B-65683, APRIL 29, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 831

B-65683: Apr 29, 1947

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" PERSONS APPOINTED AT POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES TO WHICH THEY WERE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER CONTRACTS WITH PRIVATE AIR LINES MAY BE PAID OTHERWISE PROPER TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THEIR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. PROVIDED THAT SUCH PERSONS AS WERE APPOINTED ON AND AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE. 1947: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 17. AS FOLLOWS: THE WEATHER BUREAU OF THIS DEPARTMENT IS CONDUCTING A METEOROLOGICAL PROJECT FOR THE ARMY AIR FORCES WITH FUNDS PROVIDED UNDER THE SYMBOL AND TITLE "1375914.002. THE WORK IS PERFORMED OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AT POINTS FORMERLY MANNED BY AIRLINES UNDER CONTRACT WITH THE ARMY AIR FORCES. SOME OF THE EMPLOYEES FOR THE PROJECT WERE RECRUITED BY THE AIRLINES AND OTHERS WERE RECRUITED BY THE WEATHER BUREAU.

B-65683, APRIL 29, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 831

TRAVELING EXPENSES - CIVILIANS APPOINTED OVERSEAS - RETURN TO U.S. UNDER SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, PROVIDING THAT APPROPRIATIONS SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES "ON RETURN OF EMPLOYEES FROM THEIR POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES," PERSONS APPOINTED AT POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES TO WHICH THEY WERE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER CONTRACTS WITH PRIVATE AIR LINES MAY BE PAID OTHERWISE PROPER TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THEIR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES, PROVIDED THAT SUCH PERSONS AS WERE APPOINTED ON AND AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE--- AUGUST 2, 1946--- OF SAID SECTION 7 MEET THE LENGTH- OF-SERVICE REQUIREMENT PRESCRIBED THEREIN. THE PROVISION IN SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, THAT TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FROM POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED "NEW APPOINTEES" UNLESS AND UNTIL THEY AGREE IN WRITING TO REMAIN THE SERVICE FOR 12 MONTHS FOLLOWING THEIR APPOINTMENTS HAS NO APPLICATION TO PERSONS APPOINTED OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES PRIOR TO AUGUST 2, 1946--- THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SAID SECTION--- SO THAT OTHERWISE PROPER TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF SUCH EMPLOYEES UPON RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES MAY BE PAID, IRRESPECTIVE OF LENGTH OF SERVICE OR THE REASONS FOR SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE. UNDER SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES ON RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES FROM POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, PERSONS WHO, UPON APPOINTMENT OVERSEAS SUBSEQUENT TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SAID SECTION, AGREED IN WRITING IN ACCORDANCE THEREWITH TO REMAIN IN THE SERVICE FOR 12 MONTHS MAY BE PAID TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THEIR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES UPON THEIR SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF 12 MONTHS' SERVICE, REGARDLESS OF THE REASONS FOR SEPARATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, APRIL 29, 1947:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 17, 1947, AS FOLLOWS:

THE WEATHER BUREAU OF THIS DEPARTMENT IS CONDUCTING A METEOROLOGICAL PROJECT FOR THE ARMY AIR FORCES WITH FUNDS PROVIDED UNDER THE SYMBOL AND TITLE "1375914.002, WORKING FUND, COMMERCE, WEATHER BUREAU, 1947.' THE WORK IS PERFORMED OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AT POINTS FORMERLY MANNED BY AIRLINES UNDER CONTRACT WITH THE ARMY AIR FORCES. UNDER THE PLAN, SOME OF THE EMPLOYEES FOR THE PROJECT WERE RECRUITED BY THE AIRLINES AND OTHERS WERE RECRUITED BY THE WEATHER BUREAU, BUT TRANSPORTATION TO THEIR POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND THEIR SALARIES WERE IN ALL CASES PAID BY THE AIRLINES UNTIL SUCH TIME AS THE WEATHER BUREAU WAS IN A POSITION TO FUNCTION AT THE VARIOUS PLACES. THE EMPLOYEES RECRUITED BY THE AIRLINES WERE GIVEN APPOINTMENTS BY THE WEATHER BUREAU AT THEIR FOREIGN POSTS OF DUTY WHEN THE WORK WAS TAKEN OVER BY THE WEATHER BUREAU.

THE WEATHER BUREAU IS ALSO CONDUCTING A PROJECT IN THE ARCTIC UNDER BASIC AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN PUBLIC LAW 296, 79TH CONGRESS, APPROVED FEBRUARY 12, 1946, AND THE PROVISIONS OF ITS APPROPRIATION ACT ( PUBLIC LAW 490, 79TH CONG., APPROVED JULY 5, 1946 (60 STAT. 474) ). TRAVEL EXPENSES OF A NUMBER OF THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED FROM THE POINTS OF ENGAGEMENT IN THE UNITED STATES TO THEIR POSTS OF DUTY IN THE ARCTIC WERE PAID BY THE WEATHER BUREAU UNDER A PROVISION IN THE SAME ACT. THERE IS NO PROVISION IN THAT ACT FOR RETURN OF THE EMPLOYEES FROM THEIR POSTS IN THE ARTIC. THEREFORE, TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR THE RETURN JOURNEYS WILL BE COVERED BY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7 OF PUBLIC LAW 600 DATED AUGUST 2, 1046. THE PROVISION COVERING RETURN OF EMPLOYEES IS COUPLED WITH THE PROVISO: "THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED NEW APPOINTEES UNLESS AND UNTIL THE PERSON SELECTED BY THE GOVERNMENT SHALL AGREE IN WRITING TO REMAIN IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE FOR THE TWELVE MONTHS FOLLOWING HIS APPOINTMENT, UNLESS SEPARATED FOR REASONS BEYOND HIS CONTROL. IN CASE OF A VIOLATION OF SUCH AGREEMENT ANY MONEYS EXPENDED BY THE UNITED STATES ON ACCOUNT OF SUCH TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS A DEBT DUE BY THE INDIVIDUAL CONCERNED TO THE UNITED STATES.' THE LAST PART OF THE PROVISO COVERS REFUND OF THE EXPENSES TO THE POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES.

YOUR DECISION IS ACCORDINGLY REQUESTED ON THE FOLLOWING:

1. MAY THE WEATHER BUREAU PAY THE RETURN TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEES NOW ENGAGED IN WORK ON METEOROLOGICAL PROJECTS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES WHO WERE TRANSPORTED TO POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES BY THE AIRLINES UNDER CONTRACT WITH THE ARMY AIR FORCES? (THE GOVERNMENT INDIRECTLY PAID THE COSTS OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION BY REASON OF THE CONTRACTS WITH THE ARMY AIR FORCES.)

2. MAY THE WEATHER BUREAU PAY THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES ENGAGED ON THE ARCTIC PROJECT IF SUCH EMPLOYEES ARE SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF TWELVE MONTHS OF SERVICE FOR REASONS WITHIN THEIR CONTROL WHEN THE EXPENSES OF TRAVEL TO THEIR POSTS OF DUTY WERE PAID UNDER PUBLIC LAW 490, AND THEY WERE NOT REQUIRED TO SIGN AGREEMENTS AS A CONDITION OF APPOINTMENT?

3. MAY THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO WAS SENT TO THE ARCTIC UNDER THE CONDITIONS ENUMERATED IN QUESTION NO. 2 ABOVE BE PAID IF HE IS SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE (A) FOR REASONS OF HEALTH UNDER A CERTIFICATE FROM A PHYSICIAN TO THE EFFECT THAT CONTINUATION OF WORK IN THE ARCTIC WOULD BE DETRIMENTAL TO HIS HEALTH; AND (B) IF FOUND TO BE UNSUITABLE FOR THE WORK NECESSARILY PERFORMED AT ISOLATED PLACES UNDER UNUSUAL LIVING CONDITIONS?

4. MAY THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF RETURN OF THE EMPLOYEES BE PAID WHEN SEPARATED AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF TWELVE MONTHS OF SERVICE FOR REASONS WITHIN THEIR CONTROL WHEN APPOINTMENTS WERE MADE AFTER THE APPROVAL OF PUBLIC LAW 600 AND THEY SIGNED THE REQUIRED AGREEMENTS?

A PROMPT REPLY WILL BE APPRECIATED SINCE THE WORK AT SOME OF THE POINTS INVOLVED IS NEARING COMPLETION AND THERE IS BEFORE THE BUREAU A SITUATION AS DESCRIBED IN QUESTION 3 (A) ABOVE.

SECTION 7 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 808, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, READS AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 7. APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENTS SHALL BE AVAILABLE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF NEW APPOINTEES, EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES AND EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS FROM PLACES OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT TIME OF APPOINTMENT TO PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, AND FOR SUCH EXPENSES ON RETURN OF EMPLOYEES FROM THEIR POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO THE PLACES OF THEIR ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT TIME OF ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED NEW APPOINTEES UNLESS AND UNTIL THE PERSON SELECTED FOR APPOINTMENT SHALL AGREE IN WRITING TO REMAIN IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE FOR THE TWELVE MONTHS FOLLOWING HIS APPOINTMENT, UNLESS SEPARATED FOR REASONS BEYOND HIS CONTROL. IN CASE OF A VIOLATION OF SUCH AGREEMENT ANY MONEYS EXPENDED BY THE UNITED STATES ON ACCOUNT OF SUCH TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION SHALL BE CONSIDERED AS A DEBT DUE BY THE INDIVIDUAL CONCERNED TO THE UNITED STATES. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FOREIGN SERVICE, STATE DEPARTMENT.

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE PROVISION CONTAINED IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED SECTION FOR THE RETURN OF EMPLOYEES TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS NOT DIRECTLY COUPLED WITH THE AUTHORITY TO PAY THE EXPENSES OF THEIR OUTWARD JOURNEY. HENCE, IN VIEW OF THE SPECIFIC PROVISION IN THE SAID SECTION THAT APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENTS SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES "ON RETURN OF EMPLOYEES FROM THEIR POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES," EMPLOYEES APPOINTED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES FOR DUTY AT FOREIGN POSTS, IF OTHERWISE ENTITLED THERETO, MAY BE PAID AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE PROPER TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THEIR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES--- REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY TRAVELED TO THE FOREIGN POST AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. SEE DECISION OF JANUARY 15, 1947, B-62267, 26 COMP. GEN. 488, QUESTION AND ANSWER 10; COMPARE 23 COMP. GEN. 280.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, QUESTION 1 IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE; PROVIDED, OF COURSE, THAT SUCH OF THE EMPLOYEES THERE INVOLVED, AS WERE APPOINTED ON AND AFTER AUGUST 2, 1946--- THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE SAID SECTION 7 OF PUBLIC LAW 600--- MEET THE REQUIREMENTS CONTAINED IN THE PROVISO THERETO RESPECTING LENGTH OF SERVICE AFTER APPOINTMENT, OR HAVE BEEN EMPLOYED FOR LESSER PERIODS AS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT. SEE QUESTIONS 3 AND 8 AND ANSWERS THERETO IN DECISION OF JANUARY 15, 1947, SUPRA.

THE REQUIREMENT OF THE PROVISO IN SECTION 7 THAT TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED "NEW APPOINTEES" UNLESS AND UNTIL THE PERSON SELECTED FOR APPOINTMENT SHALL AGREE IN WRITING TO REMAIN IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE FOR THE TWELVE MONTHS FOLLOWING HIS APPOINTMENT, UNLESS SEPARATED FOR REASONS BEYOND HIS CONTROL, HAS NO APPLICATION TO PERSONS APPOINTED PRIOR TO AUGUST 2, 1946, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THAT SECTION. HENCE, IN LINE WITH THE ANSWER TO QUESTION 1, SUPRA, AND ASSUMING THAT THE EMPLOYEES REFERRED TO IN QUESTIONS 2 AND 3 WERE APPOINTED PRIOR TO AUGUST 2, 1946, OTHERWISE PROPER TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF SUCH EMPLOYEES UPON RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES MAY BE PAID. AND THIS WOULD BE SO, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE LENGTH OF SERVICE OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES OR THE REASONS FOR SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE. ACCORDINGLY, QUESTIONS 2 AND 3 ARE ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

QUESTION 4 IS ANSWERED BY SAYING THAT WHILE THE CIRCUMSTANCES THEREIN STATED ARE NOT SPECIFICALLY MENTIONED IN SECTION 7 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, THE INFERENCE NECESSARILY TO BE DRAWN FROM THE LANGUAGE CONTAINED IN THE SAID SECTION IS THAT WHERE THE PRESCRIBED PERIOD OF SERVICE HAS BEEN RENDERED, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MAY BE AUTHORIZED REGARDLESS OF THE REASON FOR SEPARATION.