A-50504, A-54107, FEBRUARY 14, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 629

A-50504,A-54107: Feb 14, 1935

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AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO MY LETTER TO YOU DATED NOVEMBER 13. IS "NOT APPLICABLE FOR THE REASONS THAT TRAVEL IN THE PRESENT CASE IS BY A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE. ALSO THE USUAL METHOD OF TRAVEL IS BY BOAT RATHER THAN BY RAIL.'. IT APPEARS THAT THE EXCEPTIONS HAVE BEEN MADE BY THE AUDIT DIVISION ON A MISUNDERSTANDING THAT THE TRAVEL INVOLVED IN THE PARTY MOVEMENT OF CIVILIANS ON MAY 3-5. WHEREAS IT WAS IN FACT A PARTY MOVEMENT JUST AS MUCH AS A TROOP MOVEMENT IS A PARTY MOVEMENT. THERE IS NOTHING IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3. IT WAS HELD THAT IN A TROOP MOVEMENT ON COMMERCIAL VESSEL ON WHICH THERE WERE NOT SUFFICIENT MINIMUM-RATE FIRST-CLASS STATEROOMS TO ACCOMMODATE ALL. AFTER LOWER-PRICED ROOMS ARE EXHAUSTED ON CONDITION THAT THE AGGREGATE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF THE DETACHMENT DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST OF THEIR TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL.'.

A-50504, A-54107, FEBRUARY 14, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 629

TRAVELING EXPENSES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS FARE THE FACT THAT A LARGE NUMBER OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES MAY BE TRAVELING TO A COMMON DESTINATION BY THE SAME TRANSPORTATION FACILITY DOES NOT ADMIT OF ANY EXCEPTION TO THE RESTRICTIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, LIMITING THE ALLOWANCE FOR TRANSPORTATION TO THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED. 13 COMP. GEN. 254, DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS, FEBRUARY 14, 1935:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 6, 1934, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO MY LETTER TO YOU DATED NOVEMBER 13, 1934, WITH REGARD TO CERTIFICATE OF SETTLEMENT NO. C-63606-MS, DATED MAY 3, 1934, IN THE ACCOUNTS OF RUTH SCOTT, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS, SYMBOL 92-671, COVERING PERIOD APRIL 1 TO JUNE 30, 1933, DIFFERENCES, $49.50.

AS TO EXCEPTIONS AMOUNTING TO $31.50 ON ACCOUNT OF "EXCESS COST OF STATEROOMS," IN THE NATURE OF A REPLY THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED FURTHER NOTICE OF EXCEPTION BY THE AUDIT DIVISION UPON GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FORM 2084, WHICH STATES THAT YOUR DECISION A-53823 OF MARCH 31, 1934, IS "NOT APPLICABLE FOR THE REASONS THAT TRAVEL IN THE PRESENT CASE IS BY A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE, AND ALSO THE USUAL METHOD OF TRAVEL IS BY BOAT RATHER THAN BY RAIL.'

IT APPEARS THAT THE EXCEPTIONS HAVE BEEN MADE BY THE AUDIT DIVISION ON A MISUNDERSTANDING THAT THE TRAVEL INVOLVED IN THE PARTY MOVEMENT OF CIVILIANS ON MAY 3-5, 1933, CONSTITUTED SO MANY INDIVIDUAL TRIPS, WHEREAS IT WAS IN FACT A PARTY MOVEMENT JUST AS MUCH AS A TROOP MOVEMENT IS A PARTY MOVEMENT. THERE IS NOTHING IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, WHICH WARRANTS A DIFFERENTIATION BETWEEN PARTY MOVEMENTS OF TROOPS AND PARTY MOVEMENTS OF CIVILIANS.

IN COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S DECISION A-53823 PREVIOUSLY REFERRED TO, IT WAS HELD THAT IN A TROOP MOVEMENT ON COMMERCIAL VESSEL ON WHICH THERE WERE NOT SUFFICIENT MINIMUM-RATE FIRST-CLASS STATEROOMS TO ACCOMMODATE ALL, SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933,"REQUIRES THE PROCUREMENT OF STATEROOM ACCOMMODATIONS BEGINNING WITH THE MINIMUM FIRST-CLASS RATE ROOMS AND CONTINUING WITH THE NEXT HIGHER-PRICED ROOM, AS MAY BE REQUIRED, AFTER LOWER-PRICED ROOMS ARE EXHAUSTED ON CONDITION THAT THE AGGREGATE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF THE DETACHMENT DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST OF THEIR TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL.'

THE PERTINENT FACTS IN THE CIVILIAN PARTY MOVEMENT OF THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTED FOR AERONAUTICS MAY 3 TO 5, 1933, WERE PARALLEL TO THOSE IN THE TROOP MOVEMENT REFERRED TO, INSOFAR AS THE SAID SECTION 10 IS APPLICABLE.

REVIEW OF THE ACTION OF THE AUDIT DIVISION IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED.

SECTION 10, ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, PROVIDES:

WHENEVER BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF LAW ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL MAY BE ALLOWED TO OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES, SUCH ALLOWANCES, IN THE CASE OF TRAVEL ORDERED AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT, SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRAVEL.

IN YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 27, 1934, YOU REQUESTED AN ADVANCE DECISION UPON THE APPLICATION OF THE ABOVE ACT TO THE MOVEMENT OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TO THE CONFERENCE AT LANGLEY FIELD, VIRGINIA, STATING THAT SOME 200 PERSONS USUALLY ATTENDED THESE MEETINGS AND THAT 70 PERCENT THEREOF PROCEEDED VIA THE NORFOLK AND WASHINGTON STEAMSHIP LINE. YOUR SUBMISSION FAILED TO STATE, HOWEVER, THAT THE TRAVEL HAD ALREADY BEEN PERFORMED AND THAT THE EXCESS COST HAD BEEN QUESTIONED IN THE AUDIT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS. HOWEVER, IT WAS STATED IN THE DECISION RENDERED TO YOU BY THIS OFFICE, MARCH 24, 1934, A-54107---

THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION ARE MANDATORY AND ADMIT OF NO EXCEPTION WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE CONDITIONS STATED IN YOUR LETTER. ACCORDINGLY, TRAVELERS UTILIZING STATEROOMS FOR WHICH MORE THAN THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS FARE IS CHARGED MUST PERSONALLY BEAR THE EXCESS COST.

SEE, ALSO, DECISION TO YOU NOVEMBER 21, 1933, A-50504, ON THE SAME SUBJECT.

IN THE DECISION A-53823, MARCH 31, 1934, CITED BY YOU AND PUBLISHED IN 13 COMP. GEN. 254, THERE WAS SUBMITTED THE QUESTION OF USING STEAMBOAT ACCOMMODATIONS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF A BODY OF TROOPS IN LIEU OF THEIR TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL, AND IT WAS HELD THEREIN:

IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF A DETACHMENT OF TROOPS ON COMMERCIAL VESSELS ON WHICH THERE ARE NOT SUFFICIENT MINIMUM-RATE FIRST-CLASS STATEROOMS TO ACCOMMODATE ALL OF THE DETACHMENT, SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, REQUIRES THE PROCUREMENT OF STATEROOM ACCOMMODATIONS BEGINNING WITH THE MINIMUM FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS AND CONTINUING WITH THE NEXT HIGHER-PRICED ACCOMMODATIONS AS MAY BE REQUIRED AFTER THE LOWER- PRICED ACCOMMODATIONS ARE EXHAUSTED, ON CONDITION THAT THE AGGREGATE COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE DETACHMENT DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST OF THEIR TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL.

THE MOVEMENT OF A DETACHMENT OF TROOPS IS AS A UNIT AND THEIR TRANSPORTATION IS ARRANGED FOR BY THE OFFICERS IN CHARGE OF THE MOVEMENT. THE MEMBERS OF THE TROOP ARE NOT ENTITLED TO "ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL" BUT ARE LIMITED TO TRANSPORTATION IN KIND. CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES PERFORMING TRAVEL UPON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ARE LIMITED TO ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 452, AND DO NOT TRAVEL AS A UNIT IN THE SAME SENSE THAT TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY A BODY OF TROOPS. FURTHERMORE, IT IS NOTED THAT INDIVIDUAL TRAVEL ORDERS WERE ISSUED TO EACH OF THE RESPECTIVE TRAVELERS. NO INDIVIDUAL ORDERS ARE ISSUED TO ENLISTED MEN INVOLVED IN A TROOP MOVEMENT. THE TRAVEL OF THE RESPECTIVE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ATTENDING THE CONFERENCE, HAVING BEEN PERFORMED UNDER CONDITIONS TO WHICH SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, IS APPLICABLE, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR ANY ALLOWANCE IN EXCESS OF THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS FARE OF $1.50 EACH. AS EACH TRAVELER'S VOUCHER DISCLOSED THE USE OF SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS PROCURED UPON GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS, IT WAS THE DUTY OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER TO WITHHOLD FROM THE PAYMENTS MADE TO THE RESPECTIVE EMPLOYEES THE AMOUNT OF SUCH EXCESS COST. HAVING FAILED TO DO SO, THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT IN THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS WAS CORRECT, AND UPON REVIEW MUST BE, AND IS, SUSTAINED.