B-66834, JUNE 27, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 961

B-66834: Jun 27, 1947

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SO THAT THE COST OF THE ENTIRE TRIP IS CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE THROUGH TICKET IS PURCHASED AND THE OBLIGATION IS INCURRED. WHERE IT IS NECESSARY TO PURCHASE SEPARATE TICKETS IN DIFFERENT FISCAL YEARS FOR VARIOUS PARTS OR SEGMENTS OF A JOURNEY. THE OBLIGATION ARISES WHEN THE TRANSPORTATION IS PROCURED ON THE REQUEST. WHERE THE RETURN PORTION OF A ROUND-TRIP TICKET PURCHASED FOR TRANSPORTATION BEGINNING IN ONE FISCAL YEAR WAS CANCELLED. AN ENTIRELY NEW OBLIGATION IS INCURRED. SO THAT THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE DATE OF THE PURCHASE OF THE RETURN TICKET IS CHARGEABLE WITH THE COST THEREOF. SEPARATE BILLS OF LADING ARE ISSUED IN DIFFERENT FISCAL YEARS TO COVER THE INLAND AND OCEAN SHIPMENTS.

B-66834, JUNE 27, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 961

APPROPRIATIONS - FISCAL YEAR - AVAILABILITY BEYOND - TRANSPORTATION BEGINNING IN ONE FISCAL YEAR AND ENDING IN ANOTHER THE TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL, BUS, OR AIRPLANE TO A PORT OF EMBARKATION PROCURED ON A THROUGH TICKET FOR THE ENTIRE TRIP TO AN OVERSEAS DESTINATION MAY BE REGARDED AS THE BEGINNING OF A CONTINUOUS JOURNEY, SO THAT THE COST OF THE ENTIRE TRIP IS CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE THROUGH TICKET IS PURCHASED AND THE OBLIGATION IS INCURRED. WHERE IT IS NECESSARY TO PURCHASE SEPARATE TICKETS IN DIFFERENT FISCAL YEARS FOR VARIOUS PARTS OR SEGMENTS OF A JOURNEY, THE APPROPRIATION PROPERLY CHARGEABLE WITH EACH SEPARATE ITEM OF THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE WOULD BE THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE DATE OF PURCHASE OF THE TICKET FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF EACH PARTICULAR PORTION OF THE JOURNEY; AND IF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS BE USED, THE OBLIGATION ARISES WHEN THE TRANSPORTATION IS PROCURED ON THE REQUEST. WHERE THE RETURN PORTION OF A ROUND-TRIP TICKET PURCHASED FOR TRANSPORTATION BEGINNING IN ONE FISCAL YEAR WAS CANCELLED, THEREBY NECESSITATING THE PURCHASE OF A SEPARATE RETURN TICKET IN THE FOLLOWING FISCAL YEAR, AN ENTIRELY NEW OBLIGATION IS INCURRED, SO THAT THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE DATE OF THE PURCHASE OF THE RETURN TICKET IS CHARGEABLE WITH THE COST THEREOF. WHERE, IN THE CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS MOVING FROM WITHIN THE UNITED STATES TO AN OVERSEAS POINT, SEPARATE BILLS OF LADING ARE ISSUED IN DIFFERENT FISCAL YEARS TO COVER THE INLAND AND OCEAN SHIPMENTS, THE OBLIGATION FOR EACH PART OF THE MOVEMENT IS TO BE CONSIDERED AS SEPARATE AND DISTINCT, AND THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AS OF THE DATE EACH BILL OF LADING IS SERVED UPON THE CARRIER IS CHARGEABLE WITH THE PORTION OF THE TRANSPORTATION COVERED THEREBY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, JUNE 27, 1947:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 5, 1947, REFERENCE DF/Y, AS FOLLOWS:

THE TRANSPORTATION PROBLEMS OF THIS DEPARTMENT WITH APPROXIMATELY TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY-FIVE FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICES ABROAD HAVE BEEN INCREASED DURING THE WAR AND SUBSEQUENT THERETO DUE TO INCREASED ACTIVITY IN THE FOREIGN SERVICE AND THE LIMITATIONS OF TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES. BEFORE THE WAR CONTINUOUS PASSAGE TICKETS COULD BE OBTAINED THROUGH TRAVEL AGENCIES AND THE AMERICAN EXPRESS COMPANY PRIOR TO THE BEGINNING OF A JOURNEY PERMITTING THE OBLIGATION THEREOF AGAINST THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEY FOR THE ENTIRE JOURNEY. SUCH FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE AND SOME CARRIERS WILL NOT PROVIDE ROUND-TRIP PASSAGE NOR IS IT POSSIBLE TO OBTAIN CONTINUOUS PASSAGE TICKETS WHERE FOREIGN CARRIER FACILITIES ARE REQUIRED. ARRANGEMENTS ARE MADE FOR ROUND- TRIP TICKETS, CONTINUOUS PASSAGE TICKETS, OR TICKETS ARE PURCHASED FOR SEGMENTS OF A JOURNEY BY THE TRANSPORTATION SECTION OF THE DEPARTMENT IN ADVANCE WHEN POSSIBLE. IN THOSE INSTANCES WHERE ADVANCE PURCHASE OF TICKETS IS NOT POSSIBLE FOR TRANSPORTATION DULY AUTHORIZED AND ACTUALLY STARTING IN ONE FISCAL YEAR AND EXTENDING INTO THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR, THE PRORATION OF CHARGES TO THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE TICKETS WERE ACTUALLY PURCHASED CREATES A TREMENDOUS BUDGETARY PROBLEM. OUR FACILITIES PERMIT THE PROPER PLANNING OF A JOURNEY AND CORRECT ESTIMATES OF THE COST FOR OBLIGATION PURPOSES, HOWEVER, THE DETERMINATION OF WHAT SEGMENTS OF EACH JOURNEY ARE APPLICABLE FOR PRORATION TO THE TWO APPROPRIATIONS INVOLVED PRESENTS A DISTINCT PROBLEM WHEN CONSIDERATION IS GIVEN TO THE NUMBER OF TRAVELERS AND THE WIDE DISTRIBUTION OF PAYING OFFICES.

IN YOUR DECISION A-30477 DATED MARCH 16, 1937, TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, 16 C.G. 858, IT WAS HELD THAT THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE DATE THE VESSEL SAILS WAS APPROPRIATE FOR CHARGE. THIS DECISION WAS MODIFIED BY 16 C.G. 926 AS FOLLOWS: "THE DECISION OF MARCH 16, 1937 HAD REFERENCE TO THE BEGINNING OF A CONTINUOUS JOURNEY AND THE DATE OF THE SAILING OF THE VESSEL WAS HELD IN THAT DECISION TO FIX THE FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION TO BE CHARGED, THAT IS TO SAY, WITH THE ENTIRE COST OF THE JOURNEY IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER IT WAS NECESSARY TO CHANGE VESSELS OR TO PERFORM A PORTION OF THE JOURNEY BY SOME OTHER MODE OF TRANSPORTATION. IN CASES WHERE A ROUND-TRIP TICKET IS PURCHASED THE ENTIRE ROUND-TRIP FARE WILL BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION OBLIGATED AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TRIP.' ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

THIS DEPARTMENT FEELS THAT WHEN OFFICERS ARE ORDERED TO FOREIGN POSTS TO PERFORM SPECIFIC SERVICES UNDER ROUND-TRIP AUTHORITY THE ENTIRE TRANSPORTATION COST (RAIL, AIR, STEAMSHIP OR OTHER MODE OF TRANSPORTATION) IS A LIABILITY AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT WHEN TRAVEL BEGINS AND THE OBLIGATION CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE JOURNEY. THE ULTIMATE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT EFFECTED WHILE PERMITTING A TRUE CONTROL OF THE OBLIGATIONS AGAINST APPROPRIATED FUNDS.

IN VIEW OF THE CONDITION WHEREBY ROUND-TRIP TICKETS OR EVEN CONTINUOUS JOURNEY TICKETS ARE NOT AVAILABLE, IN SOME CASES, AND THE MANY DIFFICULTIES PLACED UPON THIS DEPARTMENT IN CONTROLLING ITS BUDGET WHERE TWO FISCAL YEARS ARE INVOLVED IN CONTINUOUS JOURNEY TRAVEL, YOUR ADVICE ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION OF FOREIGN SERVICE EMPLOYEES, DEPARTMENTAL EMPLOYEES, MEMBERS OF DELEGATIONS AND DEPENDENTS TRAVELING ABROAD IS REQUESTED.

1. MAY THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION TO THE PORT OF EMBARKATION PRIOR TO SAILING OF A VESSEL BE CONSIDERED THE BEGINNING OF A CONTINUOUS JOURNEY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING THE OBLIGATION FOR THE ENTIRE JOURNEY?

2. MAY THE COST OF ALL SEGMENTS OF THE JOURNEY BE CONSIDERED AS AN OBLIGATION CHARGEABLE TO THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE CONTINUING JOURNEY BEGINS EVEN THOUGH TICKETS WERE NOT PURCHASED PRIOR TO BEGINNING JOURNEY?

3. WHEN ROUND-TRIP TICKETS ARE PURCHASED UNDER ONE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE JOURNEY BEGINS AND DUE TO SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES (LIMITATION OF TIME, CHANGE OR MODE OF TRANSPORTATION, ETC.) THE RETURN TICKET IS CANCELLED AFTER THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW FISCAL YEAR (FUNDS CREDITED TO PRIOR YEAR) AND A NEW TICKET PURCHASED, MAY THE COST OF THE NEW TICKET BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION ORIGINALLY CHARGED WITH THE ROUND-TRIP TICKET?

THE TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT HAVE BEEN CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MOVEMENT THEREOF. YOUR ADVICE IS REQUESTED AS TO THE PROPER APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WHEN TWO FISCAL YEARS ARE INVOLVED UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES:

1. THE ORIGINAL MOVEMENT OF EFFECTS BEGINS IN ONE FISCAL YEAR IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES FOR SHIPMENT ABROAD. THE SHIPMENT IS RECEIVED BY THE U.S. DESPATCH AGENT AFTER THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW FISCAL YEAR AND RESHIPPED TO THE PROPER FOREIGN OFFICE. MAY THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MOVEMENT BE PROPERLY OBLIGATED FOR THE ENTIRE JOURNEY AND LIQUIDATED ACCORDINGLY?

EXAMPLE: A SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS IS MADE FROM CHICAGO ON JUNE 15TH FOR DELIVERY AT PARIS, FRANCE. BILL OF LADING ISSUED AT CHICAGO FOR SHIPMENT TO U.S. DESPATCH AGENT AT NEW YORK FOR RESHIPMENT AS OCEAN FREIGHT, ARRIVING AT NEW YORK JULY 2. MAY OBLIGATION BE ESTABLISHED JUNE 15 FOR ENTIRE MOVEMENT, ON THE PREMISE THAT THE LIABILITY AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT WAS ESTABLISHED WHEN THE MOVEMENT BEGAN?

IN VIEW OF THE APPROACH OF THE END OF THE FISCAL YEAR AND THE NECESSITY FOR ISSUING INSTRUCTIONS TO THE OFFICES ABROAD WITH RESPECT TO THE FOREGOING ISSUES AN EXPEDITIOUS REPLY WILL BE APPRECIATED.

YOUR SEVERAL QUESTIONS RELATING TO COST OF TRANSPORTATION ARE UNDERSTOOD TO PERTAIN TO TRAVEL ALREADY BEGUN OR SUBSEQUENTLY TO BE PERFORMED BY EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND WILL BE CONSIDERED IN THE ORDER PRESENTED.

QUESTION 1: THE DECISION OF APRIL 16, 1937, A-30477, 16 COMP. GEN. 926, QUOTED, IN PERTINENT PART, IN YOUR LETTER, WAS INTENDED TO COVER SITUATIONS WHERE THE MODE OF TRAVEL USED BY THE EMPLOYEE IN COMMENCING HIS JOURNEY WAS A STEAMSHIP OR OTHER SEAGOING VESSEL AND WHERE A THROUGH TICKET WAS PROCURED FOR THE ENTIRE TRIP. HOWEVER, NO SOUND REASON IS PERCEIVED WHY A SIMILAR RULE SHOULD NOT BE APPLIED FOR A CONTINUOUS TRIP WHERE THE TRAVEL BEGINS BY RAIL, BUS, OR AIRPLANE AND A THROUGH TICKET TO THE DESIRED DESTINATION IS OBTAINED, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER A PORTION OF THE TRIP BE UNDERTAKEN BY VESSEL. THAT IS TO SAY, THERE WOULD BE FOR APPLICATION THE GENERAL RULE THAT THE APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE FOR THE ENTIRE TRIP WOULD BE THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE TICKET IS PURCHASED AND THE LEGAL OBLIGATION IS INCURRED. A-36450, MAY 27, 1931; A- 75086, JULY 29, 1936, AND CASES CITED THEREIN. IN THAT CONNECTION, IT HAS BEEN HELD CONSISTENTLY BY THIS OFFICE THAT WHERE A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST IS USED, THE DATE THE REQUEST IS EXCHANGED FOR A TICKET IS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CONTRACT TO PAY FOR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION AND IS THE DATE THE OBLIGATION OF FUNDS IS INCURRED AND DETERMINES THE APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE. SEE 9 COMP. GEN. 458; A-69370, APRIL 10, 1936; A-30477, APRIL 20, 1939.

QUESTION 2: IN DECISION OF MAY 27, 1931, A-36450, IT WAS HELD--- AND THAT DECISION HAS BEEN UNIFORMLY FOLLOWED--- THAT TRANSPORTATION PROCURED EN ROUTE IS TO BE REGARDED AS A CHARGE TO THE TRANSPORTATION FOR THE YEAR IN WHICH THE OBLIGATION WAS INCURRED. HENCE, WHERE IT IS NECESSARY TO PURCHASE SEPARATE TICKETS ON DIFFERENT DATES--- ONE OR MORE BEING PURCHASED IN ONE FISCAL YEAR AND OTHERS IN THE FOLLOWING FISCAL YEAR--- FOR VARIOUS PARTS OR SEGMENTS OF A JOURNEY, THE APPROPRIATION PROPERLY CHARGEABLE WITH EACH SEPARATE ITEM OF THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE WOULD BE THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE DATE OF PURCHASE OF THE TICKET FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF EACH PARTICULAR PORTION OF THE JOURNEY. IF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS BE USED, THE OBLIGATION AGAINST GOVERNMENT FUNDS ARISES WHEN THE TRANSPORTATION IS PROCURED ON THE REQUEST. 5 COMP. GEN. 1; 9 ID. 458.

QUESTION 3: GENERALLY, WHERE A ROUND-TRIP TICKET IS PURCHASED THE ENTIRE ROUND-TRIP FARE IS CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION OBLIGATED AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE. 16 COMP. GEN. 926; B-2716, APRIL 7, 1939. THAT RULE ORIGINALLY WAS INTENDED TO COVER ONLY CASES WHERE THE ROUND-TRIP TICKET WAS USED IN ITS ENTIRETY AND ITS EXTENSION WAS NOT CONTEMPLATED TO THE EXTENT THAT IT WOULD COVER RETURN TRAVEL ON A NEW TICKET. WHEN IT IS FOUND IMPOSSIBLE OR IMPRACTICAL TO USE THE RETURN PORTION OF A ROUND-TRIP TICKET--- NECESSITATING THE PURCHASE OF A SEPARATE TICKET FOR THE RETURN TRIP--- I AM CONSTRAINED TO HOLD THAT AN ENTIRELY NEW OBLIGATION IS INCURRED AT THAT TIME AND, ACCORDINGLY, THE RULES STATED IN REPLY TO QUESTION 2, ABOVE, MUST BE HELD TO GOVERN THE APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WITH THE EXPENSE OF THE RETURN TICKET.

WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR FINAL QUESTION, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT WHERE SEPARATE BILLS OF LADING ARE ISSUED COVERING THE SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS OF AN EMPLOYEE FOM A POINT WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO THE OVERSEAS SHIPPING POINT, THENCE TO THE FOREIGN OR OVERSEAS DESTINATION, THE OBLIGATION AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT FOR EACH PART OF THE MOVEMENT IS TO BE CONSIDERED AS SEPARATE AND DISTINCT. ACCORDINGLY, THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AS OF THE DATE EACH BILL OF LADING IS SERVED UPON THE CARRIER IS CHARGEABLE FOR THE PORTION OF THE TRANSPORTATION COVERED THEREBY. SEE 17 COMP. GEN. 379; 20 ID. 436; AND B-55281, FEBRUARY 26, 1946.

I MIGHT ADD THAT MATURE CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROBLEMS OUTLINED IN YOUR LETTER BUT, EXCEPT AS HEREINBEFORE INDICATED, SUCH MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS AFFORDING SUFFICIENT LEGAL BASIS FOR A REVERSAL OR MODIFICATION OF THE ESTABLISHED RULES COVERING THE MATTER AT HAND, WHICH RULES ARE THE RESULT OF A CAREFUL CONSIDERATION AND INTERPRETATION OF APPLICABLE LAWS RELATING TO APPROPRIATIONS.