B-127424, APR. 16, 1956

B-127424: Apr 16, 1956

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WHO WAS IN A TRAVEL STATUS MARCH 5 TO MARCH 7. THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXCEPTION WAS BASED UPON PARAGRAPH 48B OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THAT PARAGRAPH OF THE REGULATIONS READS: "THE TIME OF ARRIVAL AT AND DEPARTURE FROM A PLACE WILL BE CONSIDERED AS THE HOUR AT WHICH THE TRAIN. - "AS THE NATIONAL AIRPORT IS OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS. TO WHICH LIMOUSINE SERVICE WAS UTILIZED FROM THE NEWARK. IS LOCATED AT 42ND STREET AND 10TH AVENUE. WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH. WHICH IS 15 MILES AND 55 MINUTES FROM THE CITY BUS TERMINAL. WHICH IS EIGHT AND ONE-HALF MILES AND 40 MINUTES FROM THE BUS TERMINAL.'. SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO APPLY FORAND OBTAIN A DECISION BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON ANY QUESTION OF LAW INVOLVED IN A PAYMENT ON ANY VOUCHERS SUBMITTED TO THEM FOR CERTIFICATION.

B-127424, APR. 16, 1956

TO MR. C. E. COURTNEY, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, THE RENEGOTIATION BOARD:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 23, 1956, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE RECLAIM VOUCHER THEREWITH SUBMITTED FOR $3 IN FAVOR OF MR. CLARENCE C. BROWN, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NEW YORK REGIONAL RENEGOTIATION BOARD, WHO WAS IN A TRAVEL STATUS MARCH 5 TO MARCH 7, 1956, TO CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE, AND RETURN. THE SUM RECLAIMED REPRESENTS THE AMOUNT ADMINISTRATIVELY SUSPENDED ON HIS ORIGINAL TRAVEL VOUCHER REPRESENTING ONE-FOURTH PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR THE FOURTH QUARTER OF MARCH 7, 1956.

THE TRAVELER DEPARTED FROM CHATTANOOGA ON MARCH 7, 1956, AT 12:31 P.M. VIA THE CAPITOL AIRLINES, AND ARRIVED AT THE NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, AIRPORT AT 5:50 P.M. HE USED THE AIRPORT LIMOUSINE SERVICE AT THAT POINT FURNISHED BY THE CAREY TRANSPORTATION SERVICE BETWEEN THE AIRPORT AND WEST SIDE AIRLINES TERMINAL AND ARRIVED THERE AT 6:30 P.M. THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXCEPTION WAS BASED UPON PARAGRAPH 48B OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THAT PARAGRAPH OF THE REGULATIONS READS: "THE TIME OF ARRIVAL AT AND DEPARTURE FROM A PLACE WILL BE CONSIDERED AS THE HOUR AT WHICH THE TRAIN, BOAT, OR OTHER CONVEYANCE USED BY THE TRAVELER ACTUALLY LEAVES OR ARRIVES AT ITS REGULAR TERMINAL.'

THE EMPLOYEE HERE BASES HIS RECLAIM UPON THE HOLDING IN B-108073, DATED MARCH 3, 1952, 31 COMP. GEN. 442. THAT DECISION HELD---

"AS THE NATIONAL AIRPORT IS OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS, WASHINGTON, D.C., AND SINCE THE AIRPORT MAINTAINS FOR THOSE WHO REQUEST IT LIMOUSINE SERVICE TO AN ESTABLISHED POINT WITHIN THE CITY OF WASHINGTON, THE DISCHARGE POINT OF SUCH LIMOUSINE SERVICE WHEN UTILIZED MAY BE CONSIDERED AS THE "REGULAR TERMINAL" OF THE AIRPLANE SERVICE WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF PARAGRAPH 48 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, SUPRA (B-69613 OF OCTOBER 17, 1947, AND B-80558 OF FEBRUARY 24, 1949).'

WHILE NOT SO STATED BY YOU, WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE WEST SIDE AIRLINES TERMINAL, TO WHICH LIMOUSINE SERVICE WAS UTILIZED FROM THE NEWARK, NEW JERSEY, MUNICIPAL AIRPORT, IS LOCATED AT 42ND STREET AND 10TH AVENUE, NEW YORK CITY--- A DISTANCE OF 12 MILES, REQUIRING 40 MINUTES DRIVING TIME. IF THOSE BE THE FACTS WE WOULD VIEW THEM AS PARALLELING THOSE INVOLVED IN THE ABOVE REFERRED-TO DECISION. HENCE, UPON THAT BASIS, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.

IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER YOU ASK A GENERAL QUESTION (NOT INVOLVED IN THE VOUCHER BEFORE YOU FOR CERTIFICATION) AS FOLLOWS:

"MAY I ASK IF THE DECISION REQUESTED IN THIS CASE MAY ALSO BE CONSIDERED AS COVERING PER DIEM CLAIMS IN CONNECTION WITH AIR TRAVELERS ARRIVING AT THE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT AT IDLEWILD, JAMAICA, WHICH IS 15 MILES AND 55 MINUTES FROM THE CITY BUS TERMINAL, ALSO THE LA GUARDIA AIRPORT, WHICH IS EIGHT AND ONE-HALF MILES AND 40 MINUTES FROM THE BUS TERMINAL.'

REGARDING SUCH GENERAL QUESTIONS PRESENTED BY A CERTIFYING OFFICER WE HELD IN 26 COMP. GEN. 797 AS FOLLOWS, QUOTING FROM THE FIRST PARAGRAPH OF THE SYLLABUS:

"UNDER SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941 PROVIDING THAT AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER ,SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO APPLY FORAND OBTAIN A DECISION BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON ANY QUESTION OF LAW INVOLVED IN A PAYMENT ON ANY VOUCHERS SUBMITTED TO THEM FOR CERTIFICATION," THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR A CERTIFYING OFFICER TO PRESENT OR TO OBTAIN A DECISION ON A GENERAL QUESTION NOT INVOLVED IN THE PARTICULAR VOUCHER BEFORE THE OFFICER FOR CERTIFICATION.'

ASIDE FROM THE JURISDICTIONAL PHASE THE QUESTION IS STATED TOO BROADLY FOR A SPECIFIC ANSWER, PARTICULARLY IN THAT NO FACTS ARE SUBMITTED TO ESTABLISH WHETHER BOTH AIRPORTS ARE WITHIN THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OF NEW YORK, WHAT THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE BUS TERMINAL IS TO EACH OF THE NAMED AIRPORTS AND WHERE SUCH BUS TERMINAL IS LOCATED, AND WHETHER THERE IS MAINTAINED A LIMOUSINE SERVICE BETWEEN THE TWO AIRPORTS AND THE SO-CALLED BUS TERMINAL SIMILAR TO THAT MAINTAINED FOR THE MUNICIPAL AIRPORT OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY.

ON THE PRESENT RECORD WE MUST DECLINE TO ANSWER YOUR GENERAL QUESTION.