B-105367, OCTOBER 9, 1951, 31 COMP. GEN. 134

B-105367: Oct 9, 1951

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TRANSPORTATION - VESSELS - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE WIFE ELECTED TO DELAY HER RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES UPON HIS TRANSFER FROM AN OVERSEAS POST OF DUTY IS ENTITLED. TO PAYMENT FOR HER RETURN TRAVEL BY VESSEL IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST CLASS FARE FOR ACCOMMODATIONS WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN ARRANGED HAD TIMELY APPLICATION BEEN MADE AFTER ISSUANCE OF THE ORDERS DIRECTING THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER. 1951: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 10. YOUR OFFICIAL DUTY STATION WAS TRANSFERRED FROM MADRID. IT IS NOTED THAT YOU RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES SHORTLY AFTER THE RECEIPT OF ORDERS DIRECTING SAID TRANSFER BUT THAT YOUR WIFE ELECTED TO REMAIN IN EUROPE DURING SEPTEMBER 1948.

B-105367, OCTOBER 9, 1951, 31 COMP. GEN. 134

TRANSPORTATION - VESSELS - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE WIFE ELECTED TO DELAY HER RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES UPON HIS TRANSFER FROM AN OVERSEAS POST OF DUTY IS ENTITLED, UNDER STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, TO PAYMENT FOR HER RETURN TRAVEL BY VESSEL IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST CLASS FARE FOR ACCOMMODATIONS WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN ARRANGED HAD TIMELY APPLICATION BEEN MADE AFTER ISSUANCE OF THE ORDERS DIRECTING THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO EDWARD P. MAFFITT, OCTOBER 9, 1951:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 10, 1951, REQUESTING REVIEW OF GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SETTLEMENT DATED JULY 12, 1951, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM IN THE AMOUNT OF $81 REPRESENTING THE SUM DEDUCTED ON BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 9 27351, COVERING EXCESS TRANSPORTATION CHARGES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRAVEL OF YOUR WIFE FROM LE HAVRE, FRANCE, TO NEW YORK ON THE S.S. NIEUM AMSTERDAM DURING DECEMBER 1948.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION ( NO. 8-10329) DATED MAY 28, 1948, AS AMENDED, YOUR OFFICIAL DUTY STATION WAS TRANSFERRED FROM MADRID, SPAIN, TO WASHINGTON, D.C. IT IS NOTED THAT YOU RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES SHORTLY AFTER THE RECEIPT OF ORDERS DIRECTING SAID TRANSFER BUT THAT YOUR WIFE ELECTED TO REMAIN IN EUROPE DURING SEPTEMBER 1948, AS A MEMBER OF THE U.S. DELEGATION TO TH 3RD GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS, YOUR WIFE JOINED YOU IN PARIS, FRANCE, AND THAT BOTH YOU AND YOUR WIFE WERE FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION FROM LE HAVRE, FRANCE, TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK, ON THE ABOVE-MENTIONED VESSEL DURING THE PERIOD DECEMBER 12-19, 1948. IT IS SHOWN THAT THE STEAMSHIP ACCOMMODATIONS UTILIZED BY YOUR WIFE (TRANSPORTATION REQUEST NO. S2, 392), COST THE GOVERNMENT $422.50, WHEREAS ESTABLISHED TARIFFS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE SHOW $341.50 TO BE THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ADULT FARE ON THE S.S. NIEUW AMSTERDAM AS OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1948, INCLUDING ($6.50) FRENCH PORT TAX. THE FACTS FURTHER SHOW THAT THE SUM OF $81 REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE SUM EXPENDED FOR HER WATER TRANSPORTATION AND THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS STEAMSHIP FARE ABOVE INDICATED, WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM THE SUM ($118.40) CLAIMED AS TRAVEL EXPENSES INCLUDING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE INCIDENT TO HER TRAVEL FROM MADRID, SPAIN, TO WASHINGTON, D.C.

YOUR SUBSEQUENT CLAIM FOR THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED WAS DISALLOWED BY SETTLEMENT DATED JULY 12, 1951, FOR THE REASON THAT UNDER THE LAW AND APPLICABLE REGULATIONS PAYMENT OF ANY AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF THE LOWEST (MINIMUM) FIRST-CLASS FARE IS NOT AUTHORIZED IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOW THAT SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS WERE NOT AVAILABLE OR THAT OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS WERE REQUIRED FOR THE PURPOSES OF SECURITY.

IN YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT, YOU MAKE REFERENCE TO A LETTER ENCLOSED WITH YOUR ORIGINAL CLAIM FROM THE CUNARD STEAMSHIP COMPANY, LTD., NEW YORK, NEW YORK, WHICH INDICATES THAT THE AVERAGE SUMMER RATE OF PASSAGE BETWEEN FRANCE AND THE UNITED STATES ON THE S.S. MAURETANIA WAS IN EXCESS OF $422.50, AND YOU STATE THAT THE ACCOMMODATIONS UTILIZED BY YOUR WIFE WERE THE MINIMUM AVAILABLE AT THE TIME SUCH TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED.

UNDER THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ALL EMPLOYEES INCLUDING THEIR DEPENDENTS ELIGIBLE TO PERFORM OFFICIAL TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ARE REQUIRED TO EXERCISE THE SAME DEGREE OF CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS, AND DURING THE PERIOD BETWEEN THE DATE OF YOUR TRANSFER AND THE DATE OF YOUR WIFE'S REPATRIATION, ALL TRAVEL WAS REQUIRED TO BE PERFORMED BY THE MOST ECONOMICAL USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE.

THE RULE IS WELL ESTABLISHED AND LONG FOLLOWED BY GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTING OFFICERS THAT WHERE FOR THE TRAVELER'S PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OR THROUGH THE TAKING OF LEAVE THERE IS INTERRUPTION OF TRAVEL OR A DEVIATION FROM THE DIRECT ROUTE, EXPENSES FOR SUCH TRAVEL INCLUDING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE MAY NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED ON UNINTERRUPTED TRAVEL BY THE MOST ECONOMICAL USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. SEE PARAGRAPHS 9, 10, AND 49 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, AND SINCE THE PRESENT RECORD FAILS TO SHOW THAT STEAMSHIP ACCOMMODATIONS FOR THE RETURN OF YOUR WIFE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN ARRANGED AT THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS FARE HEREINABOVE INDICATED HAD TIMELY APPLICATION BEEN MADE THEREFOR FOLLOWING THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS DIRECTING YOUR PERMANENT TRANSFER, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM OR ANY PART THEREOF.

ACCORDINGLY, UPON REVIEW, THE SETTLEMENT OF JULY 12, 1951, MUST BE AND IS, SUSTAINED.