B-134115, NOV. 6, 1957

B-134115: Nov 6, 1957

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

WHICH WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM D.O. YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW IS BASED SOLELY ON THE PREMISE THAT HAVING PROVIDED TRANSPORTATION TO TWO OTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ON THE RETURN TRIP YOU THEREBY SAVED THE GOVERNMENT THE COST OF THEIR TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER AND THIS FACT SHOULD SUPPORT REIMBURSEMENT BY OUR OFFICE OF ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY YOU IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT YOUR TRAVEL ORDER SPECIFICALLY LIMITED YOUR AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT TO THAT ON A MILEAGE BASIS NOT TO EXCEED THE COST BY COMMON CARRIER. THE BASIC AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IS CONTAINED IN THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949. AS WILL MOST NEARLY COMPENSATE THE TRAVELER FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES.

B-134115, NOV. 6, 1957

TO MR. EDWARD J. DUNN:

YOUR INDORSEMENT LETTER OF OCTOBER 7, 1957, REQUESTS RECONSIDERATION OF OUR OFFICE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR RECLAIM FOR $22.18, WHICH WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM D.O. VOU. NO. 1903, PAID DECEMBER 11, 1956, ACCOUNTS OF D. OSTROSKY, SYMBOL 6568. YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW IS BASED SOLELY ON THE PREMISE THAT HAVING PROVIDED TRANSPORTATION TO TWO OTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES ON THE RETURN TRIP YOU THEREBY SAVED THE GOVERNMENT THE COST OF THEIR TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER AND THIS FACT SHOULD SUPPORT REIMBURSEMENT BY OUR OFFICE OF ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY YOU IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT YOUR TRAVEL ORDER SPECIFICALLY LIMITED YOUR AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT TO THAT ON A MILEAGE BASIS NOT TO EXCEED THE COST BY COMMON CARRIER.

THE BASIC AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IS CONTAINED IN THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 835-842, THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND THE REGULATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY CONCERNED. SECTION 2.1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PERTAINS TO THE AUTHORITY FOR TRAVEL AND PROVIDES THAT, EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW, ALL TRAVEL SHALL BE EITHER AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR BY AN OFFICIAL TO WHOM SUCH AUTHORITY HAS BEEN PROPERLY DELEGATED. SECTION 3.5B OF THE REGULATIONS PERTAINS TO THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE AND PROVIDES, AMONG OTHER THINGS, FOR THE AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL BY THE AGENCY OF THE DESIGNATED RATES, WITHIN THE MAXIMA, AS WILL MOST NEARLY COMPENSATE THE TRAVELER FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES. NO DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT IS REQUIRED WHERE PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS IS LIMITED TO COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER, INCLUDING PER DIEM, IN EACH CASE. THE AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL OF THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES UPON A MILEAGE BASIS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3.5B OF THE REGULATIONS THUS IS A MATTER FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IN THE FIRST INSTANCE. SINCE THE RESTRICTION AS TO REIMBURSEMENT WAS ACCEPTED BY YOU WITHOUT CHALLENGE PRIOR TO THE TRAVEL BEING PERFORMED AND ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL OF A MORE BENEFICIAL BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT WAS DENIED ON THE FACTS SHOWN UPON RECLAIM, OUR OFFICE, UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES, MUST BE GOVERNED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE LIMITATIONS ON MILEAGE. THE REGULATIONS MAKE NO ALLOWANCE FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE OF AN ADVANTAGE ACCRUING TO THE GOVERNMENT, ACQUIRED BY THE TRAVELER AFTER THE TRAVEL HAS BEGUN, TO CHANGE THE BASIS OF REIMBURSEMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF A PROMPT ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION AND APPROVAL OF SUCH BASIS AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT BY THE AGENCY ITSELF.

AS TO THE EQUITIES INVOLVED IN YOUR CONTENTION, THAT SINCE A NET SAVINGS RESULTS FROM YOUR HAVING SUPPLIED TRANSPORTATION TO OTHER GOVERNMENT TRAVELERS ON A VOLUNTARY BASIS YOU SHOULD BE ALLOWED ACTUAL MILEAGE, YOUR ATTENTION IS DIRECTED TO SECTION 3.5B.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES THAT WHILE MILEAGE SHALL BE PAYABLE TO ONLY ONE OF TWO OR MORE EMPLOYEES TRAVELING TOGETHER ON THE SAME TRIP AND IN THE SAME VEHICLE, NO DEDUCTION SHALL BE MADE FROM THE MILEAGE OTHERWISE PAYABLE TO THE EMPLOYEE ENTITLED THERETO BY REASON OF THE FACT THAT OTHER PASSENGERS (WHETHER OR NOT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES) MAY TRAVEL WITH HIM AND CONTRIBUTE IN DEFRAYING THE OPERATING EXPENSES. IN THIS CONNECTION IT HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT AN ORDER LIMITING THE MILEAGE TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER, IN THE ABSENCE OF QUALIFYING LANGUAGE, CAN BE CONSTRUED TO MEAN ONLY THE COST OF COMMON CARRIER FOR ONE PERSON. COMP. GEN. 572. FURTHERMORE, THE LAW DOES NOT PERMIT YOU BY YOUR VOLUNTARY ACTION TO BECOME A CREDITOR OF THE UNITED STATES.

ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE YOUR TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER AND APPROVAL FOR REIMBURSEMENT ON ANY OTHER BASIS WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DENIED UPON RECLAIM, OUR OFFICE IS WITHOUT LEGAL AUTHORITY TO DIRECT PAYMENT OF THE SUM RECLAIMED AND YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE PRIOR DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM MUST BE, AND IS HEREBY, SUSTAINED.

THE CHECK TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND MAY BE NEGOTIATED BY YOU WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO ANY FURTHER ACTION YOU MAY CARE TO TAKE REGARDING YOUR CLAIM.