B-128707, AUG. 3, 1956

B-128707: Aug 3, 1956

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HE WAS AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY. HE WAS NOT ACCOMPANIED BY HIS FAMILY. HIS TRAVEL ORDER WAS AMENDED TO DELETE THE COMMON CARRIER COST LIMITATION FROM THE MILEAGE AUTHORIZATION. NO DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT WAS MADE. IT APPEARS THAT JUNE 7 WAS A DATE ON WHICH A FAMILY PLAN RATE WAS IN EFFECT ON THE UTILIZED RAILROAD AND THAT IF THE SON HAD TRAVELED WITH HIS MOTHER AND SISTER HIS TRANSPORTATION COULD HAVE BEEN PERFORMED UNDER SUCH REDUCED RATE. MORGAN NOW IS CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT LIMITED TO REGULAR COMMON CARRIER COSTS RATHER THAN COMMON CARRIER COSTS AT THE SPECIAL RATE AND IN SUPPORT OF HIS POSITION HE SAYS THAT HE HAS TWO PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES WHICH HAD TO BE MOVED TO PHOENIX AND THAT HIS SON WAS NOT REQUIRED TO TRAVEL TOGETHER WITH HIS WIFE AND DAUGHTER.

B-128707, AUG. 3, 1956

TO MRS. NAOMI E. STOKES, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, BUREAU OF MINES, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR:

ON JULY 18, 1956, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION UPON THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT THE RECLAIM VOUCHER THEREWITH SUBMITTED IN FAVOR OF EDWARD A. MORGAN FOR $19.40. THE VOUCHER REPRESENTS AN AMOUNT ADMINISTRATIVELY SUSPENDED IN REIMBURSING THE EMPLOYEE FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS INCIDENT TO OFFICIAL CHANGE OF STATION.

TRAVEL ORDER DATED JANUARY 10, 1956, DIRECTED MR. MORGAN TO MAKE A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM DENVER, COLORADO, TO PHOENIX, ARIZONA. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TRANSPORTATION OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY, TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER, AND TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT A MILEAGE RATE OF SEVEN CENTS NOT TO EXCEED COST BY COMMON CARRIER INCLUDING CONSIDERATION OF PER DIEM ALLOWANCE. MR. MORGAN MADE THE TRIP ON FEBRUARY 6-8 BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. HE WAS NOT ACCOMPANIED BY HIS FAMILY. ON MARCH 22, HIS TRAVEL ORDER WAS AMENDED TO DELETE THE COMMON CARRIER COST LIMITATION FROM THE MILEAGE AUTHORIZATION. WHILE THE AMENDATORY ORDERS STATED THAT BUREAU AS WELL AS PERSONAL PROPERTY HAD BEEN TRANSPORTED IN THE PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, NO DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT WAS MADE.

THE EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY DEPARTED DENVER ON JUNE 7 TO PERFORM THE AUTHORIZED TRAVEL TO PHOENIX. HIS WIFE AND DAUGHTER TRAVELED BY FIRST- CLASS RAIL, WHILE HIS SON, EDWARD MORGAN, JR., TRAVELED BY A SECOND AUTOMOBILE OWNED BY THE EMPLOYEE. IT APPEARS THAT JUNE 7 WAS A DATE ON WHICH A FAMILY PLAN RATE WAS IN EFFECT ON THE UTILIZED RAILROAD AND THAT IF THE SON HAD TRAVELED WITH HIS MOTHER AND SISTER HIS TRANSPORTATION COULD HAVE BEEN PERFORMED UNDER SUCH REDUCED RATE. MR. MORGAN CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT FOR HIS SON'S TRAVEL AT THE MILEAGE RATE WITHOUT REGARD TO CONSTRUCTIVE COMMON CARRIER COSTS. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT AT THE MILEAGE RATE BY LIMITED PAYMENT TO CONSTRUCTIVE COMMON CARRIER COSTS AT THE SPECIAL FAMILY RATE IN EFFECT ON THE DAY THAT ALL THREE DEPENDENTS PERFORMED THE TRAVEL. MR. MORGAN NOW IS CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT LIMITED TO REGULAR COMMON CARRIER COSTS RATHER THAN COMMON CARRIER COSTS AT THE SPECIAL RATE AND IN SUPPORT OF HIS POSITION HE SAYS THAT HE HAS TWO PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILES WHICH HAD TO BE MOVED TO PHOENIX AND THAT HIS SON WAS NOT REQUIRED TO TRAVEL TOGETHER WITH HIS WIFE AND DAUGHTER.

SECTION 4 OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 166, AND PARAGRAPH 12B (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WITHOUT A DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT ONLY "WHERE PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER.' ALSO, PARAGRAPH 16 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT---

"THROUGH FARES, SPECIAL FARES, COMMUTATION FARES, EXCURSION, AND REDUCED- RATE ROUND-TRIP FARES SHOULD BE UTILIZED FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL WHEN IT CAN BE DETERMINED PRIOR TO THE START OF A TRIP THAT ANY SUCH TYPE OF SERVICE IS PRACTICAL AND ECONOMICAL TO THE GOVERNMENT * * *.'

IN THE INSTANT CASE THERE WAS NO ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT AND NO BASIS THEREFOR APPEARS TO HAVE EXISTED WITH RELATION TO THE SON'S TRAVEL. THUS, THE AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE BY EDWARD MORGAN, JR., IS UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE BEEN MADE SOLELY FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE. HAD THE EMPLOYEE'S SON JOINED THE OTHER DEPENDENTS IN RAIL TRAVEL ON THE DAY IN QUESTION, PARAGRAPH 16 OF THE REGULATIONS WOULD HAVE REQUIRED THAT PAYMENT FOR HIS TRAVEL BE LIMITED TO THE SPECIAL FAMILY PLAN RATE. THAT SAME LIMITATION IS FOR APPLICATION HERE. TO HOLD OTHERWISE WOULD RESULT IN INCREASING THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT BY REASON OF THE USE OF A PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE. THAT THE LAW DOES NOT SANCTION. THEREFORE PAYMENT FOR THE SON'S TRAVEL MUST BE LIMITED TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COMMON CARRIER COSTS AT THE FAMILY PLAN RATE. ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS HEREWITH RETURNED, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

WITH RESPECT TO MR. MORGAN'S PREVIOUS TRAVEL BY PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE, IT APPEARS THAT REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR WAS MADE AT A MILEAGE RATE PLUS PER DIEM WHICH EXCEEDED CONSTRUCTIVE COMMON CARRIER COSTS. IN THE ABSENCE OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT, THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO REFUND SUCH EXCESS.