B-126580, APR. 9, 1956

B-126580: Apr 9, 1956

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IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE ORDERS CONTEMPLATED TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT AIR OR SURFACE TRANSPORTATION TO A PORT OF DEBARKATION IN THE UNITED STATES. IT IS ALSO SHOWN THAT YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENT RETURNED TO BALBOA AT PERSONAL EXPENSE ON THE SAME FOREIGN VESSEL ON OCTOBER 10. YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 2. FOR THE REASON THAT THE TRAVEL IS SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN MADE BY A COMMERCIAL VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY. WHICH READS: "ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO OR FROM ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG: PROVIDED.

B-126580, APR. 9, 1956

TO MR. INGVAR BOKN:

YOUR RECENT LETTER REQUESTS REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED MAY 2, 1952, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES ALLEGED TO BE DUE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENT (WIFE) BETWEEN AUGUST 11 AND OCTOBER 10, 1951, FROM BALBOA, CANAL ZONE, TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, AND RETURN, WHILE EMPLOYED AS CONSTRUCTION SUPERINTENDENT, DISTRICT PUBLIC WORKS, HEADQUARTERS FIFTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT, DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT AT OR ABOUT THE TIME YOU COMPLETED YOUR EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY, THE OFFICE OF COMMANDANT, FIFTEENTH NAVAL DISTRICT, BALBOA, CANAL ZONE, ISSUED ORDERS DATED JULY 27, 1951, DIRECTING YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENT TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE ORDERS CONTEMPLATED TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT AIR OR SURFACE TRANSPORTATION TO A PORT OF DEBARKATION IN THE UNITED STATES, THENCE BY RAIL TO FINAL DESTINATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENT TRAVELED FROM BALBOA, CANAL ZONE, TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, BETWEEN AUGUST 11 AND 19, 1951, ON THE NORWEGIAN VESSEL BONNEVILLE FOR WHICH YOU EXPENDED $345 FROM PERSONAL FUNDS. IT IS ALSO SHOWN THAT YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENT RETURNED TO BALBOA AT PERSONAL EXPENSE ON THE SAME FOREIGN VESSEL ON OCTOBER 10, 1951, AFTER HAVING EXECUTED A RENEWAL AGREEMENT (SEPTEMBER 6, 1951) FOR 18 MONTHS OF ADDITIONAL DUTY IN THE CANAL ZONE. YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF SUCH TRANSPORTATION WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 2, 1952, FOR THE REASON THAT THE TRAVEL IS SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN MADE BY A COMMERCIAL VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY, RATHER THAN BY GOVERNMENT-OWNED MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION AS DIRECTED, OR BY A VESSEL REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES AS CONTEMPLATED BY SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 49 STAT. 2015, 46 U.S.C. 1241, WHICH READS:

"ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO OR FROM ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG: PROVIDED, THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OT THE NECESSITY REFOR.'

THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 901 ARE MANDATORY AND, THEREFORE, BINDING UPON THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF THAT PASSAGE WAS NOT AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN THE PANAMA CANAL AND THE UNITED STATES ON EITHER A GOVERNMENT-OPERATED FACILITY AS CONTEMPLATED BY YOUR TRAVEL ORDERS, OR ON A VESSEL OF AMERICAN REGISTRY. ECONOMY ALONE CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN HELD TO BE AN INSUFFICIENT REASON FOR NONCOMPLIANCE WITH THE DECLARED POLICY OF THE CONGRESS.

ACCORDINGLY, UPON THE BASIS OF THE PRESENT RECORD, THE SETTLEMENT OF MAY 2, 1952, IS FOUND TO BE CORRECT AND MUST BE SUSTAINED.