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Decision by Comptroller General McCarl, May 9, 1923:
Wood's Garage requests review of settlement of claim T-5911, dated February 27, 1923, certificate 4967, by which the sum of $5.84, paid for gasoline and oil furnished prohibition agents for the purpose of operating seized automobiles to a Government storage place, was disallowed for the reason that the act of July 16, 1914, 38 Stat., 508, provides that there shall not be expended out of any appropriation any sum for maintenance, repair, or operation of motor-propelled passenger-carrying vehicles, unless same is specifically author. ized by law.
This act refers to the operation of vehicles owned by, or acquired for use of, Government activities, and does not contemplate the necessary operation of a car immediately incident to its seizure in enforcement of the prohibition act.
Section 26, Title 11, of the national prohibition act of October 28, 1919, 41 Stat., 315, authorizes the seizure and confiscation of vehicles in which intoxicating liquors were being illegally transported and provides that the vehicles shall be sold under order of the court and that 6 *
* the officer making the sale, after deducting the expenses of keeping the property, the fee fúi the seizure, and the cost of the sale, shall pay all liens, according to their priorities, * and shall pay the balance of the proceeds into the Treasury of the United States as miscellaneous receipts,
The appropriation for the expenses of enforcing the prohibition act of March 3, 1921, 41 Stat., 1274, is as follows:
For expenses to enforce the provisions of the “National Prohibition Act " and the Act entitled “An Act to provide for the registration of, with collectors of internal revenue, and to impose a special tax upon, all persons who produce, import, manufacture, compound, deal in, dispense, sell, distribute, or give away opium or cocoa leaves, their salts, derivatives, or preparations, and for other purposes," approved December 17, 1914, as amended by the “ Revenue Act of 1918,” including the employment of executive officers, agents, inspectors, chemists, assistant chemists, supervisors, clerks, and messengers in the field and in the bureau of internal revenue in the District of Columbia, to be appointed as authorized by law, the securing of evidence of violations of the Acts, and for the purchase of such supplies, equipment, mechanical devices, laboratory supplies, books, necessary printing and binding and such other expenditures as may be necessary in the District of Columbia and several field offices, and for rental of necessary quarters, $7,500,000:
The present expenses were necessarily incurred in the enforcement of the provisions of the prohibition act, and the appropriation, cited supra, provides the only funds available and the expense in question may be paid under such appropriation, 90 MS. Comp. Dec., 1463, September 15, 1919; decision April 12, 1923, Review 4206.
Accordingly the sum of $5.84 is allowed
TRAVELING EXPENSES--CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES EXCHANGING
An employee of the War Department permitted pursuant to his request to
transfer to another station by exchanging positions with another employee is not entitled to reimbursement for the expenses of travel incurred
in going from his old to his new station. Decision by Comptroller General McCarl, May 10, 1923:
E. T. Comegys, major, Finance Department, by indorsement dated October 26, 1922, forwards, through Chief of Ordnance, request for review of disallowance dated September 18, 1922, of voucher 40, December, 1921, accounts, comprising payment of $149.34 to reimburse W. C. Olson for travel expenses incurred, as stated on the voucher, in the discharge of official duty from August 10, 1921, to August 15, 1921, under written authorization from the commanding officer, Benicia Arsenal, dated August 9, 1921.
The letter of authorization, dated August 9, 1921, states relative to Mr. Olson's transfer:
1. Your application in letter dated May 18, 1921, for transfer to the Panama ordnance depot was approved by the commanding officer of that depot in in. dorsement dated June 21, 1921, and by the Ordnance Office in indorsement dated July 12, 1921, with the understanding that you will proceed to Spring. field Armory for approximately one week's work in order to bring yourselt up to date on such weapons as have come into use since the last time you were on duty at that station. In accordance with this plan' and in accordance with our indorsement to the Ordnance Office dated July 30th on the corre spondence referred to above, copy of which correspondence is furnished you herewith, you will terminate your service at this arsenal at the close of work on Wednesday, August 10th. You will be paid in full to include that date. Our records indicate that there is no leave of absence due you, but that you have taken all leave up to include August 10th.
2. In view of the fact that the transfer is being made at your request you are required to pay your own expenses to Springfield Armory. The question of paying your salary at Springfield Armory and the question of your transportation from New York to Panama have been discussed in our indorsement last referred to above.
3. Payment for work at Springfield Armory will presumably be on the basis of your present salary at $2,300 per annum. Payment upon your departure from that station will presumably be on the basis of $175.00 per month, this being the rate recommended by the Commanding Officer, Panama Ordnance Depot, for your pay upon transfer to that station.
Under date of January 23, 1923, the Chief of Ordnance reported:
1. This office under date of November 4, 1921, authorized Mr. Olson reimbursed for his traveling expenses which he incurred in traveling from Benicia Arsenal, Benicia, Cal., to the Springfield Armory, Springfield, Mass. At the time this office was aware that some time previous to his transfer to Panama, Mr. Olsen had expressed a desire to be transferred to an eastern station. When a vacancy occurred at the Panama ordnance depot, by reason of the transfer of Mr. Eversole from that station to the Springfield Armory, it was necessary to fill the position at Panama, and inasmuch as Mr. Olson was available for transfer and qualified for the position, orders were issued for his transfer from Benicia to Panama, via the Springfield Armory. Therefore, the transfer of Mr. Olson from Benicia to Springfield and then to Panama was entirely in the interest of the Government even though Mr. Olsen had made a request to be transferred east as it is the custom of this office to offer such a position to employees who are willing and qualified to go and who have expressed a desire to be so transferred. It is difficult to find employees capable of filling vacancies which may occur who are willing to transfer to
oatlying stations, such as Panama, Hawaii, and the Philippines. Therefore, this office, being firmly convinced that it was in the interest of the United States to make this transfer, authorized the reimbursement of this traveling expense and it was paid. This action, it is believed, was clearly withiu the province of the Chief of Ordnance,
The travel involving the expense in question was performed in August, 1921.
The act of June 30, 1921, 42 Stat., 68, appropriating for transportation of the Army and its supplies, provides, page 81:
And provided further, That hereafter the cost of transportation of civilian employees and of materials in connection with the construction or maintenance of seacoast fortifications, or the acquisition of land therefor, by the Engineer Department, or with the manufacturing and purchase activities of the Ordnance Department and the Chemical Warfare Service, shall be charged to the appropriations for the work in connection with which such transportation charges are incurred.
These travel expenses were paid out of the appropriation for manufacture of arms, same act as cited, supra, 42 Stat., 91, which provides:
For manufacturing, repairing, procuring, and issuing arms at the national armories, $400,000.
In the instant case travel can not be said to have been made under orders, nor was travel made incident to the duties of either position. In fact, the letter of authority cited, dated August 9, 1921, states that services were terminated at the late position at close of work Wednesday, August 10, and that payment of salary would be made in full to include that date. At Springfield Armory a temporary salary was to be effective upon reporting there for duty. This situation is evidentiary of the fact that travel was not upon pubJic business incident to either position so as to carry by force of necessity right to reimbursement.
It was stated in paragraph 2 of the letter of August 9, 1921, that the transfer was made at the employee's request and that he was required to pay his own expenses to Springfield Armory. Also, by communication of W. C. Olson to commanding officer, dated at Corozal, Canal Zone, October 5, 1921, it was said:
2 In view of the fact that Mr. Eversole's transportation is being covered by an allotment from the Ordnance Office in accordance with recommendation contained in the second indorsement of correspondence relating to mutual transfer of Mr. Eversole and myself, I ask that I be granted partial mutual benefits.
The extracts from these two letters and the sequence of the facts as chronicled disclose that the transfer was arranged in accordance with the mutual desires of the two beneficiaries, and with the distinct understanding upon the part of this employee of being at his personal expense, and with no different understanding evinced upon the part of the immediate superiors arranging the exchange. It is
not unusual for the Government officials to arrange such transfers to favor employees, often based upon a policy of securing contentment or other considerations, and it may be assumed that arrangements of this kind are more or less in the public interest or they would not be approved, but it can not, under the circumstances recited, be accepted as conclusive that this exchange was entirely in the interest of the Government.
An employee at a station who receives a new appointment to a similar position at another station is not entitled to reimbursement for traveling expenses incurred, as the travel involved is not travel from one station to another under the same appointment. 20 Comp. Dec., 73.
In the present case there was not a travel from one station to another under the same appointment, nor a travel incident to duties at either station; therefore, there can be no legal conclusion of a public interest or benefit such as is necessary for the accounting office to approve a legal charge against the public funds, and the statement of the Chief of Ordnance can be accepted only as a personal opinion and is not conclusive upon this office.
In accordance with the facts and the law applicable to this case the disallowance appears correct and upon this review is affirmed.
REENLISTMENT ALLOWANCE-NAVAL ACADEMY BAND. Members of the Naval Academy Band, other than its leader, discharged after
July 1, 1922, are entitled upon reenlistment within three months from the date of their discharge to the reenlistment allowance provided by section 10, act of June 10, 1922, 42 Stat., 630; the second leader of the band is entitled to the same reenlistment allowance as enlisted men of the first three grades and the musicians, first and second classes, and drum major are entitled to the same allowance as enlisted men of the remaining four
grades. Comptroller General McCarl to the Secretary of the Navy, May 10, 1923: I have your letter of April 5, 1923, requesting decision
as to whether or not enlisted men of the U. S. Naval Academy Band, discharged after 1 July, 1922, and thereafter reenlisted within three months from date of discharge are entitled upon such reenlistment to honorable discharge gratuity equal to one month's pay for each year served in enlistment from which discharged, or to the enlistment allowance authorized in the act of 10 June, 1922.
The Naval Academy Band as an enlisted organization of the Navy was established by the act of April 12, 1910, 36 Stat., 297. The act of July 11, 1919, 41 Stat., 152, the latest act fixing the pay and allowance of the band, provides:
The Naval Academy Band shall hereafter consist of one leader, with pay and allowances of first lieutenant in the Marine Corps; one second leader, with a base pay of $81 per month; forty-five musicians, first class, with a base pay of $51 per month; twenty-seven musicians, second class, with a base pay of $44 per month; one drum major, with a base pay of $57.20 per month; and the
said leader of the band, second leader of the band, drum major of the band, and the enlisted musicians of the band shall be entitled to the same benefits in respect to pay, emoluments, and retirement arising from longevity, reenlistment, and length of service as are or may hereafter become applicable to other officers or enlisted men of the Navy.
Section 21 of the act of June 10, 1922, 42 Stat., 633, provides, in part:
That nothing in this Act shall operate to change in any way existing laws governing pay and allowances of
the enlisted men of the
Naval Academy Band The "existing law” on the subject of the receipt by the enlisted members of this band (other than its leader) of emoluments for reenlistment was that said emoluments should be the same as are or may hereafter become applicable to other * enlisted men of the Navy"; or, in other words, that their emoluments for reenlistment should change with and correspond to changes in those of enlisted men generally. See act July 11, 1919, supra.
Those of enlisted men generally changed on July 1, 1922, under section 10 of the act of June 10, 1922, 42 Stat., 630, from the former honorable discharge gratuity to the new reenlistment allowance that section authorizes, and those of the men of this band (other than its leader) correspondingly change, unless the conditions of section 10 for such allowance be impractical of application for the purposes of the assimilation of such band members for its payment to enlisted men generally of the Navy. Said section 10 as to enlisted men generally provides:
On and after July 1, 1922, for purposes of pay, enlisted men of the Navy
shall be distributed in seven grades, with monthly base rates of pay as follows: First grade, $126; second grade, $84; third grade, $72; fourth grade, $60; fifth grade, $54; sixth grade, $36; seventh grade, $21.
That the Secretary of the Navy is authorized to fix the pay grade for the various ratings of enlisted men of the Navy;
Existing laws authorizing a reenlistment gratuity to enlisted men of the Navy
are hereby repealed, and an enlistment allowance equal to $50 multiplied by the number of years served in the enlistment period from which he has last been discharged, but not to exceed $200, shall be paid to every honorably discharged enlisted man of the first three grades who reenlists within a period of three months from the date of his discharge; and an enlistment allowance of $25 multiplied by the number of years served in the enlistment period from which he has last been discharged, but not to exceed $100, shall be paid to every honorably discharged enlisted man of the other grades who reenlists within a period of three months from the date of his discharge.
Unlike the former law for honorable discharge gratuity, this statute for purposes of the amount of the payment of the new enlistment allowance it authorizes parts the men of the Navy generally into two groups—those of the first three grades and those of the remaining four grades.
Unlike also the provisions of the act of August 29, 1916, 39 Stat., 612, applicable to the Marine Band, wherein the second leader thereof is given the allowances of a sergeant major and the musicians