A-64606, OCTOBER 26, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 342

A-64606: Oct 26, 1935

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - RESIDENCE TO POST OF DUTY PAYMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND POST OF DUTY IS UNAUTHORIZED. THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCH UNAUTHORIZED PAYMENTS IS NOT AFFECTED BY HIS ABILITY OR INABILITY TO RECOUP THE AMOUNT FROM THE PAYEES. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO NOTICES OF EXCEPTION RELATIVE TO VOUCHERS NOS. 641. FOR TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE DISTILLERIES TO WHICH THEY WERE ASSIGNED AT THE TIME (THE PLACES OF THEIR ASSIGNMENTS BEING ALSO THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY) AND THE NEAREST PLACES WHERE LIVING ACCOMMODATIONS COULD BE PROCURED. THERE ARE ATTACHED COPIES OF LETTER OF DECEMBER 26. FROM THE ABOVE CORRESPONDENCE IT WILL BE SEEN THAT THE ASSIGNMENTS OF THESE STOREKEEPER-GAUGERS TO THE DIFFERENT DISTILLERIES WERE IN FACT TEMPORARY DETAILS.

A-64606, OCTOBER 26, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 342

TRAVELING EXPENSES - RESIDENCE TO POST OF DUTY PAYMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND POST OF DUTY IS UNAUTHORIZED. THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCH UNAUTHORIZED PAYMENTS IS NOT AFFECTED BY HIS ABILITY OR INABILITY TO RECOUP THE AMOUNT FROM THE PAYEES.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, OCTOBER 26, 1935:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 30, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO NOTICES OF EXCEPTION RELATIVE TO VOUCHERS NOS. 641, 803, 813, 814, 947, 990, 1111, 1157, 1180, 1195, 1196, 1201, 1203, 1204, 1209, 1215, 1216, 1217, 1221, 1222, 1226, 1227, 1236, 1237, AND 1238 OF THE OCTOBER, NOVEMBER, DECEMBER 1934 AND JANUARY 1935 DISBURSING ACCOUNTS OF RUTH B. HIBNER, SYMBOL NO. 16023.

THE ITEMS SUSPENDED REPRESENT EXPENSES INCURRED BY VARIOUS STOREKEEPER- GAUGERS IN CALIFORNIA, FOR TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE DISTILLERIES TO WHICH THEY WERE ASSIGNED AT THE TIME (THE PLACES OF THEIR ASSIGNMENTS BEING ALSO THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY) AND THE NEAREST PLACES WHERE LIVING ACCOMMODATIONS COULD BE PROCURED.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION RELATIVE TO THE POLICY OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE IN ASSIGNING THESE STOREKEEPER-GAUGERS TO DUTY AT DISTILLERIES, THERE ARE ATTACHED COPIES OF LETTER OF DECEMBER 26, 1933, FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF INDUSTRIAL ALCOHOL TO MR. JAMES H. MALONEY, SUPERVISOR OF PERMITS, AT SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, LETTER OF FEBRUARY 16, 1934, FROM MR. MALONEY TO THE COMMISSIONER OF INDUSTRIAL ALCOHOL, AND LETTER OF APRIL 3, 1934, FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF INDUSTRIAL ALCOHOL TO THE DISTRICT SUPERVISOR AT SAN FRANCISCO.

FROM THE ABOVE CORRESPONDENCE IT WILL BE SEEN THAT THE ASSIGNMENTS OF THESE STOREKEEPER-GAUGERS TO THE DIFFERENT DISTILLERIES WERE IN FACT TEMPORARY DETAILS, THE FREQUENT CHANGES OF ASSIGNMENT BEING CONSIDERED TO BE IN THE INTEREST OF EFFICIENCY AND GOOD ADMINISTRATION. FOR THE PURPOSE OF SAVING THE GOVERNMENT THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE WHICH AN EMPLOYEE IS USUALLY GRANTED WHEN DETAILED TO A PLACE FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, THE PLACE AT WHICH THE DISTILLERY WAS LOCATED WAS IN EACH INSTANCE DESIGNATED AS THE POST OF DUTY OF THE STOREKEEPER-GAUGER FOR THE TIME HE WAS EMPLOYED THERE EVEN THOUGH IN SOME INSTANCES THE DETAIL WAS FOR ONLY A FEW WEEKS AND REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT IN MANY OF THESE PLACES THERE WERE NO LIVING ACCOMMODATIONS. SINCE THESE EMPLOYEES WERE REQUIRED TO BEAR THEIR OWN SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES AT EACH PLACE OF ASSIGNMENT IT WAS CONSIDERED THAT WHEN THEY WERE DETAILED TO POINTS AT WHICH THERE WERE NO LIVING ACCOMMODATIONS IT WOULD BE PROPER FOR THEM TO CLAIM AND BE PAID FOR THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES BETWEEN THEIR ASSIGNMENT AND THE NEAREST POINT WHERE THEY COULD PROCURE SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS AND THE DISTRICT SUPERVISOR AT SAN FRANCISCO WAS SO ADVISED IN LETTER OF APRIL 3, 1934, FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF INDUSTRIAL ALCOHOL. ACTING UPON THESE INSTRUCTIONS PAYMENTS WERE MADE BY THE FIELD DISBURSING OFFICER TO THE STOREKEEPER- GAUGERS FOR A NUMBER OF MONTHS. HOWEVER, UPON RECEIPT OF YOUR NOTICES OF EXCEPTION THE DISTRICT SUPERVISOR AT SAN FRANCISCO WAS INSTRUCTED UNDER DATE OF JULY 2, 1935, TO APPROVE NO FURTHER CLAIMS FOR TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF THIS KIND.

IT IS CONCEDED THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WAS IN ERROR IN ADVISING THE DISTRICT SUPERVISOR AT SAN FRANCISCO THAT THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IN QUESTION WERE PROPERLY ALLOWABLE. HOWEVER, THE ATTACHED CORRESPONDENCE SHOWS PLAINLY THAT THE PROCEDURE FOLLOWED IN CONNECTION WITH THE ASSIGNMENTS OF THESE STOREKEEPER-GAUGERS WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF KEEPING THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT AT THE LOWEST POSSIBLE FIGURE AND THIS PURPOSE WAS ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHED, THOUGH THE RESULTING COST TO THE EMPLOYEES THEMSELVES FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WAS CONSIDERABLE. TO REQUIRE THEM NOW TO REFUND THE AMOUNTS SUSPENDED BY YOUR OFFICE AND POSSIBLY ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS FOR SUBSEQUENT MONTHS WOULD WORK A REAL HARDSHIP. IN FACT SOME OF THE EMPLOYEES INVOLVED ARE NOW OUT OF THE SERVICE AND TO COLLECT THE AMOUNTS PAID THEM WOULD BE VERY DIFFICULT IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE.

IT IS THEREFORE RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED THAT THE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FURNISHED HEREWITH BE CONSIDERED BY YOUR OFFICE IN CONNECTION WITH THE ABOVE-MENTIONED SUSPENSIONS AND IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES AS HEREIN SET FORTH CREDIT BE ALLOWED FOR THE ITEMS IN QUESTION.

IT APPEARS THAT THE AMOUNTS DISALLOWED ON THE VOUCHERS MENTIONED IN YOUR LETTER COVER EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, USUALLY ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, AND BY TAXICAB OR BUS OF VARIOUS STOREKEEPER-GAUGERS BETWEEN PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND PLACE OF DUTY. THESE EXPENSES ARE SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY REASON OF THE FACT THAT SUITABLE LIVING QUARTERS COULD NOT BE OBTAINED BY THE EMPLOYEE AT THE POST OF DUTY TO WHICH ASSIGNED.

IN ORDER TO ENTITLE AN EMPLOYEE TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, FOR USE OF HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE SUCH EMPLOYEE MUST BE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY. IT HAS BEEN HELD REPEATEDLY THAT TRAVEL FROM HOME TO HEADQUARTERS IS SUBSTANTIALLY DUTY AT HEADQUARTERS AND DOES NOT PLACE EMPLOYEES SO TRAVELING IN A TRAVEL STATUS. SEE A-42171, NOVEMBER 3, 1932, AND A-51170, SEPTEMBER 29, 1933. EXPENSES FOR SUCH TRAVEL ARE PERSONAL EXPENSES AND ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE.

AN EXAMINATION OF THE VOUCHERS DISCLOSES THAT AS A GENERAL RULE THE DISTANCES TRAVELED IN THE VARIOUS CASES BETWEEN PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND HEADQUARTERS ARE NOT UNUSUAL DISTANCES FOR EMPLOYEES TO LIVE FROM THEIR WORK. IT HAVING BEEN THE DUTY OF THE EMPLOYEES TO PLACE THEMSELVES IN A DUTY STATUS EACH DAY, THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE WAS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO ORDER SUCH TRAVEL AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT.

THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACTION IN PAYING TRAVELING EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES BETWEEN PLACE OF RESIDENCE AND POST OF DUTY HAVING BEEN CLEARLY UNAUTHORIZED HIS RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUCH UNAUTHORIZED PAYMENTS IS NOT AFFECTED BY HIS ABILITY OR INABILITY TO RECOUP THE AMOUNT FROM THE PAYEES. 7 COMP. GEN. 64. ACCORDINGLY, THE DISALLOWANCES MUST BE AND ARE SUSTAINED.