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CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF THE FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC WORKS AND THE NATIONAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE
APRIL 11, 1938.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House and ordered
to be printed
Mr. Poage, from the Committee on Claims, submitted the following
[To accompany 8. 2739)
The Committee on Claims, to whom was referred the bill (S. 2739) for the relief of Virgil D. Alden, and others, having considered the same, report thereon with the recommendation that it do pass with the following amendments:
Page 1, line 5, start with the word "of” and strike out all of the bill through the name "Wolff" in line 25, page 2.
Page 3, line 1, after the word “incurred” insert “by persons”.
Page 3, line 7, strike out the words "claim of Harlow M. Stafford" and insert claims of persons".
Page 3, line 8, strike out the word "his" and insert “their”.
Page 4, line 5, strike out the words "named in" and insert "affected by''. Amend the title of the bill so as to read:
A bill for the relief of certain employees of the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works and the National Resources Committee.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
With the foregoing amendments, this bill directs the Comptroller General of the United States to receive and settle the claims for transportation, travel, and subsistence expenses incurred by persons upon their transfer to new headquarters pursuant to orders directing such transfers which were signed for the Federal Emergency Administrator of Public Works, in the temporary absence of said administrator, with the approval of said administrator, during the period from September 6, 1935, to May 23, 1936, and the claims of persons for transportation, travel, and subsistence expenses incurred upon their transfer to new headquarters pursuant to an order directing such transfer which was signed for the Chairman of the National Resources Committee in the temporary absence of said Chairman, with the approval of said Chairman, on February 24, 1936, and the said claims are made payable from the appropriation otherwise available for such expenditures for the fiscal year in which the obligation was incurred, and if that is exhausted, from any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated. Section 2 authorizes the Comptroller General to refund any amounts otherwise payable to claimants which he may have withheld on account of any item paid or allowed for transportation charges in connection with such transfers, and section 3 relieves claimants from liability to refund or pay to the Government any item so paid or allowed.
The effect of the amendments to this Senate bill is to make it conform with H. R. 9204, a general bill with identical purpose which does not individually name claimants, there being approximately 95 of them, and which accomplishes the desired end. Both bills were introduced at the request of the Public Works Administration, and they authorize payment of claims, or allowance of credit where payments have already been made, in a sum totaling about $2,000.
As disclosed in the reports hereafter appended, the expenses here in question would have been allowed except for the technical failure to have the transfer orders signed by the "head" of the department or establishment concerned. The transfers were authorized by a subordinate official in the absence of the head official, evidently through a misunderstanding of the law by the emergency agencies. Both the Public Works Administration and the Acting Comptroller General recommend passage of the bill, and reports from them are appended.
FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATOR OF Public Works,
Washington, June 25, 1937. The Honorable the SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.
MY DEAR MR. SPEAKER: Enclosed is a draft of a proposed bill for the relief of Virgil D. Alden and others, in connection with their transfer of headquarters. In the absence of the Administrator, the orders covering the transfers were signed with his approval and confirmed by him upon his return, but the Comptroller General of the United States has taken exception to claims already paid and declines to recognize those which are pending.
In view of the fact that the transfer orders were issued with the approval of the Administrator, the employees who proceeded under these orders should not be penalized, and I recommend that the proposed bill have favorable consideration.
The Acting Director of the Bureau of the Budget has informed the Administrator that the proposed legislation will not be in conflict with the President's program. Sincerely yours,
HORATIO B. HACKETT,
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
November 8, 1937.
Public Works Administration, Interior Department. DEAR MR. ICKES: By letter of June 25, 1937, Mr. Horatio B. Hackett, assistant administrator, requested of the Speaker of the House of Representatives introduction of a proposed bill for the relief of certain employees of the Public Works Administration in connection with their transfer of headquarters, such action being necessitated by the refusal of the Comptroller General to recognize the transfers because signed by a subordinate official.
The proposed legislation was referred to this committee which declined to act upon it pending receipt of information from the Comptroller General. The same was supplied by that official near adjournment of the first session. He recommends enactment of the bill, also.
The proposed bill recites a large number of claims by naming claimants individually and prior to introduction of the bill at the forthcoming session, I desire to ascertain if there is any need for naming these persons. Such procedure materially lengthens the bill and will necessitate individual indexing of the many claimants. The committee considers it better practice, if possible, to present à general bill without specific names.
I shall be glad to receive the Administration's reaction to this suggestion, as well as a general draft of a bill in the event it meets with your approval. Very truly yours,
AMBROSE J. KENNEDY, Chairman.
FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC WORKS,
Washington, D. C., November 18, 1937. Hon. AMBROSE J. KENNEDY, Chairman, Committee on Claims,
House of Representatives, Washington, D. C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN KENNEDY: In accordance with the suggestion made in your letter of November 8, addressed to Administrator Ickes, we have revised the draft of the proposed bill for the relief of certain employees of the Public Works Administration and the National Resources Committee. As you will note, we have eliminated the reference to specific names. Instead, we have described the circumstances surrounding the claims in such a way that only those named in the rst draft submitted to you would qualify as claimants. Two copies of the revised draft are enclosed. Sincerely yours,
H. A. GRAY, Assistant Administrator.
COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES,
Washington, August 14, 1937. Hon. AMBROSE J. KENNEDY, Chairman, Committee on Claims,
House of Representatives. MY DEAR MR. CHAIRMAN: Your letter of June 28, 1937, acknowledged June 30, enclosed copy of draft of proposed legislation entitled "An act for the relief of Virgil D. Alden, and others, and requested a report thereon by this office. The report has been somewhat delayed owing to the large number of claims covered by the bill. Stated briefly, the bill proposes to authorize payment of claims, or to allow credit where payments have already been made, as reimbursement to the named employees of the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works and the National Resources Committee for transportation and subsistence expenses incurred upon transfers from one duty station to another, the transfer orders not having been signed by the head of the department.
It has long been the established rule that upon appointment to a Federal position the employee must place himself at his first duty station at his own expense. This rule was not confined to original appointments but also to any subsequent appointment for duty at a different place than that to which originally appointed. Very often instead of issuing a formal discharge and a new appointment, an administrative office would "transfer” an employee from one position at one place to a new position at a different place, but the accounting officers looked to the substance rather than the technical method employed and construed such transfers as the equivalent of a discharge and new appointment and held that any expense of reporting to the new duty station must be borne by the employee. There were some few exceptions to this rule where the facts established that no new appointment was in fact involved but merely a different place of performing the old duties. This rule worked a hardship in a number of cases where the transfer was actually made for the benefit of the Government, and beginning with the act of December 22, 1927 (45 Stat. 50) the Congress has authorized the use of travel expense appropriations for the expense of such transfers but required as a condition precedent to such allowance that reimbursement of such expense must be “authorized by the head of the department or establishment concerned in the order directing such transfer: Provided, That such expenses shall not be allowed for any transfer effected for the convenience of any officer or employee.”
This statutory provision has been repeated each fiscal year as a section of the Treasury Department Appropriation Act. See section 2 of the act of May 14, 1937, Public, No. 77. Such provision vests a discretion in the head of the department or establishment which must be exercised personally by the head or by an assistant head authorized by law to act in his place, and the discretion may not be delegated to any other person. Accordingly, when the transfer order is issued by some one other than the head of the department or establishment, it does not satisfy the statutory requirement and this office must refuse to allow credit or claims for traveling expenses so incurred.
The cases proposed to be relieved in the suggested legislation all involve transfers between duty stations which were not authorized by the head of the department or establishment but a subordinate official. The necessity for such relief arises from the failure to comply with the statutory requirements enacted by the Congress, but as these transfers occurred at a time when apparently the staturory requirements were not clearly understood by the emergency agencies concerned and the individual employees suffered due to no fault on their part, this office recommends favorable action upon the bill. Sincerely yours,
R. N. ELLIOTT, Acting Comptroller General of the United States.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
REPORT No. 2128
LEGISLATIVE BRANCH APPROPRIATION BILL, FISCAL
APRIL 11, 1938.-Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the state
of the Union and ordered to be printed
Mr. DOCKWEILER, from the Committee on Appropriations, submitted
[To accompany H. R. 10216)
The Committee on Appropriations submit the following report in explanation of the accompanying bill making appropriations for the legislative branch of the Government for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1939:
SCOPE OF THE BILL
The bill embraces regular annual appropriations for the Senate and House of Representatives and those joint services and activities which have heretofore by law or custom been considered as a part of the legislative establishment.
The activities of the Government for which appropriations are made in the accompanying bill are as follows:
(1) The Senate.