A-69693, MARCH 18, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 819

A-69693: Mar 18, 1936

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IS UNAUTHORIZED. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE EXCEPTIONS ON VOUCHERS OF WILLIAM C. EXCEPTIONS ON ALL OF THE ABOVE VOUCHERS WERE MADE ON ACCOUNT OF (A) AUTHORITY FOR TRAVEL. ADDITIONAL EXCEPTIONS WERE MADE ON TWO OF THE VOUCHERS AND REPLIES TO THESE FOLLOW: D.O. IS BASED UPON INCONSISTENT SPEEDOMETER READING: VIZ: SUCH READING ON CLAIMANT'S BUICK COUPE. WAS 39. THE READING IS SHOWN TO BE 39. 325 GIVEN ON TRIP OF FEBRUARY 19 IS CORRECT. A NEW JURAT IS FURNISHED HEREWITH FOR ATTACHING TO VOUCHER. YOU ARE ADVISED AS FOLLOWS: UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY. EMPLOYEES OF THE LANGLEY MEMORIAL AERONAUTICAL LABORATORY WERE AUTHORIZED. A COPY OF THIS GENERAL AUTHORITY IS ATTACHED.

A-69693, MARCH 18, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 819

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRAVEL BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE REIMBURSEMENT FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL PERFORMED IN A PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS UPON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR A PORTION OF THE JOURNEY, AND ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS FOR THE REMAINDER, IS UNAUTHORIZED, NOTWITHSTANDING SAID TRAVEL INVOLVES FERRY FARES WHICH EQUAL OR EXCEED THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE PAYABLE. THE ACTUAL COST OF GASOLINE AND OIL CONSUMED ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL INVOLVING THE USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE FOR SHORT DISTANCES ONLY MAY BE DETERMINED BY CLAIMING CONSUMPTION AS OF A PREDETERMINED MILEAGE AVERAGE, THE VOUCHER TO SO STATE, IN ADDITION TO SHOWING THE NAME AND MODEL OF THE AUTOMOBILE, CURRENT RECEIPTS TO BE SUBMITTED SHOWING THE PRICES PAID FOR GASOLINE AND OIL. FERRY FARES PAID IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH TRAVEL WOULD BE PROPER FOR INCLUSION FOR REIMBURSEMENT.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE NATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR AERONAUTICS, MARCH 18, 1936:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 23, 1935, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE EXCEPTIONS ON VOUCHERS OF WILLIAM C. PECK, AN EMPLOYEE OF THIS COMMITTEE, COVERING MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL, AS FOLLOWS:

CHART

D.O. VOUCHER NO. DATES OF AMOUNT APPROPRIATION DATE OF

TRAVEL OF EXCEPTION

VOUCHER 276. J. L. SUMMERS, 1934

1935

PERIOD MAR. 1-15, 1934 --- FEB. 5-15 $9.95 04611 MAR. 23 275. J. L. SUMMERS,

PERIOD MAR. 1-15, 1934 --- FEB. 19-20 3.45 04611 MAR. 23 842. J. L. SUMMERS,

PERIOD MAY 16-31, 1934 --- APR. 3-13 6.25 04611 MAY 22 1104. J. L. SUMMERS,

MAY 3-JUNE 4.95 04611 APR. 18

PERIOD JUNE 16-30, 1934 -- 4. 462459. G. F. ALLEN, JUNE 18- ( (04611- $3.40 (

PERIOD NOVEMBER 1934 ----- SEPT. ( 13.60 (05611-10.20 ( JULY 11

19.

EXCEPTIONS ON ALL OF THE ABOVE VOUCHERS WERE MADE ON ACCOUNT OF (A) AUTHORITY FOR TRAVEL, AND (B) USE OF FERRY TICKETS PAID FOR BY THE GOVERNMENT. ADDITIONAL EXCEPTIONS WERE MADE ON TWO OF THE VOUCHERS AND REPLIES TO THESE FOLLOW:

D.O. VOUCHER 275.--- "MILEAGE CHARGED FEB. 19, 1934, IS BASED UPON INCONSISTENT SPEEDOMETER READING: VIZ: SUCH READING ON CLAIMANT'S BUICK COUPE, ON ARRIVAL AT HAMPTON, VA., ON FEB. 15, 1934, COVERED BY D.O. VOUCHER NO. 276, PAID MARCH 12, 1934, WAS 39,338, WHEREAS ON DEPARTURE FROM LANGLEY FIELD, VA., ON FEB. 19, 1934, THE READING IS SHOWN TO BE 39,325 MILES. EXPLANATION REQUESTED.'

THE SPEEDOMETER READING OF 39,325 GIVEN ON TRIP OF FEBRUARY 19 IS CORRECT. THE ERROR OCCURRED IN STATING THE READING ON PREVIOUS TRIP, FEBRUARY 15, VOUCHER 276. THIS READING SHOULD BE CORRECTED TO: 39,325 AT BEGINNING AND 39,260 AT END OF TRIP.

D.O. VOUCHER 462459.--- OBJECTION TO SIGNATURE ON JURAT.

A NEW JURAT IS FURNISHED HEREWITH FOR ATTACHING TO VOUCHER.

WITH REFERENCE TO EXCEPTION (A), AUTHORITY FOR TRAVEL, YOU ARE ADVISED AS FOLLOWS:

UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE SECRETARY, DATED NOVEMBER 24, 1930, EMPLOYEES OF THE LANGLEY MEMORIAL AERONAUTICAL LABORATORY WERE AUTHORIZED, UPON DESIGNATION OF THE ENGINEER-IN-CHARGE, TO PERFORM ANY NECESSARY TRAVEL UPON OFFICIAL BUSINESS INVOLVING THE USE OF THEIR PERSONAL AUTOMOBILES FOR VISITS TO PLACES WITHIN A RADIUS OF FORTY MILES OF THE LABORATORY. A COPY OF THIS GENERAL AUTHORITY IS ATTACHED.

IN THE ABSENCE OF THE ENGINEER-IN-CHARGE, MR. EDWARD R. SHARP, AS ACTING ENGINEER-IN-CHARGE, ISSUED THE NECESSARY ORDERS. THROUGH A TYPOGRAPHICAL ERROR IN WRITING UP THESE ORDERS, MR. SHARP'S USUAL TITLE, "CHIEF CLERK AND PROPERTY OFFICER," WAS GIVEN INSTEAD OF "ACTING ENGINEER-IN-CHARGE.' SUBSTITUTE LETTERS SIGNED BY MR. SHARP IN THE PROPER CAPACITY ARE ATTACHED FOR FILING WITH THE RESPECTIVE VOUCHERS.

WITH REFERENCE TO EXCEPTION (B), USE OF FERRY TICKETS PAID FOR BY THE GOVERNMENT, THE UNUSUAL GEOGRAPHICAL CONDITIONS JUSTIFY SPECIAL CONSIDERATION APART FROM THE GENERAL RULE. THE TRAVELER'S OFFICIAL STATION WAS LANGLEY FIELD, VIRGINIA. HE WAS REPEATEDLY ORDERED TO PROCEED VIA HIS OWN CAR TO THE NAVAL AIR STATION ON THE OPPOSITE SHORE OF HAMPTON ROADS. WATER MUST BE CROSSED TO PERFORM THE TRAVEL. THE JAMES RIVER BRIDGE ROUTE IS LONGER AND MORE COSTLY THAN THE FERRY. THE FERRY IS THE SHORTEST, QUICKEST, AND MOST ECONOMICAL ROUTE. THE FERRY DISTANCES IN QUESTION, AS SCALED FROM THE U.S. COAST AND GEODETIC CHART NO. 400 BY THE U.S. DISTRICT ENGINEERS' OFFICE, ARE:

WILLOUGHBY SPIT, VIRGINIA, TO OLD POINT COMFORT, VIRGINIA--- 3.31 MILES;

PINE BEACH, VIRGINIA, TO NEWPORT NEWS, VIRGINIA--- 4.83 MILES.

THE COST OF THE FERRY FARE PER ROUND TRIP IS $1.50. THIS COST, IF REQUIRED TO BE BORNE BY THE TRAVELER ON A MILEAGE BASIS, IS OUT OF PROPORTION TO THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE RECEIVED, EITHER FOR THE FERRY DISTANCE TRAVELED OR FOR THE WHOLE TRIP.

CONSIDER, FOR EXAMPLE, THE FACTS WITH RESPECT TO VOUCHER NO. 276. THE TRAVELER PERFORMED EIGHT TRIPS TO THE NAVAL AIR STATION AT HAMPTON ROADS, FOR WHICH A TOTAL CHARGE WAS MADE FOR 199 LAND MILES AT $0.05, OR A TOTAL OF $9.95--- AN AVERAGE OF $1.24 PER TRIP. THE FERRY FARE FOR EACH OF THESE TRIPS WAS $1.50, FOR WHICH THE TRAVELER WAS FURNISHED FERRY TICKETS PURCHASED BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE ROUND-TRIP FERRY MILEAGE IN SOME OF THESE CASES WAS 8 MILES, AND IN OTHERS 10 MILES. IF, UNDER THE GENERAL RULE, MILEAGE BE ALLOWED FOR THE FERRY DISTANCE, IT WOULD ADD IN SOME CASES $0.40, AND IN OTHERS $0.50, TO THE TRIP COST, WHICH WOULD INCREASE THE ALLOWANCE DUE THE TRAVELER TO $1.64, AND $1.74 FOR OTHERS, OUT OF WHICH THE TRAVELER WOULD HAVE TO PAY THE FERRY CHARGE OF $1.50. THIS WOULD LEAVE THE TRAVELER AN ALLOWANCE OF $0.14 OR $0.24 FOR TRIPS VARYING FROM 22 TO 30 LAND MILES EACH, WHICH ALLOWANCE WOULD CLEARLY NOT BE WITHIN THE MEANING AND INTENT OF THE LAW.

IN A DISCUSSION OF THE DIFFICULTY WITH MR. GOLZE, IT WAS SUGGESTED THAT FOR SUCH TRAVEL IN THE FUTURE THE TRAVELER BE PAID ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS. THE TRAVELER AND THIS ORGANIZATION ARE BOTH ENTIRELY WILLING TO ACCEPT THIS PRINCIPLE, PROVIDED SOME REASONABLE AND WORKABLE BASIS OF ALLOWANCE CAN BE EMBODIED IN YOUR DECISION TO COVER THE TRAVELER'S EXPENSES. THE ALLOWANCE OF ACTUAL EXPENSES CONTEMPLATES THE PURCHASE OF THE CORRECT QUANTITY OF GAS AND OIL FOR EACH TRIP. AS GAS AND OIL COULD NOT PRACTICABLY BE PURCHASED SPECIFICALLY FOR SUCH SHORT TRIPS, AN ALLOWANCE OF SOME SORT IN LIEU THEREOF APPEARS NECESSARY.

IT IS A FACTOR WORTHY OF NOTE THAT IN CONNECTION WITH THE COOPERATIVE WORK OF OUR LABORATORIES AT LANGLEY FIELD WITH THE NAVAL AIR STATION AT HAMPTON ROADS, REQUIRING AT TIMES FREQUENT VISITS BY MEMBERS OF OUR ENGINEERING STAFF TO THE NAVAL AIR STATION, THE AUTOMOBILE IS THE ONLY PRACTICABLE MEANS OF PERFORMING THE TRAVEL EXPEDITIOUSLY. IF OUR ORGANIZATION HAD A GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH TRAVEL, ITS USE WOULD OF COURSE ELIMINATE THE PRESENT ACCOUNTING DIFFICULTY. COULD AT THIS TIME PURCHASE AN ADDITIONAL AUTOMOBILE, BUT DO NOT BELIEVE THERE IS SUFFICIENT NEED FOR IT TO WARRANT SUCH AN EXPENDITURE BY THE GOVERNMENT. IF YOU CAN PROPOSE A BASIS THAT WILL DEAL ADEQUATELY WITH THIS PROBLEM--- A BASIS THAT WILL BE FAIR ALIKE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND TO THE TRAVELER--- IT WILL BE GREATLY IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST, AND WILL RELIEVE THIS ORGANIZATION OF FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THE PURCHASE OF A GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE TO MEET THIS ACCOUNTING PROBLEM.

IN THE CASES IN QUESTION, BECAUSE OF THE PREPONDERANCE OF THE FERRY COST TO GROSS TRAVEL PERFORMED AND THE SHORTNESS OF THE TRAVEL PERFORMED, THE INFLEXIBLE APPLICATION OF THE GENERAL RULES RELATING EITHER TO MILEAGE OR TO ACTUAL EXPENSES IS NOT PRACTICABLE. IF YOU ARE WILLING TO CONSIDER SPECIAL HANDLING OF THESE CASES, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT IN THE FUTURE THE GOVERNMENT FURNISH THE TRAVELER THE TICKETS FOR FERRY TRANSPORTATION AND ALLOW THE TRAVELER A LOWER MILEAGE RATE THAN $0.05, SAY, A $0.03 A MILE.

ANY DECISION YOU MAY MAKE THAT WILL MEET THIS UNUSUAL SITUATION FAIRLY WILL BE WELCOME. AND WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT OUR PROCEDURE IN THE FUTURE WILL CONFORM TO YOUR DECISION, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE SUSPENSIONS IN THE PRESENT CASES, WHICH ARE THE RESULT OF PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCES, BE REMOVED.

IN A SIMILAR CASE IT WAS HELD BY THIS OFFICE IN 11 COMP. GEN. 175 (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, FOR THE USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S OWN AUTOMOBILE IS IN LIEU OF ALL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION AND PRECLUDES ANY ALLOWANCE FOR FERRY FARES IN ADDITION TO MILEAGE. THE MILEAGE IS TO BE COMPUTED OVER THE DISTANCE ACTUALLY TRAVELED, INCLUDING THE DISTANCE TRAVELED BY FERRIES, EVEN THOUGH SUCH DISTANCE IS NOT RECORDED UPON THE SPEEDOMETER OF THE AUTOMOBILE.

AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF AN EMPLOYEE'S PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE UPON A MILEAGE BASIS MUST REST UPON THE ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE TO THE UNITED STATES AND NOT THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE, IT WOULD BE CONTRARY TO THE INTENT OF THE STATUTE TO PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT FOR A PORTION OF A JOURNEY UPON A MILEAGE BASIS AND FOR THE REMAINDER UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS BECAUSE THAT WOULD BE PRIMARILY TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE EMPLOYEE. ACCORDINGLY, REIMBURSEMENT MUST BE EITHER UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, OR A MILEAGE BASIS, FOR THE ENTIRE JOURNEY AND IF UPON A MILEAGE BASIS THE DECISION CITED ABOVE IS FOR APPLICATION. WITH RESPECT TO THE DIFFICULTY OF DETERMINING THE ACTUAL COST OF GASOLINE AND OIL WHEN THE EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE IS USED FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS ONLY A PORTION OF THE TIME, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE EMPLOYEE, IF HE DOES NOT ALREADY HAVE SUCH INFORMATION IN HAND, MAY CHECK THE CONSUMPTION OF GASOLINE AND OIL OVER A GIVEN MILEAGE AND ASCERTAIN THE AVERAGE CONSUMPTION PER MILE, AND IN SUBMITTING HIS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS SHOW THE NUMBER OF MILES TRAVELED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND STATE FOR CONSIDERATION REIMBURSEMENT UPON THE PREDETERMINED AVERAGE CONSUMPTION OF GASOLINE AND OIL PER MILE, WHICH WOULD PERMIT, IN ADDITION, THE REIMBURSEMENT OF THE TRAVELER FOR FERRY FARES PAID ON SUCH A TRIP. SHOULD BE PLAINLY SHOWN ON THE VOUCHER THAT THE CONSUMPTION OF GASOLINE AND OIL IS ON AN ESTIMATED AVERAGE CONSUMPTION, GIVING THE NAME AND MODEL OF THE AUTOMOBILE AND SUBMITTING CURRENT RECEIPTS SHOWING THE PRICES PAID FOR GASOLINE AND OIL.

THE DISALLOWANCES AND SUSPENSIONS HERETOFORE MADE IN CASES WHERE THE FERRY FARES WERE PAID OR CLAIMED IN ADDITION TO MILEAGE WERE CORRECT UNDER THE LAW AND REGULATIONS GOVERNING SUCH MATTERS. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE APPARENT MISUNDERSTANDING AS TO THE APPLICATION OF THE MILEAGE STATUTE AND THE HARDSHIP INVOLVED IN THOSE CASES DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE FERRY FARE EQUALS OR EXCEEDS THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE THESE CASES WILL BE GIVEN FURTHER CONSIDERATION UPON FACTS SUBMITTED ACCORDINGLY.