B-140762, OCT. 5, 1959

B-140762: Oct 5, 1959

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GS1/SS) USN: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1. YOU WERE DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM THE U.S.S. FOR TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY UNDER INSTRUCTION FOR TWO WEEKS UPON COMPLETION OF WHICH YOU WERE TO RETURN TO THE VESSEL. ALTHOUGH SIMILAR ORDERS WERE ISSUED TO AT LEAST TWO OTHERS. THE PAYMENTS WERE MADE ON THE BASIS OF INDIVIDUAL TRAVEL. YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT MENTIONED ABOVE FOR THE REASON THAT THE TRAVEL SHOULD HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO BE PERFORMED AS GROUP TRAVEL. YOU NOW HAVE FURNISHED COPY OF A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 27. IT IS YOUR OPINION THAT THAT LETTER WILL AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM AND OTHER SIMILAR CLAIMS. OF THREE OR MORE MEMBERS TRAVELING IN A GROUP FOR WHICH TRANSPORTATION WILL BE FURNISHED BY GOVERNMENT CONVEYANCE OR TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FROM THE SAME POINT OF ORIGIN TO THE SAME DESTINATION UNDER ONE ORDER WHICH IS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATED AS A GROUP TRAVEL ORDER.

B-140762, OCT. 5, 1959

TO MAURICE D. BARNES, GS1/SS) USN:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 1, 1959, IN EFFECT REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT OF AUGUST 21, 1959, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND OF THE AMOUNT CHECKED FROM YOUR PAY TO RECOVER PER DIEM AND MILEAGE PREVIOUSLY PAID TO YOU FOR TRAVEL AND TEMPORARY DUTY DURING THE PERIOD JANUARY 18 TO FEBRUARY 1, 1958.

BY ORDERS DATED JANUARY 10, 1958, YOU WERE DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM THE U.S.S. MACON (CA-132) AT BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, TO THE U.S. NAVAL AIR STATION, CHINCO TEAGUE, VIRGINIA, FOR TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY UNDER INSTRUCTION FOR TWO WEEKS UPON COMPLETION OF WHICH YOU WERE TO RETURN TO THE VESSEL. ALTHOUGH SIMILAR ORDERS WERE ISSUED TO AT LEAST TWO OTHERS, THE PAYMENTS WERE MADE ON THE BASIS OF INDIVIDUAL TRAVEL. UPON AUDIT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS WE TOOK EXCEPTION TO THE PAYMENTS RESULTING IN THE CHECK AGE OF YOUR PAY ACCOUNT. YOUR CLAIM FOR REFUND WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT MENTIONED ABOVE FOR THE REASON THAT THE TRAVEL SHOULD HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO BE PERFORMED AS GROUP TRAVEL. YOU NOW HAVE FURNISHED COPY OF A LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 27, 1959, FROM THE DEPUTY COMPTROLLER OF THE NAVY TO SENATOR LEVERETT SALTONSTALL RELATIVE TO THE CLAIM OF WILLIAM A. ST. JOHN, SN, USW, AND OTHERS WHO PERFORMED TRAVEL AND TEMPORARY DUTY UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES SIMILAR TO THOSE INVOLVED IN YOUR CLAIM. IT IS YOUR OPINION THAT THAT LETTER WILL AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM AND OTHER SIMILAR CLAIMS.

PARAGRAPH 4100 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DEFINES "GROUP TRAVEL" AS A MOVEMENT EITHER ON PERMANENT OR TEMPORARY CHANGE OF STATION, OF THREE OR MORE MEMBERS TRAVELING IN A GROUP FOR WHICH TRANSPORTATION WILL BE FURNISHED BY GOVERNMENT CONVEYANCE OR TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS FROM THE SAME POINT OF ORIGIN TO THE SAME DESTINATION UNDER ONE ORDER WHICH IS SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATED AS A GROUP TRAVEL ORDER. ARTICLE C-5403A (2) (A), BUREAU OF NAVAL PERSONNEL MANUAL, PROVIDES THAT WHEN STANDARD TRANSFER ORDERS ARE ISSUED TO THREE OR MORE MEMBERS TRAVELING AT THE SAME TIME FROM THE SAME POINT OF ORIGIN TO THE SAME DESTINATION, ON EITHER PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, TEMPORARY DUTY, OR TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY, THE ORDER ISSUING AUTHORITY "SHALL" DESIGNATE THE ORDER AS A GROUP TRAVEL ORDER, WITH THE FURTHER PROVISION THAT IF MEMBERS ARE GRANTED PERMISSION TO PERFORM TRAVEL AT OWN EXPENSE OR GRANTED DELAY EN ROUTE, INDIVIDUAL ORDERS SHALL BE ISSUED. THOSE PROVISIONS WERE SUPPLEMENTED BY INSTRUCTIONS CONTAINED IN NAVACT 2-57, FEBRUARY 12, 1957, AND NAVACT 6-57, APRIL 11, 1957, ISSUED TO DEFINE FURTHER THE CIRCUMSTANCES GOVERNING GROUP TRAVEL. SUCH SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTIONS SPECIFICALLY REQUIRE THE ISSUANCE OF GROUP TRAVEL ORDERS WHENEVER THREE OR MORE ARE TO DEPART ON THE SAME DATE FROM THE SAME PONT OF ORIGIN TO THE SAME DESTINATION, EXCEPT UNDER CERTAIN SPECIFIED CIRCUMSTANCES, AND PROVIDE THAT ORDERS ISSUED UNDER SUCH EXCEPTED CIRCUMSTANCES MUST STATE THE SPECIFIC REASON WHY GROUP TRAVEL STATUS IS PRECLUDED. IN VIEW OF SUCH PROVISIONS, TRAVEL PERFORMED UNDER ORDERS ISSUED SUBSEQUENT TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE CITED NAVACTS MUST BE CONSIDERED AS GROUP TRAVEL UNLESS DIRECTED FOR PERFORMANCE UNDER ONE OR MORE OF THE SPECIFIED EXCEPTIONS WITH NOTATION OF THAT FACT IN THE ORDER. THE ORDERS HERE INVOLVED DO NOT APPEAR TO HAVE DIRECTED TRAVEL UNDER ANY OF THE EXCEPTIONAL CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH IN THE CONTROLLING REGULATIONS. THEREFORE, THE TRAVEL MUST BE REGARDED AS REQUIRED TO BE PERFORMED ON A GROUP BASIS, AND YOU WERE NOT ENTITLED TO PER DIEM AND MILEAGE AS PAID FOR INDIVIDUAL TRAVEL.

HOWEVER, ON THE BASIS THAT THE LAW CONTEMPLATES THAT OFFICIAL TRAVEL SHALL BE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, IT HAS BEEN CONSIDERED THAT A MEMBER WHO PERFORMS TRAVEL BY OTHER THAN THE AUTHORIZED MEANS, NOT BECAUSE OF HIS OWN ELECTION BUT BECAUSE OF THE FAILURE OF RESPONSIBLE OFFICERS TO FURNISH THE REQUISITE TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE IN KIND, MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR ACTUAL EXPENDITURES NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED, TO THE EXTENT THAT SUCH EXPENSES ARE SUPPORTED BY RECEIPTS OR OTHER ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE OF EXPENDITURES MADE INCIDENT TO THE TRAVEL PERFORMED. THEREFORE, NO PAYMENT CAN BE MADE ON YOUR CLAIM IN THE ABSENCE OF RECEIPTS OR OTHER ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE OF EXPENDITURES MADE INCIDENT TO THE TRAVEL.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF AUGUST 21, 1959, WAS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED.