B-127784, JULY 3, 1956, 36 COMP. GEN. 3

B-127784: Jul 3, 1956

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WHO USE STATEROOM ACCOMMODATIONS BECAUSE STANDARD BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE ON AIRPLANES USED FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS FOR THE USE OF SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3. NEW YORK WAS SUSPENDED ADMINISTRATIVELY FROM DR. THE AMOUNT OF $129.92 ALLOWED ON THAT VOUCHER WAS APPLIED. IS AS FOLLOWS: T/RO. 252 WAS ISSUED 3/27/56 FOR PAA STATEROOM FROM PARIS. NO PROVISION IS MADE FOR ALLOWING SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS WHERE STANDARD BERTHS ARE NOT AVAILABLE. THE SGTR SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES WHERE STANDARD BERTHS ARE NOT AVAILABLE THAT SUPERIOR QUARTERS MAY BE OBTAINED ON TRAINS (PAR. 13A) AND ON STEAMERS (PAR. 13B).

B-127784, JULY 3, 1956, 36 COMP. GEN. 3

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION FEDERAL EMPLOYEES WHO USE STATEROOM ACCOMMODATIONS BECAUSE STANDARD BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE ON AIRPLANES USED FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS FOR THE USE OF SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 6 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946.

TO SIDNEY B. COHEN, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE, JULY 3, 1956:

YOUR LETTER OF MAY 1, 1956, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE ENCLOSED RECLAIM VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF DR. DONALD C. GROVE IN THE AMOUNT OF $25.42. THAT AMOUNT, REPRESENTING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE VALUE OF TWO STANDARD BERTHS AND THE VALUE OF A STATEROOM, VIA PAN AMERICAN AIRWAYS FROM PARIS, FRANCE, TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK WAS SUSPENDED ADMINISTRATIVELY FROM DR. GROVE'S PRIOR "NON PAYMENT" VOUCHER COVERING HIS SUBSISTENCE AND EXPENSES INCURRED DURING THE PERIOD MARCH 18 TO 30, 1956, PURSUANT TO HIS TRAVEL ORDER NO. FD 422 DATED FEBRUARY 28, 1956. THE AMOUNT OF $129.92 ALLOWED ON THAT VOUCHER WAS APPLIED, TOGETHER WITH HIS PERSONAL BANK CHECKS ($44.66 AND $25.42), TO LIQUIDATE HIS TRAVEL ADVANCE OF $200.

THE TRAVEL ORDERS FOR DR. GROVE AND A MR. WILLIAM R. JESTER AUTHORIZED THEM TO PERFORM ROUND TRIP TRAVEL IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS FROM WASHINGTON, .C., TO COPENHAGEN, DENMARK; THENCE TO PARIS AND RETURN. IN THEIR ORDERS, THE ITINERARY PROVIDED THAT THEY DEPART FROM PARIS ON OR ABOUT MARCH 29, 1956, FOR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISALLOWANCE STATEMENT DATED APRIL 19, 1956, RELATIVE TO DR. GROVE'S CLAIM DATED APRIL 17, 1956, IS AS FOLLOWS:

T/RO,678,252 WAS ISSUED 3/27/56 FOR PAA STATEROOM FROM PARIS, FRANCE TO NEW YORK, N.Y., AT A COST OF $125.42, AND USED BY YOU AND MR. JESTER, MARCH 29-30.

PARAGRAPH 13C OF THE SGTR STATES ONE STANDARD BERTH ON AIRPLANES MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED. NO PROVISION IS MADE FOR ALLOWING SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS WHERE STANDARD BERTHS ARE NOT AVAILABLE. THE SGTR SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES WHERE STANDARD BERTHS ARE NOT AVAILABLE THAT SUPERIOR QUARTERS MAY BE OBTAINED ON TRAINS (PAR. 13A) AND ON STEAMERS (PAR. 13B).

THE EXCESS COST OF $25.42 OVER THE VALUE OF TWO BERTHS ($100.00) HAS BEEN SUSPENDED. YOU MAY RESUBMIT THIS ITEM ON A SUPPLEMENTAL VOUCHER, IN WHICH CASE IT WILL BE SUBMITTED TO GAO FOR FINAL DETERMINATION.

$25.42 IS DUE TO LIQUIDATE THE BALANCE OF TRAVEL ADVANCE MADE MARCH 2, 1956.

PARAGRAPH 13C (2) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED, IS AS FOLLOWS:

(2) SLEEPER-PLANE ACCOMMODATIONS: ONE STANDARD BERTH ON AIRPLANES HAVING SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED WHEN NIGHT TRAVEL OF 6 OR MORE HOURS OF ELAPSED TIME IS INVOLVED.

DR. GROVE EXPLAINS THAT, AFTER ARRIVAL IN COPENHAGEN VIA PAN AMERICAN AIRWAYS, ON MARCH 20 THEY TRIED TO GET RESERVATIONS OF STANDARD BERTHS FOR RETURN TRAVEL TO BEGIN MARCH 30 FROM PARIS. HE SAYS THEY WERE TOLD THE AIRLINE WAS "SOLD OUT" FOR MARCH 30 AND 31, APPARENTLY BECAUSE OF A FARE INCREASE EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 1956. FURTHER, DR. GROVE SAYS---

WHEN WE ARRIVED IN PARIS ( MARCH 26) AND CHECKED WITH PAN AMERICAN THERE WERE STILL NO BERTHS AVAILABLE. THE DAY BEFORE WE WERE TO LEAVE WE WERE TOLD THERE WAS A STATEROOM AVAILABLE. ACTUALLY, A STATEROOM ON A PLANE IS NOT A ROOM, IT IS MERELY AN UPPER AND A LOWER BERTH. THE PRICE OF THE STATEROOM WAS $125.00. IT WAS ASSUMED THAT AS THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS ON A TRAIN OR BOAT PERMIT THE PURCHASE OF THE NEXT HIGHER ACCOMMODATIONS IF THE STANDARD BERTH IS NOT AVAILABLE, THE SAME WOULD APPLY TO AIR TRAVEL. ACCORDINGLY, THE STATEROOM WAS TAKEN. * * *

PARAGRAPH 13C, AS AMENDED, CONTAINS NO EXPRESS PROVISION FOR USE OF "SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS" FOR AIR TRAVEL IN CIRCUMSTANCES SIMILAR TO THOSE DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPHS 13A AND B CONCERNING TRAINS AND STEAMERS. HOWEVER, OFFICIALS OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET HAVE INFORMED US THAT SUCH OMISSION IN AMENDING PARAGRAPH 13C RESULTED, APPARENTLY, FROM AN OVERSIGHT OF THE POSSIBILITY OF CIRCUMSTANCES SUCH AS PREVAIL IN THIS CASE. AS YOU SAY, UNDER SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 6 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 808, 5 U.S.C. 73B, WHENEVER THE "LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE" ACCOMMODATIONS ARE UNAVAILABLE ON THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED, A TRAVELER MAY SECURE HIGHER ACCOMMODATIONS THEREON AND THE ACTUAL EXPENSES MAY BE ALLOWED ON THE TRAVELER'S CERTIFICATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT. AN ACCEPTABLE CERTIFICATION IN THIS CASE WOULD BE ONE COMPARABLE TO THOSE DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPHS 13A AND B, REFERRED TO ABOVE. HENCE, DR. GROVE'S EXPLANATION ON THE VOUCHER APPEARS TO SUPPLY THE NECESSARY PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE THAT THE "LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS"--- STANDARD BERTHS--- WERE "NOT AVAILABLE" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CITED ACT.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER, RETURNED TOGETHER WITH ATTACHMENTS, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.