A-41279, MARCH 21, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 359

A-41279: Mar 21, 1932

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MILEAGE IS NOT PAYABLE. AND/OR THE RETURN IS SHORTLY AFTER 6 P.M. IS SHOWN. THE PAYEES ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF STANDARDS. BY TRAVEL ORDERS NOS. 6204-454 AND 7226-561 WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM THEIR HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON. CERTIFICATION WAS REFUSED FOR THE REASON THAT THE TRAVEL APPEARED TO HAVE BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY TRAVEL AT HEADQUARTERS. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF THE BUREAU OF STANDARDS SUBMITS THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT: WITH REGARD TO TRAVEL TO POINTS IN NEAR-BY VICINITY THE BUREAU SUBMITS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: THESE MEN ARE ALL ENGAGED IN THE INVESTIGATION OF RADIO WAVE PHENOMENA AND THE TRANSMISSION OF STANDARD FREQUENCY RADIO SIGNALS. IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THEY BE AT THE VARIOUS EXPERIMENT STATIONS WHEN NEEDED.

A-41279, MARCH 21, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 359

MILEAGE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - HEADQUARTERS THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, PERMITS THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S OWN AUTOMOBILE ONLY WHEN ENGAGED IN "NECESSARY TRAVEL" AWAY FROM DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, AND MILEAGE IS NOT PAYABLE, THEREFORE, FOR USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S OWN AUTOMOBILE DURING ABSENCES FROM HEADQUARTERS OF 10 HOURS OR LESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M., OR WHERE TRIPS BY AUTOMOBILE BEGIN SHORTLY BEFORE 8 A.M. AND/OR THE RETURN IS SHORTLY AFTER 6 P.M. UNLESS THE NECESSITY FOR LEAVING AND RETURNING BEFORE AND AFTER SUCH HOURS, RESPECTIVELY, IS SHOWN.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, MARCH 21, 1932:

REVIEW HAS BEEN REQUESTED OF THE ACTION OF THIS OFFICE IN REFUSING TO CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT UPON PREAUDIT VOUCHERS NOS. 6204-G, 6204-H, 6204 I, 6204-J, 6204-K, 7226-I, AND 7226-J. THE PAYEES ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE BUREAU OF STANDARDS, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, AND BY TRAVEL ORDERS NOS. 6204-454 AND 7226-561 WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM THEIR HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., TO POTOMAC YARDS, VA.; KENSINGTON, COLLEGE PARK, BELTSVILLE, MEADOWS, AND CAMP SPRINGS, MD. CERTIFICATION WAS REFUSED FOR THE REASON THAT THE TRAVEL APPEARED TO HAVE BEEN SUBSTANTIALLY TRAVEL AT HEADQUARTERS. IN SUPPORT OF THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER OF THE BUREAU OF STANDARDS SUBMITS THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

WITH REGARD TO TRAVEL TO POINTS IN NEAR-BY VICINITY THE BUREAU SUBMITS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION:

THESE MEN ARE ALL ENGAGED IN THE INVESTIGATION OF RADIO WAVE PHENOMENA AND THE TRANSMISSION OF STANDARD FREQUENCY RADIO SIGNALS, AND IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THEY BE AT THE VARIOUS EXPERIMENT STATIONS WHEN NEEDED, OCCASIONALLY AT NIGHT. SOME OF THE MEASUREMENTS REQUIRE THE PRESENCE OF THESE EMPLOYEES AT A DEFINITE PERIOD OF TIME, WHILE OTHERS ARE CONTINGENT ON CLIMATIC AND OTHER CONDITIONS. FOR THE SATISFACTORY CONDUCT OF THE INVESTIGATION IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT THERE BE NO INTERRUPTION TO ITS CONTINUITY. RADIO EQUIPMENT IS OFTEN CARRIED IN THE AUTOMOBILES, AND MEASUREMENTS ARE FREQUENTLY MADE AT VARYING POINTS IN THE FIELD STATION, REQUIRING THE FURTHER TRANSPORTATION OF EQUIPMENT. AN OCCASIONAL TRIP TO NEAR-BY FIELD STATIONS AT THE EMPLOYEE'S OWN EXPENSES WOULD PERHAPS NOT BE OBJECTED TO BY HIM, BUT WHERE SO MANY TRIPS ARE NECESSARY FOR THE PROPER CONDUCT OF THE INVESTIGATION IT IS TOO MUCH TO EXPECT AN EMPLOYEE ON A MODERATE SALARY TO STAND THE EXPENSE. IN FACT, PRIOR TO THE PASSAGE OF THE ACT OF FEB. 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, ONE OF THE BUREAU EMPLOYEES RESIGNED, IT IS UNDERSTOOD, PRIMARILY BECAUSE THE FREQUENT TRIPS IN CONNECTION WITH HIS WORK AT HIS OWN EXPENSE PLACED TOO GREAT A DRAIN ON HIS SALARY. IT WAS HOPED THE PASSAGE OF THE ACT PERMITTING REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH TRAVEL WOULD REMOVE THIS CAUSE FOR DISSATISFACTION.

WHILE THE BUREAU APPRECIATES THE POINT OF VIEW TAKEN IN YOUR DECISION A- 40658, IT IS FELT THAT FURTHER CONSIDERATION SHOULD BE GIVEN TO THESE SUSPENSIONS IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE TRAVEL IS FOR INVESTIGATIVE PURPOSES RATHER THAN MERE TRANSPORTATION, THAT MEASUREMENTS ARE MADE AT VARYING POINTS AT THE STATION NECESSITATING THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE, THAT THE MEN ARE SUBJECT TO DAY AND NIGHT SERVICE, AND THAT THE CYCLE OF MEASUREMENTS AT THE NEAR-BY STATION IS AS ESSENTIAL TO THE INTERPRETATION OF RESULTS AS THOSE OF THE MORE DISTANT STATIONS.

THE TRIPS UPON WHICH THE EMPLOYEES USED THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES ARE SHOWN UPON THE VOUCHERS IN QUESTION TO COVER ROUND TRIPS RANGING FROM 10 TO 58 MILES AND THAT THE EMPLOYEES STARTED FROM HEADQUARTERS AT WASHINGTON, D.C., AND RETURNED TO HEADQUARTERS THE SAME DAY. THE SPECIFIC HOURS OF DEPARTURE AND RETURN ARE NOT SHOWN.

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. WHEN ORIGINALLY INTRODUCED INTO CONGRESS, THE BILL INCLUDED A PROVISION FOR MILEAGE AT OFFICIAL STATIONS, BUT THIS WAS ELIMINATED BEFORE ITS PASSAGE (11 COMP. GEN. 67). 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, AND 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 MUST BE SHOWN (5 COMP. GEN. 449).

REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE 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 THE MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF PASSENGER- CARRYING VEHICLES, REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES 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 WAS DUE TO THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE UPON PRIVATE OR PERSONAL BUSINESS OR PLEASURE (2 COMP. GEN. 329). SEE ALSO 6 COMP. GEN. 212; 10 ID. 409; 11 ID. 271; ID. 309; ID. 339.

THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR USE OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES BEING LIMITED TO A TRAVEL STATUS, IT FOLLOWS THAT THE REFUSAL TO CERTIFY THE VOUCHERS FOR PAYMENT IN THIS CASE WAS CORRECT AND, UPON REVIEW, MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.