A-38104, OCTOBER 15, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 134

A-38104: Oct 15, 1931

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WILL NOT ORDINARILY BE QUESTIONED BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS. AT NOT TO EXCEED CERTAIN RATES OF MILEAGE WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE INSPECTION GROUPS OR TERRITORIES WHENEVER THE COST IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. IS NOT A DETERMINATION THAT THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE AT THE PRESCRIBED RATE OF MILEAGE IS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS AND ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES. BEFORE PAYMENT OR CREDIT FOR SUCH MILEAGE IS AUTHORIZED UNDER SUCH AN ORDER. FACTS SHOWING THAT THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE AND THE PAYMENT OF A MILEAGE BASIS WERE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS AND ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES. THE VOUCHERS WERE RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION FOR AN ORDER SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZING TRAVEL IN PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES AND RATE PER MILE IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATION.

A-38104, OCTOBER 15, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 134

MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IN ADVANCE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, THAT TRAVEL BY AN EMPLOYEE IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS, AS PERMITTED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, WOULD BE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS AND ECONOMICAL, WILL NOT ORDINARILY BE QUESTIONED BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS. A GENERAL ORDER AUTHORIZING EMPLOYEES TO USE THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES, AT NOT TO EXCEED CERTAIN RATES OF MILEAGE WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE INSPECTION GROUPS OR TERRITORIES WHENEVER THE COST IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES, IS NOT A DETERMINATION THAT THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE AT THE PRESCRIBED RATE OF MILEAGE IS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS AND ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES. BEFORE PAYMENT OR CREDIT FOR SUCH MILEAGE IS AUTHORIZED UNDER SUCH AN ORDER, THERE MUST BE PRESENTED WITH OR BE ATTACHED TO EACH VOUCHER COVERING PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS, FACTS SHOWING THAT THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE AND THE PAYMENT OF A MILEAGE BASIS WERE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS AND ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE CHAIRMAN OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, OCTOBER 15, 1931:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED A LETTER FROM THE DISBURSING CLERK OF YOUR COMMISSION REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE ACTION TAKEN IN NOTICES OF EXCEPTION DATED AUGUST 12, 1931, WITH RESPECT TO VOUCHERS 20182 TO 20187, INCLUSIVE, COVERING REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL AND OTHER EXPENSES INCURRED BY INSPECTORS OF THE BUREAU OF SAFETY, WITH PARTICULAR REFERENCE TO MILEAGE CHARGES FOR THE USE OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103.

THE VOUCHERS WERE RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION FOR AN ORDER SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZING TRAVEL IN PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES AND RATE PER MILE IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATION, AS AMENDED JULY 1, 1931, AND IN REPLY THERETO IT WAS STATED:

* * * ALL OF THE TRAVEL OF INSPECTORS OF THIS BUREAU IS PERFORMED UNDER ADVANCE ISSUED BLANKET AUTHORITY COVERING THE LIMITS OF THEIR PRESCRIBED INSPECTION TERRITORIES AND THAT PRACTICE HAS BEEN FOLLOWED EVER SINCE TRAVEL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN REQUIRED. IT IS IMPRACTICAL TO ISSUE AUTHORITY FOR EACH PARTICULAR TRIP FOR THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE, AS WELL AS FOR OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, FOR THE REASON THAT INSPECTORS ARE CONSTANTLY IN A TRAVEL STATUS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES, WHICH REQUIRE THE INSPECTION OF EQUIPMENT AND RECORDS AND THE INVESTIGATION OF RAILROAD ACCIDENTS. THE POINTS TO WHICH INSPECTORS MUST TRAVEL, AND THE TIME THEY MUST GO, CAN NOT BE ANTICIPATED. IN THE CASE OF AN ACCIDENT OR OTHER SPECIAL DUTY THEY MUST BE PROMPTLY AND BE ON THE GROUND WITHOUT DELAY.

THE ORDER UNDER WHICH THE TRAVEL HERE INVOLVED WAS PERFORMED IS AS FOLLOWS:

BEGINNING JULY 1, 1931, INSPECTORS OF THE BUREAU OF SAFETY MAY USE THEIR OWN PRIVATE AUTOMOBILES FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR RESPECTIVE INSPECTION GROUPS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1931.

REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED IN OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY AN INSPECTOR'S OWN AUTOMOBILE WILL BE MADE ON A MILEAGE BASIS, AS PROVIDED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, AND PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AT A RATE WHICH WILL NOT EXCEED 5 CENTS PER MILE; BUT IN ANY EVENT THE RATE PER MILE MUST BE SUCH THAT THE COST OF TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE IN A PARTICULAR CASE WILL BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES THAN WOULD BE THE COST OF IDENTICAL TRAVEL BY RAILROAD OR OTHER USUAL MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. MILEAGE WILL BE COMPUTED AS PROVIDED BY PARAGRAPH 105 (E) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, AUTHORIZED CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES IN NECESSARY TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY OR OFFICIAL STATIONS, TO BE PAID IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION, UNDER REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, NOT TO EXCEED 3 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF THEIR OWN MOTOR CYCLE OR 7 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF THEIR OWN AUTOMOBILE FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION, WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT OF SUCH MILEAGE BASIS IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES.

IN A DECISION OF THIS OFFICE DATED AUGUST 29, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN 91, A- 38080, ADDRESSED TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS' AFFAIRS, IN CONSIDERING SEVERAL QUESTIONS WITH RESPECT TO PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IT WAS SAID:

* * * THE USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS, AS PERMITTED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, IS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR BY AN OFFICIAL TO WHOM SUCH AUTHORITY HAS BEEN DELEGATED AND IS DEPENDENT UPON A DETERMINATION THAT SUCH USE IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. IT FOLLOWS THAT THE OFFICIALS AUTHORIZING SUCH USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE IN ADVANCE MUST NECESSARILY DETERMINE THE QUESTION OF ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE. THE RULES FOR SUCH DETERMINATION ARE PRESCRIBED IN THE PARAGRAPH OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS REFERRED TO, AND AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUCH REGULATIONS THAT REIMBURSEMENT TO THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE USE OF HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE UPON A MILEAGE BASIS, AT THE RATE PRESCRIBED IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS, WILL BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES WILL NOT ORDINARILY BE QUESTIONED BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS. * * *

WHILE THE GENERAL ORDER IN THE INSTANT CASE IS AN AUTHORIZATION FOR THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE AND FIXES THE MAXIMUM RATE OF MILEAGE, IT IS NOT A DETERMINATION THAT THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE AT THE PRESCRIBED RATE OF MILEAGE IS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS AND ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES. MERELY AUTHORIZES THE EMPLOYEES TO USE THEIR AUTOMOBILES AT NOT TO EXCEED CERTAIN RATES OF MILEAGE WITHIN THEIR RESPECTIVE INSPECTION GROUPS WHENEVER THE COST IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. HENCE, BEFORE PAYMENT OR CREDIT FOR SUCH MILEAGE IS AUTHORIZED UNDER SUCH AN ORDER THERE MUST BE PRESENTED WITH OR BE ATTACHED TO EACH VOUCHER COVERING PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS UNDER SUCH ORDER, FACTS SHOWING THAT THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE AND THE PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS WERE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS AND ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES.

IN THE VOUCHERS HERE IN QUESTION THERE APPEARS NO ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IN ADVANCE THAT SUCH USE WAS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES, BUT THE EMPLOYEES WHO PERFORMED THE TRAVEL HAVE PRESENTED EVIDENCE IN THE VOUCHERS OF SUCH ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE, AND IN THE INSTANT CASES, THE VOUCHERS HAVING BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED, THEY WILL BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.