A-62385, JULY 22, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 53

A-62385: Jul 22, 1935

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AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXTRA COST OF PERFORMING TRAVEL BY AIR. WHERE OFFICIAL TRAVEL IS DIRECTED TO BE PERFORMED BY AIR. OR PAYMENT TO THE TRANSPORTATION COMPANY IF THE TRANSPORTATION IS FURNISHED ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS. IS AUTHORIZED. IF THE NEED FOR SUCH TRAVEL IS NOT SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED THE EXCESS COST OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION SHOULD BE COLLECTED FROM THE PERSON DIRECTING THE TRAVEL. ONE OF THE LINES OF INVESTIGATIONS PROPOSED WHEN THE ORDER WAS CONSIDERED PROVIDED FOR THE COLONIZATION IN PUERTO RICO OF NATURAL ENEMIES TO AID IN THE CONTROL OF CERTAIN INSECTS WHICH ATTACK IMPORTANT CROPS. THESE NATURAL ENEMIES ARE NOT NOW PRESENT IN PUERTO RICO BUT OCCUR IN OTHER ISLANDS OF THE WEST INDIES AND IN COUNTRIES OF SOUTH AMERICA.

A-62385, JULY 22, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 53

TRAVELING EXPENSES - AIR TRAVEL - DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE IN THE ABSENCE OF A CLEAR SHOWING AS TO THE NEED THEREFOR, FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT, AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXTRA COST OF PERFORMING TRAVEL BY AIR. WHERE OFFICIAL TRAVEL IS DIRECTED TO BE PERFORMED BY AIR, NO DISCRETION BEING GIVEN THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE AS TO SUCH TRAVEL, REIMBURSEMENT TO THE EMPLOYEE OF THE COST OF THE TRAVEL, OR PAYMENT TO THE TRANSPORTATION COMPANY IF THE TRANSPORTATION IS FURNISHED ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS, IS AUTHORIZED. IF THE NEED FOR SUCH TRAVEL IS NOT SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED THE EXCESS COST OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION SHOULD BE COLLECTED FROM THE PERSON DIRECTING THE TRAVEL.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, JULY 22, 1935:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE MATTERS SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER OF MAY 24, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

PUERTO RICAN TAX FUND ORDER NO. 2 APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT UNDER DATE OF APRIL 5, 1935, AUTHORIZES THE BUREAU OF ENTOMOLOGY AND PLANT QUARANTINE OF THIS DEPARTMENT TO USE AND EXPEND THE SUM OF $93,000 OR AS MUCH THEREOF AS MAY BE REQUIRED FOR THE STUDY AND INVESTIGATION OF INSECT PESTS OF PUERTO RICO.

ONE OF THE LINES OF INVESTIGATIONS PROPOSED WHEN THE ORDER WAS CONSIDERED PROVIDED FOR THE COLONIZATION IN PUERTO RICO OF NATURAL ENEMIES TO AID IN THE CONTROL OF CERTAIN INSECTS WHICH ATTACK IMPORTANT CROPS. THESE NATURAL ENEMIES ARE NOT NOW PRESENT IN PUERTO RICO BUT OCCUR IN OTHER ISLANDS OF THE WEST INDIES AND IN COUNTRIES OF SOUTH AMERICA, PARTICULARLY THOSE ALONG THE NORTHERN COAST. TO CARRY OUT THIS PLAN, IT IS NECESSARY TO DO EXPLORATORY WORK IN VARIOUS ISLANDS OF THE WEST INDIES AND COUNTRIES IN SOUTH AMERICA FOR THE PURPOSE OF COLLECTING THE NATURAL ENEMIES PRIOR TO SENDING THEM TO PUERTO RICO FOR COLONIZATION. THE TIME WHEN THESE NATURAL ENEMIES CAN BE OBTAINED IN STAGES OF DEVELOPMENT WHEN THEY MAY BE SAFELY AND EFFECTIVELY TRANSPORTED TO PUERTO RICO VARIES WITH THE LOCALITY AND IN CERTAIN INSTANCES, AT LEAST, APPEARS TO BE RESTRICTED TO COMPARATIVELY SHORT PERIOD.

TO EFFECTIVELY CARRY OUT THIS WORK IT IS NECESSARY, THEREFORE, TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE MOST DIRECT AND RAPID MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION TO THE VARIOUS LOCALITIES IN THE WEST INDIES AND SOUTH AMERICA WHERE THE NATURAL ENEMIES OCCUR. STEAMER SERVICE BETWEEN PUERTO RICO, THE OTHER ISLANDS OF THE WEST INDIES, AND COUNTRIES IN SOUTH AMERICA IS IRREGULAR AND INFREQUENT. IN MANY INSTANCES IT WOULD NECESSITATE A ROUND-ABOUT COURSE WHICH WOULD INVOLVE CONSIDERABLE TIME IN GETTING FROM ONE PLACE TO ANOTHER AND IN MANY INSTANCES REQUIRE ADDITIONAL TIME OF A WEEK OR EVEN TWO WAITING FOR A STEAMER. MANY OF THE COUNTRIES WHERE IT IS PROPOSED TO SEARCH FOR THE NATURAL ENEMIES CAN BE READILY REACHED BY THE USE OF COMMERCIAL AIRPLANES FLYING ON THEIR REGULAR SCHEDULE. BY THE USE OF THE AIRPLANE IT WILL BE POSSIBLE TO REACH THE DESTINATION IN A COMPARATIVELY FEW HOURS WHILE BY OTHER AVAILABLE MEANS THE TRAVEL WOULD TAKE MANY DAYS OR EVEN WEEKS. BY USING THE AIRPLANE THE PROPOSED INVESTIGATIONS WILL BE GREATLY FACILITATED, AND IT IS CONSERVATIVELY ESTIMATED THAT IT WILL BE POSSIBLE TO AT LEAST DOUBLE THE AMOUNT OF WORK DONE AND RESULTS OBTAINED IF TRANSPORTATION WERE RESTRICTED TO STEAMERS. THE USE OF THE AIRPLANE WILL ALSO GIVE REASONABLE ASSURANCE THAT THE NATURAL ENEMIES CAN BE COLLECTED AT A TIME WHEN THEY CAN BE MOST FAVORABLY TRANSPORTED TO PUERTO RICO AT A MINIMUM LOSS IN TRANSIT THUS GIVING ADDED ASSURANCE THAT THE INVESTIGATIONS WILL BE SUCCESSFUL. THE ACTUAL COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY AIR, NOT INCLUDING PER DIEM, WILL BE SOMEWHAT IN EXCESS OF THE TRANSPORTATION BY STEAMER. CONSIDERING THE RETURNS IN THE FORM OF RESULTS AND THE PRODUCTIVE USE OF THE EXPLORERS' TIME, HOWEVER, MATERIAL SAVINGS WILL ACCRUE DURING THE PERIOD OF THE WORK. IF PER DIEM IS INCLUDED THERE WOULD, WITHOUT DOUBT, BE DIRECT SAVINGS ON SOME OF THE TRIPS. IT IS AT PRESENT IMPRACTICAL TO DEFINITELY INDICATE THE TIMES WHEN SUCH TRAVEL WILL BE MADE AND ALL THE POINTS WHICH MAY BE INCLUDED.

IF CONSISTENT WITH THE PRACTICES OF YOUR OFFICE, IT IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT THE INVESTIGATOR ASSIGNED TO THE TASK OF EXPLORATION FOR AND COLLECTING THESE NATURAL ENEMIES BE AUTHORIZED TO USE THE AIRPLANE. IF SUCH AUTHORIZATION IS ISSUED TO THE INVESTIGATOR, YOU MAY BE ASSURED THAT IT WILL BE USED ONLY WHEN IT IS FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF THE WORK AND THAT STEAMERS WILL BE USED INSOFAR AS PRACTICAL. IT IS ESPECIALLY DESIRABLE THAT INITIAL IMPORTATION OF PARASITES OF THE SUGAR/CANE MOTH BORER BE MADE WITHIN THE NEAR FUTURE AND EARLY CONSIDERATION OF THIS COMMUNICATION WILL BE APPRECIATED.

THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS TRANSPORTATION OVER THE USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED HAS LONG BEEN ESTABLISHED AS THE BASIS FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF GOVERNMENT OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES FOR EXPENSES INCURRED ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL. IN ORDER TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF A MORE EXPENSIVE FORM OF TRANSPORTATION, THERE MUST BE MORE THAN A MERE SHOWING OF THE EXPEDITION OF THE GOVERNMENT BUSINESS. THERE MUST BE SHOWN SOME SPECIAL NEED THEREFOR--- SOME EMERGENCY OR EXIGENCY OF THE SERVICE. 9 COMP. GEN. 354; 10 ID. 201.

AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT WHO IS ORDERED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL TRAVEL AND WHO ON HIS OWN INITIATIVE DECIDES IT TO BE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST TO TRAVEL BY AIR IS NOT ENTITLED--- IN THE ABSENCE OF A CLEAR SHOWING AS TO THE NEED, FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT, FOR THE USE OF THE MORE EXPENSIVE MEANS--- TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF SUCH AIR TRAVEL, BUT IS ENTITLED ONLY TO THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED, BUT WHERE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS DIRECTED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY AIR, NO DISCRETION BEING GIVEN HIM AS TO SUCH TRAVEL, HE WILL BE REIMBURSED FOR THE COST THEREOF, OR THE CARRIER PAID THEREFOR IF THE TRANSPORTATION IS FURNISHED ON A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST CLEARLY CALLING FOR SUCH MEANS, AND IF SUFFICIENT EXPLANATION IS NOT FURNISHED SHOWING AN EXIGENCY OR EMERGENCY REQUIRING THE USE OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT, THE EXCESS COST OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION SHOULD BE COLLECTED FROM THE PERSON DIRECTING THE TRAVEL.

IN THE DECISION OF THIS OFFICE DATED OCTOBER 30, 1931, ADDRESSED TO YOU IN REPLY TO YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION WHETHER TRAVEL BY AIRPLANE UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS WAS AUTHORIZED, IT WAS HELD THAT THE NECESSITY FOR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES THEN ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN THE WEST INDIES TO REACH BRAZIL TO CONTINUE THEIR INVESTIGATIONS WHILE CERTAIN FRUITS AND VEGETABLES WERE IN PROPER STATE OF MATURITY, WHICH TRAVEL COULD NOT BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE AVAILABLE STEAMSHIP TRANSPORTATION VIA NEW YORK CITY IN LESS THAN 30 DAYS WITH POSSIBLY A YEAR'S DELAY DUE TO MISSING CONNECTION AT NEW YORK CITY, CONSTITUTES AN EMERGENCY AUTHORIZING THE USE OF AIRPLANE TRANSPORTATION BY WHICH THE TRIP COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED BY DIRECT ROUTE IN FOUR DAYS.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE WORK CONTEMPLATED IN YOUR PRESENT SUBMISSION THE USE OF AIRPLANES WOULD BE AUTHORIZED IN ANY CASE IN WHICH THE COST THEREOF WOULD NOT EXCEED THE COST BY STEAMER, PER DIEM ALLOWANCES CONSIDERED, AND IN ANY CASE IN WHICH IT CAN BE SHOWN THAT LOSS IN TRANSIT OF THE COLLECTED ENEMIES WOULD BE GREATER BY STEAMSHIP THAN BY AIRPLANE.