A-86440, JULY 24, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 56

A-86440: Jul 24, 1937

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Shirley Jones
(202) 512-8156
jonessa@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROCUREMENT OF SUCH SERVICE BY THE BOARD AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT EITHER DURING OR "AFTER OFFICIAL OFFICE HOURS" IS NOT AUTHORIZED BECAUSE OF AVAILABILITY OF REGULAR MESSENGER PERSONNEL PAID ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. NOTWITHSTANDING THE NONAVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATED MONEYS GENERALLY FOR SUCH PURPOSE WHERE THERE ARE EMPLOYED REGULAR MESSENGER PERSONNEL PAID ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. 16 COMP. IS AS FOLLOWS: PLEASE BE REFERRED TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 2. INFORMING THIS BOARD THAT MESSENGER SERVICE IS CONSIDERED A PERSONAL SERVICE AND IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY CAN BE PROCURED ONLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND THE CLASSIFICATION ACT. RAISES SOME DOUBT AS TO WHETHER THE EXPLANATION GIVEN YOU CLEARLY REFLECTED THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH IT WAS DESIRED TO ENTER INTO ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH IT WAS DESIRED TO ENTER INTO ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE WESTERN UNION AND THE POSTAL TELEGRAPH FOR THE SPECIAL SERVICE IN QUESTION.

A-86440, JULY 24, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 56

CONTRACTS - COMMERCIAL MESSENGER SERVICE - FIELD SERVICE AND AT SEAT OF GOVERNMENT FIELD OFFICES OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD WHICH MAINTAIN NO REGULAR MESSENGER PERSONNEL MAY PROCURE COMMERCIAL MESSENGER SERVICE, NOTWITHSTANDING THE PROCUREMENT OF SUCH SERVICE BY THE BOARD AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT EITHER DURING OR "AFTER OFFICIAL OFFICE HOURS" IS NOT AUTHORIZED BECAUSE OF AVAILABILITY OF REGULAR MESSENGER PERSONNEL PAID ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. COMMERCIAL MESSENGER SERVICE PROCURED BY THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT IN A REAL EMERGENCY MIGHT BE JUSTIFIED IN SOME PARTICULAR INSTANCE UNDER DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY OF MARCH 8, 1918, 24 COMP. DEC. 514, NOTWITHSTANDING THE NONAVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATED MONEYS GENERALLY FOR SUCH PURPOSE WHERE THERE ARE EMPLOYED REGULAR MESSENGER PERSONNEL PAID ON AN ANNUAL BASIS. 16 COMP. GEN. 1049, AMPLIFIED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE CHAIRMAN, SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD, JULY 24, 1937:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 3, 1937, IS AS FOLLOWS:

PLEASE BE REFERRED TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 2, 1937, INFORMING THIS BOARD THAT MESSENGER SERVICE IS CONSIDERED A PERSONAL SERVICE AND IN THE ABSENCE OF EXPRESS STATUTORY AUTHORITY CAN BE PROCURED ONLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND THE CLASSIFICATION ACT.

YOUR DECISION, IN APPARENTLY MAKING NO EXCEPTION TO THE CONCLUSION REACHED, RAISES SOME DOUBT AS TO WHETHER THE EXPLANATION GIVEN YOU CLEARLY REFLECTED THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH IT WAS DESIRED TO ENTER INTO ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE CIRCUMSTANCES UNDER WHICH IT WAS DESIRED TO ENTER INTO ARRANGEMENTS WITH THE WESTERN UNION AND THE POSTAL TELEGRAPH FOR THE SPECIAL SERVICE IN QUESTION. AS INDICATED IN SUBMITTAL LETTER OF MAY 21, 1937, THE NEED FOR SPECIAL OR EMERGENCY MESSENGER SERVICE FREQUENTLY CANNOT BE FORESEEN. THIS IS ESPECIALLY TRUE OF THE BOARD'S INFORMATIONAL SERVICE, WHICH IS SOMETIMES CALLED UPON AFTER REGULAR OFFICE HOURS TO ISSUE PRESS RELEASES. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO HAVE A REGULAR MESSENGER OR MESSENGERS REMAIN OVERTIME TO PERFORM THIS SERVICE.

THE OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS CONTEMPLATED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PROPOSED ARRANGEMENTS WERE (1) THAT IN NO EVENT SHOULD OUTSIDE MESSENGER SERVICE BE USED FOR OTHER THAN OUTSIDE DELIVERIES; (2) THAT IN NO EVENT SHOULD SUCH SERVICE BE USED DURING REGULAR OFFICE HOURS; AND (3) THAT A SHOWING MUST BE MADE (A) THAT THE EMERGENCY CALLING FOR THE SERVICE WAS OF SUCH NATURE THAT IT COULD NOT BE FORESEEN AND THUS CONTROLLED BY HAVING A REGULAR MESSENGER REMAIN ON DUTY TO MAKE THE DELIVERIES, AND (B) THAT THERE WERE NO AVAILABLE MESSENGERS OF THE BOARD ON DUTY WHO COULD HAVE MADE THE DELIVERIES.

IN CONSIDERING ADMINISTRATIVELY SUCH A SITUATION AS THE FOREGOING, IT WAS DETERMINED THAT IT WOULD BE MUCH MORE ECONOMICAL TO ENTER INTO THE SUGGESTED ARRANGEMENT WITH THE TELEGRAPH COMPANIES FOR THE SPECIAL SERVICE THAN IT WOULD BE TO EMPLOY A MESSENGER OR MESSENGERS WHOSE TOUR OF DUTY WOULD MAKE THEM AVAILABLE AT ANY HOUR OF THE DAY OR NIGHT. THE ANTICIPATED EXPENDITURE OF NOT TO EXCEED $10 IN ANY MONTH READILY DEMONSTRATES WHY SUCH AN ARRANGEMENT WAS JUSTIFIED.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONCLUSION THAT THE BOARD COULD SECURE THE SPECIAL OR EMERGENCY MESSENGER SERVICE IN THE MANNER CONTEMPLATED WAS BASED ON A DETERMINATION THAT MESSENGER SERVICE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES INDICATED SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS NONPERSONAL IN NATURE. THIS DETERMINATION WAS PRINCIPALLY BASED UPON THE AUTHORITY OF 3 COMP. GEN. 436, IN WHICH IT APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN ASSUMED THAT UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES MESSENGER SERVICE MAY BE CONSIDERED NONPERSONAL. THAT DECISION WAS IN REFERENCE TO AN OFFICE OF THE BUREAU OF EDUCATION, LOCATED AT SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, ATTACHED TO WHICH THERE WERE NO MESSENGERS, IT HAVING BEEN CONSIDERED MORE ECONOMICAL TO OPERATE ON THE BASIS OF HAVING THE NECESSARY OUTSIDE MESSENGER WORK PERFORMED OTHER THAN BY AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT. WHILE THE DECISION RELATED TO THE FIELD SERVICE, IT COULD EQUALLY BE ADAPTED TO THE SERVICE AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT TO APPLY IN MAKING OUTSIDE DELIVERIES IN INSTANCES OF THE NATURE UNDER CONSIDERATION.

IT IS DESIRED TO CALL ATTENTION ALSO TO THE FACT THAT THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD HAS A LARGE NUMBER OF FIELD OFFICES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY WHICH DO NOT HAVE ANY MESSENGER EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO THEM. THE PRESENT DECISION DOES NOT APPEAR TO MAKE ANY DISTINCTION BETWEEN THE FIELD SERVICE AND SERVICE AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT. IF APPLIED TO THE BOARD'S FIELD OFFICES, THE DECISION WOULD APPEAR EITHER TO REQUIRE OUTSIDE MESSENGER DUTIES TO BE PERFORMED BY EMPLOYEES WHO ARE ASSIGNED TO SUCH OFFICES FOR OTHER PURPOSES OR TO REQUIRE MESSENGER EMPLOYEES TO BE ASSIGNED TO ANY OFFICE WHICH HAS ANY NEED OF SUCH SERVICE. IT CAN READILY BE SEEN THAT EITHER ALTERNATIVE MIGHT BE UNDESIRABLE IN MANY INSTANCES.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, RECONSIDERATION OF THE DECISION IN QUESTION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED, SUCH RECONSIDERATION TO INVOLVE THE QUESTIONS (1) WHETHER, IN VIEW OF 3 COMP. GEN. 326 (436) AND THE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION GIVEN HEREIN, THERE ARE ANY EXCEPTIONS OF THE NATURE REFERRED TO ABOVE TO THE RULE THAT MESSENGER SERVICE MAY NOT BE PROCURED AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT ON ANY OTHER BASIS THAN AN EMPLOYEE RELATIONSHIP, AND (2) WHETHER ANY DISTINCTION IS TO BE MADE WITH REFERENCE TO THE FIELD SERVICE.

IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT YOUR BOARD--- THE SAME AS OTHER EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT--- EMPLOYS A REGULAR FORCE OF MESSENGERS WHOSE SALARIES ARE PAID ON A PER-ANNUM BASIS, AND WHO, UPON THAT BASIS, MAY BE REQUIRED TO REMAIN UPON DUTY SO LONG AS ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE ESTABLISHMENT MIGHT POSSIBLY HAVE NEED FOR THEIR SERVICES--- AND WITHOUT ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION. HENCE AN ARRANGEMENT IN ADVANCE WITH THE WESTERN UNION OR POSTAL TELEGRAPH, AS PROPOSED, FOR FURNISHING MESSENGER SERVICE "AFTER OFFICIAL OFFICE HOURS" IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

THE DECISION IN 3 COMP. GEN. 436 WAS SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED TO THE SITUATION IN A FIELD OFFICE WHICH MAINTAINED NO REGULAR MESSENGERS. WHERE SUCH A SITUATION PREVAILS IN A FIELD OFFICE, THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE CONTRACTING WITH AN OUTSIDE AGENCY FOR MESSENGER SERVICE. SAID DECISION IS NOT FOR APPLICATION, HOWEVER, AT THE SEAT OF GOVERNMENT WHERE REGULAR MESSENGER FORCES ARE MAINTAINED. ACCORDINGLY, THE DECISION OF JUNE 2, 1937, SO FAR AS IT RELATED TO MESSENGER SERVICE OF YOUR BOARD IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, MUST BE, AND IS, AFFIRMED.

IN THE EVENT THERE SHOULD ARISE A REAL EMERGENCY NECESSITATING THE USE OF WESTERN UNION OR POSTAL TELEGRAPH MESSENGER SERVICE BY YOUR BOARD IN SOME PARTICULAR INSTANCE, THERE MIGHT BE FOR APPLICATION, UPON A PROPER SHOWING OF THE FACTS, THE DECISION OF MARCH 8, 1918, 24 COMP. DEC. 514.

Feb 26, 2021

Feb 25, 2021

Feb 24, 2021

Looking for more? Browse all our products here