B-57052, MAY 16, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 779

B-57052: May 16, 1946

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ISSUED THE FOLLOWING ORDER: " ORDERED: " THAT THE CHIEF (ALSO PROPERTY) CLERK OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO EMPLOY AN APPRAISER AT THE ACCEPTED STANDARD RATES FOR SUCH SERVICES FOR THE PURPOSE OF APPRAISING CERTAIN ARTICLES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY. THE REQUISITION AND PURCHASE ORDER ISSUED BY THE PURCHASING OFFICER WERE FORWARDED TO THE AUDITOR FOR APPROVAL. STATING THAT IN HIS OPINION THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE STATUTES NOR IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT WHICH WOULD AUTHORIZE THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE APPRAISEMENT OF PRIVATE PROPERTY. THAT WHEN THE VALUE OF SUCH MONEY OR PROPERTY SHALL EXCEED $100 AND SHALL HAVE REMAINED IN THE CUSTODY OF THE PROPERTY CLERK FOR ONE YEAR.

B-57052, MAY 16, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 779

PERSONAL SERVICES - APPRAISERS - PERSONAL PROPERTY FOR DISPOSAL BY DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1894, AS AMENDED, ESTABLISHING A BOARD OF ASSESSORS TO ASSESS ALL PERSONAL PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SUBJECT TO TAXATION "AT NOT LESS THAN THE FULL AND TRUE VALUE THEREOF IN LAWFUL MONEY," THE SERVICES OF SUCH ASSESSORS, RATHER THAN THE SERVICES OF A PRIVATE CONTRACTOR, SHOULD BE USED IN APPRAISING PERSONAL PROPERTY BELONGING TO DECEASED PERSONS' ESTATES TO BE DISPOSED OF BY THE PROPERTY CLERK OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT UNDER SECTION 159, TITLE 4, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE PRESIDENT, BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, MAY 16, 1946:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 5, 1946, AS FOLLOWS:

THE COMMISSIONERS UNDER DATE OF JULY 7, 1943, ISSUED THE FOLLOWING ORDER:

" ORDERED:

" THAT THE CHIEF (ALSO PROPERTY) CLERK OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO EMPLOY AN APPRAISER AT THE ACCEPTED STANDARD RATES FOR SUCH SERVICES FOR THE PURPOSE OF APPRAISING CERTAIN ARTICLES OF PERSONAL PROPERTY, THE ESTATES OF DECEASED PERSONS, THE PROPERTY OF INSANE PERSONS, HELD IN THE CUSTODY OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, AND TO FIX AND DETERMINE A FAIR MARKET VALUE OF SUCH ARTICLES AS OF THE DATE OF SAID APPRAISAL; THE COST OF SAID APPRAISAL TO BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION," MISCELLANEOUS AND CONTINGENT EXPENSES, METROPOLITAN POLICE, DC.'"

THEREAFTER, THE PROPERTY CLERK OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT FORWARDED A REQUISITION TO THE PURCHASING OFFICER IN FAVOR OF ADAM A. WESCHLER AND SON FOR THE APPRAISEMENT OF COSTUME JEWELRY, CLOTHING, HOUSEHOLD FURNITURE, ELECTRIC REFRIGERATOR, SEWING MACHINE, ETC. HELD BY HIM, SUCH SERVICES TO BE FURNISHED AT A COST OF $20.00, CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION 9961226.001, SALARIES AND EXPENSES, METROPOLITAN POLICE, DC 1946, AOE. THE PROPERTY LISTED BELONGS TO THE ESTATE OF VIOLA L. TURGEAU, DECEASED. THE REQUISITION AND PURCHASE ORDER ISSUED BY THE PURCHASING OFFICER WERE FORWARDED TO THE AUDITOR FOR APPROVAL. THE AUDITOR DISAPPROVED THE REQUISITION, STATING THAT IN HIS OPINION THERE WAS NOTHING IN THE STATUTES NOR IN THE APPROPRIATION FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT WHICH WOULD AUTHORIZE THE USE OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE APPRAISEMENT OF PRIVATE PROPERTY, THAT THE VALUE WHEN IN EXCESS OF $100 SHOULD BE DETERMINED BY THE PROPERTY CLERK UNDER THE STATUTES.

TITLE 4, SECTION 159, 1940 D.C. CODE, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

" WHENEVER ANY MONEY OR PROPERTY OF DECEASED PERSONS COMING INTO THE CUSTODY OF THE PROPERTY CLERK OF THE POLICE DEPARTMENT SHALL REMAIN IN HIS HANDS FOR THE PERIOD OF ONE YEAR WITHOUT BEING CLAIMED BY THE LEGAL REPRESENTATIVE OF SUCH DECEASED PERSON, SUCH MONEY OR PROPERTY, WHEN NOT EXCEEDING $100 IN VALUE, SHALL BE DISPOSED OF AS LOST OR ABANDONED PROPERTY AS PROVIDED IN THIS CHAPTER: PROVIDED, THAT WHEN THE VALUE OF SUCH MONEY OR PROPERTY SHALL EXCEED $100 AND SHALL HAVE REMAINED IN THE CUSTODY OF THE PROPERTY CLERK FOR ONE YEAR, ALL RECORDS PERTAINING TO THE SAME SHALL BE CERTIFIED BY THE PROPERTY CLERK TO THE PROBATE COURT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WHICH SHALL APPOINT AN ADMINISTRATOR OF SUCH ESTATE, ACCORDING TO LAW; PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE ADMINISTRATOR SO APPOINTED BY THE PROBATE COURT SHALL DEPOSIT WITH THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES, TO THE CREDIT OF THE POLICEMEN AND FIREMEN'S RELIEF FUND, ANY BALANCE REMAINING IN HIS HANDS AFTER THE TIME LIMITED FOR THE FINAL SETTLEMENT OF THE ESTATES OF DECEASED PERSONS UNDER EXISTING LAW.'

THE COMMISSIONERS WISH TO BE ADVISED WHETHER THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT IS AVAILABLE FOR PROCURING THE SERVICES OF AN APPRAISER FOR THE APPRAISEMENT OF PRIVATE PROPERTY COMING INTO THE HANDS OF THE PROPERTY CLERK OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT.

SECTION 159, TITLE 4, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE, QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, MAKES NO PROVISION FOR AN APPRAISAL TO BE MADE OF THE PROPERTY COVERED THEREBY. NEITHER DOES THE APPROPRIATION FOR SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT, 59 STAT. 279, SOUGHT TO BE CHARGED WITH THE COST OF SERVICES OF APPRAISERS, CONTAIN ANYTHING THAT COULD BE CONSTRUED AS AUTHORITY FOR PROCURING SUCH SERVICES.

A QUESTION SIMILAR TO THAT HERE PRESENTED--- EXCEPT THAT IT INVOLVED APPRAISERS OF REAL PROPERTY--- WAS CONSIDERED IN DECISION OF MARCH 13, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 693, TO THE CHAIRMAN, ALLEY DWELLING AUTHORITY, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WHEREIN IT WAS STATED, AT PAGE 694:

UNDER THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1894, 28 STAT. 282, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF JULY 1, 1902, 32 STAT. 617, AND SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF JULY 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 832, IT IS THE DUTY OF THE ASSESSOR OF TAXES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND THREE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF ASSISTANT ASSESSORS TO ASSESS ALL REAL PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR TAXATION PURPOSES "AT NOT LESS THAN THE FULL AND TRUE VALUE THEREOF IN LAWFUL MONEY.' THE SAME STATUTES PROVIDE THAT THE SIX MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF ASSISTANT ASSESSORS, TOGETHER WITH THE ASSESSOR, AS CHAIRMAN, SHALL CONSTITUTE THE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION AND REVIEW OF REAL ESTATE ASSESSMENTS. THE ASSISTANT ASSESSORS ARE REQUIRED BY THE SAID ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1894, TO BE RESIDENTS OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND CONVERSANT WITH REAL ESTATE VALUES THEREIN. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 11, 1932, 47 STAT. 48, REMOVES ANY DISQUALIFICATION OF THE ASSESSOR OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WHICH MIGHT ARISE THROUGH HIS OFFICIAL POSITION AND QUALIFIES HIM TO ACT AS AN EXPERT WITNESS IN TESTIFYING RELATIVE TO THE VALUE OF REAL ESTATE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, AND OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934, 48 STAT. 930-933, AUTHORIZING THE CREATION OF THE AUTHORITY AND PRESCRIBING ITS DUTIES, THERE WOULD SEEM TO BE NEITHER NECESSITY NOR AUTHORITY TO CONTRACT WITH PERSONS NOT CONNECTED WITH THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE TO APPRAISE ALL PARCELS OF PROPERTY PROPOSED TO BE ACQUIRED IN CARRYING OUT THE PROVISION OF SAID ACT OF JUNE 12, 1934.

THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1894, AS AMENDED, 44 STAT. 832, 833 (47 D.C. CODE 605, 1202), CITED IN THE FOREGOING DECISION, ALSO PROVIDES FOR A BOARD OF ASSESSORS TO ASSESS ALL PERSONAL PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SUBJECT TO TAXATION "AT NOT LESS THAN THE FULL AND TRUE VALUE THEREOF IN LAWFUL MONEY.' UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE HOLDING IN THE DECISION, SUPRA, IS EQUALLY APPLICABLE HERE IN REGARD TO THE APPRAISAL OF PERSONAL PROPERTY TO BE DISPOSED OF BY THE PROPERTY CLERK OF THE METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT UNDER SECTION 159, TITLE 4, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE. IN OTHER WORDS, THERE APPEAR TO BE NOW EMPLOYED BY THE DISTRICT GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL WHO ARE QUALIFIED TO APPRAISE THE SAID PERSONAL PROPERTY. ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION POSED IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.