B-103315(1), JUL 21, 1967

B-103315(1): Jul 21, 1967

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NATIONAL AERONAUTICS & SPACE ADMINISTRATION: REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER DATED JULY 7. IN WHICH WE ARE REQUESTED TO GRANT AUTHORITY TO DEVIATE FROM OUR REGULATIONS COVERING THE PROCUREMENT OF OFFICIAL PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES. FOR YOUR READY REFERENCE WE ARE ENCLOSING COPIES OF THE CORRESPONDENCE. HANN IS. IS OVER $15. ARE CONSIDERED NECESSARY TO INSURE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL OVER THE EXPENDITURE AND AUDIT OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS AND APPLY GENERALLY THROUGHOUT THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE. IT IS REPORTED THAT DR. HEINRICH HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUBSCRIBE TO A GROUP FLIGHT FOR WHICH THE AIR FARE FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO TOKYO AND RETURN IS $555. IT IS INDICATED THAT THE COST OF ROUND TRIP ECONOMY FARE BY USUAL GOVERNMENT TICKETING PROCEDURE IS $836.10.

B-103315(1), JUL 21, 1967

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

JAMES E. WEBB, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS & SPACE ADMINISTRATION:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE LETTER DATED JULY 7, 1967, FILE BFG, FROM MR. H FRANK HANN, ACTING DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT, OF YOUR ADMINISTRATION, FORWARDING A LETTER OF JULY 3, 1967, FROM YOUR AMES RESEARCH CENTER, MOFFETT FIELD, CALIFORNIA, IN WHICH WE ARE REQUESTED TO GRANT AUTHORITY TO DEVIATE FROM OUR REGULATIONS COVERING THE PROCUREMENT OF OFFICIAL PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES. FOR YOUR READY REFERENCE WE ARE ENCLOSING COPIES OF THE CORRESPONDENCE.

MR. HANN IS, OF COURSE, NOT ENTITLED TO AN AUTHORITATIVE DECISION ON SUCH A MATTER. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF FACT THAT HIS LETTER INDICATES THAT ONLY A SHORT TIME REMAINS BEFORE NECESSARY TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS LIKELY MUST BE MADE AND ASSUMING YOUR ADMINISTRATION CONTEMPLATES AUTHORIZING THE INVOLVED TRAVEL AS TO BOTH EMPLOYEES AS OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS, WE ADDRESS THIS LETTER TO YOU WITH COPIES TO MR. HANN AND TO THE AMES RESEARCH CENTER.

SECTION 2013 OF TITLE 5 OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE MANUAL, COVERING THE PROCUREMENT OF OFFICIAL PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, GENERALLY PLACES RESTRICTIONS ON THE ISSUANCE OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS TO TRAVEL AGENCIES, AND SECTION 2020.10, IN EFFECT, PRECLUDES THE USE OF CASH TO PROCURE OFFICIAL PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES WHEN THE COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION, WITHOUT CONSIDERING THE AMOUNT OF FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION TAX, IS OVER $15. COMPARE SECTION 4.2 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7 REVISED, ENTITLED STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (SGTR).

THE RESTRICTIONS IN OUR REGULATIONS ON THE USE OF TRAVEL AGENCIES AND THE REQUIREMENT THAT GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS (5 GAO 2010.20) BE USED TO PROCURE OFFICIAL PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES, WHENEVER THE COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION EXCEEDS $15, ARE CONSIDERED NECESSARY TO INSURE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE CONTROL OVER THE EXPENDITURE AND AUDIT OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS AND APPLY GENERALLY THROUGHOUT THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE. SECTION 2085.10 OF TITLE 5 OF THE GAO MANUAL PROVIDES THAT EXCEPTIONS MAY BE MADE "ONLY AFTER OBTAINING THE WRITTEN APPROVAL OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES."

THE AMES RESEARCH CENTER LETTER CONCERNS THE OFFICIAL TRAVEL OF TWO PERSONS AND REQUESTS AUTHORITY TO REIMBURSE THEM FOR THE INVOLVED TRANSPORTATION WITHOUT THE ISSUANCE OF U. S. TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS.

THE FIRST REQUEST CONCERNS DR. MILTON R. HEINRICH, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CENTER, WHO HAS BEEN INVITED TO PRESENT AN ABSTRACT TO THE SEVENTH INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS OF BIOCHEMISTRY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TOKYO, TOKYO, JAPAN, ON AUGUST 19 THROUGH AUGUST 25, 1967, AND THE UNIVERSITY OF OSAKA, OSAKA, JAPAN, AUGUST 17 AND AUGUST 18, 1967. IT IS REPORTED THAT DR. HEINRICH HAS AN OPPORTUNITY TO SUBSCRIBE TO A GROUP FLIGHT FOR WHICH THE AIR FARE FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO TOKYO AND RETURN IS $555. IT IS INDICATED THAT THE COST OF ROUND TRIP ECONOMY FARE BY USUAL GOVERNMENT TICKETING PROCEDURE IS $836.10, RESULTING IN A SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF $281.10.

ALTHOUGH WE COMPUTE THE REGULAR COMMERCIAL FARES TO BE $760, THERE WOULD STILL BE A SAVINGS OF MORE THAN $200 IF DR. HEINRICH USED THE GROUP FLIGHT ARRANGEMENT.

THE SECOND REQUEST CONCERNS MR. HAROLD SANDLER, WHO HAS BEEN INVITED TO PRESENT AN ABSTRACT TO THE SEVENTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON MEDICAL AND BIOLOGICAL ENGINEERING AT STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, ON AUGUST 14 TO AUGUST 20, 1967. IT IS REPORTED THAT A SPECIAL GROUP PLAN TO THIS CONFERENCE HAS BEEN DEVISED FOR WHICH THE COST OF THE FARE FROM SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, TO STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, AND RETURN WILL BE $475. THIS FIGURE ADDED TO THE COST OF $84.70 FOR THE TRAVELER'S TRANSPORTATION TO SEATTLE RESULTS IN A TOTAL COST OF $559.70.

ALTHOUGH THE ORIGIN OF THIS TRAVEL IS NOT INDICATED TO ENABLE US TO COMPUTE THE COST OF $84.70 TO SEATTLE, NEVERTHELESS, WE COMPUTE THE REGULAR ROUND TRIP COMMERCIAL FARES FROM SEATTLE TO STOCKHOLM ON THE DATES INVOLVED TO BE $790.75; THUS THE SAVINGS WOULD BE IN EXCESS OF $200.

THE FACTS OF THESE CASES, BROUGHT TO OUR ATTENTION BEFORE THE TIME OF THE CONTEMPLATED TRAVEL, SHOW THE AVAILABILITY OF THE ECONOMICAL GROUP TRAVEL FARES APPARENTLY THROUGH USE OF TRAVEL AGENCIES. IN THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND SINCE SUCH PROCUREMENT WILL APPARENTLY SERVE TO PROMOTE THE MORE ECONOMICAL USAGE OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS (SEE SECTION 1.2 OF THE SGTR), AN EXCEPTION TO THE REGULATIONS APPEARS WARRANTED IN THE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES.

ACCORDINGLY, WE APPROVE DR. HEINRICH AND MR. SANDLER'S USE OF THE GROUP FLIGHTS FOR THEIR TRIPS, SUBJECT, OF COURSE, TO YOUR ADMINISTRATION AUTHORIZING BOTH EMPLOYEES' TRAVEL AS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. TO AVOID ISSUANCE OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS TO TRAVEL AGENCIES, WE SUGGEST THE CHARTER FARES BE PAID IN CASH BY THE TRAVELERS AND THAT THEY CLAIM REIMBURSEMENT OF THE FARES ON THEIR TRAVEL VOUCHERS. ALSO, WE WOULD HAVE NO OBJECTION TO YOUR ADMINISTRATION MAKING WHATEVER TRAVEL ADVANCES MAY BE DEEMED APPROPRIATE AND NECESSARY TO COVER SUCH PROCUREMENT OF THE TRANSPORTATION SERVICES.

AS TO THE PROPOSAL THAT WE GIVE CONSIDERATION TO REMOVING THE REQUIREMENT THAT SPECIAL AUTHORITY BE SOUGHT TO REIMBURSE TRAVELERS UNDER SIMILAR SITUATIONS WHERE A SUBSTANTIAL SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE REALIZED, WE WILL HAVE SUCH GENERAL PROPOSAL STUDIED AND WILL BE PLEASED TO ADVISE YOU AT A LATER DATE OF OUR DECISION WITH RESPECT THERETO.