A-68402, DECEMBER 28, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 562

A-68402: Dec 28, 1935

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WHO ARE REQUIRED TO FURNISH THEIR OWN MEANS OF CONVEYANCE FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL AT HEADQUARTERS AS A CONDITION OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT MAY NOT BE PAID THEREFOR. THE SALARY OR WAGE RATE OF SUCH EMPLOYEES MAY BE FIXED BY PROPER AUTHORITY IN EXCESS OF THAT FOR SIMILAR EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT REQUIRED TO FURNISH A MEANS OF CONVEYANCE. 1935: THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 4. AS FOLLOWS: THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION IS FACED WITH CONSIDERABLE DIFFICULTY IN THE WAY OF ECONOMICAL SUPERVISION OF PROJECTS IN THE LARGER CITIES BECAUSE OF THE PROHIBITION AGAINST REIMBURSING EMPLOYEES ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL PERFORMED BY MEANS OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS.

A-68402, DECEMBER 28, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 562

TRAVELING EXPENSES - HEADQUARTERS - WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEES - USE OF OWN AUTOMOBILE PROJECT SUPERVISORS, ENGINEERS, AND TIMEKEEPERS EMPLOYED UNDER THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION, WHO ARE REQUIRED TO FURNISH THEIR OWN MEANS OF CONVEYANCE FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL AT HEADQUARTERS AS A CONDITION OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT MAY NOT BE PAID THEREFOR, IN ADDITION TO THEIR SALARY OR WAGE, A FLAT DAILY OR MONTHLY RATE, BUT THE SALARY OR WAGE RATE OF SUCH EMPLOYEES MAY BE FIXED BY PROPER AUTHORITY IN EXCESS OF THAT FOR SIMILAR EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT REQUIRED TO FURNISH A MEANS OF CONVEYANCE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION, DECEMBER 28, 1935:

THERE WAS RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 4, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION IS FACED WITH CONSIDERABLE DIFFICULTY IN THE WAY OF ECONOMICAL SUPERVISION OF PROJECTS IN THE LARGER CITIES BECAUSE OF THE PROHIBITION AGAINST REIMBURSING EMPLOYEES ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL PERFORMED BY MEANS OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS. THE ALTERNATIVE METHODS OF TRAVEL WITHIN THE LIMITS OF AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION SEEM AT PRESENT TO BE LIMITED TO THE FOLLOWING:

1. TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER.

2. TRAVEL BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON ACTUAL OPERATING EXPENSE BASIS (GASOLINE AND OIL).

3. TRAVEL BY MEANS OF SPECIAL CONVEYANCE HIRED AT AN APPROPRIATE RATE INCLUDING THE SERVICES OF THE OWNER AS DRIVER.

TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER IS, OF COURSE, TOO CUMBERSOME TO PERMIT OF EVEN A REASONABLY EXPEDITIOUS COMPLETION OF OFFICIAL DUTIES WITHIN THE ALLOTTED TIME, AND IF INSISTED UPON WOULD NECESSITATE THE ADDITION OF A GREAT MANY MORE EMPLOYEES. FURTHER, COMMON CARRIER FACILITIES ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR REACHING ALL PROJECTS.

TRAVEL BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON AN ACTUAL OPERATING EXPENSE BASIS IMPOSES UPON EMPLOYEES RECEIVING A SECURITY WAGE EXPENSES SUCH AS TIRES, REPAIRS, ETC., WHICH WERE OF COURSE NOT CONTEMPLATED AT THE TIME SECURITY WAGE RATES WERE ESTABLISHED. THESE EXPENSES OF MAINTENANCE WHICH ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE WOULD IMPOSE AN UNDUE HARDSHIP UPON THE EMPLOYEES IN THE MAJORITY OF CASES. THE GASOLINE TAX EXEMPTION PROCEDURE WITH THE EVER OCCURRING CONTROVERSY AS TO WHETHER PURCHASES BY INDIVIDUAL EMPLOYEES FOR USE IN THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES ARE TAX EXEMPT, PRESENTS A FURTHER DIFFICULTY WITH RESPECT TO THIS MODE OF TRAVEL.

THE HIRE OF SPECIAL CONVEYANCE AT RATES INCLUDING THE DRIVERS IS VERY EXPENSIVE, AND IN THE FEW JURISDICTIONS WHERE THIS MODE OF TRANSPORTATION HAS BEEN EMPLOYED, IT IS USUALLY FOUND THAT THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION IS ABOUT DOUBLE OR MORE THAN DOUBLE THE SALARY OF THE EMPLOYEE FOR WHOM THE TRANSPORTATION IS FURNISHED.

IN CONSIDERATION OF THE FOREGOING, IT WILL BE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL ADVISE ME WHETHER OR NOT YOU WOULD APPROVE A PLAN WHEREBY PROJECT SUPERVISORS, ENGINEERS, AND TIMEKEEPERS, WHO ARE BY THE VERY NATURE OF THEIR DUTIES, REQUIRED TO TRAVEL DAILY BETWEEN A NUMBER OF PROJECTS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR OFFICIAL STATION, MAY BE EMPLOYED ON THE BASIS OF PAYMENT OF THE ESTABLISHED WAGE FOR THEIR PERSONAL SERVICES, PLUS AN ALLOWANCE OF AN APPROPRIATE FLAT RATE FOR THE USE OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES.

THIS PLAN WOULD BE SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO THAT IN USE IN CONNECTION WITH THE EMPLOYMENT OF OWNER DRIVERS OF TRUCKS AND OTHER EQUIPMENT, AND AS AN ILLUSTRATION OF ITS ADVANTAGES, IT MAY BE STATED THAT IN THE CITY OF NEW YORK WHERE SPECIAL CONVEYANCES HAVE BEEN HIRED AS THE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION OF TRAVELING EMPLOYEES FROM PROJECT TO PROJECT WITHIN THE CITY LIMITS, THE RATE PER CONVEYANCE IS APPROXIMATELY EIGHT DOLLARS A DAY, WHERE AS ARRANGEMENTS COULD PROBABLY BE MADE WITH THE EMPLOYEES TO PERFORM THE TRAVEL BY MEANS OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES AT A RATE OF TWO OR THREE DOLLARS PER DAY. CONSIDERING THE NUMBER OF TRANSPORTATION UNITS INVOLVED, IT IS CLEAR THAT A VERY GREAT SAVING COULD BE EFFECTED.

IT WILL BE APPRECIATED IF YOU WILL LET ME HAVE YOUR DECISION ON THIS MATTER AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, SINCE IT REPRESENTS A VERY PRESSING PROBLEM.

IN DECISION TO YOU DATED SEPTEMBER 14, 1935, 15 COMP. GEN. 209, IT WAS HELD AS FOLLOWS (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

THERE IS NO OBJECTION REQUIRED TO THE USE OF FUNDS APPROPRIATED BY THE EMERGENCY RELIEF APPROPRIATION ACT OF 1935, 49 STAT. 115, IN MAKING PAYMENTS, OTHERWISE THAN ON THE BASIS OF THE ,SECURITY WAGE" AS PROVIDED IN EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7046, DATED MAY 20, 1935, TO PERSONS EMPLOYED WHO OPERATE THEIR OWN EQUIPMENT IN CONNECTION WITH PROJECTS TO WHICH SAID EXECUTIVE ORDER IS APPLICABLE.

EMPLOYEES OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION OR PROJECT EMPLOYEES TAKEN FROM THE PUBLIC RELIEF ROLLS AND PAID THE "SECURITY WAGE" SET FORTH IN EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7046, DATED MAY 20, 1935, MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR THE USE OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES FOR TRANSPORTATION WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR OFFICIAL STATION EXCEPT UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS.

SEE ALSO 15 COMP. GEN. 222.

THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROPOSAL CONSIDERED IN THAT DECISION (LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE SYLLABUS) WAS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EMPLOYEES ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE USE OF THEIR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES AT HEADQUARTERS. THE PRESENT PLAN IS FOR PAYMENT OF A FLAT RATE (PRESUMABLY PER DAY OR PER MONTH) FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES AT HEADQUARTERS.

WHILE THERE WOULD APPEAR NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE FIXING, BY PROPER AUTHORITY, OF THE COMPENSATION OF PROJECT SUPERVISORS, ENGINEERS, AND TIMEKEEPERS EMPLOYED UNDER THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION, WHO MAY BE REQUIRED TO FURNISH THEIR OWN MEANS OF CONVEYANCE AS A CONDITION OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT AT A SALARY OR WAGE RATE IN EXCESS OF THAT FIXED FOR SIMILAR EMPLOYEES WHO ARE NOT REQUIRED TO FURNISH A MEANS OF CONVEYANCE, THE ALLOWANCE--- IN ADDITION TO THE SALARY OR WAGE--- OF A FLAT RATE PER DAY OR PER MONTH TO COVER THE COST TO THEM OF FURNISHING AN AUTOMOBILE FOR USE IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR WORK IS NOT AUTHORIZED.