A-86141, JUNE 18, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 1082

A-86141: Jun 18, 1937

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IS AS TO THE INCLUSION AS A PART OF PERSONAL EFFECTS WHEN THE INCLUSION WOULD INCREASE THE EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT AS TO THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE. WHERE BY COMPARISON WITH THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF TRANSPORTATION OF AN EMPLOYEE ON CHANGE OF STATION BY COMMON CARRIER OR BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IT IS FOUND THE FORMER MODE IS LESS EXPENSIVE AND RESULTS ALSO IN A SAVING OF BUSINESS DAYS. THE EMPLOYEE'S EXPLANATION FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS THE OFFICIAL NEED THEREFOR AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE NEW STATION. PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF THE CAR IN EFFECTING THE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS NOT AUTHORIZED. PARTICULARLY WHERE THE TRAVEL ORDER INVOLVED WAS NOT SIGNED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED.

A-86141, JUNE 18, 1937, 16 COMP. GEN. 1082

MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - CHANGE OF STATION - STATUTORY AUTOMOBILE TRANSPORTATION PROHIBITION APPLICABILITY THE PROHIBITION AGAINST TRANSPORTATION OF AUTOMOBILES OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES UNDER SECTION 209 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 405, IS AS TO THE INCLUSION AS A PART OF PERSONAL EFFECTS WHEN THE INCLUSION WOULD INCREASE THE EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT AS TO THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE, WHEN IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES, FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE UNDER PROPER CONDITIONS NOT FOR THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF EFFECTING THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE AUTOMOBILE ON CHANGE OF STATION. WHERE BY COMPARISON WITH THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF TRANSPORTATION OF AN EMPLOYEE ON CHANGE OF STATION BY COMMON CARRIER OR BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IT IS FOUND THE FORMER MODE IS LESS EXPENSIVE AND RESULTS ALSO IN A SAVING OF BUSINESS DAYS, AND THE EMPLOYEE'S EXPLANATION FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS THE OFFICIAL NEED THEREFOR AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE NEW STATION, PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF THE CAR IN EFFECTING THE PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS NOT AUTHORIZED, PARTICULARLY WHERE THE TRAVEL ORDER INVOLVED WAS NOT SIGNED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, JUNE 18, 1937:

LETTER FROM YOUR ACTING ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT DATED MAY 4, 1937, REQUESTS REVIEW OF THE AUDIT ACTION OF THIS OFFICE IN DISALLOWING CREDIT IN THE MARCH 1935 ACCOUNT OF G. F. ALLEN, CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, FOR $98.20 PAID ON VOUCHER 1098161, TO CURTISS M. EVERTS, JR., ASSISTANT STATE DIRECTOR OF SANITATION, UNITED STATES PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE, AS MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN EFFECTING A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM HOUSTON, TEX., TO SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, DURING THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 6 TO 11, 1935.

THE LETTER OF MAY 4, 1937, IS IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

AS THE REASON FOR THE SUSPENSION YOU STATE:

"SINCE IT APPEARS FROM THE INFORMATION SUBMITTED THAT THE PRIMARY REASON FOR USING THE AUTOMOBILE FROM HOUSTON, TEXAS, TO SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, WAS IN ORDER TO HAVE THE CAR AT NEW STATION TO BE AVAILABLE FOR DUTY TO BE PERFORMED AT THAT PLACE, AND NOT PRIMARILY FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSPORTING THE TRAVELER, REIMBURSEMENT OF TRANSPORTATION CHARGES FOR MILEAGE MAY NOT BE ALLOWED. AFTER JUNE 30, 1932, SECTION 209 OF THE ACT APPROVED JUNE 30, 1932 (PUBLIC, 212), PROHIBITS THE TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES. 47 STAT. 405. IN THIS CONNECTION ATTENTION IS INVITED TO A-62630 DATED DECEMBER 23, 1935. THE ITEM IS DISALLOWED AND THE AMOUNT SHOULD BE DEPOSITED.'

IT DOES NOT APPEAR FROM THE DECISION CITED THAT THE EMPLOYEE IN THAT CASE HAD BEEN AUTHORIZED TO USE HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS POST OF DUTY PRIOR TO THE TRAVEL FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT WAS DENIED, AND ALSO SINCE THE DISTANCE TRAVELED AND COMMON CARRIER AVAILABILITY WERE DIFFERENT IN THAT CASE, THE DEPARTMENT WOULD APPRECIATE YOUR FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF THIS CLAIM.

THIS EMPLOYEE, UPON TEMPORARY APPOINTMENT EFFECTIVE JANUARY 11, 1934, AS ASSISTANT STATE DIRECTOR OF THE COMMUNITY SANITATION PROGRAM UNDERTAKEN BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE IN THE STATE OF TEXAS IN COOPERATION WITH THE CIVIL WORKS ADMINISTRATION, WAS ISSUED TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZING THE USE OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS POST OF DUTY, WHICH ORDERS CERTIFIED THAT SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL HAD BEEN DETERMINED TO BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER. THE ORDERS DIRECTING HIS TRANSFER TO SALT LAKE CITY AND THE ORDERS FOR TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS POST OF DUTY AFTER ARRIVAL AT THAT CITY ALSO CONTAINED SIMILAR AUTHORIZATION AND CERTIFICATION. A COPY OF EACH OF THESE ORDERS, DATED JUNE 29, 1934, FEBRUARY 6, 1935, AND FEBRUARY 7, 1935, RESPECTIVELY, ARE HEREWITH ENCLOSED. THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE HAD RECEIVED NO REQUEST FROM THIS EMPLOYEE FOR A CHANGE OF STATION TO SALT LAKE CITY, AND IT GAVE NO CONSIDERATION TO ANY PERSONAL CONVENIENCE WHICH THERE MIGHT HAVE BEEN TO THE EMPLOYEE TO HAVE HIS AUTOMOBILE AT HIS NEW STATION. ON THE OTHER HAND, THE SURGEON GENERAL STATES IN THIS CONNECTION AS FOLLOWS:

"THERE IS NO DISPOSITION ON THE PART OF THIS SERVICE TO DENY THAT THE AVAILABILITY OF THE AUTOMOBILE FOR USE IN THE STATE OF UTAH WAS DESIRABLE AND ADVANTAGEOUS. THE COMMUNITY SANITATION WORK IS CONDUCTED IN RURAL AND SEMIRURAL AREAS WHERE WITH FEW EXCEPTIONS THERE ARE NO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES AND IF AN EMPLOYEE DOES NOT HAVE AN AUTOMOBILE HE MUST RESORT TO THE USE OF TAXICABS AND RENTAL CARS, WHICH ARE MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE GOVERNMENT.'

THE DEPARTMENT FEELS, THEREFORE, THAT YOU WOULD BE AGREEABLE TO THE SUGGESTION THAT THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE AUTOMOBILE IN THIS CASE WAS NOT SUCH A TRANSPORTATION OF AN AUTOMOBILE AS WAS INTENDED TO BE PROHIBITED BY SECTION 209 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, AND THAT THERE WAS CONSIDERABLE JUSTIFICATION FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION THAT THE MODE OF TRAVEL AUTHORIZED WOULD BE IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. SOME SUPPORT IS GIVEN TO THIS VIEW BY THE FACT THAT THE FIRST NOTICE OF EXCEPTION ON THIS CLAIM, DATED MAY 11, 1936, SHOWED THAT TRAVEL BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, IF IT HAD BEEN PERFORMED BY DIRECT ROUTE, WOULD HAVE BEEN LESS EXPENSIVE TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER. THE DEPARTMENT ALSO BELIEVES THAT YOU REALIZE THAT IT IS NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE TO DETERMINE TO AN EXACT AMOUNT THAT TRAVEL BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR SUCH A DISTANCE AS IS INVOLVED IN THE PRESENT INSTANCE WILL IN FACT BE FINANCIALLY MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT DUE TO UNCERTAINTY OF THE SUBSISTENCE AMOUNTS, ACTUAL SPEEDOMETER MILEAGE, ROAD AND WEATHER CONDITIONS, ETC.; ALSO, THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE CERTIFICATION THAT TRAVEL BY PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE HAS BEEN DETERMINED TO BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER, HE WOULD BE PLACED IN A RATHER UNUSUAL POSITION IF HE SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO QUESTION SUCH CERTIFICATION.

HAVING IN MIND, THEREFORE, THE FACT THAT THIS EMPLOYEE HAD AUTHORITY TO TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AWAY FROM HIS DUTY STATION PRIOR TO THIS TRAVEL, THE DEPARTMENT REQUESTS ADVICE AS TO WHETHER, UPON FURTHER CONSIDERATION, YOU DO NOT FEEL THAT THERE IS MERIT IN THIS CLAIM AT LEAST TO THE EXTENT THAT THE TRANSFER OF THIS EMPLOYEE BY WAY OF COMMON CARRIER WOULD HAVE OBLIGATED THE GOVERNMENT.

THE PROHIBITION AGAINST THE TRANSPORTATION OF AUTOMOBILES OF EMPLOYEES UNDER SECTION 209 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 405, HAS REFERENCE TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF AN AUTOMOBILE AS PART OF THE PERSONAL EFFECTS OF THE EMPLOYEE WHEN THE INCLUSION OF THE AUTOMOBILE WOULD INCREASE THE EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT, AND HAS NO REFERENCE TO THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE WHEN IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE UNDER PROPER CONDITIONS.

THE CONTROLLING FACT FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER OR NOT THE INSTANT PAYMENT IS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE PROVISIONS OF SAID SECTION 209, IS SOLELY ONE OF WHETHER THE PRIMARY PURPOSE INDUCING THE USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE WAS TO EFFECT AN ECONOMY OR ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE PURSUANT TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PARAGRAPH 12A, OR WHETHER THE PRIMARY PURPOSE WAS TO EFFECT THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE AUTOMOBILE TO THE NEW STATION. IF FOR THE LATTER PURPOSE, THERE CAN BE ASSERTED NO REASONABLE GROUND OF DOUBT THAT THE PAYMENT CONTRAVENED THE PROVISIONS OF THE STATUTE, SINCE OBVIOUSLY THAT WHICH IS DIRECTLY PROHIBITED BY THE STATUTE MAY NOT BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE MERE SUBSTITUTION OF A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF THE PROHIBITED TRANSPORTATION, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER SUCH ALLOWANCE IS EQUAL TO OR LESS THAN WHAT THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE BY COMMON CARRIER.

IT APPEARS THAT THE INVOLVED TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED PURSUANT TO TELEGRAPHIC INSTRUCTIONS OF THE SURGEON GENERAL, FEBRUARY 6, 1935, QUOTED IN CONFIRMING ORDER OF LIKE DATE AS FOLLOWS: ASSISTANT STATE DIRECTOR CURTIS M. EVERTS, JR.,

HOUSTON, TEXAS. THROUGH ASSISTANT SURGEON GENERAL C. E. WALLER.

SIR: BUREAU TELEGRAM OF EVEN DATE ADDRESSED TO YOU AT AUSTIN, TEXAS, READING AS FOLLOWS, IS HEREBY CONFIRMED:

"PROCEED IMMEDIATELY TO SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, TAKE STATION, AND REPORT TO STATE HEALTH OFFICER FOR DUTY AS ASSISTANT STATE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY SANITATION.'

ON OR ABOUT FEBRUARY 6, 1935, YOU WILL STAND RELIEVED FROM DUTY AT HOUSTON, TEXAS, AND YOU ARE DIRECTED TO PROCEED IMMEDIATELY TO SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, AND ESTABLISH HEADQUARTERS IN THE INTEREST OF THE COMMUNITY SANITATION PROGRAM.

IN CARRYING OUT THE FOREGOING ORDERS, YOU WILL BE ALLOWED ACTUAL AND NECESSARY TRANSPORTATION AND $4.00 PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE.

IF A PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS USED, REIMBURSEMENT WILL BE MADE AT THE RATE OF FOUR CENTS PER MILE ON TRAVEL PERFORMED OUTSIDE THE LIMITS OF YOUR STATION, AS SUCH AN ALLOWANCE HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN COST BY ANY OTHER MEANS OF TRAVEL. NO REIMBURSEMENT WILL BE MADE FOR GASOLINE, OIL, ETC., IF TRAVEL IS PERFORMED ON THE MILEAGE BASIS.

THE TRAVEL DIRECTED IS NECESSARY IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

RESPECTFULLY,

(SGD.) H. S. CUMMING,

SURGEON GENERAL.

THE EMPLOYEE, IN LETTER DATED MAY 19, 1936, EXPLAINS HIS ELECTION TO USE SUCH MEANS OF TRAVEL AS FOLLOWS:

IT WAS NECESSARY THAT I HAVE THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE IN CONNECTION WITH MY WORK IN UTAH, AND I KNEW OF NO OTHER WAY TO OBTAIN ONE EXCEPT TO DRIVE MY PERSONAL CAR THROUGH FROM HOUSTON TO SALT LAKE CITY. HAD I GONE BY TRAIN, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO WAY OF TRANSPORTING MY AUTOMOBILE INTO THE STATE OF UTAH EXCEPT AT CONSIDERABLE PERSONAL EXPENSE.

IT IS MY OPINION THAT THIS SUSPENSION IS NOT JUSTIFIED, AND I RESPECTFULLY REQUEST THAT THE CLAIM BE REVIEWED AND THAT WEATHER CONDITIONS IN THE STATES OF COLORADO, ARIZONA, AND UTAH BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION AS WELL AS THE NECESSITY FOR DRIVING TO SALT LAKE CITY IN MY OWN AUTOMOBILE.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE STATEMENT BY THE EMPLOYEE AND THE ADDITIONAL FACT THAT THE TRAVEL COULD HAVE BEEN ACCOMPLISHED BY COMMON CARRIER LEAVING HOUSTON AT 9:30 P.M. FEBRUARY 6, ARRIVING AT SALT LAKE CITY AT 7:45 A.M. FEBRUARY 9, AT A COST OF $45.49 RAIL FARE, $12 PULLMAN FARE, AND $11 FOR 2 3/4 DAYS PER DIEM, WITH A RESULTANT SAVINGS OF $29.71 AND APPROXIMATELY 3 BUSINESS DAYS SHORTER TRANSIT TIME AS COMPARED WITH THE AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL PERFORMED, THE CONCLUSION IS INESCAPABLE THAT THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S ELECTION TO USE HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WAS TO EFFECT THE TRANSPORTATION OF SAID AUTOMOBILE TO HIS NEW STATION SO AS TO MAKE AVAILABLE FOR USE AT THE NEW HEADQUARTERS. AS TO SUCH REASON IT WAS HELD IN DECISION OF THIS OFFICE DATED JULY 25, 1932, 12 COMP. GEN. 112, THAT THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTING AN EMPLOYEE'S PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION ON AND AFTER JULY 1, 1932, IS NOT AUTHORIZED, NOTWITHSTANDING THE VEHICLE MAY BE REQUIRED AT THE NEW STATION FOR USE UPON OFFICIAL WORK.

IT IS FURTHER NOTED THAT THE APPROPRIATION CHARGED IN THIS CASE WAS NOT THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE APPROPRIATION ORDINARILY AVAILABLE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS OF SCIENTIFIC PERSONNEL UPON TRANSFER OF DUTY STATION, BUT AN ALLOTMENT OF NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL RECOVERY FUNDS. THE TRAVEL ORDER WAS NOT SIGNED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY BUT BY THE SURGEON GENERAL. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION, IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE OBJECTIONS, THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 15, 1934, 48 STAT. 450, WHICH PROVIDES:

APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1935 AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS SHALL BE AVAILABLE ALSO FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THEM ON TRANSFER FROM ONE OFFICIAL STATION TO ANOTHER WHEN AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED IN THE ORDER DIRECTING SUCH TRANSFER: PROVIDED, THAT SUCH EXPENSES SHALL NOT BE ALLOWED FOR ANY TRANSFER EFFECTED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.

IN VIEW OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE STATUTE THAT THE TRAVEL ORDER MUST BE SIGNED BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, NO PART OF THE EXPENSES OF TRANSFER WERE PAYABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATION INVOLVED IRRESPECTIVE OF THE REASON FOR THE USE OF THE PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR THE ENTIRE SUM PAID ON THIS VOUCHER MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED, AND THE AMOUNT THEREOF SHOULD BE PROMPTLY REMITTED TO THIS OFFICE.