B-136364, JUL. 25, 1958

B-136364: Jul 25, 1958

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PHILLIPS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 27. WHILE YOU WERE SERVING AS A MASTER SERGEANT IN THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ASSIGNED TO ACTIVE DUTY AT OR NEAR FONTAINEBLEAU. YOU WERE GRANTED A SEPARATE RATIONS ALLOWANCE IN ADDITION TO THE AUTHORIZED STATION SUBSISTENCE AND QUARTERS ALLOWANCE. THESE ORDERS WERE SUPPLEMENTED BY A CERTIFICATE OF THE SAME DATE AND BY THE SAME COMMAND STATING. THAT "WHEREAS" YOU WERE AUTHORIZED STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES BY SPECIAL ORDER 15 IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES PAYABLE AS A RESULT THEREOF "A DETERMINATION IS HEREBY MADE THAT GOVERNMENT MESS AND QUARTERS INCLUDING RATIONS IN KIND WERE NOT AVAILABLE TO SUBJECT ENLISTED MAN IN HIS OWN RIGHT.'.

B-136364, JUL. 25, 1958

TO MR. ROBERT G. PHILLIPS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 27, 1958, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED OCTOBER 27, 1956, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR AN ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE BELIEVED TO BE DUE YOU FOR THE PERIOD OCTOBER 4, 1953, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 19, 1955, WHILE YOU WERE SERVING AS A MASTER SERGEANT IN THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ASSIGNED TO ACTIVE DUTY AT OR NEAR FONTAINEBLEAU, FRANCE.

BY SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 15, HEADQUARTERS, FONTAINEBLEAU DETACHMENT, SEINE AREA COMMAND, USAREUR COM Z, APO 11, U.S. AIR FORCE, DATED SEPTEMBER 23, 1953, YOU WERE GRANTED A SEPARATE RATIONS ALLOWANCE IN ADDITION TO THE AUTHORIZED STATION SUBSISTENCE AND QUARTERS ALLOWANCE. THESE ORDERS WERE SUPPLEMENTED BY A CERTIFICATE OF THE SAME DATE AND BY THE SAME COMMAND STATING, IN MATERIAL PART, THAT "WHEREAS" YOU WERE AUTHORIZED STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES BY SPECIAL ORDER 15 IN ADDITION TO ANY OTHER QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES PAYABLE AS A RESULT THEREOF "A DETERMINATION IS HEREBY MADE THAT GOVERNMENT MESS AND QUARTERS INCLUDING RATIONS IN KIND WERE NOT AVAILABLE TO SUBJECT ENLISTED MAN IN HIS OWN RIGHT.' THEREAFTER YOU WERE CURRENTLY CREDITED DURING THE PERIOD OCTOBER 4, 1953, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 19, 1955, WITH A BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE AT THE DAILY RATE BASED ON THE COMMUTED VALUE OF RATIONS IN KIND AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE TO BE PAID TO ENLISTED PERSONS WHO HAVE BEEN GRANTED PERMISSION TO MESS SEPARATELY. ALSO, YOU WERE CREDITED WITH THE OVERSEAS STATION SUBSISTENCE AND QUARTERS ALLOWANCES FOR THE PERIOD OCTOBER 4, 1953, THROUGH DECEMBER 27, 1954, AT THE RATE PRESCRIBED FOR MEMBERS WITHOUT DEPENDENTS, AND THEREAFTER, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 19, 1955, AT THE INCREASED RATE PRESCRIBED FOR MEMBERS WITH DEPENDENTS. YOUR CLAIM FOR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $1.10 A DAY, THE BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE ALLOWED MEMBERS PERMITTED TO MESS SEPARATELY, AND $2.57 A DAY, THE BASIC ALLOWANCE AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE FOR MEMBERS ON DUTY AT PLACES WHERE RATIONS IN KIND ARE NOT AVAILABLE, WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT OF OCTOBER 27, 1956, ON THE BASIS OF A REPORT FROM HEADQUARTERS, FONTAINEBLEAU, FRANCE, SAC, APO 11,U.S. ARMY, TO THE EFFECT THAT, NOTWITHSTANDING THE CERTIFICATE OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1953, A GOVERNMENT MESS WAS AVAILABLE TO YOU DURING THE PERIOD STATED IN YOUR CLAIM. YOU REQUEST RECONSIDERATION OF THIS SETTLEMENT IN VIEW OF CERTAIN UNANSWERED QUESTIONS POSED IN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 3, 1956. IN THAT LETTER YOU STATE THAT, SINCE YOU WERE A MEMBER WITHOUT DEPENDENTS AT THE TIME, YOUR AUTHORIZATION TO MESS SEPARATELY WAS NOT CONSIDERED AS ENTITLING YOU TO PAYMENT OF THE STATION SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FOR WHICH REASON THERE WAS FURNISHED THE CERTIFICATE OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1953, TO THE EFFECT, IN SUBSTANCE, THAT SINCE YOU HAD BEEN AUTHORIZED CERTAIN SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES IT WAS DETERMINED THAT A GOVERNMENT MESS WAS NOT AVAILABLE TO YOU IN YOUR OWN RIGHT. ALSO, YOU ASK UNDER WHAT AUTHORITY YOU COULD HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED STATION SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCES AS A MEMBER WITHOUT DEPENDENTS WITHOUT A DETERMINATION BEING MADE THAT RATIONS IN KIND WERE NOT AVAILABLE, AND WHAT IS THE AUTHORITY TO VOID AN AUTHORIZED ALLOWANCE AFTER THE PERIOD OF ENTITLEMENT HAS EXPIRED?

ON THE GROUND THAT GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AND MESSES IN FACT WERE AVAILABLE TO THE PERSONNEL INVOLVED, OUR DIVISION OF AUDITS ISSUED NUMEROUS EXCEPTIONS TO PAYMENTS OF STATION PER DIEM AND BASIC ALLOWANCES FOR QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE MADE BY DISBURSING OFFICERS IN CERTAIN AREAS OVERSEAS, INCLUDING FONTAINEBLEAU, BEFORE AND DURING THE PERIOD OF YOUR CLAIM. AN INVESTIGATION CONDUCTED BY THE ASSISTANT VICE CHIEF OF STAFF, UNITED STATES AIR FORCE, RESULTED IN A REPORT TO US BY THE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE WITH RESPECT TO THESE QUESTIONED PAYMENTS IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * SINCE THERE WAS AN OVER-ALL LACK OF ADEQUATE QUARTERS AND MESSING FACILITIES ON THESE BASES, THE COMMANDER CONCERNED AUTHORIZED THOSE MEMBERS WHO HAD OBTAINED OFF-BASE HOUSING TO RESIDE OFF BASE AND MESS SEPARATELY PENDING THE ARRIVAL OF THE DEPENDENTS. SIMILARLY, AT FONTAINEBLEAU THERE WAS AN OVER-ALL LACK OF ADEQUATE HOUSING AND MESSING FACILITIES ON THE BASE, AND THE COMMANDER AUTHORIZED THOSE MEMBERS WHO WERE AWAITING THE ARRIVAL OF DEPENDENTS TO MESS SEPARATELY AND LIVE OFF BASE IN THE QUARTERS WHICH THEY HAD OBTAINED FOR OCCUPANCY BY THEIR DEPENDENTS.

"IN EACH CASE THE COMMANDER CONCERNED MADE THE DETERMINATIONS THAT ADEQUATE QUARTERS OR MESSING FACILITIES WERE NOT AVAILABLE IN THE BELIEF THAT SUCH DETERMINATIONS WERE AUTHORIZED BY REGULATIONS AND WERE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE AIR FORCE. * * *"

THE FOREGOING CLEARLY SUPPORTS THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT IN YOUR CASE THAT A GOVERNMENT MESS WAS AVAILABLE TO YOU AND THAT THE CERTIFICATE OF SEPTEMBER 23, 1953, TO THE EXTENT THAT IT INDICATES OTHERWISE, IS IN ERROR. IT FURTHER ESTABLISHES THAT CERTIFICATES SUCH AS THAT ISSUED IN YOUR CASE WERE NOT ISSUED FOR THE PURPOSE OF AUTHORIZING A BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE IN THE AMOUNT OF $2.67 A DAY BUT WERE ISSUED TO SUPPORT THE PAYMENT OF OVERSEAS STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES. ALSO, THE FACT THAT YOUR PAY RECORD WAS CURRENTLY CREDITED FOR SUBSISTENCE AT THE DAILY RATE OF $1.10 SHOWS THAT YOUR ORDERS AND THE SUPPORTING CERTIFICATE WERE AT NO TIME REGARDED AS ENTITLING YOU TO ANY ALLOWANCE GREATER THAN THAT PROVIDED FOR MEMBERS AUTHORIZED TO MESS SEPARATELY. HENCE, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE REASONS FOR GRANTING YOU SEPARATE RATION ALLOWANCES, THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR THE PAYMENT TO YOU OF THE ADDITIONAL AMOUNT NOW CLAIMED.