A-23620, SEPTEMBER 25, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 139

A-23620: Sep 25, 1928

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - PER DIEMS - TAXICABS WHERE TAXICAB SERVICE WAS USED PRIMARILY FOR TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN LANDING FIELD AND HOTEL OF AN OFFICER OF THE ARMY ENGAGED IN MAKING AN AERIAL SURVEY OF CERTAIN RIVER AND HARBOR PROJECTS. THE PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT AND PERSONAL EFFECTS OF THE OFFICER WERE CARRIED AS PERSONAL BAGGAGE WITHOUT ADDITIONAL CHARGE. THE EXPENSE OF SUCH TAXICAB SERVICE WAS INCLUDED IN THE OFFICER'S PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF $6 AND $7. REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSE IN ADDITION TO THE PER DIEM IS UNAUTHORIZED. THE DUTY ENJOINED WAS PERFORMED DURING THE PERIOD FROM JULY 23 TO NOVEMBER 15. THE TIME IN WHICH HE WAS ACTUALLY ENGAGED IN THIS WORK INVOLVED 14 DAYS' AERIAL TRAVEL IN PROCEEDING TO AND BETWEEN.

A-23620, SEPTEMBER 25, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 139

TRAVELING EXPENSES - PER DIEMS - TAXICABS WHERE TAXICAB SERVICE WAS USED PRIMARILY FOR TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN LANDING FIELD AND HOTEL OF AN OFFICER OF THE ARMY ENGAGED IN MAKING AN AERIAL SURVEY OF CERTAIN RIVER AND HARBOR PROJECTS, AND THE PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT AND PERSONAL EFFECTS OF THE OFFICER WERE CARRIED AS PERSONAL BAGGAGE WITHOUT ADDITIONAL CHARGE, THE EXPENSE OF SUCH TAXICAB SERVICE WAS INCLUDED IN THE OFFICER'S PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF $6 AND $7, AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1190, AND REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH EXPENSE IN ADDITION TO THE PER DIEM IS UNAUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO MAJ. C. L. HALL, UNITED STATES ARMY, SEPTEMBER 25, 1928:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. K 26625 -W, DATED MAY 18, 1928, DISALLOWING CREDIT IN YOUR ACCOUNTS FOR PAYMENTS OF $45.35 ON VOUCHER NO. 335, SEPTEMBER, 1927, ACCOUNTS, AND $47 ON VOUCHER NO. 1305, NOVEMBER, 1927, ACCOUNTS, TO FIRST LIEUT. CHARLES BACKES, AIR CORPS, UNITED STATES ARMY, FOR TAXICAB HIRE, WHILE ON DUTY JULY 23 TO SEPTEMBER 12, 1927, AND OCTOBER 8 TO NOVEMBER 15, 1927, IN CONNECTION WITH AN AERIAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER BETWEEN MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., AND THE MOUTH OF THE MISSOURI RIVER, UNDER SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 184, HEADQUARTERS, CHANUTE FIELD, RANTOUL, ILL., DATED AUGUST 17, 1927.

THE DUTY ENJOINED WAS PERFORMED DURING THE PERIOD FROM JULY 23 TO NOVEMBER 15, 1927. THE OFFICER RETURNED SEVERAL TIMES TO HIS HOME STATION AT CHANUTE FIELD FOR PURPOSES STATED TO BE NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE SURVEY. THE TIME IN WHICH HE WAS ACTUALLY ENGAGED IN THIS WORK INVOLVED 14 DAYS' AERIAL TRAVEL IN PROCEEDING TO AND BETWEEN, AND IN RETURNING FROM BASING POINTS AT ROCK ISLAND, ILL., MINNEAPOLIS, MINN., MOLINE, ILL., AND QUINCY, ILL., AND 19 DAYS' ACTUAL TIME CONSUMED IN MAKING AERIAL SURVEYS FROM THESE BASING POINTS. LIEUTENANT BACKES WAS PAID A PER DIEM OF $7 AND $6, RESPECTIVELY, FOR THE TIME THUS ENGAGED. ADDITION TO THIS AMOUNT HE WAS PAID $95.35 FOR TRANSPORTATION ON 38 TRIPS BY TAXICAB. THIS AMOUNT WAS SUSPENDED IN THE AUDIT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS. LIEUTENANT BACKES IN INDORSEMENT OF APRIL 4, 1928, CONTENDED THE TAXICAB CHARGES WERE NECESSARY TO CARE FOR THE PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT, BUT SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE IS CLEAR THAT TAXICAB WAS PRIMARILY USED TO CONVEY THE PILOT AND HIS OBSERVER BETWEEN THE LANDING FIELD AND THE HOTEL, THE CARRIAGE OF THE EQUIPMENT BEING MERELY INCIDENTAL.

SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, 43 STAT. 1190, IS AS FOLLOWS:

TO COVER ACTUAL ADDITIONAL EXPENSES TO WHICH FLIERS ARE SUBJECTED WHEN MAKING AERIAL SURVEYS, HEREAFTER A PER DIEM OF $7 IN LIEU OF OTHER TRAVEL ALLOWANCES SHALL BE PAID TO OFFICERS, WARRANT OFFICERS, AND ENLISTED MEN OF THE ARMY, NAVY, AND MARINE CORPS FOR THE ACTUAL TIME CONSUMED WHILE TRAVELING BY AIR, UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS, IN CONNECTION WITH AERIAL SURVEYS OF RIVERS AND HARBORS, OR OTHER GOVERNMENTAL PROJECTS, AND A PER DIEM OF $6 FOR THE ACTUAL TIME CONSUMED IN MAKING SUCH AERIAL SURVEYS, TO BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE FOR THE PARTICULAR IMPROVEMENT OR PROJECT FOR WHICH THE SURVEY IS BEING MADE: PROVIDED, THAT NOT MORE THAN ONE OF THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED IN THIS SECTION SHALL BE PAID FOR ANY ONE DAY.

UNDER THE ACT OF JULY 11, 1919, 41 STAT. 109, REIMBURSEMENT IS AUTHORIZED OF ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES NOT TO EXCEED $8 PER DAY WHILE TRAVELING BY AIR WHICH IS INCLUSIVE OF ALL EXPENSES PERSONAL TO THE TRAVELER, AND NO REIMBURSEMENT IS AUTHORIZED AT TEMPORARY DUTY STOPS ON AN AUTHORIZED AIR JOURNEY WHICH EXCEED 72 HOURS. 3 COMP. GEN. 401; 4 ID. 541. THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1925, PROVIDED A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF $7 "IN LIEU OF OTHER TRAVEL ALLOWANCES" WHILE PROCEEDING TO THE BASING POINT OR LOCALITY OF THE SURVEY AND IN RETURNING UPON COMPLETION THEREOF, AND WHILE ON ANY ORDERED TRAVEL IN CONNECTION WITH THE SURVEY, AND $6 PER DIEM FOR THE ACTUAL TIME CONSUMED IN MAKING THE AERIAL SURVEY, 4 COMP. GEN. 835. UNDER THE STATUTE ALL EXPENSES PERSONAL TO THE OFFICER ARE INCLUDED IN THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF $6 AND $7.

IN THE INSTANT CASE IT IS SHOWN THAT THE TAXICAB SERVICE FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS CLAIMED WAS PRIMARILY FOR THE PERSONAL TRANSPORTATION OF LIEUTENANT BACKES AND PRIVATE HANSEN BETWEEN THE FLYING FIELDS AND THE PLACE WHERE HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS WERE PROCURED AND THAT THE PHOTOGRAPHIC EQUIPMENT AND PERSONAL EFFECTS WERE CARRIED AS PERSONAL BAGGAGE WITHOUT ADDITIONAL CHARGE AND WERE CARED FOR AS PERSONAL BAGGAGE AT THE HOTELS. WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE $3 ITEM WHICH WAS PASSED TO THE CREDIT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER, THE PRIMARY OBJECT OF THE TAXICAB SERVICE WAS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE OFFICER AND HIS OBSERVER AND WAS INCLUDED IN THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF $6 AND $7 PAID TO EACH, AND THE ADDITIONAL PAYMENT FOR SUCH TAXICAB SERVICE IS NOT AUTHORIZED BY LAW. THE ORDERS ISSUED IN THIS CASE ON AUTHORIZATION FROM THE WAR DEPARTMENT, DATED JULY 26, 1926, AND AUGUST 12, 1927, DIRECTED THAT THE DISTRICT ENGINEER WILL BEAR THE EXPENSES OF EMERGENCY SERVICES, SUCH AS "TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM LANDING FIELDS," AND AT THAT TIME IT APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE WAR DEPARTMENT THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR TAXICAB HIRE COULD BE MADE UNDER THE LAW IN ADDITION TO THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED, AND ON THE BASIS OF SUCH MISUNDERSTANDING, WHICH HAS MISLED THE DISBURSING OFFICER, THE AMOUNTS HERE PAID, BEING PRIOR TO JUNE 15, 1928, WILL BE PASSED TO THE CREDIT OF MAJOR HALL, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DECISION TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR OF JUNE 1, 1928, A-22454.

UPON REVIEW, $92.35 IS CERTIFIED FOR CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF MAJ.C. L. HALL, CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY.