A-84466, MARCH 16, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 863

A-84466: Mar 16, 1937

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PARTICULARLY WHERE THE EMPLOYEE IS ACCOMPANIED BY HIS FAMILY. WHERE TRAILER TRAVEL WAS NOT AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE. PER DIEM PAYMENT WILL BE ALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE REDUCTION OF THE ORIGINALLY AUTHORIZED PER DIEM COMMENSURATE WITH THE USE OF THE TRAILER. SAID LETTER FURTHER INDICATES THAT AFTER THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED DUE TO THE FACTS STATED ABOVE. THE VOUCHERS ARE PRESENTED FOR A RULING FOR USE IN THIS AND SIMILAR CASES. THE REDUCTION OF THE RATE OF PER DIEM APPROVED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WAS APPARENTLY BASED ON THE FOLLOWING PROVISION IN PARAGRAPH 45 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS: * * * IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE HEADS OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS TO SEE THAT TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZE ONLY SUCH PER DIEM RATES AS ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE NATURE OF THE TRAVEL.

A-84466, MARCH 16, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 863

SUBSISTENCE - OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILERS ATTACHED TO PRIVATELY OWNED OR GOVERNMENT-OWNED CARS PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE MAY NOT BE PAID A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE OCCUPYING A PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, WHETHER THE TRAILER BE ATTACHED TO A PRIVATELY OWNED OR GOVERNMENT-OWNED CAR, IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC PROVISION OF LAW OR A REGULATION APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT AUTHORIZING SUCH TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND FIXING A PER DIEM BASIS UNDER SUCH CONDITIONS, PARTICULARLY WHERE THE EMPLOYEE IS ACCOMPANIED BY HIS FAMILY, BUT FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1937, WHERE TRAILER TRAVEL WAS NOT AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE, PER DIEM PAYMENT WILL BE ALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE REDUCTION OF THE ORIGINALLY AUTHORIZED PER DIEM COMMENSURATE WITH THE USE OF THE TRAILER.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL EMERGENCY ADMINISTRATION OF PUBLIC WORKS, MARCH 16, 1937:

THERE HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR PREAUDIT ON SCHEDULE F 9842 VOUCHERS A-780252, A-780253, A-780254, AND P-780755, STATED IN FAVOR OF NATHAN ALLEN CREECH, ASSISTANT PROJECT AUDITOR, COVERING CLAIM FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES FOR THE PERIOD JUNE 1 TO SEPTEMBER 24, 1936, INCLUDING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AND MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHILE ABSENT FROM OFFICIAL STATION, KANSAS CITY, MO.,UNDER GENERAL TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED JULY 1, 1935.

A LETTER OF JANUARY 5, 1937, SIGNED BY J. J. MADIGAN, EXECUTIVE OFFICER, "FOR THE INISTRATOR," ATTACHED TO VOUCHER P-780755, INDICATES THAT THE CLAIMANT, WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, HAD ATTACHED HIS OWN TRAILER TO HIS PERSONALLY OWNED CAR, ENABLING HIM TO BE ACCOMPANIED BY HIS WIFE AND DAUGHTER, AND OBVIATING THE NECESSITY OF SECURING HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS. SAID LETTER FURTHER INDICATES THAT AFTER THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED DUE TO THE FACTS STATED ABOVE, IN THE REDUCED AMOUNT OF $2.50, AND THAT---

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT MR. CREECH HAS PROTESTED THIS REDUCED PER DIEM ALLOWANCE, AND IN VIEW OF THE RULING OF THE ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL, A- 81050, DATED NOVEMBER 6, 1936, IN A SOMEWHAT SIMILAR CASE, THE VOUCHERS ARE PRESENTED FOR A RULING FOR USE IN THIS AND SIMILAR CASES.

BLANKET TRAVEL ORDER NO. 4349, DATED JULY 1, 1935, AND AMENDMENTS THERETO ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHERS, PURPORT TO AUTHORIZE A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF $5 WHILE ABSENT FROM KANSAS CITY, MO., ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. THE REDUCTION OF THE RATE OF PER DIEM APPROVED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WAS APPARENTLY BASED ON THE FOLLOWING PROVISION IN PARAGRAPH 45 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS:

* * * IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE HEADS OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS TO SEE THAT TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZE ONLY SUCH PER DIEM RATES AS ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE NATURE OF THE TRAVEL. TO THIS END CARE SHOULD BE EXERCISED TO PREVENT THE FIXING OF A PER DIEM RATE IN EXCESS OF THAT REQUIRED TO MEET THE NECESSARY AUTHORIZED EXPENSES.

THE RULE STATED IN DECISION OF NOVEMBER 6, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 473, IS THAT (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

THE ATTACHING OF PRIVATELY-OWNED TRAILERS TO GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILES TO PROVIDE ACCOMMODATIONS TO ITINERANT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, IS MAINLY A MATTER OF ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITY, BUT PAYMENTS OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WOULD NOT BE AUTHORIZED WHILE AN EMPLOYEE OCCUPIES SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS.

IN DECISION OF FEBRUARY 16, 1937, A-83026, 16 COMP. GEN. 762, IT WAS HELD AS FOLLOWS (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

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.

PAYMENT OF THE USUAL PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, THAT IS, A COMMUTATION FOR COST OF LODGING AND MEALS, WHILE AN EMPLOYEE IS AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION--- WHETHER TRAVELING IN A GOVERNMENT-OWNED OR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE--- AND OCCUPYING A TRAILER, PARTICULARLY WITH HIS FAMILY, WOULD NOT APPEAR TO BE AUTHORIZED. AT ANY RATE, I DO NOT FEEL JUSTIFIED IN AUTHORIZING SUCH PAYMENTS IN THE ABSENCE OF A SPECIFIC PROVISION OF LAW, OR OF A REGULATION APPROVED BY THE PRESIDENT, AUTHORIZING THE USE OF PRIVATELY-OWNED TRAILERS WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, AND FIXING THE AMOUNT OF PER DIEM TO BE PAID UNDER SUCH CONDITIONS.

HOWEVER, IN THE INSTANT CASE, AS THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED PRIOR TO JANUARY 1, 1937, WHEN THERE WAS NO GOVERNING RULE IN THE MATTER, AND AS THE ADMINISTRATIVE REDUCTION IN THE AMOUNT OF THE PER DIEM FIXED IN THIS EMPLOYEE'S ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDER BECAUSE OF THE USE OF THE TRAILER--- WHICH USE WAS NOT SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE--- DOES NOT APPEAR UNREASONABLE, PAYMENT MAY BE MADE ON THAT BASIS, IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER OBJECTIONS.