B-127073, JUNE 5, 1956, 35 COMP. GEN. 677

B-127073: Jun 5, 1956

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WHICH ARE AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 2 (M) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1. MAY ALSO BE PAID FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA OF THE CITY IN WHICH THE STATION IS LOCATED. MEMBERS WHO ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 303 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 MAY NOT BE PAID FOR TRANSPORTATION UNDER THE 1954 ACT. 1956: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF FEBRUARY 17. AS AMENDED) MAY BE DIRECTED BY APPROPRIATE REGULATION OF THE HEAD OF THE EXECUTIVE AGENCY IN WHICH THEY ARE SERVING TO SECURE TRANSPORTATION NECESSARY IN CONDUCTING OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS. SHALL BE DEFRAYED BY THE AGENCY IN WHICH THEY ARE SERVING. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY POINTS OUT THAT PRIOR TO ENACTMENT OF THESE PROVISIONS MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES (OTHER THAN THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AND THE COAST GUARD) WERE NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID TRAVEL ALLOWANCES OR TO RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR PERMANENT DUTY STATION.

B-127073, JUNE 5, 1956, 35 COMP. GEN. 677

TRAVELING EXPENSES - MILITARY PERSONNEL - HEADQUARTERS - LOCAL TRAVEL WITHIN DUTY STATION - METROPOLITAN AREA LOCAL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, WHICH ARE AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 2 (M) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954 (40 U.S.C. 491 (M) (, FOR MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES IN THE CONDUCT OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS, MAY ALSO BE PAID FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED IN THE METROPOLITAN AREA OF THE CITY IN WHICH THE STATION IS LOCATED, OR IN A COMPARABLE AREA SURROUNDING THE POST OF DUTY; HOWEVER, MEMBERS WHO ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 303 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 MAY NOT BE PAID FOR TRANSPORTATION UNDER THE 1954 ACT.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, JUNE 5, 1956:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF FEBRUARY 17, 1956, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, REQUESTING DECISION WHETHER WE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO CERTAIN REGULATIONS PROPOSED TO BE ISSUED BY THE SECRETARIES OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES FOR THE ADMINISTRATION AND IMPLEMENTATION OF SECTION 2 (M) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, 68 STAT. 129, 40 U.S.C. 491 (M), ( PUBLIC LAW 766, 83D CONG.), WHICH PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES (AS DEFINED IN THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED) MAY BE DIRECTED BY APPROPRIATE REGULATION OF THE HEAD OF THE EXECUTIVE AGENCY IN WHICH THEY ARE SERVING TO SECURE TRANSPORTATION NECESSARY IN CONDUCTING OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS. EXPENSES SO INCURRED BY SUCH MEMBERS FOR TRAIN, BUS, STREETCAR, TAXICAB, FERRY, BRIDGE, AND SIMILAR FARES AND TOLLS, OR FOR USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES AT A FIXED RATE PER MILE, SHALL BE DEFRAYED BY THE AGENCY IN WHICH THEY ARE SERVING, OR THE PERSONNEL SO DIRECTED SHALL BE REIMBURSED FOR SUCH EXPENSES. ( ITALICS ADDED.)

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY POINTS OUT THAT PRIOR TO ENACTMENT OF THESE PROVISIONS MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES (OTHER THAN THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AND THE COAST GUARD) WERE NOT AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID TRAVEL ALLOWANCES OR TO RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR PERMANENT DUTY STATION. IT IS FURTHER POINTED OUT, HOWEVER, THAT SECTION 2 (M), TOGETHER WITH THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF SECTION 303 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 813, 37 U.S.C. 253, WOULD APPEAR TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES OR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED "FOR ALL TRAVEL NECESSARILY PERFORMED ON PUBLIC BUSINESS BY MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES, WHETHER AWAY FROM, OR IN AND AROUND, THEIR PERMANENT DUTY STATION.' THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY STATES THAT FROM A PRACTICAL STANDPOINT CONSIDERABLE DOUBT HAS ARISEN AS TO WHICH PROVISION OF LAW PROPERLY IS FOR APPLICATION "WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED AWAY FROM, BUT WITHIN A REASONABLE DISTANCE OF, THE ACTUAL CONFINES OR CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE MEMBER'S DUTY STATION.'

IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT IN ORDER TO PROPERLY DELINEATE BETWEEN THE TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED UNDER SECTION 303 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 AND THE REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED, OR TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID, UNDER SECTION 2 (M) OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, THE SECRETARIES OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES PRESENTLY HAVE UNDER CONSIDERATION A PROPOSED CHANGE IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH "WOULD ONLY AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES UNDER THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT FOR TRAVEL TO POINTS FURTHER THAN A FIXED DISTANCE FROM A MEMBER'S DUTY STATION (FOR EXAMPLE, 25 OR 50 MILES), UNLESS THE PERIOD OF ABSENCE OF THE MEMBER FROM HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION IS MORE THAN TEN HOURS" AND THAT " IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE AUTHORITY OF PUBLIC LAW 766 WOULD PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT OF TRANSPORTATION COSTS FOR ALL TRAVEL PERFORMED ON PUBLIC BUSINESS WITHIN THE MINIMUM LIMIT FOR WHICH TRAVEL ALLOWANCES WOULD BE PAYABLE UNDER SECTION 303 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT.'

THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO AUTHORITY OF SECTION 303 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, PROVIDE THAT MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ARE ENTITLED TO "TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES * * * ONLY WHILE ACTUALLY IN A "TRAVEL STATUS" AND THAT MEMBERS SHALL BE DEEMED TO BE IN A "TRAVEL STATUS" WHILE PERFORMING TRAVEL "AWAY FROM THEIR PERMANENT DUTY STATION, UPON PUBLIC BUSINESS, PURSUANT TO COMPETENT TRAVEL ORDERS, INCLUDING NECESSARY DELAYS EN ROUTE INCIDENT TO MODE OF TRAVEL AND PERIODS OF NECESSARY TEMPORARY OR TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY.' (PARAGRAPH 3050-1, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.) THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH A TRAVEL STATUS EXISTS ARE OUTLINED IN PARAGRAPH 3050-2 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND, INSOFAR AS IT SEEMS PERTINENT HERE, PARAGRAPH 3050-3 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT A TRAVEL STATUS "WILL TERMINATE WITH RETURN TO THE PERMANENT DUTY STATION.'

IN PARAGRAPH 1150-10A OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, THE TERM "PERMANENT DUTY STATION" IS DEFINED, GENERALLY, AS "THE POST OF DUTY OR OFFICIAL STATION * * * TO WHICH A MEMBER IS ASSIGNED OR ATTACHED FOR DUTY OTHER THAN "TEMPORARY DUTY" OR "TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY," THE LIMITS OF WHICH WILL BE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OR TOWN IN WHICH THE MEMBER IS STATIONED, BUT IF NOT STATIONED IN AN INCORPORATED CITY OR TOWN, THE OFFICIAL STATION IS THE RESERVATION, STATION, OR ESTABLISHED AREA, OR, IN THE CASE OF LARGE RESERVATIONS, THE ESTABLISHED SUBDIVISION THEREOF HAVING DEFINITE BOUNDARIES WITHIN WHICH THE DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY IS LOCATED.' ( ITALICS ADDED.)

PARAGRAPH 6450 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT EXPENSES INCURRED AT DUTY STATION INCIDENT TO TRAVEL TO AND FROM HOME AND PLACE OF DUTY OR "TO SHORT TRIPS WITHIN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE DUTY STATION" ARE NOT PAYABLE. HOWEVER, THIS PARAGRAPH FURTHER AND EXPRESSLY PROVIDES THAT ITS PROVISIONS ARE NOT "APPLICABLE TO THE FURNISHING OF TRANSPORTATION OR REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR UNDER THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954 (68 STAT. 1126).' HENCE, UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 6450, A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHO IS DIRECTED TO PROCEED AND WHO DOES PROCEED ON OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS TO A POINT OR POINTS BEYOND THE ACTUAL LIMITS OF HIS DUTY STATION (AS SUCH LIMITS ARE DEFINED IN PAR. 1150 -10A) IS NOT IN A "TRAVEL STATUS" FOR PURPOSES OF THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 303 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, IF SUCH POINT OR POINTS REASONABLY MAY BE REGARDED AS LYING "WITHIN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE DUTY STATION.' THE PROPRIETY AND SOUNDNESS OF THIS BASIC RULE WERE RECOGNIZED BY THE DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE IN HIS LETTER OF JANUARY 16, 1953, TO COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN RESPECTING A CLAIM FOR PER DIEM SUBMITTED BY A NAVAL OFFICER ON TEMPORARY DUTY IN WASHINGTON, D.C., WHILE SUCH OFFICER WAS ASSIGNED TO PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT THE PENTAGON. HE SAID:

I HAVE BEEN ASSURED THAT IT WAS NEVER INTENDED THAT PER DIEM BE PAID UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE BARRY CASE. THE PER DIEM TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE--- COMPOSED OF AN ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF EACH OF THE THREE MILITARY SERVICES--- IS CHARGED WITH THE ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES. THAT COMMITTEE IS WELL AWARE OF THE RULE ENUNCIATED IN A NUMBER OF DECISIONS OF YOUR OFFICE THAT PER DIEM IS NOT PAYABLE INCIDENT TO SHORT TRIPS IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF A MEMBER'S DUTY STATION, AND SUCH RULE IS EXPRESSLY INCORPORATED IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS UNDER PARAGRAPH 5460, PART J. IT IS BELIEVED, THEREFORE, THAT THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ARE REASONABLY CLEAR IN THIS PARTICULAR RESPECT.

THE ADDED PROVISION IN PARAGRAPH 6450 THAT THIS RULE GOVERNING SHORT TRIPS WITHIN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY OF THE MEMBER'S DUTY STATION DOES NOT BAR THE FURNISHING OF TRANSPORTATION OR REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, APPARENTLY IS IN ACCORD WITH THE LEGISLATIVE INTENT OF SECTION 2 (M) OF THAT ACT. SINCE SECTION 2 (M) CONCERNS LOCAL TRANSPORTATION AND WAS ENACTED INDEPENDENTLY OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, UNDER WHICH THE LIMITS OF PERMANENT STATIONS ARE FIXED BY THE SECRETARIES, IT REASONABLY MAY BE CONCLUDED THAT THE TERM "DUTY STATIONS" AS USED IN THE PHRASE "WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THEIR DUTY STATIONS" APPEARING IN THAT SECTION WAS INTENDED TO INCLUDE THE GENERAL AREA SURROUNDING THE OFFICIAL DUTY STATION ORDINARILY SERVED BY LOCAL CARRIERS. SUCH A CONCLUSION FINDS SUPPORT IN SENATE REPORT NO. 1941, 83D CONGRESS, 2D SESSION, ON H.R. 8753, WHICH BECAME PUBLIC LAW 766. ON PAGE 9 OF THAT REPORT THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS STATES " THUS AN OFFICER OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE WHOSE DUTY STATION IS IN WASHINGTON WOULD CONTINUE TO BE ENTITLED IN AN APPROPRIATE CASE TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN GOING TO THE NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH IN BETHESDA, MD.' THE QUOTED STATEMENT WAS MADE IN CONNECTION WITH THE ENACTMENT OF SECTION 5, PUBLIC LAW 766, OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, 68 STAT. 1130, 42 U.S.C. 214A, WHICH REPEALED SIMILAR PRIOR STATUTORY PROVISIONS FOR COAST GUARD PERSONNEL AND FOR COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE. HENCE, WE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO OTHERWISE PROPER PAYMENTS MADE UNDER REGULATIONS DRAWN ON THAT BASIS.

IT WOULD APPEAR, HOWEVER, THAT YOUR PROPOSED CHANGE IN THE REGULATIONS NOT ONLY WOULD, WITHOUT REGARD TO LOCAL SITUATIONS, FIX RIGID BOUNDARIES ON A RADIUS UP TO 50 MILES FOR THE AREA SURROUNDING A DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY WITHIN WHICH TRANSPORTATION WOULD BE FURNISHED OR TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES PAID UNDER THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, BUT ALSO WOULD GIVE RISE TO CASES IN WHICH MEMBERS PERFORMING DUTY AT THE SAME POINT IN THE VICINITY OF THEIR USUAL POST OF DUTY MIGHT BE PAID ALLOWANCES AT DIFFERENT RATES. IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE AREA TO BE INCLUDED UNDER A CONCEPT OF A DUTY STATION AS INCLUDING BOTH THE DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY AND ITS ENVIRONS ORDINARILY SHOULD BE LIMITED TO THE METROPOLITAN AREA OF THE CITY IN WHICH THE STATION IS LOCATED, OR TO A COMPARABLE AREA SURROUNDING THE POST OF DUTY IF NOT LOCATED WITHIN A RECOGNIZED METROPOLITAN AREA. THAT IS TO SAY, THE AREA WITHIN WHICH TRANSPORTATION MAY BE FURNISHED UNDER THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1954, SHOULD BE THE SAME AS THE AREA WITHIN WHICH REGULAR TRAVEL EXPENSES UNDER THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT ARE PRESCRIBED BY PARAGRAPH 6450 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.