B-145642, MAY 1, 1961

B-145642: May 1, 1961

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RESTAURANT WHERE MEALS WERE OBTAINED. THE TRIP MILEAGE CLAIMED IS FOR APPROXIMATELY 8 PERCENT MORE THAN THE DISTANCE SHOWN ON THE RAND MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE BETWEEN THE POINTS IN QUESTION. PARAGRAPH 3.5.B. (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IS. AS FOLLOWS: "* * * WHEN TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES OR AUTOMOBILES. MILEAGE WILL BE SHOWN BY SPEEDOMETER READINGS UPON ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE FROM EACH LOCATION DESIGNATED IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS. SUCH MILEAGE WILL BE USED AS A BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNLESS THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL AND UNEXPLAINED DEVIATION FROM STANDARD MILEAGE GUIDES. THE RAND-MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE WILL BE USED FOR VERIFICATION WITHIN THE UNITED STATES.'.

B-145642, MAY 1, 1961

TO MR. JAMES L. HASSON:

ON APRIL 7, 1961, YOU REQUESTED REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 14, 1961, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $7.56, THE AMOUNT ADMINISTRATIVELY DISALLOWED ON YOUR ORIGINAL VOUCHER SUBMITTED FOR EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH A TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT FROM PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, TO SARATOGA SPRINGS, NEW YORK. THAT AMOUNT COMPRISES THREE ITEMS, NAMELY, (1) $3.76 FOR MILEAGE IN EXCESS OF THE DISTANCES SHOWN ON THE RAND-MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE BETWEEN PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, AND SARATOGA SPRINGS, NEW YORK; (2) 80 CENTS FOR LOCAL MILEAGE BETWEEN PLACE OF TEMPORARY LODGING AND CONTRACTOR'S PLANT, AND RESTAURANT WHERE MEALS WERE OBTAINED; AND (3) $3 OVERNIGHT AUTOMOBILE STORAGE FEE.

AS POINTED OUT IN YOUR LETTER, THE TRIP MILEAGE CLAIMED IS FOR APPROXIMATELY 8 PERCENT MORE THAN THE DISTANCE SHOWN ON THE RAND MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE BETWEEN THE POINTS IN QUESTION. PARAGRAPH 3.5.B. (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * WHEN TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES OR AUTOMOBILES, DISTANCES BETWEEN POINTS TRAVELED SHALL BE SHOWN IN STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDES OR BY SPEEDOMETER READINGS. ANY SUBSTANTIAL DEVIATIONS FROM DISTANCES SHOWN IN THE STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDES SHALL BE EXPLAINED. * * *"

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL REGULATION T3.7-6.A. (1) READS AS FOLLOWS:

"PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE OR MOTORCYCLE. MILEAGE WILL BE SHOWN BY SPEEDOMETER READINGS UPON ARRIVAL AND DEPARTURE FROM EACH LOCATION DESIGNATED IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS. SUCH MILEAGE WILL BE USED AS A BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNLESS THERE IS A SUBSTANTIAL AND UNEXPLAINED DEVIATION FROM STANDARD MILEAGE GUIDES. THE RAND-MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE WILL BE USED FOR VERIFICATION WITHIN THE UNITED STATES.'

NEITHER THE GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS NOR THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL REGULATIONS DEFINE A ,SUBSTANTIAL DEVIATION" FROM THE DISTANCES SHOWN IN STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDES. WE UNDERSTAND, HOWEVER, THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY HAS INSTRUCTED ITS FIELD INSTALLATIONS THAT A SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION MUST BE MADE IN EVERY CASE WHEN THE DEVIATION (EXCESS MILEAGE) EXCEEDS 5 PERCENT OF THE DISTANCE SHOWN IN THE STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE. WE DO NOT CONSIDER THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY REQUIREMENT THAT A SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION BE PRESENTED IN SUCH CASES IS UNREASONABLE. IN YOUR CASE THE DEVIATION (EXCESS MILEAGE) AMOUNTED TO APPROXIMATELY 8 PERCENT AND SUCH DEVIATION APPARENTLY WAS NOT SATISFACTORILY EXPLAINED TO APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS AND YOU WERE ALLOWED ONLY THE MILEAGE SHOWN IN THE STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE PLUS ADDITIONAL AMOUNTS FOR PICKING UP AND RETURNING YOUR FELLOW TRAVELER. THE EXPLANATION THAT YOU USED THE TURNPIKE SYSTEM TO INSURE THE EARLIEST ARRIVAL AT DESTINATION APPARENTLY WAS NOT CONSIDERED SATISFACTORY BY ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS AND YOU HAVE PRESENTED NO INFORMATION CONCERNING THE AMOUNT OF TIME ACTUALLY SAVED BY THE USE OF THE TURNPIKE SYSTEM. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE FIND NO BASIS FOR QUESTIONING THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION THAT NO SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION OF THE DEVIATION (EXCESS MILEAGE) HAS BEEN FURNISHED.

THE 80 CENT PORTION OF YOUR MILEAGE CLAIM COVERING TRAVEL BETWEEN YOUR PLACE OF TEMPORARY LODGING, THE CONTRACTOR'S PLANT, AND PLACE WHERE MEALS WERE OBTAINED MAY NOT BE ALLOWED ON THE PRESENT RECORD BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT SHOWN THAT THE RESTAURANT WHERE MEALS WERE OBTAINED WAS THE NEAREST AVAILABLE EATING ESTABLISHMENT TO THE CONTRACTOR'S PLANT OR PLACE OF LODGING. THEREFORE, THE NECESSITY FOR AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL TO THE POINT WHERE MEALS WERE OBTAINED IS NOT ESTABLISHED.

THE DISALLOWANCE OF THE $3 CLAIMED FOR OVERNIGHT STORAGE OF YOUR AUTOMOBILE LIKEWISE WAS PROPER BECAUSE A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS A COMMUTATION OF ALL THE EXPENSES OF OPERATING SUCH AUTOMOBILE AND PRECLUDES REIMBURSEMENT IN ADDITION THERETO FOR ANY ACTUAL EXPENSE INCURRED OTHER THAN THOSE EXPENSES SPECIFICALLY SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 3.5.B. (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, NAMELY,"ACTUAL COST OF FERRY FARES, AND BRIDGE, ROAD, AND TUNNEL TOLLS.' SEE 34 COMP. GEN. 139, 32 ID. 74.