A-14225, JUNE 22, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 1009

A-14225: Jun 22, 1926

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MILEAGE - ARMY OFFICER TRAVELING ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS AN OFFICER OF THE ARMY TRAVELING ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED BOATS IN CONNECTION WITH THE INSPECTION OF RIVER AND HARBOR PROJECTS UNDER HIS SUPERVISION IS ENTITLED. THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION WAS PERFORMED ON GOVERNMENT BOATS FROM HUNTINGTON. WAS REQUESTED. A REFUND WAS REQUESTED OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT OF $20.30 PAID AS MILEAGE AND THE ACTUAL EXPENSES INDICATED BY THE REQUESTED ITEMIZED STATEMENT. CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING CONDITION: * * * AND OFFICERS AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT NAMED IN THIS PARAGRAPH PERFORMING TRAVEL ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS FOR WHICH NO TRANSPORTATION FARE IS CHARGED SHALL BE ENTITLED ONLY TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES.

A-14225, JUNE 22, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 1009

MILEAGE - ARMY OFFICER TRAVELING ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS AN OFFICER OF THE ARMY TRAVELING ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED BOATS IN CONNECTION WITH THE INSPECTION OF RIVER AND HARBOR PROJECTS UNDER HIS SUPERVISION IS ENTITLED, UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 12, 1925, 43 STAT. 897, ONLY TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED AND NOT TO MILEAGE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JUNE 22, 1926:

MAJ. H. M. TRIPPE, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY, HAS REQUESTED REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. M-19712-W, DATED MAY 12, 1926, SUSPENDING CREDIT IN HIS DISBURSING ACCOUNTS IN THE AMOUNT OF $20.30 FOR PAYMENT MADE TO HIMSELF FOR MILEAGE BY REASON OF TRAVEL PERFORMED ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS IN MAKING INSPECTIONS OF CERTAIN RIVER AND HARBOR PROJECTS UNDER HIS SUPERVISION IN THE HUNTINGTON (W.VA.) ENGINEER DISTRICT DURING THE PERIOD FROM APRIL 1 TO MAY 2, 1925.

THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION WAS PERFORMED ON GOVERNMENT BOATS FROM HUNTINGTON, W.VA., TO DAM NO. 26, OHIO RIVER AND RETURN, APRIL 21, 1925; FROM PITTSBURGH, PA., TO HUNTINGTON, W.VA., APRIL 28 TO 30, 1925; FROM HUNTINGTON, W.VA., TO DAM NO. 27, OHIO RIVER; THENCE TO DAM NO. 29, OHIO RIVER, AND RETURN TO HUNTINGTON, W.VA., MAY 2, 1925, A TOTAL OF 406 MILES, FOR WHICH HE PAID HIMSELF 8 CENTS PER MILE LESS 3 CENTS PER MILE FOR TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED BY THE UNITED STATES. AN ITEMIZED STATEMENT, SUPPORTED BY RECEIPTS WHERE NECESSARY, WAS REQUESTED, SHOWING THE ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THIS TRAVEL, AND A REFUND WAS REQUESTED OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT OF $20.30 PAID AS MILEAGE AND THE ACTUAL EXPENSES INDICATED BY THE REQUESTED ITEMIZED STATEMENT.

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 12, 1925, 43 STAT. 897, PROVIDING FUNDS FOR MILEAGE, ACTUAL TRAVELING EXPENSES, ETC., FOR OFFICERS OF THE ARMY, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING CONDITION:

* * * AND OFFICERS AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT NAMED IN THIS PARAGRAPH PERFORMING TRAVEL ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS FOR WHICH NO TRANSPORTATION FARE IS CHARGED SHALL BE ENTITLED ONLY TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES.

IT IS URGED BY MAJOR TRIPPE THAT THIS IS A LIMITATION ON THE EXPENDITURE OF FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THAT ACT AND THAT "IT IS NOT REASONABLE TO SUPPOSE THAT CONGRESS IN ENACTING THIS LAW INTENDED TO CHANGE THE BASIC LAW (ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 631) APPLYING TO THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE FISCAL YEAR OF 1925.'

THIS MATTER WAS FULLY CONSIDERED IN DECISION OF APRIL 28, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 896, IN WHICH IT WAS HELD THAT THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 12, 1925, WAS PERMANENT LEGISLATION, EFFECTIVE FROM THE DATE OF ITS ENACTMENT, AND APPLIED TO ALL OF THE DESCRIBED TRAVEL ON AND AFTER THAT DATE. THERE APPEARS NOTHING REQUIRING A FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THE QUESTION.

THE CONDITIONS AFFECTING TRANSPORTATION ON INSPECTION TRIPS IN THE HUNTINGTON (W.VA.) ENGINEER DISTRICT ARE STATED BY MAJOR TRIPPE TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

THE PRINCIPAL INSPECTION BOAT IN THIS DISTRICT IS A 35-FOOT GASOLINE LAUNCH WITHOUT SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS OR COOKING FACILITIES. SOME OF THE INSPECTIONS ARE MADE ON GOVERNMENT TOWBOATS AND SOME ON SMALLER GASOLINE LAUNCHES. THE CREWS ON THE TOWBOATS ARE NOT FURNISHED WITH SUBSISTENCE, AND ANY MEALS TAKEN ON THESE BOATS ARE PAID FOR TO THE CREW'S MESS FUND. IN NO SENSE CAN THE LAUNCHES OR THE TOWBOATS BE CONSIDERED AS TRANSPORTS. THE LAUNCHES ARE PURELY INSPECTION BOATS; THE TOWBOATS ARE ORDINARILY USED FOR INSPECTION PURPOSES WHILE THEY ARE ENGAGED IN THEIR REGULAR TOWING, ALTHOUGH THEY ARE USED SOLELY FOR INSPECTION AT TIMES WHEN THEY CAN BE SPARED. TWO OF THE TOWBOATS IN THIS DISTRICT HAVE AVAILABLE FACILITIES FOR LODGING PERSONS OTHER THAN THE CREW; TWO OF THEM HAVE NO SUCH FACILITIES. * * *

THE DECISION OF APRIL 28, 1925, CITED, CONSIDERED THE QUESTION OF TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED AN ARMY WARRANT OFFICER FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF., TO NEW YORK CITY BY A UNITED STATES ARMY TRANSPORT, AND IT IS ACCORDINGLY URGED THAT THE LEGISLATION IN QUESTION HAS APPLICATION ONLY TO TRAVEL PERFORMED BY TRANSPORT AND NOT TO THE CLASS OF BOATS HEREINABOVE DESCRIBED. REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE HEARINGS BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON THE WAR DEPARTMENT APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1926 IN SUPPORT OF SUCH CONTENTION, IN WHICH GENERAL WALKER STATED:

THE EFFECT OF THAT IS, AS YOU SEE, TO PREVENT THE DEPARTMENT PAYING EITHER A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OR MILEAGE FOR TRAVELING ON A GOVERNMENT OWNED TRANSPORT. IT PLACES ALL SUCH TRAVEL ON AN ACTUAL-EXPENSE BASIS.

SUCH STATEMENT WAS MADE WHILE CONSIDERING PROPOSED LEGISLATION READING AS FOLLOWS:

OFFICERS AND OTHER MEMBERS OF THE MILITARY ESTABLISHMENT NAMED IN THIS PARAGRAPH PERFORMING TRAVEL ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED TRANSPORTS SHALL BE ENTITLED ONLY TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED.

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE TERM "GOVERNMENT-OWNED TRANSPORTS" USED IN SUCH DRAFT OF THE PROPOSED LAW WAS CHANGED PRIOR TO ENACTMENT TO "GOVERNMENT- OWNED VESSELS.' IT WOULD APPEAR FROM THE CHANGE INDICATED THAT THE INTENT WAS TO INCLUDE TRAVEL BY BOATS OR VESSELS OTHER THAN TRANSPORTS, AND THE TERM "GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS" WOULD COVER ALL GOVERNMENT-OWNED LAUNCHES, BOATS, TOW-BOATS, TRANSPORTS, ETC., AND WOULD INCLUDE THE CLASS OF DESCRIBED BOATS USED FOR MAKING INSPECTIONS IN THE HUNTINGTON (W.VA.) ENGINEER DISTRICT.

NO EXPENSE ACCOUNT SHOWING THE EXPENSES ACTUALLY INCURRED HAS BEEN SUBMITTED, NOR HAS STATEMENT BEEN MADE THAT ANY EXPENSES WERE INCURRED BY REASON OF THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH EVIDENCE THE DISALLOWANCE OF THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF $20.30 MUST BE SUSTAINED.

THE VOUCHER AS RENDERED MERELY STATES THE DISTANCES AND PLACES BETWEEN WHICH TRANSPORTATION WAS FURNISHED. THE HOUR OF DEPARTURE FROM AND ARRIVAL AT THE HOME STATION SHOULD APPEAR, AND WHERE TRANSPORTATION IS FURNISHED IN KIND THE NUMBER OF THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST OR DESCRIPTION OF OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION USED SHOULD BE STATED IN EVERY INSTANCE.

UNDER THE RULE STATED IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 19, 1925, A-10696, AND 5 COMP. GEN. 317, THERE IS NO TRAVEL STATUS ENTITLING TO TRAVEL EXPENSES OR MILEAGE WHERE THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IN THE NECESSARY PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES IS REQUIRED TO MOVE FROM PLACE TO PLACE WITHIN THE DISTRICT IN WHICH HIS DUTIES LIE. DUTIES REQUIRING TRAVEL OF BUT SHORT DISTANCES AND ABSENCE FROM THE ASSIGNED PLACE OF DUTY FOR A PORTION OF THE DAY ENTITLE TO TRANSPORTATION ONLY AND NOT TO MILEAGE OR TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ANY EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE. DUTIES WITHIN THE DISTRICT OR AWAY THEREFROM REQUIRING SUBSTANTIAL TRAVEL FROM THE PLACE OF ASSIGNED DUTY AND ABSENCE THEREFROM OVERNIGHT, WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS, ENTITLE TO MILEAGE OR TRAVELING EXPENSES AS THE LAW PRESCRIBES AND THE FACTS REQUIRE. DECISION OF JUNE 8, 1926, A-14000. 19 COMP. DEC. 17.

PARAGRAPH 964, ENGINEER REGULATIONS, PROVIDES:

VISITS BY ENGINEERS WITHIN THEIR DISTRICTS.--- ENGINEERS ARE AUTHORIZED TO VISIT WORKS IN THEIR CHARGE AND WITHIN THEIR DISTRICTS AS OFTEN AS, IN THEIR OPINION, THE GOOD OF THE WORK REQUIRES; BUT IT SHOULD BE NOTED ON PERSONAL REPORTS WHETHER SUCH VISITS ARE MADE WITH OR WITHOUT ORDERS.

THIS REGULATION IS IN CONSONANCE WITH THE ABOVE STATED RULE AND CONTEMPLATES THAT AN ENGINEER OFFICER WILL NOT BE IN A TRAVEL STATUS WHILE MAKING INSPECTION TRIPS NEAR HIS PLACE OF DUTY.

APPLYING SUCH RULE TO THE TRAVEL PAID FOR ON THE VOUCHER HERE IN QUESTION, MILEAGE IS NOT AUTHORIZED FOR TRAVEL FROM HUNTINGTON, W.VA., TO BARBOURSVILLE, W.VA., AND RETURN, APRIL 16, 1925, 18 MILES, AT 5 CENTS PER MILE, 90 CENTS, WHICH AMOUNT IS DISALLOWED, IN ADDITION TO $20.30 SUSPENDED IN THE SETTLEMENT.