A-47544, AUGUST 2, 1933, 13 COMP. GEN. 31

A-47544: Aug 2, 1933

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THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE TO OFFICERS OF THE ARMY TRAVELING UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS WITHOUT TROOPS ON NONMILITARY DUTY IS SUBJECT TO A DEDUCTION OF 3 CENTS FOR EACH MILE OF LAND-GRANT-AIDED CONSTRUCTION INCLUDED IN THE OFFICIAL ROUTE. YOU WERE ASSIGNED TO DUTY AS ASSISTANT TO THE DISTRICT ENGINEER. WERE TO JOIN THAT STATION AND REPORT TO THE DISTRICT ENGINEER FOR DUTY. YOU WERE DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM MANILA ON TRANSPORT SCHEDULED TO SAIL MARCH 3. IT IS INDICATED THAT YOU PROCEEDED FROM NEW YORK CITY TO MOBILE BY PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE AND FOR THIS PORTION OF YOUR JOURNEY SUBMITTED A VOUCHER FOR $93.87 ($97.44 BASED ON A DISTANCE OF 1. A NET PAYMENT OF $93.87 WAS MADE TO YOU BY CAPTAIN DIGNOWITY PER VOUCHER 3485.

A-47544, AUGUST 2, 1933, 13 COMP. GEN. 31

MILEAGE - ARMY OFFICER TRAVELING ON NONMILITARY DUTY - LAND-GRANT DEDUCTION UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1906, 34 STAT. 246, AS MODIFIED BY SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 631, THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE TO OFFICERS OF THE ARMY TRAVELING UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS WITHOUT TROOPS ON NONMILITARY DUTY IS SUBJECT TO A DEDUCTION OF 3 CENTS FOR EACH MILE OF LAND-GRANT-AIDED CONSTRUCTION INCLUDED IN THE OFFICIAL ROUTE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO 1ST LIEUT. VERE A. BEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY, AUGUST 2, 1933:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO YOUR REQUEST DATED FEBRUARY 18, 1933, FOR THE REVIEW OF THE ACTION OF THIS OFFICE IN DISALLOWING CREDIT FOR $3.57 IN CONNECTION WITH EACH OF VOUCHERS 175 AND 177, JULY, 1932, ACCOUNTS OF EDWARD H. DIGNOWITY, CAPTAIN, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, YOUR PREDECESSOR AS DISBURSING OFFICER AT THE UNITED STATES ENGINEER OFFICE, MOBILE, ALA.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES AS FOLLOWS:

BY WAR DEPARTMENT ORDER DATED DECEMBER 17, 1931, YOU WERE ASSIGNED TO DUTY AS ASSISTANT TO THE DISTRICT ENGINEER, MOBILE ENGINEER DISTRICT, MOBILE, ALA., TO TAKE EFFECT UPON COMPLETION OF YOUR THEN TOUR OF FOREIGN SERVICE, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH ORDERS TO BE ISSUED BY THE COMMANDING GENERAL, PHILIPPINE DEPARTMENT, WERE TO JOIN THAT STATION AND REPORT TO THE DISTRICT ENGINEER FOR DUTY. BY ORDER DATED FEBRUARY 1, 1932, ISSUED BY THE COMMANDING GENERAL, PHILIPPINE DEPARTMENT, YOU WERE DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM MANILA ON TRANSPORT SCHEDULED TO SAIL MARCH 3, 1932, VIA GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION THROUGH THE PANAMA CANAL TO NEW YORK CITY, AND UPON EXPIRATION OF ANY LEAVE OF ABSENCE WHICH MIGHT BE GRANTED TO JOIN YOUR NEW STATION AT MOBILE, ALA. IT IS INDICATED THAT YOU PROCEEDED FROM NEW YORK CITY TO MOBILE BY PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE AND FOR THIS PORTION OF YOUR JOURNEY SUBMITTED A VOUCHER FOR $93.87 ($97.44 BASED ON A DISTANCE OF 1,218 MILES AT 8 CENTS PER MILE LESS $3.57 BASED ON A DISTANCE OF 119 MILES AT 3 CENTS PER MILE, THESE DISTANCES BEING, RESPECTIVELY, THE TOTAL DISTANCE FROM NEW YORK CITY TO MOBILE AND THE NUMBER OF LAND-GRANT MILES INCLUDED THEREIN AS PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL MILEAGE TABLE (FINANCE CIRCULAR NO. F 28, JUNE 1, 1931) (. A NET PAYMENT OF $93.87 WAS MADE TO YOU BY CAPTAIN DIGNOWITY PER VOUCHER 3485, JUNE 29, 1932. SUBSEQUENTLY YOU SUBMITTED A VOUCHER FOR $3.57 ADDITIONAL, BEING THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED IN VOUCHER 3485 BASED ON 3 CENTS PER MILE FOR 119 LAND-GRANT MILES, AND PAYMENT THEREOF WAS MADE TO YOU BY CAPTAIN DIGNOWITY PER VOUCHER 175, JULY 22, 1932. CREDIT FOR THIS LATTER PAYMENT WAS DISALLOWED BY THE AUDIT DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE PER NOTICE OF EXCEPTION (FORM 2084) DATED FEBRUARY 11, 1933, READING IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

REIMBURSED DEDUCTION FOR LAND GRANT 119 MILES ON OFFICIAL ROUTE * * *.

REIMBURSEMENT WAS APPARENTLY MADE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PAR. 5, APPENDIX TO OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES FINANCE CIRCULAR NO. F-1 DATED JUNE 1, 1931.

THIS PARAGRAPH WAS RESCINDED BY CHANGES NO. 2 DATED JANUARY 31, 1932. SEE 1 COMP. GEN. 597.

IN CONNECTION WITH THIS DISALLOWANCE YOU STATE THAT:

THE REIMBURSEMENT PAID ON THIS VOUCHER WAS NOT MADE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PAR. 5, APPENDIX TO OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES FINANCE CIRCULAR NO. F- 1, DATED JUNE 1, 1931.

THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, CITED IN THE SUSPENSION, WAS PRIOR TO THE OPINION OF SUPREME COURT, OF MARCH 14, 1932, RELATIVE TO TRANSPORTATION OF OFFICERS OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS ON NONMILITARY DUTY. IN THIS OPINION IT WAS ESTABLISHED THAT OFFICERS IN TRAVEL STATUS UNDER RIVER AND HARBOR WORK WERE NOT ENTITLED TO LAND-GRANT DEDUCTIONS FROM COST OF TRANSPORTATION.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE OPINION, THE UNITED STATES DID NOT SUFFER ANY LOSS FROM THE FACT THAT THE OFFICER USED HIS PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE IN LIEU OF TRAVEL BY RAIL ON GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST OVER THE PORTION OF LAND-GRANT RAILROAD INVOLVED. TRANSPORTATION COST TO THE UNITED STATES OVER THE 119 MILES OF LAND GRANT WOULD HAVE BEEN AT THE SAME RATE AS THE REMAINDER OF THE TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO MOBILE, ALABAMA.

THE DECISION OF MARCH 14, 1932, OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES REFERRED TO BY YOU IS, PRESUMABLY, THE DECISION RENDERED IN THE CASE OF SOUTHERN PACIFIC COMPANY V. UNITED STATES, 285 U.S. 240.

THAT CASE INVOLVED THE RIGHT OF A CARRIER TO PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CHARGES, WITHOUT DEDUCTION FOR LAND GRANT, FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF ENGINEER OFFICERS OF THE ARMY TRAVELING ON DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH THE IMPROVEMENT OF RIVERS AND HARBORS OR THE WORK OF THE CALIFORNIA DEBRIS COMMISSION. THE COURT HELD, IN EFFECT, THAT THE ACTIVITY OF ENGINEER OFFICERS WHILE ON SUCH DUTY WAS NONMILITARY IN CHARACTER EXCLUDING THEM FROM CLASSIFICATION AS A PART OF THE "TROOPS OF THE UNITED STATES," AND AS THE RIGHT OF THE GOVERNMENT TO DEDUCTION FOR LAND GRANT FROM THE CARRIERS' CHARGES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF OFFICERS OF THE ARMY ATTACHES BY REASON OF THEIR STATUS AS A PART OF THE TROOPS OF THE UNITED STATES, IT WAS HELD WITH RESPECT TO ENGINEER OFFICERS TRAVELING IN CONNECTION WITH RIVER AND HARBOR IMPROVEMENTS THAT THE CARRIERS WERE ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CHARGES WITHOUT DEDUCTION FOR LAND GRANT.

THE PRESENT SUBMISSION DOES NOT INVOLVE ANY QUESTION OF THE RIGHT OF A CARRIER TO PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CHARGES. ON THE CONTRARY IT PERTAINS TO THE RIGHT OF OFFICERS OF THE ARMY TO A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE WHILE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS WITHOUT TROOPS AS PROVIDED IN THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, 42 STAT. 631, AS FOLLOWS:

SEC. 12. THAT OFFICERS OF ANY OF THE SERVICES MENTIONED IN THE TITLE OF THIS ACT, WHEN TRAVELING UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS WITHOUT TROOPS, SHALL RECEIVE A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE AT THE RATE OF 8 CENTS PER MILE, DISTANCE TO BE COMPUTED BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE AND EXISTING LAWS PROVIDING FOR THE ISSUE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS TO OFFICERS OF THE ARMY TRAVELING UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS, AND FOR DEDUCTIONS TO BE MADE FROM MILEAGE ACCOUNTS WHEN TRANSPORTATION IS FURNISHED BY THE UNITED STATES, ARE HEREBY MADE APPLICABLE TO ALL THE SERVICES MENTIONED IN THE TITLE OF THIS ACT, * * *.

UNDER THE ABOVE PROVISIONS MAKING APPLICABLE TO THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE OF 8 CENTS PER MILE THUS AUTHORIZED THE PROVISIONS OF EXISTING LAWS CONCERNING THE FURNISHING OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS TO OFFICERS OF THE ARMY TRAVELING UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS AND THE DEDUCTION THEREFOR FROM MILEAGE ACCOUNTS, THERE ARE REQUIRED TO BE OBSERVED SUCH PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1906, 34 STAT. 246, AS FOLLOWS:

* * * THAT HEREAFTER OFFICERS, ACTIVE AND RETIRED, WHEN TRAVELING UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS WITHOUT TROOPS, AND RETIRED OFFICERS WHO HAVE SO TRAVELED SINCE MARCH THIRD, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND FIVE, SHALL BE PAID SEVEN CENTS PER MILE AND NO MORE; DISTANCES TO BE COMPUTED AND MILEAGE TO BE PAID OVER THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTES, WITH DEDUCTIONS AS HEREINAFTER PROVIDED; AND PAYMENT AND SETTLEMENT OF MILEAGE ACCOUNTS OF OFFICERS SHALL BE MADE ACCORDING TO DISTANCES AND DEDUCTIONS COMPUTED OVER ROUTES ESTABLISHED AND BY MILEAGE TABLES PREPARED BY THE PAYMASTER GENERAL OF THE ARMY UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR. * * * PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT OFFICERS WHO SO DESIRE MAY, UPON APPLICATION TO THE QUARTERMASTER'S DEPARTMENT, BE FURNISHED UNDER THEIR ORDERS TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR THE ENTIRE JOURNEY BY LAND, EXCLUSIVE OF SLEEPING AND PARLOR CAR ACCOMMODATIONS, OR BY WATER; AND THE TRANSPORTATION SO FURNISHED SHALL, IF TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED UNDER A MILEAGE STATUS, BE A CHARGE AGAINST THE OFFICER'S MILEAGE ACCOUNT, TO BE DEDUCTED AT THE RATE OF THREE CENTS PER MILE BY THE PAYMASTER PAYING THE ACCOUNT, AND OF THE AMOUNT SO DEDUCTED THERE SHALL BE TURNED OVER TO AN AUTHORIZED OFFICER OF THE QUARTERMASTER'S DEPARTMENT THREE CENTS PER MILE FOR TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED, EXCEPT OVER ANY RAILROAD WHICH IS A FREE OR FIFTY PERCENTUM LAND-GRANT RAILROAD, FOR THE CREDIT OF THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE ARMY AND ITS SUPPLIES: AND PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT WHEN THE ESTABLISHED ROUTE OF TRAVEL SHALL, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, BE OVER THE LINE OF ANY RAILROAD ON WHICH THE TROOPS AND SUPPLIES OF THE UNITED STATES ARE ENTITLED TO BE TRANSPORTED FREE OF CHARGE, OR OVER ANY FIFTY PERCENTUM LAND-GRANT RAILROAD, OFFICERS TRAVELING AS HEREIN PROVIDED FOR SHALL, FOR THE TRAVEL OVER SUCH ROADS, BE FURNISHED WITH TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS, EXCLUSIVE OF SLEEPING AND PARLOR CAR ACCOMMODATIONS, BY THE QUARTERMASTER'S DEPARTMENT: AND PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT WHEN TRANSPORTATION IS FURNISHED BY THE QUARTERMASTER'S DEPARTMENT, OR WHEN THE ESTABLISHED ROUTE OF TRAVEL IS OVER ANY OF THE RAILROADS ABOVE SPECIFIED, THERE SHALL BE DEDUCTED FROM THE OFFICER'S MILEAGE ACCOUNT BY THE PAYMASTER PAYING THE SAME THREE CENTS PER MILE FOR THE DISTANCE FOR WHICH TRANSPORTATION HAS BEEN OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED * * *.

THUS THE ALLOWANCE OF 8 CENTS PER MILE AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF JUNE 10, 1922, IS SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1906, SUPRA, REQUIRING THAT WHERE THE ESTABLISHED ROUTE OF TRAVEL IS, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, OVER "THE LINE OF ANY RAILROAD ON WHICH TROOPS AND SUPPLIES OF THE UNITED STATES ARE ENTITLED TO BE TRANSPORTED FREE OF CHARGE" OR OVER "ANY FIFTY PERCENTUM LAND-GRANT RAILROAD," OFFICERS TRAVELING AS THEREIN PROVIDED SHALL BE FURNISHED WITH TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR TRAVEL OVER SUCH ROUTES, AND TO THE FURTHER PROVISION THAT WHERE THE ESTABLISHED ROUTE OF TRAVEL IS OVER "ANY OF THE RAILROADS ABOVE SPECIFIED, THERE SHALL BE DEDUCTED FROM THE OFFICER'S MILEAGE ACCOUNT BY THE PAYMASTER PAYING THE SAME THREE CENTS PER MILE FOR THE DISTANCE FOR WHICH TRANSPORTATION HAS BEEN OR SHOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED.'

IT IS THUS OBVIOUS FROM THE PLAIN LANGUAGE OF THE STATUTES THAT WHILE THE ALLOWANCE OF 8 CENTS PER MILE IS NOT LIMITED EXCLUSIVELY TO OFFICERS WHO MAY, FOR PURPOSES OF SETTLEMENT OF CARRIERS' TRANSPORTATION CHARGES, BE REGARDED AS TROOPS OF THE UNITED STATES, THERE IS TO BE DEDUCTED FROM SAID ALLOWANCE, IN ANY CASE IN WHICH THE ESTABLISHED ROUTE OF TRAVEL IS OVER A LAND-GRANT RAILROAD, 3 CENTS PER MILE FOR EACH MILE OF LAND-GRANT RAILROAD INVOLVED. THE ALLOWANCE IS NOT CONDITIONED UPON THE OFFICERS BEING A PART OF THE TROOPS OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE DEDUCTION IS REQUIRED WHERE THE ESTABLISHED ROUTE INVOLVES LAND-GRANT MILEAGE REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THE OFFICERS ARE A PART OF THE TROOPS OF THE UNITED STATES. 2 COMP. GEN. 134, 7 ID. 498, AND 11 COMP. GEN. 490. SEE IN CONNECTION WITH THESE CITATIONS LOUISVILLE AND NASHVILLE, R. CO. V. UNITED STATES, 258 U.S. 374.

THE PAYMENT TO YOU OF THE AMOUNT OF $3.57 HERE IN QUESTION RESULTED IN EFFECT IN A FAILURE TO MAKE THE DEDUCTION OF THAT AMOUNT AS REQUIRED BY THE STATUTES.

THE SECOND ITEM INVOLVED IN YOUR SUBMISSION PERTAINS TO A SIMILAR PAYMENT MADE TO LIEUT.COL. ROBERT S. THOMAS, CORPS OF ENGINEERS. BY WAR DEPARTMENT ORDER DATED MARCH 7, 1932, SAID OFFICER WAS RELIEVED FROM DUTY AT WASHINGTON, D.C., ASSIGNED TO DUTY AS DISTRICT ENGINEER, MOBILE ENGINEER DISTRICT, MOBILE, ALA., AND DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO MOBILE, ALA., FOR DUTY ACCORDINGLY. IT IS INDICATED THAT THIS OFFICER LIKEWISE PROCEEDED TO MOBILE BY PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE. IN CONNECTION WITH THIS CHANGE OF STATION LIEUTENANT COLONEL THOMAS SUBMITTED A VOUCHER FOR $75.79 ($79.36 BASED ON A DISTANCE OF 992 MILES AT 8 CENTS PER MILE LESS $3.57 BASED ON A DISTANCE OF 119 MILES AT 3 CENTS PER MILE, THESE DISTANCES BEING, RESPECTIVELY, THE TOTAL DISTANCE FROM WASHINGTON. D.C., TO MOBILE, ALA., AND THE NUMBER OF LAND-GRANT MILES INCLUDED THEREIN AS PUBLISHED IN OFFICIAL MILEAGE TABLE (FINANCE CIRCULAR NO. F-28, JUNE 1, 1931) ). A NET PAYMENT OF $75.79 WAS MADE TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL THOMAS BY CAPTAIN DIGNOWITY PER VOUCHER 9, JULY 1, 1932. SUBSEQUENTLY LIEUTENANT COLONEL THOMAS SUBMITTED A VOUCHER FOR $3.57 ADDITIONAL, BEING THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED IN VOUCHER 9 BASED ON 3 CENTS PER MILE FOR 119 LAND-GRANT MILES, AND PAYMENT THEREOF WAS MADE TO HIM BY CAPTAIN DIGNOWITY PER VOUCHER 177, JULY 22, 1932. CREDIT FOR THIS LATTER PAYMENT WAS DISALLOWED BY THIS OFFICE PER NOTICE OF EXCEPTION (FORM 2084) DATED FEBRUARY 11, 1933, THE SAME REASONS BEING NOTED FOR THIS ACTION AS FOR THE DISALLOWANCE OF THE PAYMENT TO YOU PER VOUCHER 175, JULY 22, 1932. IN CONNECTION WITH THE DISALLOWANCE OF THE PAYMENT TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL THOMAS YOU NOTE "SEE REPLY OF THIS DATE (FEBRUARY 18, 1933) TO EXCEPTION TO VOUCHER NO. 175, JULY 1932.'

THUS THE SITUATION AND THE QUESTION INVOLVED IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRAVEL OF LIEUTENANT COLONEL THOMAS ARE THE SAME AS THOSE CONSIDERED HEREIN IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR PERSONAL TRAVEL AND THE SAME RULE APPLIES.

ACCORDINGLY, THE AMOUNT OF $7.14, REPRESENTING A DISALLOWANCE OF $3.57 IN CONNECTION WITH EACH OF THE VOUCHERS 175 AND 177 SHOULD BE DEPOSITED WITHOUT DELAY.