B-149493, DECEMBER 4, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 321

B-149493: Dec 4, 1967

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THE GENERAL RULE THAT THE COST OF PHOTOGRAPHS OF INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT IS A PERSONAL EXPENSE THAT IS NOT CHARGEABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS IN THE ABSENCE OF A DEFINITE INDICATION AS TO THE NECESSITY FOR THE EXPENDITURES IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF SOME PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS MADE IS NOT FOR APPLICATION AND. THE APPROPRIATION IN EFFECT AT THE TIME THE PHOTOGRAPHS WERE TAKEN. THE GENERAL RULE WITH RESPECT TO PHOTOGRAPHS OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IS EXPRESSED IN OUR DECISION 31 COMP. WHEREIN WE HELD THAT THE COST OF PHOTOGRAPHS OF INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT IS A PERSONAL EXPENSE NOT CHARGEABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS IN THE ABSENCE OF A DEFINITE INDICATION AS TO THE NECESSITY FOR THE EXPENDITURES IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF SOME PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS WAS MADE.

B-149493, DECEMBER 4, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 321

PHOTOGRAPHS - OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - APPROPRIATION AVAILABILITY WHEN THE USE OF EMPLOYEES' PHOTOGRAPHS FACILITATES ACCOMPLISHING THE PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT, THE GENERAL RULE THAT THE COST OF PHOTOGRAPHS OF INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT IS A PERSONAL EXPENSE THAT IS NOT CHARGEABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS IN THE ABSENCE OF A DEFINITE INDICATION AS TO THE NECESSITY FOR THE EXPENDITURES IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF SOME PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION WAS MADE IS NOT FOR APPLICATION AND, THEREFORE, THE COST OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS DISTRIBUTED BY AN AREA DIRECTOR OF EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION (EEOC), NOT FOR HIS PERSONAL PUBLICITY BUT TO PUBLICIZE THE ACTIVITIES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE AGENCY CONSTITUTES A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE 1967 FISCAL YEAR FUNDS APPROPRIATED TO EEOC, THE APPROPRIATION IN EFFECT AT THE TIME THE PHOTOGRAPHS WERE TAKEN, AS THE PUBLICITY ENGENDERED BY THE PUBLICATION OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS INCREASED COOPERATION WITH THE AGENCY AND FACILITATED ACCOMPLISHING ITS PURPOSES.

TO RUTH E. PERRY, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, DECEMBER 4, 1967:

YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 17, 1967, FILE REFERENCE 3 BCPA, TRANSMITTED A REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER OF SYLVIA J. BAZAN, A CLASS A CASHIER FOR THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, AN AGENCY FOR WHICH GSA PERFORMS ACCOUNTING SERVICES, AND REQUESTED A DECISION AS TO WHETHER SAID VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. THE VOUCHER, IN THE AMOUNT OF $22.54, COVERS PHOTOGRAPHS OF MR. TOM E. ROBLES, AREA DIRECTOR OF EEOC AT ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO.

THE GENERAL RULE WITH RESPECT TO PHOTOGRAPHS OF GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IS EXPRESSED IN OUR DECISION 31 COMP. GEN. 452, WHEREIN WE HELD THAT THE COST OF PHOTOGRAPHS OF INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT IS A PERSONAL EXPENSE NOT CHARGEABLE TO PUBLIC FUNDS IN THE ABSENCE OF A DEFINITE INDICATION AS TO THE NECESSITY FOR THE EXPENDITURES IN THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF SOME PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION OF FUNDS WAS MADE.

IN THE PRESENT CASE, THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION'S APPROPRIATION FOR FISCAL YEAR 1967 (IN EFFECT AT THE TIME THE PHOTOGRAPHS WERE TAKEN), AS CONTAINED IN TITLE V OF THE DEPARTMENTS OF STATE, JUSTICE, AND COMMERCE, THE JUDICIARY, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1967, APPROVED NOVEMBER 8, 1966, PUB.L. 89-797, 80 STAT. 1501, IS EXPRESSLY AVAILABLE "FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES OF THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION * * *.' TITLE VII OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964, APPROVED JULY 2, 1964, PUB.L. 88-352, 78 STAT. 241, 253, WHICH CREATED THE COMMISSION, AUTHORIZES THE COMMISSION, AMONG OTHER THINGS, TO "COOPERATE WITH AND, WITH THEIR CONSENT, UTILIZE REGIONAL, STATE, LOCAL, AND OTHER AGENCIES, BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, AND INDIVIDUALS.' (SUBSECTION 705 (G) (1) OF CITED ACT, 78 STAT. 258, 42 U.S.C. 2000E-4 (F) (1).)

IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT PUBLICITY OF THE ACTIVITIES OF EEOC, AND PUBLIC RELATIONS THROUGH THE NEWSPAPERS, ON THE AREA LEVEL, ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT IN WORKING TOWARD ACHIEVEMENT OF THE END RESULTS DESIRED. MR. ROBLES DETERMINED THAT THE EEOC COULD OBTAIN BETTER NEWS COVERAGE BY DISTRIBUTING THE PHOTOGRAPHS IN QUESTION. HIS MEMORANDUM OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1967, FORWARDED WITH YOUR LETTER, STATES THAT: "WHENEVER THE AREA DIRECTOR IS INVITED TO ADDRESS A GROUP, HE IS INVARIABLY REQUESTED TO FURNISH A BIO -DATA SHEET TOGETHER WITH PHOTOGRAPH FOR PUBLICITY PURPOSES. THIS GENERALLY WORKS TO MUTUAL ADVANTAGE SINCE A WRITE-UP WITH PHOTO IS GENERALLY MORE PROMINENTLY SITUATED IN THE NEWSPAPER THAN OTHERWISE.' IS FURTHER INDICATED THAT THE PHOTOGRAPHS WERE DISTRIBUTED NOT FOR THE PERSONAL PUBLICITY OF MR. ROBLES BUT TO PUBLICIZE THE ACTIVITIES AND FUNCTIONS OF THE EEOC.

IT SEEMS REASONABLE TO ASSUME THAT THE PUBLICITY ENGENDERED BY THE PUBLICATION OF THESE PHOTOGRAPHS WOULD TEND TO INCREASE COOPERATION WITH THE EEOC AND THUS FACILITATE THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF ITS PURPOSES. HENCE, THE COST OF SUCH PHOTOGRAPHS CONSTITUTES A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE EEOC APPROPRIATION. B-123613, JUNE 1, 1955; B-114344, MAY 19, 1953; B-113464, JANUARY 29, 1953; B-113026, JANUARY 19, 1953; B-47547, FEBRUARY 15, 1945; B-15278, MAY 15, 1942; A-57964, JANUARY 30, 1935.

IT IS NOTED THAT THE REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER SUBMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER CITES THE 1968 FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION. SINCE THE PHOTOGRAPHS APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN PROCURED IN MARCH OF 1967, DURING THE 1967 FISCAL YEAR, THE APPROPRIATION FOR THAT FISCAL YEAR, AS CITED HEREINABOVE, IS THE APPROPRIATION PROPERLY CHARGEABLE.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT FROM THE CITED 1967 APPROPRIATION IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.