B-128789, SEP. 19, 1956

B-128789: Sep 19, 1956

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YOU SAY THAT TRANSPORTATION WAS PROCURED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE UTILIZING BOTH TOURIST AND FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS AT A COST OF $3. AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE THE MISSION WAS BILLED FOR THE EQUIVALENT OF TWO ROUND TRIP FIRST-CLASS FARES AND TWO BERTHS VIA THE DIRECT ROUTE TO THE POINTS AUTHORIZED. INDICATING THAT IF LESS THAN FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ACTUALLY ARE USED THE ESTIMATED COST SHOULD BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF LIKE ACCOMMODATIONS BY THE DIRECT ROUTE. AT THE TIME THE TWO DECISIONS WERE RENDERED PARAGRAPH 10 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THE EXTRA EXPENSE WILL BE BORNE BY HIMSELF AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES WILL BE BASED ONLY ON SUCH CHARGES AS WERE ACTUALLY INCURRED.

B-128789, SEP. 19, 1956

TO MR. NEAL J. PRICE, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 30, 1956, REQUESTS A DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE VOUCHER THEREWITH SUBMITTED IN FAVOR OF THOMAS R. SMITH FOR $257.64 COVERING PER DIEM AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES DURING THE PERIOD DECEMBER 9, 1955, TO APRIL 18, 1956, FOR HIMSELF AND WIFE FOR TRAVEL FROM TAIPEI, TAIWAN, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., AND RETURN BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE.

YOU SAY THAT TRANSPORTATION WAS PROCURED BY THE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE UTILIZING BOTH TOURIST AND FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS AT A COST OF $3,401.60. AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE THE MISSION WAS BILLED FOR THE EQUIVALENT OF TWO ROUND TRIP FIRST-CLASS FARES AND TWO BERTHS VIA THE DIRECT ROUTE TO THE POINTS AUTHORIZED--- GREAT FALLS, MONTANA, AND WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR CONSULTATION--- AT A COST OF $3,072.40 THE DIFFERENCE BEING PAID BY MR. SMITH. SPECIFICALLY YOU REQUEST A DECISION WHETHER IN ESTIMATING THE AMOUNT TO BE ALLOWED THE TRAVELER THE COMPUTATION SHOULD BE BASED ON THE KIND OF TRANSPORTATION ACTUALLY UTILIZED OR UPON THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS FARE BY THE DIRECT ROUTE. YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER ARISES FROM 22 COMP. GEN. 1109 AND 23 ID. 199, RENDERED IN 1943, INDICATING THAT IF LESS THAN FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ACTUALLY ARE USED THE ESTIMATED COST SHOULD BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF LIKE ACCOMMODATIONS BY THE DIRECT ROUTE.

AT THE TIME THE TWO DECISIONS WERE RENDERED PARAGRAPH 10 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, REVISION OF JANUARY 30, 1942, PROVIDED AS FOLLOWS:

"10. INDIRECT-ROUTE TRAVEL.--- IN CASE A PERSON TRAVELS BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE FOR HIS OWN PERSONAL CONVENIENCE, THE EXTRA EXPENSE WILL BE BORNE BY HIMSELF AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES WILL BE BASED ONLY ON SUCH CHARGES AS WERE ACTUALLY INCURRED, NOT TO EXCEED WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY THE MOST ECONOMICAL USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. * * *"

IN THE SUBSEQUENT REVISIONS BEGINNING WITH OCTOBER 1, 1950, THE UNDERLINED WORDS WERE OMITTED. IN DECISION B-119418 OF MAY 17, 1954, REFERRED TO IN YOUR SUBMISSION AND PUBLISHED IN 33 COMP. GEN. 553, WE HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS---

"UNDER SECTION 3 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 9805, AS AMENDED, WHICH PROVIDES THAT THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OF TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES SHALL NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE, AND PARAGRAPH 13A (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH PROVIDES FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF ONE LOWER BERTH FOR EACH TRAVELER, A TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE WHOSE THREE DEPENDENTS OCCUPIED ONE LOWER AND ONE UPPER BERTH IN THE PERFORMANCE OF TRAVEL OVER A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE MAY BE ALLOWED THE COMPARATIVE COST OF THREE LOWER BERTHS IN THE COMPUTATION OF THE EXCESS COST SUSTAINED BY THE GOVERNMENT ON ACCOUNT OF THE INDIRECT TRAVEL.'

THAT DECISION CORRECTLY STATES THE RULE TO BE FOLLOWED SINCE THE REVISION OF STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IN 1950 EXCEPT WHERE, AS IN THE CASE OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION, MORE RESTRICTIVE REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN ADOPTED. INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION MANUAL, ORDER NO. 560.2, III, G., 12, PROVIDES AS OLLOWS:

"AN EMPLOYEE AND MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY MAY ELECT, WITHOUT AMENDMENT OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION, TO PERFORM TRAVEL OR INCUR EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION BY OTHER THAN USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTES OR BY MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION NOT USUALLY EMPLOYED OR, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SPECIFIED BELOW, BETWEEN PLACES OTHER THAN THOSE SPECIFIED IN THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION: PROVIDED, THAT ACTUAL TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED AND PER DIEM FOR EACH AUTHORIZED TRAVELER WILL BE ALLOWED IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN DIRECT TRAVEL BETWEEN THE POINTS SPECIFIED IN THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION ON THE BASIS OF THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS OR IF LESS THAN FIRST CLASS IS ACTUALLY USED, ON THE BASIS OF ACCOMMODATION USED; AND THE ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF EFFECTS, OR OF REMAINS IN THE CASE OF DEATH, WILL BE ALLOWED IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE COST WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN DIRECT TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE POINTS SPECIFIED IN THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION.'

A SIMILAR RESTRICTION APPEARS IN SECTION 3.5 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE COMPUTATION OF THE EXCESS COST TO BE CHARGED TO THE EMPLOYEE THE PORTION TO BE CHARGED TO THE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION APPROPRIATION SHOULD BE COMPUTED AT THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS BY THE DIRECT ROUTE OF THE CLASS OR CLASSES OF ACCOMMODATIONS ACTUALLY USED RATHER THAN UPON THE COST OF ALL FIRST CLASS TRAVEL. THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH FOR APPROPRIATE ADJUSTMENT BY DEDUCTION OF ANY UNPAID EXCESS COST SO COMPUTED BEFORE CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT.