B-7765, JANUARY 9, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 631

B-7765: Jan 9, 1940

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- IS A "FIELD SERVICE" RATHER THAN A "DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE.'. 1940: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 22. THESE ACTIVITIES WERE PLACED IN THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. THE FUNCTIONS HAVING TO DO WITH THE CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS WERE ORGANIZED IN A BRANCH OF THAT SERVICE. THOSE HAVING TO DO WITH THE DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF THE PUBLIC PARKS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL WERE SET UP IN A UNIT KNOWN AS THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS UNDER THE DIRECTION OF A SUPERINTENDENT TO BE HANDLED SIMILAR TO THE WORK OF NATIONAL PARKS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. POSITIONS IN THAT AGENCY HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED TO FIELD GRADES AND SO SHOWN ON PAY ROLLS. HAVE INDICATED THAT THE POSITIONS ARE IN THE FIELD SERVICE.

B-7765, JANUARY 9, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 631

"DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE" AND "FIELD SERVICE" DISTINCTION - NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS UNIT STATUS THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS UNIT OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE IN THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT, CHARGED WITH THE DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF THE PUBLIC PARKS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL, UNDER THE DIRECTION OF A SUPERINTENDENT, SIMILARLY TO THAT OF NATIONAL PARKS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY --- A LOCAL ACTIVITY RATHER THAN ONE ENGAGED IN GENERAL SUPERVISORY OR ADMINISTRATIVE WORK OF SAID SERVICE--- IS A "FIELD SERVICE" RATHER THAN A "DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE.' DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ,DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE" AND "FIELD SERVICE" GENERALLY, DISCUSSED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, JANUARY 9, 1940:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 22, 1939, AS FOLLOWS:

PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933 (47 STAT. 1517), THE PRESIDENT, BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 6166, DATED JUNE 10, 1933, TRANSFERRED TO THIS DEPARTMENT, AMONG OTHER AGENCIES, THE FUNCTIONS OF THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND PUBLIC PARKS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL. THESE ACTIVITIES WERE PLACED IN THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. THE FUNCTIONS HAVING TO DO WITH THE CARE AND MAINTENANCE OF THE PUBLIC BUILDINGS WERE ORGANIZED IN A BRANCH OF THAT SERVICE, AND THOSE HAVING TO DO WITH THE DEVELOPMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF THE PUBLIC PARKS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL WERE SET UP IN A UNIT KNOWN AS THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS UNDER THE DIRECTION OF A SUPERINTENDENT TO BE HANDLED SIMILAR TO THE WORK OF NATIONAL PARKS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.

THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS HAS BEEN CONSIDERED AS A FIELD SERVICE IN VIEW OF THE NATURE OF THE WORK. IN THIS CONNECTION PLEASE SEE 5 C.G. 272. POSITIONS IN THAT AGENCY HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED TO FIELD GRADES AND SO SHOWN ON PAY ROLLS. THE ANNUAL ESTIMATES, WHILE INDICATING DEPARTMENTAL GRADES, HAVE INDICATED THAT THE POSITIONS ARE IN THE FIELD SERVICE. THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION ADVISED IN 1934 THAT THEY CONSIDER THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS AS A FIELD UNIT OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS IS ENGAGED IN THE MAINTENANCE, CARE, DEVELOPMENT, ETC., OF THE PUBLIC PARKS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL, AND FUNCTIONS THROUGH A SUPERINTENDENT WHO IS HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THESE PARKS AS ARE SUPERINTENDENTS OF OTHER NATIONAL PARKS.

PLEASE ADVISE WHETHER YOU AGREE WITH THE VIEW OF THIS DEPARTMENT THAT THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS IS A FIELD SERVICE.

IN A DECISION DATED APRIL 9, 1915 (21 COMP. DEC. 709), THE THEN COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY MADE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT AS TO THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE "FIELD" AND "DEPARTMENTAL" SERVICE OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT:

THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT EXECUTED THE LAWS WHICH CONGRESS ENACTS THROUGH THE INSTRUMENTALITIES SOMETIMES DESIGNATED "DEPARTMENTAL" AND "FIELD" ESTABLISHMENTS. WHAT IS KNOWN AS THE "FIELD FORCE" IS ENGAGED, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, IN LOCALLY EXECUTING THE LAWS, WHILE THE "DEPARTMENTAL FORCE" IS ENGAGED IN GENERAL SUPERVISORY AND ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTION AND CONTROL OF THE VARIOUS FIELD FORCES.

VARIOUS GENERAL LAWS SUCH AS THE POSTAL LAWS, REVENUE LAWS, ETC., MUST BE EXECUTED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AS WELL AS ELSEWHERE, AND NATURALIZATION LAWS ARE OF THIS CHARACTER. A FORCE ENGAGED EXCLUSIVELY IN THE LOCAL EXECUTION OF SUCH LAWS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS A FIELD FORCE, AS MUCH SO AS A LIKE FORCE IN ANY OTHER SECTION OF THE COUNTRY. IS IN THIS SENSE ONLY THAT THE TERM "FIELD FORCE" MAY PROPERLY BE APPLIED TO THE DISTRICT.

THESE VIEWS, WHICH WERE REITERATED AND ADOPTED BY FORMER COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL IN DECISION OF OCTOBER 19, 1925 (5 COMP. GEN. 272), ARE DEEMED TO REPRESENT A SUBSTANTIALLY CORRECT ANALYSIS OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE "FIELD SERVICE" AND THE "DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE.'

IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM YOUR LETTER THAT WHILE THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS IS A UNIT OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, IT DOES NOT PERFORM ANY OF THE SUPERVISORY OR ADMINISTRATIVE WORK OF SAID SERVICE BUT RATHER IS ENGAGED EXCLUSIVELY IN ACTIVITIES PERTAINING TO THE DEVELOPMENT, MAINTENANCE, AND SUPERVISION OF THE PUBLIC PARKS OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL. IN OTHER WORDS, IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE ACTIVITIES OF THIS UNIT OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE ARE CONFINED TO THE LOCAL EXECUTION OF LAWS PERTAINING TO PARKS IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND THAT ITS DUTIES FOR THE MOST PART ARE SUCH AS NORMALLY ARE TO BE PERFORMED IN SAID DISTRICT BECAUSE THE PARKS WITH WHICH IT IS CONCERNED ARE LOCATED THERE. IF THE FACTS BE AS THUS UNDERSTOOD, THE CONCLUSION OF YOUR DEPARTMENT THAT THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PARKS IS A "FIELD SERVICE" APPEARS TO BE CORRECT.