B-103862, DECEMBER 28, 1951, 31 COMP. GEN. 234

B-103862: Dec 28, 1951

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO DUTY OVERSEAS - RETURN TO U.S. - AVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION AN EMPLOYEE WHO UPON COMPLETION OF AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT ELECTS TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES VIA AN INDIRECT ROUTE INVOLVING COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION IS NOT ENTITLED TO CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF RETURN TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT VESSEL WHEN GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION VIA A DIRECT ROUTE WAS AVAILABLE AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED. 1951: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 2. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT YOU FAILED TO UTILIZE AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT FACILITIES AND ROUTING. IT IS ALLEGED IN YOUR LETTER THAT IN THE COURSE OF MAKING ARRANGEMENTS FOR RETURN TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES YOU WERE INFORMED BY THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OFFICE IN YOKOHAMA THAT YOU MIGHT BE FURNISHED GOVERNMENT VESSEL TRANSPORTATION ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN SHOULD YOU ELECT TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES VIA SUCH ROUTE AND THAT YOU ALSO MIGHT OBTAIN GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION ACROSS THE PACIFIC FOR 1.

B-103862, DECEMBER 28, 1951, 31 COMP. GEN. 234

TRAVELING EXPENSES - EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO DUTY OVERSEAS - RETURN TO U.S. - AVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION AN EMPLOYEE WHO UPON COMPLETION OF AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT ELECTS TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES VIA AN INDIRECT ROUTE INVOLVING COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION IS NOT ENTITLED TO CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF RETURN TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT VESSEL WHEN GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION VIA A DIRECT ROUTE WAS AVAILABLE AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO GENEVIEVE NORFOLK, DECEMBER 28, 1951:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 2, 1951, REQUESTING REVIEW OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 18, 1951, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED IN RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES FROM YOKOHAMA, JAPAN, INCIDENT TO YOUR COMPLETION OF THE AGREED UPON PERIOD OF SERVICE IN JAPAN UNDER AN EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY.

THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT YOU FAILED TO UTILIZE AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT FACILITIES AND ROUTING, AND ELECTED TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES VIA AN INDIRECT ROUTE FOR YOUR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE. AMONG OTHER THINGS, IT IS ALLEGED IN YOUR LETTER THAT IN THE COURSE OF MAKING ARRANGEMENTS FOR RETURN TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES YOU WERE INFORMED BY THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OFFICE IN YOKOHAMA THAT YOU MIGHT BE FURNISHED GOVERNMENT VESSEL TRANSPORTATION ACROSS THE ATLANTIC OCEAN SHOULD YOU ELECT TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES VIA SUCH ROUTE AND THAT YOU ALSO MIGHT OBTAIN GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION ACROSS THE PACIFIC FOR 1,400 POUNDS OF BAGGAGE. FURTHER, IT IS STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT IT WAS ONLY AFTER ALL ARRANGEMENTS HAD BEEN MADE FOR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES VIA THE ATLANTIC ROUTE AND AFTER YOU HAD RESIGNED FROM YOUR POSITION IN YOKOHAMA, AS REQUIRED BY APPLICABLE ARMY REGULATIONS, THAT YOU WERE ADVISED ACCOMMODATIONS ON A GOVERNMENT VESSEL CROSSING THE ATLANTIC WERE NOT AVAILABLE AND THAT SHIPMENT OF YOUR BAGGAGE ACROSS THE PACIFIC VIA GOVERNMENT VESSEL COULD NOT BE MADE.

IN VIEW OF THE MATTERS SET FORTH THEREIN, YOUR LETTER OF MAY 2, 1951, WAS TRANSMITTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY FOR FURTHER REPORT WITH RESPECT THERETO. THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, AFTER A REEXAMINATION OF ALL ITS RECORDS RELATING TO YOUR CLAIM, HAS ADVISED THIS OFFICE, IN EFFECT, THAT WHILE AUTHORITY FOR YOUR RETURN BY GOVERNMENT VESSEL TRANSPORTATION VIA THE ATLANTIC WAS CONTAINED IN YOUR TRAVEL ORDERS YOU WERE ADVISED THAT SUCH TRANSPORTATION WAS AUTHORIZED ONLY UPON A SPACE AVAILABLE BASIS AND THAT THERE COULD BE NO GUARANTEE THAT THE TRANSPORTATION WOULD BE FURNISHED YOU AT THE TIME YOU WERE READY TO DEPART FROM EUROPE TO THE UNITED STATES. THAT DEPARTMENT ALSO POINTED OUT THAT GOVERNMENT WATER TRANSPORTATION VIA DIRECT ROUTE FROM JAPAN TO THE WEST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES WAS AVAILABLE AT THE TIME OF YOUR DEPARTURE FROM YOKOHAMA.

WHILE YOU WERE ENTITLED TO RETURN TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON THE COMPLETION OF THE PERIOD OF OBLIGATED SERVICE UNDER YOUR EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, IT DOES NOT FOLLOW THAT YOU WERE ENTITLED TO ELECT TO TRAVEL BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE FOR YOUR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE AND BE REIMBURSED THEREFOR. SINCE YOU ELECTED TO TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES VIA THE INDIRECT ROUTE, YOU ASSUMED THE RISK THAT THERE MIGHT BE NO SPACE AVAILABLE ON A GOVERNMENT VESSEL AT THE TIME YOU PLANNED TO DEPART EUROPE FOR THE UNITED STATES. IT IS TRUE THAT IN CERTAIN INSTANCES EMPLOYEES RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES UPON COMPLETION OF THEIR EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENTS HAVE BEEN ALLOWED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF RETURN TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT VESSEL WHEN ACTUALLY THEY HAVE RETURNED BY OTHER MEANS VIA INDIRECT ROUTES. HOWEVER, IN SUCH CASES THE CONTROLLING FACTOR HAS BEEN THAT NO GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION VIA THE DIRECT ROUTE TO THE UNITED STATES WAS AVAILABLE TO SUCH EMPLOYEES AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED. SINCE IN YOUR CASE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION VIA A DIRECT ROUTE WAS IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE AND SINCE YOU ELECTED TO RETURN VIA AN INDIRECT ROUTE INVOLVING THE USE OF COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION, THERE IS NO BASIS UPON WHICH YOUR CLAIM NOW MAY BE ALLOWED. SEE, IN CONNECTION THEREWITH, DECISIONS DATED AUGUST 23, 1951, AND APRIL 9, 1951, B 101457, COPIES ATTACHED.