A-75690, JUNE 19, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 1117

A-75690: Jun 19, 1936

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

AS FOLLOWS: REVIEW IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED OF EXCEPTIONS TAKEN BY YOUR OFFICE TO EXPENSE VOUCHERS LISTED BELOW. THERE IS QUOTED FOR CONSIDERATION THE FOLLOWING LETTER RECEIVED BY THE BUREAU IN QUESTION FROM THE SUPERVISING INSPECTOR OF THE FIRST DISTRICT AT SAN FRANCISCO. CALIFORNIA: "RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF BUREAU LETTER OF THE 29TH ULTIMO. HAVE INFORMED US THAT THERE IS NOTHING IN COMMON BETWEEN THE TWO CITIES EXCEPT THAT THEY BOTH USE THE SAME NAVIGABLE WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES. - THAT IS. THERE ARE NO METROPOLITAN DISTRICTS SUCH AS SEWER. THEY ARE IN DIFFERENT CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS. WHEN THE BRIDGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLETED THEY WILL BE NO NEARER TOGETHER IN TIME.

A-75690, JUNE 19, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 1117

SUBSISTENCE - STEAMBOAT INSPECTORS - DUTY ON SAN FRANCISCO BAY INSPECTORS OF THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION AND STEAMBOAT INSPECTION, WITH HEADQUARTERS DESIGNATED AS SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., MAY NOT BE PAID A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AS IN A TRAVEL STATUS WHILE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY AT CITIES ON SAN FRANCISCO BAY TO WHICH THEY MAY BE ASSIGNED IN THE ORDINARY PERFORMANCE OF THEIR DUTIES.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, JUNE 19, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 18, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

REVIEW IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED OF EXCEPTIONS TAKEN BY YOUR OFFICE TO EXPENSE VOUCHERS LISTED BELOW, COVERING SUBSISTENCE CLAIMED IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO AND OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, PERFORMED BY INSPECTORS OF THE BUREAU OF NAVIGATION AND STEAMBOAT INSPECTION AT SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, IT BEING HELD THAT TRAVEL BETWEEN TWIN CITIES, SUBDIVISIONS OF THE SAME CITY, OR SUBURBAN AREAS ADJACENT TO AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION, DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A TRAVEL STATUS WHICH ENTITLED THE EMPLOYEE TO PER DIEM:

D.O. VO. NO. 749966-1443.

D.O. VO. NO. 749967-1444.

D.O. VO. NO. 749968-1445.

D.O. VO. NO. 749969-1446.

D.O. VO. NO. 749971-1448.

D.O. VO. NO. 749972-1449.

D.O. VO. NO. 749973-1450.

D.O. VO. NO. 749976-1453.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE ABOVE, THERE IS QUOTED FOR CONSIDERATION THE FOLLOWING LETTER RECEIVED BY THE BUREAU IN QUESTION FROM THE SUPERVISING INSPECTOR OF THE FIRST DISTRICT AT SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA:

"RECEIPT IS ACKNOWLEDGED OF BUREAU LETTER OF THE 29TH ULTIMO, RELATIVE TO THE SUSPENSIONS TAKEN BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON EXPENSE VOUCHERS SUBMITTED BY VARIOUS INSPECTORS IN THE SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE, COVERING TRAVEL BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO AND OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA.

"PLEASE BE INFORMED THAT THE CITY ENGINEERS OF BOTH SAN FRANCISCO AND OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, HAVE INFORMED US THAT THERE IS NOTHING IN COMMON BETWEEN THE TWO CITIES EXCEPT THAT THEY BOTH USE THE SAME NAVIGABLE WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES--- THAT IS, SAN FRANCISCO BAY. THERE ARE NO METROPOLITAN DISTRICTS SUCH AS SEWER, POLICE, PARK, NOR BRIDGE, AND NO PORT AUTHORITY COVERING BOTH; NOR DO THEY REGARD THEM IN ANY SENSE AS TWIN CITIES, SUBDIVISIONS, SUBURBAN AREAS, NOR ADJACENT TO ONE ANOTHER.

"NO TWO MORE DISSIMILAR CITIES EXIST IN THE UNITED STATES THAN SAN FRANCISCO AND OAKLAND. THEY ARE IN DIFFERENT CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS, WITH DIFFERENT CLIMATES, AND WITH NO BRIDGES AT PRESENT CONNECTING; WHEN THE BRIDGE UNDER CONSTRUCTION IS COMPLETED THEY WILL BE NO NEARER TOGETHER IN TIME, DISTANCE, OR COST; NOR IS THERE ANY ASSURANCE THAT INTERURBAN RAILWAYS OR BUSES WILL BE USED.

"THE WATERFRONT OF SAN FRANCISCO IS OWNED AND ADMINISTERED BY THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA; THEN INLAND WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES SEPARATE THEM. THE OAKLAND SHORE THE NEAREST POINT, SHORE TO SHORE, IS FIVE MILES. THE BUSINESS DISTRICTS OF THE TWO CITIES ARE AT LEAST TEN MILES APART.

"TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO AND OAKLAND IS BY FERRY BOAT, THEN CONNECTING TRAIN. THE FERRY BOATS ARE STAUNCH, SEAWORTHY VESSELS AND ARE EQUIPPED WITH ANCHORS, FOR HEAVY WEATHER PREVAILS AT TIMES. AT INTERVALS ALL TRAFFIC HAS BEEN SUSPENDED DUE TO HEAVY WINDS, SEAS, OR FOGS. THESE FERRY BOATS ARE PART OF TRANSCONTINENTAL RAILWAY SYSTEMS, AND THE LEAST FARE BETWEEN THE NEAREST STATIONS IS TWENTY-ONE CENTS ONE WAY, AND THERE IS A TIME INTERVAL OF THIRTY-TWO MINUTES BETWEEN STATIONS. THERE IS NO PRESENT UNDERSTANDING THAT THESE FERRIES WILL CEASE RUNNING WHEN THE BRIDGE IS FINISHED.

"THE POST OFFICES OF SAN FRANCISCO AND OAKLAND STATE THERE ARE NO ARRANGEMENTS BETWEEN THEM THAT WARRANT THE USE OF THE TERM "TWIN CITIES," AS PRECISELY THE SAME RELATIONS EXIST BETWEEN THEM AS EXISTS, FOR INSTANCE, BETWEEN SACRAMENTO AND SAN FRANCISCO, OR SACRAMENTO AND OAKLAND, ETC. THE POST-OFFICE INSPECTORS AND RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE, WITH HEADQUARTERS IN SAN FRANCISCO, INFORM US THAT THEY CLAIM PER DIEM TRAVEL EXPENSES IN OAKLAND AND HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED ANY SUSPENSIONS.'

IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU GIVE CONSIDERATION TO THE FACTS AS SUBMITTED WHEN REVIEWING THE EXCEPTIONS AND ADVISE THE DEPARTMENT OF YOUR CONCLUSIONS.

THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF JUNE 3, 1926 (44 STAT. 688), AS AMENDED BY SECTION 207 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932 (47 STAT. 405), REQUIRES THAT AN EMPLOYEE MUST BE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY TO BE ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE. WHILE, AS STATED IN YOUR LETTER, THE CITY ENGINEERS OF BOTH SAN FRANCISCO AND OAKLAND MAY NOT IN ANY SENSE REGARD THEM AS TWIN CITIES, SUBDIVISIONS, SUBURBAN AREAS, NOR ADJACENT TO ONE ANOTHER, THEY DO ADMIT THAT BOTH CITIES USE THE SAME NAVIGABLE WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES, THAT IS SAN FRANCISCO BAY.

AN EXAMINATION OF THE VOUCHERS INDICATES THAT THE DUTIES OF THESE STEAMBOAT INSPECTORS WERE PERFORMED ON VESSELS USING THE WATERS OF SAN FRANCISCO BAY. THESE VESSELS MAY BE ANCHORED AT ANY CITY ON SAN FRANCISCO BAY, SAN FRANCISCO, OAKLAND, ALAMEDA, OR BERKELEY, AND ANY INSPECTOR MAY BE DESIGNATED TO GO TO ANY ONE OF THESE CITIES IN THE ORDINARY PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES. CONCEIVABLY HE MAY BE OBLIGED TO WORK IN SAN FRANCISCO BEFORE OR AFTER THE USUAL WORKING HOURS OF 1 DAY AND THE NEXT DAY BE OBLIGED TO WORK IN OAKLAND, ALAMEDA, OR BERKELEY A LIKE NUMBER OF HOURS. EACH VOUCHER BEARS THE STATEMENT: "IN ORDER TO BEGIN INSPECTION OF THE VESSELS TO WHICH I WAS ASSIGNED AT THE TIME REQUESTED IT WAS NECESSARY TO LEAVE AT THE TIME STATED.' IN THE CASES UNDER CONSIDERATION THE EARLIEST TIME OF DEPARTURE FROM SAN FRANCISCO WAS 7:40 A.M., WHILE THE TIME OF RETURN THERETO VARIES FROM 6:10 TO 10:30 P.M. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN SAN FRANCISCO AND OAKLAND IS 5 MILES, THE TRAVELING TIME 32 MINUTES OR LESS, AND THE FARE 21 CENTS.

IT APPEARS THAT SAN FRANCISCO IS NEAR ENOUGH TO OAKLAND, ALAMEDA, AND BERKELEY TO WARRANT THE ASSUMPTION THAT DUTY IN ANY ONE OF THESE CITIES MAY BE CONSIDERED DUTY AT HEADQUARTERS AND THAT INSPECTORS ORDINARILY PERFORMING DUTY IN ANY ONE OF THESE CITIES ARE NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS, AUTHORIZING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AND THEREFORE ARE NOT ENTITLED TO PER DIEM.

THE FACT THAT A PERSON IS ON DUTY 5 MILES FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS, AND BECAUSE OF THE SPECIAL NATURE OF HIS ORDINARY DUTIES, WORKS AT HOURS OTHER THAN THE USUAL WORKING HOURS IN WHICH BUSINESS IS TRANSACTED, DOES NOT ESTABLISH A TRAVEL STATUS NOR A RIGHT TO PER DIEM. A-24528, SEPTEMBER 11, 1928. THESE CASES FALL WITHIN THE NUMEROUS RULINGS OF THIS OFFICE, DISALLOWING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES BETWEEN SUCH POINTS AS MANHATTAN-BROOKLYN, MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL, NEW YORK JAMAICA, ST. LOUIS-EAST ST. LOUIS, LOS ANGELES-SAN PEDRO, OMAHA COUNCIL BLUFFS, CHICAGO-UNION STOCK YARDS, SAN FRANCISCO-BERKELEY OAKLAND, ETC. SEE 5 COMP. GEN. 400 AND DECISIONS OF SEPTEMBER 29, 1933, A-51170; SEPTEMBER 26, 1934, A-57313; AND FEBRUARY 6, 1936, A 68711.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS PRESENTED, IT MUST BE HELD THAT PAYMENT TO STEAMBOAT INSPECTORS, WITH HEADQUARTERS DESIGNATED AT SAN FRANCISCO, OF PER DIEM FOR SUCH PERIODS AS THESE MEN PERFORM OFFICIAL DUTY IN BERKELEY, ALAMEDA, OR OAKLAND, IS NOT A PROPER CHARGE AGAINST THE UNITED STATES.

ACCORDINGLY, THE AUDIT ACTION MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED. THE ITEMS WILL BE DISALLOWED IN A SUBSEQUENT SETTLEMENT OF THE ACCOUNT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER.