A-75886, JULY 6, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 8

A-75886: Jul 6, 1936

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IS NOT ENTITLED. WHERE COMMON CARRIER IS AVAILABLE BETWEEN POINTS OF TRAVEL. BECAUSE HE WAS ACCOMPANIED BY TWO ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS. ALTHOUGH IT IS SHOWN THAT THE ACTUAL TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BY THE PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE OF MR. IT IS STATED IN THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW. THAT THE PAYMENT AS MADE WAS TO THE ADVANTAGE AND ECONOMY OF THE GOVERNMENT. IN SUPPORT OF WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE NEXT TO THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE DECISION TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF DECEMBER 8. YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THERE APPEARS NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO INCLUDING SAVINGS MADE ON OTHER TRAVELING PERSONNEL IN DETERMINING THE ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE HOLDING IN SAID DECISION WAS TO THE EFFECT THAT IN DETERMINING THE ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE TO THE UNITED STATES AS A BASIS FOR AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY AN EMPLOYEE IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE.

A-75886, JULY 6, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 8

TRAVELING EXPENSES - USE OF OWN AUTOMOBILE - EMPLOYEE ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A REIMBURSEMENT BASIS OF 5 CENTS PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED COST BY COMMON CARRIER, IS NOT ENTITLED, WHERE COMMON CARRIER IS AVAILABLE BETWEEN POINTS OF TRAVEL, TO AN AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF ONE FIRST CLASS COMMON CARRIER FARE, EITHER ON A MILEAGE BASIS OR AS COST BY COMMON CARRIER, BECAUSE OF BEING ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS. 13 COMP. GEN. 163, DISTINGUISHED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, JULY 6, 1936:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED LETTER OF YOUR DEPARTMENT DATED MAY 26, 1936, REQUESTING REVIEW OF A DISALLOWANCE BY THIS OFFICE OF $2.50 ON TRAVEL VOUCHER NO. 43613 IN FAVOR OF BERNARD J. HASSON, ATTORNEY, OF THE DECEMBER 1935 ACCOUNT OF W. F. CRAMER, STATE DISBURSING OFFICER, UNITED STATES TREASURY, WASHINGTON, D.C.

THE DISALLOWANCE CONSISTS OF TWO BUS FARES AT $1.25 EACH FROM GREENWOOD, S.C., TO GREENVILLE, S.C., CHARGED BY MR. HASSON ON NOVEMBER 7, 1935, IN ADDITION TO $1.25 AS HIS OWN BUS FARE, BECAUSE HE WAS ACCOMPANIED BY TWO ASSISTANT UNITED STATES ATTORNEYS, A TOTAL OF $3.75, ALTHOUGH IT IS SHOWN THAT THE ACTUAL TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BY THE PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE OF MR. HASSON, THE DISTANCE BEING INDICATED AS 52 MILES WHICH AT THE AUTHORIZED MILEAGE RATE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE WOULD BE $2.60.

IT IS STATED IN THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW, SUPRA, THAT THE PAYMENT AS MADE WAS TO THE ADVANTAGE AND ECONOMY OF THE GOVERNMENT, AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IN SUPPORT OF WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE NEXT TO THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE DECISION TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL OF DECEMBER 8, 1933, 13 COMP. GEN. 163, AS FOLLOWS:

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THERE APPEARS NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO INCLUDING SAVINGS MADE ON OTHER TRAVELING PERSONNEL IN DETERMINING THE ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT, PURSUANT TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, OR AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY THE PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE OF ONE OF THE TRAVELERS, AND THAT, SUCH ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE HAVING BEEN ESTABLISHED, THERE APPEARS NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO PAYING THE OWNER OF THE AUTOMOBILE, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE SAID ACT AS AMENDED AND ANY REGULATIONS APPLICABLE THERETO THE MILEAGE RATES AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED ALONE. FOR EXAMPLE, THE FACT THAT THE COST BY COMMON CARRIER OF AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING ALONE WOULD BE ONLY 3 CENTS A MILE WOULD NOT PRECLUDE ALLOWING THE EMPLOYEE UP TO 5 CENTS A MILE UNDER ORDERS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDING THEREFOR WHEN HE PERFORMS THE TRAVEL BY HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE AND TRANSPORTS ONE OR MORE OTHER EMPLOYEES TRAVELING WITH HIM ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHEN AN ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT CLEARLY APPEARS.

THE DECISION HAS REFERENCE, OF COURSE, TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IN ADVANCE OF TRAVEL. THE HOLDING IN SAID DECISION WAS TO THE EFFECT THAT IN DETERMINING THE ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE TO THE UNITED STATES AS A BASIS FOR AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY AN EMPLOYEE IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE, THERE NEED NOT BE EXCLUDED AN ACTUAL SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT BY REASON OF THE FACT THAT THE TRAVELER WAS TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS.

IN THE PRESENT CASE, THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELED UNDER A TRAVEL ORDER (DATED OCT. 22, 1935, HWB-33-0) INSTRUCTING HIM TO PROCEED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS TO VARIOUS POINTS IN VIRGINIA, NORTH CAROLINA, AND SOUTH CAROLINA, AND ALLOWING HIS ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OF TRAVEL UNDER GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IN ADDITION THE TRAVELER WAS GIVEN AUTHORITY "TO USE YOUR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR THE ABOVE OUTLINED TRAVEL TO BE REIMBURSED AT THE RATE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED THE COST IF TRIP MADE BY COMMON CARRIER.' THERE WAS THUS NO ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IN ADVANCE OF TRAVEL THAT THE MILEAGE RATE WAS TO THE ECONOMY AND ADVANTAGE OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE IS LIMITED BY THE ORDER TO NOT TO EXCEED THE COST BY COMMON CARRIER.

IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT WHILE THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT TO AN EMPLOYEE FOR TRAVEL IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, THERE IS NOTHING THEREIN EITHER IN SPECIFIC TERMS OR BY NECESSARY IMPLICATION AUTHORIZING ADDITIONAL PAYMENT ON ACCOUNT OF TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED TO OTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELERS. SEE A-49323, JUNE 27, 1933; 15 COMP. GEN. 261.

THE MAXIMUM MILEAGE RATE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE HAVING BEEN PROVIDED IN THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL AUTHORITY WITH THE RESTRICTION THAT THE SAME SHOULD NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER, THE USUAL CHARGE, HAD NO BUS BEEN AVAILABLE, WOULD HAVE BEEN $2.60 AND UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WOULD THE TRAVELER BE ENTITLED TO $3.75. UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF HIS TRAVEL ORDER, HOWEVER, HE WAS RESTRICTED TO THE COST OF ONE BUS FARE, VIZ $1.25, AND, UPON REVIEW, THE AUDIT ACTION DISALLOWING THE EXCESS PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $2.50 WAS CORRECT AND MUST BE SUSTAINED.