A-36135, APRIL 15, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 472

A-36135: Apr 15, 1931

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WAS REQUIRED TO USE AN AIRPLANE TO REACH A MEETING ON TIME DOES NOT CONSTITUTE SUCH AN EMERGENCY FROM A GOVERNMENT STANDPOINT AS WOULD AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT IN EXCESS OF THE RAILROAD AND PULLMAN FARES OTHERWISE ALLOWABLE. THERE IS BEFORE ME FOR ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL TRAVEL VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $96.65. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE FACTS IN THE CASE. WARNER IS A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS. B. THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED TO MR. TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WERE ATTACHED. WARNER WAS IN DETROIT TO ATTEND AND PRESIDE AT A MEETING OF THE SOCIETY OF AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERS OF WHICH HE WAS THE RETIRING PRESIDENT. NO MEANS OF SURFACE TRANSPORTATION COULD HAVE GOTTEN HIM TO WASHINGTON IN TIME.

A-36135, APRIL 15, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 472

TRAVELING EXPENSES - AIRPLANE TRAVEL THE AUTHORITY IN THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1915, 38 STAT. 930, FOR REIMBURSING MEMBERS OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS FOR THEIR TRAVELING EXPENSES "IN GOING TO, RETURNING FROM, AND WHILE ATTENDING MEETINGS OF THE COMMITTEE," CONTEMPLATES TRAVEL ONLY BETWEEN THEIR HOMES AND WASHINGTON, D.C. TRAVELING EXPENSES BETWEN OTHER POINTS AND WASHINGTON MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF THE RAILROAD AND PULLMAN FARE BETWEEN THEIR HOMES AND WASHINGTON, AND THE FACT THAT A MEMBER, DUE TO ABSENCE FROM HOME ON PERSONAL BUSINESS, WAS REQUIRED TO USE AN AIRPLANE TO REACH A MEETING ON TIME DOES NOT CONSTITUTE SUCH AN EMERGENCY FROM A GOVERNMENT STANDPOINT AS WOULD AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT IN EXCESS OF THE RAILROAD AND PULLMAN FARES OTHERWISE ALLOWABLE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS, APRIL 15, 1931:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 4, 1931, AS FOLLOWS:

1. THERE IS BEFORE ME FOR ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL TRAVEL VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $96.65, SUBMITTED BY HONORABLE EDWARD P. WARNER, MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS, DOMICILED IN NEW YORK CITY. THE FOLLOWING ARE THE FACTS IN THE CASE.

A. MR. WARNER IS A MEMBER OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS, APPOINTED FROM PRIVATE LIFE, AND SERVING AS SUCH WITHOUT COMPENSATION, UNDER THE ACT CREATING THE COMMITTEE, APPROVED MARCH 3, 1915, TITLE 50, SECTION 151, U.S. CODE, WHICH AMONG OTHER THINGS AUTHORIZES ,NECESSARY EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE IN GOING TO, RETURNING FROM, AND WHILE ATTENDING MEETINGS OF THE COMMITTEE.'

B. THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED TO MR. WARNER AND ADDRESSED TO HIM AT NEW YORK CITY, REQUESTING HIM TO PROCEED TO WASHINGTON TO ATTEND THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS AT 10.30 A.M. JANUARY 20, 1931. TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WERE ATTACHED.

C. MR. WARNER WAS IN DETROIT TO ATTEND AND PRESIDE AT A MEETING OF THE SOCIETY OF AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERS OF WHICH HE WAS THE RETIRING PRESIDENT. HE PRESIDED AT THE OPENING BUSINESS MEETING OF THAT SOCIETY IN DETROIT ON THE EVENING OF JANUARY 19, WHICH HE FELT COMPELLED TO DO IN HIS CAPACITY AS PRESIDENT; AND THEN HE HURRIED TO WASHINGTON, TAKING A TRAIN FROM DETROIT AS FAR AS PITTSBURGH, AND PAYING CASH BECAUSE HE HAD NO TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WITH HIM. HE ARRIVED AT PITTSBURGH EARLY IN THE MORNING OF JANUARY 20, WITH THE MEETING IN WASHINGTON SCHEDULED FOR 10.30 A.M. NO MEANS OF SURFACE TRANSPORTATION COULD HAVE GOTTEN HIM TO WASHINGTON IN TIME. NO REGULAR AIR TRANSPORTATION SERVICE FROM PITTSBURGH TO WASHINGTON BEING AVAILABLE DURING THE FORENOON, A SPECIAL AIR TRANSPORTATION SERVICE HAD TO BE PROCURED IN ORDER TO BRING HIM TO WASHINGTON IN TIME. THE MEETING IN WASHINGTON WAS IMPORTANT AND HIS PRESENCE WAS ESSENTIAL. HE KNEW THESE TWO FACTS, AND FOR THOSE REASONS INCURRED THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSE THAT WAS NECESSARY UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

D. MR. WARNER ATTENDED THE MEETING IN WASHINGTON THE THE MORNING OF JANUARY 20, AND WAS FURNISHED WITH TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR HIS RETURN JOURNEY. AS THE SOCIETY OF AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERS WAS STILL IN SESSION IN DETROIT, HE HURRIED BACK TO DETROIT BY RAIL AND PRESIDED AT THE SESSIONS HELD ON JANUARY 21 AND 22, USING A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR THE RAILROAD ACCOMMODATIONS SECURED.

E. TRAVEL VOUCHER HAS BEEN SUBMITTED BY MR. WARNER COVERING TRAVEL, NOT FROM HIS REGULAR DOMICILE IN NEW YORK, BUT FROM DETROIT AND RETURN, WHICH WAS HIS TEMPORARY DOMICILE.

2. YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED ON THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

(A) MAY MR. WARNER, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, BE ALLOWED TRAVEL EXPENSES FROM DETROIT TO WASHINGTON AND RETURN, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT HIS REGULAR DOMICILE WAS NEW YORK CITY AND HE WAS ONLY TEMPORARILY STAYING IN DETROIT?

(B) MAY MR. WARNER, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, BE REIMBURSED FOR THE COST OF AIRPLANE TRAVEL BETWEEN PITTSBURGH AND WASHINGTON?

3. ON THE MERITS OF QUESTION (A) IT IS SUBMITTED THAT THE TRAVELER WAS NOT REQUIRED BY VIRTUE OF HIS POSITION AS A MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE TO HAVE FIRST OF ALL RETURNED FROM DETROIT TO NEW YORK IN ORDER TO HAVE FOLLOWED LITERALLY THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION TO PROCEED FROM NEW YORK CITY TO WASHINGTON. THE OBJECT OF THE AUTHORIZATION WAS TO SECURE HIS PRESENCE IN WASHINGTON FOR THE MEETING, AND THE INTENT WAS TO AUTHORIZE THE TRAVEL NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH THAT OBJECT, EVEN THOUGH IT INVOLVE TRAVEL FROM A POINT MORE REMOTE FROM WASHINGTON THAN NEW YORK. THE TRAVEL LETTER WAS ADDRESSED TO HIM IN NEW YORK MERELY BECAUSE NEW YORK WAS HIS HEADQUARTERS.

4. IT IS FURTHER SUBMITTED ON THIS QUESTION THAT THE ACT ESTABLISHING THE COMMITTEE AUTHORIZED THE ALLOWANCE OF "NECESSARY EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE IN GOING TO, RETURNING FROM, AND WHILE ATTENDING MEETINGS OF THE COMMITTEE.'

5. ON THE MERITS OF QUESTION (B) ATTENTION IS INVITED TO YOUR DECISION OF AUGUST 15, 1929, NO. A-28200, INVOLVING AIRPLANE TRAVEL BY HONORABLE HARRY F. GUGGENHEIM, A MEMBER OF THIS COMMITTEE, IN HIS OWN AIRPLANE, FOR WHICH HE SUBMITTED VOUCHER FOR THE COST OF GAS AND OIL. IN THAT CASE IT APPEARED THAT THE USE OF AN AIRPLANE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WAS OPTIONAL ON THE PART OF THE TRAVELER, AND WAS NOT NECESSARY IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES REIMBURSEMENT WAS LIMITED BY YOUR DECISION TO AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL BY RAIL AND PULLMAN. IN THE INSTANT CASE OF MR. WARNER, IT APPEARS FROM THE FACTS THAT AN EMERGENCY EXISTED, AND THAT THE USE OF A COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE FROM PITTSBURGH TO WASHINGTON WAS NECESSARY UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES AND WAS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. TRUE, THE AIRPLANE TRAVEL INVOLVED, WAS NOT ADMINISTRATIVELY AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE, FOR THE CIRCUMSTANCES COULD NOT HAVE BEEN ANTICIPATED BY THE COMMITTEE, BUT IT HAS MY ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL.

6. I ACCORDINGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOUR ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS (A) AND (B) BE IN THE AFFIRMATIVE. THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION IS FORWARDED HEREWITH.

THE APPROPRIATION FOR EXPENSES OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS, ACT OF APRIL 19, 1930, 46 STAT. 239, PROVIDES FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES OF MEMBERS AND EMPLOYEES. THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1915, 38 STAT. 930, CREATING THE COMMITTEE AUTHORIZED APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE WORK OF THE COMMITTEE "AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE IN GOING TO, RETURNING FROM, AND WHILE ATTENDING, MEETINGS OF THE COMMITTEE.' THIS AUTHORIZATION CAN BE INTERPRETED AS MEANING ONLY THE USUAL AND CUSTOMARY PLACES BETWEEN WHICH THERE WOULD BE SUCH GOING AND RETURNING BY MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE, TO WIT, BETWEEN THEIR PLACES OF RESIDENCE AND THE PLACE OF THE COMMITTEE MEETINGS. THERE WOULD BE NO OBJECTION TO PAYMENT OF THE ACTUAL TRAVELING EXPENSES BETWEEN OTHER PLACES AND WASHINGTON, D.C., TO ATTEND THE MEETINGS OF THE COMMITTEE, IF NOT IN EXCESS OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY BETWEEN THE PLACES OF RESIDENCE AND WASHINGTON BY THE ORDINARY USUAL MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. SEE A-9891, SEPTEMBER 5, 1925, CONSTRUING A SIMILAR STATUTORY PROVISION IN THE CASE OF THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS. THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY AIRPLANE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT IS AUTHORIZED IF THE COST DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST OF RAILROAD FARE PLUS PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS. 9 COMP. GEN. 354. ANY AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF THE RAILROAD FARE AND PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS IS NOT ALLOWABLE UNLESS AN ACTUAL EMERGENCY FROM A GOVERNMENT STANDPOINT BE SHOW TO EXIST. 10 COMP. GEN. 201. WHILE THERE MAY NOT HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENT TIME FOR MR. WARNER TO HAVE REACHED WASHINGTON IN TIME FOR THE MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE BY THE USE OF RAILROAD TRANSPORTATION, SUCH LACK OF TIME WAS DUE TO HIS PRESENCE IN DETROIT, INSTEAD OF NEW YORK CITY, ON PERSONAL BUSINESS AND COULD NOT, THEREFORE, BE CONSIDERED AS AN EMERGENCY FROM A GOVERNMENT STANDPOINT.

THE VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MR. WARNER IS RETURNED AND YOU ARE INFORMED THAT THERE MAY BE PAID THEREON AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF RAILROAD FARE AND PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS BETWEEN NEW YORK CITY AND WASHINGTON, D.C., AND THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR NOT EXCEEDING 1 AND ONE HALF DAYS (MEETING CONVENED IN WASHINGTON AT 10.30 A.M. JANUARY 20, 1931, AND MR. WARNER LEFT WASHINGTON AT 3.55 P.M., THE SAME DAY) LESS $21.55, WHICH THE GOVERNMENT WAS REQUIRED TO PAY UPON THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST USED BY HIM FOR RETURN TRANSPORTATION REQUEST USED BY HIM FOR RETURN TRANSPORTATION TO DETROIT.