B-121625, MARCH 24, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 467

B-121625: Mar 24, 1955

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TRANSPORTATION - DEPENDENTS - REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL TO TEMPORARY DUTY STATION UPON REASSIGNMENT TO NEARBY LOCATION ARMY OFFICER WHOSE WIFE TRAVELED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE FROM THEIR HOME TO HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION WHERE SHE WAS RESIDING WHEN HE RECEIVED ORDERS WHICH DETACHED HIM FROM HIS OLD PERMANENT STATION AND ASSIGNED HIM TO A NEW PERMANENT STATION NEAR THE TEMPORARY DUTY LOCATION MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL UNDER SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949. 1955: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED AUGUST 18. IS ENTITLED TO RETAIN THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE PAYMENT MADE TO HIM FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS WIFE FROM LAREDO. LIEUTENANT FLORES WAS ORDERED TO ACTIVE DUTY FROM HIS HOME.

B-121625, MARCH 24, 1955, 34 COMP. GEN. 467

TRANSPORTATION - DEPENDENTS - REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL TO TEMPORARY DUTY STATION UPON REASSIGNMENT TO NEARBY LOCATION ARMY OFFICER WHOSE WIFE TRAVELED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE FROM THEIR HOME TO HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION WHERE SHE WAS RESIDING WHEN HE RECEIVED ORDERS WHICH DETACHED HIM FROM HIS OLD PERMANENT STATION AND ASSIGNED HIM TO A NEW PERMANENT STATION NEAR THE TEMPORARY DUTY LOCATION MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL UNDER SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, AND PARAGRAPH 7000-2 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, NOT TO EXCEED THE DISTANCE FROM HIS HOME TO THE OLD PERMANENT STATION AND FROM THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION TO THE NEW PERMANENT STATION.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY, MARCH 24, 1955:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED AUGUST 18, 1954, FILE REFERENCE FINEK 512 FLORES, RAFAEL H. 10-1920338, FROM THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, IN WHICH HE EXPRESSES THE OPINION THAT IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 7055, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, FIRST LIEUTENANT RAFAEL H. FLORES, O-1920338, IS ENTITLED TO RETAIN THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE PAYMENT MADE TO HIM FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS WIFE FROM LAREDO, TEXAS, TO FORT HOLABIRD, MARYLAND, BETWEEN MAY 3, 1952, AND JULY 28, 1952.

IT APPEARS THAT BY ORDERS DATED MARCH 19, 1952, LIEUTENANT FLORES WAS ORDERED TO ACTIVE DUTY FROM HIS HOME, LAREDO, TEXAS, AND ASSIGNED TO DUTY AT FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS. BY ORDERS DATED APRIL 17, 1952, HE WAS DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA TO ATTEND A COURSE OF INSTRUCTION FOR APPROXIMATELY 84 DAYS AND, UPON COMPLETION, TO RETURN TO FORT SAM HOUSTON. THESE ORDERS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED THAT TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS WAS NOT AUTHORIZED. BY ORDERS DATED JULY 15, 1952, AS AMENDED JULY 24, 1952, HE WAS RELEASED FROM ASSIGNMENT AT FORT SAM HOUSTON, TEXAS, AND FROM TEMPORARY DUTY AT CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA, AND ASSIGNED TO DUTY AT FORT HOLABIRD, MARYLAND. ON THE BASIS OF THESE ORDERS, THE OFFICER WAS PAID $110.58 ON VOUCHER NO. 812687, AUGUST 1952 ACCOUNTS OF CAPTAIN M. FEINGOLD, AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS WIFE, COMPUTED ON THE DISTANCE FROM HIS HOME, LAREDO, TEXAS, TO BALTIMORE, MARYLAND. THE CORRECTNESS OF THIS PAYMENT WAS QUESTIONED BY OUR INVESTIGATORS BECAUSE AT THE TIME OF THE OFFICER'S DETACHMENT FROM PERMANENT STATION AT FORT SAM HOUSTON HIS DEPENDENT WAS LOCATED AT CHARLOTTESVILLE.

THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 814, WHICH PROVIDES THAT MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES "WHEN ORDERED TO MAKE A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION" SHALL BE ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS UNDER SUCH CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS AND TO AND FROM SUCH LOCATIONS AS MAY BE PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED. JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO THAT AUTHORITY PROVIDE IN PARAGRAPH 7000-2 THAT MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ARE ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED FROM THE OLD STATION TO THE NEW PERMANENT STATION, OR BETWEEN POINTS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED, EXCEPT (SUBPARAGRAPH 11) WHERE THE DEPENDENTS DEPARTED OLD PERMANENT STATION PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS AND THE VOUCHER IS NOT SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER, OR HIS DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE, OF THE HEADQUARTERS ISSUING THE ORDERS THAT THE MEMBER WAS ADVISED PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS THAT SUCH ORDERS WOULD BE ISSUED. PARAGRAPH 7055, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, CITED BY THE CHIEF OF FINANCE AS VALIDATING THE PAYMENT HERE IN QUESTION, PROVIDES THAT, IF A MEMBER, UPON RECEIPT OF PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS, RETAINS HIS DEPENDENTS AT THE PLACE AT WHICH THEY WERE LOCATED WHEN SUCH ORDERS WERE RECEIVED, AND HE RECEIVES ASSIGNMENT TO SOME SUBSEQUENT PERMANENT STATION, HE SHALL BE ENTITLED (UPON ASSIGNMENT TO SUCH SUBSEQUENT PERMANENT STATION) TO TRANSPORTATION FOR HIS DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE NOT IN EXCESS OF THE DISTANCE FROM THE STATION FROM WHICH HE TRAVELED WHEN HIS DEPENDENTS WERE SO RETAINED TO SUCH SUBSEQUENT PERMANENT STATION, OR FROM HIS LAST PERMANENT STATION TO HIS NEW PERMANENT STATION, WHICHEVER IS GREATER, IRRESPECTIVE OF ANY INTERIM PERMANENT CHANGES OF STATION UPON WHICH HE DID NOT EXERCISE HIS RIGHTS TO DEPENDENTS' TRANSPORTATION.

UNDER THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 12 OF THE ACT OF MAY 18, 1920, 41 STAT. 601, 604, AND SUBSEQUENT LEGISLATION, FOR THE TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF DEPENDENTS OF MEMBERS OF THE ARMED SERVICES WHEN ORDERED TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, IT WAS THE RULE AT ALL TIMES THAT THE TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS FOR WHICH TRANSPORTATION IN KIND (OR REIMBURSEMENT UPON COMPLETION WHEN PERFORMED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE) WAS AUTHORIZED WAS LIMITED TO TRAVEL EQUAL TO THE DISTANCE FROM THE PLACE WHERE LOCATED TO THE NEW STATION, NOT TO EXCEED THE DISTANCE FROM THE LAST OLD STATION TO THE NEW PERMANENT STATION, BEGUN AND COMPLETED UNDER AN EXISTING ORDER TO MAKE A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, OR UNDER AN ORDER DETACHING THE MEMBER AT HIS OLD STATION IF COMPLETED BY AN ASSIGNMENT TO A NEW PERMANENT STATION; OR, IN EXCEPTIONAL CASES, UNDER AN ORDER IN PROCESS OF BEING ISSUED OF WHICH THE MEMBERS HAD OFFICIAL NOTICE. THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 7000-2 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS SEEM CLEARLY CONSISTENT WITH THIS LONG ESTABLISHED RULE. THIS BEING SO, THERE APPEARS NO BASIS FOR CONCLUDING THAT PARAGRAPH 7055, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT UNDER SUBSEQUENT ORDERS FOR TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS FOR DISTANCES IN EXCESS OF THE MEMBER'S ENTITLEMENT TO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS UNDER ORDERS IN EXISTENCE AT THE TIME OF PERFORMANCE OF SUCH TRAVEL. RATHER, IT SEEMS CLEAR THAT THE PURPOSE OF THIS PARAGRAPH WAS MERELY TO MODIFY THE EARLIER RULE TO THE EXTENT NECESSARY TO SAVE TO A MEMBER SO MUCH OF THE MILEAGE WHICH ACCRUED UNDER A PRIOR ORDER, AS TO WHICH NO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS WAS FURNISHED, AS REQUIRED TO TRANSPORT HIS DEPENDENTS UNDER CURRENT CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS. FROM THE PLACE AT WHICH THEY ARE LOCATED WHEN SUCH ORDERS ARE RECEIVED TO THE NEW STATION, OR TO SOME OTHER POINT AT NO GREATER COST, NOT TO EXCEED THE DISTANCE FROM THE FIRST OLD STATION, OR THE LAST PERMANENT STATION, TO THE NEW STATION, WHICHEVER, IS THE GREATER.

SINCE LIEUTENANT FLORES' DEPENDENT WAS NOT AT LAREDO, TEXAS, BUT WAS RESIDING WITH HIM AT CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA, WHEN HE RECEIVED THE ORDERS OF JULY 15, 1952, DETACHING HIM FROM PERMANENT STATION AT FORT SAM HOUSTON AND ASSIGNING HIM TO DUTY AT FORT HOLABIRD, MARYLAND, IT SEEMS EVIDENT THAT PARAGRAPH 7055, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, CAN OPERATE IN NO WAY TO INCREASE HIS RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY HIS DEPENDENT BEFORE JULY 15, 1952, OVER HIS ENTITLEMENT UNDER THE ORDERS OF MARCH 19, 1952. IT FOLLOWS THAT THE PAYMENT MADE TO HIM ON VOUCHER 812687 WAS ERRONEOUS TO THE EXTENT THAT IT EXCEEDED MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL UNDER THE ORDERS OF MARCH 19, 1952, FROM LAREDO TO CHARLOTTESVILLE (NOT TO EXCEED THE DISTANCE FROM LAREDO TO FORT SAM HOUSTON) PLUS MILEAGE FROM CHARLOTTESVILLE TO FORT HOLABIRD, FOR TRAVEL UNDER THE ORDERS OF JULY 15, 1952. THE EXCESS AMOUNT SO PAID TO LIEUTENANT FLORES SHOULD BE REFUNDED BY HIM.