A-60422, MARCH 18, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 700

A-60422: Mar 18, 1935

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TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES - DELAYS EN ROUTE A DELAY EN ROUTE AT A PLACE WHERE NO OFFICIAL BUSINESS IS TRANSACTED TO AWAIT THE ARRIVAL OF PERSONAL AND OFFICIAL BAGGAGE TEMPORARILY MISPLACED DUE TO THE FAILURE OF THE EMPLOYEE TO EXERCISE PROPER SUPERVISION OVER THE SAME WHEN PLACED IN THE HANDS OF A STATION PORTER DOES NOT AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT TO THE TRAVELER OF ANY EXPENSES INCURRED AT SUCH POINT. WHEREIN CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED IN HIS ACCOUNTS FOR $5.50 REPRESENTING PER DIEM FOR 1 DAY AT $5 AND TAXICAB FARE OF 50 CENTS INCURRED BY W. EVANS WAS NOTIFIED ON BOARD TRAIN THAT THE BAGGAGE WOULD BE FORWARDED BY THE RAILROAD TO MEMPHIS. RESULTING IN CHARGES AT THAT PLACE FOR WHICH CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED.

A-60422, MARCH 18, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 700

TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES - DELAYS EN ROUTE A DELAY EN ROUTE AT A PLACE WHERE NO OFFICIAL BUSINESS IS TRANSACTED TO AWAIT THE ARRIVAL OF PERSONAL AND OFFICIAL BAGGAGE TEMPORARILY MISPLACED DUE TO THE FAILURE OF THE EMPLOYEE TO EXERCISE PROPER SUPERVISION OVER THE SAME WHEN PLACED IN THE HANDS OF A STATION PORTER DOES NOT AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT TO THE TRAVELER OF ANY EXPENSES INCURRED AT SUCH POINT, NOR THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE DURING THE PERIOD OF SUCH DELAY.

DECISION BY ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT, MARCH 18, 1935:

J. L. SUMMERS, FORMER DISBURSING CLERK, TREASURY DEPARTMENT, HAS REQUESTED REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT OF THIS OFFICE OF JULY 30, 1934, WHEREIN CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED IN HIS ACCOUNTS FOR $5.50 REPRESENTING PER DIEM FOR 1 DAY AT $5 AND TAXICAB FARE OF 50 CENTS INCURRED BY W. F. EVANS AT MEMPHIS, TENN. IT APPEARS THAT EVANS, SPECIAL ATTORNEY OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE, WHEN BOARDING TRAIN AT WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR JACKSON, MISS., VIA MEMPHIS, PLACED HIS BAGGAGE CONTAINING PERSONAL EFFECTS AND OFFICIAL RECORDS IN THE HANDS OF A STATION PORTER WHO FAILED TO PLACE THE BAGGAGE ON THE PULLMAN CAR. AFTER TRAVELING SOME DISTANCE MR. EVANS WAS NOTIFIED ON BOARD TRAIN THAT THE BAGGAGE WOULD BE FORWARDED BY THE RAILROAD TO MEMPHIS, AND ACCORDINGLY, HE DELAYED EN ROUTE AT MEMPHIS, TENN., RESULTING IN CHARGES AT THAT PLACE FOR WHICH CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED. IN THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW, THE DISBURSING OFFICER STATES:

THE AMOUNTS OF $5, PER DIEM APRIL 2-3, 1933, AND TAXI FARES STATION TO HOTEL AND HOTEL TO STATION AT MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE, 25 CENTS EACH, HAVE BEEN DISALLOWED BY YOUR OFFICE WITH THE STATEMENT THAT THE DELAY AT MEMPHIS TO WAIT FOR BAGGAGE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY THE NEGLIGENCE OF THE TRAVELER AND THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSES THUS INCURRED ARE NOT CONSIDERED AS NECESSARY OFFICIAL EXPENSES REIMBURSABLE FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS.

FROM THE INFORMATION AT HAND AND AFTER CONSIDERABLE CORRESPONDENCE WITH MR. EVANS (WHO HAS BEEN OUT OF THE SERVICE FOR SOME TIME), IT IS THE OPINION OF THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE THAT THE TEMPORARY LOSS OF HIS LUGGAGE DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN DUE TO NEGLIGENCE ON THE PART OF THE TRAVELER.

MR. EVANS WAS PERFORMING THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS AN ATTORNEY FOR THE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE. IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO CARRY BESIDES HIS PERSONAL BAGGAGE ABOUT 42 POUNDS OF INTERNAL REVENUE RECORDS CONTAINED IN 2 LEATHER CASES. FOLLOWING THE CUSTOM OF TRAVELERS CARRYING HEAVY BAGGAGE, HE ENTRUSTED IT TO A RED CAP, WHO AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE RAILROAD WAS CONSIDERED ENTIRELY RELIABLE. SUCH A CIRCUMSTANCE AS THE FAILURE OF THE RED CAP TO PUT THE BAGGAGE ON THE TRAIN WOULD HAPPEN ONLY IN THE RAREST INSTANCES AND THE FACT THAT THE TRAVELER DID NOT ANTICIPATE SUCH HAPPENING COULD HARDLY BE CONSIDERED NEGLIGENCE ON HIS PART. ON ACCOUNT OF THE NECESSITY OF USING THESE RECORDS IN THE TRIAL OF A CASE, MR. EVANS COULD NOT PROCEED FARTHER THAN MEMPHIS UNTIL THEY WERE LOCATED AND IT WOULD APPEAR THAT SINCE HIS STOP-OVER THERE WAS AN OFFICIAL NECESSITY THE ADDITIONAL COST SHOULD BE BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT.

OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND HAVING IN THEIR POSSESSION OFFICIAL RECORDS ARE REQUIRED TO EXERCISE CONSTANT SUPERVISION OF SUCH BAGGAGE TO PREVENT ITS LOSS, THEFT, OR DESTRUCTION. THE FAILURE TO DO SO IN THIS CASE RESULTED IN THE TEMPORARY MISPLACING OF THE BAGGAGE. AS THE CHARGES OF PER DIEM AND TAXI FARE AT MEMPHIS WERE DUE SOLELY TO THE FAILURE OF THE TRAVELER TO TAKE PROPER PRECAUTIONS, THE EXPENSES AT THAT POINT ARE PERSONAL AND NOT OFFICIAL EXPENSES. UPON REVIEW THE SETTLEMENT MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.