNECTION WITH A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION BE "IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER," IS NOT SATISFIED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT, BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, OF "STANDARDS" FOR USE OF SUBORDINATE OFFICIALS IN DIRECTING SUCH TRANSPORTATION IN INDIVIDUAL CASES; HOWEVER, SEVERAL TRANSFER ORDERS INVOLVING TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH DEPENDENTS MAY BE COMBINED INTO A SINGLE SCHEDULE REQUIRING ONLY ONE SIGNATURE BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT AND SEPARATE TRAVEL ORDERS THEN MAY BE ISSUED BY SUBORDINATE OFFICERS, CITING THE APPROVED SCHEDULE AS AUTHORITY THEREFOR.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, OCTOBER 4, 1945:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 8, 1945, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS SUBMITTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION THE QUESTION OF WHETHER OR NOT THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 201 (A) OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946, PUBLIC LAW 49, 79TH CONGRESS, TO AUTHORIZE THE TRANSPORTATION OF IMMEDIATE FAMILIES OF EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY BE VESTED IN SUBORDINATE OFFICIALS OF THIS DEPARTMENT, IN VIEW OF THE AUTHORITY OF THIS DEPARTMENT IN CONNECTION WITH TRANSFERS OF OFFICIAL STATIONS.

SECTION 201 (A) OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT PROVIDES:

APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1946 AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS SHALL BE AVAILABLE ALSO FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THEM INCLUDING EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, ON TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR ANY TRANSFER EFFECTED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.'

UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, 5 U.S.C. 539, OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY, WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, MAY BE ALLOWED ACTUAL TRAVELING EXPENSES, INCLUDING CHARGES FOR THE TRANSFER OF THEIR EFFECTS AND PERSONAL PROPERTY USED IN OFFICIAL WORK, UNDER SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. AS A RESULT OF THE ENACTMENT OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 10, 1940, 5 U.S.C. 73C-1, REQUIRING THE SPECIFIC APPROVAL OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT IN MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, CONGRESS PROVIDED IN SECTION 710 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ORGANIC ACT OF 1944, PUBLIC LAW 425, 78TH CONGRESS, THAT "THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE MAY DELEGATE TO SUCH OFFICERS AS HE SHALL DESIGNATE THE FUNCTION OF AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF THE TRANSFER OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF EMPLOYEES ON CHANGE OF OFFICIAL TIONS.' THE AUTHORITY OF THESE ACTS HAS BEEN DELEGATED TO DESIGNATED OFFICIALS OF THIS DEPARTMENT BY DEPARTMENT REGULATIONS 3421 AND 3435. SUCH DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED IN NUMEROUS DECISIONS OF YOUR OFFICE. B-46266, JANUARY 13, 1945; A-97268, AUGUST 30, 1938; 76 COMP. GEN. 667; CF. 20 COMP. GEN. 779.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUTHORITY TO DELEGATE THE FUNCTION OF AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF THE TRANSFER OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AS CONTAINED IN THE ORGANIC ACT, THE STATEMENTS OF THE COMMITTEE WHEN THE LAW WAS IN BILL FORM, H.R. 4278, ARE OF INTEREST. REPORTS OF BOTH HOUSES STATED:

"UNDER THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911 (5 U.S.C. 539,) WHICH IS STILL IN FORCE, THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE HAS BEEN ENABLED, WHEN THE PERMANENT OFFICIAL STATION OF EMPLOYEES WAS CHANGED BY AUTHORIZED OFFICERS, TO PERMIT SUCH OFFICERS ALSO TO APPROVE THE TRANSFER OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF THE EMPLOYEES. HOWEVER, THE ACT OF OCTOBER 10, 1940, APPLYING GENERALLY TO THE TRANSFER OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, HAD THE EFFECT OF REQUIRING THE MODIFICATION OF THE REGULATIONS UNDER THE 1911 ACT SO THAT THE SECRETARY IS NOW REQUIRED TO APPROVE EACH MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES. SINCE SUBORDINATE OFFICIALS MAY APPROVE THE ACTUAL TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEE TO A NEW STATION TOGETHER WITH HIS NECESSARY TRAVEL EXPENSES, IT SEEM ILLOGICAL TO REQUIRE THAT THE SECRETARY, AS HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, APPROVE SPECIFICALLY THE MOVEMENT OF THE HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS INCIDENT TO THE TRANSFER. THIS SECTION WILL ALSO ELIMINATE CONSIDERABLE PAPER WORK AND DO AWAY WITH THE UNNECESSARY AND CUMBERSOME PROCEDURE OF REFERRING ALL SUCH ACTIONS THROUGH THE CHANNELS TO THE SECRETARY. IN ADDITION, THE SECRETARY MUST RELY UPON THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF HIS ASSISTANTS AND BUREAU CHIEFS SO THAT HIS APPROVAL OF SUCH REQUESTS IS LARGELY A PRO FORMA ACTION HAVING NO ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT.' (H. REPT. 1198, S. REPT. 803.)

IT IS APPARENT, FROM THE FOREGOING, THAT CONGRESS HAS RECOGNIZED THE IMPRACTICABILITY, IF NOT THE IMPOSSIBILITY, OF HAVING THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE PERSONALLY AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF STATION OF THE EMPLOYEES OF THIS DEPARTMENT AND ITS MULTIPLE FIELD SERVICES. THE SAME PROBLEM IS INVOLVED IN CONNECTION WITH AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES' FAMILIES.

IN THIS DEPARTMENT, ALL EXPENSES OF MOVING EMPLOYEES ON CHANGE OF STATION MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY SUBORDINATE OFFICIALS PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, AND THE ORGANIC ACT OF 1944, AS IMPLEMENTED BY APPROPRIATE REGULATIONS. THEREFORE, IT IS NOT NECESSARY THAT ORDERS DIRECTING CHANGE OF STATION AND PROVIDING FOR PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES BE PERSONALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. SINCE TRANSFERS OF EMPLOYEES, EXPENSES INCIDENT THERETO, AND MOVEMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS CAN BE AUTHORIZED BY OTHER THAN "THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT" AND AS AUTHORITY FOR EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF IMMEDIATE FAMILIES OF THE EMPLOYEES TO BE TRANSFERRED IS FOR INCLUSION IN THE SAME ORDER AS THAT DIRECTING THE TRANSFER, IT WOULD APPEAR, INSOFAR AS THIS DEPARTMENT IS CONCERNED, THAT THE REQUIREMENT OF SECTION 201 (A) OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, FOR AUTHORIZATION BY THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT WITH RESPECT TO PAYING EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF FAMILIES, IS FULLY COMPLIED WITH WHEN SUCH AUTHORITY IS EXERCISED BY AN OFFICIAL DELEGATED THE POWER TO DIRECT THE TRANSFER.

IT IS BELIEVED, IN VIEW OF THE LEGISLATION APPLICABLE TO THIS DEPARTMENT AUTHORIZING DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL AND TRANSFERS, THAT THE AUTHORITY TO INCUR EXPENSES FOR MOVEMENT OF IMMEDIATE FAMILIES MAY BE DELEGATED TO DESIGNATED OFFICIALS JUST THE SAME AS AUTHORITY HAS BEEN DELEGATED TO INCUR EXPENSES FOR MOVEMENT OF EMPLOYEES. TO CONSTRUE SECTION 201 (A) OTHERWISE WILL NULLIFY TO A GREAT EXTENT THE OPERATIONAL ADVANTAGES AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, AND SECTION 710 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ORGANIC ACT OF 1944. YOUR DECISION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED WHETHER, IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, SUBORDINATE OFFICIALS OF THIS DEPARTMENT MAY BE DELEGATED THE AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE TRANSPORTATION, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, OF IMMEDIATE FAMILIES OF EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER.

THIS DEPARTMENT WOULD APPRECIATE, IF YOU DECIDE THAT SUCH AUTHORITY MAY NOT BE FULLY DELEGATED, YOUR CONSIDERATION OF A PROPOSAL THAT STANDARDS BE ESTABLISHED BY THE SECRETARY UNDER WHICH TRANSPORTATION OF EMPLOYEES' FAMILIES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY BE AUTHORIZED. THE STANDARDS WOULD PERMIT SUBORDINATE OFFICIALS TO AUTHORIZE TRANSPORTATION OF EMPLOYEES' FAMILIES UPON MEETING THE CONDITIONS PRESCRIBED IN THE STANDARDS. UNDER THE PROPOSED PROCEDURE, THE "HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT" WILL HAVE EXERCISED IN ADVANCE BY THE STANDARDS SUCH DISCRETION AS NECESSARY TO AUTHORIZE THE TRANSPORTATION. THUS, THE SUBORDINATE OFFICIALS WILL BE PERFORMING ONLY THE MINISTERIAL DUTY OF ISSUING THE TRAVEL ORDER, INCORPORATING AUTHORITY THEREIN FOR TRANSPORTATION OF EMPLOYEES' FAMILIES, WHICH TRAVEL ORDER, AS HEREINBEFORE NOTED, IS ISSUED BY OFFICIALS HAVING DELEGATED AUTHORITY TO DIRECT TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEES AND AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT THERETO. YOUR DECISION, AS TO WHETHER THE PROPOSAL OF ESTABLISHING STANDARDS WILL SATISFY THE REQUIREMENTS OF SECTION 201 (A) OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946, WOULD BE APPRECIATED, IF THE AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF EMPLOYEES' FAMILIES MAY NOT BE FULLY DELEGATED.

SAID SECTION 201 (A) OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946, 59 STAT. 131, QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, VESTS A DISCRETION IN THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT TO CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES FOR THE EXPENSE OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THEM AND, ALSO, FOR THE EXPENSE OF TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES. WHILE THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1911, 36 STAT. 1265, AUTHORIZES THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE TO ISSUE REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE TRANSPORTATION OF EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND THEIR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, IT DOES NOT AUTHORIZE THE TRANSPORTATION OF EMPLOYEES' FAMILIES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. CONSEQUENTLY, ANY DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY PROVIDED FOR IN THE REGULATIONS SO ISSUED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE UNDER THAT ACT CANNOT BE EXTENDED TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF FAMILIES. FURTHERMORE, THE PROVISION IN THE ACT MARCH 4, 1911, WITH RESPECT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS WAS SUPERSEDED BY THE ACT OF OCTOBER 10, 1940, 54 STAT. 1105, WHICH MADE IT NECESSARY TO INCLUDE IN SECTION 710 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ORGANIC ACT OF 1944, 58 STAT. 743, A SPECIFIC PROVISION PERMITTING THE DELEGATION BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE TO SUBORDINATE OFFICERS OF THE DISCRETION TO AUTHORIZE OR APPROVE THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS OF A TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE. SAID SECTION 710 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ORGANIC ACT, HOWEVER, IS LIMITED IN ITS APPLICATION TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND CARRIES WITH IT NO AUTHORITY TO DELEGATE THE EXERCISE OF DISCRETION IN ANY OTHER CASES. IN MUST BE HELD, THEREFORE, THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY, THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS OF OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE UPON CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION OF SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE MUST BE AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE, BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, PERSONALLY, OR BY THE UNDER SECRETARY OF ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, IN THE ORDERS DIRECTING THE TRANSFER, AND THAT AUTHORITY MAY NOT BE DELEGATED TO OTHER SUBORDINATE OFFICERS. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR SECOND QUESTION, YOU ARE INFORMED THAT IN VIEW OF THE EXPRESS LANGUAGE OF SECTION 201 (A) OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT REQUIRING THAT THE AUTHORIZATION BE ,IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER" SUCH REQUIREMENT COULD NOT BE SATISFIED BY THE ESTABLISHMENT, BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, OF "STANDARDS" TO BE USED BY SUBORDINATE OFFICIALS IN DIRECTING THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS IN INDIVIDUAL CASES. IF THOUGHT DESIRABLE, IN ORDER TO REDUCE THE NUMBER OF SIGNATURES REQUIRED BY THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, THERE WOULD BE NO OBJECTION TO COMBINING A NUMBER OF TRANSFER ORDERS INVOLVING TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS IN A SINGLE SCHEDULE TO WHICH ONLY ONE SIGNATURE BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT WOULD BE REQUIRED, SEPARATE TRAVEL ORDERS IN THE INDIVIDUAL CASES TO BE ISSUED BY SUBORDINATE OFFICERS, CITING THE APPROVED SCHEDULE AS AUTHORITY THEREFOR. SEE IN THIS CONNECTION 14 COMP. GEN. 532.