B-79806, SEPTEMBER 14, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 168

B-79806: Sep 14, 1948

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THE COMMISSION WAS AUTHORIZED TO REQUIRE EMPLOYEES TO CONTRACT TO REMAIN WITH THE COMMISSION AT THEIR FOREIGN DUTY STATIONS FOR TWO YEARS. THE COMMISSION IS NOW CONFRONTED WITH THE FACT THAT MANY OF ITS EMPLOYEES WHO ARE SUBJECT TO SUCH AGREEMENT WILL HAVE COMPLETED THEIR TWO-YEARS' SERVICE IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE AND WILL THEN BE AT LIBERTY TO RETURN TO THEIR PLACES OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES WITH THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES. THE SERVICES OF MANY OF THESE EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN INCREASINGLY VALUABLE AND. THE COMMISSION IS DESIROUS OF PROVIDING AN INCENTIVE FOR THEM TO RENEW THEIR AGREEMENTS WITH THE COMMISSION UNTIL THE LIFE OF THE COMMISSION EXPIRES. UNLESS THEY ARE SOONER RELIEVED.

B-79806, SEPTEMBER 14, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 168

TRAVELING EXPENSES - EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO DUTY OVERSEAS - RETURN TO UNITED STATES FOR PURPOSE OF LEAVE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, MAKING APPROPRIATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENTS AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF NEW APPOINTEES AND THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES TO AND FROM THEIR FOREIGN DUTY STATIONS, AN EMPLOYEE ACCOMPANIED BY HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY MAY BE TRANSPORTED FROM A FOREIGN POST OF DUTY TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON THE EXPIRATION OF THE AGREED PERIOD OF FOREIGN SERVICE FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING ANNUAL LEAVE, AND THEREAFTER MAY BE RETURNED, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, TO THE FOREIGN POST UNDER A RENEWAL OF HIS PRIOR EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE CHAIRMAN, PHILIPPINE WAR DAMAGE COMMISSION, SEPTEMBER 14, 948:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 19, 1948, AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER DATE OF AUGUST 11, 1947, YOU RENDERED TO THIS COMMISSION YOUR DECISION B-65984 (27 C.G. 70). YOU HELD IN PART THAT UNDER SECTION 7, PUBLIC LAW 600, APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946 (60 STAT. 806),THE COMMISSION WAS AUTHORIZED TO REQUIRE EMPLOYEES TO CONTRACT TO REMAIN WITH THE COMMISSION AT THEIR FOREIGN DUTY STATIONS FOR TWO YEARS, RATHER THAN THE ONE-YEAR MINIMUM PROVIDED IN SUCH SECTION. THE COMMISSION IS NOW CONFRONTED WITH THE FACT THAT MANY OF ITS EMPLOYEES WHO ARE SUBJECT TO SUCH AGREEMENT WILL HAVE COMPLETED THEIR TWO-YEARS' SERVICE IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE AND WILL THEN BE AT LIBERTY TO RETURN TO THEIR PLACES OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES WITH THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES, HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS.

THE SERVICES OF MANY OF THESE EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN INCREASINGLY VALUABLE AND, AS AN INDUCEMENT TO THEM TO CONTINUE THEIR EMPLOYMENT WITH THE COMMISSION, THE COMMISSION IS DESIROUS OF PROVIDING AN INCENTIVE FOR THEM TO RENEW THEIR AGREEMENTS WITH THE COMMISSION UNTIL THE LIFE OF THE COMMISSION EXPIRES, NOT LATER THAN APRIL 30, 1951, UNLESS THEY ARE SOONER RELIEVED. THE PROPOSED INDUCEMENT WOULD TAKE THE FORM OF ALLOWING THEM AND THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES TO TRAVEL TO AND FROM THEIR PLACES OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AND TO TAKE ANNUAL LEAVE WHILE THERE. IN CONSIDERATION OF THIS, AND BEFORE LEAVING THIS FOREIGN DUTY STATION, THEY WOULD BE REQUIRED TO RENEW THEIR AGREEMENTS WITH THE COMMISSION.

IT IS BELIEVED THAT YOUR DECISIONS B-58788, RENDERED JULY 11, 1946, AND B -61290, RENDERED NOVEMBER 15, 1946, APPROVED THE PRINCIPLE FOR WHICH THE COMMISSION CONTENDS. YOU HELD THAT UNDER APPLICABLE STATUTES THE SECRETARY OF WAR AND THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRANSPORT EMPLOYEES TO AND FROM THE UNITED STATES UPON THE EXPIRATION OF THEIR PERIODS OF CONTRACTED SERVICE WITHOUT SEPARATING THEM IF THEY ENTERED INTO NEW AGREEMENTS.

SECTION 7, PUBLIC LAW 600, SUPRA, AUTHORIZES THE COMMISSION TO PROVIDE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF NEW APPOINTEES AND THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES TO THEIR FOREIGN DUTY STATIONS AND TO RETURN THEM WHEN THEIR CONTRACT PERIOD EXPIRES. IT WOULD NOT APPEAR TO BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT TO RETURN THEM AND THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES, MAKE NEW APPOINTMENTS, AND AGAIN TRANSPORT THEM TO THIS FOREIGN DUTY STATION UNDER SUCH NEW APPOINTMENTS, AND AGAIN TRANSPORT THEM TO THIS FOREIGN DUTY STATION UNDER SUCH NEW APPOINTMENTS. THIS WOULD BE THE ONLY LOGICAL ALTERNATIVE IN MANY INSTANCES BECAUSE OF THE VALUE OF THE EMPLOYEE TO THE COMMISSION AS AGAINST THE EMPLOYMENT OF A NEW PERSON INEXPERIENCED IN THE COMMISSION'S WORK. THIS WILL BE PARTICULARLY IMPORTANT IN WINDING UP THE COMMISSION'S AFFAIRS.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER, IN CONSIDERATION OF THE RENEWAL OF THEIR CONTRACTS, ELIGIBLE EMPLOYEES AND THEIR IMMEDIATE FAMILIES MAY BE TRANSPORTED TO AND FROM THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WITHOUT THE NECESSITY OF NEW APPOINTMENTS OR BREAK IN SERVICE.

SECTION 7 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, 60 STAT. 806, 808, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, SUPRA, PROVIDES:

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.

UNDER THAT SECTION, AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAD AGREED TO ENTER SERVICE OUTSIDE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES FOR A CERTAIN PERIOD, UNDER AN AGREEMENT THAT HE WOULD BE RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON COMPLETION OF THE AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE, PROPERLY MAY BE RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON THE COMPLETION OF SUCH SERVICE PERIOD. IIN DECISIONS OF JULY 11, 1946, B 58788, AND NOVEMBER 15, 1946, B-61290, CITED IN YOUR LETTER, WITH RESPECT TO PROVISIONS IN THE ACTS OF APRIL 9, 1943, 57 STAT. 61, AND JUNE 5, 1942, 56 STAT. 314, ESSENTIALLY SIMILAR TO THOSE CONTAINED IN SECTION 7 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, QUOTED ABOVE, IT WAS HELD THAT UNDER SUCH STATUTORY AUTHORITY, WHEN THE AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE HAS BEEN COMPLETED, IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE IS BEING RETURNED FOR THE PURPOSE OF LEAVE, OR FOR THE PURPOSE OF BEING SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE; AND IF HE IS RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING LEAVE, HE THEREAFTER MAY BE RETURNED, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, TO HIS POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES UNDER A RENEWAL OF HIS PRIOR SERVICE AGREEMENT--- WITHOUT THE NECESSITY OF FIRST SEPARATING HIM FROM THE SERVICE AND ENTERING INTO A NEW EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT.

SINCE, AS STATED ABOVE, THE PROVISIONS OF THE SAID ACTS OF APRIL 9, 1943, AND JUNE 5, 1942, CONSIDERED IN THE REFERRED-TO DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE, WERE ESSENTIALLY SIMILAR TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, HERE INVOLVED, IT REASONABLY APPEARS THAT WHAT WAS STATED IN THOSE DECISIONS EQUALLY IS FOR APPLICATION TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 7 OF PUBLIC LAW 600. ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, AS QUOTED ABOVE, IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.