B-131815, JUN. 20, 1957

B-131815: Jun 20, 1957

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IT HAVING BEEN DETERMINED THAT SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. THAT A RATE OF FOUR CENTS PER MILE WILL APPLY "WHEN IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT COMMON CARRIER COULD HAVE BEEN USED.'. WHICH IS SOUTHEAST OF LOS ANGELES. ON THOSE DAYS ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE DID NOT REPORT TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION TRAVEL TERMINATED AT HIS RESIDENCE AND MILEAGE IS CLAIMED FROM HIS RESIDENCE TO THE SEVERAL PACKING PLANTS VISITED AND RETURN TO RESIDENCE. ON THOSE DAYS ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION TRAVEL TERMINATED AT THAT POINT AND MILEAGE IS CLAIMED FROM HIS RESIDENCE TO THE VARIOUS PACKING PLANTS VISITED AND TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION. MILEAGE IS BEING CLAIMED FOR TRIPS ORIGINATING AT THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AND TERMINATING AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON THE BASIS OF ECONOMY.

B-131815, JUN. 20, 1957

TO MR. M. T. GENESY, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, WESTERN AREA ADMINISTRATIVE DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 9, 1957, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE VOUCHER ENCLOSED THEREWITH, IN THE AMOUNT OF $69.84, IN FAVOR OF GARRETT C. HAFSTAD, AS REIMBURSEMENT ON A COMMUTED BASIS FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE PERFORMED DURING THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 1 TO FEBRUARY 28, 1957, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

THE TRAVEL ORDER ISSUED TO MR. HAFSTAD UNDER DATE OF JULY 1, 1956, AUTHORIZED TRAVEL WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, INCLUDING USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT A MILEAGE RATE OF SEVEN CENTS PER MILE, IT HAVING BEEN DETERMINED THAT SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE ORDER SAYS, HOWEVER, THAT A RATE OF FOUR CENTS PER MILE WILL APPLY "WHEN IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT COMMON CARRIER COULD HAVE BEEN USED.'

YOU SAY THAT DURING FEBRUARY 1957, MR. HAFSTAD MADE SEVERAL TRIPS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS STARTING FROM HIS HOME IN WHITTIER, CALIFORNIA, WHICH IS SOUTHEAST OF LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS. VISITED MEAT PACKING PLANTS LOCATED AT OR NEAR VARIOUS CITIES AND COMMUNITIES SOUTH AND SOUTHEAST OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION AND IN THE VICINITY OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION. ON THOSE DAYS ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE DID NOT REPORT TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION TRAVEL TERMINATED AT HIS RESIDENCE AND MILEAGE IS CLAIMED FROM HIS RESIDENCE TO THE SEVERAL PACKING PLANTS VISITED AND RETURN TO RESIDENCE. ON THOSE DAYS ON WHICH THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION TRAVEL TERMINATED AT THAT POINT AND MILEAGE IS CLAIMED FROM HIS RESIDENCE TO THE VARIOUS PACKING PLANTS VISITED AND TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION.

MILEAGE IS BEING CLAIMED FOR TRIPS ORIGINATING AT THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE AND TERMINATING AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON THE BASIS OF ECONOMY, SAVINGS IN TIME AND MONEY TO THE GOVERNMENT. IT IS REASONED THAT BY COMMENCING TRAVEL FROM HIS RESIDENCE RATHER THAN FROM HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION AT AN EARLIER HOUR THAN IF HE REPORTED TO HIS HEADQUARTERS BEFORE PROCEEDING TO THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, AND THAT TRAVEL PERFORMED IN THIS MANNER SAVES PAYMENT OF MILEAGE BETWEEN OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS AND FIRST TEMPORARY DUTY STATION OVER AND ABOVE THAT CLAIMED BY REASON OF EMPLOYEE COMMENCING TRAVEL FROM HIS RESIDENCE. IN THE INSTANT CASE THE RESIDENCE IS 15 MILES SOUTHEAST OF THE OFFICIAL STATION AND ALL POINTS AT WHICH TEMPORARY DUTY IS PERFORMED LIE FURTHER SOUTH OR SOUTHEAST OF THE OFFICIAL STATION THAN THE RESIDENCE.

IN A RECENT DECISION OF OUR OFFICE, B-131810, DATED JUNE 4, 1957, COPY ENCLOSED, WE HELD THAT WHERE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS PROPERLY AUTHORIZED TO USE A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS, IT IS WITHIN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION TO ALLOW HIM MILEAGE FROM WHATEVER POINT HE BEGINS HIS JOURNEY WITH NO REQUIREMENT THAT THERE BE DEDUCTED FROM THE COMPUTATION OF SUCH MILEAGE THE DISTANCE THAT THE EMPLOYEE WOULD NORMALLY TRAVEL BETWEEN HIS HOME AND HIS HEADQUARTERS, IRRESPECTIVE OF WHETHER HE PERFORMS DUTY ON THAT DAY WITHIN OR WITHOUT THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF HIS HEADQUARTERS CITY OR AT HIS HEADQUARTERS OFFICE. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS, HOWEVER, IN EXERCISING THEIR DISCRETIONARY POWER IN THIS MATTER ARE TO GIVE DUE CONSIDERATION TO THE INTERESTS OF BOTH THE GOVERNMENT AND THE EMPLOYEE.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES AS ABOVE RELATED, OUR OFFICE WILL INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION TO CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT OF THE VOUCHER, RETURNED HEREWITH, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.