B-117422, JANUARY 15, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 293

B-117422: Jan 15, 1954

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1954: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16. WHITAKER WAS DIRECTED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE IN HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM PARIS. LOUISIANA WILL NOT EXCEED THE COST VIA TYPE OF TRANSPORTATION USE. TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER WILL SHOW A COMPARATIVE COST OF SUCH TRAVEL. ESTABLISHED TARIFFS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE SHOW THAT FIRST-CLASS RAIL AND STEAMSHIP TRANSPORTATION FOR TRAVEL OF TWO ADULTS BETWEEN PARIS AND WASHINGTON VIA LEHAVRE AND NEW YORK WOULD HAVE BEEN $801.78 AND THAT THE S.S. YOU EXPRESS DOUBT AS TO WHETHER USE OF CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF DIRECT FIRST-CLASS PASSENGER BOAT PASSAGE IS AUTHORIZED SINCE THE DEPENDENTS TRAVELED BY FREIGHTER BETWEEN EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES.

B-117422, JANUARY 15, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 293

TRANSPORTATION - DEPENDENTS - EMPLOYEES APPOINTED OR ASSIGNED TO DUTY OVERSEAS - RETURN TO UNITED STATES - EXPENSE REIMBURSEMENT BASIS AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYEE WHO TRANSPORTED DEPENDENTS TO THE UNITED STATES BY FREIGHTER VIA AN INDIRECT ROUTE AT A COST LESS THAN LOWEST FIRST CLASS COST FOR DIRECT TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN POINTS INVOLVED, AND WHOSE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION SPECIFIED THAT TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR DEPENDENTS SHOULD NOT EXCEED COST VIA TYPE OF TRANSPORTATION USED FOR DIRECT TRAVEL BETWEEN SUCH POINTS, MAY BE REIMBURSED COST OF DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL EVEN THOUGH SUCH COSTS EXCEEDED CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL BY FREIGHTER BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO A. M. FLAT-EQUAL, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, JANUARY 15, 1954:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 16, 1953, TRANSMITTING A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $551.16 STATED IN FAVOR OF FRANCIS H. WHITAKER, MARKETING SPECIALIST, FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES ALLEGED TO BE DUE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY HIS DEPENDENTS (WIFE, AND SON AGE 17) FROM PARIS, FRANCE, TO WASHINGTON, D.C. VIA AN INDIRECT ROUTE, AND REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE AMOUNT WHICH PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 7-) FAR), DATED JUNE 30, 1953, MR. WHITAKER WAS DIRECTED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE IN HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM PARIS, FRANCE, TO WASHINGTON, D.C. THE ORDERS DIRECTED THE EMPLOYEE TO PROCEED TO THE NEWLY ASSIGNED STATION ON OR ABOUT JULY 1, 1953, AND PARAGRAPH 20 THEREOF, AS AMENDED AUGUST 7, 1953, PROVIDED AS FOLLOWS:

AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENDITURES COVERING COST OF TRANSPORTATION FOR WIFE AND MINOR SON, AGE 17 YEARS FROM PARIS, FRANCE TO WASHINGTON, D.C. VIA NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA WILL NOT EXCEED THE COST VIA TYPE OF TRANSPORTATION USE, (USED) FOR DIRECT TRAVEL FROM PARIS, FRANCE TO WASHINGTON, D.C. WIFE AND SON LEFT PARIS, FRANCE, AUGUST 27, 1952 FOR THE UNITED STATES. TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER WILL SHOW A COMPARATIVE COST OF SUCH TRAVEL.

THE DEPENDENTS PROCEEDED TO ANTWERP, BELGIUM, BY RAIL ON AUGUST 26, 1952; THENCE TO TAMPA, FLORIDA, ON A " LYKES LINE" STEAMER ( UNITED STATES FREIGHTER) BETWEEN AUGUST 27 AND SEPTEMBER 10; THENCE TO NEW ORLEANS BY BUS ON SEPTEMBER 10, 1952. THEY REMAINED IN NEW ORLEANS UNTIL MAY 26, AT WHICH TIME THEY DEPARTED FROM WASHINGTON BY RAIL ARRIVING THERE ON MAY 27, 1953. ESTABLISHED TARIFFS ON FILE IN THIS OFFICE SHOW THAT FIRST-CLASS RAIL AND STEAMSHIP TRANSPORTATION FOR TRAVEL OF TWO ADULTS BETWEEN PARIS AND WASHINGTON VIA LEHAVRE AND NEW YORK WOULD HAVE BEEN $801.78 AND THAT THE S.S. UNITED STATES, DEPARTED FROM LEHAVRE ON AUGUST 29 AND ARRIVED IN NEW YORK SEPTEMBER 2, 1952. HOWEVER, YOU EXPRESS DOUBT AS TO WHETHER USE OF CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF DIRECT FIRST-CLASS PASSENGER BOAT PASSAGE IS AUTHORIZED SINCE THE DEPENDENTS TRAVELED BY FREIGHTER BETWEEN EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES.

THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT WHERE AN EMPLOYEE PERFORMS TRAVEL BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE FOR HIS CONVENIENCE THE EXTRA EXPENSE IS CHARGEABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE, AND REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR IS RESTRICTED TO THOSE CHARGES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. SECTION 3 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED, PROVIDES THAT TRANSPORTATION AND THAT COST TO GOVERNMENT FOR TRAVEL OF THE FAMILY SHALL NOT EXCEED COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW DUTY STATIONS.

WHILE THE PHRASE IN THE TRAVEL ORDER "TYPE OF TRANSPORTATION USED" MAY BE CONSTRUED AS SHOWING AN ADMINISTRATIVE INTENT TO RESTRICT CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF DIRECT OCEAN TRAVEL TO OCEAN FREIGHTER, IT HAS BEEN INFORMALLY ASCERTAINED THAT THE LANGUAGE WAS NOT INTENDED TO BE THAT RESTRICTIVE. ALSO, IT HAS BEEN ASCERTAINED THAT THE EMPLOYEE UTILIZED FIRST-CLASS PASSENGER BOAT TRANSPORTATION FOR HIS TRAVEL, AND THE FREIGHT VESSEL WAS USED BY THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY BECAUSE OF THE NONAVAILABILITY OF REGULAR PASSENGER VESSEL FOR THE TRAVEL PERFORMED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SUM CLAIMED BEING LESS THAN THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS COST FOR DIRECT TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED, THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.