B-129408, JUN. 3, 1957

B-129408: Jun 3, 1957

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TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF APRIL 4. OBJECTION WAS RAISED TO PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES BECAUSE IT APPEARED THAT THE TRAVEL ORDERS INVOLVED SHOULD HAVE DESIGNATED THE TRAVEL TO BE GROUP TRAVEL. IT APPEARS THAT A NUMBER OF AUDIT EXCEPTIONS HAVE BEEN ISSUED AGAINST PAYMENT OF PER DIEM TO ENLISTED MEN FOR TRAVEL UNDER ORDERS NOT DESIGNATED AS GROUP TRAVEL ORDERS. WHICH DIRECTED TRAVEL OF THREE OR MORE ENLISTED MEMBERS BETWEEN THE SAME POINTS OF TRAVEL UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE BOTH TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE IN KIND WERE FURNISHED OR WERE AVAILABLE. SUCH ACTION WAS TAKEN BECAUSE OF THE REQUIREMENT IN PARAGRAPH (2) (A). THAT WHEN ORDERS OF THIS TYPE ARE ISSUED THE ORDER ISSUING AUTHORITY "SHALL" DESIGNATE THE ORDER AS A "GROUP TRAVEL ORDER.'.

B-129408, JUN. 3, 1957

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF APRIL 4, 1957, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT), REQUESTING REMOVAL OF CERTAIN GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE NOTICES OF EXCEPTION. OBJECTION WAS RAISED TO PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES BECAUSE IT APPEARED THAT THE TRAVEL ORDERS INVOLVED SHOULD HAVE DESIGNATED THE TRAVEL TO BE GROUP TRAVEL.

IT APPEARS THAT A NUMBER OF AUDIT EXCEPTIONS HAVE BEEN ISSUED AGAINST PAYMENT OF PER DIEM TO ENLISTED MEN FOR TRAVEL UNDER ORDERS NOT DESIGNATED AS GROUP TRAVEL ORDERS, WHICH DIRECTED TRAVEL OF THREE OR MORE ENLISTED MEMBERS BETWEEN THE SAME POINTS OF TRAVEL UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE BOTH TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE IN KIND WERE FURNISHED OR WERE AVAILABLE. SUCH ACTION WAS TAKEN BECAUSE OF THE REQUIREMENT IN PARAGRAPH (2) (A), ARTICLE C-5403A, BUREAU OF NAVAL PERSONNEL MANUAL, THAT WHEN ORDERS OF THIS TYPE ARE ISSUED THE ORDER ISSUING AUTHORITY "SHALL" DESIGNATE THE ORDER AS A "GROUP TRAVEL ORDER.' IT IS RECOGNIZED THAT IF ENLISTED MEMBERS ARE"GRANTED PERMISSION TO PERFORM TRAVEL AT OWN EXPENSE" OR ARE GRANTED LEAVE ON ROUTE AND A CLEARLY ,INDIVIDUAL ORDER" IS ISSUED TO EACH ENLISTED MAN AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH (2) (A) OF THE CITED REGULATIONS IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, SUCH MEMBERS ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THEIR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL. INSTRUCTIONS TO THAT EFFECT WERE ISSUED TO OUR DIVISION OF AUDITS ON OCTOBER 25, 1956.

PART OF THE DIFFICULTY IN THIS MATTER HAS RESULTED FROM CONFLICTING VIEWS AS TO WHAT CONSTITUTES "INDIVIDUAL ORDERS.' IT IS REPORTED IN THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER THAT IT HAS BEEN AN ACCEPTED PROCEDURE TO CONSIDER ORDERS AS "INDIVIDUAL ORDERS," EVEN WHEN SEVERAL NAMES ARE LISTED THEREON, PROVIDED AN "ORIGINAL" ORDER IS PREPARED AND SIGNED FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL, AND SUCH INDIVIDUAL IS CLEARLY INDICATED AS THE RECIPIENT OF THE ORDER. SUCH PROCEDURE IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED AS AN EFFICIENT METHOD OF ALLEVIATING CLERICAL WORKLOADS AND COSTS. WITH THAT UNDERSTANDING, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT FAILURE TO DESIGNATE SUCH ORDERS AS "GROUP TRAVEL ORDERS" WAS PROPER IF THEY CLEARLY AUTHORIZED "TRAVEL AT OWN EXPENSE"--- UNDERSTOOD TO INTEND TRAVEL ON A REIMBURSABLE BASIS--- AS PROVIDED IN THE REGULATIONS. HOWEVER, MOST OF THE AUDIT EXCEPTIONS WHICH HAVE BEEN ISSUED INVOLVED ORDERS WHICH "DIRECTED" TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION AND AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AT "NO (ADDITIONAL) COST TO THE GOVERNMENT.' THIS WAS THE CASE IN THE ORDERS OF FEBRUARY 1, 1956, ATTACHED TO VOUCHER NO. 193826, FEBRUARY 1956 ACCOUNT OF J. E. BULFER, WHICH DIRECTED 92 MEMBERS TO TRAVEL FROM ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA, TO FALLON, NEVADA, FOR TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY, AND IN THE ORDERS DATED MARCH 16, 1956, ATTACHED TO VOUCHER NO. 103485, APRIL 1956 ACCOUNT OF J. N. MILLER, WHICH DIRECTED 24 MEMBERS TO TRAVEL TO EL TORO, CALIFORNIA, THENCE TO PICKEL MEADOWS, CALIFORNIA, AND UPON COMPLETION OF TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY RETURN TO THEIR PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS. APPEARS DOUBTFUL THAT SUCH ORDERS GRANTED PERMISSION TO TRAVEL AT PERSONAL EXPENSE SUBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CITED REGULATIONS.

IN VIEW OF THE EXPLANATION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE INTENTION IN ISSUING THE ORDERS IN QUESTION AND CONSIDERING THE REGULATIONS IN NAVACT 2-57, FEBRUARY 12, 1957, AS AMPLIFIED BY NAVACT 6-57, APRIL 11, 1957, REDEFINING THE CONDITIONS AND CIRCUMSTANCES TO BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING WHETHER GROUP TRAVEL ORDERS SHOULD BE ISSUED AND GENERALLY CLARIFYING THE MATTERS WHICH HAVE RESULTED IN DIFFICULTIES IN GROUP TRAVEL SITUATIONS, INSTRUCTIONS ARE BEING ISSUED TO REMOVE THE NOTICES OF EXCEPTION INVOLVING ORDERS ISSUED PRIOR TO FEBRUARY 12, 1957, AND WHICH WERE BASED SOLELY ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT GROUP TRAVEL SHOULD HAVE BEEN DESIGNATED IN THE ORDERS.