A-54484, MAY 25, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 390

A-54484: May 25, 1934

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

TRAVELING EXPENSES - TRANSFERS - ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION A TRANSFER BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS IS TO BE REGARDED AS A NEW APPOINTMENT IN APPLYING LAWS AND REGULATIONS CONTROLLING THE PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES. EVEN THOUGH THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED PURSUANT TO A CONTRACT ENTERED INTO BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT AND THE EMPLOYEE. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE DEPARTMENT TO CONTRACT TO PAY ANY ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION IN THE GUISE OF TRAVELING EXPENSES NOT AUTHORIZED BY THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES WHILE ABSENT FROM HEADQUARTERS IN AN OFFICIAL STATUS. THE ENDORSEMENT IS AS FOLLOWS: 1. ARE FORWARDED WITH THE REQUEST THAT THIS OFFICE BE FURTHER ADVISED AS TO THE BASIS FOR THE DISALLOWANCE IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES. 2.

A-54484, MAY 25, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 390

TRAVELING EXPENSES - TRANSFERS - ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION A TRANSFER BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS IS TO BE REGARDED AS A NEW APPOINTMENT IN APPLYING LAWS AND REGULATIONS CONTROLLING THE PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES, AND AN EMPLOYEE, UPON SUCH TRANSFER, MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS IN REPORTING TO THE NEW POSITION, EVEN THOUGH THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED PURSUANT TO A CONTRACT ENTERED INTO BETWEEN THE DEPARTMENT AND THE EMPLOYEE, THE TERMS OF WHICH PROVIDED FOR THE PAYMENT OF THE TRAVELING EXPENSES BY THE DEPARTMENT. THE SALARY OF AN EMPLOYEE HAVING BEEN FIXED BY CLASSIFICATION, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE DEPARTMENT TO CONTRACT TO PAY ANY ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION IN THE GUISE OF TRAVELING EXPENSES NOT AUTHORIZED BY THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES WHILE ABSENT FROM HEADQUARTERS IN AN OFFICIAL STATUS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF WAR, MAY 25, 1934:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO FIRST ENDORSEMENT OF THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, WAR DEPARTMENT, DATED MARCH 12, 1934, FILE 3180 (HARLOE, B. M./-1, RELATING TO DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNT OF CAPT. B. M. HARLOE FOR $47.19, PAID TO FLOYD R. OLIVER, ASSISTANT ENGINEER, ON VOUCHER 8403, JUNE 1933, AS REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FROM WASHINGTON, .C., TO ST. LOUIS, MO., INCIDENT TO MR. OLIVER'S TRANSFER FROM THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, WASHINGTON, D.C., TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT, WITH HEADQUARTERS AT ST. LOUIS, MO. THE ENDORSEMENT IS AS FOLLOWS:

1. THE BASIC LETTER AND THE INCLOSED SUPPORTING PAPERS COMPRISING COPIES OF YOUR SUSPENSION AND DISALLOWANCE OF THE PAYMENT IN THIS CASE AND OF THE REPLIES OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER THERETO, ARE FORWARDED WITH THE REQUEST THAT THIS OFFICE BE FURTHER ADVISED AS TO THE BASIS FOR THE DISALLOWANCE IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

2. THE ABOVE REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IS BASED ON THE APPARENT CONFLICT BETWEEN YOUR DISALLOWANCE IN THIS CASE AND THE CLEAR STATEMENT OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ENUNCIATED IN HIS DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 14, 1927, 7 COMP. GEN. 203, CITED BY YOUR OFFICE. THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL THEREIN DENIED PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF TRANSFER IN A SIMILAR CASE IN THE ABSENCE OF A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT TO THE CONTRARY. THIS OFFICE MADE A CONTRACT WITH MR. OLIVER IN THIS CASE. A COPY OF THE OFFER DATED JUNE 8, 1933, AND OF THE ACCEPTANCE DATED JUNE 9, 1933, IS INCLOSED. IT WILL BE NOTED THAT IT WAS SPECIFICALLY AGREED IN THIS CONTRACT THAT MR. OLIVER WOULD BE PAID A SALARY OF $2,600 PER ANNUM PLUS TRAVEL EXPENSES AND SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, IN CONSIDERATION OF HIS SERVICES AS ASSISTANT ENGINEER IN THE U.S. ENGINEER OFFICE, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI.

BASED ON THE ABOVE STATEMENT OF FACTS IT IS PROPOSED TO SUBMIT THIS CASE TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON APPEAL FROM THE DISALLOWANCE IN THE EVENT THAT YOUR FURTHER CONSIDERATION RESULTS IN SUSTAINING YOUR DISALLOWANCE IN WHICH YOU HOLD THAT THE PAYMENT IS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE DECISION REFERRED TO. IT IS ACCORDINGLY REQUESTED THAT YOUR FURTHER CONSIDERATION IN THE MATTER BE EXPEDITED AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT ON JUNE 8, 1933, THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, WAR DEPARTMENT, ADDRESSED A LETTER TO MR. OLIVER AS FOLLOWS:

YOU ARE HEREBY OFFERED APPOINTMENT IN THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT AT LARGE, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, IN THE POSITION OF ASSISTANT ENGINEER AT $2,600 PER ANNUM, WITH PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES AND SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF EXISTING WAR DEPARTMENT REGULATIONS FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI.

WILL YOU PLEASE INDICATE BY INDORSEMENT HEREON, WHETHER YOU ACCEPT APPOINTMENT UNDER THE CONDITIONS STATED?

MR. OLIVER REPLIED ON JUNE 9, 1933, BY FIRST ENDORSEMENT AS FOLLOWS:

I ACCEPT APPOINTMENT UNDER THE CONDITIONS STATED IN THE FOREGOING LETTER.

ON JUNE 15, 1933, THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS DIRECTED MR. OLIVER TO PROCEED FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO ST. LOUIS, MO., AND UPON ARRIVAL AT THE LATTER STATION TO REPORT TO THE DIVISION ENGINEER FOR ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY. MR. OLIVER WAS AUTHORIZED TO USE HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE IN MAKING THE TRIP AND ADVISED THAT HE WOULD BE REIMBURSED THEREFOR AT THE RATE OF 4.6 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE; ALSO THAT HE WOULD BE ALLOWED A PER DIEM OF $5 WHILE TRAVELING, IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE.

CREDIT OF $47.19 PAID TO MR. OLIVER FOR EXPENSES INCURRED UNDER SAID TRAVEL ORDER WAS DISALLOWED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF THE PAYING OFFICER FOR THE REASON, IN EFFECT, THAT---

A TRANSFER BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS CONSTITUTES A NEW APPOINTMENT AND TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED BY REASON OF ASSISTANT ENGINEER OLIVER'S TRANSFER ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS.

THE TRANSFER OF MR. OLIVER FROM THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION TO THE WAR DEPARTMENT WAS IN EFFECT A NEW APPOINTMENT TO A NEW POSITION REQUIRING THE TAKING OF A NEW OATH OF OFFICE AND ACTUAL ENTRANCE ON DUTY, 5 COMP. DEC. 179; 9 ID. 751; 20 ID. 73, AS WELL AS A TRANSFER FROM DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE TO FIELD SERVICE WITH PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT ST. LOUIS, MO.

IT IS A WELL-SETTLED RULE THAT AN EMPLOYEE, UPON APPOINTMENT TO A NEW POSITION, MUST BEAR THE EXPENSE, IF ANY, INCIDENT TO REPORTING AT THE DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY OR FIRST PLACE AT WHICH DUTY IS ACTUALLY PERFORMED. 5 COMP. GEN. 987; 10 ID. 222. THE FACT THAT MR. OLIVER TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE UNDER THE NEW APPOINTMENT BEFORE LEAVING WASHINGTON, D.C., CANNOT OPERATE TO PLACE HIM IN A TRAVEL STATUS SINCE NO DUTY WAS PERFORMED AT WASHINGTON. 4 COMP. GEN. 641.

A "TRAVEL STATUS" FOR WHICH EXPENSES OF TRAVEL ARE AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT WAS DEFINED IN THE ACT OF APRIL 6, 1914, 38 STAT. 318, AS BEING "WHILE TRAVELING ON DUTY OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY," AND BY THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, 44 STAT. 688, AS BEING "WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY.' THE TRAVEL PERFORMED BY MR. OLIVER WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF REPORTING TO HIS FIRST DUTY STATION RATHER THAN INCIDENT TO OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

PRIOR TO THE ACT OF DECEMBER 6, 1924, 43 STAT. 704, IT HAD BEEN HELD PERMISSIBLE FOR THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENTS TO CONTRACT WITH EMPLOYEES, WHEN THE COMPENSATION WAS PAYABLE UNDER A LUMP SUM APPROPRIATION, FOR THE COMPENSATION TO INCLUDE RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES IN PROCEEDING TO THEIR FIRST DUTY STATION. SUCH PRACTICE IS NO LONGER PERMISSIBLE. A 41020, FEBRUARY 26, 1932; 7 COMP. GEN. 114.

IT APPEARS THAT THE SERVICE TO WHICH MR. OLIVER WAS APPOINTED HAS BEEN CLASSIFIED. THE SALARIES HAVING BEEN FIXED BY CLASSIFICATION THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE WAR DEPARTMENT TO CONTRACT TO PAY HIM ANY ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION IN THE GUISE OF TRAVELING AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES NOT AUTHORIZED BY THE LAWS AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE ABSENT FROM HEADQUARTERS IN AN OFFICIAL STATUS. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES IT MUST BE HELD THAT THERE WAS NOT A LAWFUL CONTRACT ENTERED INTO WITH MR. OLIVER FOR THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES TO HIS FIRST DUTY STATION AND THAT THE PAYMENT MADE IN THAT CONNECTION WAS NOT AUTHORIZED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTION TAKEN BY THIS OFFICE IN DISALLOWING CREDIT FOR $47.19 IN CAPTAIN HARLOE'S ACCOUNT MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.