B-206516 L/M, APR 1, 1982, OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL

B-206516 L/M: Apr 1, 1982

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INSTEAD WAS ATTRIBUTABLE TO CASHIER'S FAILURE TO RECORD CASH DISBURSEMENTS. IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO PERMIT GAO TO GRANT RELIEF. SEC. 82A-1 (1976) GAO MAY RELIEVE AN ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER OF LIABILITY ONLY WHEN THE AGENCY DETERMINES THAT THE LOSS WAS NOT CAUSED BY THE FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE OF THE OFFICER. DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY: THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR LETTER REQUESTING RELIEF IN THE AMOUNT OF $600 ON BEHALF OF DEEDRIA J. AN INVESTIGATION OF TRANSACTIONS COMPLETED ON OCTOBER 26 RESULTED IN A FINDING THAT THE SHORTAGE WAS NOT CAUSED BY THE MISHANDLING OF CASH. EITHER HAD FAILED TO REQUIRE SUBMISSION OF THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS (STANDARD FORM 1038) OR HAD MISPLACED THE DOCUMENTATION AFTER IT WAS RECEIVED.

B-206516 L/M, APR 1, 1982, OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL

DIGEST: AGENCY DETERMINATION THAT SHORTAGE IN CASHIER'S FUND DID NOT RESULT FROM THEFT OR FRAUD, BUT INSTEAD WAS ATTRIBUTABLE TO CASHIER'S FAILURE TO RECORD CASH DISBURSEMENTS, IS NOT SUFFICIENT TO PERMIT GAO TO GRANT RELIEF. UNDER 31 U.S.C. SEC. 82A-1 (1976) GAO MAY RELIEVE AN ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER OF LIABILITY ONLY WHEN THE AGENCY DETERMINES THAT THE LOSS WAS NOT CAUSED BY THE FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE OF THE OFFICER.

MR. D. L. BALKENBUSH, DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY:

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR LETTER REQUESTING RELIEF IN THE AMOUNT OF $600 ON BEHALF OF DEEDRIA J. PIERCE, CLASS "A" CASHIER, UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE, WASHINGTON, D. C. FOR THE REASONS INDICATED BELOW WE MUST DENY RELIEF.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT MS. PIERCE DISCOVERED A $600 SHORTAGE IN HER IMPREST FUND FOR OCTOBER 26, 1981, WHILE RECONCILING HER ACCOUNT ON THE MORNING OF OCTOBER 27, 1981. ACCORDING TO YOUR SUBMISSION, AN INVESTIGATION OF TRANSACTIONS COMPLETED ON OCTOBER 26 RESULTED IN A FINDING THAT THE SHORTAGE WAS NOT CAUSED BY THE MISHANDLING OF CASH; INSTEAD, IT APPEARED THAT MS. PIERCE HAD ISSUED CASH FOR ONE OR MORE TRAVEL ADVANCES, AND EITHER HAD FAILED TO REQUIRE SUBMISSION OF THE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS (STANDARD FORM 1038) OR HAD MISPLACED THE DOCUMENTATION AFTER IT WAS RECEIVED.

THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION, UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE OFFICE OF INSPECTION, AND THE SECRET SERVICE WASHINGTON FIELD OFFICE WERE NOTIFIED OF THE SHORTAGE. THE WASHINGTON FIELD OFFICE INVESTIGATED THE CASE AND REPORTED THAT THE SHORTAGE DID NOT RESULT FROM FRAUD OR THEFT.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 31 U.S.C. SEC. 82A-1 (1976) THIS OFFICE IS AUTHORIZED TO RELIEVE ACCOUNTABLE OFFICERS OF LIABILITY FOR PHYSICAL LOSS OR DEFICIENCIES OF FUNDS ONLY IF WE AGREE WITH THE DETERMINATION BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED THAT THE LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OCCURRED WHILE THE OFFICER WAS ACTING IN THE DISCHARGE OF HER OFFICIAL DUTIES, AND THAT THE LOSS OR DEFICIENCY OCCURRED WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE OFFICER.

YOUR SUBMISSION DOES NOT CONTAIN THE FINDINGS REQUIRED BY 31 U.S.C. SEC. 82A-1. ALTHOUGH THE SECRET SERVICE INVESTIGATION CONCLUDED THAT THE SHORTAGE DID NOT RESULT FROM FRAUD OR THEFT, THERE HAS BEEN NO DETERMINATION THAT MS. PIERCE WAS WITHOUT FAULT OR NEGLIGENCE. UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN MET AND, ACCORDINGLY, WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO GRANT RELIEF. SEE B-182963, MARCH 17, 1975.

EVEN IF THE REQUISITE DETERMINATIONS WERE MADE, THE RECORD BEFORE US PROVIDES NO BASIS FOR RELIEF. AN ACCOUNTABLE OFFICER IS EXPECTED TO EXERCISE THE HIGHEST DEGREE OF CARE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OR HER DUTY, AND WHEN FUNDS DISAPPEAR WITHOUT EXPLANATION OR EVIDENT REASON THE PRESUMPTION ARISES THAT THE RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL WAS DERELICT IN SOME WAY. 48 COMP.GEN. 566, 567-568 (1969). THIS PRESUMPTION MUST BE REBUTTED IF WE ARE TO GRANT RELIEF UNDER 31 U.S.C. SEC. 82A-1. THE EVIDENCE REQUIRED TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF NEGLIGENCE MUST BE SPECIFIC, COMPLETE, AND CONVINCING. B-187139, OCTOBER 25, 1978.

ALTHOUGH YOU ATTRIBUTE THE $600 SHORTAGE TO THE CASHIER'S LOSS OF OR FAILURE TO OBTAIN DOCUMENTATION FOR ONE OR MORE PROPER CASH DISBURSEMENTS, THERE IS NO EVIDENCE IN THE RECORD SUPPORTING THIS EXPLANATION. IN VIEW OF THE ABSENCE OF INFORMATION REBUTTING THE PRESUMPTION OF NEGLIGENCE, WE COULD NOT GRANT RELIEF TO MS. PIERCE ON THE BASIS OF THE RECORD YOU HAVE SUBMITTED.

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