B-125306, FEB. 9, 1956

B-125306: Feb 9, 1956

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GOVERNOR OF THE CANAL ZONE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 23. THE SAID GENERAL REGULATIONS ARE DIRECTLY APPLICABLE TO THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT. EXCEPTIONS THERETO ARE SUBJECT TO OUR WRITTEN APPROVAL. THAT THE COMPANY AND THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONAL SET-UP IS SUCH AS TO RENDER UNWORKABLE THE ADOPTION OF SEPARATE PROCEDURES AND REGULATIONS RELATING TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION. THE DEVIATIONS UPON WHICH OUR APPROVAL IS REQUESTED ARE OUTLINED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS: "A PARAGRAPH 15 OF GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 123 REQUIRES THE USE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR ALL OFFICIAL TRAVEL COSTING IN EXCESS OF $10. CORRESPONDING VARIATION IS CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE PROPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE PAYMENT OF EXCESS COSTS RESULTING FROM STOPOVERS OF EMPLOYEES ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL.

B-125306, FEB. 9, 1956

TO BRIGADIER GENERAL J. S. SEYBOLD, GOVERNOR OF THE CANAL ZONE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 23, 1955, AS SUPPLEMENTED BY YOUR MEMORANDUM ADDRESSED TO THE SECRETARY, PANAMA CANAL COMPANY, DATED OCTOBER 14, FORWARDING A DRAFT OF PROPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS COVERING "PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICE FOR ACCOUNT OF THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY AND THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT," AND REQUESTING APPROVAL OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS CONTAINED THEREIN WHICH DEVIATE FROM THE PROCEDURES PRESCRIBED IN OUR GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 123, DATED MAY 1, 1955, RELATIVE TO THE PROCUREMENT OF PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES BY THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT.

AS YOU POINT OUT, THE SAID GENERAL REGULATIONS ARE DIRECTLY APPLICABLE TO THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT; EXCEPTIONS THERETO ARE SUBJECT TO OUR WRITTEN APPROVAL; AND GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS, SUCH AS THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY, WHILE EXEMPTED THEREFROM MAY ADOPT ALL OR ANY PART OF THE PRESCRIBED PROCEDURES AND FORMS. YOU EXPLAIN, WITH REFERENCE THERETO, THAT THE COMPANY AND THE CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONAL SET-UP IS SUCH AS TO RENDER UNWORKABLE THE ADOPTION OF SEPARATE PROCEDURES AND REGULATIONS RELATING TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION.

THE DEVIATIONS UPON WHICH OUR APPROVAL IS REQUESTED ARE OUTLINED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

"A PARAGRAPH 15 OF GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 123 REQUIRES THE USE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR ALL OFFICIAL TRAVEL COSTING IN EXCESS OF $10. PARAGRAPH 9 OF THE PROPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS PROVIDES, FOR THE REASONS STATED, THAT IN CERTAIN INSTANCES TRAVEL MAY BE PERFORMED ON A REIMBURSABLE CASH BASIS WITH NO SPECIFIC LIMITATION AS TO AMOUNT. CORRESPONDING VARIATION IS CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE PROPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE PAYMENT OF EXCESS COSTS RESULTING FROM STOPOVERS OF EMPLOYEES ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL.

"B PARAGRAPH 21 OF GENERAL REGULATIONS 123 PROVIDES THAT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS MAY BE ISSUED ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF THE TRAVELER'S AUTHORIZED TRAVEL COSTS AND THAT ANY EXCESS MUST BE PAID IN CASH BY THE TRAVELER TO THE CARRIER. UNDER PARAGRAPH 12 OF THE PROPOSED COMPANY/GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE ISSUED TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR TRAVEL OVER AN INDIRECT ROUTE PROVIDED PAYMENT OF ANY EXCESS COSTS IS MADE TO THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY/CANAL ZONE GOVERNMENT AT THE TIME OF MAKING APPLICATION FOR THE TRAVEL.

"C OTHER DEVIATIONS, BRIEFLY SUMMARIZED BELOW, ARE FOR THE PURPOSE OF MAINTAINING THE EXISTING SYSTEM WHEREBY BILLINGS, REFUNDS FROM AND CLAIMS BY CARRIERS, ETC., RELATING TO TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS, ARE HANDLED BY THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY RATHER THAN THROUGH THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE AS CONTEMPLATED BY GENERAL REGULATION NO. 123.

"/1) PARAGRAPH 24 OF THE PROPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT BILLINGS WHICH ARE SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE IN LIEU OF LOST UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, STANDARD FORM NO. 1172, MAY BE MADE DIRECT TO THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY (CLAIMS BRANCH); ALSO ORIGINAL TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WHICH HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED AS LOST BUT ARE SUBSEQUENTLY LOCATED BY CARRIERS, WILL BE FORWARDED TO THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY (CF. PARAGRAPH 62 AND 63 OF GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 123).

"/2) PARAGRAPH 31 OF THE PROPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS, RELATING TO RECEIPT OF REFUNDS FOR UNUSED TRANSPORTATION AND RETURN OF ORIGINAL STANDARD FORM NO. 1170, DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR THE DISPATCHING OF SUCH ORIGINAL STANDARD FORM NO. 1170, TO THE TRANSPORTATION DIVISION, U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, BUT INSTEAD PROVIDES FOR FILING IN THE CLAIMS BRANCH OF THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY (CF. PARAGRAPH 54 OF GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 123).

"/3) PARAGRAPH 32 OF THE PROPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT IN CASES WHERE A CARRIER FAILS TO REFUND OR SATISFACTORILY FURNISH REASONS SHOWING NO REFUND TO BE DUE WITHIN NINETY (90) DAYS FROM THE TIME APPLICATION IS MADE OR REFUSES TO ADJUST FOR UNUSED TRANSPORTATION, THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY (CLAIMS BRANCH) WILL TAKE ACTION TO EFFECT COLLECTION (CF. PARAGRAPH 55 OF GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 123).

"/4) PARAGRAPH 36 OF THE PROPOSED ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT CARRIERS' CLAIMS (SUPPLEMENTAL BILLS) WILL BE PRESENTED TO THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY (CLAIMS BRANCH) FOR THE AMOUNT DEEMED DUE (CF. PARAGRAPH 80 OF GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 123).'

THE REASONS STATED IN PARAGRAPH 9 OF THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS AS WARRANTING CASH PAYMENTS FOR AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION COSTING IN EXCESS OF $10 ARE THAT MANY DIFFICULT PROBLEMS ARISE IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL TO AND FROM THE CANAL ZONE AND THE UNITED STATES AND THAT MANY CIRCUMSTANCES REQUIRE A CHANGE IN THE ITINERARY OF THE TRAVEL AFTER IT HAS BEGUN.

THE $10 LIMITATION ON THE PURCHASE OF TRANSPORTATION BY CASH WAS ESTABLISHED ON THE BASIS OF A COMPREHENSIVE STUDY OF THE UTILIZATION OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS. THE TRANSPORTATION PROBLEMS WHICH YOU SUGGEST JUSTIFY AN EXCEPTION TO SUCH LIMITATION ARE TYPICAL OF THOSE CONFRONTING A NUMBER OF GOVERNMENT AGENCIES, AND THERE IS NO RECORD HERE OF ANY DIFFICULTY BY THOSE AGENCIES IN ADHERING TO THE LIMITATION. SUCH PROBLEMS, WE BELIEVE, CAN BE GREATLY ALLEVIATED BY PROVIDING THE TRAVELER WITH ADDITIONAL TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS, AS APPARENTLY CONTEMPLATED BY PARAGRAPH 20 OF THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, OUR VIEW IS THAT THE LIMITATION SHOULD REMAIN UNCHANGED, AT LEAST, PENDING EXPERIENCE OF OPERATING THEREUNDER. ACCORDINGLY, THE PROPOSED DEVIATION FROM PARAGRAPH 15, GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 123, IS NOT APPROVED.

AS A MATTER OF INFORMATION IT MAY BE STATED THAT CASH PAYMENTS FOR TRANSPORTATION COSTING IN EXCESS OF $10 WOULD NOT BE QUESTIONED FOR THAT REASON ALONE IN OUR AUDIT, IN THE EVENT THE DETERMINATION AS TO THE NECESSITY FOR SUCH PAYMENT IS MADE BECAUSE OF UNUSUAL CONDITIONS NOT INVOLVING THE PERSONAL PREFERENCE OF THE INDIVIDUAL TRAVELER. SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 484; 24 ID. 696; 34 ID. 639.

PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS IS DESIGNED TO PERMIT THE USE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR STOPOVERS, INCLUDING THOSE FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE TRAVELER, WHICH STOPOVERS WOULD INVOLVE ADDITIONAL COSTS. ANY ADDITIONAL TRAVEL COSTS RESULTING FROM STOPOVERS FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE TRAVELER WOULD BE DEDUCTED FROM THE TRAVEL ALLOWANCES PAYABLE TO THE TRAVELER UPON THE COMPLETION OF THE TRAVEL, OR COLLECTED FROM THE EMPLOYEE UPON RECEIPT OF THE CARRIER'S BILL FOR SUCH SERVICE. PARAGRAPH 12 THEREOF AS AMPLIFIED BY THE CITED MEMORANDUM OF OCTOBER 14, PROPOSES THE USE OF T/RS FOR TRAVEL OVER AN INDIRECT ROUTE OR TO AN UNAUTHORIZED DESTINATION, WHICH RESULT IN COSTS IN EXCESS OF THOSE AUTHORIZED IN AN EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDERS. THE EMPLOYEE WOULD PAY SUCH EXCESS TRAVEL COSTS TO THE COMPANY/GOVERNMENT AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL IS APPLIED FOR. THE MEMORANDUM POINTS OUT THAT THE EXCESS COST OF TRAVEL UNDER PARAGRAPH 12 OF THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS PERTAINS PRINCIPALLY TO HOME LEAVE TRAVEL PROVIDED FOR BY SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 808, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 31, 1954, 68 STAT. 1008, ALTHOUGH IT IS INDICATED THAT, IN SOME INSTANCES, THERE WOULD BE INVOLVED INDIRECT TRAVEL BY EMPLOYEES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

BRIEFLY SUMMARIZED, THE TWO PARAGRAPHS WOULD PROVIDE FOR THE ISSUANCE OF T/RS TO PROCURE UNAUTHORIZED STOPOVERS, TRAVEL VIA AN INDIRECT ROUTE, AND TRAVEL TO AN UNAUTHORIZED DESTINATION, ALL FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF EMPLOYEES AND AT A HIGHER COST THAN THAT AUTHORIZED IN TRAVEL ORDERS. THE CIRCUMSTANCES URGED IN JUSTIFICATION OF SUCH IRREGULAR USE OF T/RS ARE THE DIVERSE CONDITIONS ENCOUNTERED IN CONNECTION WITH HOME LEAVE TRAVEL OF COMPANY/GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, SUCH AS THE VARIOUS MODES AND ROUTES OF TRAVEL BETWEEN THE CANAL ZONE AND THE UNITED STATES AND WITHIN THE UNITED STATES, INDIRECT TRAVEL, AND CHANGES IN ITINERARY DURING TRAVEL.

IT HAS LONG BEEN THE RULE THAT IT IS NOT PERMISSIBLE TO MAKE USE OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR PURCHASE OF TICKETS FOR PERSONAL USE. SEE 33 COMP. GEN. 434. SECTIONS 15 AND 21 OF OUR REGULATIONS WERE ADVISEDLY FORMULATED TO PROHIBIT THE USE OF T/RS FOR UNAUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION SERVICES AT AN ADDITIONAL COST, AND WHETHER SUCH ADDITIONAL COSTS ARE COLLECTED FROM THE EMPLOYEE BEFORE OR AFTER THE SERVICES ARE FURNISHED BY THE CARRIER LENDS NO VALIDITY TO AN OTHERWISE IMPROPER USE THEREOF. ALSO SEE, IN THIS CONNECTION, PARAGRAPH 17B OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED, TRANSMITTAL MEMORANDUM NO. 5, DATED JULY 28, 1955.

THUS, TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS SHOULD BE USED ONLY FOR AUTHORIZED SERVICES, AND ANY ADDITIONAL SERVICE, SUCH AS INDIRECT ROUTE TRAVEL AND STOPOVERS, OR TRAVEL TO AN UNAUTHORIZED DESTINATION VIA THE AUTHORIZED DESTINATION, DESIRED BY THE TRAVELER FOR HIS PERSONAL CONVENIENCE SHOULD BE SECURED AT THE TIME THE REQUEST IS EXCHANGED FOR TICKETS BY A CASH PAYMENT TO THE CARRIER OF THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF THE AUTHORIZED SERVICE AND THE COST OF THE SERVICE DESIRED. SUCH PROCEDURE CONTRIBUTES TO THE PROPER USE AND ACCOUNTABILITY OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS, MAINTAINS THE INTEGRITY OF TRAVEL APPROPRIATION OBLIGATIONS, AND OBVIATES ADMINISTRATIVE COSTS OF RECORD KEEPING, ETC., ASSOCIATED WITH THE COLLECTION OF EXCESS TRAVEL COSTS FROM THE TRAVELER. FOR THESE REASONS WE ARE ENABLE TO APPROVE THE REQUESTED DEVIATIONS FROM SECTION 21 OF OUR GENERAL REGULATIONS.

IN THAT CONNECTION, WE FULLY RECOGNIZE THAT PRECLUDING THE USE OF T/RS FOR HOME LEAVE TRAVEL INVOLVING TRAVEL TO AN UNAUTHORIZED DESTINATION WILL WORK A HARDSHIP ON EMPLOYEES WHO ARE FINANCIALLY UNABLE TO BEAR THE COST THEREOF AND THEN CLAIM REIMBURSEMENT FOR AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION. THEREFORE, WE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO CASH TRAVEL ADVANCES IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 96 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS FOR THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL VIA THE DIRECT ROUTE TO THE AUTHORIZED DESTINATION IN THOSE CASES WHERE THE TRAVEL TO THE UNAUTHORIZED DESTINATION IS VIA A ROUTE OTHER THAN THE AUTHORIZED DESTINATION AND EXCEEDS THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRANSPORTATION TO THE AUTHORIZED DESTINATION. UPON COMPLETION OF THE TRAVEL NECESSARY ADJUSTMENTS BETWEEN THE TRAVELER AND THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAWS AND REGULATIONS AND SUBJECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 46 U.S.C. 1241.

CONCERNING PARAGRAPH 24 OF THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS YOU ARE ADVISED THAT SINCE AGENCY SYMBOLIZATION HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED IN NUMBERING TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS (PARAGRAPH 8 OF OUR GENERAL REGULATIONS), IT IS GENERALLY NOT POSSIBLE FOR A CARRIER TO ASSOCIATE A LOST T/R WITH THE PARTICULAR AGENCY FOR WHICH A SERVICE WAS FURNISHED. ACCORDINGLY, CLAIMS OF CARRIERS INVOLVING A ,CERTIFICATE IN LIEU OF LOST UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TRANSPORTATION REQUEST" MUST NECESSARILY BE PRESENTED TO THE TRANSPORTATION DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WHERE THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST ALLOCATION LIST IS MAINTAINED. FOR THIS SAME REASON, IT FOLLOWS THAT LOST TRANSPORATION REQUESTS SUBSEQUENTLY LOCATED LIKEWISE SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE.

THE PROPOSAL IN PARAGRAPH 31 TO RETAIN ORIGINAL STANDARD FORM NO. 1170, REDEMPTION OF UNUSED TICKETS, PRESCRIBED FOR USE IN PROCESSING REFUNDS FOR UNUSED TRANSPORTATION IN LIEU OF TRANSMITTING SAME TO THE TRANSPORTATION DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, AS PROVIDED BY PARAGRAPH 54 OF OUR GENERAL REGULATIONS, IS APPROVED. WE REQUEST, HOWEVER, THAT SUCH STANDARD FORM BE ASSOCIATED WITH THE VOUCHER COVERING PAYMENT TO THE CARRIER FOR THE RELATED TRANSPORTATION REQUEST.

REGARDING PARAGRAPH 32 OF THE PROPOSED REGULATION, NO COMPELLING REASON HAS BEEN ADVANCED FOR ADMINISTRATIVELY CONTINUING EFFORTS TO OBTAIN REFUND FROM CARRIERS FOR UNUSED TRANSPORTATION BEYOND THE 90 DAY PERIOD PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 55 OF OUR GENERAL REGULATIONS. IN VIEW OF THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE TO EFFECT COLLECTION OF AMOUNTS DUE THE UNITED STATES, THE FACILITIES AVAILABLE TO IT FOR DETERMINING THE AMOUNT OF TRANSPORTATION DUE THE UNITED STATES, AND THE ADVANTAGES OF UNIFORMITY IN DEALING WITH CARRIERS IN THIS MATTER, THE REQUESTED DEVIATION IS NOT APPROVED.

WITH RESPECT TO PARAGRAPH 36 OF THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS IT MAY BE STATED THAT THE INSTRUCTION IN PARAGRAPH 80 OF OUR GENERAL REGULATIONS RELATIVE TO THE PRESENTATION BY CARRIERS OF CLAIMS, INCLUDING SUPPLEMENTAL BILLS, FOR SERVICES FURNISHED THE GOVERNMENT DIRECTLY TO THE TRANSPORTATION DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IS ADVISORY ONLY, AND DOES NOT PRECLUDE THE SUBMISSION OF SUCH CLAIMS DIRECTLY TO THE PARTICULAR AGENCY INVOLVED IF THEY SO ELECT. HENCE, WHILE WE HAVE NO OBJECTION TO SUCH CLAIMS BEING PRESENTED BY CARRIERS TO THE CLAIMS BRANCH OF THE PANAMA CANAL COMPANY, WE DO NOT CONSIDER IT NECESSARY OR DESIRABLE TO ISSUE FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS TO CARRIERS IN THIS MATTER. WE SHARE YOUR VIEWS AS TO THE IMPRACTICABILITY OF THE COMPANY/GOVERNMENT OPERATING UNDER SEPARATE REGULATIONS RELATING TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION. TOO, WE RECOGNIZE THE TRANSPORATION PROBLEMS IN THE CANAL ZONE ARISING BY REASON OF HOME LEAVE TRAVEL AND COMPLICATED ITINERARIES. GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 123, HOWEVER, REPRESENTS THE BRINGING TOGETHER OF THE VIEWS OF REPRESENTATIVES OF VARIOUS GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AS WELL AS OF THE TRANSPORTATION INDUSTRY AS TO THE DETAILED CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS SHOULD BE USED. IT IS OUR VIEW THAT UNIFORM ADHERENCE TO THESE REGULATIONS WILL RESULT IN APPRECIABLE BENEFITS NOT ONLY TO THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS OF THE GOVERNMENT WHICH ARE SUBJECT THERETO BUT ALSO TO GOVERNMENT CORPORATIONS. YOUR COOPERATION IN THE ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS FOR THE COMPANY/GOVERNMENT IN CONFORMITY THEREWITH WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.