B-5747, SEPTEMBER 5, 1939, 19 COMP. GEN. 318

B-5747: Sep 5, 1939

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1939: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 17. AS FOLLOWS: THE QUESTION WAS ARISEN IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSFER OF THE BUREAU OF LIGHTHOUSES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE TO THE COAST GUARD IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY. WHETHER EMPLOYEES OF THAT BUREAU ARE REQUIRED TO RENEW THE OATH OF OFFICE SUBSCRIBED TO BY THEM UPON THEIR ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT. THE TRANSFER WAS EFFECTED UNDER SECTION 2 (A) OF THE PLAN. WHICH PROVIDES: "THE BUREAU OF LIGHTHOUSES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ITS FUNCTIONS ARE HEREBY TRANSFERRED TO AND SHALL BE CONSOLIDATED WITH AND ADMINISTERED AS A PART OF THE COAST GUARD IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY.'. PROVISION FOR THE TRANSFER OF THE PERSONNEL IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 402.

B-5747, SEPTEMBER 5, 1939, 19 COMP. GEN. 318

OATHS OF OFFICE - PERSONNEL TRANSFERRED UNDER REORGANIZATION ACT THE TRANSFER OF THE BUREAU OF LIGHTHOUSES, WITH ITS PERSONNEL, FROM THE COMMERCE DEPARTMENT TO THE COAST GUARD IN THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, PURSUANT TO REORGANIZATION PLAN NO. II SUBMITTED UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE REORGANIZATION ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, 53 STAT. 561, DOES NOT INVOLVE SUCH A CHANGE OF STATUS OF THE INVOLVED EMPLOYEES AS TO REQUIRE A NEW OATH OF OFFICE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, SEPTEMBER 5, 1939:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 17, 1939, AS FOLLOWS:

THE QUESTION WAS ARISEN IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSFER OF THE BUREAU OF LIGHTHOUSES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE TO THE COAST GUARD IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY, PURSUANT TO REORGANIZATION PLAN NO. II, DATED MAY 9, 1939, WHETHER EMPLOYEES OF THAT BUREAU ARE REQUIRED TO RENEW THE OATH OF OFFICE SUBSCRIBED TO BY THEM UPON THEIR ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT.

THE TRANSFER WAS EFFECTED UNDER SECTION 2 (A) OF THE PLAN, WHICH PROVIDES:

"THE BUREAU OF LIGHTHOUSES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ITS FUNCTIONS ARE HEREBY TRANSFERRED TO AND SHALL BE CONSOLIDATED WITH AND ADMINISTERED AS A PART OF THE COAST GUARD IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY.' PROVISION FOR THE TRANSFER OF THE PERSONNEL IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 402. IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE BUREAU OF LIGHTHOUSES AS A RESULT OF THE CONSOLIDATION HAS CEASED TO EXIST AS A SEPARATE ENTITY AND THAT THE EMPLOYEES THEREOF ARE NOW EMPLOYEES OF THE COAST GUARD. THEY ARE PRESENTLY PERFORMING SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME DUTIES THAT THEY PERFORMED PRIOR TO THE REORGANIZATION.

SECTION 1757 OF THE REVISED STATUTES OF 1873, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MAY 13, 1884 23 STAT. 22 ( U.S.C. TITLE 5, SEC. 16), REQUIRES THAT AN OATH OF OFFICE BE EXECUTED "BY ANY PERSON ELECTED OR APPOINTED TO ANY OFFICE OF HONOR OR PROFIT * * *.' PRIOR TO THE PASSAGE OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1937, 50 STAT. 640 ( U.S.C., SUP. IV, TITLE 5, SEC. 17B), THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY HAD RULED THAT IT WAS NECESSARY UNDER SECTION 1757 FOR AN EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TO RENEW HIS OATH OF OFFICE WHENEVER THERE WAS A CHANGE IN HIS STATUS EVEN THOUGH HIS SERVICES IN THE DEPARTMENT IN WHICH HE WAS EMPLOYED WERE CONTINUOUS. (1902) 8 COMP. DEC. 521; (1918) 24 COMP. DEC. 547. THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1937, SUPRA, PROVIDES:

"THAT CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE UNITED STATES WHO, UPON ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT, HAVE SUBSCRIBED TO THE OATH OF OFFICE REQUIRED BY SECTION 1757 OF THE REVISED STATUTES, SHALL NOT BE REQUIRED TO RENEW THE SAID OATH BECAUSE OF ANY CHANGE IN STATUS SO LONG AS THEIR SERVICES ARE CONTINUOUS IN THE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT IN WHICH EMPLOYED, UNLESS IN THE OPINION OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT THE PUBLIC INTERESTS REQUIRE SUCH RENEWAL.'

WHETHER THE TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES ARE REQUIRED TO EXECUTE NEW OATHS OF OFFICE UNDER SECTION 1757, AS MODIFIED BY THE ABOVE-QUOTED ACT, WOULD SEEM TO DEPEND UPON WHETHER THERE HAS BEEN A CHANGE IN THEIR STATUS. IF THEIR STATUS HAS NOT BEEN CHANGED AS A RESULT OF THE REORGANIZATION, THERE WOULD SEEM TO BE NO NECESSITY FOR REQUIRING THEM TO SUBSCRIBE TO NEW OATHS OF OFFICE, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THEIR SERVICES ARE NOT CONTINUOUS IN THE DEPARTMENT IN WHICH EMPLOYED.

IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE THIS DEPARTMENT WHETHER YOU DEEM IT NECESSARY TO ADMINISTER THE OATH OF OFFICE TO THE EMPLOYEES SO TRANSFERRED.

THE BUREAU OF LIGHTHOUSES, AS WELL AS ITS PERSONNEL, FORMERLY IN THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE WAS TRANSFERRED TO THE COAST GUARD IN THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY PURSUANT TO REORGANIZATION PLAN NO. II SUBMITTED UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE REORGANIZATION ACT OF APRIL 3, 1939, PUBLIC, NO. 19, 53 STAT. 561, SECTION 10 (B) OF WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

ANY TRANSFER OF PERSONNEL UNDER THIS TITLE SHALL BE WITHOUT CHANGE IN CLASSIFICATION OR COMPENSATION, EXCEPT THAT THIS REQUIREMENT SHALL NOT OPERATE AFTER THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR DURING WHICH THE TRANSFER IS MADE TO PREVENT THE ADJUSTMENT OF CLASSIFICATION OR COMPENSATION TO CONFORM TO THE DUTIES TO WHICH SUCH TRANSFERRED PERSONNEL MAY BE ASSIGNED.

THERE HAS NOT BEEN SUCH A CHANGE IN STATUS OF THE INVOLVED EMPLOYEES AS TO REQUIRE ANY ADDITIONAL PROTECTION TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE FORM OF A NEW OATH OF OFFICE BY THE TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES. FURTHERMORE, THE INVOLVED PERSONNEL TRANSFERRED BY OPERATION OF LAW COULD HARDLY BE VIEWED AS FALLING WITHIN THE CATEGORY OF "ANY PERSON ELECTED OR APPOINTED TO ANY OFFICE OF HONOR OR PROFIT" AS THOSE WORDS ARE USED IN SECTION 1757, REVISED STATUTES, AS AMENDED.