B-131230, MAY 6, 1957

B-131230: May 6, 1957

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USAF: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 14. IN SUPPORT OF YOUR REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION YOU SAY THAT IN MOST CASES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY RATED AIR FORCE OFFICERS ORDERS ARE ISSUED AFTER TRAVEL HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED. IT NOT BEING FEASIBLE TO ISSUE ORDERS PRIOR TO TRAVEL AS INSTRUCTIONS ARE FREQUENTLY RECEIVED ONLY SHORTLY BEFORE THE JOURNEY IS COMMENCED. YOU SAY FURTHER THAT THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR NOT INCLUDING IN THE ORDERS AN AUTHORIZATION FOR EXCESS BAGGAGE IS THAT OF THE ISSUING AGENCY AND NOT THAT OF THE INDIVIDUAL PERFORMING THE TRAVEL. THAT IT IS THEREFORE ILLOGICAL TO HOLD THE PERSON PERFORMING TRAVEL PECUNIARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR AN OVERSIGHT OF THE ISSUING AGENCY. YOU WERE ORDERED TO PROCEED ON OR ABOUT SEPTEMBER 1.

B-131230, MAY 6, 1957

TO MAJOR JACK H. LAWTON, USAF:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 14, 1957, REQUESTING A REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 13, 1957, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $36.62, REPRESENTING THE COST OF SHIPPING 45 POUNDS OF EXCESS BAGGAGE IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL PERFORMED FROM OTIS AIR FORCE BASE, MASSACHUSETTS, TO MCCLELLAN AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA, PURSUANT TO ORDERS DATED AUGUST 29, 1956, AS AMENDED BY ORDERS DATED SEPTEMBER 27, 1956.

IN SUPPORT OF YOUR REQUEST FOR RECONSIDERATION YOU SAY THAT IN MOST CASES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY RATED AIR FORCE OFFICERS ORDERS ARE ISSUED AFTER TRAVEL HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED, IT NOT BEING FEASIBLE TO ISSUE ORDERS PRIOR TO TRAVEL AS INSTRUCTIONS ARE FREQUENTLY RECEIVED ONLY SHORTLY BEFORE THE JOURNEY IS COMMENCED. YOU SAY FURTHER THAT THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR NOT INCLUDING IN THE ORDERS AN AUTHORIZATION FOR EXCESS BAGGAGE IS THAT OF THE ISSUING AGENCY AND NOT THAT OF THE INDIVIDUAL PERFORMING THE TRAVEL, AND THAT IT IS THEREFORE ILLOGICAL TO HOLD THE PERSON PERFORMING TRAVEL PECUNIARILY RESPONSIBLE FOR AN OVERSIGHT OF THE ISSUING AGENCY.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT BY ORDERS DATED AUGUST 29, 1956, YOU WERE ORDERED TO PROCEED ON OR ABOUT SEPTEMBER 1, 1956, FROM OTIS AIR FORCE BASE, MASSACHUSETTS, TO MCCLELLAN AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA, FOR TEMPORARY DUTY OF APPROXIMATELY 20 DAYS AND UPON COMPLETION OF SUCH DUTY TO RETURN TO THE OTIS AIR FORCE BASE. BY ORDERS DATED SEPTEMBER 27, 1956, THE PRIOR ORDERS WERE AMENDED TO INCLUDE AN AUTHORIZATION FOR 45 POUNDS OF EXCESS BAGGAGE. RESPECTING YOUR STATEMENT THAT IN MOST CASES OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY RATED AIR FORCE OFFICERS ORDERS ARE ISSUED AFTER TRAVEL HAS BEEN PERFORMED, IT MAY BE SAID THAT, EVEN IF MATERIAL, THERE IS NOTHING OF RECORD HERE TO INDICATE THAT THE ORDERS ISSUED IN THIS CASE WERE ISSUED ON OTHER THAN THE INDICATED DATES, THAT IS TO SAY, THE ORDERS OF AUGUST 29, 1956, WERE ACTUALLY ISSUED PRIOR TO THE DATE ON WHICH YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACT THAT YOUR ORDERS OF AUGUST 29, 1956, DID NOT AUTHORIZE ANY EXCESS BAGGAGE AND SINCE IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT ORDERS MAY NOT BE REVOKED OR MODIFIED RETROACTIVELY SO AS TO INCREASE OR DECREASE THE RIGHTS WHICH ACCRUED OR BECAME FIXED UNDER THE ORIGINAL ORDERS, YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED. IN DECISION OF MARCH 22, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 713, THERE WAS FOR CONSIDERATION ORDERS ENTITLING AN OFFICER TO MILEAGE, IT BEING HELD THAT UNDER SUCH ORDERS A LEGAL RIGHT TO SUCH MILEAGE ACCRUED TO AND VESTED IN THE OFFICER AS AND WHEN THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED UNDER THE ORDERS AND THAT SUCH LEGAL RIGHT MAY NOT BE DIVESTED OR MODIFIED BY SUBSEQUENT ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION. THE DECISION CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING LANGUAGE:

"* * * THE SAME PRINCIPLE APPLIES TO OTHER FORMS OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AND, THEREFORE, EXCEPT TO CORRECT OR TO COMPLETE THE ORDERS TO SHOW THE ORIGINAL INTENT, TRAVEL ORDERS MAY NOT BE REVOKED OR MODIFIED RETROACTIVELY SO AS TO INCREASE OR DECREASE THE RIGHTS WHICH HAVE ACCRUED AND BECOME FIXED UNDER THE APPLICABLE STATUTES, REGULATIONS AND ORDERS FOR TRAVEL ALREADY PERFORMED.'

ALSO, SEE 24 COMP. GEN. 439.

FOR THE REASONS SET FORTH ABOVE, AND SINCE THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DO NOT PROVIDE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXCESS BAGGAGE CHARGES UNLESS THE TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH EXCESS BAGGAGE WAS AUTHORIZED, WE ARE OF THE VIEW THAT THE ACTION TAKEN IN THE SETTLEMENT OF FEBRUARY 13, 1957, WAS CORRECT, AND IT IS SUSTAINED.