A-55804, JUNE 13, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 430

A-55804: Jun 13, 1934

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MILEAGE - USE OF OWN AUTOMOBILE - ARMY OFFICER WHERE AN OFFICER IS AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL TRAVEL BETWEEN TWO POINTS IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE. MILEAGE FOR ANY PORTION OF THE TRIP IS NOT AUTHORIZED. REVIEW IS REQUESTED OF THE ACTION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WHEREIN CREDIT FOR THE SUM OF $24.40 PAID TO MAJOR E. IS DISALLOWED. 2. THE RECORD IN THIS MATTER IS AS FOLLOWS: ON FEB. 15. NOT ENTITLED TO MILEAGE WHERE PART OF TRIP IS PERFORMED BY RAIL FOR OFFICER'S OWN CONVENIENCE.' 3. REPLY WAS MADE AS FOLLOWS: "MAJOR E. C. KELTON WAS REGULARLY DESIGNATED AS ACTING DISTRICT ENGINEER IN THE ABSENCE OF THE DISTRICT ENGINEER ON APPROVED LEAVE. NOT ENTITLED TO MILEAGE WHERE PART OF TRIP IS PERFORMED BY RAIL FOR OFFICER'S OWN CONVENIENCE.

A-55804, JUNE 13, 1934, 13 COMP. GEN. 430

MILEAGE - USE OF OWN AUTOMOBILE - ARMY OFFICER WHERE AN OFFICER IS AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL TRAVEL BETWEEN TWO POINTS IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE, IT BEING CERTIFIED THAT SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL WOULD BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES, BUT HE ACTUALLY PERFORMS ONLY A SMALL PORTION OF THE TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE, ABANDONING AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL AS REQUIRING TOO MUCH TIME, MILEAGE FOR ANY PORTION OF THE TRIP IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO LIEUT. B. L. ROBINSON, UNITED STATES ARMY, JUNE 13, 1934:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF MAY 3, 1934, AS FOLLOWS:

1. REVIEW IS REQUESTED OF THE ACTION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WHEREIN CREDIT FOR THE SUM OF $24.40 PAID TO MAJOR E. C. KELTON, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, ON VOUCHER NO. 2103, OF MY JUNE 1933 ACCOUNTS, IS DISALLOWED.

2. THE RECORD IN THIS MATTER IS AS FOLLOWS:

ON FEB. 15, 1934, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE EXCEPTED TO THE ABOVE PAYMENT AS FOLLOWS:

"PAID MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FROM MEMPHIS, TENN., TO COLUMBUS, OHIO. NOT ENTITLED TO MILEAGE WHERE PART OF TRIP IS PERFORMED BY RAIL FOR OFFICER'S OWN CONVENIENCE.'

3. ON APR. 11, 1934, REPLY WAS MADE AS FOLLOWS:

"MAJOR E. C. KELTON WAS REGULARLY DESIGNATED AS ACTING DISTRICT ENGINEER IN THE ABSENCE OF THE DISTRICT ENGINEER ON APPROVED LEAVE, AND HIS DUTIES AS SUCH REQUIRED HIM, WHEN ON OFFICIAL TRIPS AWAY FROM THE OFFICE, TO RETURN AS QUICKLY AS HIS DUTIES OUTSIDE OF THE OFFICE WOULD PERMIT.

"ON THE TRIP IN QUESTION, MAJOR KEHLTON FOUND THAT IT HAD REQUIRED OVER 38 HOURS TO PROCEED BY AUTO TO COLUMBUS, OHIO, AS AGAINST APPROXIMATELY 17 HOURS BY RAIL, THUS PUTTING HIM BEHIND IN HIS SCHEDULE OF INSPECTIONS, AT PITTSBURGH, PA., POINT PLEASANT AND HUNTINGTON, W.VA., AND ADVANCING HIS TIME OF RETURN TO MEMPHIS. HE THEREFORE TOOK THE 2:50 A.M. TRAIN THE NEXT DAY AFTER ARRIVAL AT COLUMBUS, IN ORDER TO CATCH UP ON HIS SCHEDULE AS MUCH AS PRACTICABLE AND EXPEDITE HIS RETURN.'

4. THE DISALLOWANCE, DATED APR. 23, 1934, READS AS FOLLOWS:

"PAID MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FROM MEMPHIS, TENN., TO COLUMBUS, OHIO. NOT ENTITLED TO MILEAGE WHERE PART OF TRIP IS PERFORMED BY RAIL FOR OFFICER'S OWN CONVENIENCE.

"REPLY APRIL 11, 1934, NOTED:

THE STATUTE PROVIDING FOR REIMBURSEMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS, WHEN TRAVEL IS AUTHORIZED BY HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE OFFICER TO TRAVEL FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE PARTLY BY AUTOMOBILE AND THE REMAINDER OF THE DISTANCE BY COMMON CARRIER. THE ITEM IS SALLOWED.'

5. THE DISALLOWANCE IS BASED ON THE GROUND THAT THE TRAVEL TO COLUMBUS, O., WAS FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF THE OFFICER, WHEREAS IT HAS BEEN SHOWN IN THE REPLY ABOVE THAT MAJOR KELTON, WHO COULD HAVE CONTINUED HIS TRIP WITH HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE WITHOUT QUESTION, HAD THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN MIND IN PROCEEDING WITH HIS DUTIES IN A MORE EXPEDITIOUS MANNER.

6. UNDER SECTION 206 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, THE TRAVELER WAS ENTITLED TO ALLOWANCES UNDER THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926. THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED IN PURSUANCE THEREOF PROVIDE THAT ONE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL DUTY IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION IN THE SHAPE OF A RAILROAD AND PULLMAN TICKET OR USE OF OWN AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS, ETC. IT DOES NOT SEEM FAIR NOR EQUITABLE THAT THE OFFICER SHOULD STAND THE EXPENSE TO COLUMBUS ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WHICH WOULD HAVE COST THE UNITED STATES, HAD TRANSPORTATION REQUEST BEEN USED, APPROXIMATELY $18.30, PLUS PULLMAN. THERE IS NO QUESTION OF THE RULE OF COMMINGLING RIGHTS UNDER TWO ACTS, AS BUT ONE ACT IS INVOLVED. THE STANDARDIZED TRAVEL REGULATIONS DO NOT COVER A SIMILAR CASE, NOR WAS ANY PREVIOUS ANALOGOUS DECISION FOUND THAT FORBADE PAYMENT ON THE BASIS MADE. AS THE DISALLOWANCE IS APPARENTLY BASED ON AN INTERPRETATION OF THE LAW NOT PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED, AND AS THE PAYMENT WAS MADE PRIOR THERETO IN ACCORDANCE WITH WHAT APPEARED TO BE A REASONABLE INTERPRETATION OF THE INTENT OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT I BE ALLOWED CREDIT THEREFOR.

THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

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 PROVISIONS OF THIS STATUTE WERE TEMPORARILY EXTENDED TO THE MILITARY PERSONNEL DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1933 BY SECTION 206 OF THE ECONOMY ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 405, AND THE MAXIMUM RATE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES WAS REDUCED TO 5 CENTS PER MILE BY SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516. THE ORDERS UNDER WHICH MAJOR KELTON PERFORMED THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION WERE DATED MAY 29, 1933, AND WERE WORDED AS FOLLOWS: TO: MAJOR EDWIN C. KELTON, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, MEMPHIS, TENN.

YOU WILL PROCEED FROM MEMPHIS, TENN., TO PITTSBURGH, PA., ON DUTY CONNECTED WITH FLOOD-CONTROL WORK, AND RETURN, AFTER COMPLETION THEREOF, TO YOUR STATION AT MEMPHIS, TENN., VIA POINT PLEASANT, W.VA.

ON THIS TRIP YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO USE YOUR OWN AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS OF 4 CENTS PER MILE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 12 A OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IT HAVING BEEN DETERMINED IN ADVANCE THAT THIS MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS AND ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES.

THE TRAVEL DIRECTED IS NECESSARY IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE.

YOU WILL BE ALLOWED PER DIEM AT $5.00 IN ACCORDANCE WITH PROVISIONS OF EXISTING ARMY REGULATIONS.

IT WILL BE NOTED THAT THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, SUPRA, PERMITS THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE ONLY WHEN TRAVEL ON THAT BASIS IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. WHERE THE TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE AND CONTAIN AN ADMINISTRATIVE FINDING THAT SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL WILL BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES, SUCH CERTIFICATE IS NOT ORDINARILY QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE WHEN THE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ORDERS. HOWEVER, AN ADMINISTRATIVE CERTIFICATE THAT TRAVEL BETWEEN SPECIFIED POINTS BY THE TRAVELER'S PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WILL BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES CANNOT BE ACCEPTED AS A FINDING THAT TRAVEL FOR ONLY A PORTION OF THE JOURNEY AUTHORIZED WILL LIKEWISE BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. ESPECIALLY IS THIS TRUE WHEN THE ABANDONMENT OF THE AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL IS ACKNOWLEDGED TO HAVE BEEN DUE TO THE GREATER TIME INVOLVED. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE, THE UTMOST THAT COULD BE AUTHORIZED WOULD BE REIMBURSEMENT FOR AMOUNTS ACTUALLY EXPENDED FOR THE OPERATION OF THE AUTOMOBILE WITHIN THE LIMITS PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 12 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. NO EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL EXPENSES HAS BEEN FURNISHED IN THIS CASE. THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR THE AMOUNT PAID AS MILEAGE IS THEREFORE CORRECT.