B-109410, FEBRUARY 27, 1953, 32 COMP. GEN. 373

B-109410: Feb 27, 1953

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1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER FROM THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR. IT IS STATED. OR OTHER SPECIAL CONVEYANCE BY COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ON ACTIVE DUTY SHALL BE ALLOWED IF THE USE OF SUCH FACILITIES IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT BY AN OFFICIAL TO WHOM AUTHORITY TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS TO COMMISSIONED OFFICERS HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY DELEGATED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR WHENEVER THE OFFICER IS ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN OR AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY. IT IS STATED THAT THE PROPOSED REGULATION WOULD BE BASED ON SECTION 215 (B) OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT AS AMENDED. - ALTHOUGH THEY ARE NOT SPECIFICALLY LIMITED TO SUCH TRANSPORTATION.

B-109410, FEBRUARY 27, 1953, 32 COMP. GEN. 373

TRAVELING EXPENSES - HEADQUARTERS - PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE COMMISSIONED PERSONNEL - TAXICABS - FARES THE GENERAL PROVISIONS OF SECTION 215 (B) OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT, AS AMENDED, WHICH AUTHORIZE THE SURGEON GENERAL OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE TO PROMULGATE REGULATIONS NECESSARY TO THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE SERVICE MAY NOT, IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY, BE REGARDED AS AUTHORITY FOR THE ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS WHICH WOULD PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT TO COMMISSIONED PERSONNEL OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN UTILIZING TAXICABS AND SIMILAR CONVEYANCES IN CONNECTION WITH OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN AND AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY CONTRARY TO THE LONG ESTABLISHED RULE APPLICABLE TO OTHER MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL SECURITY AGENCY, FEBRUARY 27, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER FROM THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, FEDERAL SECURITY AGENCY DATED MAY 1, 1952, REQUESTING DECISION AS TO WHETHER THIS OFFICE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE OPERATIONS CONTEMPLATED BY THE FOLLOWING REGULATIONS WHICH, IT IS STATED, THE SURGEON GENERAL OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE PROPOSES TO PROMULGATE, SUBJECT TO YOUR APPROVAL:

SECTION 21.353 HIRE OF TAXICABS. (A) THE HIRE OF AUTOMOBILE, TAXICAB, LIVERY, OR OTHER SPECIAL CONVEYANCE BY COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ON ACTIVE DUTY SHALL BE ALLOWED IF THE USE OF SUCH FACILITIES IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT BY AN OFFICIAL TO WHOM AUTHORITY TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS TO COMMISSIONED OFFICERS HAS BEEN OFFICIALLY DELEGATED BY THE ADMINISTRATOR WHENEVER THE OFFICER IS ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN OR AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY.

(B) WHERE TWO OR MORE PERSONS TRAVEL TOGETHER BY MEANS OF SUCH SPECIAL CONVEYANCE, THAT FACT, TOGETHER WITH THE NAMES OF THOSE ACCOMPANYING THE OFFICER AND THE NAME OF THEIR EMPLOYING AGENCY, MUST BE STATED BY EACH OFFICER ON HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER.

(C) REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE ACCOMPLISHED IN THE SAME MANNER AS THAT PRESCRIBED FOR EMPLOYEES UNDER PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND IMPLEMENTING PROCEDURES.

IT IS STATED THAT THE PROPOSED REGULATION WOULD BE BASED ON SECTION 215 (B) OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT AS AMENDED, 42 U.S.C. 216 (B), AS WELL AS INHERENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY, RATHER THAN UPON SECTION 303 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 813. SAID SECTION 215 (B) AS AMENDED BY SECTION 521 (F) OF SAID CAREER COMPENSATION ACT, 63 STAT. 835, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

(B) THE SURGEON GENERAL, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE ADMINISTRATOR, UNLESS SPECIFICALLY OTHERWISE PROVIDED, SHALL PROMULGATE ALL OTHER REGULATIONS NECESSARY TO THE ADMINISTRATION OF THE SERVICE, INCLUDING REGULATIONS WITH RESPECT TO UNIFORMS FOR EMPLOYEES, AND REGULATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE CUSTODY, USE, AND PRESERVATION OF THE RECORDS, PAPERS, AND PROPERTY OF THE SERVICE.

IT APPEARS THAT THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS WOULD AUTHORIZE THE HIRE OF AUTOMOBILES, TAXICABS, AND OTHER SPECIAL CONVEYANCES BY COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES STATED THEREIN, FOR INTRA-CITY TRANSPORTATION--- ALTHOUGH THEY ARE NOT SPECIFICALLY LIMITED TO SUCH TRANSPORTATION--- IN CONNECTION WITH OFFICIAL BUSINESS BOTH WITHIN AND AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY, PROVISION IS MADE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE FARES THUS PAID. THEY WOULD COVER THE MATTER OF TAXICAB FARES, ETC., OF MEMBERS OF THE COMMISSIONED CORPS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE WHILE THEY ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS, AS WELL AS WHEN THEY ARE AT THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY AND THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR INDICATES THAT THE EXPENSES TO WHICH THE REGULATIONS WOULD BE APPLICABLE MAY BE TREATED AS OPERATING EXPENSES AS DISTINGUISHED FROM TRAVEL EXPENSES. IN SUPPORT OF THAT VIEW HE CITES 24 COMP. GEN. 858. HOWEVER, THAT DECISION MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED APPLICABLE TO PERSONS IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND IT WOULD SEEM THAT ANY TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN OFFICER WHILE HE IS IN SUCH A STATUS AND AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY PROPERLY SHOULD BE REGARDED AS A TRAVEL OR TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE TO BE GOVERNED BY REGULATIONS ISSUED UNDER SECTION 303 OF THE SAID CAREER COMPENSATION ACT. IN THIS CONNECTION, ATTENTION IS INVITED TO PARAGRAPH 4202 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES THAT THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE PAYABLE FOR TEMPORARY DUTY IS DESIGNED TO COVER "STREET CAR OR TAXI FARES (OTHER THAN TO AND FROM STATION, WHARF, OR LANDING FIELD).' REGULATIONS GRANTING ADDITIONAL PREFERENTIAL RIGHTS TO OFFICERS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE WOULD NOT BE PROPER. AS TO THE MATTER OF TAXICAB FARES, ETC., AT AN OFFICER'S STATION, IT WAS SAID IN DECISION DATED FEBRUARY 5, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 427, INVOLVING CIRCUMSTANCES SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO THOSE HERE INVOLVED, BUT RELATING TO OFFICER PERSONNEL OF THE ARMY, THAT---

* * * THEY ARE COMMISSIONED IN THE ARMY TO SERVE AND PERFORM THEIR DUTIES ANYWHERE THE NECESSITIES OF THE SERVICE AND THE ORDERS OF SUPERIOR AUTHORITY REQUIRE. THEIR COMPENSATION IS FIXED BY LAW, WHICH INCLUDES PAY AND ALLOWANCES, AND WHERE NO STATUTE HAS SPECIFICALLY SO PROVIDED THE ARMY OFFICER MUST BEAR THE EXPENSE, IF ANY, OF PERFORMING HIS DUTIES. * * * IF HE HAS DUTY TO PERFORM AT TWO SEPARATE PLACES AT HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY AND NO TRANSPORTATION IS FURNISHED FOR HIS USE, HE IS NEVERTHELESS REQUIRED TO PERFORM THE DUTY, TO BE ACCOMPLISHED EITHER BY TRAVELING ON FOOT OR BEARING THE COST OF HIS PRIVATELY PROCURED TRANSPORTATION. * * *

THE SAME RULE HAS LONG APPLIED TO ALL OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AND IN A DECISION OF THIS OFFICE DATED DECEMBER 15, 1949, B-89674, IT WAS APPLIED AS PRECLUDING THE ALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM OF AN OFFICER OF THE COAST GUARD FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF STREETCAR AND BUS TRANSPORTATION PURCHASED BY HIM IN CONNECTION WITH HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES PERFORMED AT DIFFERENT PLACES WITHIN THE CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA. THE COAST GUARD SUBSEQUENTLY OBTAINED LEGISLATION SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT IN SUCH CASES. SEE SECTION 474, TITLE 14, U.S.C. NOW GRANTING AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT TO COAST GUARD PERSONNEL FOR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED FOR "* * * TRAIN, BUS, STREETCAR, FERRY, BRIDGE, AND SIMILAR FARES AND TOLLS * * *.'

THE ACTING ADMINISTRATOR APPEARS TO REGARD THE ABOVE-QUOTED PROVISIONS OF SECTION 215 (B) OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE ACT, AS AMENDED, SUPRA, AS FURNISHING SUFFICIENT AUTHORITY FOR THE REGULATIONS PROPOSED. HOWEVER, IT WILL BE NOTED THAT INSOFAR AS SUCH STATUTORY PROVISIONS ARE SPECIFIC THEY RELATE ONLY TO UNIFORMS FOR EMPLOYEES AND THE CUSTODY, USE, AND PRESERVATION OF RECORDS, PAPERS AND PROPERTY OF THE SERVICE AND THE GENERAL PROVISIONS THEREOF MAY NOT BE VIEWED AS AUTHORITY--- TO PROVIDE BY REGULATION FOR THE USE OF TAXICABS BY COMMISSIONED OFFICERS. THE MATTER HAS BEEN GIVEN CAREFUL CONSIDERATION BUT IN THE ABSENCE OF AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION, AS WAS OBTAINED BY THE COAST GUARD, THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT APPEAR WARRANTED IN APPROVING REIMBURSEMENT IN SUCH CASES CONTRARY TO THE LONG ESTABLISHED RULE APPLICABLE TO OTHER MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES. SEE, IN THAT RESPECT, DECISION OF TODAY, B-110752, 32 COMP. GEN. 376, TO THE DIRECTOR OF SELECTIVE SERVICE ON A SIMILAR QUESTION.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THIS OFFICE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO PAYMENTS REIMBURSING COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE FOR TAXICAB FARES, ETC., AS PROPOSED IN THE QUOTED REGULATIONS.