A-17897, APRIL 11, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 664

A-17897: Apr 11, 1927

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

FOOD SUPPLIES USED BY MINERAL INSPECTORS OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE WHEN ENGAGED UPON FIELD WORK NECESSITATING CAMPING IN THE OPEN ARE ITEMS INCIDENT TO SUBSISTENCE. NOR MAY HE HAVE THEM TRANSPORTED UPON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING FREE OF CHARGE. ARE COMPARABLE TO LODGING EXPENSES AND ARE CERTAINLY INCIDENTAL TO THE PERSONAL COMFORT OF THE TRAVELER. FOOD SUPPLIES AND MEANS FOR THEIR PREPARATION FOR CONSUMMATION ARE CERTAINLY INCIDENT TO THE PERSONAL SUSTENANCE OF THE TRAVELER. THERE IS NO ESCAPING THE CONCLUSION THEREFORE THAT TENTS. COOKING FACILITIES ARE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF JUNE 3. WHEN THE EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN GRANTED A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF ALL ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE THEY MUST THEMSELVES BEAR THE EXPENSE OF FURNISHING AND TRANSPORTING ALL SUBSISTENCE SUPPLIES AND SUBSISTENCE EQUIPMENT.

A-17897, APRIL 11, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 664

SUBSISTENCE - FIELD WORK - MINERAL INSPECTORS OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE TENTS, COSTS, BEDROLLS AND BLANKETS, AND FOOD SUPPLIES USED BY MINERAL INSPECTORS OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE WHEN ENGAGED UPON FIELD WORK NECESSITATING CAMPING IN THE OPEN ARE ITEMS INCIDENT TO SUBSISTENCE, AND WHEN A TRAVELER HAS BEEN GRANTED PER DIEM IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE, HE MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTING SUCH SUPPLIES, NOR MAY HE HAVE THEM TRANSPORTED UPON A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING FREE OF CHARGE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, APRIL 11, 1927:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 25, 1927, REQUESTING DECISION UPON A QUESTION WHETHER THE TRANSPORTATION OF TENTS, COTS, BEDROLLS AND BLANKETS, AND FOOD SUPPLIES FOR USE BY MINERAL INSPECTORS OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE FIELD FORCE MAY BE ACCOMPLISHED UPON GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING FREE OF COST TO THE EMPLOYEE WHEN ON A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE. YOU FORWARD A LENGTHY COMMUNICATION SIGNED BY FOUR MINERAL INSPECTORS, DELINEATING THE HARDSHIPS ENDURED WHEN WORKING IN THE OPEN AND THE NECESSITY FOR EXTENSIVE CAMP EQUIPMENT.

THE SUBSISTENCE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, 44 STAT. 688, IN SECTION 2 THEREOF, DEFINES SUBSISTENCE AS FOLLOWS:

THE TERM "SUBSISTENCE" MEANS LODGING, MEALS, AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES INCIDENTAL TO THE PERSONAL SUSTENANCE OR COMFORT OF THE TRAVELER.

SECTION 3 OF THE SAME ACT PROVIDES THAT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES WHEN TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY SHALL BE ALLOWED ACTUAL NECESSARY EXPENSES IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $7 FOR ANY ONE CALENDAR DAY. SECTION 4 OF THE ACT PERMITS THE ALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM OF NOT EXCEEDING $6 FOR ANY ONE CALENDAR DAY IN LIEU OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 3. TENTS, COTS, AND BLANKETS, FOR THE PURPOSE OF FURNISHING SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS, ARE COMPARABLE TO LODGING EXPENSES AND ARE CERTAINLY INCIDENTAL TO THE PERSONAL COMFORT OF THE TRAVELER. FOOD SUPPLIES AND MEANS FOR THEIR PREPARATION FOR CONSUMMATION ARE CERTAINLY INCIDENT TO THE PERSONAL SUSTENANCE OF THE TRAVELER. THERE IS NO ESCAPING THE CONCLUSION THEREFORE THAT TENTS, COTS, BLANKETS, BEDROLLS, FOOD SUPPLIES, AND COOKING FACILITIES ARE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926, SUPRA, AND WHEN THE EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN GRANTED A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF ALL ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE THEY MUST THEMSELVES BEAR THE EXPENSE OF FURNISHING AND TRANSPORTING ALL SUBSISTENCE SUPPLIES AND SUBSISTENCE EQUIPMENT.

THE FOREGOING IS NOT TO BE UNDERSTOOD AS REQUIRING THE EMPLOYEE TO TRANSPORT AT HIS OWN EXPENSE GOVERNMENT-OWNED TENTS NECESSARILY USED FOR OFFICES, OR TYPEWRITERS OR OTHER OFFICE EQUIPMENT. EQUIPMENT OF THIS NATURE MAY PROPERLY BE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN THE NECESSITY THEREFOR IS SHOWN. WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT IT DOES NOT APPLY TO OFFICE TENTS AND OFFICE EQUIPMENT, CIRCULAR NO. 1105 ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF THE GENERAL LAND OFFICE APPEARS TO BE A PROPER RESTRICTION UPON THE USE OF GOVERNMENT BILLS OF LADING UNLESS IT BE IN THE MATTER OF CLOTHING. THE AMOUNT OF CLOTHING WHICH A TRAVELER MAY BE ALLOWED TO CARRY WITH HIM AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS NOT NECESSARILY LIMITED TO THAT WHICH HE MAY CHECK FREE OF CHARGE AS BAGGAGE. WHILE THE CHECKING PRIVILEGE WILL ORDINARILY COVER ALL NECESSARY CLOTHING, THE CLOTHING ALLOWANCE IS TO BE JUDGED BY THE LENGTH OF THE JOURNEY AND THE WEATHER AND OTHER CONDITIONS TO BE ANTICIPATED, AND IF THE CLOTHING SUPPLY IS NOT UNREASONABLE WHEN CONSIDERED IN CONNECTION WITH THE CONDITIONS TO BE MET ON THE JOURNEY, ITS TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS NOT OBJECTIONABLE AS AN ITEM OF TRANSPORTATION. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, HOWEVER, COULD A BEDDING ROLL BE TRANSPORTED AS NECESSARY CLOTHING.

ANY FORMER DECISION APPEARING TO BE IN CONFLICT WITH THE VIEWS HEREIN EXPRESSED WILL NOT, TO THE EXTENT OF SUCH CONFLICT, BE FOLLOWED HEREAFTER.