A-96850, NOVEMBER 25, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 477

A-96850: Nov 25, 1938

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AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ORDERED TO TRAVEL MAY ELECT TO USE A MODE OF TRANSPORTATION OTHER THAN THAT AUTHORIZED IN HIS ORDERS IF THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT JEOPARDIZED THEREBY. THE AMOUNT FOR WHICH THE GOVERNMENT IS OBLIGATED MAY NOT EXCEED WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST HAD THE TRAVELER PROCEEDED BY THE METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION STATED IN THE ORDERS. MAY BE REIMBURSED SO MUCH OF THE AMOUNT OF THE COLLECTION AS IS EQUIVALENT TO THE PER DIEM PAYABLE FOR THE PERIOD OF TRAVEL HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN PERFORMED BY THE METHOD DIRECTED. WHERE OFFICER WAS NOT TRAVELING DURING THE ADDITIONAL TIME SAVED BY TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE. AS FOLLOWS: ATTACHED HERETO IS A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $18.33 IN FAVOR OF MAJOR THOMAS W.

A-96850, NOVEMBER 25, 1938, 18 COMP. GEN. 477

TRAVELING EXPENSES - TRAVEL BY MODE OTHER THAN THAT DIRECTED - GOVERNMENT COST OBLIGATION AND EMPLOYEE'S PER DIEM SAVING CREDIT GENERALLY, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF A PROHIBITORY STATUTE, AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ORDERED TO TRAVEL MAY ELECT TO USE A MODE OF TRANSPORTATION OTHER THAN THAT AUTHORIZED IN HIS ORDERS IF THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT JEOPARDIZED THEREBY, BUT THE AMOUNT FOR WHICH THE GOVERNMENT IS OBLIGATED MAY NOT EXCEED WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST HAD THE TRAVELER PROCEEDED BY THE METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION STATED IN THE ORDERS. AN ARMY OFFICER, TRAVELING ON DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH THE NATIONAL GUARD UNDER ORDERS DIRECTING TRAVEL BY RAIL AND AUTHORIZING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, WHO ELECTS TO TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE AND HAS REFUNDED THE DIFFERENCE IN TRANSPORTATION COST TO THE GOVERNMENT BETWEEN THE TWO METHODS OF TRAVEL, MAY BE REIMBURSED SO MUCH OF THE AMOUNT OF THE COLLECTION AS IS EQUIVALENT TO THE PER DIEM PAYABLE FOR THE PERIOD OF TRAVEL HAD THE TRAVEL BEEN PERFORMED BY THE METHOD DIRECTED, LESS THE AMOUNT ALREADY PAID HIM ON THE BASIS OF THE SPEEDIER TRAVEL AS ACTUALLY PERFORMED. A-28200, SEPTEMBER 23, 1929, AND A 30018, JUNE 20, 1930, WHERE OFFICER WAS NOT TRAVELING DURING THE ADDITIONAL TIME SAVED BY TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE, DISTINGUISHED.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO LT.COL. W. M. DIXON, UNITED STATES ARMY, NOVEMBER 25, 938:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED, BY REFERENCE FROM THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, YOUR LETTER OF JULY 20, 1938, AS FOLLOWS:

ATTACHED HERETO IS A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $18.33 IN FAVOR OF MAJOR THOMAS W. BLACKBURN .C., N.G.B., COVERING DIFFERENCE IN PER DIEM FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, WHICH HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO THE UNDERSIGNED, A DISBURSING OFFICER, FOR PAYMENT.

THE ATTACHED VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE OFFICER LEFT WASHINGTON, D.C., AT 4:30 P.M. JUNE 6, 1938, VIA AMERICAN AIR LINES AND ARRIVED AT LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, 8:30 A.M., JUNE 7, 1938. HAD TRAVEL BEEN PERFORMED BY RAIL THE OFFICER COULD HAVE LEFT WASHINGTON, D.C., AT 4:55 P.M. ON JUNE 3, 1938, ARRIVED AT LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, AT 7:30 A.M. ON JUNE 7, 1938. THE PER DIEM ALLOWED FOR TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE WAS ONE DAY. THE TIME REQUIRED TO PERFORM THE TRAVEL BY RAIL IS FOUR DAYS, A DIFFERENCE OF $15.00. THE OFFICER WAS FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION OVER THE AMERICAN AIR LINES, INC. (TRANSPORTATION REQUEST WQ-2,423,148), FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA. THE EXCESS COST OVER THE NET COST BY RAIL IN THE AMOUNT OF $21.04 WAS COLLECTED FROM THE OFFICER AT THE TIME OF ISSUANCE OF THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST.

IN VIEW OF YOUR DECISION OF JUNE 20, 1930, A-30018, THE UNDERSIGNED IS IN DOUBT WHETHER PAYMENT OF THE ATTACHED VOUCHER IS AUTHORIZED AND YOUR DECISION IN THE MATTER IS RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED.

THE TRAVEL OF MAJOR BLACKBURN APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN PERFORMED UNDER WAR DEPARTMENT ORDERS OF JUNE 3, 1938, AS FOLLOWS:

1. THE SECRETARY OF WAR DIRECTS AS NECESSARY IN THE MILITARY SERVICE, THAT YOU PROCEED ON OR ABOUT JUNE 5, 1938, BY RAIL, FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., ON TEMPORARY DUTY TO THE DOUGLAS COMPANY, NORTHROP DIVISION, EL SEGUNDO, CALIFORNIA, TO TAKE DELIVERY OF A-17-A AIRPLANE, NUMBER NG38-327, THENCE PROCEED BY MILITARY AIRCRAFT TO FORT LEWIS, WASHINGTON, AND TO CAMP RIPLEY, MINNESOTA, FOR DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH THE SUPPLY AND TRAINING OF THE NATIONAL GUARD, AND UPON COMPLETION THEREOF, YOU WILL RETURN TO YOUR PROPER STATION, WASHINGTON, D.C.

2. THE DUTIES TO BE PERFORMED BEING EXCEPTIONAL, WILL REQUIRE MORE THAN SEVENTY-TWO HOURS FOR THEIR PERFORMANCE, THEREFORE, A DELAY OF NOT TO EXCEED FIVE (5) DAYS AT EL SEGUNDO, CALIFORNIA, IS AUTHORIZED.

3. IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE A FLAT PER DIEM OF $5.00 IS AUTHORIZED FOR THE TIME REQUIRED TO PERFORM THE TRAVEL AND FOR THE PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY. NG 15503 P 27-0600; 27-0630 A 1405-8.

THIS IS NOT A CLAIM SUCH AS WAS CONSIDERED IN A-30018, JUNE 20, 1930, WHERE REIMBURSEMENT FOR PER DIEM AS SUCH WAS CLAIMED FOR TIME SAVED BY TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIRPLANE. SUCH CLAIM WAS PROPERLY DISALLOWED AS THE OFFICER WAS NOT TRAVELING DURING THE ADDITIONAL TIME AND WAS NOT, THEREFORE, ENTITLED TO PER DIEM AS IN A TRAVEL STATUS. THE SAME CONCLUSION WAS REACHED IN A-28200, SEPTEMBER 23, 1929, QUOTED IN A-30018, REFERENCE HAVING BEEN MADE IN A-28200 TO THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 452, PROHIBITING PAYMENT OF EXPENSES OF TRAVEL NOT ACTUALLY INCURRED --- PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ACCRUING ONLY WHEN IN A TRAVEL STATUS. THE CLAIM HERE IS FOR REFUND OF AN AMOUNT COLLECTED FROM THE OFFICER IN EXCESS OF THE DIFFERENCE IN COST OF THE METHOD OF TRAVEL ADOPTED BY HIM AND THE METHOD PRESCRIBED BY HIS ORDERS. THE OFFICER'S ORDERS SHOW HE WAS TRAVELING ON DUTY FOR SUCH TRAVEL OR A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE. HE IS ENTITLED TO CREDIT AGAINST SUCH DIFFERENCE FOR ANY SAVING THAT MAY HAVE RESULTED FROM TRAVELING BY AIRPLANE, INCLUSIVE OF THE SAVING--- IF ANY--- IN COST OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE.

THE ITINERARY AND SCHEDULE OF TRAVEL AS SHOWN ON THE SUPPLEMENTAL VOUCHER INDICATES THAT MAJOR BLACKBURN LEFT WASHINGTON, D.C., 4:30 P.M. JUNE 6, 1938, VIA AMERICAN AIR LINES; ARRIVED AT LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (NEAR EL SEGUNDO), 8:30 A.M. JUNE 7; LEFT EL SEGUNDO 8 A.M. JUNE 12 VIA GOVERNMENT AIRPLANE, THEREAFTER STOPPING AT FORT LEWIS, WASHINGTON, CAMP RIPLEY, MINNESOTA, AND INTERMEDIATE POINTS FOR SERVICE AND OVERNIGHT STOPS, ARRIVING AT WASHINGTON, D.C., 9:30 A.M. JUNE 20, 1938. FOR THE 14 DAYS BETWEEN TIME OF LEAVING WASHINGTON, D.C., AND THE RETURN THERETO THE OFFICER WAS PAID $70 ON VOUCHER 7141 OF YOUR JUNE 1938 ACCOUNTS, REPRESENTING A PER DIEM OF $5 AS PROVIDED IN THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF THE ORDERS OF JUNE 3, 1938. THE ASSERTED COLLECTION FROM THE OFFICER OF $21.04 REPRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $85.36 COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF RAIL AND PULLMAN FARE AS FOR THE ORDERED TRAVEL, AND $106.40 THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF TRAVEL VIA COMMERCIAL AIR LINE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.

AS A GENERAL RULE AND IN THE ABSENCE OF A PROHIBITORY STATUTE, AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE MAY ELECT TO MAKE USE OF SOME MODE OF TRANSPORTATION OTHER THAN THAT AUTHORIZED IN HIS ORDERS IF THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT ARE NOT JEOPARDIZED THEREBY, BUT IN THE EVENT THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE CHOOSES TO TRAVEL BY A METHOD DIFFERENT FROM THAT DIRECTED IN HIS ORDERS, THE AMOUNT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE OBLIGATED TO PAY MAY NOT EXCEED WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST HAD THE TRAVELER PROCEEDED BY THE METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION STATED IN THE ORDERS. HAD MAJOR BLACKBURN TRAVELED BY RAIL AS DIRECTED HE COULD HAVE LEFT WASHINGTON, D.C., AT 11:40 P.M. JUNE 3; ARRIVED AT CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, AT 4:55 P.M. JUNE 4; LEFT CHICAGO AT 10:25 P.M. JUNE 4, AND ARRIVED AT LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, 8:30 A.M. JUNE 7, AND THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN $104.11, COMPUTED AS FOLLOWS./*

TABLE. NET RAIL FARE, PLUS PULLMAN -------------------------------- $85.36 PER DIEM (11:40 P.M. JUNE 3 TO 8:30 A.M. JUNE 7)

3 3/4 DAYS AT $5 ------------------------------------------- 18.75

104.11

THE GOVERNMENT HAS PAID:

TABLE. PER VOUCHER 5575, AUGUST 1938 ACCOUNTS OF W. M. DIXON, AIR

TRAVEL, WASHINGTON, D.C., TO LOS ANGELES, CALIF.,

FURNISHED ON GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST

NO. WQ-2423148 ---------------------------------------------- $106.40 PER DIEM 4:30 P.M. JUNE 6 TO 8:30 A.M. JUNE 7 (PER

VOUCHER 7141, JUNE 1938 ACCOUNTS OF

W. M. DIXON), 1 DAY AT $5 ---------------------------------- 5.00

111.40

BASED UPON THE ABOVE COMPUTATION THERE WAS PROPERLY COLLECTIBLE FROM THE OFFICER THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $111.40, WHICH THE GOVERNMENT PAID INCIDENT TO THE METHOD OF TRAVEL ACTUALLY USED, AND $104.11, THE AMOUNT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE PAID HAD TRAVEL BEEN BY RAIL, OR $7.29 AS EXCESS. SINCE IT APPEARS THERE WAS COLLECTED FROM THE OFFICER $21.04, HE IS ENTITLED TO REFUND OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $21.04 AND $7.29, OR $13.75. THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, MAY BE PAID IN AN AMOUNT NOT EXCEEDING $13.75, ACCOUNTING REFERENCE TO THE COLLECTION OF $21.04 TO BE SHOWN ON THE VOUCHER.