B-118397, JUN. 21, 1963

B-118397: Jun 21, 1963

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THE ESSENTIAL FACTS AS STATED IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER ARE AS FOLLOWS: "MR. ZEUG RESIDES IN A SMALL FARMING COMMUNITY IN SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA AND THE NEAREST AIRPLANE SERVICE IS THE MINNEAPOLIS-ST. IN ORDER TO ATTEND THE BIMONTHLY BOARD MEETINGS WHICH ARE USUALLY HELD IN WASHINGTON. THAT IS. THE TRAVELERS ARE PERMITTED TO COMPUTE THE AMOUNT OF REIMBURSEMENT BY DIVIDING THE MILEAGE TRAVELED BY THE AVERAGE MILES PER GALLON OF GASOLINE AND MULTIPLYING THE ESTIMATED NUMBER OF GALLONS BY THE COST PER GALLON IN THE AREA.'. YOU SAY THE FEDERAL FARM CREDIT BOARD AND THE FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION WOULD LIKE TO AMEND THE PRESENT PRACTICE TO PERMIT PAYMENT FOR THE USE OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES AT THE SAME RATE PER MILE THAT IS NOW ALLOWED TO MEMBERS OF THE FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

B-118397, JUN. 21, 1963

TO MR. JAMES E. PITTS, JR., AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION:

ON MAY 8, 1963, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER IN THE SUM OF $34.92, REPRESENTING MILEAGE CLAIMED BY MR. JOE B. ZEUG, A MEMBER OF THE FEDERAL FARM CREDIT BOARD.

THE ESSENTIAL FACTS AS STATED IN THE SECOND PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"MR. ZEUG RESIDES IN A SMALL FARMING COMMUNITY IN SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA AND THE NEAREST AIRPLANE SERVICE IS THE MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. IN ORDER TO ATTEND THE BIMONTHLY BOARD MEETINGS WHICH ARE USUALLY HELD IN WASHINGTON, D.C., HE DRIVES HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE TO THE AIRPORT, PLACES IT IN STORAGE, TRAVELS TO AND FROM WASHINGTON BY PLANE, AND THEN DRIVES HIS CAR HOME. THE FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION, BASED ON AN UNPUBLISHED DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL DATED FEBRUARY 4, 1954 (B-118397), HAS REIMBURSED MR. ZEUG AND OTHER BOARD MEMBERS USING PERSONALLY OWNED VEHICLES ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL, ONLY THE ACTUAL OUT OF POCKET EXPENSES, THAT IS, THE COST OF GASOLINE, OIL AND STORAGE. THE TRAVELERS ARE PERMITTED TO COMPUTE THE AMOUNT OF REIMBURSEMENT BY DIVIDING THE MILEAGE TRAVELED BY THE AVERAGE MILES PER GALLON OF GASOLINE AND MULTIPLYING THE ESTIMATED NUMBER OF GALLONS BY THE COST PER GALLON IN THE AREA.'

YOU SAY THE FEDERAL FARM CREDIT BOARD AND THE FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION WOULD LIKE TO AMEND THE PRESENT PRACTICE TO PERMIT PAYMENT FOR THE USE OF PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES AT THE SAME RATE PER MILE THAT IS NOW ALLOWED TO MEMBERS OF THE FARM CREDIT ADMINISTRATION WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. YOU ALSO SAY THAT PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS WOULD BE MORE EQUITABLE TO THE TRAVELERS SINCE PAYMENT ON THE ACTUAL EXPENSES BASIS DOES NOT RECOGNIZE DEPRECIATION, REPAIRS, INSURANCE AND OTHER COSTS INCURRED IN THE OPERATION OF AN AUTOMOBILE, AND POINT OUT THAT PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS WOULD MATERIALLY FACILITATE THE AUDIT OF THE VOUCHERS.

THE FEDERAL FARM BOARD WAS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SECTION 4 OF THE FARM CREDIT ACT OF 1953, 67 STAT. 390, 12 U.S.C. 636C. WITH REFERENCE TO THE COMPENSATION AND EXPENSES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE BOARD SECTION 4 (F) OF THE ACT PROVIDES:

"/F) EACH MEMBER OF THE BOARD SHALL RECEIVE THE SUM OF $50 FOR EACH DAY OR PART THEREOF SPENT IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES, WHICH COMPENSATION, HOWEVER, SHALL NOT BE PAID FOR MORE THAN SEVENTY-FIVE DAYS (OR PARTS OF DAYS) IN ANY CALENDAR YEAR; AND SHALL NOT BE PAID TO THE SECRETARY'S REPRESENTATIVE IF HE IS A FULL-TIME OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES, OR SUCH PAYMENT IS OTHERWISE PROHIBITED BY LAW; AND IN ADDITION, SHALL BE REIMBURSED FOR NECESSARY TRAVEL, SUBSISTENCE, AND OTHER EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE DISCHARGE OF HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES, WITHOUT REGARD TO OTHER LAWS WITH RESPECT TO ALLOWANCES WHICH MAY BE MADE ON ACCOUNT OF TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYED PERSONNEL OF THE UNITED STATES.'

WHILE IT MAY BE THAT PAYMENT FOR TRAVEL ON A MILEAGE BASIS WOULD BE MORE EQUITABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE AND WOULD FACILITATE THE AUDITING OF THE VOUCHERS IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE QUOTED PROVISION CREATES AN EXCEPTION TO SECTION 4 OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSES ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 166, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 837, WHICH AUTHORIZED PAYMENT FOR TRAVEL ON SUCH BASIS, AND TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT THERETO. IT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT MEMBERS OF THE BOARD SHALL BE REIMBURSED FOR NECESSARY TRAVEL, SUBSISTENCE, ETC., WITHOUT REGARD TO OTHER LAWS WITH RESPECT TO ALLOWANCES MADE ON ACCOUNT OF TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES TO OTHER OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND AS STATED IN OUR DECISION OF FEBRUARY 4, 1954, B-118397, CITED BY YOU, IS TO BE CONSTRUED AS PERMITTING PAYMENT ONLY UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS.

THEREFORE, IN THE ABSENCE OF AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION, THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.