B-99774, JANUARY 11, 1951, 30 COMP. GEN. 295

B-99774: Jan 11, 1951

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SERVICES SIMILAR TO THOSE FURNISHED BY COMMERCIAL CONCERNS AND TO PAY FOR PROPERTY WHICH IS TRANSFERRED. PROVIDED THAT AGENCY'S APPROPRIATION IS AVAILABLE THEREFOR. 10 COMP. 1951: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 17. COVERING THE COST OF REPAIRS TO EQUIPMENT ON LOAN TO THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE FROM ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY AND YOU REQUEST DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE PROPOSED EXPENDITURE IS A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION MADE TO THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE IN VIEW OF THE HOLDING IN 10 COMP. IT IS REPORTED THAT THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE OBTAINED FROM THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT. UPON COMPLETION OF THE WORK REQUIRING THE USE OF THE BOAT IN QUESTION CERTAIN REPAIRS TO THE MOTOR WERE AUTHORIZED BY THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE FIELD OFFICE IN ORDER TO PLACE THE BOAT IN AS GOOD CONDITION AS WHEN RECEIVED.

B-99774, JANUARY 11, 1951, 30 COMP. GEN. 295

PUBLIC PROPERTY - LOANS BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS, ETC. - LIABILITY FOR REPAIRS IN VIEW OF THE AUTHORITY GRANTED GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES BY SECTION 601 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF 1932, AS AMENDED, TO NEGOTIATE AMONG THEMSELVES TO FURNISH MATERIAL, SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT, AND SERVICES SIMILAR TO THOSE FURNISHED BY COMMERCIAL CONCERNS AND TO PAY FOR PROPERTY WHICH IS TRANSFERRED, AN AGENCY LOANING PROPERTY TO ANOTHER AGENCY MAY PROVIDE BY AGREEMENT THAT THE PROPERTY BE RETURNED IN AS GOOD CONDITION AS WHEN LOANED AND THAT THE EXPENSES OF PLACING THE PROPERTY IN SUCH CONDITION BE BORNE BY THE BORROWING AGENCY, PROVIDED THAT AGENCY'S APPROPRIATION IS AVAILABLE THEREFOR. 10 COMP. GEN. 288, MODIFIED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO M. E. FISHER, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, JANUARY 11, 1951:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED NOVEMBER 17, 1950, TRANSMITTING A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF BOB COMPEAU, BOX 2158, FAIRBANKS, ALASKA, COVERING THE COST OF REPAIRS TO EQUIPMENT ON LOAN TO THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE FROM ANOTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY AND YOU REQUEST DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE PROPOSED EXPENDITURE IS A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION MADE TO THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE IN VIEW OF THE HOLDING IN 10 COMP. GEN. 288.

IT IS REPORTED THAT THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE OBTAINED FROM THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, A SHALLOW DRAFT RIVER BOAT WITH MOTOR UNDER AN INFORMAL AGREEMENT THE TERMS OF WHICH PROVIDED THAT " SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE TO RETURN BOAT IN AS GOOD CONDITION AS WHEN RECEIVED, NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR EXCEPTED.' UPON COMPLETION OF THE WORK REQUIRING THE USE OF THE BOAT IN QUESTION CERTAIN REPAIRS TO THE MOTOR WERE AUTHORIZED BY THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE FIELD OFFICE IN ORDER TO PLACE THE BOAT IN AS GOOD CONDITION AS WHEN RECEIVED. THE REPAIRS WERE EFFECTED AND THE VOUCHER COVERING THE COSTS WAS PRESENTED FOR PAYMENT AND, IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE-CITED DECISION, YOU NOW REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER THE VOUCHER PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT BY THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE, OR, IF NOT, WHETHER IT WOULD BE PROPER TO REIMBURSE THE BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT IF THAT AGENCY ASSUMED THE COST OF THE REPAIRS MADE.

THE RULE SET OUT IN 10 COMP. GEN. 288, FOLLOWED A LONG LINE OF DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT WHICH PRECLUDED A CHARGE FOR USE OR DEPRECIATION OF PROPERTY LOANED BY ONE DEPARTMENT TO ANOTHER AS WELL AS REPLACING LOST PROPERTY OR REPAIRING DAMAGED PROPERTY UPON ITS RETURN TO THE LOANING DEPARTMENT. SUCH HOLDINGS WERE BASED UPON THE PREMISE THAT OWNERSHIP OF THE PROPERTY IS IN THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT IN A PARTICULAR DEPARTMENT AND THAT SINCE ANY REPAIRS OR REPLACEMENT WOULD BE FOR THE FUTURE USE AND BENEFIT OF THE LOANING DEPARTMENT THE APPROPRIATIONS OF THE BORROWING AGENCY MAY NOT BE CHARGED WITH SUCH COSTS.

IN THIS CONNECTION, YOU CALL ATTENTION TO SECTION 601 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF 1932, AS AMENDED, 31 U.S.C. 686, WHICH WAS ENACTED SUBSEQUENT TO THE DECISION IN 10 COMP. GEN. 288, SUPRA, AND RAISE THE QUESTION AS TO WHETHER THIS SECTION WOULD HAVE ANY EFFECT UPON THE RULE STATED IN THIS DECISION, ESPECIALLY SINCE THERE WAS AN AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO COVERING THE CONDITION UNDER WHICH THE EQUIPMENT WAS TO BE RETURNED TO THE LOANING AGENCY. SECTION 601 REFERRED TO ABOVE PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

(A) ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT, OR ANY BUREAU OF OFFICE THEREOF, IF FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE THEREFOR AND IF IT IS DETERMINED BY THE HEAD OF SUCH EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, BUREAU, OR OFFICE TO BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT SO TO DO, MAY PLACE ORDERS WITH ANY OTHER SUCH DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, BUREAU, OR OFFICE FOR MATERIALS, SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT, WORK, OR SERVICES, OF ANY KIND THAT SUCH REQUISITIONED FEDERAL AGENCY MAY BE IN A POSITION TO SUPPLY OR EQUIPPED TO RENDER, AND SHALL PAY PROMPTLY BY CHECK TO SUCH FEDERAL AGENCY AS MAY BE REQUISITIONED, UPON ITS WRITTEN REQUEST, EITHER IN ADVANCE OR UPON THE FURNISHING OR PERFORMANCE THEREOF, ALL OR PART OF THE ESTIMATED OR ACTUAL COST THEREOF AS DETERMINED BY SUCH DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, BUREAU, OR OFFICE AS MAY BE REQUISITIONED; BUT PROPER ADJUSTMENTS ON THE BASIS OF THE ACTUAL COST OF THE MATERIALS, SUPPLIES, OR EQUIPMENT FURNISHED, OR WORK OR SERVICES PERFORMED, PAID FOR IN ADVANCE, SHALL BE MADE AS MAY BE AGREED UPON THE THE DEPARTMENTS, ESTABLISHMENTS, BUREAUS, OR OFFICES CONCERNED * * *.

IT WOULD APPEAR FROM THE ENACTMENT OF THE AFORE-QUOTED SECTION THAT IT WAS THE INTENTION OF THE CONGRESS TO PERMIT THE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES TO NEGOTIATE AMONG THEMSELVES TO FURNISH MATERIAL, SUPPLIES, EQUIPMENT, AND SERVICES SIMILAR TO THOSE FURNISHED BY COMMERCIAL CONCERNS. SINCE THE STATUTE PERMITS THE PAYMENT FOR PROPERTY WHICH IS TRANSFERRED FROM ONE DEPARTMENT TO ANOTHER, THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE TACIT RECOGNITION OF PROPERTY OWNERSHIP RIGHTS IN VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES POSSESSING SUCH PROPERTY. LIKEWISE, THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 601, PERMITTING, FOR A CONSIDERATION, THE TOTAL TRANSFER BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS OF MATERIAL, SUPPLIES, AND EQUIPMENT ON A PERMANENT BASIS, WOULD APPEAR TO SANCTION, AS WELL, LESSER TRANSACTIONS BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS ON A TEMPORARY LOAN BASIS UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES SUCH AS ARE PRESENT IN THE INSTANT CASE. THAT IS TO SAY, NO GOOD REASON APPEARS WHY THE LOANING DEPARTMENT MAY NOT PROVIDE BY AGREEMENT WITH THE BORROWING DEPARTMENT THAT THE PROPERTY BE RETURNED IN AS GOOD CONDITION AS WHEN LOANED AND THAT THE EXPENSE OF PLACING THE PROPERTY IN SUCH CONDITION BE BORNE BY THE LATTER DEPARTMENT PROVIDED, OF COURSE, THAT ITS APPROPRIATION IS AVAILABLE THEREFOR.

ACCORDINGLY, THE HOLDING IN 10 COMP. GEN. 288 IS NOT FOR APPLICATION IN THE PRESENT CASE SINCE THAT DECISION WAS RENDERED PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT OF SECTION 601 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF 1932 OR WAS FOLLOWED IN CERTAIN CASES AFTER SUCH ENACTMENT UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE THE QUESTION AS TO THE APPLICABILITY OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE SECTION WAS NOT EXPRESSLY RAISED OR CONSIDERED. IN VIEW THEREOF, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE MADE, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT. ANY DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE WHICH ARE INCONSISTENT WITH THE HOLDING HEREIN ARE MODIFIED ACCORDINGLY.