B-86697, JULY 28, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 50

B-86697: Jul 28, 1949

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ARE NOT TO BE REGARDED AS RETROACTIVE. 000 APPLICABLE UNDER THE 1900 ACT IS CONTROLLING PRIOR TO MARCH 15. IS FOR APPLICATION AFTER THE PRESCRIBED FEES HAVE BEEN INCREASED BY THE AMOUNTS TO BE ADDED THERETO PURSUANT TO THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACTS OF 1945 AND 1946. IS TO BE REGARDED AS A RATE LIMITATION AND. IS TO BE PRORATED WHERE A COMMISSIONER SERVES ONLY A PORTION OF A CALENDAR YEAR AFTER MARCH 15. 1949: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTERS DATED MAY 25 AND JULY 1. IN WHICH INQUIRY IS MADE AS TO THE EFFECT OF PUBLIC LAW 445. WHICH IS REPORTED AS SECTION 116 OF TITLE 48 OF THE U.S.C. THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ARE ASKED: 1. INASMUCH AS THE PUBLIC LAW WAS APPROVED MARCH 15. IF A UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER SERVES ONLY A PORTION OF A CALENDAR YEAR IS THE $5.

B-86697, JULY 28, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 50

UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS IN ALASKA - LIMITATIONS ON FEE EARNINGS THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 15, 1948, AMENDING SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 6, 1900, BY INCREASING FROM $3,000 TO $5,000 PER YEAR THE AMOUNT OF FEES WHICH UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS IN ALASKA MAY RETAIN AS COMPENSATION, ARE NOT TO BE REGARDED AS RETROACTIVE, SO THAT THE RATE LIMITATION OF $3,000 APPLICABLE UNDER THE 1900 ACT IS CONTROLLING PRIOR TO MARCH 15, 1948, BUT ON AND AFTER SUCH DATE THE $5,000 LIMITATION MUST BE CONSIDERED AS CONTROLLING. THE LIMITATION OF $5,000 PER YEAR ON FEES WHICH MAY BE RETAINED AS COMPENSATION BY UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS IN ALASKA UNDER SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 6, 1900, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 15, 1948, IS FOR APPLICATION AFTER THE PRESCRIBED FEES HAVE BEEN INCREASED BY THE AMOUNTS TO BE ADDED THERETO PURSUANT TO THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACTS OF 1945 AND 1946. THE $5,000 LIMITATION IMPOSED BY SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 6, 1900, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 15, 1948, ON THE AMOUNT OF FEES WHICH UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS IN ALASKA MAY RETAIN AS COMPENSATION, IS TO BE REGARDED AS A RATE LIMITATION AND, AS SUCH, IS TO BE PRORATED WHERE A COMMISSIONER SERVES ONLY A PORTION OF A CALENDAR YEAR AFTER MARCH 15, 1948.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS, JULY 28, 1949:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTERS DATED MAY 25 AND JULY 1, 1949, FROM THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS, IN WHICH INQUIRY IS MADE AS TO THE EFFECT OF PUBLIC LAW 445, 80TH CONGRESS, APPROVED MARCH 15, 1948, 62 STAT. 80, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

THAT, NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROVISIONS RELATING TO FEES EARNED BY COMMISSIONERS FOR THE TERRITORY OF ALASKA OF SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 6, 1900, ENTITLED "AN ACT MAKING FURTHER PROVISION FOR CIVIL GOVERNMENT FOR ALASKA, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES," AS AMENDED ( U.S.C., 1940 EDITION, TITLE 48, SEC. 116), EACH SUCH COMMISSIONER SHALL PAY TO THE CLERK OF THE PROPER DIVISION OF THE COURT ONLY SO MUCH OF THE AGGREGATE NET FEES EARNED DURING THE CALENDAR YEAR BY SUCH COMMISSIONER AS EXCEEDS THE SUM OF $5,000.

SECTION 11 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 6, 1900, 31 STAT. 326, AS AMENDED, WHICH IS REPORTED AS SECTION 116 OF TITLE 48 OF THE U.S.C. PRIOR TO FURTHER AMENDMENT AS ABOVE, PROVIDED:

AN ACCURATE DETAILED ACCOUNT OF ALL FEES EARNED AND EXPENSES INCURRED BY COMMISSIONERS AND DEPUTY MARSHALS SHALL BE PREPARED IN DUPLICATE QUARTERLY, DULY VERIFIED BY THE OATH OF THE COMMISSIONER OR DEPUTY MARSHAL RENDERING THE ACCOUNT, AND FORWARDED TO THE CLERK FOR THE PROPER DIVISION OF THE DISTRICT COURT AND APPROVED BY THE JUDGE THEREOF, IF FOUND TO BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW. AFTER APPROVAL BY THE JUDGE THE ORIGINAL OF EACH SUCH ACCOUNT SHALL BE FORWARDED BY THE CLERK TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE FOR REVISION AND THE DUPLICATE FILED IN THE COURT. ALL NET FEES EARNED IN EXCESS OF THE SUM OF $3,000 PER CALENDAR YEAR OR IN EXCESS OF THAT RATE FOR A LESS PERIOD, BY ANY COMMISSIONER OR DEPUTY MARSHAL, SHALL BE ANNUALLY PAID TO THE CLERK OF THE PROPER DIVISION OF THE COURT TO BE AVAILABLE FOR INCIDENTAL EXPENSES OF THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE PROPER DIVISION, SUCH PAYMENT OF SUCH INCIDENTAL EXPENSES TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY A VERIFIED DETAILED STATEMENT OF SAID CLERK.

SPECIFICALLY, THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS ARE ASKED:

1. INASMUCH AS THE PUBLIC LAW WAS APPROVED MARCH 15, 1948, SHOULD THE LIMITATIONS OF $3,000 AND $5,000 BE APPLIED TO COMMISSIONERS' ACCOUNTS RENDERED DURING THE CALENDAR YEAR 1948 OR SHOULD ONLY THE $5,000 LIMITATION BE APPLIED FOR THE ENTIRE CALENDAR YEAR?

2. IN APPLYING THE LIMITATION SHOULD THE ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION ALLOWED BY THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES' PAY ACTS OF 1945 AND 1946 BE ADDED TO ANY AMOUNTS DUE FOR SERVICES RENDERED ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES AND PAID FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS BEFORE OR AFTER APPLYING THE LIMITATION AS PROVIDED BY LAW?

3. IF A UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER SERVES ONLY A PORTION OF A CALENDAR YEAR IS THE $5,000 LIMITATION TO BE PRORATED OR IS THE COMMISSIONER ENTITLED TO EARN AND RECEIVE FEES NOT IN EXCESS OF THE $5,000 LIMITATION FOR A PERIOD OF LESS THAN A CALENDAR YEAR?

AS TO QUESTION 1, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT SINCE PUBLIC LAW 445 HAS NO RETROSPECTIVE EFFECT, THE RATE LIMITATION OF $3,000 APPLICABLE UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 6, 1900, MUST BE REGARDED AS CONTROLLING THE AMOUNT PAYABLE TO UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS IN ALASKA PRIOR TO MARCH 15, 1948, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PUBLIC LAW 445, ON AND AFTER WHICH DATE THE $5,000 LIMITATION IS CONTROLLING IN THE MATTER.

WITH RESPECT TO QUESTION 2, THE LETTER OF JULY 1, 1949, STATES THAT, IN PRESCRIBING THE NEW SCHEDULE OF FEES LISTED IN BULLETIN NO. 359, DATED DECEMBER 14, 1948, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1949, IT WAS INTENDED TO INCREASE THE OLD BASIC FEES ALLOWED UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS IN THE TERRITORY OF ALASKA AS PRESCRIBED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL EFFECTIVE JANUARY 1, 1911, AND, IN ADDITION, TO ALLOW THE INCREASES ADDED TO SUCH OF THOSE FEES AS ARE PAYABLE FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR SERVICES RENDERED ON BEHALF OF THE UNITED STATES, PURSUANT TO THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACTS OF 1945 AND 1946, 59 STAT. 301 AND 60 STAT. 217. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT, BY REASON OF THE INCREASES PROVIDED BY SAID PAY ACTS, SOME UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS IN ALASKA WERE PERMITTED TO RETAIN FEES IN EXCESS OF THE $3,000 LIMITATION IMPOSED IN THE 1900 ACT. IN OTHER WORDS, THE $3,000 LIMITATION, DURING THE PERIOD BETWEEN THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE 1945 PAY ACT AND MARCH 15, 1948, WAS APPLIED BEFORE THE PAY ACTS INCREASES WERE ADDED TO THE AMOUNT RETAINABLE BY UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS IN ALASKA. HOWEVER, IN ENACTING PUBLIC LAW 445, THE CONGRESS APPARENTLY BELIEVED IT WAS FIXING AT $5,000 THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF COMPENSATION TO BE RECEIVED BY UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS IN ALASKA AFTER MARCH 15, 1948. AN EXAMINATION OF HOUSE REPORT NO. 938, BOTH CONGRESS, SENATE REPORT NO. 930, 80TH CONGRESS, AND THE CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, MARCH 8, 1948, PAGES 2363-2364, INDICATES THAT CONGRESS WAS OF THE IMPRESSION THAT NO INCREASES IN COMPENSATION HAD BEEN MADE AVAILABLE TO THE OCCUPANTS OF THESE POSITIONS SINCE THE ACT OF JUNE 6, 1900, WHICH LIMITED THEIR COMPENSATION TO A RATE OF $3,000 PER YEAR. YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, IN ANSWER TO QUESTION 2, THAT THE $5,000 LIMITATION IS FOR APPLICATION AFTER THE FEES PRESCRIBED BY BULLETIN NO. 359 (OR BY THE SIMILAR PRECEDING BULLETIN, WHERE APPLICABLE) HAVE BEEN INCREASED BY THE AMOUNTS TO BE ADDED THERETO PURSUANT TO THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES PAY ACTS OF 1945 AND 1946.

WITH RESPECT TO QUESTION 3, THERE IS NOTHING IN PUBLIC LAW 445, OR IN ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY, TO INDICATE THAT THERE EXISTED ANY CONGRESSIONAL INTENT TO CHANGE THE BASIS OF THE LIMITATION FROM ONE AFFECTING THE RATE TO ONE AFFECTING ONLY THE AGGREGATE TOTAL PER CALENDAR YEAR. COMPARE 26 COMP. GEN. 592. THE LAW MUST BE REGARDED AS HAVING REPLACED, AS TO UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS IN ALASKA, THE THERETOFORE EXISTING RATE LIMITATION OF $3,000 WITH A SIMILAR LIMITATION OF $5,000. HENCE, A UNITED STATES COMMISSIONER IN ALASKA WHO SERVES ONLY A PORTION OF A CALENDAR YEAR AFTER MARCH 15, 1948, WILL BE ENTITLED TO RETAIN ONLY THE PRORATED PORTION OF $5,000 IN FEES EARNED.