A-50711, DECEMBER 8, 1933, 13 COMP. GEN. 163

A-50711: Dec 8, 1933

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WHEREVER SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL IS PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED AND IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. A TRAVELER MAY NOT BE PAID AN INCREASED MILEAGE RATE BECAUSE HE IS ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS. AS FOLLOWS: THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE HAS RETURNED TO THIS DEPARTMENT WITHOUT CERTIFICATION VOUCHERS IN FAVOR OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT INVOLVING THE USE OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES WHEN TRAVELING UPON A MILEAGE BASIS AND IN CASES WHERE THE TRAVELER WAS ACCOMPANIED BY ANOTHER OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR WHICH TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE POINTS COVERED BY THE AUTOMOBILE WERE IN EXCESS OF THE STATUTORY RATE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE.

A-50711, DECEMBER 8, 1933, 13 COMP. GEN. 163

TRAVELING EXPENSES - JOINT - MILEAGE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS AMENDED, HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE, WHEREVER SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL IS PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED AND IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES, A TRAVELER MAY NOT BE PAID AN INCREASED MILEAGE RATE BECAUSE HE IS ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS, BUT ANY SAVING MADE BY REASON OF SUCH GROUP TRAVEL MAY BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING THE ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE TO THE UNITED STATES OF AUTHORIZING MILEAGE PAYMENTS TO THE OWNER NOT IN EXCESS OF THE RATES AUTHORIZED BY LAW AND APPLICABLE REGULATIONS FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED ALONE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, DECEMBER 8, 1933:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN THE MATTERS CONTAINED IN YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 23, 1933, J.W.G., AS FOLLOWS:

THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE HAS RETURNED TO THIS DEPARTMENT WITHOUT CERTIFICATION VOUCHERS IN FAVOR OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT INVOLVING THE USE OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES WHEN TRAVELING UPON A MILEAGE BASIS AND IN CASES WHERE THE TRAVELER WAS ACCOMPANIED BY ANOTHER OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT FOR WHICH TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE POINTS COVERED BY THE AUTOMOBILE WERE IN EXCESS OF THE STATUTORY RATE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE. THE VOUCHERS WHEN RETURNED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WITHOUT CERTIFICATION CONTAINED A STATEMENT SUBSTANTIALLY AS FOLLOWS:

"THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AUTHORIZES PAYMENT TO AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR HIS TRAVEL IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED CAR BUT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE AUTHORITY TO MAKE AN ADDITIONAL PAYMENT ON ACCOUNT OF TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED OTHER GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL. SEE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF JUNE 27, 1933, A-49323.'

YOUR DECISION OF JUNE 27, SUPRA, HAS NEVER BEEN RECEIVED IN THIS DEPARTMENT. HOWEVER, UPON INQUIRY I AM ADVISED THAT IT WAS BASED UPON A TRAVEL ORDER IN THE CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES COAST GUARD AND READING IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"TRAVEL BY YOUR OWN AUTOMOBILE, AT A RATE OF 4 CENTS A MILE, BEING MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES, IS AUTHORIZED. IN CASE ONE OR MORE PASSENGERS, TRAVELING UNDER OFFICIAL ORDERS, ARE TRANSPORTED BY YOU AN ADDITIONAL 3 CENTS PER MILE IS AUTHORIZED.

IT APPEARS FROM THE TRAVEL ORDER IN QUESTION THAT THE COAST GUARD SERVICE WAS, IN FACT, CONTRACTING WITH THE TRAVELER TO TRANSPORT A SECOND PERSON. AS A MATTER OF FACT YOU STATED IN THAT DECISION:

"THE TRAVELER USING HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE IS NOT ENTITLED TO FUNCTION AS A COMMON CARRIER.'

AS TO THE USE OF AUTOMOBILES OWNED AND OPERATED BY OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THIS DEPARTMENT THE FULL 5 CENTS ALLOWANCE HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED AS PER DEPARTMENT'S CIRCULARS NOS. 2200 EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1931, AND 2330, DATED OCTOBER 18, 1932, BOTH OF WHICH ARE ON FILE IN YOUR OFFICE. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, AS AMENDED, AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT UPON A 5 CENTS MILEAGE BASIS READS IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT ON SUCH MILEAGE BASIS IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES.'

IN MANY CASES IN THIS DEPARTMENT, MORE ESPECIALLY IN THE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION AND IN CASES OF UNITED STATES MARSHALS AND THEIR DEPUTIES, IT IS QUITE FREQUENTLY NECESSARY FOR TWO OR MORE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TO TRAVEL TOGETHER. IN ALMOST EVERY INSTANCE THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN EXPENDED FOR RAILROAD OR OTHER TRANSPORTATION GREATLY EXCEEDS THE STATUTORY ALLOWANCE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE. BY REDUCING THE EXPENSE OF TRANSPORTATION TO THE GOVERNMENT, THE TERM "MORE ECONOMICAL " IS COMPLIED WITH. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF CIRCULAR NO. 2330 EACH TRAVELER SHOW BOTH THE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE. THE ACT STATES THAT REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE ON A MILEAGE BASIS WHEN THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE IS "MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES.' THERE IS NOTHING IN THE ACT TO DETERMINE HOW THE ECONOMY IS TO BE ARRIVED AT. THE MERE FACT THAT THERE IS AN ACTUAL SAVINGS IN DOLLARS AND CENTS WOULD APPEAR TO COMPLY WITH THAT PART OF THE ACT. IN THIS CONNECTION YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO YOUR DECISION OF DECEMBER 29, 1931, A-39963. SINCE THE ENACTMENT OF THE MILEAGE LAW OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, WHICH BECAME EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1931, IT HAS BEEN THE PRACTICE OF THIS DEPARTMENT TO REIMBURSE TRAVELERS AND OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO ALLOW FULL CREDIT THEREFOR IN THE DISBURSING CLERK'S ACCOUNT, AT THE RATE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE (OR 7 CENTS PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THE AMENDMENT TO THE ACT) WHERE OTHER GOVERNMENT OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ACCOMPANIED HIM, PROVIDED OF COURSE THAT THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER FOR BOTH THE OWNER AND DRIVER OF THE AUTOMOBILE AND THE OFFICIAL TRAVELER ACCOMPANYING HIM DOES NOT EXCEED THE MILEAGE RATE.

IN VIEW OF THE LONG ESTABLISHED PRACTICE OF ALLOWING A TRAVELER IN SUCH CASES THE FULL 5 CENTS PER MILE ALLOWANCE FOR THE USE OF HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND OF THE ACTION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING ON THIS MATTER.

THE DECISION OF JUNE 27, 1933, A-49323, TO WHICH YOU REFER, CONSIDERED THE LEGALITY OF AN ADDITIONAL MILEAGE PAYMENT OF 3 CENTS A MILE (7 CENTS INSTEAD OF 4 CENTS) TO A UNITED STATES COAST GUARD OFFICER FOR TRAVEL BY HIS OWN PERSONAL AUTOMOBILE BECAUSE HE WAS ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS. THAT DECISION WAS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

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 ACT OF JULY 5, 1932, 47 STAT. 588, MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, UNDER THE TITLE "PAY AND ALLOWANCES, COAST GUARD, 1933," PROVIDES:

"* * * FOR * * * MILEAGE AND EXPENSES ALLOWED BY LAW FOR OFFICERS; * *

NEITHER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, NOR THE APPROPRIATION ACT AS MADE AVAILABLE BY SECTION 206 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 405, FOR TRAVEL BY AN OFFICER'S OWN AUTOMOBILE CONTEMPLATES REIMBURSEMENT TO SUCH OFFICER OF OTHER THAN HIS PERSONAL TRAVEL. WHEN ONE OR MORE OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES ACCOMPANY SUCH OWNER THE MEASURE OF REIMBURSEMENT TO SUCH ADDITIONAL TRAVELERS IS THE ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSE INCURRED BY THEM. A DETERMINATION IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS THAT FOUR CENTS A MILE WOULD BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES FOR TRAVEL BY THE OWNER ALONE ENTITLED THE OWNER TO THAT RATE, IF OTHERWISE PROPER. THAT DETERMINATION HAVING BEEN MADE THERE IS NO AUTHORITY TO FIX ANY OTHER OR DIFFERENT RATE BASED UPON CONTINGENCIES ARISING DURING THE TRAVEL. THE STATUTE AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT TO THE TRAVELER FOR HIS TRAVEL IN HIS OWN PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE; IT CONSTITUTES NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYING THE TRAVELER AS A CARRIER OF OTHER GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL.

DISALLOWANCE OF ALL MILEAGE CLAIMED IN EXCESS OF FOUR CENTS A MILE WAS PROPER.

THE FACT THAT THE MILEAGE CLAIMED AT SEVEN CENTS A MILE WAS LESS THAN THE RAIL FARE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN PAID HAD THE THREE OFFICERS TRAVELED BY TRAIN, IS NO BASIS FOR ANY ALLOWANCE IN EXCESS OF THAT AUTHORIZED BY LAW AND THE ORDER FOR THE MODE OF TRAVEL EMPLOYED. THE TRAVELER USING HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE IS NOT ENTITLED TO FUNCTION AS A COMMON CARRIER, NOR HAS HE THE BURDEN OF SUCH A CARRIER.

THE PREAUDIT ACTION TO WHICH YOU REFER APPARENTLY WAS PREDICATED ON THAT DECISION, BUT IT WAS NOT INTENDED BY SUCH DECISION TO HOLD THAT IN DETERMINING THE ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE TO THE UNITED STATES OF AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY AN EMPLOYEE IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS THERE NEED BE EXCLUDED AN ACTUAL SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT BY REASON OF THE FACT THAT THE TRAVELER IS TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS, BUT ONLY THAT, SUCH ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE HAVING BEEN ESTABLISHED, THE OWNER OF THE AUTOMOBILE IS NOT ENTITLED TO ANY INCREASE IN MILEAGE RATES BECAUSE OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS ARE TRANSPORTED, BECAUSE, AS WAS SAID IN THE DECISION, THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, SUPRA, DOES NOT CONTEMPLATE REIMBURSEMENT TO THE OWNER FOR OTHER THAN HIS PERSONAL TRAVEL, AND DOES NOT AUTHORIZE PAYING THE OWNER OF THE AUTOMOBILE AS A CARRIER OF OTHER GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THERE APPEARS NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO INCLUDING SAVINGS MADE ON OTHER TRAVELING PERSONNEL IN DETERMINING THE ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT, PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, OF AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY THE PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE OF ONE OF THE TRAVELERS, AND THAT, SUCH ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE HAVING BEEN ESTABLISHED, THERE APPEARS NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO PAYING THE OWNER OF THE AUTOMOBILE, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE SAID ACT AS AMENDED AND ANY REGULATIONS APPLICABLE THERETO, THE MILEAGE RATES AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED ALONE. FOR EXAMPLE, THE FACT THAT THE COST BY COMMON CARRIER OF AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING ALONE WOULD BE ONLY 3 CENTS A MILE WOULD NOT PRECLUDE ALLOWING THE EMPLOYEE UP TO 5 CENTS A MILE UNDER ORDERS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDING THEREFOR WHEN HE PERFORMS THE TRAVEL BY HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE AND TRANSPORTS ONE OR MORE OTHER EMPLOYEES TRAVELING WITH HIM ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHEN AN ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT CLEARLY APPEARS.

UPON RESUBMISSION OF THE VOUCHERS REFERRED TO BY YOU, ACTION WILL BE TAKEN THEREON IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS DECISION.