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On June 18, 1904, letter confirming said telegram was sent by the Acting Secretary of the Treasury to the contractor, as follows:
"In accordance with the approval of the Department and recommendations contained in letter dated 31st ultimo, from the custodian of United States post-office building, Kansas City, Kans., the public exigency requiring the immediate performance of the work, your proposal, dated May 25, 1904, has been accepted by Department telegram of yesterday as follows: *
Said telegram is hereby confirmed, and the time accepted and fixed for completion is that stated in your proposal, viz, forty-five days, and will operate from to-morrow, 19th instant. You must make immediate provision for preventing any further damage to the building by leakage from the roof.''
The exact date that the work was finished does not appear, but the same having been satisfactorily completed, payment of the $1,967 in question, being the consideration agreed upon, was made to the contractor on September 2, 1904, out of the appropriation for “Repairs and preservation of public buildings, 1905."
The Auditor disallowed said payment on the ground that it was not a proper charge against the appropriation for the fiscal year 1905, but should have been charged to the appropriation for the fiscal year 1904, and the reason thus assigned by him presents the only question for my consideration.
In determining to which of said annual appropriations the expense of making said repairs is properly chargeable, it must be remembered that an annual appropriation can only be used for the needs and uses of the particular fiscal year for which it is made, or in payment of contracts properly made for such needs and uses. Repairs made to a building willordinarily be presumed to be for the needs and uses of the fiscal year in which they were ordered, although this presumption is not conclusive, but may be rebutted by the facts in each particular case. However, I do not think that the facts in the present case negative this presumption; on the contrary, they tend to sustain it. At the time the proposal for making said repairs was accepted, viz, June 17, 1904, the building was in constant use and occupation by Government. That there was at said time an existing necessity for making such repairs is evi.. denced by the statements in the letter of the Acting Secretary
to the contractor, dated June 18, 1904, that “the public exigency requires the immediate performance of the work," and that you must make immediate provision for preventing any further damage to the building by leakage from the roof.” The Department's telegram accepting the contractor's proposal also orders him “to begin work immediately." The work was contracted for as a whole, and the contract is not divisible. The mere fact that the appropriation for the fiscal year 1904 was exhausted at the time the repairs in question were ordered, and that it was the intention of the administrative officers to charge said expense to the appropriation for the fiscal year 1905, will not, in view of all the other facts and circumstances in this case, justify a finding that the repairs were for the needs and uses of the fiscal year 1905. The action of the Auditor in disallowing this amount as charged is affirmed.
The disbursing officer also appeals from the disallowance by the Auditor of $1.67 in voucher No. 25.
This voucher is for $43.89 paid George L. Harvey, assistant custodian and superintendent of repairs of public buildings at Philadelphia, as salary for the month of August, 1904. On January 14, 1904, the Secretary of the Treasury appointed Mr. Harvey to said position with compensation at the rate of $2,000 per annum, payable $1,600 from the appropriation for “Pay of assistant custodians and janitors," and $400 per annum from the appropriation for “Repairs and preservation of public buildings.” On August 17, 1904, the Acting Secretary of the Treasury notified Mr. Harvey by letter that his compensation payable from the appropriation for repairs and preservation of public buildings had been increased from $100 to $600 per annum, to take effect from and after August 15, 1904. The result of such increase was to make his total annual compensation payable from the two above-named appropriations $2,200 instead of $2,000 as theretofore. For bis services during the month of August he was paid out of the appropriation for repairs and preservation of public buildings for fourteen days at $100 per annum and for seventeen days at $600 per annum, in all for thirty-one days. The Auditor disallowed $1.67, being one day's pay at the increased rate, on the ground that Mr. Harvey was only entitled, under the provisions of Treasury Department Circular No. 46, to thirty days' pay for his services during said month.
The grant to Mr. Harvey of said increase in his salary did not operate either as a promotion or an appointment to a new position in which there was an existing vacancy. The effect of the increase was merely to raise the salary of the position which he was then holding. He was only entitled, therefore, to thirty days' pay for his services during said month; and as the increase took effect on the 15th of the month, he was entitled to fourteen days' pay at $100 per annum and to sixteen days' pay at $600 per annum.
The action of the Auditor is affirmed.
COMPUTING PAYMENTS OF ANNUAL COMPENSATION FOR A FRACTIONAL PART OF A MONTH.
A surfman in the Life-Saving Service, who was absent without pay eight
days in a 28-day month, is entitled to twenty-two thirtieths of a monthly installment of his salary, and his substitute is entitled to the remaining eight-thirtieths thereof, one-thirtieth of the monthly pay being deducted from the surfman's compensation for each day he was
absent without pay. (Comptroller Tracewell to the Secretary of the Treasury, Feb
ruary 16, 1905.)
I am in receipt of your communication of the 14th instant, which reads:
“Referring to your decision of August 10, 1904, relative to the manner of computing the pay of surfmen in the Life-Saving Service and their substitutes for fractional portions of a 31-day month, I have now to request your decision as to the method of computing the pay of such surfmen or substitutes for fractional portions of the month of February, which has twenty-eight days.
“In letter of August 1, 1904, requesting your decision above referred to, it was explained that the life-saving stations must be fully manned at all times during the active season, and that in case of the absence of a regular surfman for any cause a substitute is engaged; also, that the regular surfman loses his pay while absent and that the substitute is paid for the time he actually serves. In your decision of August 10, 1904, you held in effect that a surfman should loose one-thir tieth of a month's pay for each day he is absent in a 31-day month, not in a pay status. Under this decision the computation in a 31-day month is always slightly to the disadvantage of the regular man, because, for example, if he serves twentyeight days in such month he gets only twenty-seven days' pay; if he serves three days only, he gets two days' pay, etc. If the same rule of computation is applied to the month of February, it would seem to be to the advantage of a regular surfman who is absent a portion of the month, because he would apparently receive pay for two days more than the number of days he served. To illustrate, a surfman after being on duty from February 1 to 20, inclusive, is absent the remaining eight days of the month, and the keeper under the regulations engages a substitute to fill his place; now if the substitute is paid eight-thirtieths of $65 for his services for eight days, there will remain twenty-two thirtieths of $65 available for payment to the regular man for service for twenty days. Again, a surfman is absent from February 14 to 20, inclusive, and a substitute is employed to fill his place; now if the substitute is paid seren-thirtieths of $65 for the time he serves, there will remain twenty-three thirtieths of $65 that may be paid to the regular man for the twenty-one days he serves.
“It is peculiarly important to the Life-Saving Service to have these questions detinitely determined, because under the conditions that prevail absences occur at almost every station on the coast during each month of the year when the stations are manned, and as has been explained substitutes are required under the regulations to be engaged during such absences.”
The gist of your letter may be stated as follows: A regular surfman employed at a monthly compensation of $65 is absent during the last eight days of February, a 28-day month. What compensation should be paid the regular and substitute surfman for said.month!
If the regular surfman suffers a deduction of eight-thirtieths of a month's salary, this would leave, as you state, twentytwo thirtieths of the monthly salary to be paid to the regular surfman and eight-thirtieths to the substitute.
The salary table in question declares that for the purposes of pay each month shall consist of thirty days.
The above division of the salary is in strict accord with law, and in this particular case is strictly equitable-something that does not always happen in the enforcement of an arbitrary salary table. This division pays the substitute for each day he works and leaves the balance of the monthly salary to go to the person to whom it belongs.
The same rule is applicable to the second example you state, viz, the regular surfman is absent from the 14th to the 20th, inclusive, during February. In other words, he is absent seven days, and a substitute is engaged for said days. The regular surfman should suffer a loss of seven-thirtieths of the monthly pay, which would leave the regular surfman twentythree thirtieths and the substitute seven-thirtieths of the monthly salary.
AUTHORITY OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS TO
The accounting officers have a right to reopen accounts which have been
settled by themselves to correct errors, either of law or fact, but they are not authorized to reopen accounts which have been settled by their predecessors except upon the production of newly discovered material evidence, or to correct mistakes of fact, or for fraud or collusion.
(Decision by Comptroller Tracewell, February 17, 1905.) The Auditor for the State and other Departments, under date of January 18, 1905, made the following submission:
“Under certificate No. 106702, dated January 18, 1905, the account of Thomas S. Spates, United States commissioner, northern district of West Virginia, for the quarters ended September 30 and December 31, 1901, bas this day been settled and certified for payment after deducting certain suspensions.
"This account had been previously settled on March 14, 1902, per certificate No. 81268, all but a small portion being disallowed upon the ground that the commissioner's term of office bad expired.
"The commissioner's term of office expired August 3, 1901, and he was not reappointed until October 29, 1901. The fees disallowed were for services performed between those dates.
“The commissioner claims, through his attorney, that under the provisions of the act of January 22, 1901, entitled 'An act to divide the State of West Virginia into two judicial districts' (31 Stat., 736), he is entitled to said disallowed fees, and has asked that his account be i'eopened and revised accordingly.
“Section 4 of said act reads as follows:
“That the President of the United States, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint a marshal and district attorney for the northern district of West Virginia as hereby constituted, who shall, within their respective jurisdictions, possess and exercise all the powers conferred by existing law upon the marshals and district attorneys of the