B-135092, MAR. 10, 1958

B-135092: Mar 10, 1958

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MELYAN WAS DIRECTED TO TRAVEL FROM CULVER CITY. HIS SIX DEPENDENTS WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL DIRECT FROM CULVER CITY TO TAIPEI. MELYAN STATES THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO PROCURE BERTHS UPON ARRIVAL. WHICH HE SAYS WOULD HAVE PROVED EXTREMELY FATIGUING WHEN TRAVELING WITH HIS LARGE FAMILY. IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS WERE USED FOR ANY PART OF THE JOURNEY EXCEPT FROM LOS ANGELES TO HONOLULU. YOU SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION BY OUR OFFICE: (1) SHOULD THE EMPLOYEE HAVE PROCEEDED ONWARD FROM HONOLULU BY THE FIRST FLIGHT DEPARTING IMMEDIATELY AFTER HIS ARRIVAL ON THE MORNING OF JULY 12. NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE HAD BEEN IN FLIGHT FOR APPROXIMATELY 17 1/2 HOURS FROM THE TIME OF DEPARTURE FROM WASHINGTON UNTIL ARRIVAL IN HONOLULU? (2) SHOULD THE EMPLOYEE HAVE DEPARTED HONOLULU ON THE EVENING OF THE SAME DAY OF ARRIVAL.

B-135092, MAR. 10, 1958

TO MR. NEAL J. PRICE, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 29, 1958, REFERENCE AUD:AAB:MA, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTS OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT THE VOUCHER THEREWITH SUBMITTED COVERING A RECLAIM BY MR. WESLEY R. C. MELYAN, IN THE AMOUNT OF $171 REPRESENTING PER DIEM ADMINISTRATIVELY SUSPENDED FROM A PRIOR TRAVEL VOUCHER UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER RELATED.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT UNDER TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION ICA 7-P-3044 DATED JUNE 11, 1957, MR. MELYAN WAS DIRECTED TO TRAVEL FROM CULVER CITY, CALIFORNIA, VIA WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR ORIENTATION, THEN TO TAIPEI, TAIWAN. HIS SIX DEPENDENTS WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL DIRECT FROM CULVER CITY TO TAIPEI. UPON COMPLETION OF TEMPORARY DUTY IN WASHINGTON, D.C., MR. MELYAN DEPARTED THAT CITY BY AIR ON JULY 11, 1957, AT 1:00 P.M., FOR LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, AT WHICH POINT HIS DEPENDENTS JOINED HIM FOR ONWARD TRAVEL BY AIR TO TAIPEI AT 11:00 P.M. OF THE SAME DAY. THEY UTILIZED SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE SHORTAGE OF ONE BERTH FOR THIS PART OF THE TRAVEL, ARRIVING IN HONOLULU, HAWAII, ON JULY 12, 1957, AT 6:30 A.M. THE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS OFFICE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION HAD BEEN UNABLE TO OBTAIN CONFIRMATION OF BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS FOR THE HONOLULU-TOKYO, JAPAN, LEG OF THE JOURNEY AND THEREFORE ADVISED MR. MELYAN THAT HE SHOULD ATTEMPT TO OBTAIN BERTH RESERVATIONS UPON ARRIVAL IN HONOLULU. MR. MELYAN STATES THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO PROCURE BERTHS UPON ARRIVAL, AND RATHER THAN CONTINUE ONWARD IMMEDIATELY ON THE FLIGHT WITHOUT BERTHS, WHICH HE SAYS WOULD HAVE PROVED EXTREMELY FATIGUING WHEN TRAVELING WITH HIS LARGE FAMILY, HE DECIDED TO REMAIN IN HONOLULU FOR A NIGHT'S REST. HE THEREFORE PROCEEDED TO HIS DESTINATION A DAY LATER, DEPARTING HONOLULU ON A DAY FLIGHT, JULY 13, 1957, 8:30 A.M., AND ARRIVING IN TOKYO, AFTER CROSSING THE INTERNATIONAL DATE LINE, AT 9:50 P.M., JULY 14, 1957. AFTER A LAYOVER, AWAITING TRANSPORTATION, HE PROCEEDED TO TAIPEI, LEAVING TOKYO AT 1:00 A.M. ON JULY 16 AND ARRIVING AT TAIPEI AT 6:20 A.M. IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS WERE USED FOR ANY PART OF THE JOURNEY EXCEPT FROM LOS ANGELES TO HONOLULU.

YOU SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION BY OUR OFFICE:

(1) SHOULD THE EMPLOYEE HAVE PROCEEDED ONWARD FROM HONOLULU BY THE FIRST FLIGHT DEPARTING IMMEDIATELY AFTER HIS ARRIVAL ON THE MORNING OF JULY 12, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT HE HAD BEEN IN FLIGHT FOR APPROXIMATELY 17 1/2 HOURS FROM THE TIME OF DEPARTURE FROM WASHINGTON UNTIL ARRIVAL IN HONOLULU?

(2) SHOULD THE EMPLOYEE HAVE DEPARTED HONOLULU ON THE EVENING OF THE SAME DAY OF ARRIVAL, PROVIDED BERTHS WERE AVAILABLE THEREBY OBLIGATING THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE COST OF SIX BERTHS AT $75.00 EACH, OR A SUM OF $450.00?

(3) WAS EMPLOYEE ENTITLED TO THE ONE NIGHT'S REST WHICH HE TOOK IN HONOLULU, PROCEEDING ON A DAY FLIGHT THE FOLLOWING MORNING, JULY 13, WHICH INVOLVED AN ACCRUAL OF ADDITIONAL PER DIEM IN THE AMOUNT OF $171.00 FOR THE STOPOVER, BUT INCIDENTALLY ELIMINATED THE NECESSITY FOR UTILIZING BERTHS AT A COST OF $450.00 ON A NIGHT FLIGHT, THEREBY EFFECTING A SAVING OF $279.00 TO THE GOVERNMENT?

SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 55 STAT. 876, PROVIDES THAT AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICERS "SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO APPLY FOR AND OBTAIN A DECISION BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON ANY QUESTION OF LAW INVOLVED IN A PAYMENT ON ANY VOUCHER PRESENTED TO THEM FOR CERTIFICATION.' ACCORDINGLY, OUR OFFICE IS WITHOUT JURISDICTION TO RENDER A DECISION TO YOU AS AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER UPON GENRAL QUESTIONS NOT INVOLVED IN THE VOUCHER ACCOMPANYING YOUR REQUEST FOR A DECISION. SEE 24 COMP. GEN. 546, AND 26 ID. 797. THE VOUCHER FORWARDED BY YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED AND A DECISION RENDERED WITH RESPECT TO THE QUESTION OF THE LAW INVOLVED THEREIN.

CONCERNING AIRPLANE ACCOMMODATIONS THE CONTROLLING INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION REGULATIONS ORDER NO. 560.2, SECTION III, PARAGRAPH E 2 PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"2. ACCOMMODATIONS ON PLANES

EACH AUTHORIZED TRAVELER WILL BE ALLOWED A SEAT ON AN AIRPLANE, PROVIDED THE ACCOMMODATION IS ACTUALLY USED. WHEN OVERSEAS NIGHT TRAVEL OF MORE THAN 6 HOURS' DURATION IS INVOLVED, ONE STANDARD BERTH WILL BE ALLOWED FOR EACH TRAVELER 5 YEARS OF AGE OR OVER IF SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS ARE AVAILABLE AND ARE ACTUALLY USED; ONE STANDARD BERTH WILL BE ALLOWED FOR EACH TWO CHILDREN UNDER 5, BUT NO BERTH WILL BE ALLOWED FOR SEPARATE OCCUPANCY BY ONE CHILD UNDER 5 WHO IS ACCOMPANIED BY A PERSON OVER 5 YEARS OF AGE TRAVELING AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.'

SINCE THE MORNING FLIGHT FROM HONOLULU TO TOKYO ARRIVES AT TOKYO AT 9:50 P.M., IT IS APPARENT THAT NIGHT TRAVEL OF MORE THAN SIX HOURS WAS NOT REQUIRED FOR THAT LEG OF THE JOURNEY. THUS, UNDER THE REGULATIONS IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS ENTITLED TO BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS AND THEIR UNAVAILABILITY WOULD NOT JUSTIFY IN LAW A STOPOVER OF TWENTY-FOUR HOURS OR MORE AT HONOLULU.

CURRENT INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION ADMINISTRATION REGULATIONS ORDER NO. 560.2, SECTION III, PARAGRAPH G 3, CONCERNING DELAYS AND INTERRUPTIONS EN ROUTE, READS AS FOLLOWS:

"3. DELAYS AND INTERRUPTIONS EN ROUTE

PER DIEM WILL BE ALLOWED FOR PERIODS OF DELAY OR INTERRUPTION EN ROUTE WHEN NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED TEMPORARY DUTY, OR WHEN CAUSED BY CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE TRAVELER.'

SINCE NONE OF THE CONDITIONS SPECIFIED IN THE REGULATION WERE THE CAUSE OF MR. MELYAN'S STOPOVER, WE FIND NO BASIS IN LAW FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF THE PER DIEM CLAIMED.

THE VOUCHER TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 29 IS RETURNED HEREWITH, TOGETHER WITH THE RELATED PAPERS, BUT FOR THE REASONS STATED ABOVE IT MAY NOT PROPERLY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.