A-88573, SEPTEMBER 2, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 213

A-88573: Sep 2, 1937

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IS AUTHORIZED. AS FOLLOWS: SINCE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNTS WERE PUT ON A PER DIEM BASIS SOME YEARS AGO WE HAVE NOT PERMITTED ON THE EXPENSE ACCOUNTS OF SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS WHICH ARE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION "RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS' TRAVEL ALLOWANCE" ANY ITEMS FOR TRANSPORTATION OR PULLMAN FARE. WE NOW FIND A CONDITION WHICH IS COSTING THE DEPARTMENT CONSIDERABLE IN SALARY FOR SUBSTITUTES DEADHEADING UNDER ORDERS TO TAKE RUNS FOR CLERKS ON ANNUAL LEAVE WHEREBY A MATERIAL SAVING COULD BE EFFECTED IF WE COULD CARRY IN SUBSTITUTES' EXPENSE ACCOUNTS AN ITEM FOR BUS FARE. A CASE IN POINT IS WHERE IT IS NECESSARY TO DEADHEAD A SUBSTITUTE FOR A CONSIDERABLE DISTANCE TO PERFORM SERVICE VICE CLERKS ON ANNUAL LEAVE IN THE PADUCAH AND HICKMAN RPO BECAUSE OF THE MANNER IN WHICH TRAINS ARE OPERATED.

A-88573, SEPTEMBER 2, 1937, 17 COMP. GEN. 213

TRANSPORTATION--- SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS--- BUS VERSUS RAIL TRANSPORTATION BY BUS OF SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS TRAVELING AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS TO SUBSTITUTE FOR CLERKS ON LEAVES OF ABSENCE, IS AUTHORIZED, NOTWITHSTANDING THE ACT OF JULY 28, 1916, 39 STAT. 419, REQUIRING FREE TRANSPORTATION OF RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ON RAILROADS CARRYING THE MAILS, IF TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL RESULTS IN GREATER EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR SALARIES AND TRAVEL ALLOWANCES BECAUSE OF THE ADDITIONAL TIME INVOLVED THAN THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION PLUS SALARIES AND TRAVEL ALLOWANCES PAYABLE FOR BUS TRAVEL.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE POSTMASTER GENERAL, SEPTEMBER 2, 1937:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED LETTER DATED AUGUST 16, 1937, FROM THE SECOND ASSISTANT POSTMASTER GENERAL (RY. H EL-V), AS FOLLOWS:

SINCE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNTS WERE PUT ON A PER DIEM BASIS SOME YEARS AGO WE HAVE NOT PERMITTED ON THE EXPENSE ACCOUNTS OF SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS WHICH ARE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION "RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS' TRAVEL ALLOWANCE" ANY ITEMS FOR TRANSPORTATION OR PULLMAN FARE, BUT WE NOW FIND A CONDITION WHICH IS COSTING THE DEPARTMENT CONSIDERABLE IN SALARY FOR SUBSTITUTES DEADHEADING UNDER ORDERS TO TAKE RUNS FOR CLERKS ON ANNUAL LEAVE WHEREBY A MATERIAL SAVING COULD BE EFFECTED IF WE COULD CARRY IN SUBSTITUTES' EXPENSE ACCOUNTS AN ITEM FOR BUS FARE.

A CASE IN POINT IS WHERE IT IS NECESSARY TO DEADHEAD A SUBSTITUTE FOR A CONSIDERABLE DISTANCE TO PERFORM SERVICE VICE CLERKS ON ANNUAL LEAVE IN THE PADUCAH AND HICKMAN RPO BECAUSE OF THE MANNER IN WHICH TRAINS ARE OPERATED, WHEREAS THE EXPENDITURE OF $0.50 FOR A ROUNDTRIP OF SERVICE OVER A BUS LINE WOULD EFFECT A SAVING IN SALARY FOR DEADHEAD TRAVEL UNDER ORDERS OF $6.00 PER ROUND TRIP.

SO FAR AS IS KNOWN TO THIS OFFICE THERE IS NO REASON WHY AN ITEM FOR BUS FARE IN A CASE OF THIS KIND COULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACCOUNTS OF SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS BUT BEFORE TAKING ANY ACTION IN CASES SIMILAR TO THE ONE CITED ABOVE IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE WHETHER SUCH AN ITEM WILL BE APPROVED ON THESE ACCOUNTS IF THE STATEMENT IS MADE IN THE DIARY SHOWING THAT THE EXPENDITURE FOR BUS FARE RESULTS IN A SUBSTANTIAL SAVING IN THE COST OF TRAVEL UNDER ORDERS.

THE ACT OF JULY 28, 1916, 39 STAT. 419, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING PROVISO:

* * * THAT HEREAFTER EVERY RAILROAD COMPANY CARRYING THE MAILS SHALL CARRY ON ANY TRAIN IT OPERATES AND WITHOUT EXTRA CHARGE THEREFOR THE PERSONS IN CHARGE OF THE MAILS AND WHEN ON DUTY AND TRAVELING TO AND FROM DUTY, AND ALL DULY ACCREDITED AGENTS AND OFFICERS OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT AND THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE AND POST OFFICE INSPECTORS WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, UPON THE EXHIBITION OF THEIR CREDENTIALS:

SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 28, 1925, 43 STAT. 1062, PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

THAT HEREAFTER, IN ADDITION TO THE SALARIES PROVIDED BY LAW, THE POSTMASTER GENERAL IS HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO MAKE TRAVEL ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES, AT FIXED RATES PER ANNUM, NOT EXCEEDING IN THE AGGREGATE THE SUM ANNUALLY APPROPRIATED, TO RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS, ACTING RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS, AND SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS, INCLUDING SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS FOR RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS GRANTED LEAVE WITH PAY ON ACCOUNT OF SICKNESS, ASSIGNED TO DUTY IN RAILWAY POST-OFFICE CARS, WHILE ON DUTY, AFTER TEN HOURS FROM THE TIME OF BEGINNING THEIR INITIAL RUN, UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS HE MAY PRESCRIBE, AND IN NO CASE SHALL SUCH AN ALLOWANCE EXCEED $3 PER DAY.

SUBSTITUTE RAILWAY POSTAL CLERKS SHALL BE CREDITED WITH FULL TIME WHILE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS OF THE DEPARTMENT TO AND FROM THEIR DESIGNATED HEADQUARTERS TO TAKE UP AN ASSIGNMENT, TOGETHER WITH ACTUAL AND NECESSARY TRAVEL EXPENSES, NOT TO EXCEED $3 PER DAY, WHILE ON DUTY AWAY FROM SUCH HEADQUARTERS. WHEN A SUBSTITUTE CLERK PERFORMS SERVICE IN A RAILWAY POST OFFICE STARTING FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS HE SHALL BE ALLOWED TRAVEL EXPENSES UNDER THE LAW APPLYING TO CLERKS REGULARLY ASSIGNED TO THE RUN.

THE ACT OF 1916, SUPRA, PROVIDES FOR FREE TRANSPORTATION OF EMPLOYEES OF THE RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ON RAILROADS CARRYING THE MAILS. THERE IS NO SIMILAR STATUTE APPLICABLE FOR TRANSPORTATION BY BUS. IN THE ASSIGNMENT OF PERSONNEL TO OFFICIAL DUTIES AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS, THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IS REQUIRED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE PROVISIONS OF THE 1916 STATUTE. IT IS UNDERSTOOD, HOWEVER, FROM THE SUBMISSION THAT IN CERTAIN INSTANCES IT COSTS MORE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF FREE TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL FOR SUBSTITUTES DEADHEADING TO AND FROM ASSIGNMENTS AWAY FROM HEADQUARTERS THAN IT WOULD TO PAY FOR BUS TRANSPORTATION, DUE TO THE ADDITIONAL TIME INVOLVED IN PERFORMING THE TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL, NECESSITATING THE PAYMENT OF MORE SALARY AND TRAVEL ALLOWANCE TO THE SUBSTITUTES.

THERE IS NO STATUTE PROHIBITING THE USE OF BUS TRANSPORTATION IN SUCH CASES AND THE 1916 STATUTE, SUPRA, PROVIDING FOR FREE RAIL TRANSPORTATION WAS INTENDED AS A SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT. ACCORDINGLY, IF TRANSPORTATION BY BUS WOULD RESULT IN LESS EXPENDITURE THAN FREE TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL IN SUCH CASES--- COMPARISON TO BE MADE IN EACH CASE BETWEEN BUS FARE FOR THE ROUND TRIP PLUS TOTAL SALARY AND ALLOWANCES REQUIRED TO BE PAID DURING THE PERIOD OF TRAVEL BY BUS, AND THE AMOUNT OF SALARY AND TRAVEL ALLOWANCES REQUIRED TO BE PAID DURING TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL--- THE USE OF THE BUS TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED.

SUFFICIENT FACTS MUST BE PRESENTED WITH THE ACCOUNTS TO ENABLE THIS OFFICE TO DETERMINE IN EACH CASE THAT TRAVEL BY BUS IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN TRAVEL BY RAIL.