B-137877, FEB 13, 1959

B-137877: Feb 13, 1959

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THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE TRAVEL TO AND FROM OMAHA VIA PENDLETON WAS BY COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT EXCEPT FOR THAT PORTION OF THE RETURN JOURNEY BETWEEN PENDLETON AND WALLA WALLA. THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT THERE IS NO RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE BETWEEN PENDLETON AND WALLA WALLA. FAUST WITH HIS WIFE BOTH EMPLOYEES WERE PICKED UP AT THE PENDLETON AIRPORT AND DRIVEN HOME IN MR. YOU FURTHER SAY THAT AIR TRAVEL TO WALLA WALLA WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE UNTIL 10:22 A.M. THAT THE NORMAL TAXICAB FARE BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS IS $20. THAT EACH EMPLOYEE WAS RECEIVING $12 PER DIEM. THE NEAREST RAIL TERMINALS ARE PENDLETON. THE ONLY CONNECTION BETWEEN THESE TWO POINTS IS BY BUS. IF DECISION IN THE CASE OF SUBJECT IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE CASE PRINCIPLE CAN BE APPLIED TO PAYMENT OF FUTURE CLAIMS OF THE SAME TYPE PROVIDED ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT CAN BE SHOWN.

B-137877, FEB 13, 1959

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

MR. J. F. SEELY:

BY FIFTH INDORSEMENT DATED OCTOBER 28, 1958 (ENGCR 150), THE ENGINEER COMPTROLLER, OFFICE, CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, FORWARDED HERE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 1, 1958 (NPHCF), REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING PAYMENT OF A $6 RECLAIM VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF MR. REX R. FAUST, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS, WALLA WALLA, WASHINGTON.

THE SUM RECLAIMED REPRESENTS THE AMOUNT ADMINISTRATIVELY SUSPENDED ON YOUR VOUCHER NO. 1505, MAY 1958 ACCOUNTS, REPRESENTING MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE DURING MAY 1958, FOR TRAVEL FROM WALLA WALLA, THE CLAIMANT'S HOME, TO PENDLETON, OREGON, AND RETURN, AFTER THE CLAIMANT HAD COMPLETED A TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT IN OMAHA, NEBRASKA, IN COMPLIANCE WITH TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED MAY 1, 1958.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE TRAVEL TO AND FROM OMAHA VIA PENDLETON WAS BY COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT EXCEPT FOR THAT PORTION OF THE RETURN JOURNEY BETWEEN PENDLETON AND WALLA WALLA. YOU SAY THAT BECAUSE OF A DISRUPTION AND DELAY IN SCHEDULED PLANE SERVICE, MR. FAUST AND ANOTHER EMPLOYEE-TRAVLER - MR. IRA HASKETT - ALSO DESTINED FOR WALLA WALLA, ARRIVED IN PENDLETON TOO LATE TO MAKE CONNECTIONS WITH THE LAST SCHEDULED PLANE FLIGHT TO WALLA WALLA. THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT THERE IS NO RAIL PASSENGER SERVICE BETWEEN PENDLETON AND WALLA WALLA, A HIGHWAY DISTANCE OF APPROXIMATELY 45 MILES; THAT ACCORDING TO TRAVEL SCHEDULES THE LAST AIR FLIGHT TO WALLA WALLA LEAVES PENDLETON AT 9:50 P.M., AND THE LAST BUS LEAVES FOR WALLA WALLA AT 9:15 P.M.; THAT PURSUANT TO ARRANGEMENTS MADE BY MR. FAUST WITH HIS WIFE BOTH EMPLOYEES WERE PICKED UP AT THE PENDLETON AIRPORT AND DRIVEN HOME IN MR. FAUST'S AUTOMOBILE. YOU FURTHER SAY THAT AIR TRAVEL TO WALLA WALLA WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE UNTIL 10:22 A.M., ON THE FOLLOWING DAY; THAT THE NORMAL TAXICAB FARE BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS IS $20; AND THAT EACH EMPLOYEE WAS RECEIVING $12 PER DIEM.

PARAGRAPH 4 AND 5 OF YOUR LETTER READ, AS FOLLOWS:

"4. THIS OFFICE QUESTIONS WHETHER PENDLETON, OREGON CAN BE CONSIDERED THE COMMON CARRIER TERMINAL FOR WALLA WALLA, PERMITTING PAYMENT AT THE RATE OF TEN CENTS PER MILE FOR ROUND TRIP FROM WALLA WALLA TO PENDLETON LIMITED TO THE COST OF TAXI FARE ONE WAY AS PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 8-5C(5) CPRT-3.

"5. IN ADDITION TO THE CASE CITED ABOVE, SIMILAR SITUATIONS OCCASIONALLY DEVELOP IN CONNECTION WITH RAIL TRAVEL SINCE PASSENGER SERVICE INTO WALLA WALLA HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED. THE NEAREST RAIL TERMINALS ARE PENDLETON, OREGON AND PASCO, WASHINGTON, BOTH APPROXIMATELY 45 MILES AWAY. THE ONLY CONNECTION BETWEEN THESE TWO POINTS IS BY BUS. IF DECISION IN THE CASE OF SUBJECT IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE CASE PRINCIPLE CAN BE APPLIED TO PAYMENT OF FUTURE CLAIMS OF THE SAME TYPE PROVIDED ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT CAN BE SHOWN. YOUR COMMENTS ARE ACCORDINGLY REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER PASCO, WASHINGTON AND PENDLETON, OREGON CAN BE CONSIDERED COMMON CARRIER TERMINALS FOR WALLA WALLA PERMITTING PAYMENT FOR ROUND TRIP MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF TEN CENTS A MILE IF PRIVATE AUTO TRANSPORTATION IS FURNISHED FROM HOME TO THE ABOVE COMMON CARRIER TERMINALS AND RETURN IF MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT."

THE ARMY REGULATIONS LAST MENTIONED, CPR T3.8-5C(5), CHANGE 2, DATED MARCH 20, 1957, PROVIDE:

"IN LIEU OF THE USE OF A TAXICAB, PAYMENT OF MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE WILL BE ALLOWED FOR THE ROUND TRIP MILEAGE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE USED IN CONNECTION WITH AN EMPLOYEE GOING FROM HIS PLACE OF ABODE TO A COMMON CARRIER TERMINAL OR FROM A COMMON CARRIER TERMINAL TO HIS PLACE OF ABODE. HOWEVER, THE AMOUNT OF REIMBURSEMENT WILL NOT EXCEED THE USUAL TAXICAB FARE, INCLUDING ALLOWABLE TIP, FOR A ONE-WAY TRIP FROM HIS PLACE OF ABODE TO TERMINAL OR FROM TERMINAL TO HIS PLACE OF ABODE. UNDER THIS PARAGRAPH IT IS POSSIBLE FOR AN EMPLOYEE TO BE REIMBURSED FOR TWO ROUND TRIPS BETWEEN PLACE OF ABODE AND TERMINAL IN CONNECTION WITH ONE ABSENCE FROM THE OFFICIAL DUTY STATION."

THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROVISION EVIDENTLY INTENDED TO RESTATE, IN SUBSTANCE, THE LAST SENTENCE OF SECTION 3.5B.(1), STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH SENTENCE BY ITS TERMS APPLIES ONLY TO CASES WHEN A TAXICAB IS ALLOWABLE UNDER 3.1B. OF THOSE REGULATIONS.

SECTIONS 1.1, 3.1B, AND 3.4A OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDE, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"1.1. FUNDS FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES. - EMPLOYEES *** ARE EXPECTED TO EXERCISE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS.

"3.1. ***

"B. THE USUAL TAXICAB FARES FROM STATION, WHARF, OR OTHER TERMINAL TO EITHER PLACE OF ABODE OR PLACE OF BUSINESS AND FROM EITHER PLACE OF ABODE OR PLACE OF BUSINESS TO STATION, WHARF, OR OTHER TERMINAL WILL BE ALLOWED. (SEE SEC. 3.4.) FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS SUBSECTION THE TERM 'PLACE OF ABODE' MAY BE CONSTRUED TO INCLUDE ANY POINT WITHIN REASONABLE DISTANCE FROM WHICH THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL POST OF DUTY. ***

"3.4. SPECIAL CONVEYANCE. - A. THE HIRE OF BOAT, AUTOMOBILE, TAXICAB, AIRCRAFT, LIVERY, OR OTHER SUCH CONVEYANCE WILL BE ALLOWED IF THE USE OF SUCH FACILITIES IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT WHENEVER THE EMPLOYEE OR OTHERS RENDERING SERVICE TO THE GOVERNMENT IS ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN OR OUTSIDE HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY. ***"

OUR VIEW IS THAT THE AIR TERMINAL AT PENDLETON, OREGON, MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS THE TERMINAL COVERED EITHER BY SECTION 3.1B AND 3.5B(1) OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS, OR BY T3.8-5C(5) OF THE ARMY REGULATIONS FOR PERSONS STATIONED AT WALLA WALLA. IF AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE IS MADE, HOWEVER, COVERING USE OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE AT A SPECIFIED MILEAGE RATE, NOT TO EXCEED 10 CENTS PER MILE, BETWEEN THE RESIDENCE AT WALLA WALLA AND THE AIR TERMINAL AT PENDLETON - WHICH REASONABLY COULD BE VIEWED AS IN THE NATURE OF TRAVEL BY A SPECIAL CONVEYANCE UNDER SECTION 3.4 AND IN CONSONANCE WITH SECTION 1.1 OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS - OUR OFFICE WOULD NOT OBJECT, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE PRESENTED, TO ALLOWANCE OF ROUND TRIP MILEAGE FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION. SEE, GENERALLY, 31 COMP. GEN. 304. THE DECISION 23 COMP. GEN. 549, TO THE EXTENT INCONSISTENT HEREWITH IS NO LONGER FOR APPLICATION TO THIS OR SIMILAR SITUATIONS.

IT FOLLOWS THAT THE RECLAIM VOUCHER MAY NOT BE PAID UNLESS IT BE ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE.

CONCERNING YOUR QUESTION RELATING TO TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEES STATIONED AT WALLA WALLA BY RAIL FROM EITHER PASCO OR PENDLETON, WE SEE NO BASIS FOR APPLICATION OF A DIFFERENT PRINCIPLE IN CIRCUMSTANCES SIMILAR TO THE AIR TRAVEL CASE PRESENTED IN THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER.

THE VOUCHER AND RELATED PAPERS ARE RETURNED.