B-61076, FEB 25, 1947

B-61076: Feb 25, 1947

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WAR DEPARTMENT.: DEAR COLONEL DESMOND: THERE WAS RECEIVED BY REFERENCE FROM THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 12. REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED FROM THE APPROPRIATION. THAT SUITABLE SPACE ON ONE OF THE DREDGES WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE NEW YORK DISTRICT OFFICE NOW IS BEING UTILIZED AS A RECREATION ROOM AND THAT IT IS DESIRED TO EQUIP SUCH ROOM AS WELL AS SIMILAR ROOMS ON OTHER DREDGES WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF SUCH OFFICE WITH VARIOUS TYPES OF RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT SUCH AS MAGAZINES. YOU POINT OUT THAT THE MEN EMPLOYED ON THE SEAGOING DREDGES WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE NEW YORK DISTRICT ARE AWAY FROM PORT FIVE DAYS AT A TIME. TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AROUND THE CLOCK SEA WATCH SERVICE CONSISTING OF FOUR HOURS ON DUTY AND EIGHT HOURS OFF IS PERFORMED.

B-61076, FEB 25, 1947

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

LIEUTENANT COLONEL R.J. DESMOND, DISBURSING OFFICER, C. OF E., THROUGH CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, WAR DEPARTMENT.:

DEAR COLONEL DESMOND:

THERE WAS RECEIVED BY REFERENCE FROM THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 12, 1946, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED FROM THE APPROPRIATION, 12 X 3000, MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT OF EXISTING RIVER AND HARBOR WORKS, ON A VOUCHER DATED AUGUST 8, 1946, STATED IN FAVOR OF COMMERCIAL STATIONERY CO., 2 RECTOR STREET, NEW YORK, NEW YORK, IN THE AMOUNT OF $13.80, COVERING THE COST OF PING PONG PADDLES AND BALLS ORDERED ON JULY 31, 1946, FOR USE IN THE RECREATION ROOM OF A SEAGOING DREDGE UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE NEW YORK DISTRICT OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE.

YOU STATE THAT SUBPARAGRAPH 5228.15(G) OF REVISED ORDERS AND REGULATIONS, WAR DEPARTMENT, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, CHAPTER V, SECTION 10, REQUIRES THAT A ROOM SUITABLE FOR RECREATIONAL PURPOSES BE PRORATED ON EACH SEAGOING DREDGE WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF DISTRICT ENGINEERS UNLESS SUCH REQUIREMENT BE WAIVED BY THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS; THAT SUITABLE SPACE ON ONE OF THE DREDGES WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE NEW YORK DISTRICT OFFICE NOW IS BEING UTILIZED AS A RECREATION ROOM AND THAT IT IS DESIRED TO EQUIP SUCH ROOM AS WELL AS SIMILAR ROOMS ON OTHER DREDGES WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF SUCH OFFICE WITH VARIOUS TYPES OF RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT SUCH AS MAGAZINES, PING PONG BALLS AND PADDLES, PUNCHING BAGS AND BOOKS. ALSO, YOU POINT OUT THAT THE MEN EMPLOYED ON THE SEAGOING DREDGES WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE NEW YORK DISTRICT ARE AWAY FROM PORT FIVE DAYS AT A TIME, THE SAID DREDGES LEAVING PORT ON MONDAY NOON AND NOT RETURNING UNTIL THE FOLLOWING SATURDAY NOON; THAT, DURING SUCH PERIOD, TWENTY-FOUR HOURS AROUND THE CLOCK SEA WATCH SERVICE CONSISTING OF FOUR HOURS ON DUTY AND EIGHT HOURS OFF IS PERFORMED; THAT THE WORK CARRIED ON BY THE CREWS, NAMELY, PICKING UP SILT FROM THE CHANNEL WHILE SAILING AT A RATE OF FOUR MILES PER HOUR, GOING OUT TO SEA, DUMPING IT, AND RETURNING AGAIN TO THE CHANNEL FOR REPETITION OF THE SAME OPERATION, IS TEDIOUS; THAT THE AVERAGE MONTHLY LABOR TURNOVER ON THE SAID DREDGES WAS 10.2 PERCENT FOR THE PERIOD JUNE, 1944, TO AUGUST, 1946, THE LABOR TURNOVER THEREON HAVING REACHED A HIGH POINT OF 22 PERCENT IN JANUARY, 1946; AND THAT PREDOMINANT AMONG THE REASONS GIVEN BY EMPLOYEES FOR RESIGNING FROM THEIR WORK ON THE DREDGES HAS BEEN THE LACK OF RECREATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES THEREON AND A CONSEQUENT DESIRE TO SHIP OUT ON "DEEP WATER." FURTHERMORE, YOU CALL ATTENTION TO THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNMENT, IN OBTAINING THE CLASS OF MEN EMPLOYED ON THE SAID DREDGES, IS OBLIGED TO COMPETE WITH COMMERCIAL VESSELS MOST OF THE PERSONNEL OF WHICH IS FURNISHED BY LABOR UNIONS WHICH ORGANIZATIONS CONSTANTLY ARE STRIVING TO IMPROVE THE WORKING CONDITIONS OF THEIR MEMBERS. AS A CONSEQUENCE, THE PROVIDING OF RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT FOR WORKERS EMPLOYED ON THE DISTRICT'S SEAGOING DREDGES IS DEEMED TO BE NECESSARY IN ORDER TO PREVENT HIGHER TURNOVER ON SUCH DREDGES FROM REACHING UNDUE PROPORTIONS AND IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THE EFFICIENCY AND PRESERVE THE MORALE OF THE MEN EMPLOYED THEREON. ACCORDINGLY, IT IS STATED AS YOUR BELIEF THAT THE FURNISHING OF RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT ON SUCH DREDGES IS REASONABLY INCIDENT TO THE OPERATION THEREOF AND THAT AN EXPENDITURE INCURRED FOR SUCH PURPOSE PROPERLY IS TO BE REGARDED AS CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION MENTIONED.

ORDINARILY THE PROVIDING OF EQUIPMENT FOR THE RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES CONSTITUTES AN EXPENSE WHICH IS PERSONAL TO SUCH EMPLOYEES AND MAY NOT BE PAID WITH APPROPRIATED FUNDS IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC AUTHORITY THEREFOR OR AUTHORITY BY NECESSARY IMPLICATION. 18 COMP.GEN. 147. THE APPROPRIATION SOUGHT TO BE CHARGED HEREIN DOES NOT AUTHORIZE SPECIFICALLY THE PURCHASE OF RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT FOR EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN RIVER AND HARBOR WORK. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE FACTS SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER AND THE DETERMINATION BY THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS THAT THE FURNISHING OF A WELL-EQUIPPED RECREATION ROOM FOR THE USE OF CREWS ON SEAGOING DREDGES, SUCH AS THOSE OPERATING UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE NEW YORK DISTRICT, IS NECESSARY IN ORDER "FOR THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT AT LARGE TO COMPETE SUCCESSFULLY WITH COMMERCIAL VESSELS IN THE LABOR MARKET" AND TO MAINTAIN THE EFFICIENCY AND PRESERVE THE MORALE OF THE CREWS WORKING ON SUCH DREDGES, THIS OFFICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT THE OBJECTIVES OF THE PROPOSED EXPENDITURE REASONABLY MAY BE SAID TO BE BY IMPLICATION, WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT OF RIVER AND HARBOR WORKS.

THE VOUCHER, TOGETHER WITH ATTACHED INVOICE AND PURCHASE ORDER, IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT THEREON IS AUTHORIZED, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.