A-83026, FEBRUARY 16, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 762

A-83026: Feb 16, 1937

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THE HOLDING OF SAID DECISION THAT PER DIEM ALLOWANCES ARE NOT AUTHORIZED IN SUCH CASES MAY BE REGARDED AS NOT APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL SO PERFORMED PRIOR TO JANUARY 1. THIS VOUCHER WAS FIRST SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE ON DEPARTMENTAL SCHEDULE DATED DECEMBER 11. THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION FOR REASONS AS FOLLOWS: TRAVEL ORDER DATED JULY 1. CITED AS AUTHORITY FOR THIS TRAVEL IS NOT ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE AND IS REQUIRED. INFORMATION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER TRAILER USED WAS PERSONALLY OWNED AND IF IT WAS ATTACHED TO GOVERNMENT OWNED AUTOMOBILE. THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED. THERE WAS FURNISHED A COPY OF THE TRAVEL ORDER OF JULY 1. INFORMATION WAS FURNISHED TO THE EFFECT THAT THE TRAILER IN QUESTION WAS PERSONALLY OWNED AND ATTACHED TO A GOVERNMENT OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

A-83026, FEBRUARY 16, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 762

SUBSISTENCE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED TRAILERS ATTACHED TO GOVERNMENT OWNED CARS - EFFECTIVE DATE OF DECISION IN 16 COMP. GEN. 473 THERE BEING NO SPECIFIC STATUTE OR REGULATION APPLICABLE, AND THE MATTER OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES TO FEDERAL OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES IN A TRAVEL STATUS USING PERSONALLY-OWNED TRAILERS ATTACHED TO GOVERNMENT OWNED CARS FIRST HAVING BEEN CONSIDERED IN DECISION A-81050, DATED NOVEMBER 6, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 473, THE HOLDING OF SAID DECISION THAT PER DIEM ALLOWANCES ARE NOT AUTHORIZED IN SUCH CASES MAY BE REGARDED AS NOT APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL SO PERFORMED PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1937:

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR, FEBRUARY 16, 1937:

THERE HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR AUDIT BEFORE PAYMENT VOUCHER ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED BY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, IN THE SUM OF $126.32, IN FAVOR OF J. R. ANDERSON, HEAD PHOTOGRAPHER, COVERING CLAIM FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED DURING THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER 1936, INCLUDING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION, RICHMOND, VA., UNDER GENERAL TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION OF JULY 1, 1936.

THIS VOUCHER WAS FIRST SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE ON DEPARTMENTAL SCHEDULE DATED DECEMBER 11, 1936, APPROVED BY E. C. MORTON, MAJOR, FINANCE DEPARTMENT, UNITED STATES ARMY--- THE VOUCHER BEING APPROVED FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE APPROPRIATION "EMERGENCY CONSERVATION WORK (TRANSFER TO WAR ACT OF JUNE 22, 1936) 1937--- MARCH 31, 1937.' IN PREAUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT DATED DECEMBER 17, 1936, THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED WITHOUT CERTIFICATION FOR REASONS AS FOLLOWS:

TRAVEL ORDER DATED JULY 1, 1936, CITED AS AUTHORITY FOR THIS TRAVEL IS NOT ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE AND IS REQUIRED.

INFORMATION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER TRAILER USED WAS PERSONALLY OWNED AND IF IT WAS ATTACHED TO GOVERNMENT OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

BY LETTER DATED DECEMBER 31, 1936, THE VOUCHER WAS RETURNED, AND, IN REPLY TO THE ABOVE, THERE WAS FURNISHED A COPY OF THE TRAVEL ORDER OF JULY 1, 1936, AND INFORMATION WAS FURNISHED TO THE EFFECT THAT THE TRAILER IN QUESTION WAS PERSONALLY OWNED AND ATTACHED TO A GOVERNMENT OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER IS A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 11, 1936, FROM THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, TO THE AUDIT DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE, STATING IN EFFECT THAT THE VOUCHER WAS BEING TRANSMITTED FOR PREAUDIT "IN VIEW OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S DECISION A-81050, DATED NOVEMBER 6, 1936.' THE REFERRED-TO DECISION IS REPORTED IN 16 COMP. GEN. 473, IN WHICH DECISION THERE WAS STATED THE FOLLOWING:

IT IS UNDERSTOOD FROM THE FACTS YOU SET FORTH THAT IT IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES THAT THE EMPLOYEE RENDERING SERVICES AS SET FORTH BE PERMITTED ACCOMMODATIONS THROUGH THE USE OF HIS OWN TRAILER RATHER THAN ENDEAVOR TO OBTAIN LODGING AND THAT SUCH USE OF A TRAILER WOULD BE MORE PRACTICABLE AND UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS NECESSARY BECAUSE OF ISOLATED SECTIONS IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE AT THE TIME WITH RESPECT TO OBTAINING LODGING OTHERWISE. THE PAYMENTS OF ANY PER DIEM WHILE AN EMPLOYEE OCCUPIES HIS OWN TRAILER WOULD APPARENTLY HAVE TO BE NEGATIVED. ASIDE FROM THIS QUESTION OF A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF HIS OWN TRAILER IT MAY BE SAID THAT THE ATTACHING OF A PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER TO A GOVERNMENT CAR PRESENTS AN INTERMINGLING OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE EXPENSES IN USE, ETC., AS TO WHICH THE PRINCIPLE HAS GENERALLY BEEN APPLIED THAT SUCH GENERAL INTERMINGLING PERMITS NO SUCH DIVISION OF EXPENSES AS TO JUSTIFY ANY PAYMENT BY THE UNITED STATES. * * *

THE TRAVEL ORDER OF JULY 1, 1936, DIRECTED MR. ANDERSON, WHOSE OFFICIAL STATION WAS RICHMOND, VA., TO TRAVEL TO "SUCH POINTS IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AS MAY BE NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT THE OFFICIAL DUTIES WHICH WILL BE ASSIGNED FROM TIME TO TIME," AND AUTHORIZED PER-DIEM SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES NOT EXCEEDING $5. WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF THE TRAILER, MR. ANDERSON STATED ON THE VOUCHER:

ON SEPTEMBER 4, 1936, A COVERED WAGON TRAILER COACH WAS PURCHASED AND HAS BEEN TOWED FROM PARK TO PARK SINCE LEAVING PERE MARQUETTE STATE PARK IN ILLINOIS.

THIS TRAILER WEIGHTS APPROXIMATELY 2,300 POUNDS LOADED (1,800 EMPTY) AND APPARENTLY PLACES NO STRAIN ON THE CAR, DUE TO ITS EXCELLENT BALANCE.

ITS USE HAS PROVED ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT INASMUCH AS IT HAS AFFORDED A SHELTER IN WHICH TO CHANGE PLATES AT TIMES WHEN IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY TO WAIT FOR TOTAL DARKNESS AND HAS ENABLED ME TO PROPERLY STORE FILM AND OTHER SUPPLIES WHICH OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO DUST AND UNFAVORABLE ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS WHICH IN THE PAST HAVE CAUSED CONSIDERABLE TROUBLE.

IT PERMITS DOING ADMINISTRATIVE WORK DURING INCLEMENT WEATHER.

IT HAS SAVED MANY MILES OF TRAVEL IN TRAVELING BACK AND FORTH TO THEN EAREST TOWN WHEN ACCOMMODATIONS ARE AVAILABLE.

THE TRAILER HAS BEEN TOWED TOTAL OF 1,077 MILES SINCE ITS PURCHASE IN SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS.

ON THE VOUCHER THERE ARE CLAIMED 30 DAYS' PER-DIEM SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES AT $5, OR $150, FROM WHICH THERE IS DEDUCTED THE SUM OF $27, REPRESENTING "27 NIGHTS' LODGING AT $1 PER NIGHT, FROM 9/4 TO 9/30 INCLUSIVE.' EXPLANATION HAS BEEN FURNISHED SHOWING WHY THIS DEDUCTION IS BEING MADE BUT IT IS PRESUMED IT WAS UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT THERE WERE APPLICABLE THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 47 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH READ:

NOT LESS THAN ONE-FIFTH OF THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE WILL BE DEDUCTED FOR EACH MEAL AND/OR LODGING FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY.

SINCE THERE IS NO SPECIFIC STATUTE OR REGULATION SPECIFICALLY GOVERNING SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES IN CASES SUCH AS HERE PRESENTED, THE RULE ANNOUNCED IN THE DECISION, SUPRA, IS FOR APPLYING IN SUCH CASES. HOWEVER, AS THE TRAVEL STATUS OF AN EMPLOYEE USING HIS OWN TRAILER HAD NOT BEEN DETERMINED OR CONSIDERED PRIOR TO SAID DECISION, THE RULE ANNOUNCED THEREIN FOR APPLICATION IN THIS CLASS OF CASES WILL NOT BE APPLIED TO CASES INVOLVING SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES SIMILARLY INCURRED PRIOR TO THE DATE OF THE DECISION. THE DECISION WAS RENDERED NOVEMBER 6, 1936, AND COPIES OF THE PRINTED PAMPHLET IN WHICH IT APPEARS WERE READY FOR DISTRIBUTION IN DECEMBER 1936. IN VIEW OF ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE DECISION TO THE EFFECT THAT EMPLOYEES OCCUPYING TRAILERS ATTACHED TO GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILES ARE NOT ENTITLED TO ANY PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE MAY BE REGARDED AS NOT APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL SO PERFORMED PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1937.

ACCORDINGLY, THE EXPENSES IN THE INSTANT CASE HAVING BEEN INCURRED IN SEPTEMBER 1936 WHEN THERE WAS NO GOVERNING RULE IN THE MATTER, THE VOUCHER, IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER OBJECTIONS, WILL BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT AND RETURNED THROUGH USUAL PREAUDIT CHANNELS.