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So far as the papers disclose, Captain Ingram made no application for quarters at his permanent station, Fort Oglethorpe, the appropriate method of establishing the fact of availability or nonavailability of public quarters. After question as to his right to rental allowance was raised he secured from the assistant commandant at Camp Meade, September 21, 1922, the following certificate:
I certify that there were no suitable public quarters available during the period of June 22nd, 1922, to August 29th, 1922, inclusive, for the occupancy of the dependents of Captain Wharton G. Ingram, 6th Cavalry, who was on temporary duty at the Third Corps Area Training Center, Camp Meade, Md.
The officer states that he was furnished “shelter” for his personal use at Camp Meade. He claims the rental allowance apparently by reason of being on temporary duty away from his permanent station and the nonoccupancy of public quarters by his dependents. It is not the mere being on temporary duty away from permanent station that gives a right to rental allowance. If the officer is entitled to rental allowance at his permanent station his being furnished shelter at his temporary-duty station will not deprive him of the rental allowance at his permanent station; the law goes no further than this. Decision of Dec. 26, 1922, 2 Comp. Gen., 399.
Not having applied for quarters at Fort Oglethorpe, whatever right the officer had to quarters or rental allowance was with respect to his temporary station at Camp Meade. The duty was not field duty;
W. D. Circular No. 122, June 14, 1922, 2 Comp. Gen., 245, and he was not entitled to commutation of quarters for dependents during the period June 22 to 30, 1922. As he occupied public quarters at that station, the fact of having dependents does not give him a right to rental allowance in addition. Public quarters were available for him at his (temporary) station and his rights in this respect were exhausted. 2 Comp. Gen., 47, 50, answer to question e.
You are informed that you are not authorized to pay the voucher.
RELIEF OF AMERICAN SEAMEN. American seamen found destitute within the district of any consular officer may
be furnished subsistence and transportation to the United States under section 4577, Revised Statutes, irrespective of whether discharged or
whether their discharges resulted from their own misconduct. American seamen who have not been discharged are not entitled to relief from
United States funds unless destitute. American seamen discharged by or before a consular officer on account of in
jury o illness incapacitating them for service may be furnished subsistence and transportation to the United States, under section 4581, Revised Stat. utes, irrespective of whether the illness or injury resulted from their own misconduct or whether they have funds of their own sufficient for their
immediate needs. Donsular officers are not authorized to pay from United States funds any part
of the hospital bills of American seamen who become ill or are injured while members of the crew of a vesse! and are placed in a hospital by the master of the vessel and later discharged by the consul for illness or injury.
Comptroller General McCarl to the Secretary of State, January 16, 1923.
I have your letter of December 21, 1922, requesting decision of questions presented as follows:
1. When a seaman becomes ill or is injured in the service of the ship and is formally discharged by a consular officer, is the consular officer authorized to extend relief to him without regard to the question of destitution, or should the vessel be required to pay the expenses of medical treatment and subsistence under such circumstances?
2. When a seaman becomes ill or is injured through his own wilful misconduct or neglect of orders and is discharged, should a consular officer extend relief to him even though he may have sufficient funds to defray the cost of his own maintenance and repatriation ?
3. If the seamen referred to in questions one (1) and two (2) have not been discharged, who shall be required to defray the expenses?
4. If the seaman referred to in question two (2) is not discharged and has not sufficient funds to defray his own expenses is the consular officer required to defray the expenses in excess of the seaman's own funds?
5. If a seaman becomes ill or is injured while a member of the crew of a vessel and is placed in a hospital by the master of the vessel and is later discharged by the consul for illness or injury, how should the total expense incurred be divided for payment?
These questions can properly be considered by this office only in so far as they relate to payments to be made by the consular officer. The rights and liabilities as between the members of the crew and the vessel or the master thereof and the duties of the consular officer with respect to the enforcement of such rights and liabilities are not primarily for determination by this office.
Section 4577, Revised Statutes, makes it the duty of consular officers to provide at the expense of the United States for subsistence and return to the United States of American seamen found destitute within their districts.
Section 4581, Revised Statutes, as amended, provides that if the seaman is discharged before a consul on account of injury or illness incapacitating him for service “the expense of his maintenance and return to the United States shall be paid from the fund for the maintenance and protection of destitute American seamen."
Under these statutory provisions the only instances in which a consular officer is specifically required to make payments from United States funds on account of American seamen are when an American seamen is found destitute within his district and when an American seaman is discharged by or before him on account of injury or illness incapacitating said seaman for service.
The subsistence or maintenance required to be furnished in these cases is such only as may be necessary pending the return of the seaman to the United States at the earliest practicable date. Such relief may be furnished an American seaman discharged by or before a consular officer on account of injury or illness incapacitating him for service regardless of whether said seaman may have funds of his own sufficient for his immediate needs; and the fact that the injury or illness may have resulted from his own misconduct does
not affect the seaman's right to such relief. Questions 1 and 2 are answered accordingly.
A consular officer is not required by law to furnish relief from United States funds to a seaman who has not been discharged unless said seaman is found destitute within the consular officer's district. Questions 3 and 4 are answered accordingly.
The consular officer would not be authorized to pay from United States funds any part of the hospital bill in the case presented in question 5. See 14 Comp. Dec., 570; 15 id., 348.
The act of June 1, 1922, 42 Stat., 603, contains a provision as follows:
For relief and protection of American seamen in foreign countries, and in the Panama Canal Zone, and shipwrecked American seamen in the Territory of Alaska, in the Hawaiian Islands, Porto Rico, the Philippine Islands, and the Virgin Islands, $220,000 :
This appropriation does not give to the seamen any rights in addition to those given under the provisions of sections 4577 and 4581, Revised Statutes, supra, but with respect to your administrative discretion in the use of said appropriation see 1 Comp. Gen., 583, and 2 id., 32.
OVERTIME OF RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS.
Payment for overtime to railway postal clerks under the act of June 5, 1920,
41 Stat., 1050, may only be made when the aggregate overtime exceeds ag. gregate deficiencies computed from March 1, 1922, or the date the employee entered the service if subsequent to that time, on the basis of an average of eight hours' service daily, there being no authority to drop the deficiencies at the end of the fiscal year or at any other time. 1 Comp. Gen., 496,
affirmed. Comptroller General McCarl to the Postmaster General, January 17, 1923.
I have your letter of December 19, 1922, inclosing a memorandum from Mr. W. M. Collins, president, Railway Mail Association, and requesting decision whether the deficiency in time remaining at the end of a fiscal year as an offset against overtime of a railway postal clerk may properly be dropped and the employee allowed and paid for overtime accruing during one fiscal year notwithstanding the deficiency for the preceding fiscal year.
The method or procedure to be followed in computing and paying for overtime in the case of railway postal clerks is set forth in decision of this office dated March 11, 1922, 1 Comp. Gen., 496. It will be seen from said decision that the law authorizes the payment of regular or straight-time compensation for service averaging less than eight hour per day, including allowance for lay-off periods, and on the basis of 306 days per annum; but that payment for overtime is authorized only for time served in excess of an average of eight huura daily for 306 days per annum.
In order to determine whether there has been overtime service for which payment is authorized it is necessary to consider the days on which less than eight hours' service is rendered as well as the days on which the service exceeds eight hours. Accordingly, it was held that, beginning March 1, 1922, or the date the employee enter the service, if such entrance is subsequent to said date, a record should be kept of the hours of service on each day; and at the end of each month if the aggregate excess exceeds the aggregate deficiency the overtime thus accruing may be paid for with the next regular payment, and if the aggregate deficiency exceeds the aggregate excess the net deficiency thus accruing must be carried forward for consideration in determining whether there is overtime in the succeeding month for which payment is authorized. See the decision of March 11, 1922, as modified by letter to you dated April 7, 1922. Unless the average daily service computed in the manner indicated in the decision of March 11, 1922, exceeds eight hours, there is no overtime for which payment is authorized under the law.
Consideration has been given to the memorandum submitted by Mr. Collins, but there appears no reason for dropping accrued deficiencies at the end of a fiscal year or any other period.
The question presented is answered in the negative.
PURCHASES GENERAL SUPPLY COMMITTEE SCHEDULES.
Where the General Supply Committee has entered into a contract with a certain
firm or individual to furnish all articles of certain specifications required for the Government service, the fact that such articles may be obtained at a lower price or of a superior quality from some other private firm or indi. vidual does not authorize their purchase from other than the General Supply
Committee contractor. Comptroller General McCarl to the Secretary of the Treasury, January
I have your letter of January 3, 1923, requesting decision whether you are authorized to purchase from the Sieber Products Manufacturing Co., for use of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, loose-leaf strap binders of the same size and general specifications as the binders for which contract has been made for the fiscal year 1923 with the Kalamazoo Loose Leaf Binder Co.
It is understood from your submission that the needs of the Bureau of Internal Revenue were considered when the contract was awarded to the Kalamazoo Loose Leaf Binder Co., and that the binders which said company is furnishing and is required to furnish under said contract are satisfactory and meet the requirements of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
The reasons assigned for the desire to purchase from Sieber Products Manufacturing Co. are that the binders manufactured by
said company are regarded by the Bureau of Internal Revenue as superior to the Kalamazoo binders and may be obtained at a lower price than the contract price of Kalamazoo binders. While these reasons were very proper for consideration by the General Supply Committee in connection with the awarding of the contracts for binders they are not for consideration now.
If a contract has been made with the Kalamazoo Loose Leaf Binder Co. for all binders of certain specifications required for certain services during the fiscal year 1923, with which said company is complying, there would appear now no authority to contract with others for similar articles. The question submitted is answered in the negative.
RECREATIONAL EQUIPMENT FOR RESIDENT VOCATIONAL
SCHOOLS OF VETERANS' BUREAU.
Recreational equipment when certified by medical officers of the Veterans'
Bureau as useful and reasonably necessary to the care and treatment of beneficiaries of that bureau undergoing medical care and treatment at resident vocational schools may be purchased from the appropriation for medical and hospital services, but not from the appropriation for vocational training for fiscal year 1923, that appropriation not providing for
medical treatment of trainees. Comptroller General McCarl to the Director, United States Veterans' Bureau,
January 18, 1923.
I have your letter of December 9, 1922, as follows: The resident vocational schools of this bureau have been established to pro vide vocational training and afford training opportunities to beneficiaries of this bureau who are in need of special medical care and nursing followup while in receipt of training. As a part of the administration of such schools, with one exception, the medical officer in attendance passes on the type and amount of work assigned and accomplished by each trainee every day, the assignment being determined by the trainee's physical and mental condition.
At such schools the medical officers certify that certain recreational equip ment is useful and reasonably necessary for the mental and physical restora. tion of trainees who are there resident and under the general care of the burean.
By your opinion dated April 10, 1922 (A. D. 6595), it was held that “Provi. sion for keeping up the morale of a hospital by proper recreation and amusements for its patients is generally considered an important part of their treat. ment, especially in certain classes of cases. If in your judgment the rental of motion-picture films and employment of an operator are useful and reasonably necessary to the medical treatment of bureau patients, there is no legal objection to payment of such expenses from the proper bureau appropriation for medical and hospital services."
By your opinion rendered October 25, 1922 (Review No. 3103), it is apparently indicated that similar expenditures would not be authorized at train. ing schools. This opinion, however, suggests an exception in psychopathic cases; and for this reason I desire to invite your attention to the condition existing at the resident vocational schools as herein stated.
Your opinion is therefore requested as to whether or not this bureau is authorized to furnish certain athletic and recreational equipment which, in the opinion of medical officers in attendance at vocational schools are desirable, useful, and reasonably necessary for the mental and physical restoration of tra:nees.
The decision of this office of October 25, 1922, dealt with the use of the general appropriation for vocational rehabilitation for the