B-117465, NOVEMBER 16, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 222

B-117465: Nov 16, 1953

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION - ROOMETTES AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING BY RAIL TO A CONFERENCE WHICH WAS SCHEDULED TO START IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING HIS ARRIVAL. IN ABSENCE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT ROOMETTE WAS NECESSARY FOR SECURITY REASONS. EVEN THOUGH IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT TIMELY COMPLETION OF THE REPORT WAS OF GREATER BENEFIT TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE SAVINGS TO BE DERIVED FROM THE USE OF THE LOWER BERTH. 1953: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 19. THE CLAIMANT CONTENDS THAT THE PREPARATION OF THE REPORT PRIOR TO HIS DEPARTURE FROM WASHINGTON WAS IMPOSSIBLE DUE TO THE HEAVY WORKLOAD BROUGHT ABOUT AS A RESULT OF A PREVIOUS ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION.

B-117465, NOVEMBER 16, 1953, 33 COMP. GEN. 222

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION - ROOMETTES AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING BY RAIL TO A CONFERENCE WHICH WAS SCHEDULED TO START IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING HIS ARRIVAL, WHO EXCHANGED A LOWER BERTH--- WHICH CONSTITUTED LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION--- FOR A ROOMETTE BECAUSE OF NEED FOR FACILITIES TO COMPLETE A VITAL REPORT, MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED EXCESS COST, IN ABSENCE OF ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT ROOMETTE WAS NECESSARY FOR SECURITY REASONS, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT TIMELY COMPLETION OF THE REPORT WAS OF GREATER BENEFIT TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE SAVINGS TO BE DERIVED FROM THE USE OF THE LOWER BERTH.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO HELEN L. SWENSON, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, NOVEMBER 16, 1953:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 19, 1953, TRANSMITTING A RECLAIM VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $3.25 STATED IN FAVOR OF LUKE M. SCHRUBEN, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, REPRESENTING THE EXCESS COST OF A ROOMETTE OVER THAT OF A LOWER BERTH FOR TRAVEL BY RAIL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, DURING THE PERIOD AUGUST 30 TO SEPTEMBER 5, 1953, AND REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE SUM RECLAIMED MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT DURING SEPTEMBER 1953, WHILE OFFICIALLY EN ROUTE TO THE TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT, THE CLAIMANT EXCHANGED HIS LOWER BERTH RESERVATION FOR A ROOMETTE SO AS TO ENABLE HIM TO PREPARE A REPORT FOR USE AT A CONFERENCE SCHEDULED TO TAKE PLACE IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING HIS ARRIVAL AT CHICAGO. THE CLAIMANT CONTENDS THAT THE PREPARATION OF THE REPORT PRIOR TO HIS DEPARTURE FROM WASHINGTON WAS IMPOSSIBLE DUE TO THE HEAVY WORKLOAD BROUGHT ABOUT AS A RESULT OF A PREVIOUS ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION. YOU STATE THAT POSTPONEMENT OF THE CONFERENCE AS SCHEDULED WOULD HAVE BEEN NECESSARY UNTIL THE REPORT WAS COMPLETED, AND THAT IT HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED "THAT THE ADVANTAGE AND BENEFIT RECEIVED BY THE GOVERNMENT IN HAVING THIS WORK COMPLETED AS IT WAS FAR EXCEEDS THE COST OF THE ROOMETTE.'

SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, PROVIDED THAT ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRAVEL ,SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRAVEL.' HOWEVER, BY SECTION 6 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 806, SECTION 10 OF THE 19 ACT, SUPRA, WAS AMENDED SO AS TO PERMIT TRANSPORTATION AT OTHER THAN THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED WHERE IT IS APPROPRIATELY CERTIFIED (1) THAT THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR (2) THAT THE USE OF A COMPARTMENT OR SUCH OTHER ACCOMMODATION AS MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED, OR SUCH SUBORDINATES AS HE MAY DESIGNATE, IS REQUIRED FOR PURPOSES OF SECURITY. SEE PARAGRAPH 13A (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

IN VIEW OF THE LAW AND REGULATIONS, AND SINCE IN THE INSTANT CASE THE LOWER BERTH ORIGINALLY RESERVED FOR THE CLAIMANT CONSTITUTED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION BY THE FACILITY USED, THIS OFFICE HAS NO ALTERNATIVE OTHER THAN TO CONCLUDE--- IN THE ABSENCE OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT A ROOMETTE WAS NECESSARY FOR THE PURPOSES OF SECURITY-- - THAT THE EXCESS COST CLAIMED MAY NOT BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS. -80637, JANUARY 10, 1949. SEE, GENERALLY, 28 COMP. GEN. 500 AND CASES THEREIN CITED.

ACCORDINGLY, ON THE PRESENT RECORD, THE VOUCHER, RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.