A-39088, DECEMBER 21, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 248

A-39088: Dec 21, 1931

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WHICH DAY MIGHT OTHERWISE HAVE BEEN SPENT ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO HIS NEXT DUTY STATION. IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ANY EXPENSES INCURRED ON THAT DAY. AS THE USUAL ROUTE FOLLOWED BY TRAVELERS FROM THE UNITED STATES TO ITALIAN CITIES IS FROM NEW YORK TO A FRENCH PORT AND THENCE BY RAIL TO THEIR DESTINATION IN ITALY. THE FACT THAT NO AMERICAN VESSELS WERE AVAILABLE FOR THE ALL-WATER ROUTE BETWEEN NEW YORK CITY AND NAPLES. THE OFFICER WAS DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO THE UNITED STATES FOR OFFICIAL DUTY IN WASHINGTON AND FOR THE PURPOSE OF VISITING THE COMMITTEE'S LABORATORIES AT LANGLEY FIELD. IT IS SUBMITTED THAT THESE ITEMS WERE SUBSTITUTED FOR EXPENSES WHICH MIGHT HAVE BEEN INCURRED IN PHILADELPHIA HAD THE OFFICER REMAINED THERE OVER SUNDAY BEFORE PROCEEDING DIRECTLY TO HIS NEXT POST OF DUTY AT DAYTON AND THAT THE FACT THAT HE SPENT THE INTERVENING TIME IN NEW YORK DID NOT INCREASE THE AMOUNT CHARGEABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT.

A-39088, DECEMBER 21, 1931, 11 COMP. GEN. 248

TRAVELING EXPENSES - PERSONAL - USE OF FOREIGN VESSELS AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS WHO INTERRUPTS SUCH STATUS TO SPEND A SUNDAY IN ANOTHER CITY ON PERSONAL BUSINESS OR PLEASURE, WHICH DAY MIGHT OTHERWISE HAVE BEEN SPENT ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO HIS NEXT DUTY STATION, IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ANY EXPENSES INCURRED ON THAT DAY. AS THE USUAL ROUTE FOLLOWED BY TRAVELERS FROM THE UNITED STATES TO ITALIAN CITIES IS FROM NEW YORK TO A FRENCH PORT AND THENCE BY RAIL TO THEIR DESTINATION IN ITALY, AMERICAN VESSELS BEING AVAILABLE FOR THE OCEAN TRAVEL INVOLVED, THE FACT THAT NO AMERICAN VESSELS WERE AVAILABLE FOR THE ALL-WATER ROUTE BETWEEN NEW YORK CITY AND NAPLES, ITALY, FURNISHES NO AUTHORITY FOR THE USE OF A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY BY THE ALL-WATER ROUTE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, DECEMBER 21, 1931:

JOHN J. IDE, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANT IN EUROPE FOR THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS, HAS REQUESTED RECONSIDERATION OF THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT IN HIS ACCOUNTS FOR JUNE QUARTER, 1930, FOR ITEMS TOTALING $76.90 PAID TO HIMSELF IN REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED IN CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL BETWEEN PHILADELPHIA, PA., AND DAYTON, OHIO, IN DECEMBER, 1929, AND EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN PROCEEDING FROM NEW YORK TO NAPLES, ITALY, ON A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY, IN MARCH, 1930.

IT APPEARS THAT BY INSTRUCTION DATED OCTOBER 28, 1929, THE OFFICER WAS DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO THE UNITED STATES FOR OFFICIAL DUTY IN WASHINGTON AND FOR THE PURPOSE OF VISITING THE COMMITTEE'S LABORATORIES AT LANGLEY FIELD, VA., ENGINEERING DIVISION OF THE ARMY AIR CORPS AT WRIGHT FIELD, DAYTON, OHIO, AND THE NAVAL AIRCRAFT FACTORY AT THE NAVY YARD, PHILADELPHIA.

IN PURSUANCE THEREOF HE PROCEEDED TO THE UNITED STATES AND ON DECEMBER 14, 1929, AT 8 A.M. ARRIVED IN PHILADELPHIA EN ROUTE FROM LANGLEY FIELD TO DAYTON. AT NOON THAT DAY HE LEFT FOR NEW YORK WHERE HE REMAINED FOR PERSONAL REASONS UNTIL 6:05 P.M., THE FOLLOWING DAY, WHEN HE PROCEEDED TO DAYTON. CREDIT FOR ITEMS TOTALING $2.30 CHARGED FOR TAXICAB FARES AND FEES TO HOTEL PORTERS IN NEW YORK UPON ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE HAS BEEN DISALLOWED AS EXPENSES PERSONAL TO THE OFFICER. IT IS SUBMITTED THAT THESE ITEMS WERE SUBSTITUTED FOR EXPENSES WHICH MIGHT HAVE BEEN INCURRED IN PHILADELPHIA HAD THE OFFICER REMAINED THERE OVER SUNDAY BEFORE PROCEEDING DIRECTLY TO HIS NEXT POST OF DUTY AT DAYTON AND THAT THE FACT THAT HE SPENT THE INTERVENING TIME IN NEW YORK DID NOT INCREASE THE AMOUNT CHARGEABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT. IT APPEARS FROM TARIFFS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE THAT THE TRAVELER MIGHT HAVE LEFT PHILADELPHIA AT 3:35 P.M., SATURDAY AFTERNOON, DECEMBER 14, ARRIVING IN DAYTON, SUNDAY AT 9:15. IS APPARENT, THEREFORE, THAT THERE WAS NO OFFICIAL NECESSITY FOR REMAINING IN PHILADELPHIA OVERNIGHT AND THAT HAD THE TRAVELER PROCEEDED DIRECTLY TO HIS NEXT DUTY STATION THE EXPENSES IN QUESTION WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN INCURRED. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 10 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AN EMPLOYEE WHO TRAVELS BY A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH EXPENSES, ONLY, AS NECESSARILY WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED IN PERFORMING OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY THE MOST ECONOMICAL USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN NEW YORK NOT HAVING BEEN NECESSARY FOR THE TRANSACTION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS, THEIR DISALLOWANCE WAS CORRECT.

UPON COMPLETION OF HIS DUTY IN THE UNITED STATES THE OFFICER WAS AUTHORIZED BY INSTRUCTION DATED FEBRUARY 25, 1930, TO SAIL FROM NEW YORK CITY TO ITALY DIRECT FOR THE PURPOSE OF VISITING AIRCRAFT FACTORIES AND CENTERS OF AERONAUTICAL INFORMATION IN ITALY BEFORE RETURNING TO HIS OFFICIAL POST OF DUTY IN PARIS, FRANCE. IN PURSUANCE THEREOF HE SAILED FROM NEW YORK, MARCH 15, 1930, ON THE STEAMSHIP CONTE GRANDE, ARRIVING IN NAPLES, MARCH 24, 1930, AND CHARGED AS EXPENSES OF TRAVEL AND PER DIEM FOR 9 1/2 DAYS ON SHIPBOARD ITEMS TOTALING $74.60, CREDIT FOR WHICH WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT PROOF OF THE NECESSITY FOR THE USE OF THE FOREIGN VESSEL WAS NOT FURNISHED THIS OFFICE. IT IS URGED THAT IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH THE TRAVEL ORDER IT WAS NECESSARY TO TRAVEL UPON A SHIP OF FOREIGN REGISTRY INASMUCH AS NO AMERICAN VESSELS OPERATE BETWEEN NEW YORK AND ITALIAN PORTS; AND THAT TO HAVE TRAVELED FROM NEW YORK AND ITALIAN PORTS; AND THAT TO HAVE TRAVELED FROM NEW YORK TO A PORT IN FRANCE VIA AN AMERICAN VESSEL, AND THENCE TO ITALY BY TRAIN, WOULD HAVE MATERIALLY INCREASED THE COST OF THE TRAVEL TO THE GOVERNMENT.

SECTION 601 OF THE ACT OF MAY 22, 1928, 45 STAT. 697, PROVIDES:

ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES, OR TO ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES, SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHEN SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE, UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG: PROVIDED, THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY THEREFOR.

THE INTENT AND PURPOSE OF THIS PROVISION IS TO AID IN THE DEVELOPMENT AND ESTABLISHMENT OF AN EFFICIENT AND WELL-EQUIPPED MERCHANT MARINE. CONSEQUENTLY, QUESTIONS OF ECONOMY, ALONE, ARE NOT FOR CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING WHETHER A FOREIGN VESSEL MAY BE USED. SEE A-36054, APRIL 15, 1931. ITS PROVISIONS REGARDING THE USE OF AMERICAN VESSELS ARE FOR OBSERVANCE AT ALL TIMES BY ALL OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES AND REQUIRE THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR ALL TRAVEL AND SHIPPING EXPENSES ON A FOREIGN VESSEL IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY THEREFOR. IN GIVING CONSIDERATION TO THE USE OF FOREIGN VESSELS IT HAS BEEN UNIFORMLY HELD THAT THE NECESSITY MUST HAVE RELATION TO THE TRAVELER'S MISSION AND MUST HAVE BEEN SUCH AS TO FORM THE SOLE BASIS OF THE USE OF A FOREIGN VESSEL. 10 COMP. GEN. 245; 11 ID. 4.

IT IS APPARENT FROM ACCOUNTS IN THIS OFFICE THAT GOVERNMENT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TRAVELING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND ITALIAN PORTS GENERALLY TRAVEL BY CHERBOURG OR SOME OTHER PORT OF FRANCE, AND THERE HAS BEEN SUBMITTED NO EVIDENCE TO ESTABLISH THAT THE NECESSITY OF THE MISSION IN THIS INSTANCE REQUIRED A DIFFERENT ROUTE OR THE USE OF OTHER THAN AN AMERICAN VESSEL. IN FACT, IT APPEARS THERE WERE AT LEAST FIVE SAILINGS OF AMERICAN VESSELS FROM NEW YORK TO CHERBOURG DURING THE MONTH OF MARCH, 1930. ACCORDINGLY, THE DISALLOWANCE IS SUSTAINED.

WHAT HAS BEEN SAID WITH RESPECT TO THE IRREGULARITY OF REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES APPLIES AS WELL TO THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST USED IN PROCURING PASSAGE ON A FOREIGN VESSEL AND THERE SHOULD BE REFUNDED ALSO THE AMOUNT OF $275 PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION ON THE FOREIGN VESSEL.

IT MAY BE ADDED THAT, INASMUCH AS THE STATUTE PLACES UPON THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES THE DUTY TO DECIDE WHEN THE NECESSITY FOR THE USE OF A FOREIGN VESSEL HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED BY SATISFACTORY EVIDENCE, IT WOULD APPEAR ADVISABLE THAT QUESTIONS OF SUCH NECESSITY BE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE IN ADVANCE OF THE USE OF SUCH VESSELS.