B-147283, MAR. 6, 1962

B-147283: Mar 6, 1962

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STATED TO HAVE BEEN DETERMINED TO BE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE MILEAGE RATE WAS INCREASED TO 12 CENTS BUT A DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT WAS NOT INDICATED. YOU WERE ALLOWED $168.30. NO OTHER MODE OF TRAVEL WAS INDICATED. THE TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IS GOVERNED BY THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SECTION 3.5 (B) (1) OF THOSE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE MAY BE AUTHORIZED WHEN IT IS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. NO DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE IS REQUIRED WHEN PAYMENT ON THAT BASIS IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER INCLUDING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE. ON YOUR PRESENT VOUCHER YOU CLAIM MILEAGE AT THE RATE (10 CENTS) SPECIFIED IN THE ORIGINAL ORDER IN WHICH THE BLOCK "DETERMINED MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT" IS CHECKED.

B-147283, MAR. 6, 1962

TO MR. ALAN F. REEVES:

ON FEBRUARY 2, 1962, YOU REQUESTED REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF JANUARY 18, 1962, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $265, AS ADDITIONAL TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO YOUR EMPLOYMENT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, U.S. SCIENCE EXHIBIT.

CHANGE OF STATION ORDER DATED JULY 17, 1961, AUTHORIZED YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS, CONSISTING OF YOUR WIFE AND TWO MINOR CHILDREN, TO TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, BY COMMON CARRIER (PLANE OR RAIL). THAT ORDER AUTHORIZED THE USE OF PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT 10 CENTS PER MILE (PLUS BRIDGE OR ROAD TOLLS), STATED TO HAVE BEEN DETERMINED TO BE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, AND FIXED THE PER DIEM RATE AS $12. THE ORDER ALSO INDICATED THAT MRS. REEVES AND THE CHILDREN WOULD LEAVE WASHINGTON ON OR ABOUT AUGUST 16 AND THAT YOU WOULD LEAVE WASHINGTON BETWEEN AUGUST 15 AND OCTOBER 15. SUPPLEMENTAL ORDER DATED AUGUST 24, 1961, INCREASED THE PER DIEM RATE TO $16, AND INDICATED YOU WOULD DEPART WASHINGTON BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON OR ABOUT AUGUST 25.

THE MILEAGE RATE WAS INCREASED TO 12 CENTS BUT A DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT WAS NOT INDICATED.

YOUR DEPENDENTS TRAVELED BY COMMON CARRIER (TRAIN) AND NO QUESTION HAS BEEN RAISED CONCERNING THE COSTS THEREOF. YOU TRAVELED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND SUBMITTED A VOUCHER FOR $498.96 COVERING 2,883 MILES AT 12 CENTS PER MILE OR $345.96, TURNPIKE TOLLS $9, AND PER DIEM (9 TIMES $16) $144. YOU WERE ALLOWED $168.30, COMPUTED AS FIRST CLASS AIR FARE $161.30, PER DIEM (1/4 TIMES $16) $4, LIMOUSINE WASHINGTON TO AIRPORT $1.35, AND LIMOUSINE, AIRPORT TO SEATTLE $1.65, MAKING A DIFFERENCE OF $330.66.

IN YOUR RECLAIM VOUCHER YOU CLAIMED MILEAGE $280.30, COVERING 2803 MILES AT 10 CENTS PER MILE, TURNPIKE TOLLS $9, AND PER DIEM (9 TIMES $16) $144, MAKING THE DIFFERENCE $265.

YOU CONTEND THAT YOU SHOULD BE PAID THE FULL AMOUNT CLAIMED SINCE THE TRAVEL ORDER OF AUGUST 24 SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY- OWNED AUTOMOBILE, AND NO OTHER MODE OF TRAVEL WAS INDICATED.

THE TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IS GOVERNED BY THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SECTION 3.5 (B) (1) OF THOSE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE MAY BE AUTHORIZED WHEN IT IS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. FURTHER, NO DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE IS REQUIRED WHEN PAYMENT ON THAT BASIS IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER INCLUDING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE.

ON YOUR PRESENT VOUCHER YOU CLAIM MILEAGE AT THE RATE (10 CENTS) SPECIFIED IN THE ORIGINAL ORDER IN WHICH THE BLOCK "DETERMINED MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT" IS CHECKED, BUT YOU CLAIM PER DIEM AT THE RATE (116) SPECIFIED IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL ORDER IN WHICH THE MILEAGE RATE IS SHOWN AS 12 CENTS BUT NO SUCH DETERMINATION APPEARS.

IN 26 COMP. GEN. 463, WE SAID:

"AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE WITH RESPECT TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES ON A MILEAGE BASIS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED PURSUANT TO SECTION 12 (A) (1) (NOW 3.5) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS REVISED--- IT NO LONGER BEING REQUIRED THAT A DETERMINATION BE MADE THAT SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL IS MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE UNITED STATES--- GENERALLY WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE, UNLESS IT CLEARLY APPEARS THAT SUCH DETERMINATION IS AT VARIANCE WITH THE REPORTED FACTS IN A PARTICULAR CASE.'

WHILE OUR SETTLEMENT OF JANUARY 18, 1962, WAS PREDICATED UPON THE ABSENCE OF A STATEMENT OF DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL ORDER--- WHICH APPEARS TO BE THE CORRECT VIEW--- IT WILL BE SEEN THAT WHEN SUCH STATEMENT DOES APPEAR IT IS SUBJECT TO QUESTION WHEN AT VARIANCE WITH THE REPORTED FACTS.

HERE THE EXPENSES AS CLAIMED ARE MORE THAN TWO TIMES THE COST FOR THE SAME TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER. NO ADVANTAGE OR BENEFIT HAS BEEN SHOWN SO AS TO PERMIT ALLOWANCE IN EXCESS OF COMMON CARRIER COSTS, AND THE FACT THAT THE AGENCY DEDUCTED EXCESS COST FROM YOUR ORIGINAL VOUCHER INDICATES THE ABSENCE OF A FACTUAL BASIS FOR A DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT. THEREFORE, ON THE PRESENT RECORD, OUR OFFICE IS REQUIRED TO LIMIT PAYMENT TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER. HOWEVER, SINCE THE ORIGINAL ORDER ALSO AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BY TRAIN OUR CLAIMS DIVISION IS TODAY BEING INSTRUCTED TO REVISE THE SETTLEMENT TO ALLOW YOU ANY ADDITIONAL AMOUNT FOUND TO BE DUE ON THE BASIS OF RAIL RATES PLUS PER DIEM FOR RAIL TRAVEL TIME AT THE $16 RATE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THE SETTLEMENT WILL ISSUE IN YOUR FAVOR FOR THE AMOUNT FOUND DUE IN DUE COURSE.