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APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Appropriation Availability - Disbursing Officers - Relief - Illegal/Improper Payments - Substitute Checks DIGEST: Relief is granted Army disbursing officer under 31 U.S.C Sec. 3527(c) from liability for improper payment resulting from payee's negotiation of both original and recertified checks. Proper procedures were followed in the issuance of the recertified check. There was no indication of bad faith on the part of the disbursing officer. Adequate collection efforts are being taken. The check was made payable to the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union for deposit to the account of Mr. (formerly E 7) Daniel H. Relief is granted. The recertified check was issued on the basis of the credit union's verification that Mr.

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B-230257, Mar 23, 1988, Office of General Counsel

APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Appropriation Availability - Disbursing Officers - Relief - Illegal/Improper Payments - Substitute Checks DIGEST: Relief is granted Army disbursing officer under 31 U.S.C Sec. 3527(c) from liability for improper payment resulting from payee's negotiation of both original and recertified checks. Proper procedures were followed in the issuance of the recertified check, there was no indication of bad faith on the part of the disbursing officer, and adequate collection efforts are being taken.

Colonel John P. Barrow, Chief of Staff, Finance Corps, U.S. Army Finance and Accounting Center:

This responds to your request of February 18, 1988, that we relieve Maj. D. B. Gladowski, Finance Corps, DSSN 6406, Finance and Accounting Officer, 6th Infantry Division (Light), Fort Richardson, Alaska under 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3527(c), for an improper payment of a check in the amount of $15,661.44. The check was made payable to the Alaska USA Federal Credit Union for deposit to the account of Mr. (formerly E 7) Daniel H. McClinton. For the reasons stated below, relief is granted.

The loss resulted when the credit union deposited both the original and a recertified check into Mr. McClinton's account. The recertified check was issued on the basis of the credit union's verification that Mr. McClinton's check had not been deposited and its written request that a recertified check be issued. Both checks were issued by the Army under authority delegated by the Department of Treasury. 31 C.F.R. Sec. 245.8 and Treasury Fiscal Requirements Manual for Guidance of Departments and Agencies, Bulletin No. 83-28.

It appears that the issuance of a recertified check in this case was within the bounds of due care and that there was no indication of bad faith on the part of the disbursing officer. See 62 Comp.Gen. 476 (1976). Moreover, the collection efforts taken here met the standards of 31 U.S.C. Sec. 3527(c). After being notified of the loss, the finance officer and his deputy took prompt collection action against both the credit union and Mr. McClinton. When these actions proved unsuccessful, the case was appropriately referred to the Army's collection division. Accordingly, we grant relief.

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