B-8997, MARCH 22, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 818

B-8997: Mar 22, 1940

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PROVIDED THE TRANSFER IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE. THE REQUIREMENT OF THE STATUTE IS COMPLIED WITH AS TO THE MANNER OF AUTHORIZING THE TRANSFER. 1940: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 8. AS FOLLOWS: IT IS REQUESTED THAT A DECISION BE MADE CONCERNING THE AVAILABILITY OF THE BOARD'S APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF PAYING TRAVEL EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS OF EMPLOYEES CLASSIFIED AS CLERK. IT IS THE PRACTICE OF THE BOARD TO NOTIFY ALL STAFF MEMBERS OF ANY VACANT POSITION IN THE DEPARTMENTAL OR FIELD SERVICE AND AFFORD THE EMPLOYEES OF THE BOARD THE OPPORTUNITY OF APPLYING FOR TRANSFER. THE TRANSFER IS DIRECTED.

B-8997, MARCH 22, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 818

TRAVELING EXPENSES - CHANGE OF STATION - CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES THE STATUTORY PROVISION MAKING TRAVEL EXPENSE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1940 AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ON CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION, APPLIES TO ALL SUCH PERSONNEL WITHOUT DISTINCTION AS TO RANK OR NATURE OF DUTIES, PROVIDED THE TRANSFER IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE, AND THE REQUIREMENT OF THE STATUTE IS COMPLIED WITH AS TO THE MANNER OF AUTHORIZING THE TRANSFER.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, MARCH 22, 1940:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 8, 1940, AS FOLLOWS:

IT IS REQUESTED THAT A DECISION BE MADE CONCERNING THE AVAILABILITY OF THE BOARD'S APPROPRIATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF PAYING TRAVEL EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS OF EMPLOYEES CLASSIFIED AS CLERK, CLERK-STENOGRAPHER, ASSISTANT CLERK-STENOGRAPHER, ETC.

IT IS THE PRACTICE OF THE BOARD TO NOTIFY ALL STAFF MEMBERS OF ANY VACANT POSITION IN THE DEPARTMENTAL OR FIELD SERVICE AND AFFORD THE EMPLOYEES OF THE BOARD THE OPPORTUNITY OF APPLYING FOR TRANSFER. WHEN THE BOARD DETERMINES THAT A PARTICULAR APPLICANT HAS THE EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS REQUIRED TO FILL THE POSITION, THE TRANSFER IS DIRECTED. IT IS, OF COURSE, FREQUENTLY NECESSARY FOR THE BOARD TO CONSIDER CAREFULLY THE QUALIFICATIONS OF EMPLOYEES SEEKING TRANSFER TO ANOTHER CITY IN POSITIONS SUCH AS CLERK-STENOGRAPHER AND ASSISTANT CLERK-STENOGRAPHER. THE BOARD DOES NOT FEEL THAT PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES IS JUSTIFIED IN INSTANCES OF THE TRANSFER OF EMPLOYEES PERFORMING THE MOST ROUTINE TYPE OF CLERICAL OR STENOGRAPHIC DUTIES, BUT IT APPEARS THAT THE FILLING OF CLERICAL AND SECRETARIAL POSITIONS OF A MORE IMPORTANT NATURE JUSTIFIES DIFFERENT TREATMENT.

UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, IS IT PROPER FOR THE REQUISITE TRANSFER OF HEADQUARTERS TRAVEL ORDER TO BE ISSUED PROVIDING FOR THE PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND REIMBURSEMENT OF PER DIEM EXPENSES TO THE TYPE OF EMPLOYEE INDICATED HEREIN?

YOUR PROMPT CONSIDERATION AND REPLY WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MAY 6, 1939, PUBLIC, NO. 65, 53 STAT. 682, PROVIDES:

APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1940 AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS SHALL BE AVAILABLE ALSO FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THEM ON TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR ANY TRANSFER EFFECTED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.

IN CONSTRUING A SIMILAR PROVISION IN SECTION 2 OF THE TREASURY-POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION ACT, 1938, ACT OF MAY 14, 1937, 50 STAT. 163, IT WAS HELD IN DECISION OF APRIL 28, 1938, 17 COMP. GEN. 874, 876, AS FOLLOWS:

THE TERM "TRANSFER" AS USED IN THE STATUTE, SUPRA, IS NOT TO BE UNDERSTOOD IN THE SAME SENSE AS THAT TERM IS UNDERSTOOD IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND REGULATIONS, IN WHICH CONNECTION IT IS USED TO DESIGNATE CHANGES FROM ONE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT TO ANOTHER AS WELL AS FROM ONE POSITION TO ANOTHER WITHIN A DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT. ON THE CONTRARY, THE TERM AS USED IN THIS STATUTE MUST BE UNDERSTOOD AS RELATING ONLY TO A CHANGE IN OFFICIAL STATION REQUIRED IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE ACTIVITY UNDER WHICH THE PERSON TRANSFERRED IS EMPLOYED AND FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED IS AVAILABLE. SEE, ALSO, 18 COMP. GEN. 188, AND DECISIONS THEREIN CITED.

THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATUTE APPLIES TO "CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES" WITHOUT ANY DISTINCTION AS TO RANK SUCH AS THAT SUGGESTED IN YOUR LETTER. THE ONLY REQUIREMENTS CIRCUMSCRIBED BY THE STATUTE FOR THE PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES UPON CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION ARE THAT (1) THE TRANSFER BE "AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER" AND (2) THAT THE TRANSFER BE NOT "EFFECTED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.'

THEREFORE, IN THE LIGHT OF THE CLEAR PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE AND THE CITED DECISIONS IN WHICH HAVE BEEN CONSTRUED SUBSTANTIALLY IDENTICAL STATUTORY PROVISIONS, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE APPROPRIATION (FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1940 AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSE OF TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEES OF THE BOARD) IS AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE BOARD UPON TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION WHEN (1) SAID TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED AND (2) WHEN THE CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION IS AUTHORIZED BY YOU AS "HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED" IN THE "ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER.'