B-90864, NOVEMBER 30, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 255

B-90864: Nov 30, 1949

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1949: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 22. IT IS STATED THAT THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED WERE TRANSFERRED TO CHICAGO WITH THE BUREAU IN 1942. WHEN A MAJOR PORTION OF ITS FUNCTIONS WAS MOVED FROM WASHINGTON TO CHICAGO UNDER THE PRESIDENT'S DECENTRALIZATION PROGRAM. THAT IT WAS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD AT THE TIME. THAT THE FUNCTIONS SO TRANSFERRED WOULD BE RETURNED TO WASHINGTON SHORTLY AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER. IT IS STATED ALSO THAT. SINCE THE TRANSFERRED FUNCTIONS HAVE NOT BEEN RETURNED. SINCE SUCH RETURN IS NOT PLANNED IN THE NEAR FUTURE. IT IS STATED TO BE THE DESIRE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT TO PAY THESE COSTS FROM THE APPROPRIATION "2000560 ADMINISTERING THE PUBLIC DEBT. IF YOUR ANSWER TO THE ABOVE QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

B-90864, NOVEMBER 30, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 255

TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES - DECENTRALIZED EMPLOYEES RETURNING FOR PURPOSES OF RETIREMENT THE RETURN TO WASHINGTON OF AN EMPLOYEE OF A DECENTRALIZED AGENCY AS AN INCIDENT TO OR FOR THE PURPOSE OF HIS RETIREMENT CANNOT BE REGARDED AS A TRANSFER FOR PERMANENT DUTY IN THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, SO AS TO PERMIT PAYMENT OF THE COSTS OF HIS TRAVEL AND THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTING HIS DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS UNDER THE GENERAL AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 1 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, NOVEMBER 30, 1949:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 22, 1949, RAISING QUESTION AS TO THE LEGALITY OF EXPENDING APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSPORTING CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF THE PUBLIC DEBT, THEIR DEPENDENTS, AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, FROM CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., UPON THEIR RETIREMENT FROM THE SERVICE.

IT IS STATED THAT THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED WERE TRANSFERRED TO CHICAGO WITH THE BUREAU IN 1942, WHEN A MAJOR PORTION OF ITS FUNCTIONS WAS MOVED FROM WASHINGTON TO CHICAGO UNDER THE PRESIDENT'S DECENTRALIZATION PROGRAM; THAT IT WAS GENERALLY UNDERSTOOD AT THE TIME, BOTH BY YOUR DEPARTMENT AND THE EMPLOYEES CONCERNED, THAT THE FUNCTIONS SO TRANSFERRED WOULD BE RETURNED TO WASHINGTON SHORTLY AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER, AND THAT SUCH UNDERSTANDING DOUBTLESS INFLUENCED THE DECISION OF MANY EMPLOYEES TO MAKE THE TRANSFER. IT IS STATED ALSO THAT, SINCE THE TRANSFERRED FUNCTIONS HAVE NOT BEEN RETURNED, AND SINCE SUCH RETURN IS NOT PLANNED IN THE NEAR FUTURE, SOME OF THESE EMPLOYEES WHO NOW CONTEMPLATE RETIRING FROM THE SERVICE FEEL THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BEAR THE COSTS OF RETURNING THEM TO WASHINGTON AFTER THEIR RETIREMENT, OR IMMEDIATELY PRIOR THERETO.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND BECAUSE OF THE GENERAL EQUITIES INVOLVED, IT IS STATED TO BE THE DESIRE OF YOUR DEPARTMENT TO PAY THESE COSTS FROM THE APPROPRIATION "2000560 ADMINISTERING THE PUBLIC DEBT, 1950.' HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF DOUBT AS TO THE LEGAL AUTHORITY FOR SUCH ACTION, YOU REQUEST A DECISION ON THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC QUESTIONS:

1. MAY THE APPROPRIATION " ADMINISTERING THE PUBLIC DEBT" BE CHARGED WITH THE COST OF RETURNING EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED TO CHICAGO EARLY IN 1942 WITH DECENTRALIZED SAVINGS BOND FUNCTIONS, THEIR DEPENDENTS, AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., WHEN SUCH EMPLOYEES RETIRE FROM SERVICE?

2. IF YOUR ANSWER TO THE ABOVE QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, MAY THE EMPLOYEE MOVE HIMSELF, DEPENDENTS, AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS (A) BEFORE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF RETIREMENT, (B) AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF RETIREMENT, AND (C) EITHER BEFORE OR AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF RETIREMENT?

3. IF THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO MOVE HIMSELF, DEPENDENTS, AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF RETIREMENT, WITHIN WHAT PERIOD OF TIME SHOULD HE BE REQUIRED TO MOVE (A) HIMSELF, (B) DEPENDENTS, AND (C) HOUSEHOLD GOODS?

THE ONLY GENERAL AUTHORITY OF LAW UNDER WHICH THE GOVERNMENT MAY PAY THE EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE, HIS DEPENDENTS, AND HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 1 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946 ( PUBLIC LAW 600), 60 STAT. 806. THAT SECTION PROVIDES THAT SUCH EXPENSES MAY BE PAID WHERE AN EMPLOYEE, IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES, IS TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER, INCLUDING TRANSFER FROM ONE DEPARTMENT TO ANOTHER, FOR PERMANENT DUTY. IT ALSO PROVIDES THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED "WHERE THE TRANSFER IS MADE PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OR BENEFIT OF THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OR AT HIS REQUEST.'

IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED WERE TRANSFERRED TO CHICAGO FOR PERMANENT DUTY TO CARRY OUT THE DECENTRALIZED FUNCTIONS OF THE BUREAU AND, WHILE IT MAY HAVE BEEN THE GENERAL BELIEF THAT SUCH FUNCTIONS, TOGETHER WITH THE PERSONNEL ASSIGNED THERETO, WOULD BE RETURNED TO WASHINGTON SHORTLY AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER, THE FACT THAT THEY WERE NOT RETURNED CONFERS NO LEGAL RIGHT UPON THE EMPLOYEES TO HAVE THEIR RETURN TRANSPORTATION PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT WITHOUT REGARD TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE GENERAL LAW AND REGULATIONS APPLICABLE TO SUCH TRANSACTIONS. ACCORDINGLY, IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC PROVISION OF LAW TO SUCH EFFECT, THE SAID EMPLOYEES MAY NOT BE RETURNED TO WASHINGTON AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHERE THE RETURN IS FOR REASONS OF RETIREMENT. MOREOVER, SINCE PUBLIC LAW 600, SUPRA, SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION MAY NOT BE PAID WHERE THE TRANSFER IS MADE PRIMARILY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE EMPLOYEE, OR AT HIS REQUEST, THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION MAY NOT BE RETURNED TO WASHINGTON AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION AUTHORIZED FOR THE PURPOSE OF THEIR BEING RETIRED.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, QUESTION NO. 1 PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, WHICH RENDERS UNNECESSARY ANY ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS NOS. 2 AND 3.