B-132503, AUG. 15, 1957

B-132503: Aug 15, 1957

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

YOU WERE CERTIFIED TO BE INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE REASON THAT YOU TRAVELED BY A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE IN RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES. YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM HONG KONG TO WASHINGTON. YOU WERE ALLOWED CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF MINIMUM FIRST CLASS PASSAGE FOR DIRECT TRAVEL BY A FOREIGN VESSEL. TRANSPORTATION FOR YOURSELF AND DEPENDENTS FROM HONG KONG TO NEW YORK WAS PAID ON VOUCHER NUMBER 1322. IS COMPUTED AT $2. YOU WERE ALLOWED $828.41 ADDITIONAL TRAVELING EXPENSE WHICH WAS APPLIED AGAINST YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES. YOUR CONTENTION IS THAT TRANSPORTATION BY AN AMERICAN VESSEL WAS NOT AVAILABLE WITHIN A REASONABLE LENGTH OF TIME AFTER COMPLETION OF YOUR DUTIES IN HONG KONG.

B-132503, AUG. 15, 1957

TO MR. JAMES G. BYINGTON:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 1, 1957, REQUESTS US TO RECONSIDER THE ACTION TAKEN IN OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 20, 1957, IN CERTIFYING YOU TO BE INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES FOR EXCESS EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO YOUR TRANSFER FROM HONG KONG TO MEXICALI, MEXICO.

YOU WERE CERTIFIED TO BE INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE REASON THAT YOU TRAVELED BY A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE IN RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 5-14887, DATED DECEMBER 22, 1954, YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM HONG KONG TO WASHINGTON, D.C., TO NORWALK, CONNECTICUT, TO AVAIL YOURSELF OF HOME LEAVE, THENCE TO MEXICALI, MEXICO. IN RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS TRAVELED BY A FOREIGN VESSEL DEPARTING FROM HONG KONG DECEMBER 28, 1954, AND ARRIVING AT NAPLES, ITALY, JANUARY 21, 1955. AFTER WAITING NINE DAYS FOR AN AMERICAN VESSEL YOU SAILED JANUARY 30, 1955, FROM NAPLES ARRIVING IN NEW YORK FEBRUARY 8, 1955. YOU IMMEDIATELY LEFT NEW YORK FOR NORWALK, CONNECTICUT, ARRIVING THERE THE SAME DAY. YOU WERE ALLOWED CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF MINIMUM FIRST CLASS PASSAGE FOR DIRECT TRAVEL BY A FOREIGN VESSEL, S.S. BOUGAINVILLE, FOR YOURSELF AND DEPENDENTS LEAVING HONG KONG DECEMBER 30, 1954, ARRIVING AT LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, JANUARY 16, 1955, LEAVING LOS ANGELES BY RAIL JANUARY 17, 1955, AND ARRIVING AT NORWALK JANUARY 20, 1955.

TRANSPORTATION FOR YOURSELF AND DEPENDENTS FROM HONG KONG TO NEW YORK WAS PAID ON VOUCHER NUMBER 1322, DECEMBER 1954 ACCOUNTS OF MARTHA J. RICHARDSON, USDO, IN THE AMOUNTS OF $1,532 AND $2,207.03, TOTALING $3,739.03, FOR TRAVEL BY INDIRECT ROUTE. THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRANSPORTATION COST BY USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE, AS OUTLINED ABOVE, IS COMPUTED AT $2,225.82, LEAVING YOU INDEBTED TO THE GOVERNMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,513.21 FOR THE EXCESS TRANSPORTATION COST. BY OUR SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 20, 1957, YOU WERE ALLOWED $828.41 ADDITIONAL TRAVELING EXPENSE WHICH WAS APPLIED AGAINST YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES, LEAVING A BALANCE DUE OF $684.80, PLUS A TRAVEL ADVANCE INDEBTEDNESS OF $1,600, OR A TOTAL INDEBTEDNESS OF $2,284.80.

YOUR CONTENTION IS THAT TRANSPORTATION BY AN AMERICAN VESSEL WAS NOT AVAILABLE WITHIN A REASONABLE LENGTH OF TIME AFTER COMPLETION OF YOUR DUTIES IN HONG KONG, AND THEREFORE, YOU HAD TO TRAVEL BY A FOREIGN VESSEL. PARAGRAPH 4.2A (1) OF FOREIGN SERVICE CIRCULAR NO. 81, DATED MAY 7, 1954 (NOW 1 PSM III 131.43A (1) ( PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"4.2 TRAVEL OF PERSONNEL

"A. WHEN DIRECT AMERICAN SHIPS AND DIRECT FOREIGN SHIPS OPERATE BETWEEN THE PORT NEAREST TO THE PLACE WHERE OFFICIAL TRAVEL ORIGINATES AND THE PORT NEAREST TO THE AUTHORIZED DESTINATION.

"/1) AN EMPLOYEE (AND DEPENDENTS ACCOMPANYING HIM) SHALL USE AN AMERICAN SHIP IF THE USE OF SUCH SHIP DOES NOT DELAY DEPARTURE MORE THAN FIVE DAYS AFTER THE EMPLOYEE'S DATE OF READINESS FOR TRAVEL.

"E. EMPLOYEES AND DEPENDENTS ARE NOT EXPECTED TO TRAVEL BY FREIGHT VESSEL UNLESS NO OTHER SERVICE IS AVAILABLE. HOWEVER, WHEN FREIGHT VESSELS ARE USED, THE FOREGOING RULES PERTAINING TO TRAVEL ON PASSENGER VESSELS SHALL APPLY.'

THE WORD DIRECT IS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH 4.1A OF THE CIRCULAR TO MEAN WITHOUT TRANSSHIPMENT EN ROUTE. THE WORD NEAREST IS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH 4.1B OF THE CIRCULAR TO MEAN "AS THE CROW FLIES.'

UNDER THE ABOVE-QUOTED PROVISIONS OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE CIRCULAR YOU WOULD BE ENTITLED TO USE A FOREIGN VESSEL USING A DIRECT ROUTE IN RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES WHERE AN AMERICAN VESSEL WAS NOT AVAILABLE WITHIN FIVE DAYS FROM THE DATE YOU HAD COMPLETED YOUR OFFICIAL DUTIES AT HONG KONG. YOUR CERTIFICATE OF READINESS SHOWS THAT YOU COMPLETED YOUR OFFICIAL DUTIES AT HONG KONG ON DECEMBER 23, 1954. SINCE NO DIRECT AMERICAN VESSEL WAS AVAILABLE WITHIN FIVE DAYS FROM THE DATE YOU COMPLETED YOUR DUTIES THERE, YOU WERE ENTITLED TO USE THE NEXT DIRECT FOREIGN VESSEL WHICH IN YOUR CASE SAILED ON DECEMBER 30, 1954. SINCE YOU DID NOT WAIT FOR THE SAILING OF A DIRECT FOREIGN VESSEL BUT INSTEAD SAILED ON AN INDIRECT FOREIGN VESSEL YOU WERE REIMBURSED FOR THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRANSPORTATION OF YOURSELF AND DEPENDENTS BY A DIRECT FOREIGN VESSEL.

THEREFORE, UPON REVIEW THE ACTION TAKEN IN THE SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 20, IS SUSTAINED. WE REQUEST THAT THE AMOUNT DUE BE REMITTED TO OUR OFFICE. THE PAYMENT SHOULD BE IN THE FORM OF A BANK DRAFT, CERTIFIED CHECK OR MONEY ORDER MADE PAYABLE TO "U.S. GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, POST OFFICE BOX 2610, WASHINGTON 13, D.C., "REFERRING TO CLAIM NO. PB-Z 1807135-CBM.