B-243025, May 2, 1991
APPROPRIATIONS/FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT - Appropriation Availability - Purpose availability - Necessary expenses rule - Awards/honoraria DIGEST: Federal Aviation Agency is advised, in response to its request to purchase jackets as part of its incentive awards program, that the purchase of the jackets for use as an honorary award is a proper expenditure of the agency's appropriated funds under the provisions of the Government Employees Incentive Awards Act, as implemented by Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regulations. OPM concurs in this request.
Federal Aviation Administration - Incentive Awards Program - Presentation of Jackets:
The issue is the propriety of presenting jackets to federal employees as part of the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) incentive awards program. /1/ The FAA reports that one of its regions is contemplating a procurement of about 100 jackets at a cost of $50 each to be presented as honorary awards to its employees under the provisions of the Government Employees Incentive Awards Act, 5 U.S.C. Secs. 4501-4514 (1988). The jackets would have the agency logo, insignia, or other inscription to clearly indicate their purpose.
This Office has held that agencies have the authority to procure items at nominal cost to be used as honorary awards under provisions of the Government Employees Incentive Awards Act. 67 Comp.Gen. 349 (1988). Further, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is specifically authorized to prescribe regulations and instructions under which agency award programs are to be carried out. 5 U.S.C. Sec. 4506 (1988).
In response to our request for its comments, OPM stated that FAA's interest in using jackets with appropriate insignia or inscription as honor awards is consistent with the definitions published in OPM's regulations and policy guidance. 5 C.F.R. Sec. 451.103 (1991); Federal Personnel Manual, chapter 451 (Inst. 265, Aug. 14, 1981). The regulations and policy guidance provide for presentation of nonmonetary awards and define such items as a medal, certificate, plaque, citation, badge, or other similar item that has an award or honor connotation. OPM further stated that awarding the jackets can prove beneficial in providing meaningful recognition for the award winner and in encouraging other employees to strive for similar recognition.
Accordingly, we conclude that the purchase of jackets for use as an honorary award is a proper expenditure of the agency's appropriated funds under the Government Employees Incentive Awards Act, as implemented by OPM regulations.
/1/ The request was submitted by E. M. Keeling, Director of Accounting, Federal Aviation Administration, Washington, D.C.