A-44782, OCTOBER 25, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 423

A-44782: Oct 25, 1932

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MILEAGE - USE OF OWN AUTOMOBILE ON SHORT TRIPS THE RULE THAT MILEAGE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR TRANSPORTATION UPON OFFICIAL BUSINESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. WILL NO LONGER BE FOLLOWED. PROVIDED SUCH USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED UPON A DETERMINATION THAT THAT MODE OF TRAVEL WILL BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. MILEAGE WILL BE ALLOWED UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14. FOR THE NUMBER OF MILES SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN TRAVELED OUTSIDE OF THE LIMITS OF THE EMPLOYEE'S POST OF DUTY. IS REQUESTED. THE FACTS IN THIS CASE AS SHOWN BY VOUCHER NO. 89352-192773 ARE THAT MR. WHICH WAS HIS HEADQUARTERS. HE SHOWED IN HIS EXPENSE ACCOUNT THAT THE COST OF THIS TRIP BY USUAL MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION WOULD HAVE BEEN $9.88.

A-44782, OCTOBER 25, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 423

MILEAGE - USE OF OWN AUTOMOBILE ON SHORT TRIPS THE RULE THAT MILEAGE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR TRANSPORTATION UPON OFFICIAL BUSINESS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. WILL NO LONGER BE FOLLOWED. PROVIDED SUCH USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED UPON A DETERMINATION THAT THAT MODE OF TRAVEL WILL BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES, MILEAGE WILL BE ALLOWED UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, FOR THE NUMBER OF MILES SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN TRAVELED OUTSIDE OF THE LIMITS OF THE EMPLOYEE'S POST OF DUTY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, OCTOBER 25, 1932:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1932, AS FOLLOWS:

YOUR RECONSIDERATION OF A SUSPENSION MADE IN THE ACCOUNT OF CHARLES E. MOLSTER, DISBURSING CLERK OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, IN THE AMOUNT OF $10.85 BECAUSE OF TRAVEL EXPENSES PAID FREEMAN ALBERY, INSPECTOR IN THE AERONAUTICS BRANCH OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED CAR WHILE IN THE CONDUCT OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS UNDER DATES OF MARCH 22 AND 26, 1932, IS REQUESTED. THE FACTS IN THIS CASE AS SHOWN BY VOUCHER NO. 89352-192773 ARE THAT MR. ALBERY MADE A TRIP ON MARCH 22 FROM COLUMBUS, WHICH WAS HIS HEADQUARTERS, TO THE MUNICIPAL AIRPORT AT SPRINGFIELD, OHIO, AND RETURNED TO COLUMBUS ON THE SAME DAY, A TOTAL MILEAGE OF 95 MILES, FOR WHICH HE CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT AT THE RATE OF SEVEN CENTS A MILE. HE SHOWED IN HIS EXPENSE ACCOUNT THAT THE COST OF THIS TRIP BY USUAL MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION WOULD HAVE BEEN $9.88, OR $3.23 IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT CLAIMED FOR MILEAGE. HE ALSO MADE A TRIP ON MARCH 26 FROM COLUMBUS, OHIO, HIS HEADQUARTERS, TO GRANVILLE AIRPORT, GRANVILLE, OHIO, AND RETURNED TO COLUMBUS, A DISTANCE OF 60 MILES, AND CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR OF SEVEN CENTS A MILE, OR $4.20. HE SHOWED IN HIS EXPENSE ACCOUNT THAT THE COST OF THIS TRIP BY USUAL MEANS WOULD HAVE BEEN $5.30, OR A SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF $1.10.

I NOTE THAT YOU HAVE SUSPENDED THE COST OF THESE TRIPS AND HAVE GIVEN AS A REASON THEREFOR THAT ABSENCES BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. DO NOT CONSTITUTE A TRAVEL STATUS WHICH WOULD AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE AND QUOTE 11 COMP. GEN. 309. THE DECISION REFERRED TO IS ONE MADE TO OUR DEPARTMENT IN THE CASE OF ANOTHER AERONAUTICAL INSPECTOR WHO HAD MADE TRIPS IN HIS PRIVATELY OWNED CAR TO AIRPORTS THAT WERE OUTSIDE OF THE CITY LIMITS OF HIS HEADQUARTERS. YOU STATED THAT CREDIT FOR THE SEVERAL PAYMENTS WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT AN EMPLOYEE MAKING TRIPS FOR 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. HAD MR. ALBERY MADE EITHER OF THE TRIPS REFERRED TO BY USUAL MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO QUESTION RAISED AS TO THE ALLOWANCE OF THE TRANSPORTATION COSTS. IT IS TRUE, OF COURSE, THAT UNDER PREVIOUS RULINGS MADE BY YOUR OFFICE HE WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO ANY SUBSISTENCE UNLESS THE MAKING OF THE TRIP BY USUAL MEANS WOULD HAVE NECESSITATED HIS BEING AWAY FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS MORE THAN TEN HOURS, WHICH, ACCORDING TO THE STATEMENT CONTAINED IN THE ACCOUNT REFERRED TO, WOULD HAVE BEEN THE CASE. BUT, ASSUMING THAT THE TRIPS COULD HAVE BEEN MADE WITHIN TEN HOURS AND USUAL MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION HAD BEEN USED, NO QUESTION WOULD HAVE BEEN RAISED BY YOUR OFFICE AS TO THE PAYMENT OF THESE CHARGES, AT LEAST SIMILAR CASES HAVE BEEN APPROVED WITHOUT QUESTION IN THE PAST. IT IS POSSIBLE FOR US TO ORDER AN EMPLOYEE TO MAKE A TRIP IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHERE THE MILEAGE MIGHT TOTAL AS MUCH AS 200 MILES AND WHERE THE TRIP COULD BE MADE DURING THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M., AND APPLYING THE SAME PRINCIPLE AS IS INVOLVED IN THE DECISION THAT WE ARE NOW ASKING TO BE RECONSIDERED, THE EMPLOYEE WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION IF HE USED HIS OWN CAR. WE DO NOT ORDER MEN TO USE THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED CARS UNLESS THERE IS A SAVING INVOLVED TO THE GOVERNMENT, AND UNLESS YOUR OFFICE CAN SEE ITS WAY CLEAR TO GIVE FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION TO THE APPROVAL OF THE ITEMS INVOLVED IN THE CASE UNDER CONSIDERATION, IT WILL BE NECESSARY FOR US IN THE FUTURE TO ORDER THESE MEN TO MAKE SUCH TRIPS BY USUAL MEANS, WHICH WILL, OF COURSE, INCREASE MATERIALLY THE COST OF SUCH TRAVEL TO THE GOVERNMENT. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT EVERY EFFORT IS NOW BEING MADE TO REDUCE FEDERAL EXPENDITURES, IT WOULD SEEM THAT VERY CAREFUL CONSIDERATION SHOULD BE GIVEN TO CASES OF THIS KIND BEFORE AN ADVERSE RULING IS MADE.

THE CLAIMS IN QUESTION WERE ORIGINALLY INCLUDED IN THE INSPECTOR'S REGULAR EXPENSE ACCOUNT FOR MARCH 16 TO 31, 1932, BUT WERE ELIMINATED BY ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION OF APRIL 15, 1932, BASED UPON THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE, 11 COMP. GEN. 309, 339 AND 359. IN SUBMITTING HIS EXPENSE ACCOUNT FOR THE PERIOD MAY 1 TO 15, 1932, VOUCHER NO. 89532, THE INSPECTOR RECLAIMED THE AMOUNT OF $10.85 PREVIOUSLY DEDUCTED, THE RECLAIM BEING BASED UPON THE FACT THAT THE TRIPS IN QUESTION HAD BEEN MADE BEFORE HE HAD BEEN NOTIFIED THAT SUCH CLAIMS WERE NOT ALLOWABLE AND FOR THE FURTHER REASON THAT A SAVING IN TRANSPORTATION, AS WELL AS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES, HAD BEEN EFFECTED BY THE USE OF HIS AUTOMOBILE. UPON THIS EXPLANATION, THE DISBURSING CLERK PAID THE RECLAIMED AMOUNT, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE REASONS UPON WHICH THE RECLAIM WAS BASED WERE EQUALLY APPLICABLE TO THE SITUATION DISCLOSED IN HIS ORIGINAL VOUCHER.

THE AMOUNT IN QUESTION REPRESENTED MILEAGE OF 7 CENTS PER MILE FOR 95 MILES OF TRAVEL MARCH 22, 1932, WHEN HE LEFT HIS HEADQUARTERS AT 7:30 A.M., AND RETURNED THERETO AT 5:45 P.M., AND 60 MILES ON MARCH 26, 1932, WHEN HE LEFT HIS HEADQUARTERS AT 7:30 A.M., AND RETURNED AT 2 P.M.

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.

THIS STATUTE RESULTED FROM A COMMITTEE AMENDMENT OF H.R. 12014, 71ST CONGRESS, 2ND SESSION. THE ORIGINAL BILL INCLUDED PROVISION FOR LIKE REIMBURSEMENT IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL "AT OFFICIAL STATION," BUT SUCH PROVISION WAS ELIMINATED.

THIS ENACTMENT HAS HERETOFORE BEEN CONSTRUED AS NOT COVERING AND SO AS TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE WHERE THE TRAVEL AWAY FROM AND RETURN TO THE POST OF DUTY WAS ONLY SUCH AS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8:00 A.M. AND 6:00 P.M. OF THE SAME DAY, OR WHERE A TRIP WAS BEGUN SHORTLY BEFORE 8:00 A.M., AND/OR THE RETURN WAS SHORTLY AFTER 6:00 P.M., UNLESS THE NECESSITY FOR LEAVING AND/OR RETURNING BEFORE AND AFTER SUCH HOURS WAS CLEARLY SHOWN, ON THE THEORY THERE WAS NO TRUE TRAVEL STATUS IN SUCH INSTANCES. THIS CONSTRUCTION SEEMED REQUIRED BY THE FACT THAT FOR A SUBSTANTIAL PERIOD PRIOR TO THE LEGISLATION THE ESTABLISHED RULE WAS AND NOW IS THAT AS TO ROUND TRIPS AWAY FROM POST OF DUTY, BEGINNING AND ENDING BETWEEN THE HOURS ABOVE MENTIONED--- THE HOURS USUALLY FOR DEVOTION TO BUSINESS--- THERE COULD BE NO STATUS CREATED, TRAVEL OR OTHERWISE, SUCH AS WOULD OPERATE TO TRANSFER TO THE PUBLIC TREASURY THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE TO PROVIDE FOR THEMSELVES, AND THE LEGISLATION WAS ENACTED IN THE LIGHT OF SUCH ESTABLISHED RULE--- AND THE FURTHER FACT THAT THE ENACTMENT'S HISTORY INDICATED A LEGISLATIVE PURPOSE NOT TO AUTHORIZE A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR CYCLE OR AUTOMOBILE EVEN AWAY FROM POST OF DUTY UNLESS A TRUE TRAVEL STATUS EXISTED. FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THE LANGUAGE EMPLOYED IN THE ENACTMENT AND THE PROCEEDINGS HAD WHILE THE LEGISLATION WAS UNDER CONSIDERATION BY THE CONGRESS INDUCES A DOUBT THAT THE CONSTRUCTION HERETOFORE MADE WAS CORRECT.

TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IN TRAVEL AWAY FROM POST OF DUTY ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS MAY LEGITIMATELY OCCUR WHEN NO TRAVEL STATUS FOR SUBSISTENCE PURPOSES EXISTS, SUCH AS ROUND TRIPS COMPLETED BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8:00 A.M. AND 6:00 P.M., AND WHERE SUCH TRAVEL IS BY COMMON CARRIER THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, DEALS WITH TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND NOT SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES, AND WHILE THERE REMAINS UNCHANGED THE RULE DENYING SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH ROUND TRIP AWAY FROM POST OF DUTY BEGINNING AND ENDING BETWEEN 8:00 A.M. AND 6:00 P.M. OF THE SAME DAY, IT APPEARS THE INTENT OF THE LAW TO PERMIT PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR AUTHORIZED USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR CYCLE OR AUTOMOBILE IN TRAVEL AWAY FROM POST OF DUTY AND ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS REGARDLESS OF THE ELEMENT OF TIME.

THIS ENACTMENT DOES NOT, HOWEVER, PROVIDE THAT AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE SHALL IN ALL CASES BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE MILEAGE FOR USE OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR CYCLE OR AUTOMOBILE EVEN WHEN USED BY HIM TO TRAVEL AWAY FROM HIS POST OF DUTY ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. IT DOES NOT OPERATE TO MAKE THE TRAVELER'S MOTOR CYCLE OR AUTOMOBILE HIS USUAL MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION IN SUCH CONNECTION. TO ENTITLE TO MILEAGE THE USE MUST NOT ONLY HAVE BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED BUT SO AUTHORIZED BECAUSE "MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO UNITED STATES," WHICH NECESSARILY REQUIRES CONSIDERATION OF ALL PROPER ELEMENTS AND SUCH FIXING OF A RATE OF MILEAGE PRIOR TO THE USE AS WILL EFFECT A CLEAR SAVING TO THE UNITED STATES IN TRANSPORTATION COST. THERE CAN BE NO MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR CYCLE OR AUTOMOBILE WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THE POST OF DUTY OR OFFICIAL STATION IN THE ABSENCE OF SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY. THIS WAS EFFECTIVELY DENIED IN CONNECTION WITH THE ENACTING OF THE STATUTE HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION.

IN THE PARTICULAR CASES YOU HAVE SUBMITTED, THE TRAVEL ON MARCH 22, 1932, WAS FROM COLUMBUS, OHIO, THE POST OF DUTY OF THE EMPLOYEE, TO THE MUNICIPAL AIRPORT, SPRINGFIELD, OHIO, AND RETURN, A TOTAL CLAIMED DISTANCE OF 95 MILES, AND FROM COLUMBUS ON MARCH 26, 1932, TO THE GRANVILLE AIRPORT, GRANVILLE, OHIO, AND RETURN, A TOTAL CLAIMED DISTANCE OF 60 MILES --- THE DEPARTURE IN EACH CASE HAVING BEEN AT 7:30 A.M. AND THE RETURN AT 5:45 P.M. AND 2:00 P.M., RESPECTIVELY. IF THE TRAVEL HAD BEEN BY COMMON CARRIER THE ACTUAL EXPENSE OF TRANSPORTATION WOULD BE ALLOWABLE. IF IT BE NOW ESTABLISHED THAT TO ACCOMPLISH SUCH TRAVEL AWAY FROM POST OF DUTY THE USE OF TRAVELER'S PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED AND AT A RATE OF MILEAGE SO AS TO BE MORE ECONOMICAL THAN OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION, CREDIT WILL BE ALLOWED AT THE RATE SO FIXED FOR THE NUMBER OF MILES SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN TRAVELED OUTSIDE OF THE LIMITS OF THE TRAVELER'S POST OF DUTY.