B-145060, MAR. 7, 1961

B-145060: Mar 7, 1961

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THE FIRST CLAIM IS THAT OF MR. WAS UNABLE TO LEAVE LAFAYETTE FOR CHICAGO ON FEBRUARY 5. AS IT WAS IMPERATIVE THATMR. NO OTHER IMMEDIATE TRANSPORTATION (EXCEPT TAXICAB) WAS AVAILABLE. RETURN TO WASHINGTON WITHOUT DELAY WAS NECESSARY BECAUSE PREPARATIONS HAD BEEN MADE BY MR. THE UNUSED PORTION OF THE PLANE TICKET ($9.05) COVERING TRAVEL FROM LAFAYETTE TO CHICAGO WAS TURNED IN TO THE GOVERNMENT. IT IS STATED ON THE VOUCHER THAT THERE WAS LITTLE TIME FOR PERSONAL CONFERENCE WITH MR. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT IF MR. HEISIG HAD STAYED IN LAFAYETTE AWAITING TRANSPORTATION HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO ADDITIONAL PER DIEM. THE SECOND CLAIM FOR MILEAGE IS THAT OF MR. THE FILE INDICATES THAT GOVERNMENT VEHICLE WAS NOT AVAILABLE AND THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE WOULD HAVE BEEN TO RENT A HERTZ CAR AT $9 PER DAY PLUS $0.09 PER MILE.

B-145060, MAR. 7, 1961

TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE, BUDGET AND FINANCE DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 10, 1961, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT MAY BE MADE ON THE VOUCHERS THEREWITH TRANSMITTED PROPOSING PAYMENT OF $26 AND $12.80, TO MR. CARL P. HEISIG AND MR. NORMAN E. LANDGREN, RESPECTIVELY.

THE FIRST CLAIM IS THAT OF MR. HEISIG, DIRECTOR, FARM ECONOMICS DIVISION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOR ROUND TRIP MILEAGE RESULTING FROM HIS BEING DRIVEN FROM LAFAYETTE, INDIANA, TO CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. THE NECESSITY FOR THIS TRAVEL AROSE WHEN MR. HEISIG, WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, WAS UNABLE TO LEAVE LAFAYETTE FOR CHICAGO ON FEBRUARY 5, 1960, AS PLANNED, BECAUSE OF TERMINATION OF THE AIRLINE SERVICE DUE TO BAD WEATHER CONDITIONS. AS IT WAS IMPERATIVE THATMR. HEISIG MAKE CONNECTIONS OUT OF CHICAGO FOR RETURN TRAVEL TO WASHINGTON, AND NO OTHER IMMEDIATE TRANSPORTATION (EXCEPT TAXICAB) WAS AVAILABLE, MR. MELVIN R. JANSSEN, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE UPON REQUEST FURNISHED HIS VEHICLE FOR THE TRIP. RETURN TO WASHINGTON WITHOUT DELAY WAS NECESSARY BECAUSE PREPARATIONS HAD BEEN MADE BY MR. HEISIG FOR ANOTHER TRIP COMMENCING ON FEBRUARY 7, 1960. THE UNUSED PORTION OF THE PLANE TICKET ($9.05) COVERING TRAVEL FROM LAFAYETTE TO CHICAGO WAS TURNED IN TO THE GOVERNMENT. IT IS STATED ON THE VOUCHER THAT THERE WAS LITTLE TIME FOR PERSONAL CONFERENCE WITH MR. JANSSEN DURING THE LESS THAN ONE DAY MEETING IN LAFAYETTE AND THE DRIVE TO CHICAGO FURNISHED AN OPPORTUNITY FOR DISCUSSION WITH MR. JANSSEN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE'S RESEARCH PROGRAM IN GENERAL. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT IF MR. HEISIG HAD STAYED IN LAFAYETTE AWAITING TRANSPORTATION HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO ADDITIONAL PER DIEM. THE VOUCHER COVERS A ROUND TRIP OF 260 MILES AT $0.10 PER MILE.

THE SECOND CLAIM FOR MILEAGE IS THAT OF MR. NORMAN E. LANDGREN, OF THE FARM ECONOMICS RESEARCH DIVISION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, WHO UPON REQUEST DROVE HIS AUTOMOBILE ON NOVEMBER 14, 1960, FROM AMES, IOWA, TO DES MOINES, IOWA, AIRPORT TO COLLECT THREE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AND RETURN THEM TO AMES FOR A CONFERENCE. AT THE COMPLETION OF THE CONFERENCE ON NOVEMBER 17, 1960, MR. LANDGREN DROVE TWO OF THE THREE EMPLOYEES TO THE DES MOINES AIRPORT. THE FILE INDICATES THAT GOVERNMENT VEHICLE WAS NOT AVAILABLE AND THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE WOULD HAVE BEEN TO RENT A HERTZ CAR AT $9 PER DAY PLUS $0.09 PER MILE.

THE DOUBT EXPRESSED BY YOU CONCERNING THE MATTER ARISES FROM THE HOLDINGS IN 22 COMP. GEN. 544, AND 28 ID. 332, TO THE EFFECT THAT UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 31, 1931, AS AMENDED, AN EMPLOYEE MAY NOT BE PAID MILEAGE FOR USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN TRANSPORTING ANOTHER EMPLOYEE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHERE THE OWNER OR OPERATOR THEREOF DID NOT PERFORM OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

THE FOREGOING DECISIONS WERE RENDERED UNDER THE MILEAGE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931. THAT ACT HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED BY SECTION 4 OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, APPROVED JUNE 9, 1949, 63 STAT. 166. HOWEVER, THE LATER ACT DOES NOT REMOVE THE REQUIREMENT THAT THE TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS MUST BE ON "OFFICIAL BUSINESS.' THOSE DECISIONS DID NOT RULE UPON THE POSSIBLE APPLICATION OF THE "SPECIAL CONVEYANCE" PROVISIONS OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

SECTION 3.4A (FORMERLY PARAGRAPH 11) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES, IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"3.4. SPECIAL CONVEYANCE.---A. THE HIRE OF BOAT, AUTOMOBILE, TAXICAB (OTHER THAN FOR USE UNDER SEC. 3.1B), AIRCRAFT, LIVERY, OR OTHER CONVEYANCE WILL BE ALLOWED IF AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT WHENEVER THE EMPLOYEE IS ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN OR OUTSIDE HIS DESIGNATED PLACE OF DUTY. * * *"

PARAGRAPH 3.4A PERMITS THE HIRE OF AN AUTOMOBILE WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE AUTOMOBILE HIRED FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE OFFICIAL TRAVEL MAY BE OWNED BY ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE. SEE PARAGRAPH 3.4D OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS, ABOVE. ALSO, PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT MAY BE MADE EITHER TO THE HIRER-EMPLOYEE OR THE TRAVELER, DEPENDING UPON WHETHER THE TRAVELER HAS MADE PAYMENT OF THE RENTAL CHARGE TO THE HIRER.

OUR DECISION OF MAY 4, 1956, B-126939, COVERED THE MILEAGE CLAIM OF AN EMPLOYEE FOR USE OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE DRIVEN BY OTHER EMPLOYEES OF HIS AGENCY. THE EMPLOYEE EVIDENTLY HAD PAID THE ACTUAL EXPENSES OF OPERATING HIS AUTOMOBILE, BUT THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS WAS PERFORMED NOT BY HIM BUT BY THE OTHER EMPLOYEES USING THE AUTOMOBILE. HELD AS FOLLOWS:

"PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PERMITS THE HIRE OF AUTOMOBILES WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE AUTOMOBILE HIRED FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF THE OFFICIAL TRAVEL MAY BE OWNED BY ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE. SEE PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS ABOVE. ALSO, PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT MAY BE MADE EITHER TO THE HIRER-EMPLOYEE OR THE TRAVELER, DEPENDING UPON WHETHER THE TRAVELER HAS MADE PAYMENT OF THE RENTAL CHARGE TO THE HIRER. ALLOWANCE AT THE RATE OF 7 CENTS A MILE FOR USE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. SINCE THE EMPLOYEE WAS NOT PERFORMING OFFICIAL BUSINESS ENTITLING HIM TO MILEAGE, WE ASSUME THE ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL IS BASED ON PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS. MOREOVER, THE SUM CLAIMED FOR USE OF THE AUTOMOBILE IS NOT IN EXCESS OF THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO THE HIRER-EMPLOYEE HAD HE PERFORMED THE TRAVEL UPON A MILEAGE BASIS. ACCORDINGLY, WE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE PROPER, PROVIDED THE CLAIMANT IN FACT PAID THE OPERATING EXPENSES, THE REQUIREMENTS OF PARAGRAPH 11C. OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS ARE COMPLIED WITH, AND THAT APPROPRIATE STEPS ARE TAKEN ADMINISTRATIVELY TO PREVENT A DUPLICATE PAYMENT OF THE MILEAGE TO THE EMPLOYEES WHO ACTUALLY PERFORMED THE TRAVEL.'

IN MR. HEISIG'S CASE, IF AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE IS MADE COVERING USE OF THE PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE BETWEEN LAFAYETTE AND CHICAGO, WHICH REASONABLY COULD BE VIEWED AS IN THE NATURE OF TRAVEL BY A SPECIAL CONVEYANCE UNDER SECTION 3.4, OUR OFFICE WOULD NOT OBJECT IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE PRESENTED TO YOUR CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER IF OTHERWISE PROPER FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF ROUND TRIP MILEAGE FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION, PROVIDED THE CLAIMANT IN FACT PAID THE OPERATOR OF THE AUTOMOBILE THE AMOUNT IN QUESTION.

LIKEWISE, WE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO CERTIFICATION OF MR. LANDGREN'S VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE PROPER, PROVIDED THE REQUIREMENTS OF PARAGRAPH 3.4 OF THE TRAVEL REGULATION ARE COMPLIED WITH.

IN BOTH CASES, THE BASIS REQUIREMENTS OF B-126939 (INCLUDING APPROPRIATE STEPS BEING ADMINISTRATIVELY TAKEN TO PREVENT A DUPLICATE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE TO THE OTHER EMPLOYEES) AND OF SECTION 12.8 OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS SHOULD BE COMPLIED WITH.

ACTION ON THE VOUCHERS SHOULD BE TAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING HOLDING.