B-78511, AUGUST 4, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 78

B-78511: Aug 4, 1948

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IS APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES OF THE OFFICE OF RECORDER OF DEEDS. WHOSE FUNDS ARE APPROPRIATED OUT OF THE GENERAL FUND OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND WHOSE DUTIES. HAVE NOT BEEN PLACED IN OR UNDER ANY OTHER BRANCH OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. 1948: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 19. STATES: "THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT GRANTING AN INCREASE IN COMPENSATION TO EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES AND OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY EMPLOYEE IN OR UNDER THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PRIOR TO THE TIME THAT LEGISLATION PROVIDING ADEQUATE REVENUES TO MEET THE OBLIGATION IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS ENACTED BY THE CONGRESS AND BECOMES EFFECTIVE.'. THIS OFFICE WAS CREATED BY AN ACT OF CONGRESS AS AN AGENCY SEPARATE AND APART FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

B-78511, AUGUST 4, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 78

COMPENSATION - RATES - INCREASES UNDER POSTAL RATE REVISION AND FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1948 - OFFICE OF RECORDER OF DEEDS: SECTION 304 OF THE POSTAL RATE REVISION AND FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1948, EXCLUDING EMPLOYEES "IN OR UNDER THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA" FROM THE BENEFITS OF THE SALARY INCREASE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT, IS APPLICABLE TO EMPLOYEES OF THE OFFICE OF RECORDER OF DEEDS, WHOSE FUNDS ARE APPROPRIATED OUT OF THE GENERAL FUND OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND WHOSE DUTIES, CONCERNED SOLELY WITH FUNCTIONS RELATING TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, HAVE NOT BEEN PLACED IN OR UNDER ANY OTHER BRANCH OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE RECORDER OF DEEDS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AUGUST 4, 1948:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 19, 1948, AS FOLLOWS:

I HEREWITH AM REQUESTING A FORMAL OPINION FROM YOUR OFFICE AS TO THE AFFECT OF PUBLIC LAW NO. 900, 80TH CONGRESS, CHAPTER 830, SECOND SESSION, H.R. 6916 ENTITLED " AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR PERMANENT POSTAL RATES AND TO PROVIDE PAY INCREASES FOR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.'

TITLE 3, SECTION 304, STATES: "THE PROVISIONS OF THIS ACT GRANTING AN INCREASE IN COMPENSATION TO EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES AND OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA SHALL NOT APPLY TO ANY EMPLOYEE IN OR UNDER THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA PRIOR TO THE TIME THAT LEGISLATION PROVIDING ADEQUATE REVENUES TO MEET THE OBLIGATION IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS ENACTED BY THE CONGRESS AND BECOMES EFFECTIVE.'

THIS OFFICE WAS CREATED BY AN ACT OF CONGRESS AS AN AGENCY SEPARATE AND APART FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. THE ORGANIC LAW CREATING THE OFFICE, WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN CHANGED, IS AS FOLLOWS:

"SEC. 45-701 (D.C. CODE 1940). APPOINTMENT AND DUTIES--- THERE SHALL BE A RECORDER OF DEEDS OF THE DISTRICT, APPOINTED BY THE PRESIDENT, BY AND WITH THE ADVICE AND CONSENT OF THE SENATE, WHO SHALL RECORD ALL DEEDS, CONTRACTS, AND OTHER INSTRUMENTS IN WRITING AFFECTING THE TITLE OR OWNERSHIP OF ANY REAL ESTATE OR PERSONAL PROPERTY IN THE DISTRICT WHICH SHALL HAVE BEEN DULY ACKNOWLEDGED AND CERTIFIED, AND WHO SHALL PERFORM ALL REQUISITE SERVICES CONNECTED THEREWITH AND SHALL HAVE CHARGE AND CUSTODY OF ALL THE RECORDS, PAPERS, AND PROPERTY APPERTAINING TO HIS FICE.'

AT NO TIME HAS THIS OFFICE BEEN CONSIDERED AS WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND, AS SUCH, IT IS MY OPINION THAT LIKE OTHER INDEPENDENT AGENCIES, I.E.; NATIONAL CAPITAL PARK AND PLANNING COMMISSION, NATIONAL GUARD, REGISTER OF WILLS, ETC., WHOSE BUDGETARY REQUESTS ARE CONSIDERED ALONG WITH THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA BUDGETARY ESTIMATES FOR THE SAKE OF CONVENIENCE, WE BELIEVE WE ARE ENTITLED TO THE SALARY INCREASES UNDER THIS ACT.

SECTION 304 OF THE POSTAL RATE REVISION AND FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1948, PUBLIC LAW 900, APPROVED JULY 3, 1948, 62 STAT. 1268, BY ITS TERMS IS APPLICABLE TO "EMPLOYEES IN OR UNDER THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.' THE SECTION ORIGINALLY WAS INTRODUCED BY SENATOR CAIN AS AN AMENDMENT TO THE PENDING LEGISLATION AND WAS ADOPTED AS MODIFIED BY SENATOR TAFT. IT IS APPARENT FROM THE STATEMENT MADE BY SENATOR CAIN AT THE TIME OF INTRODUCING THE AMENDMENT THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE SECTION IS TO PREVENT THE INCURRENCE OF A DEFICIENCY IN THE REVENUES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. SEE PAGE 9252, VOLUME 94 OF THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD. APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE OFFICE OF RECORDER OF DEEDS ARE CARRIED IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT AND ARE APPROPRIATED OUT OF THE GENERAL FUND OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, WHICH, FOR THE CURRENT FISCAL YEAR, IS COMPOSED OF REVENUES OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA OTHER THAN THOSE APPLIED BY LAW TO SPECIAL FUNDS, AND $11,000,000 APPROPRIATED OUT OF THE FEDERAL TREASURY. SEE THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA APPROPRIATION ACT, 1949, PUBLIC LAW 724, APPROVED JUNE 19, 1948, 62 STAT. 537.

IN VIEW OF THE PURPOSE WHICH CONGRESS SOUGHT TO ACCOMPLISH BY THE ENACTMENT OF SECTION 304 OF PUBLIC LAW 900, IT CANNOT BE PRESUMED THAT THE WORD "MUNICIPAL" WAS USED IN SAID SECTION IN ANY RESTRICTED OR LIMITED SENSE. RATHER, IT MUST BE PRESUMED THAT, BY THE USE OF THE PHRASE "IN OR UNDER THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND WHO ARE NOT "IN OR UNDER" SOME BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES AS DISTINGUISHED FROM THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

IT IS APPARENT FROM A READING OF SECTION 45-701 OF THE 1940 EDITION OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CODE, QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, SUPRA, AS WELL AS SUBSEQUENT SECTIONS OF THAT CODE, THAT THE DUTIES OF THE OFFICE OF RECORDER OF DEEDS ARE CONCERNED SOLELY WITH FUNCTIONS RELATING TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, AND THOSE DUTIES HAVE NOT BEEN PLACED IN OR UNDER ANY OTHER BRANCH OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

FOR THE REASONS INDICATED IT IS CONCLUDED THAT EMPLOYEES IN THE OFFICE OF RECORDER OF DEEDS, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, ARE EMPLOYEES "IN OR UNDER THE MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA," AS THOSE WORDS ARE USED IN SECTION 304 OF THE ACT APPROVED JULY 3, SUPRA, AND, AS SUCH, ARE SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SAID SECTION, WHICH, SO FAR AS SUCH EMPLOYEES ARE CONCERNED, POSTPONES THE DATE OF GRANTING THE INCREASE IN COMPENSATION PROVIDED BY THE POSTAL RATE REVISION AN FEDERAL EMPLOYEES SALARY ACT OF 1948 UNTIL SUCH TIME AS LEGISLATION PROVIDING ADEQUATE REVENUES TO MEET THE OBLIGATION IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IS ENACTED BY THE CONGRESS AND BECOMES EFFECTIVE.