B-135085, MAR. 6, 1958

B-135085: Mar 6, 1958

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BOTH TRAVELERS WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM ARMY CHEMICAL CENTER (EDGEWOOD). YOU SAY THAT "PAYMENT OVER A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE IS NOT AUTHORIZED" AND. THAT IF NORTHBOUND ARMY DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES WERE PERMITTED TO TRAVEL DIRECTLY FROM THEIR HOMES IN THE BALTIMORE AREA INSTEAD OF VIA ARMY CHEMICAL CENTER. TRAVEL BY OTHER ROUTES MAY BE ALLOWED WHEN THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY THEREFOR IS SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED.'. GEN. 438 IT WAS HELD THAT THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT TO A TRAVELER OF ADDITIONAL COSTS INCURRED IN TAKING A LONGER ROUTE ON TRIP FROM ARMY CHEMICAL CENTER. IT WAS SAID THAT SUCH AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION WOULD BE ACCEPTED AS A FINDING THAT THERE EXISTED AN OFFICIAL NECESSITY FOR THE USE OF THE LONGER ROUTE.

B-135085, MAR. 6, 1958

TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL A. W. NORSE:

YOUR LETTER DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1957, REQUESTS AN ADVANCE DECISION ON THE LEGALITY OF PAYING TWO VOUCHERS REPRESENTING TRAVELING EXPENSES OF TWO CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, MARGARET C. FILBERT AND ALFRED L. FRAHM.

BOTH TRAVELERS WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM ARMY CHEMICAL CENTER (EDGEWOOD), MARYLAND, TO POINTS NORTH OF EDGEWOOD, NAMELY, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, AND U.S. ARMY CHEMICAL PROCUREMENT DISTRICT, NEW YORK, RESPECTIVELY. BOTH TRAVELERS INCURRED ADDITIONAL TRAVELING EXPENSES BY DEPARTING FROM THEIR RESIDENCES LOCATED SOUTH OF EDGEWOOD AND ROUTING THEIR JOURNEY VIS BALTIMORE. YOU SAY THAT "PAYMENT OVER A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE IS NOT AUTHORIZED" AND, SINCE BOTH VOUCHERS INCLUDE ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS INCURRED BY REASON OF TRAVEL OVER CIRCUITOUS ROUTES, YOU DOUBT THAT THEY SHOULD BE PAID IN FULL. YOU DO OBSERVE, HOWEVER, THAT IF NORTHBOUND ARMY DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES WERE PERMITTED TO TRAVEL DIRECTLY FROM THEIR HOMES IN THE BALTIMORE AREA INSTEAD OF VIA ARMY CHEMICAL CENTER, MARYLAND, THE TRAVEL COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED IN A SHORTER TIME AND THE SLIGHTLY GREATER FARE WOULD BE MORE THAN OFFSET BY A SAVINGS IN PER DIEM AND BY ENABLING THE EMPLOYEES TO SPEND MORE OF THEIR DUTY TIME IN PRODUCTIVE WORK AND LESS IN A TRAVEL STATUS.

SECTION 3.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES,"ALL TRAVEL MUST BE BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. TRAVEL BY OTHER ROUTES MAY BE ALLOWED WHEN THE OFFICIAL NECESSITY THEREFOR IS SATISFACTORILY ESTABLISHED.' IN 32 COMP. GEN. 438 IT WAS HELD THAT THIS OFFICE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT TO A TRAVELER OF ADDITIONAL COSTS INCURRED IN TAKING A LONGER ROUTE ON TRIP FROM ARMY CHEMICAL CENTER, MARYLAND, AND NORTH PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, WHEN BY SO DOING, THE TRAVELER AVOIDED SEVERAL CONGESTED URBAN AREAS TRANSECTED BY THE ALTERNATE SHORTER ROUTE AND, THEREBY, SAVED TWO HOURS OF DRIVING TIME EACH WAY. HOWEVER, IN THAT CASE WE CONDITIONED OUR NONOBJECTION UPON SPECIFIC AUTHORIZATION OR APPROVAL, BY AN OFFICIAL HAVING AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE THE TRAVEL, OF THE ROUTE UTILIZED. IT WAS SAID THAT SUCH AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION WOULD BE ACCEPTED AS A FINDING THAT THERE EXISTED AN OFFICIAL NECESSITY FOR THE USE OF THE LONGER ROUTE, AND THAT, UNLESS CLEARLY UNREASONABLE, SAID DETERMINATION WOULD NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE.

THE DECISION IN 32 COMP. GEN. 438 IS APPLICABLE IN THE CASES OF M. G. FILBERT AND A. L. FRAHM. THE VOUCHERS ARE RETURNED HEREWITH AND, IF APPROVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING, PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.