B-145727, MAY 29, 1961

B-145727: May 29, 1961

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

TRAIN ACCOMMODATIONS: "/1) SLEEPING-CAR ACCOMMODATIONS: ONE STANDARD LOWER BERTH WHEN NIGHT TRAVEL IS INVOLVED. AT TIME RESERVATION WAS MADE. A LOWER BERTH WAS NOT AVAILABLE AND THAT THE ACCOMMODATION USED WAS THE LOWEST AVAILABLE FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION SUPERIOR TO A LOWER BERTH. THIS CERTIFICATION WILL BE ACCEPTED AS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF THE FACTS. WAS RECEIVED AT THE CENTER. THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BETWEEN FEBRUARY 25 AND MARCH 5. WHILE WE CANNOT SAY ON THE BASIS OF THOSE FACTS THAT EXCESSIVE DELAY IN OBTAINING RESERVATIONS WAS THE REASON A LOWER BERTH COULD NOT BE OBTAINED BETWEEN LARAMIE AND CHICAGO. IN VIEW OF THE STATEMENT ON THE RECLAIM VOUCHER THAT THE ROOMETTE USED DURING THE TRAVEL BETWEEN LARAMIE AND CHICAGO WAS THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION AVAILABLE AT THE TIME THE RESERVATIONS WERE MADE.

B-145727, MAY 29, 1961

TO MISS MYLDRED N. JONES, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, BUREAU OF MINES, REGION III:

ON APRIL 25, 1961, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER A RECLAIM VOUCHER FOR $16.80 IN FAVOR OF MR. ARNOLD B. HUBBARD, AN EMPLOYEE AT THE LARAMIE PETROLEUM RESEARCH CENTER, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. OF THE AMOUNT CLAIMED, $9.70 REPRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE IN COST BETWEEN A ROOMETTE ($34.20) AND A LOWER BERTH ($24.50) ON THE UNION PACIFIC RAILROAD FOR ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN LARAMIE, WYOMING, AND CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. THE REMAINING AMOUNT, $7.10, REPRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE IN COST BETWEEN A ROOMETTE ON THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD ($20.40) AND A DUPLEX ROOMETTE ON THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD ($13.30) FOR ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN CHICAGO AND PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA.

PARAGRAPH 3.6A (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES:

"A. TRAIN ACCOMMODATIONS:

"/1) SLEEPING-CAR ACCOMMODATIONS: ONE STANDARD LOWER BERTH WHEN NIGHT TRAVEL IS INVOLVED; EXCEPT THAT THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS AVAILABLE ACCOMMODATION SUPERIOR TO A LOWER BERTH MAY BE ALLOWED ON CERTIFICATION BY THE TRAVELER ON HIS TRAVEL EXPENSE VOUCHER THAT, AT TIME RESERVATION WAS MADE, A LOWER BERTH WAS NOT AVAILABLE AND THAT THE ACCOMMODATION USED WAS THE LOWEST AVAILABLE FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION SUPERIOR TO A LOWER BERTH. THIS CERTIFICATION WILL BE ACCEPTED AS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF THE FACTS. WHEN PRACTICABLE, THROUGH SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS SHOULD BE OBTAINED IN ALL CASES WHERE MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE GOVERNMENT.'

THE RESEARCH DIRECTOR AT THE CENTER REQUESTED THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION ON FEBRUARY 3, 1961. MR. HUBBARD DID NOT MAKE RESERVATIONS UNTIL THE APPROVED TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED FEBRUARY 13, 1961, WAS RECEIVED AT THE CENTER. THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BETWEEN FEBRUARY 25 AND MARCH 5. WHILE WE CANNOT SAY ON THE BASIS OF THOSE FACTS THAT EXCESSIVE DELAY IN OBTAINING RESERVATIONS WAS THE REASON A LOWER BERTH COULD NOT BE OBTAINED BETWEEN LARAMIE AND CHICAGO, AS INDICATED IN THE AUDIT DIFFERENCE STATEMENT AMONG YOUR ENCLOSURES, WE DO NOTE THAT EFFORTS SHOULD BE MADE BY AN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE AND BY A TRAVELER TO INSURE GETTING RESERVATIONS AS FAR IN ADVANCE AS POSSIBLE. IN VIEW OF THE STATEMENT ON THE RECLAIM VOUCHER THAT THE ROOMETTE USED DURING THE TRAVEL BETWEEN LARAMIE AND CHICAGO WAS THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION AVAILABLE AT THE TIME THE RESERVATIONS WERE MADE, THE ADDITIONAL CHARGE OF $9.70 IS PROPER FOR PAYMENT.

LOWER BERTH ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT OFFERED FOR RAIL TRAVEL BETWEEN CHICAGO AND PITTSBURGH. A ROOMETTE IS THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION OFFERED BY THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD BETWEEN CHICAGO AND PITTSBURGH. THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION AVAILABLE FOR RAIL TRAVEL BETWEEN CHICAGO AND PITTSBURGH IS A DUPLEX ROOMETTE ON THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD. THERE IS NO CERTIFICATION ON THE RECLAIM VOUCHER THAT A DUPLEX ROOMETTE ON THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO RAILROAD WAS NOT AVAILABLE AT THE TIME THE RESERVATIONS WERE MADE. BALTIMORE AND OHIO TRAINS OFFERING DUPLEX ROOMETTES WERE SCHEDULED TO LEAVE CHICAGO AND PITTSBURGH AT APPROXIMATELY THE SAME TIME AS THE TRAINS MR. HUBBARD TOOK ON THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD. THE FACT THAT MR. HUBBARD, THE UNION PACIFIC AGENT AT LARAMIE, AND THE CENTER PERSONNEL WERE NOT AWARE OF THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO DUPLEX ROOMETTE ACCOMMODATIONS BETWEEN CHICAGO AND PITTSBURGH AFFORDS NO BASIS FOR ALLOWING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF THE ROOMETTE AND DUPLEX ROOMETTE. PERSONS TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS MUST EXERCISE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS. SEE SECTION 1.1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SINCE IT IS GENERALLY KNOWN THAT THE BALTIMORE AND OHIO AND PENNSYLVANIA RAILROADS OPERATE OUT OF CHICAGO TO SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME AREAS IN THE EAST, INQUIRY SHOULD HAVE BEEN MADE AS TO WHAT ACCOMMODATIONS WERE AVAILABLE ON THE DIFFERENT RAILROADS AND THE DIFFERENT TRAINS OPERATING BETWEEN THE POINTS TO WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WAS TO TRAVEL. THEREFORE, THE ADDITIONAL COST OF $7.10 MAY NOT BE ALLOWED.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT ONLY IN THE AMOUNT OF $9.70.