B-76058, MAY 11, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 677

B-76058: May 11, 1948

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DETAILS - INTEROFFICE - POSTAL INSPECTOR DETAILED TO STATE DEPARTMENT THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 39 GENERALLY PROHIBITING THE DETAIL OF FIELD EMPLOYEES FOR DUTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE NOT APPLICABLE TO THE DETAIL OF A FIELD POSTAL INSPECTOR TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT TO SURVEY. 1948: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 3. AS FOLLOWS: THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IS DESIROUS OF OBTAINING THE SERVICES OF A TECHNICAL CONSULTANT FROM THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT TO SURVEY THE DIPLOMATIC POUCH AND COURIER SYSTEM AND TO ANALYZE AND EVALUATE THE PRESENT ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE CHARGED WITH THE SUPERVISION AND MAINTENANCE OF THIS SERVICE AND THE PROCEDURES USED THEREIN WITH A VIEW TOWARD INCREASED EFFICIENCY AND A MORE ECONOMICAL OPERATION.

B-76058, MAY 11, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 677

DETAILS - INTEROFFICE - POSTAL INSPECTOR DETAILED TO STATE DEPARTMENT THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 39 GENERALLY PROHIBITING THE DETAIL OF FIELD EMPLOYEES FOR DUTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE NOT APPLICABLE TO THE DETAIL OF A FIELD POSTAL INSPECTOR TO THE STATE DEPARTMENT TO SURVEY, PREDOMINATELY IN THE FIELD, THE ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE DIPLOMATIC POUCH AND COURIER SERVICE, SO THAT REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE FROM APPLICABLE STATE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 601 OF THE ECONOMY ACT FOR SALARY AND TRAVEL EXPENSES OTHERWISE PAYABLE TO SUCH EMPLOYEE, EVEN THOUGH HE MAY BE TEMPORARILY ASSIGNED TO DUTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO FAMILIARIZE HIMSELF WITH EXISTING PROCEDURES AND REGULATIONS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, MAY 11, 1948:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 3, 1948, REFERENCE L/A, AS FOLLOWS:

THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IS DESIROUS OF OBTAINING THE SERVICES OF A TECHNICAL CONSULTANT FROM THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT TO SURVEY THE DIPLOMATIC POUCH AND COURIER SYSTEM AND TO ANALYZE AND EVALUATE THE PRESENT ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE CHARGED WITH THE SUPERVISION AND MAINTENANCE OF THIS SERVICE AND THE PROCEDURES USED THEREIN WITH A VIEW TOWARD INCREASED EFFICIENCY AND A MORE ECONOMICAL OPERATION.

THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT HAS EXPRESSED ITS WILLINGNESS IN THIS RESPECT AND HAS MADE AVAILABLE THE NAME OF AN INSPECTOR WHO IS PRESENTLY AN EMPLOYEE OF THAT DEPARTMENT TO PERFORM THE CONTEMPLATED SERVICES. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE PREVIOUS DECISIONS OF YOUR OFFICE, NAMELY B-12490, DATED SEPTEMBER 30, 1940 AND OCTOBER 31, 1940, THE QUESTION OF REIMBURSEMENT TO THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT OF THIS EMPLOYEE'S SALARY AND TRAVELING EXPENSES WHILE DETAILED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IS PRESENTED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION AND OPINION.

A BRIEF STATEMENT OF THE DUTIES TO BE PERFORMED IN CONNECTION WITH THIS ASSIGNMENT MAY BE HELPFUL IN THE CONSIDERATION OF THE PROBLEM INVOLVED. IT IS PLANNED THAT THE CONSULTANT WILL SPEND A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME IN THE DEPARTMENT, INCLUDING THE DESPATCH AGENCIES LOCATED IN OTHER CITIES IN THE UNITED STATES, FAMILIARIZING HIMSELF WITH EXISTING PROCEDURES AND REGULATIONS PREPARATORY TO ESTABLISHING INITIAL HEADQUARTERS IN AN OVERSEAS COMMUNICATIONS CENTER, PRESUMABLY PARIS, CAIRO, OR SHANGHAI. AFTER SPENDING SUFFICIENT TIME AT THE INITIAL CENTER TO THOROUGHLY ACQUAINT HIMSELF WITH THE SERVICES BEING RENDERED AND THE OPERATIONS REQUIRED BY THE FOREIGN POSTS SERVED THROUGH THAT PARTICULAR CENTER, IT WILL BE NECESSARY FOR HIM TO PROCEED TO OTHER CENTERS AND CONDUCT SIMILAR SURVEYS WITH RESPECT THERETO. THROUGHOUT THE STUDY EMPHASIS WILL BE PLACED 90 PERCENT IN THE FIELD AND ALL ASPECTS OF THE SURVEY ARE BASED ON FIELD PROBLEMS AND OPERATIONS. WHEN THE ENTIRE SURVEY HAS BEEN COMPLETED AND A KNOWLEDGE GAINED WITH RESPECT TO THE FACILITIES AND PROBLEMS PECULIAR TO EACH COMMUNICATION CENTER, A COMPREHENSIVE ANALYSIS WILL BE REQUIRED TO DETERMINE THE PROPER LOCATIONS FOR THE OVERSEAS COMMUNICATION CENTERS. THE SURVEY MAY RESULT IN RELOCATING EXISTING CENTERS, ESTABLISHING NEW ONES, AND ELIMINATING SOME OF THE EXISTING FACILITIES, BASED ON LIMITATIONS OF EXISTING SERVICES WHICH MAY BE FURNISHED BY OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, I.E., THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT OR ONE OF THE DEPARTMENTS OF THE NATIONAL MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT.

THE QUESTION ON WHICH YOUR OPINION IS REQUESTED IS THE USE OF FUNDS, MADE AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE UNDER PUBLIC LAW 166, 80TH CONGRESS, APPROVED JULY 9, 1947, TO EFFECT A REIMBURSEMENT TO THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FOR ITS COST IN PROVIDING THE SERVICES OF THIS CONSULTANT UNDER THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SEC. 601 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF 1932, AS AMENDED (31 U.S.C. 686). IN THIS CONNECTION YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO TITLE I OF PUBLIC LAW 166 WHICH PROVIDES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, EXPENSES AS FOLLOWS: " SALARIES AND EXPENSES, DEPARTMENT OF STATE: FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES, INCLUDING PERSONAL SERVICES IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA; * * * AND MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF PASSPORT AND DESPATCH AGENCIES ESTABLISHED BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE * * *.'

SALARIES FOR PERSONAL SERVICES, DEPARTMENTAL AND FIELD, WERE INCLUDED IN THE ESTIMATES SUBMITTED IN JUSTIFICATION OF THE APPROPRIATION AUTHORIZED BY PUBLIC LAW 166. POSITIONS FOR BOTH COMMUNICATIONS OFFICERS AND CONSULTANTS WERE PROVIDED THEREIN. IT IS PROPOSED, WITH YOUR APPROVAL, TO USE RESIDUAL FUNDS AVAILABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT FROM SUCH SOURCES TO REIMBURSE THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT OF THE SALARY AND TRAVELING EXPENSES UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SEC. 601 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF 1932, AS AMENDED.

SECTION 601 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF 1932, AS CODIFIED IN 31 U.S.C. 686, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

(A) ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT, OR ANY BUREAU OR OFFICER THEREOF, IF FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE THEREFOR AND IF IT IS DETERMINED BY THE HEAD OF SUCH EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, BUREAU, OR OFFICE TO BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT SO TO DO, MAY PLACE ORDERS WITH ANY OTHER SUCH DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, BUREAU, OR OFFICE FOR MATERIALS, SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT, WORK, OR SERVICES, OF ANY KIND THAT SUCH REQUISITIONED FEDERAL AGENCY MAY BE IN A POSITION TO SUPPLY OR EQUIPPED TO RENDER, AND SHALL PAY PROMPTLY BY CHECK TO SUCH FEDERAL AGENCY AS MAY BE REQUISITIONED, UPON ITS WRITTEN REQUEST, EITHER IN ADVANCE OR UPON THE FURNISHING OR PERFORMANCE THEREOF, ALL OR PART OF THE ESTIMATED OR ACTUAL COST THEREOF AS DETERMINED BY SUCH DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, BUREAU, OR OFFICE AS MAY BE REQUISITIONED; BUT PROPER ADJUSTMENTS ON THE BASIS OF THE ACTUAL COST OF THE MATERIALS, SUPPLIES, OR EQUIPMENT FURNISHED, OR WORK OR SERVICES PERFORMED, PAID FOR IN ADVANCE, SHALL BE MADE AS MAY BE AGREED UPON BY THE DEPARTMENTS, ESTABLISHMENTS, BUREAUS, OR OFFICES CONCERNED: PROVIDED, THAT THE WAR DEPARTMENT, NAVY DEPARTMENT, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, CIVIL AERONAUTICS ADMINISTRATION, AND THE MARITIME COMMISSION MAY PLACE ORDERS, AS PROVIDED HEREIN, FOR MATERIALS, SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT, WORK, OR SERVICES, OF ANY KIND THAT ANY REQUISITIONED FEDERAL AGENCY MAY BE IN POSITION TO SUPPLY, OR TO RENDER OR TO OBTAIN BY CONTRACT: PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT IF SUCH WORK OR SERVICES CAN BE AS CONVENIENTLY OR MORE CHEAPLY PERFORMED BY PRIVATE AGENCIES SUCH WORK SHALL BE LET BY COMPETITIVE BIDS TO SUCH PRIVATE AGENCIES. BILLS RENDERED, OR REQUESTS FOR ADVANCE PAYMENTS MADE, PURSUANT TO ANY SUCH ORDER, SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO AUDIT OR CERTIFICATION IN ADVANCE OF PAYMENT.

IN THE PRIOR OFFICE DECISIONS REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, IT WAS HELD, IN EFFECT, THAT NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 601, SUPRA, THE DETAIL OF A POSTAL INSPECTOR TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE TO ASSIST IN THE INSTITUTION AND MAINTENANCE OF A "SYSTEM OF CONTROL OF THE CONTENTS OF DIPLOMATIC MAIL POUCHES" WAS PROHIBITED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 39, TITLE 5, U.S. CODE, WHICH PROVIDES:

IT SHALL BE UNLAWFUL TO DETAIL CIVIL OFFICERS, CLERKS, OR OTHER SUBORDINATE EMPLOYEES WHO ARE AUTHORIZED OR EMPLOYED UNDER OR PAID FROM APPROPRIATIONS MADE FOR THE MILITARY OR NAVAL ESTABLISHMENTS, OR ANY OTHER BRANCH OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, EXCEPT THOSE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES WHOSE DETAILS ARE SPECIALLY PROVIDED BY LAW, FOR DUTY IN ANY BUREAU, OFFICE, OR OTHER DIVISION OF ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, EXCEPT TEMPORARY DETAILS FOR DUTY CONNECTED WITH THEIR RESPECTIVE OFFICES.

AS POINTED OUT IN THE REFERRED-TO DECISION, POST OFFICE INSPECTORS ARE PAID EXCLUSIVELY FROM " FIELD SERVICE" APPROPRIATED FOR THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT, AND, SINCE THE DUTIES TO BE PERFORMED BY THE POSTAL INSPECTOR UNDER THE DETAIL OR LOAN THERE CONTEMPLATED NECESSARILY WERE FOR PERFORMANCE IN THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, THE PROHIBITION CONTAINED IN 5 U.S.C. 39 WAS APPLICABLE.

THE INFORMATION FURNISHED IN YOUR LETTER, ABOVE, DISCLOSES THAT THE BASIS UPON WHICH THE UTILIZATION OF THE SERVICES OF A POSTAL INSPECTOR PRESENTLY IS CONTEMPLATED MATERIALLY DIFFERS FROM THAT CONSIDERED IN THE SAID PRIOR DECISIONS. THAT IS TO SAY, IT NOW IS PROPOSED TO USE THE SERVICES OF THE POSTAL INSPECTOR TO SURVEY AND ANALYZE THE PRESENT ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE CONCERNING THE SUPERVISION AND MAINTENANCE OF THE ENTIRE DIPLOMATIC POUCH AND COURIER SERVICE. FURTHER, IT IS STATED THAT 90 PERCENT OF THE WORK OF THE SURVEY WILL BE CONDUCTED IN THE FIELD AND THAT ALL ASPECTS OF THE SURVEY ARE BASED UPON FIELD PROBLEMS AND OPERATIONS. HENCE, IT APPEARS THAT THE DUTIES FOR WHICH THE SERVICES OF THE POSTAL INSPECTOR ARE SOUGHT PREDOMINANTLY ARE "FIELD" DUTIES OUTSIDE THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND ANY DUTIES REQUIRING PERFORMANCE AT THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE INCIDENTAL TO HIS PRIMARY ASSIGNMENT IN THE FIELD AND MERELY ARE FOR THE PURPOSE OF FAMILIARIZING HIMSELF WITH EXISTING PROCEDURES AND REGULATIONS SO AS TO BE BETTER QUALIFIED TO CARRY OUT HIS FIELD ASSIGNMENT. CLEARLY, SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES ARE DISTINGUISHABLE FROM THOSE CONSIDERED IN THE EARLIER DECISIONS REFERRED TO ABOVE WHEREIN THE DUTIES TO BE PERFORMED CONSISTED ENTIRELY OF THE RENDITION OF SERVICE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE DETAIL OR LOAN OF A POSTAL INSPECTOR TO THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE FOR THE PURPOSE SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER, ABOVE, IS NOT WITHIN THE PROHIBITION CONTAINED IN SECTION 39, U.S. CODE, SUPRA. CONSEQUENTLY, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE SERVICES OF THE POSTAL INSPECTOR FOR THE PURPOSE SPECIFIED PROPERLY MAY BE FURNISHED BY THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 601 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF 1932 QUOTED ABOVE, WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT SALARY AND TRAVEL EXPENSES OTHERWISE PROPERLY PAYABLE TO SUCH EMPLOYEES ARE TO BE REIMBURSED TO THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT FROM APPLICABLE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE.