A-50905, SEPTEMBER 18, 1933, 13 COMP. GEN. 82

A-50905: Sep 18, 1933

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IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO PURCHASE CARS FOR THE USE OF ALL EMPLOYEES IN A SUPERVISORY CAPACITY AND IN SOME INSTANCES IT IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S PERSONAL CAR AT A MILEAGE RATE WHEN TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED HEADQUARTERS. IT IS REALIZED THIS PRIVILEGE CAN BE EASILY ABUSED AND SUCH TRAVEL AUTHORIZED BY PERSONAL AUTOMOBILE AT A MILEAGE RATE MUST BE KEPT TO A MINIMUM. AN ACCURATE RECORD MUST BE KEPT OF SUCH TRAVEL AND THERE IS INCLOSED A SMALL SUPPLY OF FORMS TO BE USED IN KEEPING SUCH RECORD. IT IS DESIRED TO SUPPLEMENT THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED CIRCULAR LETTER SO AS TO PERMIT THE HIRE OF AUTOMOBILES FROM EMPLOYEES. PAYMENT THEREFOR ON A MILEAGE BASIS WHEN THE CARS ARE ACTUALLY AND NECESSARILY USED OFFICIALLY IN CONNECTION WITH THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK.

A-50905, SEPTEMBER 18, 1933, 13 COMP. GEN. 82

MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE SUPERVISORY OFFICERS OF THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION CORPS MAY BE AUTHORIZED TO USE THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES FOR OFFICIAL TRANSPORTATION OUTSIDE OF THE LIMITS OF THEIR OFFICIAL STATION UPON A MILEAGE BASIS UPON THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IN ADVANCE THAT SUCH USE WOULD BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES FOR TRANSPORTATION WITH THE LIMITS OF THEIR OFFICIAL STATION MAY NOT BE MADE EXCEPT UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, SEPTEMBER 18, 1933:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 5, 1933, AS FOLLOWS:

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO 6200, DATED JULY 11, 1933, AUTHORIZED AND EMPOWERED THE DIRECTOR OF EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK TO DO, OR CAUSE TO BE DONE, ALL THINGS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH SAID WORK IN CARRYING OUT THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF MARCH 31, 1933, AND PRIOR EXECUTIVE ORDERS AND INSTRUCTIONS ISSUED THEREUNDER. ACTING UNDER A GRANT OF AUTHORITY BY THE SAID DIRECTOR, THE COMMISSIONER OF INDIAN AFFAIRS ISSUED INSTRUCTIONS TO FIELD EMPLOYEES OF THE INDIAN SERVICE BY CIRCULAR LETTER NO. 36, DATED JULY 18, 1933, AS FOLLOWS:

THE NATURE OF THE SUPERVISORY WORK OF EMERGENCY CONSERVATION CAMPS AND THE LOCATION OF SUCH CAMPS REQUIRE A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE.

IT IS IMPRACTICABLE TO PURCHASE CARS FOR THE USE OF ALL EMPLOYEES IN A SUPERVISORY CAPACITY AND IN SOME INSTANCES IT IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S PERSONAL CAR AT A MILEAGE RATE WHEN TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED HEADQUARTERS.

IT IS REALIZED THIS PRIVILEGE CAN BE EASILY ABUSED AND SUCH TRAVEL AUTHORIZED BY PERSONAL AUTOMOBILE AT A MILEAGE RATE MUST BE KEPT TO A MINIMUM.

AN ACCURATE RECORD MUST BE KEPT OF SUCH TRAVEL AND THERE IS INCLOSED A SMALL SUPPLY OF FORMS TO BE USED IN KEEPING SUCH RECORD. THIS FORM, PROPERLY FILLED OUT, MUST BE SUBMITTED IN DUPLICATE WITH EACH TRAVEL EXPENSE VOUCHER TO SUPPORT THE CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH TRAVEL. COPY MUST BE RETAINED IN EACH FIELD OFFICE FOR FUTURE REFERENCE.

AN ADDITIONAL SUPPLY OF THESE FORMS MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THIS OFFICE UPON REQUEST.

PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE RECEIPT.

ALL SUCH TRAVEL MUST BE AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE BY THIS OFFICE.

INASMUCH AS SUPERVISORY EMPLOYEES MUST NECESSARILY BE PROVIDED WITH TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES IN ORDER TO PROPERLY PERFORM THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES WITHIN THE AREAS OF THE CONSERVATION PROJECTS, AND FOR MAKING SHORT JOURNEYS TO AND FROM OUTSIDE PLACES BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M., NEITHER OF WHICH TECHNICALLY ENTITLES THE EMPLOYEES TO A TRAVEL STATUS, IT IS DESIRED TO SUPPLEMENT THE INSTRUCTIONS IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED CIRCULAR LETTER SO AS TO PERMIT THE HIRE OF AUTOMOBILES FROM EMPLOYEES, OR OTHERS, AND PAYMENT THEREFOR ON A MILEAGE BASIS WHEN THE CARS ARE ACTUALLY AND NECESSARILY USED OFFICIALLY IN CONNECTION WITH THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK, EITHER WITHIN THE DUTY STATIONS OF THE EMPLOYEES OR ELSEWHERE.

OWING TO THE TEMPORARY AND EMERGENCY NATURE OF THE WORK IN HAND, SUCH AN ARRANGEMENT WILL BE DECIDEDLY MORE ECONOMICAL AND OTHERWISE ADVANTAGEOUS THAN THE PURCHASE OF AUTOMOBILES BY THE GOVERNMENT. MOREOVER, IT WOULD BE UNREASONABLE TO EXPECT THE EMPLOYEES TO USE THEIR OWN CARS ON AN ACTUAL OPERATING EXPENSE BASIS FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN AND AROUND EMERGENCY CONSERVATION PROJECTS, WHERE SUCH ROADS AS MAY EXIST ARE NEWLY CONSTRUCTED AND OFTENTIMES EXCEEDINGLY ROUGH.

YOUR DECISION ON THE QUESTION OF WHETHER IN THIS EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK IT IS PERMISSIBLE TO PAY EMPLOYEES AND OTHERS ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR OFFICIAL USE OF THEIR OWN AUTOMOBILES AS HEREIN DESCRIBED WILL BE APPRECIATED.

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 MOTORCYCLE 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 MILEAGE RATES PERMITTED UNDER THE FOREGOING STATUTE WERE REDUCED BY SECTION 9, ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, TO 2 AND 5 CENTS PER MILE, RESPECTIVELY. IT WAS ORIGINALLY HELD BY THIS OFFICE THAT THE FOREGOING STATUTE PROHIBITED ANY MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHEN CONFINED BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. (11 COMP. GEN. 309, AND 359).

HOWEVER, BY DECISION OF OCTOBER 25, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 423, IT WAS HELD THAT SAID ACT AUTHORIZED THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR ALL DISTANCES UPON WHICH AN EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE WAS USED FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS OUTSIDE THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL DUTY STATION, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE HOURS BETWEEN WHICH THE TRANSPORTATION WAS USED. IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY IS FOR THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S OWN AUTOMOBILE "AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY," AND THAT NO AUTHORITY IS GIVEN IN THE STATUTE FOR THE USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE WITHIN THE LIMITS OF HIS DUTY STATION. EXCEPT WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO REIMBURSE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES UPON A COMMUTED OR MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE USE OF HIS AUTOMOBILE, AS SUCH PAYMENT WOULD BE IN VIOLATION OF SECTION 1765, REVISED STATUTES. REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS FOR ALL ITEMS OF EXPENSE DIRECTLY TRACEABLE TO THE USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE UPON OFFICIAL BUSINESS SUCH AS GASOLINE AND OIL EVEN WITHIN THE LIMITS OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION, IF THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED IS AVAILABLE FOR MAINTENANCE AND OPERATION OF PASSENGER CARRYING VEHICLES, BUT NOT OTHERWISE. SEE SECTION 5 OF THE ACT OF JULY 16, 1914, 38 STAT. 508.

THE FOREGOING STATES THE GENERAL RULES APPLICABLE TO THE SITUATION PRESENTED IN YOUR SUBMISSION AND I FIND NOTHING IN THE ACT OF MARCH 31, 1933, 48 STAT. 22, UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF WHICH THE EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK IS BEING PERFORMED, SPECIFICALLY WAIVING THE STATUTORY PROVISIONS UPON WHICH SUCH RULES ARE BASED. A-49754, JULY 21, 1933.

ANSWERING YOUR QUESTION SPECIFICALLY, THE SUPERVISORY OFFICERS MAY BE AUTHORIZED TO USE THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES FOR OFFICIAL TRANSPORTATION OUTSIDE OF THE LIMITS OF THEIR OFFICIAL STATION UPON A MILEAGE BASIS UPON AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IN ADVANCE THAT SUCH USE WOULD BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. WOULD NOT BE PERMISSIBLE TO REIMBURSE SUCH OFFICERS FOR THE USE OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES FOR TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR OFFICIAL STATION EXCEPT UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS.