B-121781, NOVEMBER 22, 1954, 34 COMP. GEN. 241

B-121781: Nov 22, 1954

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PERSONNEL - PRIOR TO CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OF A DEPENDENT WIFE OF A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FROM THE LAST STATION TO HOME TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS WHICH RELEASED THE MEMBER FROM ACTIVE DUTY IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH CONTEMPLATE DEPARTURE OF DEPENDENTS DURING SHORT PERIODS OF TIME BETWEEN DETERMINATION TO ORDER CHANGE OF STATION AND DATE OF ISSUANCE OF ORDERS. WHERE THERE IS DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT OF A CLAIM PRESENTED BY A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES NO LONGER IN ACTIVE SERVICE. LIEUTENANT FRASER WAS RELEASED FROM DUTY AT FORT HOOD. IT IS SHOWN THAT HIS HOME ADDRESS AND PLACE FROM WHICH HE WAS ORDERED TO ACTIVE DUTY WAS NORWOOD.

B-121781, NOVEMBER 22, 1954, 34 COMP. GEN. 241

TRANSPORTATION - DEPENDENTS - MILITARY, NAVAL, ETC., PERSONNEL - PRIOR TO CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OF A DEPENDENT WIFE OF A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FROM THE LAST STATION TO HOME TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS WHICH RELEASED THE MEMBER FROM ACTIVE DUTY IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH CONTEMPLATE DEPARTURE OF DEPENDENTS DURING SHORT PERIODS OF TIME BETWEEN DETERMINATION TO ORDER CHANGE OF STATION AND DATE OF ISSUANCE OF ORDERS. WHERE THERE IS DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT OF A CLAIM PRESENTED BY A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES NO LONGER IN ACTIVE SERVICE, THE MATTER SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT, RATHER THAN PRESENTED FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO FIRST LIEUTENANT ALEXANDER FENNELL, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, NOVEMBER 22, 1954:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED BY FIRST ENDORSEMENT DATED OCTOBER 11, 1954, YOUR LETTER OF JULY 29, 1954, SUBMITTING FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF SECOND LIEUTENANT RICHARD R. FRASER, FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL OF HIS DEPENDENT FROM KILLEEN, TEXAS, TO ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS, BETWEEN JANUARY 29 AND 31, 1954.

BY ORDERS DATED APRIL 12 AND 30, 1954, LIEUTENANT FRASER WAS RELEASED FROM DUTY AT FORT HOOD, TEXAS, AND DIRECTED TO PROCEED ON MAY 1, 1954, TO HIS HOME FOR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY EFFECTIVE MAY 7, 1954. IT IS SHOWN THAT HIS HOME ADDRESS AND PLACE FROM WHICH HE WAS ORDERED TO ACTIVE DUTY WAS NORWOOD, MASSACHUSETTS. LIEUTENANT FRASER STATES THAT HIS DEPENDENT (WIFE) TRAVELED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE FROM KILLEEN, TEXAS TO ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS, BETWEEN JANUARY 29 AND 31, 1954. IN CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH TRAVEL AS INCIDENT TO HIS ORDERS OF APRIL 12 AND 30, 1954, THE OFFICER STATED, IN SUBSTANCE, THAT THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BY HIS WIFE PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS FOR HIS RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY BECAUSE OF HER HEALTH, AND THAT HE HAD BEEN ADVISED OFFICIALLY THAT HE WOULD BE RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY IN MAY 1954. IN SUPPORT OF THE LATTER STATEMENT HE SUBMITTED A CERTIFICATE SIGNED BY WARRANT OFFICER ROY L. MARTIN, ASSISTANT PERSONNEL OFFICER, HEADQUARTERS, 81ST RECONNAISSANCE BATTALION, ST ARMORED DIVISION, FORT HOOD, TEXAS, DATED JULY 7, 1954, AS FOLLOWS.

I CERTIFY THAT OFFICER'S PROJECTED STRENGTH REPORT OF THIS BATTALION FORWARDED TO HIGHER HEADQUARTERS ON 31 JAN 54 REFLECTED EXPECTED DATE OF LOSS FOR 2D LT RICHARD R. FRASER AS 22 MAY 1954, ETS 31 MAY 54. SUBJECT OFFICER HAD PREVIOUSLY BEEN INFORMED ON HIS ELIGIBILITY FOR EARLY RELEASE UNDER CURRENT EARLY RELEASE PROGRAM AND THAT APPROPRIATE ORDERS WOULD BE ISSUED EFFECTING HIS RELEASE.

JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO SECTION 303 (C) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 814, PROVIDE FOR TRANSPORTATION IN KIND (OR MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION) OF DEPENDENTS OF MEMBERS WHEN ORDERED TO MAKE A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION, INCLUDING THE CHANGE FROM HOME TO FIRST DUTY STATION AND FROM LAST STATION TO HOME. HOWEVER, AS TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS TO BE FURNISHED INCIDENT TO AN ORDERED CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION, PARAGRAPH 7000-11 OF THE REGULATIONS SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT SUCH TRANSPORTATION IS NOT AUTHORIZED WHERE THE DEPENDENTS DEPART "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 THE CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS THAT SUCH ORDERS WOULD BE ISSUED.

THE PROVISION IN THE REGULATIONS CONCERNING DEPARTURE OF DEPENDENTS FROM THE OLD STATION PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF ORDERS CONTEMPLATES DEPARTURE DURING THE COMPARATIVELY SHORT PERIOD OF TIME WHICH MAY ELAPSE BETWEEN THE TIME OF A DETERMINATION TO ORDER A MEMBER TO MAKE A CHANGE OF STATION AND THE DATE ON WHICH ORDERS DIRECTING SUCH CHANGE ACTUALLY ARE ISSUED. MERE GENERAL INFORMATION AS TO THE TIME OF EVENTUAL RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY, WHICH NOT INFREQUENTLY IS CONTAINED IN THE ORDER TO ACTIVE DUTY ITSELF, IS INSUFFICIENT TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE REGULATION. SINCE THE CERTIFICATE IN THIS CASE REFERS ONLY TO SOME FUTURE DATE AT WHICH TIME IS WAS EXPECTED THAT RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY ORDERS WOULD BE ISSUED, IT AFFORDS NO BASIS FOR REIMBURSING LIEUTENANT FRASER FOR HIS DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL TO THEIR HOME IN MASSACHUSETTS FOR PERSONAL REASONS, PERFORMED LONG BEFORE HIS ORDER RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY. ACCORDINGLY, PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS BEING RETAINED IN THIS OFFICE, IS NOT AUTHORIZED.

FURTHER, IT MAY BE STATED THAT IN CASES SUCH AS THIS, WHERE THERE IS DOUBT AS TO PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT ON A VOUCHER IN THE NATURE OF A CLAIM PRESENTED BY A MEMBER NO LONGER IN ACTIVE SERVICE, THE MATTER SHOULD BE SUBMITTED THROUGH APPROPRIATE CHANNELS TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT AS A CLAIM.