44 USC 308 - Disbursing officer; deputy disbursing officer; certifying officers and employees
Sec. 308. Disbursing officer; deputy disbursing officer; certifying officers and employees(a) The Public Printer shall appoint from time to time a disbursing officer of the Government Printing Office (including the Office of the Superintendent of Documents) who shall be under the direction of the Public Printer. The disbursing officer shall
(1) disburse moneys of the Government Printing Office only upon, and in strict accordance with, vouchers certified by the Public Printer or by an officer or employee of the Government Printing Office authorized in writing by the Public Printer to certify such vouchers,
(2) make such examination of vouchers as may be necessary to ascertain whether they are in proper form, certified, and approved, and
(3) be held accountable accordingly. However, the disbursing officer shall not be held accountable or responsible for any illegal, improper, or incorrect payment resulting from any false, inaccurate, or misleading certificate, the responsibility for which, under subsection (c) of this section, is imposed upon a certifying officer or employee of the Government Printing Office.
(1) Upon the death, resignation, or separation from office of the disbursing officer, his accounts may be continued, and payments and collection may be made in his name, by any individual designated as a deputy disbursing officer by the Public Printer, for a period of time not to extend beyond the last day of the second month following the month in which the death, resignation, or separation occurred. Accounts and payments shall be allowed, audited, and settled, and checks signed in the name of the former disbursing officer by a deputy disbursing officer shall be honored in the same manner as if the former disbursing officer had continued in office.
(2) A former disbursing officer of the Government Printing Office or his estate may not be subject to any legal liability or penalty for the official accounts or defaults of the deputy disbursing officer acting in the name or in the place of the former disbursing officer. Each deputy disbursing officer is responsible for accounts entrusted to him under paragraph (1) of this subsection, and the deputy disbursing officer is liable for any default occurring during his service under such paragraph.
(1) The Public Printer may designate in writing officers and employees of the Government Printing Office to certify vouchers for payment from appropriations and funds. Such officers and employees shall
(A) be responsible for the existence and correctness of the facts recited in the certificate or other voucher or its supporting papers and for the legality of the proposed payment under the appropriation or fund involved,
(B) be responsible and accountable for the correctness of the computations of certified vouchers, and
(C) be accountable for, and required to make restitution to, the United States for the amount of any illegal, improper, or incorrect payment resulting from any false, inaccurate, or misleading certificate made by him, as well as for any payment prohibited by law or which did not represent a legal obligation under the appropriation or fund involved. However, the Comptroller General of the United States, may, at his discretion, relieve such certifying officer or employee of liability for any payment otherwise proper whenever he finds that
(i) the certification was based on the official records and that such certifying officer or employee did not know, and by reasonable diligence and inquiry could not have ascertained, the actual facts, or
(ii) when the obligation was incurred in good faith, the payment was not contrary to any statutory provision specifically prohibiting payments of the character involved, and the United States has received value for such payment. The Comptroller General shall relieve such certifying officer or employee of liability for an overpayment for transportation services made to any common carrier covered by section 3726 of title 31, whenever he finds that the overpayment occurred solely because the administrative examination made prior to payment of the transportation bill did not include a verification of transportation rates, freight classifications, or land grant deductions.
(2) The liability of such certifying officers or employees shall be enforced in the same manner and to the same extent as provided by law with respect to the enforcement of the liability of disbursing and other accountable officers. Such certifying officers and employees shall have the right to apply for and obtain a decision by the Comptroller General on any question of law involved in a payment on any vouchers presented to them for certification.
Last modified: July 21, 2011