A-56998, SEPTEMBER 11, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 210

A-56998: Sep 11, 1934

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WHERE AN ACCOUNTING PERIOD OCCURS WHILE THE TRAVELER IS STILL IN POSSESSION OF UNUSED TICKET. PAYMENT OF SUCH AMOUNT TO BE MADE WHEN PROPER ACCOUNTING SHALL HAVE BEEN RENDERED IN THE MATTER. 1934: THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION VOUCHER NO. 87690 IN THE SUM OF $100.09 IN FAVOR OF A. A554236 STILL IN MY POSSESSION AND WILL BE USED LATER OR TURNED IN WITH A REQUEST FOR REFUND TO THE BUREAU. THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED WITH A PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT WITHOUT CERTIFICATION. IT WAS STATED THEREIN THAT A CERTIFICATE WAS REQUIRED BY RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER SHOWING FINAL DISPOSITION OF UNUSED PORTION OF TICKET. THE FOLLOWING REPLY WAS RECEIVED: TRANSPORTATION FROM FORT WORTH.

A-56998, SEPTEMBER 11, 1934, 14 COMP. GEN. 210

TRANSPORTATION - DISPOSITION OF AND ACCOUNTING FOR UNUSED TICKETS OR PORTIONS THEREOF SECURED ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS PARAGRAPH 32 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS CONTEMPLATES THAT UNUSED TICKETS, OR PORTIONS THEREOF, SECURED ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS SHOULD BE FORWARDED TO THE CENTRAL OFFICE WHEN NEED THEREFOR HAS CEASED. WHERE AN ACCOUNTING PERIOD OCCURS WHILE THE TRAVELER IS STILL IN POSSESSION OF UNUSED TICKET, OR PORTION THEREOF, THERE SHOULD BE WITHHELD IN THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT OF THE TRAVELER SUFFICIENT AMOUNT TO COVER COST OF SAME, PAYMENT OF SUCH AMOUNT TO BE MADE WHEN PROPER ACCOUNTING SHALL HAVE BEEN RENDERED IN THE MATTER.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, SEPTEMBER 11, 1934:

THERE IS BEFORE THIS OFFICE FOR CONSIDERATION VOUCHER NO. 87690 IN THE SUM OF $100.09 IN FAVOR OF A. K. KUTTLER, OF THE BUREAU OF ANIMAL INDUSTRY, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COVERING CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF PER DIEM AND OTHER EXPENSES FOR THE PERIOD MAY 1 TO 31, 1934, WHEREIN A QUESTION HAS ARISEN REGARDING THE DISPOSITION TO BE MADE OF AN UNUSED PORTION OF A BUS TICKET. THE MEMORANDUM OF TRAVEL BY THE TRAVELER CONTAINS THIS NOTATION:

RETURN PORTION OF TICKET PURCHASED WITH T.R. A554236 STILL IN MY POSSESSION AND WILL BE USED LATER OR TURNED IN WITH A REQUEST FOR REFUND TO THE BUREAU.

UNDER DATE OF JUNE 22, 1934, THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED WITH A PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT WITHOUT CERTIFICATION, FOR A SHOWING OF THE MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION USED MAY 1 BETWEEN FORT WORTH AND MADISONVILLE, AND IT WAS STATED THEREIN THAT A CERTIFICATE WAS REQUIRED BY RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER SHOWING FINAL DISPOSITION OF UNUSED PORTION OF TICKET.

ON JUNE 25, 1934, THE FOLLOWING REPLY WAS RECEIVED:

TRANSPORTATION FROM FORT WORTH, TEX., TO MADISONVILLE, TEX., ON MAY 1, WAS ON RETURN PORTION OF TICKET PURCHASED APRIL 27, 1934, ON TRANSPORTATION REQUEST NO. 554235. THE DISBURSING OFFICE VOUCHER NUMBER OF DR. KUTTLER'S APRIL EXPENSE VOUCHER IS NOT YET AVAILABLE.

SINCE DR. KUTTLER STATES THAT THE RETURN PORTION OF THE TICKET PURCHASED WITH TRANSPORTATION REQUEST NO. 554236 IS IN HIS POSSESSION, AND WILL BE EITHER USED OR TURNED IN FOR REFUND ON EXPIRATION OF TIME LIMIT, IT DOES NOT APPEAR JUST TO WITHHOLD APPROVAL OF HIS EXPENSE ACCOUNT.

UNDER DATE OF JUNE 29, 1934, PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT CERTIFIED $97.39 AS PAYABLE, SHOWING A DIFFERENCE OF $2.70 REPRESENTED BY A REFUND VALUE OF TICKET PURCHASED ON T.R. 554236.

THE VOUCHER WAS RESUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE AND ON JULY 13, 1934, A PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT SHOWED A DIFFERENCE OF $2.70 ON REFUND VALUE OF TICKET PURCHASED ON T.R. 554236, AND STATED:

CREDIT WITHHELD PENDING RECEIPT OF EVIDENCE OF THE USE OF UNUSED PORTION OF TICKET OR A SIGNED STATEMENT BY A RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER SHOWING THAT UNUSED PORTION WAS RECEIVED IN THE CENTRAL ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE AS PROVIDED IN T.R. PAR. 32.

IN OTHER WORDS, THIS ACTION CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT $97.39 OF THE $100.09 CLAIMED.

THE DISBURSING OFFICER DID NOT MAKE PAYMENT OF THE $97.39 AND THEN TAKE UP THE MATTER OF THE $2.70 WITHHELD, BUT THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION WAS RESUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE WITH LETTER FROM ARTHUR CARSON, ACTING IN CHARGE, ACCOUNTS, AS FOLLOWS:

THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE HOLDS THAT ROUND-TRIP TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED WHENEVER AVAILABLE REGARDLESS OF WHETHER OR NOT THE ITINERARY OF THE TRAVELER HAS BEEN DEFINITELY DETERMINED.

IT IS ALSO REQUIRED THAT EXPENSE VOUCHERS BE SUBMITTED MONTHLY.

THE EXCEPTION NOTED ABOVE REQUIRES USE OF THE RETURN PORTION OF A TICKET WITHIN THE CURRENT CALENDAR MONTH OR A CONSIDERABLE DELAY IN SUBMISSION OF THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT SINCE TO RETURN THE TICKET BEFORE EXPIRATION OF THE TIME LIMIT WOULD DEFEAT THE PURPOSE OF THE PURCHASE AS WELL AS TO ENTAIL A GREAT INCREASE IN ACCOUNTING WORK.

PARAGRAPH 32 OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND ITS RELATED PARAGRAPH 40 DO NOT APPLY IN THIS INSTANCE, BUT RATHER ARE MEANT TO COVER CASES WHERE A TRAVELER IS FORCED TO DISCONTINUE A TRIP SHORT OF DESTINATION, OR IN CASES WHERE THE TIME LIMIT ON A ROUND-TRIP TICKET HAS EXPIRED.

IN THE INTEREST OF GOOD ACCOUNTING PROCEDURE AND A FAIR AND JUST ATTITUDE TOWARD THE TRAVELER, IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT THIS TYPE OF EXCEPTION BE DISCONTINUED.

THE STATEMENT CONTAINED IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED LETTER IS INCORRECT. THE HOLDING OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS IS THAT ROUND-TRIP TICKETS SHOULD BE PURCHASED WHEREVER PRACTICABLE AND ECONOMICAL, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 16 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH HAVE BEEN APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT.

PARAGRAPH 32, OF SAID REGULATIONS, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

UNUSED TICKETS OR PORTIONS THEREOF, WHEN SECURED ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS, MUST BE FORWARDED IMMEDIATELY TO THE CENTRAL OFFICE OF THE DEPARTMENT OR INDEPENDENT ESTABLISHMENT THROUGH THE OFFICIAL WHO FURNISHED THE REQUEST, TOGETHER WITH EXPLANATORY STATEMENT AS TO WHY TICKET OR SUCH PORTIONS THEREOF WERE NOT USED.

UNDER THIS PARAGRAPH OF THE REGULATIONS, IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT UNUSED TICKETS, OR PORTIONS THEREOF, SECURED ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS SHOULD BE FORWARDED TO THE CENTRAL OFFICE WHEN THE NEED THEREFOR BY THE TRAVELER HAS CEASED. IN SUCH CASES WHERE AN ACCOUNTING PERIOD OCCURS WHILE THE TRAVELER IS STILL IN POSSESSION OF AN UNUSED TICKET, OR PORTION THEREOF, THERE SHOULD BE WITHHELD IN THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT OF THE TRAVELER A SUFFICIENT AMOUNT TO COVER THE COST OF THE SAME, PAYMENT OF SUCH AMOUNT TO BE MADE WHEN A PROPER ACCOUNTING HAS BEEN RENDERED IN THE MATTER.

IN THE PRESENT CASE IT APPEARS THAT THE 60-DAY LIMIT ON THE USE OF THE RETURN COUPON HAS NOW EXPIRED WITH THE COUPON APPARENTLY STILL IN THE POSSESSION OF THE TRAVELER. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCE, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT IN AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF $97.39 UNTIL A PROPER ACCOUNTING FOR THE RETURN COUPON HAS BEEN MADE.