B-138413, FEBRUARY 11, 1959, 38 COMP. GEN. 542

B-138413: Feb 11, 1959

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WHICH IS LESS THAN THE COST FOR AIR TRAVEL. PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR BOTH AUTOMOBILES MAY BE MADE PROVIDED THAT THE USE OF THE TWO AUTOMOBILES IS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED. STEWART IS RECLAIMING $268.50. STEWART WAS PROPERLY AUTHORIZED TO TRANSPORT HIMSELF. PAYMENT WAS MADE ONLY FOR ONE BECAUSE OF DOUBT AS TO WHETHER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF DR. STEWART'S TRAVEL CONSTITUTED REASONABLE GROUNDS "TO SHOW THAT TRANSPORTING OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY IN ONE AUTOMOBILE WAS NOT FEASIBLE" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT LANGUAGE AS USED IN 27 COMP. WHICH YOU HAVE ADVISED US INFORMALLY REPRESENTS THE ADMINISTRATIVE POINT OF VIEW. THE DETERMINATION WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY OUR OFFICE. YOU POINT OUT THAT THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF MILEAGE FOR TWO AUTOMOBILES IS LESS THAN THE COST WOULD HAVE BEEN TO TRANSPORT THE FAMILY BY AUTHORIZED AIR TRAVEL.

B-138413, FEBRUARY 11, 1959, 38 COMP. GEN. 542

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - MILEAGE - USE OF MORE THAN ONE AUTOMOBILE - TECHNICAL APPOINTEES - FIRST DUTY STATION THE USE OF TWO PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES TO TRANSPORT A TECHNICAL POSITION APPOINTEE AND HIS FAMILY OF FOUR, TOGETHER WITH LUGGAGE, ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO HIS FIRST DUTY STATION PURSUANT TO PUBLIC LAW 85 749, WHICH AMENDED SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, 5 U.S.C. 73B -3, AT A COST TO THE GOVERNMENT, WHICH IS LESS THAN THE COST FOR AIR TRAVEL, MAY BE REGARDED AS A REASONABLE JUSTIFICATION FOR THE USE OF MORE THAN ONE AUTOMOBILE WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE DECISION 27 COMP. GEN. 57, AND PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR BOTH AUTOMOBILES MAY BE MADE PROVIDED THAT THE USE OF THE TWO AUTOMOBILES IS ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED.

TO WILLIAM M. THOMPSON, NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION, FEBRUARY 11, 1959:

ON JANUARY 8, 1959, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE VOUCHER YOU SUBMITTED IN WHICH DR. HOMER J. STEWART IS RECLAIMING $268.50, REPRESENTING MILEAGE FOR ONE OF TWO PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES USED IN TRANSPORTING HIMSELF AND HIS FAMILY FROM ALTADENA, CALIFORNIA, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., HIS FIRST DUTY STATION UPON APPOINTMENT TO YOUR AGENCY.

WHILE YOU DO NOT SUBMIT COPIES OF PERTINENT TRAVEL ORDERS AND PAID VOUCHER, YOU SAY DR. STEWART WAS PROPERLY AUTHORIZED TO TRANSPORT HIMSELF, HIS FAMILY, AND HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO WASHINGTON UNDER BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-37, DATED DECEMBER 9, 1958, ISSUED PURSUANT TO P.L. 85-749, 5 U.S.C. 73B-3, COVERING TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF APPOINTEES TO CERTAIN TECHNICAL POSITIONS. DR. STEWART AND ONE CHILD TRAVELED IN ONE AUTOMOBILE WHILE HIS WIFE AND TWO OTHER CHILDREN TRAVELED IN ANOTHER. HE CLAIMED MILEAGE FOR BOTH AUTOMOBILES IN EQUAL AMOUNTS, BUT PAYMENT WAS MADE ONLY FOR ONE BECAUSE OF DOUBT AS TO WHETHER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF DR. STEWART'S TRAVEL CONSTITUTED REASONABLE GROUNDS "TO SHOW THAT TRANSPORTING OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY IN ONE AUTOMOBILE WAS NOT FEASIBLE" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT LANGUAGE AS USED IN 27 COMP. GEN. 57.

YOU EXPRESS THE OPINION, WHICH YOU HAVE ADVISED US INFORMALLY REPRESENTS THE ADMINISTRATIVE POINT OF VIEW, THAT THE USE OF TWO AUTOMOBILES TO TRANSPORT THE FAMILY OF FIVE, TOGETHER WITH LUGGAGE REQUIRED FOR A TRIP ACROSS THE CONTINENT DURING WINTER MONTHS, DOES NOT SEEM UNREASONABLE IN THIS CASE. THE DETERMINATION WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY OUR OFFICE. YOU POINT OUT THAT THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF MILEAGE FOR TWO AUTOMOBILES IS LESS THAN THE COST WOULD HAVE BEEN TO TRANSPORT THE FAMILY BY AUTHORIZED AIR TRAVEL.

THEREFORE, SUBJECT TO THE REQUIREMENT THAT THE VOUCHER REFLECT SPECIFIC ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL OF THE USE OF TWO AUTOMOBILES, THE RECLAIM VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.