B-125175, SEP. 15, 1955

B-125175: Sep 15, 1955

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HOUSING AND HOME FINANCE AGENCY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 11. THE MILEAGE BETWEEN THE TRANSFER POINTS WAS STATED IN THE TRAVEL ORDER TO BE 2. YOU SAY THAT THIS MEMORANDUM WAS ISSUED WITH THE FULL KNOWLEDGE THAT SOME. WOULD TAKE THE LONGER ROUTE AND THAT ALL EMPLOYEES WERE INFORMED OF THE LIMITATIONS PLACED ON THEIR TRAVEL. THAT IT WAS IMPRACTICABLE AND UNCONSCIONABLE TO EXPECT AN EMPLOYEE TO TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE OVER THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER. FURTHER SAYS THAT THE AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION SPECIFICALLY DISCOURAGED HIM FROM SUCH ROUTE RECOMMENDING INSTEAD THE SOUTHERN ROUTE WHICH WAS LONGER. HE POINTS OUT THAT THE ADDITIONAL PER DIEM WAS CLAIMED BECAUSE OF THE LONGER ROUTE PLUS THE FACT THAT FOR THE TWO WEEKS PRECEDING THE TRAVEL HE HAD BEEN ILL AND REQUIRED MORE REST THEREBY COVERING LESS MILES PER DAY.

B-125175, SEP. 15, 1955

TO MR. E. J. DWYER, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, HOUSING AND HOME FINANCE AGENCY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 11, 1955, SUBMITTING FOR OUR DECISION THE RECLAIM VOUCHER OF MR. HARRY S. YAFFEE FOR PER DIEM AND MILEAGE ADMINISTRATIVELY DISALLOWED FROM HIS CLAIM FOR AUTHORIZED EXPENSES INCIDENT TO AN OFFICIAL CHANGE OF STATION FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.

THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE VIA THE SOUTHERN ROUTE. HE CLAIMS MILEAGE FOR 3,515 MILES AND PER DIEM FOR 11 DAYS' TRAVEL TIME. THE TRAVEL ORDER INVOLVED SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR A PER DIEM RATE OF $9 PER DAY FOR 8 DAYS ONLY. FURTHER, THE TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED THE USE OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE OF THE EMPLOYEE ON A MILEAGE BASIS AT A RATE OF 7 CENTS PER MILE, FOR THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS DEPENDENTS, AS BEING NECESSARY AND MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE USE OF COMMON CARRIER. THE MILEAGE BETWEEN THE TRANSFER POINTS WAS STATED IN THE TRAVEL ORDER TO BE 2,890 MILES, AS TAKEN FROM THE RAND MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE.

THE MEMORANDUM DATED DECEMBER 10, 1954, ISSUED BY THE EXECUTIVE OFFICER TO THE STAFF BEING TRANSFERRED TO REGIONAL OFFICES SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED THAT AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING BY AUTOMOBILE WITH FAMILY TO SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, WOULD BE ALLOWED 8 DAYS' PER DIEM AND A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE OF 2,890 MILES. YOU SAY THAT THIS MEMORANDUM WAS ISSUED WITH THE FULL KNOWLEDGE THAT SOME, FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE, WOULD TAKE THE LONGER ROUTE AND THAT ALL EMPLOYEES WERE INFORMED OF THE LIMITATIONS PLACED ON THEIR TRAVEL.

THE EMPLOYEE CONTENDS, ON HIS RECLAIM VOUCHER, THAT IT WAS IMPRACTICABLE AND UNCONSCIONABLE TO EXPECT AN EMPLOYEE TO TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE OVER THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE IN THE MIDDLE OF WINTER, SUBJECTING THE TRAVELER TO MOUNTAINS AND PLAINS IN FREEZING, STORMY WEATHER AT GREAT RISK. FURTHER SAYS THAT THE AMERICAN AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION SPECIFICALLY DISCOURAGED HIM FROM SUCH ROUTE RECOMMENDING INSTEAD THE SOUTHERN ROUTE WHICH WAS LONGER. HE POINTS OUT THAT THE ADDITIONAL PER DIEM WAS CLAIMED BECAUSE OF THE LONGER ROUTE PLUS THE FACT THAT FOR THE TWO WEEKS PRECEDING THE TRAVEL HE HAD BEEN ILL AND REQUIRED MORE REST THEREBY COVERING LESS MILES PER DAY.

THE AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL OF THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES UPON A MILEAGE BASIS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 12A OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND THE AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL OF PER DIEM UNDER SECTION 45 OF THE SAME REGULATIONS ARE MATTERS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATIONS IN THE FIRST INSTANCE.

THE MEMORANDUM OF DECEMBER 10, 1954, REPRESENTS A LAWFUL ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT 8 DAYS' PER DIEM AND 2,890 MILES WOULD BE ALLOWED TO ALL EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED TO AND DRIVING BY AUTOMOBILE TO SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA. SINCE THE RESTRICTIONS, AS WELL AS THE CONTENTIONS ADVANCED BY THE EMPLOYEE, WERE KNOWN TO HIM PRIOR TO THE TRAVEL WITHOUT ANY ACTION BEING TAKEN ON HIS PART TO CHALLENGE SUCH DETERMINATIONS, OUR OFFICE, UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES, MUST BE GOVERNED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE LIMITATIONS ON PER DIEM AND MILEAGE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE RECLAIM VOUCHER MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. THE VOUCHER, TOGETHER WITH THE RELATED PAPERS, IS RETURNED.