A-40658, FEBRUARY 12, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 309

A-40658: Feb 12, 1932

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PAYMENT FOR THE TRAVEL AT MILEAGE RATES FOR THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE IS NOT AUTHORIZED. CREDIT FOR THE SEVERAL PAYMENTS WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT AN EMPLOYEE MAKING TRIPS OF ONLY SHORT DISTANCES BEYOND THE CITY LIMITS OF HIS HEADQUARTERS IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS SUBSTANTIALLY ON DUTY AT HEADQUARTERS WHILE MAKING SUCH TRIPS AND. IS NOT ENTITLED UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14. THE REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE DISALLOWANCE IS BASED UPON THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY THE CHIEF. SHUMATE IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE TO VISIT AIRPORTS WHICH WERE OUTSIDE THE CITY LIMITS OF HIS HEADQUARTERS. WHICH TRIPS HAD HE NOT USED THIS MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE AND WOULD HAVE COST THE GOVERNMENT SUBSTANTIALLY MORE THAN THE MILEAGE CLAIMED BY MR.

A-40658, FEBRUARY 12, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 309

MILEAGE - USE OF OWN AUTOMOBILE AT HEADQUARTERS. TRANSPORTATION BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BETWEEN HEADQUARTERS AND POINTS FROM 4 1/2 TO 7 MILES DISTANT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A TRAVEL STATUS, BEING SUBSTANTIALLY DUTY AT HEADQUARTERS, AND ACCORDINGLY UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, PAYMENT FOR THE TRAVEL AT MILEAGE RATES FOR THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO CHARLES E. MOLSTER, DISBURSING CLERK, COMMERCE DEPARTMENT, FEBRUARY 12, 1932:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR REQUEST OF JANUARY 20, 1932, FOR REVIEW OF THE ACTION OF THIS OFFICE IN DISALLOWING CREDIT FOR THE AMOUNT OF $3.99 PAID ON VOUCHER 11293 OF YOUR AUGUST, 1931, ACCOUNT TO AERONAUTICAL INSPECTOR JOE T. SHUMATE, COVERING MILEAGE AT 7 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN TRAVELING ON JULY 18, 19, 20, 23, AND 25, 1931, TO AIRPORTS LOCATED 4 1/2, 5 1/2, OR 7 MILES FROM INDIANAPOLIS, IND., HIS OFFICIAL STATION.

CREDIT FOR THE SEVERAL PAYMENTS WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT AN EMPLOYEE MAKING TRIPS OF ONLY SHORT DISTANCES BEYOND THE CITY LIMITS OF HIS HEADQUARTERS IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS SUBSTANTIALLY ON DUTY AT HEADQUARTERS WHILE MAKING SUCH TRIPS AND, CONSEQUENTLY, IS NOT ENTITLED UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, TO MILEAGE THEREFOR.

THE REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION OF THE DISALLOWANCE IS BASED UPON THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT SUBMITTED BY THE CHIEF, ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION, AERONAUTICS BRANCH, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:

I NOTE THAT THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE STILL SUSPENDS THE AMOUNT OF $3.99 COVERING TRIPS MADE BY MR. SHUMATE IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE TO VISIT AIRPORTS WHICH WERE OUTSIDE THE CITY LIMITS OF HIS HEADQUARTERS, AND WHICH TRIPS HAD HE NOT USED THIS MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE AND WOULD HAVE COST THE GOVERNMENT SUBSTANTIALLY MORE THAN THE MILEAGE CLAIMED BY MR. SHUMATE. AS POINTED OUT IN OUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 2, 1931, IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE THAT FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING ALLOWANCES FOR TRIPS ON A MILEAGE BASIS A PERSON'S HEADQUARTERS SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE TOWN IN WHICH HE IS HEADQUARTERED, AND WE THEREFORE SEE NO REASON WHY THE ITEM OF $3.99 SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED. THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN THEIR SUSPENSION QUOTE NO DECISIONS IN THE MATTER BUT JUST MAKE AN ARBITRARY STATEMENT TO THE EFFECT THAT THIS TRAVEL WAS SUBSTANTIALLY WITHIN THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED AND IT IS THEREFORE NOT ALLOWED. IT SHOULD BE POINTED OUT THAT IN EACH OF THESE CASES MR. SHUMATE HAD PERFORMED DUTY AT HIS HEADQUARTERS PRIOR TO MAKING THE TRIP AND THAT THE TRIP WAS NOT FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECURING MEALS, NOR WERE ANY OF THE TRIPS FROM HIS LAST PLACE OF DUTY TO HIS RESIDENCE. VIEW OF THE ABOVE, IT IS REQUESTED THAT THIS CASE BE APPROVED AND THE SUSPENSION REMOVED.

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, PROVIDES:

THAT A CIVILIAN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ENGAGED IN NECESSARY TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY MAY 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 HIS OWN MOTOR CYCLE OR 7 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION, WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT ON SUCH MILEAGE BASIS IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. THIS ACT SHALL TAKE EFFECT JULY 1, 1931, AND ALL LAWS OR PARTS OF LAWS ARE HEREBY MODIFIED OR REPEALED TO THE EXTENT SAME MAY BE IN CONFLICT HEREWITH.

THE ABOVE ACT PERMITS THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES ONLY WHEN ENGAGED IN "NECESSARY TRAVEL" AWAY FROM DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY. IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HELD THAT ABSENCES FROM HEADQUARTERS OF 10 HOURS OR LESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. DO NOT CONSTITUTE A TRAVEL STATUS. 5 COMP. GEN. 100, 128, 215. WHERE TRIPS FROM HEADQUARTERS ARE MADE BY AUTOMOBILE LEAVING SHORTLY BEFORE 8 A.M. AND/OR RETURNING SHORTLY AFTER 6 P.M., THE NECESSITY FOR LEAVING AND RETURNING BEFORE AND AFTER SUCH HOURS, RESPECTIVELY, MUST BE SHOWN. COMP. GEN. 449.

IN DECISION OF JANUARY 11, 1932, A-40136, 11 COMP. GEN. 271, ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, IT WAS HELD THAT---

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, PERMITS REIMBURSEMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE FOR THE USE OF HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE UPON A MILEAGE BASIS ONLY WHEN "ENGAGED IN NECESSARY TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY.' IT HAS BEEN HELD REPEATEDLY THAT TRAVEL FROM HOME OR HEADQUARTERS FOR A DISTANCE OF FOUR OR FIVE MILES OR LESS, IS SUBSTANTIALLY DUTY AT HEADQUARTERS AND DOES NOT PLACE THE EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS. SEE DECISIONS TO YOU OF SEPTEMBER 8, 1931, AND OCTOBER 5, 1931, A-38422, AND THE CASES THEREIN CITED.

REIMBURSEMENT FOR USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE LIMITS OF EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS WOULD BE IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508, UNLESS CHARGEABLE UNDER AN APPROPRIATION WHICH IS SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE FOR THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF MOTOR-PROPELLED PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES. 10 COMP. GEN. 409; 11 ID. 67; ID. 91. EVEN WHEN CHARGEABLE UNDER AN APPROPRIATION AVAILABLE FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF PASSENGER-CARRYING VEHICLES, REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IS LIMITED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENDITURES, SUCH AS THE COST OF GASOLINE AND OIL ACTUALLY CONSUMED, AND IN SUCH CASES IT MUST BE ESTABLISHED BY COMPETENT EVIDENCE THAT NO PART OF SUCH EXPENDITURES WERE DUE TO THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE UPON PRIVATE OR PERSONAL BUSINESS OR PLEASURE. 2 COMP. GEN. 329. * * *

SEE, ALSO, 6 COMP. GEN. 212.

UNDER THE DECISIONS CITED THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR MILEAGE CHARGED BY THE INSPECTOR FOR TRAVEL IN HIS PERSONALLY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE TO AIRPORTS LOCATED AT SHORT DISTANCES OUTSIDE THE LIMITS OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION WAS CORRECT, AND, ACCORDINGLY, IS SUSTAINED.