A-42742, JUNE 21, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 493

A-42742: Jun 21, 1932

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

THIS CLAIM WAS ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED FOR PREAUDIT AND RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION APRIL 21. UPON THE GROUND THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS. AS FOLLOWS: THE ATTACHED ACCOUNT IS AGAIN SUBMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON APPEAL. THE USE OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WAS THE CHEAPEST MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION WHICH WAS AVAILABLE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE WORK TO WHICH THIS EMPLOYEE WAS ASSIGNED. IN THE SPARSELY SETTLED DESERT COUNTRY OF THE IMPERIAL VALLEY OF CALIFORNIA THERE ARE NO REGULARLY ESTABLISHED BUS LINES OR OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE POINTS VISITED. WAS NECESSARY THAT SOME GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE PERFORM THIS TRAVEL IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT THE WORK IN CONNECTION WITH THE ERADICATION OF THE PARLATORIA DATE SCALE.

A-42742, JUNE 21, 1932, 11 COMP. GEN. 493

MILEAGE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, WHICH PROVIDES FOR PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S OWN AUTOMOBILE WHEN ENGAGED IN NECESSARY "TRAVEL" AWAY FROM DESIGNATED HEADQUARTERS, DOES NOT AUTHORIZE MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S CAR WHILE ON TRIPS TO HIS HOME TOWN FOR WEEK-ENDS, OR FOR TRAVEL OUT FROM HIS RESIDENCE WHILE ON SUCH TRIPS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JUNE 21, 1932:

THERE HAS BEEN RESUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE DIVISION OF PLANT QUARANTINE AND CONTROL ADMINISTRATION, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOR PREAUDIT, THE CLAIM OF C. T. CORDILL, SCIENTIFIC AIDE, FOR $7.63 AS MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE DURING THE MONTH OF MARCH, 1932. THIS CLAIM WAS ORIGINALLY SUBMITTED FOR PREAUDIT AND RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION APRIL 21, 1932, UPON THE GROUND THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS. THE SAME VOUCHER HAS BEEN RETURNED BY THE DIRECTOR OF PERSONNEL AND BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION, WITH AN UNSIGNED MEMORANDUM ATTACHED THERETO BEARING DATE OF APRIL 25, 1932, AS FOLLOWS:

THE ATTACHED ACCOUNT IS AGAIN SUBMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON APPEAL. THE USE OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WAS THE CHEAPEST MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION WHICH WAS AVAILABLE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE WORK TO WHICH THIS EMPLOYEE WAS ASSIGNED. IN THE SPARSELY SETTLED DESERT COUNTRY OF THE IMPERIAL VALLEY OF CALIFORNIA THERE ARE NO REGULARLY ESTABLISHED BUS LINES OR OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE POINTS VISITED. WAS NECESSARY THAT SOME GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE PERFORM THIS TRAVEL IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT THE WORK IN CONNECTION WITH THE ERADICATION OF THE PARLATORIA DATE SCALE. THERE WERE NO GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILES AVAILABLE FOR THE USE OF THIS EMPLOYEE IN PERFORMING THIS TRAVEL.

THE DECISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN THIS CASE IS THAT AN EMPLOYEE IS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS WHEN ABSENT FROM HEADQUARTERS FOR 10 HOURS OR LESS BETWEEN 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M., AND, THEREFORE, MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR USE OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS. THIS RULING APPARENTLY FOLLOWS THE COMPTROLLER'S DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 30, 1924 (4 COMP. GEN. 331), WHEREIN IT WAS HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO IS ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FOR A PERIOD OF 10 HOURS OR LESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. IS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND IS CONSEQUENTLY NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ANY SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED DURING SUCH ABSENCE. IT DOES NOT APPEAR LOGICAL, HOWEVER, TO APPLY THIS RULING TO THE USE OF A PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:

ASSUMING THAT THERE IS MERIT IN THE CLAIM THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS IN A TRAVEL STATUS 10 HOUSE OR LESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. HE IS NOT PUT TO ANY EXPENSE FOR SUBSISTENCE OVER AND ABOVE THAT WHICH HE WOULD HAVE INCURRED HAD HE REMAINED AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION, THIS DOES NOT APPLY IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF A PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR THE REASON THAT WHEN THE AUTOMOBILE IS OPERATED THERE IS ADDITIONAL EXPENSE INCIDENT TO SUCH OPERATION OVER AND ABOVE THE EXPENSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD THE AUTOMOBILE REMAINED AT THE OFFICIAL STATION IN DISUSE WHILE THE EMPLOYEE WAS PERFORMING HIS DAILY DUTIES.

IT APPEARS TO BE A FACT THAT C. T. CORDILL WAS PUT TO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE BY THE USE OF HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN THE TRAVEL INDICATED IN THE ATTACHED ACCOUNT. THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL SHOWN AT 4 COMP. GEN. 331 CALLS ATTENTION TO A WELL-ESTABLISHED FACT THAT "* * * THE PURPOSE OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCE IS TO REIMBURSE AN EMPLOYEE FOR ANY ADDITIONAL NECESSARY EXPENDITURES THAT HE HAS MADE THROUGH TRAVEL ON THE PUBLIC BUSINESS * * *.'

IN ALL FAIRNESS IT MUST BE HELD THAT C. T. CORDILL WAS PUT TO ADDITIONAL NECESSARY EXPENSE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES ON MARCH 5, 12, AND 19 BECAUSE OF THE USE OF HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

UNDER THE CONDITIONS OF TRAVEL IN THE IMPERIAL VALLEY OF CALIFORNIA IT HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED BY THE PLANT QUARANTINE AND CONTROL ADMINISTRATION THAT 7 CENTS PER MILE IS A FAIR RATE OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF A PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN GOVERNMENT BUSINESS.

IT SHOULD BE FURTHER NOTED THAT THE EXPENSE COVERED BY THE ATTACHED VOUCHER WAS INCURRED BEFORE THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TOOK THE POSITION OF NOT ALLOWING THESE AUTOMOBILE CHARGES. IT IS FELT BY THIS DEPARTMENT THAT TO REFUSE TO PAY THIS ACCOUNT WOULD BE IN EFFECT A RETROACTIVE ACTION AGAINST A LONG-ESTABLISHED PRACTICE AND WOULD RESULT IN TAKING UNFAIR ADVANTAGE OF THIS EMPLOYEE.

THE CLAIMANT, WHO RESIDES AT BRAWLEY, CALIF., WITH HEADQUARTERS AT INDIO, CALIF., IN AN ADJOINING COUNTY, MAKES CLAIM AS FOLLOWS:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * (TABLE OMITTED) * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE ALLEGED EXPENSES WERE INCURRED ON THREE SATURDAYS, APPARENTLY, WHILE ON TRIPS TO THE CLAIMANT'S HOME TOWN FOR WEEK -ENDS.

FOR SOME TIME PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1931, THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE HAD BEEN AUTHORIZED TO MAKE PAYMENT TO EMPLOYEES AT MILEAGE RATES FOR THE USE OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES "INCLUDING TRAVEL AND ADMINISTRATION AT OFFICIAL STATION.' SEE ACT OF MAY 27, 1930, 46 STAT. 425. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, HOWEVER, 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, WHEN 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.

SAID ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, WAS ENACTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF STANDARDIZING MILEAGE ALLOWANCES THROUGHOUT THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE FOR THE USE OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES AND SUPERSEDED ALL OTHER PROVISIONS FOR AUTOMOBILE MILEAGE ALLOWANCES. 10 COMP. GEN. 409. WHEN FIRST INTRODUCED IN THE CONGRESS, THIS BILL, ALSO, CONTAINED A PROVISION FOR MILEAGE AT OFFICIAL STATIONS, BUT THAT PROVISION WAS STRICKEN OUT BEFORE PASSAGE AND APPROVAL OF THE BILL. SEE 11 COMP GEN. 67. AS FINALLY ENACTED, IT AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES ONLY WHEN ENGAGED IN NECESSARY TRAVEL AWAY FROM DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY. IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HELD THAT ABSENCES FROM HEADQUARTERS OF 10 HOURS OR LESS BETWEEN 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. DO NOT CONSTITUTE A TRAVEL STATUS. 5 COMP. GEN. 11, 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 AT SUCH HOURS MUST BE SHOWN. 5 COMP. GEN. 449.

IN DECISION OF JANUARY 11, 1932, A-40136, 11 COMP. GEN. 271, TO YOU, IT WAS STATED:

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 A 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; 10 ID. 409; 11 ID. 67, 91, 271, 309, 339; A- 41238, MARCH 23, 1932.

AS THE EMPLOYEE IN THE PRESENT CASE WAS NOT PERFORMING TRAVEL WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, SUPRA, THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE IS NOT AUTHORIZED. THE VOUCHER WILL BE RETAINED IN THE FILES OF THIS OFFICE.