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Highlights

An authorized certifying officer of the Bureau of Reclamation requested an advance decision as to whether a voucher submitted by a project administrator could be certified for payment. The administrator issued Government purchase orders for procurement of exercise equipment for use by Bureau firefighters as part of a mandatory physical fitness program. He used personal funds to pay for the equipment, because doubts were raised by a certifying officer regarding the propriety of the procurement at Government expense, and then sought reimbursement. The certifying officer asked whether: (1) the purchase was an impermissible use of appropriated funds for recreational equipment; and (2) it was primarily a personal expense. GAO found that the physical fitness program contemplated was not a recreational program but was a mandatory physical training program for firefighters which was necessary to the efficient operations of the Bureau. Since the equipment would be available to all firefighters, it was not a personal expense. Accordingly, the use of appropriated funds to purchase the equipment would have been proper and the reimbursement may be made.

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