B-85101, MAY 20, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 666

B-85101: May 20, 1949

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FOR DAMAGE TO OR LOSS OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY IN TRANSIT ARE FOR DEPOSITING AND COVERING INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 3617. WHERE THE SAME APPROPRIATION IS USED FOR THE PURCHASE AND TRANSPORTATION OF SAID PROPERTY AND THE SAME BILL OF LADING IS INVOLVED AND THE AMOUNT OF THE DAMAGE OR LOSS DOES NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF THE PARTICULAR BILL OF LADING. 1949: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF APRIL 1. FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR WHEREIN ADVICE IS REQUESTED WITH RESPECT TO SEVERAL QUESTIONS BEARING ON THE SCOPE OF THE DECISIONS APPEARING IN 21 COMP. BOTH OF WHICH CONCERN THE MATTER OF SETTING OFF THE VALUE OF ITEMS OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY WHICH HAVE BEEN LOST OR DAMAGED WHILE IN TRANSIT AGAINST THE AMOUNT WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OWES THE CARRIER FOR TRANSPORTING THE PROPERTY.

B-85101, MAY 20, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 666

PUBLIC PROPERTY - LOSS OR DAMAGE IN TRANSIT - SET-OFF AGAINST TRANSPORTATION CHARGES - DISPOSITION OF AMOUNT RECOVERED GENERALLY, RECOVERIES MADE FROM CARRIERS, EITHER IN ACTUAL CASH OR BY DEDUCTIONS FROM CARRIERS' BILLS, FOR DAMAGE TO OR LOSS OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY IN TRANSIT ARE FOR DEPOSITING AND COVERING INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 3617, REVISED STATUTES; HOWEVER, WHERE THE SAME APPROPRIATION IS USED FOR THE PURCHASE AND TRANSPORTATION OF SAID PROPERTY AND THE SAME BILL OF LADING IS INVOLVED AND THE AMOUNT OF THE DAMAGE OR LOSS DOES NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF THE PARTICULAR BILL OF LADING, A DEDUCTION MAY BE MADE FROM THE APPLICABLE TRANSPORTATION VOUCHER AND NO CHARGE NEED BE RAISED AGAINST SAID APPROPRIATION FOR THE SUM THUS SET OFF.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, MAY 20, 1949:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF APRIL 1, 1949, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR WHEREIN ADVICE IS REQUESTED WITH RESPECT TO SEVERAL QUESTIONS BEARING ON THE SCOPE OF THE DECISIONS APPEARING IN 21 COMP. DEC. 632 AND 8 COMP. GEN. 615, BOTH OF WHICH CONCERN THE MATTER OF SETTING OFF THE VALUE OF ITEMS OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY WHICH HAVE BEEN LOST OR DAMAGED WHILE IN TRANSIT AGAINST THE AMOUNT WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OWES THE CARRIER FOR TRANSPORTING THE PROPERTY.

THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED ARE AS FOLLOWS:

1. ASSUME THAT A CARRIER'S TRANSPORTATION VOUCHER COVERS SEVERAL GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING PAYABLE FROM THE SAME APPROPRIATION. IF AN ITEM OF PROPERTY IS LOST OR DAMAGED IN TRANSIT AND THE CHARGES OWING THE GOVERNMENT ON THE PARTICULAR BILL OF LADING ON WHICH THE LOST OR DAMAGED ITEM WAS SHIPPED ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO ENABLE THE GOVERNMENT TO MAKE A DEDUCTION, WOULD YOU BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT IF THE VALUE OF THE LOST OR DAMAGED ITEM WERE DEDUCTED FROM THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF THE TRANSPORTATION VOUCHER IN THE " DIFFERENCE" SPACE AND IF THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED WERE CREDITED TO THE APPROPRIATION? IT IS FURTHER ASSUMED, OF COURSE, THAT THE TRANSPORTATION VOUCHER IS PAYABLE FROM THE SAME APPROPRIATION THAT WAS USED IN PURCHASING THE LOST OR DAMAGED ITEM.

2. IF YOUR ANSWER TO THE FOREGOING QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, WOULD YOU BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT IF A DEDUCTION IN THE AMOUNT OF THE VALUE OF THE LOST OR DAMAGED ITEM WERE MADE FROM ANOTHER AND DIFFERENT TRANSPORTATION VOUCHER OF THE SAME CARRIER AND IF SUCH DEDUCTION WERE NOTED IN THE " DIFFERENCES" SPACE AND IF THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED WERE CREDITED TO THE APPROPRIATION? AGAIN IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE PARTICULAR TRANSPORTATION VOUCHER IS PAYABLE FROM THE SAME APPROPRIATION THAT HAD BEEN USED IN PURCHASING THE LOST OR DAMAGED ITEM.

3. IF YOUR ANSWER TO THE SECOND QUESTION IS ALSO IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, WOULD YOU BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT IF A DEDUCTION IN THE AMOUNT OF THE VALUE OF THE LOST OR DAMAGED ARTICLE WERE MADE FROM ANOTHER OF THE SAME CARRIER'S TRANSPORTATION VOUCHERS PAYABLE FROM AN APPROPRIATION OTHER THAN THAT WHICH HAD BEEN USED IN PURCHASING THE LOST OR DAMAGED ITEM, PROVIDED THAT THE DEDUCTION IS ACCOMPLISHED BY UTILIZING A SCHEDULE OF VOUCHER DEDUCTIONS ( STANDARD FORM NO. 1096) AND THAT THE APPROPRIATION WHICH HAD BEEN USED IN PURCHASING THE LOST OR DAMAGED ITEM IS CREDITED WITH THE AMOUNT OF THE DEDUCTION?

BASED ON THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3617, REVISED STATUTES, WHICH REQUIRE THE GROSS AMOUNT OF ALL MONEYS RECEIVED FROM WHATEVER SOURCE FOR THE USE OF THE UNITED STATES TO BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY, THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE HAVE ESTABLISHED THE GENERAL RULE THAT ANY COLLECTIONS ON ACCOUNT OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY DAMAGED IN TRANSIT MUST BE DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY AS MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS. HOWEVER, AN EXCEPTION TO SUCH GENERAL RULE WAS PERMITTED IN 21 COMP. DEC. 632, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT, WHERE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF A CLAIM FOR FREIGHT CHARGES AN AMOUNT IS WITHHELD OR DEDUCTED THEREFROM OFFSETTING THE AMOUNT PAID FOR DAMAGES FROM THE SAME APPROPRIATION, AND THE SUM FOUND DUE THE CLAIMANT MERELY REDUCED, NO CHARGE SHOULD BE RAISED AGAINST SAID APPROPRIATION FOR THE AMOUNT THUS SET OFF. IN 8 COMP. GEN. 615, IT WAS STATED THAT SUCH EXCEPTION APPLIES ONLY IN CASES IN WHICH A SINGLE APPROPRIATION IS INVOLVED AND THE FREIGHT BILL UPON THE SHIPMENT OF THE PROPERTY DAMAGED OR LOST IS IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNTS PAID FOR REPAIRS.

THE MATTER WAS FURTHER CONSIDERED IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 19, 1939, TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, B-4494, IN WHICH THE CIRCUMSTANCES WERE SIMILAR TO THOSE PRESENTED IN THE FIRST SITUATION DESCRIBED IN THE LETTER NOW UNDER CONSIDERATION. IN THAT CASE THE TRANSPORTATION CHARGES COVERING SHIPMENT OF DAMAGED PROPERTY AMOUNTED TO $8.41 AND THE DAMAGE TO CERTAIN OF THE PROPERTY ON THE SAME BILL OF LADING AMOUNTED TO $101.83, AND THOUGH THE ENTIRE FREIGHT BILL AMOUNTED TO $168.59 AND COVERED OTHER PROPERTY PURCHASED FROM THE SAME APPROPRIATION, IT WAS HELD THAT---

* * * WHILE THE SAME APPROPRIATION MAY BE INVOLVED, TO PERMIT A CREDIT THERETO OF THE AMOUNT OF $101.83, REPRESENTING THE COST OF REPLACING THE PROPERTY DAMAGED ON THE SHIPMENT COVERED BY BILL OF LADING C-220463, AND COLLECTED ON THE BILL FOR $168.59, COVERING THE AGGREGATE COST OF FREIGHT TRANSPORTATION OF VARIOUS OTHER PROPERTY ON SUNDRY BILLS OF LADING, WOULD BE CONTRARY TO THE RULE HEREIN STATED, AND NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER LAW.

ACCORDINGLY, THIS OFFICE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE ACTION CONTEMPLATED IN EACH OF THE CASES DESCRIBED IN THE LETTER OF APRIL 1, 1949.