B-57349, MAY 21, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 788

B-57349: May 21, 1946

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1946: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 15. THESE TRANSFERS ARE BEING MADE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE SINCE THEY ARE NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEES. A SCHEDULE OF STAGGERED CLOSING DATES FOR THE INDIVIDUAL WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY "CENTERS" AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS WAS MADE UP SEVERAL MONTHS AGO. OTHER INFORMATION REGARDING THE EMPLOYEES OF THESE CENTERS WAS CIRCULATED IN AN EFFORT TO FACILITATE THE TRANSFERS OF SUCH EMPLOYEES WITHIN THIS DEPARTMENT. IN SOME INSTANCES EMPLOYEES WERE SEPARATED IN THIS MANNER EVEN THOUGH THEIR TRANSFERS TO OTHER BUREAUS OF THIS DEPARTMENT WERE UNDER CONSIDERATION. THERE HAVE BEEN MANY CASES IN WHICH TRANSFERS OF WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY EMPLOYEES WERE AUTHORIZED BY THIS DEPARTMENT AFTER SUCH EMPLOYEES HAD BEEN SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE BY FIELD OFFICERS THROUGH REDUCTION IN FORCE PROCEDURE.

B-57349, MAY 21, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 788

TRAVELING EXPENSES; TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS - EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRED TO NEW STATION AFTER EFFECTIVE DATE OF SEPARATION THE SEPARATION OF AN EMPLOYEE BY A QUALIFIED FIELD SERVICE OFFICER THROUGH REDUCTION IN FORCE PROCEDURE, ALTHOUGH WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE OF THE CENTRAL ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, MAY NOT BE CANCELED AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF FOR THE PURPOSE OF EFFECTING THE TRANSFER OF SUCH EMPLOYEE TO ANOTHER POSITION IN THE SAME AGENCY AT A NEW STATION WITH THE RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES AND TRANSPORTATION OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS; RATHER, RESTORATION TO DUTY AT ANOTHER STATION MUST BE REGARDED AS A NEW APPOINTMENT REQUIRING THE EMPLOYEE TO PLACE HIMSELF AT SUCH STATION AT HIS OWN EXPENSE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, MAY 21, 1946:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 15, 1946, AS FOLLOWS:

THE WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY, INTERIOR DEPARTMENT, HAS BEEN IN PROCESS OF LIQUIDATION FOR SEVERAL MONTHS. SINCE THE TIME IT BECAME KNOWN THAT THIS AUTHORITY WOULD BE CLOSED EVERY EFFORT HAS BEEN MADE TO ARRANGE FOR THE TRANSFER OF EMPLOYEES OF THE ORGANIZATION TO THE PERMANENT BUREAUS OF THIS DEPARTMENT. THESE TRANSFERS ARE BEING MADE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE SINCE THEY ARE NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEES. A SCHEDULE OF STAGGERED CLOSING DATES FOR THE INDIVIDUAL WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY "CENTERS" AT VARIOUS LOCATIONS WAS MADE UP SEVERAL MONTHS AGO. "EMPLOYMENT BULLETIN" CONTAINING THE NAMES, QUALIFICATIONS, AND OTHER INFORMATION REGARDING THE EMPLOYEES OF THESE CENTERS WAS CIRCULATED IN AN EFFORT TO FACILITATE THE TRANSFERS OF SUCH EMPLOYEES WITHIN THIS DEPARTMENT.

AUTHORITY TO APPOINT AND SEPARATE EMPLOYEES, EXCEPT FOR THOSE OCCUPYING THE HIGHEST GRADE POSITIONS, HAS BEEN VESTED IN THE OFFICERS IN CHARGE OF THE INDIVIDUAL CENTERS. AS THE TIME APPROACHED FOR THE CLOSING OF THESE CENTERS IT BECAME NECESSARY FOR THE RESPONSIBLE OFFICERS TO SEPARATE EMPLOYEES THROUGH REDUCTION IN FORCE PROCEDURE. IN SOME INSTANCES EMPLOYEES WERE SEPARATED IN THIS MANNER EVEN THOUGH THEIR TRANSFERS TO OTHER BUREAUS OF THIS DEPARTMENT WERE UNDER CONSIDERATION. THERE HAVE BEEN MANY CASES IN WHICH TRANSFERS OF WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY EMPLOYEES WERE AUTHORIZED BY THIS DEPARTMENT AFTER SUCH EMPLOYEES HAD BEEN SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE BY FIELD OFFICERS THROUGH REDUCTION IN FORCE PROCEDURE. AT THE TIME THESE TRANSFERS WERE AUTHORIZED IT WAS NOT KNOWN IN THE DEPARTMENT THAT THE EMPLOYEES HAD BEEN DROPPED FROM THE FIELD ROLLS. THE LACK OF INFORMATION IN THE DEPARTMENT AS TO THE STATUS OF SUCH EMPLOYEES WAS DUE TO DELAY IN RECEIVING FROM THE FIELD REPORTS OF SEPARATION ACTIONS. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH REPORTS IT WAS MISTAKENLY ASSUMED THAT THE EMPLOYEES WERE STILL CARRIED ON THE ROLLS OF THE CENTERS. THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC CASE IS CITED:

UPON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE OFFICE OF INDIAN AFFAIRS, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, THIS DEPARTMENT, ON FEBRUARY 8, 1946, AUTHORIZED THE TRANSFER OF JOHN G. HUNTER FROM A POSITION OF EVACUEE PROPERTY OFFICER, CAF 11, $4300 PER ANNUM, WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY CENTER AT POST ON, ARIZONA, TO A POSITION OF COMMUNITY WORKER, SP-7, $2650, CHEYENNE RIVER INDIAN AGENCY, CHEYENNE AGENCY, SOUTH DAKOTA, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. THIS DEPARTMENT LEARNED ONLY RECENTLY THAT MR. HUNTER WAS SEPARATED FROM HIS POSITION AT THE POST ON CENTER THROUGH REDUCTION IN FORCE EFFECTIVE JANUARY 12, 1946.

A NUMBER OF DECISIONS HAVE BEEN ISSUED BY YOUR OFFICE TO THE EFFECT THAT WHEN A RESIGNATION HAS BEEN ACCEPTED BY AN APPOINTING OFFICER WHO HAS AUTHORITY TO TAKE SUCH ACTION, THE EFFECTIVE DATE HAS BEEN FIXED BY THE EMPLOYEE, HE HAS BEEN FURNISHED NOTICE OF SUCH ACCEPTANCE AND THE SPECIFIED EFFECTIVE DATE HAS PASSED, THE SEPARATION IS FINAL AND MAY NOT BE CANCELLED OR CHANGED EITHER BY THE APPOINTING OFFICER OR THE EMPLOYEE. THIS DEPARTMENT HAS BEEN UNABLE TO FIND A DECISION INVOLVING A CASE SUCH AS MR. HUNTER'S IN WHICH YOU HAVE RULED WHETHER A SEPARATION OF AN EMPLOYEE THROUGH REDUCTION IN FORCE MAY BE CANCELED AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE HAS PASSED, IN ORDER THAT HIS TRANSFER AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY BE AUTHORIZED, AND A DECISION ON THIS POINT IS REQUESTED.

MR. HUNTER HAS BEEN EMPLOYED IN THIS DEPARTMENT FOR MANY YEARS AND HIS ASSIGNMENT TO THE INDIAN SERVICE IS NECESSITATED BY THE LIQUIDATION OF THE WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY. THIS TRANSFER IS NOT FOR HIS CONVENIENCE AND THERE IS EVERY REASON WHY THE EXPENSES OF HIS TRAVEL AND THE COST OF TRANSPORTING HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND PERSONAL EFFECTS SHOULD BE BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT INSTEAD OF THE EMPLOYEE BEING REQUIRED TO MEET THESE COSTS FROM PERSONAL FUNDS. HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR THE CONFUSION WHICH ALWAYS ATTENDS THE LIQUIDATION OF A FAR-FLUNG FIELD ACTIVITY OF THE GOVERNMENT THERE IS NO QUESTION BUT THAT MR. HUNTER'S ASSIGNMENT TO THE INDIAN SERVICE WOULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETED WITHOUT EXPENSE TO HIM. AS THERE WILL BE OTHER CASES SIMILAR TO MR. HUNTER'S AN EARLY REPLY TO THIS LETTER WILL BE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.'

AS UNDERSTOOD, THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER IS WHETHER, FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF AUTHORIZING TRANSFER TO A NEW DUTY STATION WITH THE RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES AND TRANSPORTATION OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND PERSONAL EFFECTS, MR. HUNTER MAY BE RESTORED TO DUTY AT HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION, POST ON, ARIZONA. ALSO, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT IF SUCH PROCEDURE IS AUTHORIZED EITHER THE APPROPRIATION " SALARIES AND EXPENSES, WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, 1946," OR " GENERAL EXPENSES, INDIAN SERVICE, 1946," IS CONTEMPLATED TO BE CHARGED WITH RESPECT TO THE AMOUNTS FOUND DUE.

THE APPROPRIATION," SALARIES AND EXPENSES, WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, 1946," ACT OF JULY 17, 1945, 59 STAT. 485, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * TRAVELING EXPENSES, NOT TO EXCEED $313,200 * * * TRANSFER OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND EFFECTS AS PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF OCTOBER 10, 1940, INCLUDING TRAVEL EXPENSES, OF EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED FROM OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE AUTHORITY AT ITS REQUEST * * * AND PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT THE LIMITATION PLACED ON THE AMOUNT AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR THE WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY SHALL NOT APPLY TO TRAVEL OF EVACUEES AND THEIR ESCORTS INCIDENT TO TRANSFERS AND RELOCATION. AND THE APPROPRIATION," GENERAL EXPENSES, INDIAN SERVICE, 1946" ACT OF JULY 3, 1945, 59 STAT. 324, CONTAINS A PROVISION FOR "TRAVEL EXPENSES," GENERALLY.

WITH RESPECT TO THE TRAVELING EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY, SECTION 201 (A) OF THE INDEPENDENT OFFICES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1946, APPROVED MAY 3, 1945, PUBLIC LAW 49, 59 STAT. 131, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

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 OR ANY TRANSFER EFFECTED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.

IT WILL BE SEEN THAT THE SAID STATUTE AUTHORIZES PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT ONLY "ON TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER.' THAT IS TO SAY, WHILE IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE BENEFITS OF SUCH STATUTE ARE APPLICABLE UPON RETURN OF AN EMPLOYEE TO ACTIVE DUTY FROM FURLOUGH OR LEAVE OF ABSENCE WITHOUT PAY, IF ALL THE CONDITIONS OF THE STATUTE ARE OTHERWISE FULFILLED (DECISION OF OCTOBER 2, 1940, B-12385), IN THE INSTANT CASE IT IS STATED THAT THE EMPLOYEE THERETOFORE DEFINITELY WAS REMOVED FROM THE SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR BY ACTION OF A QUALIFIED OFFICIAL OF THE WAR RELOCATION AUTHORITY AND IF SUCH BE THE CASE UPON REEMPLOYMENT IN A NEW POSITION HE WOULD HAVE NO OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS TO RETURN TO, FROM WHICH HE COULD BE TRANSFERRED, OR UPON WHICH THE STATUTE COULD OPERATE. IT NECESSARILY FOLLOWS THAT ON THE PRESENT RECORD A RESTORATION TO DUTY AT ANOTHER LOCATION WOULD BE FOR VIEWING AS IN THE NATURE OF A NEW APPOINTMENT, THUS CONSTITUTING THE PLACE WHERE THE EMPLOYEE IS FIRST ASSIGNED TO DUTY--- IN THIS CASE CHEYENNE AGENCY, SOUTH DAKOTA--- AS HIS FIRST DUTY STATION TO WHICH HE MUST BEAR THE COST OF REPORTING. SEE 20 COMP. GEN. 820, AND THE DECISIONS CITED THEREIN.

WITH RESPECT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE'S PERSONAL EFFECTS, THE ACT OF OCTOBER 10, 1940, 54 STAT. 1105, PROVIDES, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

THAT EXPENSES WHICH NOW OR HEREAFTER MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO BE PAID FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS FOR THE PACKING, CRATING, DRAYAGE, AND TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF ANY OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS OR ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY SHALL HEREAFTER BE ALLOWED AND PAID, WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED, UNDER SUCH RULES AND REGULATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT * * *. AND SECTION 1 OF THE PRESIDENT'S REGULATIONS, ISSUED UNDER AUTHORITY OF THAT ACT ( EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 8588, DATED NOVEMBER 7, 1940), PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

WHEN ANY CIVILIAN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF ANY OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS OR ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES, HEREINAFTER CALLED EMPLOYEE, IS TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER FOR PERMANENT DUTY AND THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND OTHER PERSONAL EFFECTS IS AUTHORIZED BY LAW, SUCH EXPENSES, WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED, SHALL BE ALLOWED AND PAID IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THESE REGULATIONS.

IN THE LIGHT OF ITS SPECIFIC LANGUAGE, THE CONCLUSION HEREINBEFORE STATED, THAT THE ACTS OF CONGRESS AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES ARE LIMITED TO A BONA FIDE TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION, IS REQUIRED, ALSO, IN THE APPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF OCTOBER 10. 1040, AND THE PRESIDENT'S REGULATIONS, SUPRA--- THE SAID ACT BEING MERELY AN AUTHORIZATION FOR THE ISSUANCE OF UNIFORM REGULATIONS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WHEN SUCH EXPENSES ARE ,AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO BE PAID FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS.' 20 COMP. GEN. 421.

AS THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR PAYMENT IN THE INSTANT CASE OF THE ALLOWANCE IN QUESTION, AND AS THE APPROPRIATIONS DO NOT PURPORT TO AUTHORIZE EXPENDITURES OTHERWISE THAN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONTROLLING STATUTES AND REGULATIONS, THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO CONCLUDE THAT CANCELLATION OF THE SEPARATION OF THE EMPLOYEE THROUGH REDUCTION IN FORCE, AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE THEREOF, FOR THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER IS NOT AUTHORIZED. ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE PENULTIMATE PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.