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ing said seamen to the United States in order that they might again engage in the service of the United States merchant marine. While it is not necessary in order to obtain relief that the seaman's last employment before application for relief be as a seaman on an American vessel, yet it can not be assumed that it was the intent or purpose of the law that a person who had once been a seaman of the United States should forever thereafter upon becoming destitute be entitled to the relief provided. The law contemplated that the relief authorized thereunder should be provided only to those who at the time of application for relief are by habit and intent bona fide members of the American merchant marine. An American seaman who after being discharged as such in a foreign country accepts employment on land and does not return to the sea nor apply to the consul for relief for more than a year after his discharge as a seaman, must be presumed to have abandoned his former vocation,
The opinion then expressed referred to specific cases of extreme time, viz, application after engagement in other pursuits when more than three years had elapsed. The question presents itself as one of fact, however, and does not necessarily depend upon the element of time alone. The circumstances of each case must necessarily be considered, having in view the beneficial intent of the relief act. It would seem that an American seaman to be entitled to the relief provided should continue to hold himself out for service as such, and as long as he so held himself out it was within the purpose of the act of relief to afford the aid necessary to place him where he might reenter that service. But if one of that designation enters another occupation, or does other acts which coupled with prolonged delay in applying for relief, evidence an abandonment of that service, he would seem to lose the character and status of a seafaring man and would therefore not be entitled to relief within contemplation of the act.
As to whether an applicant comes within the designation of a “ destitute seaman" within the intent of the act, 4577, Revised Statutes, is a matter in the first instance for determination by the American consuls, whose action therein in the absence of contrary facts would be sufficient. 3 Comp. Dec., 40. See in connection herewith, R. S. 4573, 4574, 4575, 4576, as to the evidence, and also Consular Regulations, paragraphs 262 and 263.
AUTOMATIC PROMOTION OF POST OFFICE CLERKS AND CAR
RIERS—CREDIT FOR SERVICE AS ARMY FIELD CLERK. Service as an Army field clerk in the World War is “ military " service for the
purpose of the automatic promotion under the act of June 5, 1920, as
amended, of postal clerks in the service on October 1, 1920. Comptroller General McCarl to the Postmaster General, November 11, 1922.
I have your letter of October 31, 1922, presenting the question whether service as an Army field clerk during the late war is service in the military service of the United States within the meaning of the provision in the act of June 5, 1920, 41 Stat., 1049, as amended by the act of March 1, 1921, 41 Stat., 1151, and section 6 of the act of June 19, 1922, 42 Stat. 662.
The provision in the act of June 5, 1920, relative to the promotion of clerks in first and second class post offices and carriers in the City Delivery Service, provided that said clerks and carriers should have credit for actual time served as substitutes on a basis of one year for each 365 days of eight hours each served as substitute. The act of March 1, 1921, amended said provision by providing that said employees who served in the military, marine, or naval service of the United States during the World War “shall receive credit for all time served in the military, marine, or naval service on the basis of one day's credit of eight hours in the Postal Service for each day served in the military, marine, or naval service.” Section 6 of the act of June 19, 1922, provided that the provision relative to allowance of credit for military, marine, or naval service should apply to said employees who were in the Postal Service on October 1, 1920.”
Army field clerks belong to one of the anomalous classes in the Army as now constituted who are in and of the Army, but are neither commissioned officers nor enlisted men. 26 Comp. Dec., 150. They are, by the act of August 29, 1916, 39 Stat., 625, subject to the Articles of War both in peace and war. They have been treated as commissioned officers by legislation in the matter of mileage and foreign-service pay (act of July 11, 1919, 41 Stat., 111) and by construction in the matter of quarters and commutation thereof. 25 Comp. Dec., 254 and 280. Under the war risk insurance act they are classified as enlisted men and required to make compulsory allotments. Dig. of Opin. J. A. G. January, 1918. They are not civilian employees within the meaning of the laws authorizing increased pay to civilian employees in the Military Establishment. 23 Comp. Dec., 781. They were treated as in a full-pay status while held as prisoners of war in the hands of the enemy without fault on their part. 25 Comp. Dec., 256. They are “ officers of the Army” within the meaning of the act of July 9, 1918, 40 Stat., 855, relative to occupancy of quarters in houses of the Panama Canal. 25 Comp. Dec., 280. An enlisted man discharged to accept an appointment as an Army field clerk is not discharged from the military service, 25 Comp. Dec., 337, and upon termination of his service as an Army field clerk he is entitled to be restored to the same grade held by him as an enlisted man at the time of his discharge as such. 26 Comp. Dec., 150. Commissioned officers of the Army are entitled to count service as an Army field clerk for longevity-pay purposes. 25 Comp. Dec., 419. Army field clerks are “persons serving in the military or naval forces of the United States” within the provisions of section 1406 of the act of February 24, 1919, 40 Stat., 1151, relative to the $60 war-service payment on discharge. 26 Comp. Dec., 236. They are officers of the Army within the meaning of section 1 of the act of July 9, 1918, 40 Stat., 880, relative to loss of or damage to private
property. 26 Comp. Dec., 151. The certificate given to an Army field clerk upon discharge is to the effect that he is “discharged from the military service in the United States Army.”
It is apparently proper to hold that service as an Army field clerk is service in the military service of the United States within the provision of the act of June 5, 1920, as amended by the acts of March 1, 1921, and June 19, 1922, supra.
TREATMENT IN VETERANS' BUREAU HOSPITALS OF BENEFICI.
ARIES OF EMPLOYEES' COMPENSATION COMMISSION. It is within the discretion of the Director of the Veterans' Bureau to receive
patients of the United States Employees' Compensation Commission into hospitals under his control whenever in his judgment their receipt and treatment will not interfere with the hospitalization of beneficiaries of his own bureau, such treatment to be without reimbursement of the Veterans'
Bureau appropriations. Comptroller General McCarl to the Director United States Veterans' Bureau,
November 11, 1922.
I have your letter of October 23, 1922, submitting for decision the following questions:
(1) Is it the duty of the United States Veterans' Bureau to receive free of charge into its hospitals for hospitalization and treatment all beneficiaries of the United States Employees' Compensation Commission who may be assigned to such bospitals by said commission; and if so, under what limitations, if any?
(2) If you should hold that not all but some of the hospitals under the control of this bureau are open to all such patients, please state which hospitals are so open.
(3) If you should hold that none of the hospitals under the control of this bureau is open to receive patients assigned to them by the United States Employees' Compensation Commission, then can such hospitals receive such patients in cases of necessity or emergency; and if so, please define the limits within which such patients may be received.
(4) If at the time of the transfer of a hospital from the United States Public Health Service to this bureau there should be in such hospital one hospitalized under the request of the United States Employees' Compensation Commission, and if it would materially impair the health of such patient to remove him, should this bureau continue such bospitalization free of charge?
(5) If at the time of the transfer of a hospital from the United States Public Health Service to this bureau there should be in such hospital one hospitalized under the request of the United States Employees' Compensation Commission, and if it would not materially impair the health of such patient to remove him, should this bureau continue such hospitalization free of charge?
The questions submitted are primarily for consideration and determination by your bureau. Only in so far as treatment of patients other than beneficiaries of the Veterans' Bureau in hospitals of the bureau involves a question of expenditure for such treatment or an adjustment of appropriations because of it are the questions properly for decision by this office.
It has been held that United States hospital facilities are free to patients of the United States Employees' Compensation Commission without reimbursement of the appropriation maintaining the hospital from funds of the commission. 23 Comp. Dec., 776. Patients
of the commission are among those entitled to treatment in Public Health Service hospitals. Paragraph 400 (10), Regulations of the Public Health Service, 1920. Also, it has been held that there is no authority for reimbursing appropriations of the Veterans' Bureau for hospital treatment of persons other than its own patients who may be entitled to governmental hospital service, and that the expense of treating any such person must stand as a charge against the bureau appropriation. 1 Comp. Gen., 230.
Section 9 of the act of August 9, 1921, 42 Stat., 149, imposes upon the director of the Veterans' Bureau responsibility for medical treatment and hospitalization of beneficiaries of the bureau and authorizes him to utilize for that purpose the then existing or future facilities of other branches of the service having hospital and medical officers, and directs such governmental agencies to furnish such medical, surgical, and 'hospital services as the director may deem necessary in carrying out the provisions of the act. The section further authorizes the director to secure. additional hospital facilities when necessary, and authorizes the President, should he deem it necessary or advisable for the proper medical care and treatment of Veterans' Bureau patients, to transfer to the director the operation, management, and control of specifically designated hospitals then under the jurisdiction of the Public Health Service, with a provision that
Such hospitals when transferred shall be used exclusively for beneficiaries under this act, and shall be under the operative control of the director for such period of time as the President may prescribe.
The general purpose and effect of these provisions is to impose upon the director authority and responsibility for hospitalization and treatment of all beneficiaries of the bureau and to open to him for that purpose the hospitals of other branches of the service as well as those under his own operation and control. Hospitals under the control of the director have been provided primarily for hospitalization of patients of the Veterans' Bureau, and are intended to be used for that purpose to the exclusion of other patients to the extent that the bureau's needs may require. So the hospitals of the Public Health Service are intended primarily for the use of other civilian Government patients, and should be used for that purpose wherever they are available.
Proper use of the various hospital facilities of the Government for hospitalization of those injured civilian employees who are entitled to admission to Government hospitals is a matter of administrative responsibility. I may say, however, that I think there is no statutory bar to the use of hospital facilities of the Veterans' Bureau for that purpose, to the extent that such facilities are not needed for bureau purposes, as convenience and economy of admin
istration may require. Any use of Government hospital facilities for patients other than Veterans' Bureau patients must necessarily reduce to the extent of such use the accommodations available for bureau patients. It would seem to be of no great importance whether other patients occupy space in other hospitals which otherwise would be available for bureau patients.
It seems to be within the discretion of the Director of the Veterans' Bureau to receive patients of the United States Employees' Compensation Commission into hospitals under his control whenever, in his judgment, so receiving them will not interfere with hospitalization of beneficiaries of his own bureau for whose use the hospital facilities of the bureau have been provided. There should be no increase of bureau hospital facilities to care for patients other than its own beneficiaries, but I see no reason why vacant accommodations in hospitals so provided and not fully occupied may not be utilized for these outside patients in the discretion of the director. If so used, however, there must be no reimbursement of the bureau appropriation.
Taken literally, section 9 of the act of August 9, 1921, provides that hospitals transferred by the President from the Public Health Service to the Veterans' Bureau shall be used "exclusively" for the beneficiaries under that act. This provision may have been intended as a limitation upon the transfers rather than upon the use of the hospital after its transfer for the authorized purpose. This office does not undertake to direct admission to Veterans' Bureau hospital, nor to determine the conditions of such admissions. If patients of the Employees' Compensation Commission are hospitalized by the Veterans' Bureau, it must be by virtue of the provision in the employees' compensation law giving them hospital service to be “ furnished by United States medical officers and hospitals," and, there. fore, must be without reimbursement of the bureau appropriation
Specific answers to each of the questions asked is deemed unnecessary.
Where the damages which might result from delay in the performance of a
contract are uncertain or difficult of ascertainment and the parties provide in the contract for the payment of a definite amount as liquidated damages for each and every day's delay the parties will be bound by their agree ment and no showing of actual damage will be necessary to require the payment of liquidated damages for delays beyond the time fixed by the
contract. In computing delays from which liquidated damages are payable under a con:
tract for completion of certain construction work within a specified number of “working days” rainy days are included and Sundays and legal holidays, including Saturday afternoons when declared legal holidays by the laws of the State in which the work is performed, are excluded.