B-128074, JUL. 30, 1956

B-128074: Jul 30, 1956

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VOUCHER NO. 3712) IS AUTHORIZED. MILLER WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AT THE RATE OF 8 CENTS PER MILE. THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS GOVERN THE ALLOWANCE OF MILEAGE FOR THE TRAVEL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED ADMINISTRATIVELY AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. PARAGRAPHS 9 AND 10 OF SUCH REGULATIONS ARE. TRAVEL BY OTHER ROUTES MAY BE ALLOWED WHEN THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY THEREFOR IS SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED.' "10. THE EXTRA EXPENSE WILL BE BORNE BY HIMSELF. REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES SHALL BE BASED ONLY ON SUCH CHARGES AS WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. * * *" ALSO.

B-128074, JUL. 30, 1956

TO CAPTAIN P. E. WAMPLER, DISBURSING OFFICER, ORDNANCE CORPS, DIAMOND ORDNANCE FUSE ABORATORIES:

BY SECOND INDORSEMENT DATED MAY 28, 1956, FINEK 248.7 MILLER, W. F., THE ASSISTANT CHIEF OF FINANCE (OPERATIONS) FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 19, 1956, ORDTL 02, REQUESTING OUR DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT ON THE ACCOMPANYING BUREAU VOUCHER NO. T2945 FOR $11.12, REPRESENTING THE RECLAIM BY MR. W. F. MILLER, CIVILIAN, OF MILEAGE SUSPENDED FROM HIS PRIOR CLAIM (D.O. VOUCHER NO. 3712) IS AUTHORIZED.

BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. ORDTL 09-82 DATED APRIL 3, 1956, MR. MILLER WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AT THE RATE OF 8 CENTS PER MILE--- DETERMINED TO BE THE METHOD OF TRAVEL MOST ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT--- FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO STATE COLLEGE, PENNSYLVANIA, THENCE TO YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, AND RETURN TO WASHINGTON.

THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS GOVERN THE ALLOWANCE OF MILEAGE FOR THE TRAVEL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED ADMINISTRATIVELY AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. PARAGRAPHS 9 AND 10 OF SUCH REGULATIONS ARE, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"9. ROUTING OF TRAVEL.--- ALL TRAVEL MUST BE BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. TRAVEL BY OTHER ROUTES MAY BE ALLOWED WHEN THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY THEREFOR IS SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED.'

"10. INDIRECT-ROUTE OR INTERRUPTED TRAVEL.--- IN CASE A PERSON FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE TRAVELS BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE OR INTERRUPTS TRAVEL BY DIRECT ROUTE, THE EXTRA EXPENSE WILL BE BORNE BY HIMSELF. REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES SHALL BE BASED ONLY ON SUCH CHARGES AS WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. * * *"

ALSO, PARAGRAPH 12 (B), REGARDING THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE ON A MILEAGE BASIS, IS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"/1) CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS OR OTHERS RENDERING SERVICE TO THE GOVERNMENT, REGARDLESS OF SUBSISTENCE STATUS AND HOURS OF TRAVEL, SHALL, WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT * * * BE PAID IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION NOT TO EXCEED 6 CENTS PER MILE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES, OR 10 CENTS PER MILE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES OR AIRPLANES, WHEN ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN OR OUTSIDE THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY OR PLACES OF SERVICE. IN SUCH CASES THE MILEAGE RATE AS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED SHALL BE PAID FROM WHATEVER POINT THE EMPLOYEE OR OTHER PERSON RENDERING SERVICE TO THE GOVERNMENT BEGINS HIS JOURNEY. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PROPER OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS TO FIX SUCH RATES, WITHIN THE MAXIMA, AS WILL MOST NEARLY COMPENSATE THE TRAVELER FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES. IN DETERMINING WHETHER SUCH TRANSPORTATION IS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, CONSIDERATION WILL BE GIVEN TO THE ADVANTAGES RESULTING FROM THE MORE EXPEDITIOUS TRANSACTION OF THE PUBLIC BUSINESS AS WELL AS OTHER ADVANTAGES AND/OR DISADVANTAGES TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE PARTICULAR CASE. * * * WHEN TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES OR AUTOMOBILE, DISTANCES BETWEEN POINTS TRAVELED SHALL BE AS SHOWN IN STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDES OR BY SPEEDOMETER READINGS. ANY SUBSTANTIAL DEVIATIONS FROM DISTANCES SHOWN IN THE STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDES SHALL BE EXPLAINED. * * *"

THE APPLICABLE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS (CPR T3.3-1A, 3-5/A) (1), AND 8 -3C (2) ( CONTAIN PROVISIONS CONFORMING TO THE GENERAL RULES OF THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS. ALSO, OUR OFFICE HAS HELD THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF AN EXPLANATION AS TO THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY FOR TRAVELING A LONGER DISTANCE, THE MILEAGE REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE ABOVE-QUOTED SECTION 12 (B) (1) MAY NOT EXCEED THAT SHOWN ON THE STANDARD MILEAGE TABLES BETWEEN THE AUTHORIZED POINTS OF TRAVEL. 26 COMP. GEN. 463.

SUCH RULES DO NOT CONTEMPLATE THE QUESTIONING OF TRIVIAL VARIATIONS BETWEEN AN EMPLOYEE'S SPEEDOMETER READINGS AND THE DISTANCES SHOWN IN MILEAGE TABLES OR ON STANDARD HIGHWAY MAPS. HOWEVER, IN PERFORMING SUCH TRAVEL MR. MILLER CLAIMS HIS SPEEDOMETER SHOWED A DISTANCE OF 311 MILES FROM SILVER SPRING, MARYLAND (VIA FREDERICK, HAGERSTOWN, AND CUMBERLAND, MD.) TO STATE COLLEGE. FOR THE AUTHORIZED TRAVEL FROM STATE COLLEGE VIA YORK, PENNSYLVANIA, HE CLAIMS 259 MILES (INCLUDING SOME INDIRECT TRAVEL FROM YORK VIA LANCASTER, PENN.) IN RETURNING TO SILVER SPRING. SUCH CLAIMS TOTAL 570 MILES. IN THIS RESPECT, YOU SAY THE TABLES IN THE RAND MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE SHOW 187 MILES FOR THE USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE FROM WASHINGTON TO STATE COLLEGE, 116 MILES FROM STATE COLLEGE TO YORK, 24 MILES TO LANCASTER, AND 105 MILES TO WASHINGTON. SUCH STANDARDIZED DIRECT DISTANCES TOTAL 432 MILES. MR. MILLER'S EXPLANATION WITH THE VOUCHER DOES NOT APPEAR TO JUSTIFY THE LONGER DISTANCES HE CLAIMS. HIS STATEMENT ESSENTIALLY IS THAT, REGARDLESS OF A MORE DIRECT ROUTING OVER "SOME OF THE LESSER HIGHWAYS AND STATE ROADS," HE BELIEVES THE MATTER OF THE BEST ROUTES IS ONE TO BE DECIDED BY THE TRAVELER. SUCH EXPLANATION OVERLOOKS THAT, UNDER THE LAW AND THE CITED REGULATIONS, SPEEDOMETER READINGS ARE ONLY PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF THE OFFICIAL OR REIMBURSABLE DISTANCES INVOLVED. AN EMPLOYEE'S SPEEDOMETER READINGS ARE NOT REIMBURSABLE WHERE THEY ARE CONSIDERABLY IN EXCESS OF THE ACCEPTABLE MILEAGE TABLE OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN AUTHORIZED POINTS OF TRAVEL. INDICATED ABOVE, A STATEMENT OF THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY, OR OTHER ACCEPTABLE REASONS, FOR THE LONGER DISTANCE HAS NOT BEEN SUPPLIED IN THIS CASE. THE AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL THEREOF, AS WELL AS ANY ADVANTAGES TO THE GOVERNMENT, IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTION WHICH GENERALLY MAY NOT BE REVISED BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE.

SINCE MR. MILLER HAS IN FACT BEEN PAID MILEAGE AND PER DIEM FOR HIS RETURN TRAVEL VIA LANCASTER WHICH SUBSTANTIALLY EXCEEDS THAT TO WHICH HE LEGALLY IS ENTITLED, AN ADDITIONAL PAYMENT ON THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER IS NOT AUTHORIZED.