B-123123, JUN. 3, 1955

B-123123: Jun 3, 1955

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

EDUCATION AND WELFARE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 27. ALTHOUGH YOUR LETTER IS NOT SIGNED IN THE CAPACITY OF AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER. WE PRESUME THAT YOUR PRESENT REQUEST FOR A DECISION IS SUBMITTED IN THAT CAPACITY. WHOSE PERMANENT DUTY STATION IS AT KANSAS CITY. WAS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN HANNIBAL. HE WAS INFORMED THAT THE TRAIN. - WAS 30 MINUTES LATE. LOUIS WAS BY BUS AT 2:30 A.M. OR OTHER SUCH CONVEYANCE WILL BE ALLOWED IF THE USE OF SUCH FACILITIES IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT WHENEVER THE EMPLOYEE OR OTHERS RENDERING SERVICE TO THE GOVERNMENT IS ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN OR OUTSIDE HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY.'. THE FACT THAT THE RECLAIM VOUCHER IS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR PAYMENT SUPPORTS THE CLAIMANT'S CONTENTION THAT HIS PRESENCE IN ST.

B-123123, JUN. 3, 1955

TO MR. RALPH D. JOHNSON, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION AND WELFARE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 27, 1955, ENCLOSING A RECLAIM VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF OBER D. NOSSAMAN, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF OLD-AGE AND SURVIVORS INSURANCE, FOR $28.50, REPRESENTING AN AMOUNT WITHHELD FROM PAYMENT FOR TAXICAB HIRE FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL FROM HANNIBAL TO ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, ON OCTOBER 12, 1954. YOU REQUEST TO BE ADVISED WHETHER THE VOUCHER PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

ALTHOUGH YOUR LETTER IS NOT SIGNED IN THE CAPACITY OF AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU OFFICIATE AS SUCH; THEREFORE, WE PRESUME THAT YOUR PRESENT REQUEST FOR A DECISION IS SUBMITTED IN THAT CAPACITY.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT THE CLAIMANT, WHOSE PERMANENT DUTY STATION IS AT KANSAS CITY, WAS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN HANNIBAL, MISSOURI, WHEN HE PURCHASED A RAILWAY TICKET FOR ST. LOUIS. HE SAYS IN HIS SIGNED STATEMENT THAT UPON PROCURING HIS TICKET AT ABOUT 6:30 P.M., OCTOBER 12, HE WAS INFORMED THAT THE TRAIN--- DUE TO ARRIVE AT HANNIBAL AT 6:42 P.M.--- WAS 30 MINUTES LATE. ON THE BASIS OF THE REPORTED DELAY IN ARRIVAL THE CLAIMANT LEFT THE STATION FOR SUBSISTENCE. UPON RETURNING THERETO APPROXIMATELY A HALF AN HOUR LATER HE DISCOVERED THAT THE TRAIN HAD DEPARTED FOR ST. LOUIS ABOUT 5 MINUTES BEFORE. THE STATEMENT CONTINUES AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * THE NEXT TRANSPORTATION TO ST. LOUIS WAS BY BUS AT 2:30 A.M. ARRIVING IN ST. LOUIS ABOUT 7:00 A.M. THAT I COULD NOT TAKE AND WORK THE NEXT DAY AND PRIOR COMMITMENTS IN THE CLAYTON, MISSOURI, OFFICE AND WITH APPLICANTS FOR CIVIL SERVICE JOBS DEMANDED THAT I BE IN ST. LOUIS THE NEXT MORNING, OCTOBER 13, 1954, SO I RENTED A TAXI FOR THE TRIP TO ST. LOUIS AT A COST OF $28.50. (SEE RECEIPT ATTACHED.)"

PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS READS, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"SPECIAL CONVEYANCE.--- THE HIRE OF BOAT, AUTOMOBILE, TAXICAB, AIRCRAFT, LIVERY, OR OTHER SUCH CONVEYANCE WILL BE ALLOWED IF THE USE OF SUCH FACILITIES IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT WHENEVER THE EMPLOYEE OR OTHERS RENDERING SERVICE TO THE GOVERNMENT IS ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN OR OUTSIDE HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY.'

THE FACT THAT THE RECLAIM VOUCHER IS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR PAYMENT SUPPORTS THE CLAIMANT'S CONTENTION THAT HIS PRESENCE IN ST. LOUIS ON THE MORNING OF OCTOBER 13, 1954, WAS NECESSARY FOR OFFICIAL REASONS. WE ASSUME THAT THE APPROVING OFFICIAL INTENDED THE APPROVAL TO CONSTITUTE THE REQUIRED DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND THAT THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE SUCH A DETERMINATION HAS BEEN DELEGATED TO HIM. WHILE THERE IS SOME QUESTION AS TO THE TRAVELER HAVING ACTED IN A PRUDENT MANNER, WE RECOGNIZE THAT HE HAD A BASIS FOR ASSUMING THAT THE TRAIN WOULD NOT REACH HANNIBAL PRIOR TO THE TIME OF HIS RETURN. MOREOVER, THE RULE IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHILE IN A BONA FIDE TRAVEL STATUS IS ENTITLED TO REASONABLE HOURS OF REST AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ARE NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS REQUIRING THE PERFORMANCE OF TRAVEL DURING UNREASONABLE HOURS IF SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE.