B-13814, JANUARY 6, 1942, 21 COMP. GEN. 638

B-13814: Jan 6, 1942

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WAS TO BE ON A MILEAGE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BASIS FOR THE ENTIRE DISTANCE TRAVELED UNDER THE ORDERS. IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY REPORTED THAT THE INTENTION WAS OTHERWISE AS TO THE STEAMSHIP TRANSPORTATION AND IT IS UNREASONABLE TO SUPPOSE THAT MILEAGE ONLY WAS INTENDED FOR THAT PORTION OF THE TRANSPORTATION. 1942: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 5. AS FOLLOWS: THE COMMISSION IS IN RECEIPT OF AN APPLICATION FOR REFUND OF RETIREMENT DEDUCTIONS UNDER THE ACT OF MAY 29. THERE IS $33.58 DUE ON THE APPLICATION OF WHICH $14.06 WAS PAID THE APPLICANT AND $0.32 PAID TO THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES IN LIQUIDATION OF AN OVERPAYMENT OF SALARY. IS FORWARDED HEREWITH FOR VERIFICATION AND ISSUANCE OF APPROPRIATE INSTRUCTIONS.

B-13814, JANUARY 6, 1942, 21 COMP. GEN. 638

TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - REIMBURSEMENT FOR STEAMSHIP PORTION OF JOURNEY WHERE AN EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDERS INDICATE THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE EXPENSE OF TRANSPORTATION, INCLUDING FARE ON A STEAMSHIP BETWEEN THE ISLANDS OF OAHU AND HAWAII, WAS TO BE ON A MILEAGE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BASIS FOR THE ENTIRE DISTANCE TRAVELED UNDER THE ORDERS, BUT IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY REPORTED THAT THE INTENTION WAS OTHERWISE AS TO THE STEAMSHIP TRANSPORTATION AND IT IS UNREASONABLE TO SUPPOSE THAT MILEAGE ONLY WAS INTENDED FOR THAT PORTION OF THE TRANSPORTATION, THE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE STEAMSHIP TRANSPORTATION NEED NOT BE LIMITED TO THE MILEAGE BASIS BUT MAY BE ON THE BASIS OF THE ACTUAL COST OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSPORTATION.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, JANUARY 6, 1942:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 5, 1941 (FILE RET:CO:JN CSR- 476072), AS FOLLOWS:

THE COMMISSION IS IN RECEIPT OF AN APPLICATION FOR REFUND OF RETIREMENT DEDUCTIONS UNDER THE ACT OF MAY 29, 1930, FILED BY GOTTFRIED SEITZ, FORMER FIELD ASSISTANT, FEDERAL SECURITY AGENCY, SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD. THERE IS $33.58 DUE ON THE APPLICATION OF WHICH $14.06 WAS PAID THE APPLICANT AND $0.32 PAID TO THE TREASURER OF THE UNITED STATES IN LIQUIDATION OF AN OVERPAYMENT OF SALARY.

THE FEDERAL SECURITY AGENCY HAS REQUESTED THIS OFFICE TO WITHHOLD THE AMOUNT OF $19.20 FROM THE AMOUNT DUE MR. SEITZ ON ACCOUNT OF AN EXCEPTION REPORTED BY YOUR OFFICE IN THE AUDIT OF HIS TRAVEL EXPENSE VOUCHERS.

SINCE THE APPLICANT HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE CLAIM FILED AGAINST HIM, ALL CORRESPONDENCE IN THE CASE, INCLUDING THE APPLICANT'S LETTER OF PROTEST, IS FORWARDED HEREWITH FOR VERIFICATION AND ISSUANCE OF APPROPRIATE INSTRUCTIONS. PLEASE RETURN THE ENCLOSURES WITH YOUR REPORT IN DUPLICATE.

THE LETTER FROM THE FEDERAL SECURITY AGENCY TO YOUR COMMISSION IS DATED SEPTEMBER 24, 1941, AND READS AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS TRANSMITTED HEREWITH FORM 2806, RETIREMENT RECORD CARD, IN THE CASE OF GOTTFRIED SEITZ, FORMERLY EMPLOYED AS FIELD ASSISTANT, CAF 3, AT $1,620.00 PER ANNUM, IN THE HONOLULU, HAWAII, FIELD OFFICE OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD, WHO RESIGNED AT NOON DECEMBER 16, 1940.

AT THE TIME OF HIS RESIGNATION MR. SEITZ WAS INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES, AS FOLLOWS: (1) ON ACCOUNT OF SALARY OVERPAYMENT MADE BY THE HONOLULU

PAY-ROLL OFFICE FOR ONE-HALF HOUR ON 12/16/41 AT $1,620.00

PER ANNUM ON D.O. VOUCHER NO. 21-3925, PAID 12/31/40,

PAGE 1, LINE 14, FOR 4 HOURS INSTEAD OF ONLY FOR 3 1/2

HOURS (REMARKS ON PAY ROLL SHOULD HAVE READ " RES. NOON

12/16/40" INSTEAD OF " RES. 12:00 NOON 12/16/40"),

AMOUNTING TO A TOTAL OF (1 CENT RET., 31 CENTS

NET) ............................................. $0.32 (GROSS (2) ON ACCOUNT OF A POST AUDIT EXCEPTION ...................... $19.20

UNDER (1) IT IS REQUESTED THAT THE AMOUNT OF 32 CENTS BE DEDUCTED FROM HIS RETIREMENT FUND CREDIT AND CREDITED TO THE APPROPRIATION "7510500.010 SALARIES AND EXPENSES, SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD, 1941," ACCOUNT OF G. F. ALLEN, CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER, HIS SYMBOL 98-801.

UNDER (2) IT IS REQUESTED THAT, SINCE COLLECTION OF THIS ITEM HAS NOT BEEN EFFECTED TO DATE, YOU WITHHOLD AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $19.20 PENDING FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS FROM THIS OFFICE, WHEN THE NECESSARY APPROPRIATION, VOUCHER NUMBERS, ETC., WILL BE FURNISHED FOR THE PURPOSES OF DEPOSIT TO COVER SUSPENSION MADE BY THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN THE POST AUDIT SETTLEMENT OF VOUCHERS COVERING REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES.

ENCLOSED YOU WILL FIND MR. SEITZ'S APPLICATION FOR REFUND OF RETIREMENT DEDUCTIONS.

MR. SEITZ IS BEING ADVISED OF THIS ACTION.

BY LETTER DATED AUGUST 10, 1941, TO THIS OFFICE, GOTTFRIED SEITZ SETS FORTH THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIS CASE, AS FOLLOWS:

DESPITE SEVERAL LETTERS TO THE AUDIT DIVISION EXPLAINING WHY THEIR CLAIM OF $19.20 IS IN ERROR, AND THE PERSONAL CORROBORATION OF MY DEPARTMENT HEADS WHEN THEY WERE IN WASHINGTON, I HAVE AGAIN RECEIVED A DEMAND TO PAY THIS AMOUNT BY THEIR LETTER MISC.-0985465-GEM OF JULY 7, 1941.

THE AUDIT DIVISION MAINTAINS THAT THESE $19.20 REPRESENT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A 5 CENTS PER MILE AUTOMOBILE ALLOWANCE FOR A TRAVELED DISTANCE OF 776 MILES OR $38.80 AND THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER OVER THE SAME DISTANCE FURNISHED TO ME BY THE FEDERAL SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD ON DULY AUTHORIZED TRAVEL ORDER AMOUNTING TO $58.00.

I NOW TAKE THE LIBERTY OF SUBMITTING THE CASE TO YOU, AND WISH TO STATE THE FOLLOWING:

WHEN IN 1939/40 I WAS EMPLOYED BY THE SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD AS A FIELD ASSISTANT, I USED MY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN MY WORK. FOR THIS I WAS ALLOWED 5 CENTS A MILE AND WAS ALWAYS PROMPTLY REIMBURSED FOR ALL MILEAGE I INCURRED IN THE LINE OF DUTY.

IN JANUARY AND MARCH 1940 SIMILAR FIELD WORK HAD TO BE PERFORMED ON ANOTHER ISLAND OF THE HAWAIIAN GROUP, VIZ, THE BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII. THIS ISLAND IS 190 MILES FROM OUR ISLAND OF OAHU, AND TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE TWO ISLANDS IS ONLY POSSIBLE BY STEAMER OR AIRPLANE.

AS FIELD WORK ON EXTENSIVE HAWAII WITH ITS WIDELY SCATTERED SUGAR PLANTATIONS AND PLANTATION-WORKERS' HOUSES CAN ONLY BE DONE BY AUTOMOBILE, I TOOK MY CAR WITH ME ON BOTH THESE TRIPS. FOR MY OWN STEAMER TRANSPORTATION I WAS FURNISHED WITH STEAMSHIP TICKETS AMOUNTING ALL IN ALL TO $58.00. THE FREIGHT ON MY CAR, AMOUNTING TO $55.00 FOR THE TWO ROUND TRIPS, I PAID OUT OF MY OWN POCKET BECAUSE NO PROVISION COULD BE FOUND IN THE GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS THAT THE COST OF TRANSPORT OF A PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE WOULD BE BORNE WHEN THE OWNER IS TRAVELING BY STEAMER.

THANKS TO THE USE OF MY CAR WHICH, ON THE SECOND TRIP, WAS SHARED BY MY IMMEDIATE SUPERIOR, THE FIELD WORK ON THE ISLAND OF HAWAII WAS PERFORMED IN THE SPEEDIEST AND MOST EFFICIENT MANNER POSSIBLE, AND IN THE INTEREST OF THE SERVICE ABOUT WHICH I WAS ENTHUSIASTIC, I DID NOT CARE WHETHER OR NOT I WOULD EVENTUALLY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE $55 I HAD PAID FOR FREIGHT ON MY CAR.

NOW, HOWEVER, THE AUDIT DIVISION CLAIMS THAT IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT I HAD AN AUTOMOBILE ALLOWANCE OF 5 CENTS A MILE, IT WAS MY DUTY TO USE MY CAR FROM ONE ISLAND TO THE OTHER AND CHARGE THE GOVERNMENT NOT MORE THAN 5 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THESE ISLANDS.

ALL MY REMONSTRANCES THAT THERE IS 190 MILES OF DEEP SEA BETWEEN OAHU AND HAWAII AND THAT I COULD NOT DRIVE MY CAR AT 5 CENTS A MILE FROM MY OFFICIAL STATION TO THE PLACE WHERE THE FIELD WORK WAS TO BE DONE, HAVE SO FAR NOT BEEN HEEDED.

I HAVE ALREADY WAIVED ALL CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE $55 FREIGHT CHARGES I PAID OUT OF MY OWN POCKET, ALTHOUGH TAKING MY OWN CAR TO HAWAII MEANT A SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT, AS PREVIOUSLY DEMONSTRATED BY AN ELABORATE COMPARATIVE STATEMENT OF COSTS, EVEN IF THESE $55 WERE RETURNED TO ME, BUT THERE IS, IN MY OPINION AND, I MIGHT ADD, IN THAT OF MY SUPERIORS, NO JUSTIFICATION WHATSOEVER WHY I SHOULD STILL PAY PART OF MY OWN TRANSPORTATION FOR A BONA FIDE GOVERNMENT BUSINESS TRIP ON WHICH I WAS SENT BY THE GOVERNMENT.

IN VIEW OF THIS I APPEAL TO YOU, THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, TO KINDLY JUDGE THIS MATTER IN THE LIGHT OF MY GEOGRAPHICAL EXPLANATION ABOVE, TO WIT THAT AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT ISLANDS OF THE HAWAIIAN ARCHIPELAGO IS PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE AND THAT I WAS OBLIGED TO USE THE STEAMSHIP FARE AMOUNTING TO $58.00 AND AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. OA- 8703 DATED DECEMBER 15, 1939, AMENDED BY TRAVEL ORDERS NOS. OA-12301 DATED FEBRUARY 29, 1940, AND OA-13134, DATED MARCH 22, 1940.'

THE AMOUNT OF $19.20 QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE IN THE AUDIT OF THE FORMER EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ACCOUNT REPRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $58, THE AMOUNT PAID BY THE UNITED STATES ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR THE PERSONAL TRAVEL OF THIS FORMER EMPLOYEE FROM HONOLULU TO HILO, .H., AND RETURN (TWO TRIPS) AND $38.80 AS MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE SAME DISTANCE, 776 MILES, FOR THE USE OF HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS UNDER TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT AWAY FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS AT HONOLULU AS AUTHORIZED BY HIS TRAVEL ORDER NO. OA-8703, DATED DECEMBER 15, 1939, AMENDED BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. OA-12301, DATED FEBRUARY 29, 1940.

IN SETTLEMENT OF THIS OFFICE DATED MAY 16, 1941, MR. SEITZ WAS ADVISED AS FOLLOWS:

BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. OA-8703, DATED DECEMBER 15, 1939, AMENDED BY TRAVEL ORDERS NOS. OA-12301, DATED FEBRUARY 29, 1940, AND OA-13134, DATED MARCH 22, 1940, YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM HONOLULU, T.H., YOUR OFFICIAL STATION, TO POINTS WITHIN THE TERRITORY OF HAWAII, IN THE DISCHARGE OF YOUR OFFICIAL DUTIES AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FEDERAL SECURITY AGENCY, SOCIAL SECURITY BOARD. A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF $6 AND USE OF YOUR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS AT THE RATE OF $0.05 PER MILE WAS AUTHORIZED.

PURSUANT TO THE AFOREMENTIONED TRAVEL ORDERS, IN JANUARY AND MARCH 1940, YOU MADE TWO ROUND-TRIPS FROM HONOLULU TO HILO, PAYING FREIGHT OF $27.50 ON YOUR AUTOMOBILE ON EACH ROUND-TRIP AND USING GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FOR YOURSELF AT A COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF $29 FOR EACH TRIP, OR A TOTAL OF $58.

INASMUCH AS YOUR TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BY YOUR PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF FREIGHT CHARGES FOR TRANSPORTATION OF SAID AUTOMOBILE, NOR WAS THE USE OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS PROPER, THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE BEING IN LIEU OF ALL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES. HOWEVER, YOU TRAVELED BY BOAT THE DISTANCE OF 776 MILES, AND YOU ARE ENTITLED TO ALLOWANCE THEREFOR AT THE RATE OF $0.05 PER MILE, OR $38.80. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THIS ALLOWANCE AND $58, THE COST OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION, IS $19.20, THE AMOUNT OF YOUR INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES.

YOU ARE REQUESTED TO REMIT THE AMOUNT OF $19.20 WITHOUT DELAY, DIRECTLY TO THIS OFFICE BY CHECK, BANK, DRAFT, OR POSTAL MONEY ORDER, MADE PAYABLE TO " THE UNITED STATES.'

TRAVEL ORDERS UNDER WHICH THIS TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED DID NOT AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, INCLUDING FARE ON THE STEAMSHIP BETWEEN HONOLULU AND HILO, BUT AUTHORIZED ONLY MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT THE RATE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE. WHILE IT WOULD APPEAR FROM THE TERMS OF THE TRAVEL ORDERS THAT THE ONLY REIMBURSEMENT INTENDED FOR THE EXPENSE OF TRANSPORTATION INCURRED WAS ON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE ENTIRE DISTANCE TRAVELED UNDER THE ORDERS, INCLUDING THE DISTANCE TRAVELED BY STEAMSHIP, THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORTS IN THE CASE SHOW THAT SUCH WAS NOT THE INTENTION. AS STATED BY THE DEBTOR, IT IS UNREASONABLE TO SUPPOSE THAT MILEAGE, ONLY, WAS INTENDED FOR THE DISTANCE TRAVELED BETWEEN THE TWO ISLANDS, OAHU AND HAWAII, BY STEAMSHIP. THE EMPLOYEE WAS TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL DUTY FOR WHICH HE WAS ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED HIS NECESSARY EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION. AS HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM ONE ISLAND TO ANOTHER, BETWEEN WHICH IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO TRAVEL BY HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, IT NOW IS CONCLUDED THAT HE WAS ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED THE COST OF HIS PERSONAL TRANSPORTATION ON THE STEAMSHIP.

ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE ISSUED INSTRUCTIONS TODAY DIRECTING THE REMOVAL OF THE DEBT CHARGE SET UP BY THIS OFFICE AGAINST MR. SEITZ. CONSEQUENTLY, YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO PAY TO THE EMPLOYEE THE AMOUNT OF $19.20 WHICH WAS WITHHELD FROM HIM IN REFUNDMENT OF HIS RETIREMENT DEDUCTIONS.