B-61360, NOVEMBER 6, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 306

B-61360: Nov 6, 1946

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POSTAGE STAMPS - PURCHASE PROCEDURE NO OBJECTION WILL BE RAISED WITH RESPECT TO A PROCEDURE FOR THE PURCHASE OF POSTAGE STAMPS BY THE VARIOUS GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FROM POSTMASTERS WHEREBY VOUCHERS COVERING SUCH PURCHASES WOULD BE PROCESSED BY THE AGENCY AND CHECKS WOULD BE ISSUED IN PAYMENT THEREOF FOR DELIVERY TO THE POSTMASTER AT THE TIME OF ACTUAL RECEIPT OF THE STAMPS. 1946: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DECISION B-57828. IN WHICH YOU HELD THAT PAYMENT OF BOX RENT IN ADVANCE BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IS NOT PROHIBITED BY SECTION 3648 OF THE REVISED STATUTES. THESE VOUCHERS ARE PROCESSED AND PAID LATER AND WE HAVE ENDEAVORED TO HAVE SUCH PAYMENT MADE WITHIN A PERIOD OF 60 DAYS.

B-61360, NOVEMBER 6, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 306

POSTAGE STAMPS - PURCHASE PROCEDURE NO OBJECTION WILL BE RAISED WITH RESPECT TO A PROCEDURE FOR THE PURCHASE OF POSTAGE STAMPS BY THE VARIOUS GOVERNMENT AGENCIES FROM POSTMASTERS WHEREBY VOUCHERS COVERING SUCH PURCHASES WOULD BE PROCESSED BY THE AGENCY AND CHECKS WOULD BE ISSUED IN PAYMENT THEREOF FOR DELIVERY TO THE POSTMASTER AT THE TIME OF ACTUAL RECEIPT OF THE STAMPS; HOWEVER, ACTUAL PAYMENT TO THE POSTMASTER SHOULD NOT BE MADE PRIOR TO THE RECEIPT OF THE STAMPS BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, NOVEMBER 6, 1946:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16, 1946, REFERENCE 31, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR DECISION B-57828, DATED JUNE 5, 1946, ADDRESSED TO THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF THE BUDGET, IN WHICH YOU HELD THAT PAYMENT OF BOX RENT IN ADVANCE BY GOVERNMENT AGENCIES IS NOT PROHIBITED BY SECTION 3648 OF THE REVISED STATUTES.

IT HAS BEEN THE PRACTICE OF THIS DEPARTMENT FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS TO AUTHORIZE POSTMASTERS TO FURNISH POSTAGE STAMPS TO AGENCIES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UPON SUBMISSION OF VOUCHER FORM 1034 IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT. THESE VOUCHERS ARE PROCESSED AND PAID LATER AND WE HAVE ENDEAVORED TO HAVE SUCH PAYMENT MADE WITHIN A PERIOD OF 60 DAYS. IN MANY INSTANCES, HOWEVER, PAYMENTS HAVE BEEN LONG DELAYED. HANDLING STAMP PURCHASES IN THIS MANNER INVOLVES THE USE OF CONSIDERABLE CLERICAL TIME IN POST OFFICES AND SOME CORRESPONDENCE. ACCORDINGLY, A DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER IN HARMONY WITH THE PRINCIPLE ESTABLISHED IN YOUR DECISION ABOVE REFERRED TO, AGENCIES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MAY BE PERMITTED TO PROCESS VOUCHERS AND ISSUE CHECKS IN PAYMENT FOR STAMPS PRIOR TO OR AT THE TIME OF THE ACTUAL RECEIPT OF THE STAMPS FROM THE POST OFFICE.

IF YOUR ANSWER IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, AND GOVERNMENT AGENCIES MAY BE REQUIRED TO PRESENT CHECKS IN PAYMENT FOR STAMPS AT THE TIME OF SUBMITTING THEIR PURCHASE ORDERS, IT WILL BE OF MATERIAL ADVANTAGE TO THE POSTAL SERVICE AND CERTAINLY WILL NOT INCREASE THE WORK OF OTHER GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES.

YOUR LETTER INDICATED THAT THE ONLY UNSATISFACTORY ASPECT OF THE PRESENT ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE PURCHASE OF STAMPS BY THE VARIOUS AGENCIES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS THE LONG PERIOD OF DELAY FROM THE TIME OF PROCUREMENT OF THE STAMPS FROM POSTMASTERS UNTIL THE PROCESSING AND FINAL PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHERS COVERING SUCH PURCHASES. HENCE, THE REMEDY FOR SUCH SITUATION--- AS TO WHICH THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT OBJECT-- WOULD APPEAR TO BE THE ADOPTION OF A PROCEDURE WHEREBY THE AGENCIES OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WOULD PROCESS VOUCHERS COVERING THE PURCHASE OF STAMPS FROM POSTMASTERS AND WOULD ISSUE CHECKS IN PAYMENT OF SAID VOUCHERS, SAID CHECKS TO BE RETAINED BY THE AGENCY CONCERNED AND DELIVERED TO THE POSTMASTER AT THE TIME OF THE ACTUAL RECEIPT OF THE STAMPS FROM THE POST OFFICE. HOWEVER, AS TO THE DELIVERY OF CHECKS BY FEDERAL AGENCIES TO THE POSTMASTERS PRIOR TO THE DELIVERY OF THE STAMPS, YOUR LETTER DISCLOSES NO NECESSITY THEREFOR AND NO REASON FOR SUCH PROCEDURE IS PERCEIVED. ACCORDINGLY, I AM INCLINED TO WITHHOLD APPROVAL OF THAT PART OF THE PROCEDURE WHICH CONTEMPLATES THE ACTUAL PAYMENT TO THE POSTMASTER FOR THE STAMPS PRIOR TO THEIR RECEIPT BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, NOTWITHSTANDING THE HOLDING IN B-57828, DATED JUNE 5, 1946, 25 COMP. GEN. 834--- REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER--- IN RESPECT OF THE SITUATION THEREIN PRESENTED.