B-147723, JAN. 12, 1962

B-147723: Jan 12, 1962

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IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER THAT FOUR EMPLOYEES OF THE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE WERE PROPERLY AUTHORIZED UNDER THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAINING ACT. CERTAIN SESSIONS OF WHICH ARE HELD AT SARANAC LAKE. BECAUSE THAT TOWN IS NOT READILY ACCESSIBLE BY COMMON CARRIER. THOSE ATTENDING THE COURSE WERE ADVISED OF ARRANGEMENTS MADE BY THE ASSOCIATION WITH THE MOHAWK AIR LINE TO CARRY THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE COURSE FROM NEW YORK TO SARANAC LAKE AND REQUESTED TO ADVISE THE ASSOCIATION WHETHER THEY DESIRED RESERVATIONS. IT IS INDICATED THAT THE QUESTION OF PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING THE CHARGES ARISES BECAUSE OF THE PROVISIONS OF TITLE V. EVEN THOUGH THE CARRIER WAS "HIRED" BY PERSONS OTHER THAN THE TRAVELER? 2.

B-147723, JAN. 12, 1962

TO MR. E. L. STRUTTMAN, AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 4, 1961, REQUESTS A DECISION AS TO WHETHER FOUR INVOICES OF THE AMERICAN MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION, 1515 BROADWAY, NEW YORK 36, NEW YORK, IN THE AMOUNTS OF $24.48, $48.95, $48.95 AND $48.95, RESPECTIVELY, MAY PROPERLY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

IT APPEARS FROM YOUR LETTER THAT FOUR EMPLOYEES OF THE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE WERE PROPERLY AUTHORIZED UNDER THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAINING ACT, PUBLIC LAW 85-507 APPROVED JULY 7, 1958, 72 STAT. 327, TO ATTEND THE MANAGEMENT TRAINING COURSE GIVEN BY THE AMERICAN MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION, CERTAIN SESSIONS OF WHICH ARE HELD AT SARANAC LAKE, NEW YORK. BECAUSE THAT TOWN IS NOT READILY ACCESSIBLE BY COMMON CARRIER, THOSE ATTENDING THE COURSE WERE ADVISED OF ARRANGEMENTS MADE BY THE ASSOCIATION WITH THE MOHAWK AIR LINE TO CARRY THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE COURSE FROM NEW YORK TO SARANAC LAKE AND REQUESTED TO ADVISE THE ASSOCIATION WHETHER THEY DESIRED RESERVATIONS. THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED BY THE ASSOCIATION REPRESENT THE ONE-WAY AND ROUND-TRIP CHARGES FOR THE TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED THE FOUR EMPLOYEES BETWEEN NEW YORK CITY AND SARANAC LAKE. IT IS INDICATED THAT THE QUESTION OF PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING THE CHARGES ARISES BECAUSE OF THE PROVISIONS OF TITLE V, SECTION 2013.10, OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE MANUAL, PROVIDING GENERALLY THAT "PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION SERVICES BY AIR, BUS, RAIL OR WATER SHOULD BE PROCURED DIRECTLY FROM CARRIERS" AND WITH CERTAIN EXCEPTIONS PRECLUDE THE USE OF TRAVEL AGENCIES.

IN ADDITION TO REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE INVOICES MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, YOU REQUEST ANSWERS TO CERTAIN SPECIFIC QUESTIONS, AS FOLLOWS:

"1. MAY THE CHARTERED SERVICE BE CONSIDERED AS A SPECIAL CONVEYANCE AND THE EXPENSE PAYABLE UNDER THE SECTION 3.4 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, EVEN THOUGH THE CARRIER WAS "HIRED" BY PERSONS OTHER THAN THE TRAVELER?

2. IF QUESTION 1 IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, MAY THIS SERVICE BE CONSIDERED AS AN ACCOMMODATION UNDER 3.6C OF THE S.G.T.R.'S AND THE EXPENSE THEREFORE PROPER FOR PAYMENT EVEN THOUGH THE EMPLOYEES DID NOT PURCHASE THE TRANSPORTATION DIRECTLY FROM THE CARRIER BY EITHER THE ISSUANCE OF A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST OR AN OUTLAY OF CASH?

3. IF BOTH THE PRECEDING QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE, MAY THE EXPENSE OF THE CHARTERED SERVICE BE CONSIDERED AS AN EXPENSE PROPERLY PAYABLE UNDER SECTION 10 (2) OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAINING ACT, PUBLIC LAW 85-507? IF THIS IS CONSIDERED PROPER, WOULD THE EXPENSE LOSE ITS IDENTITY AS A "TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE" AND THEREFORE BE CLASSIFIED AS A ,CONTRACTUAL SERVICE" ? "

SECTION 10 OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAINING ACT PROVIDES:

"THE HEAD OF EACH DEPARTMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS ISSUED BY THE COMMISSION (CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION) UNDER AUTHORITY OF SECTION 6 (A) (8) IS AUTHORIZED, FROM FUNDS APPROPRIATED OR OTHERWISE AVAILABLE TO SUCH DEPARTMENT * * * (2) TO PAY, OR REIMBURSE SUCH EMPLOYEE FOR, ALL OR ANY PART OF THE NECESSARY EXPENSES OF SUCH TRAINING, WITHOUT REGARD TO SECTION 3648 OF THE REVISED STATUTES (31 U.S.C. 529), INCLUDING AMONG SUCH EXPENSES THE NECESSARY COSTS OF (A) TRAVEL AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS * * * AND (F) OTHER SERVICES OR FACILITIES DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE TRAINING OF SUCH EMPLOYEE.'

THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION'S REGULATIONS, 5 C.F.R. 39.401, PROVIDE:

"THE HEAD OF EACH DEPARTMENT SHALL DETERMINE WHICH EXPENSES CONSTITUTE NECESSARY TRAINING EXPENSES UNDER SECTION 10 OF THE ACT.'

IT HAS BEEN ASCERTAINED THAT THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED REPRESENT THE REGULAR FIRST-CLASS COMMERCIAL FARES UNDER TARIFFS OF THE MOHAWK AIRLINES, INC., FOR THE SERVICES INVOLVED PLUS THE APPLICABLE FEDERAL TAX. HAD THE AIR TRANSPORTATION BEEN SECURED ON GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST PROPERLY ISSUED, IT SEEMS CLEAR THE FARE WOULD PROPERLY BE PAYABLE TO THE CARRIER AND PAYMENT OF THE TAX WHICH IT MAY BE ASSUMED PROPERLY WILL BE ACCOUNTED FOR TO THE INTERNAL REVENUE BUREAU WOULD NOT INCREASE THE COST TO THE UNITED STATES. THUS, IT SEEMS CLEAR UNDER SECTION 10 OF THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAINING ACT THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY INVOLVED IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY FOR "ALL OR ANY PART" OF THE INVOLVED TRAVEL EXPENSES. BUT THE FACT THAT THE ACT AUTHORIZES HIM TO PAY ,ALL OR ANY PART" OF SUCH EXPENSES CLEARLY DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT HE PAY THE FULL EXPENSES. THE EMPLOYEE COULD, IF THE DEPARTMENT HEAD SO REQUIRED AND ASSUMING THE EMPLOYEE WAS WILLING TO DO SO FOR WHATEVER BENEFIT HE MIGHT GAIN THEREFROM, SHARE IN THE TRAINING EXPENSE. ALSO, THE EMPLOYEE UNDER THE ACT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ADVANCED FUNDS COVERING THE ESTIMATED EXPENSE SO THAT PAYMENT OF THE INVOICES WOULD RESULT IN A DUPLICATE CHARGE TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR SUCH EXPENSE.

THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS WHICH PRESUMABLY WOULD SHOW WHAT EXPENSES WERE TO BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT, AND WHETHER FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS WERE AUTHORIZED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, ETC., WERE NOT FURNISHED WITH YOUR LETTER. ACCORDINGLY, AND ON THE PRESENT RECORD WE ARE UNABLE TO DETERMINE THE MATERIALITY OF THE PARAGRAPHS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS REFERRED TO BY YOUR QUESTIONS 1 AND 2. HOWEVER, IN THE EVENT THE TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZE THE NECESSARY TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, DO NOT RESTRICT THE EMPLOYEES TO LESS COSTLY ACCOMMODATIONS THAN "FIRST CLASS" ACCOMMODATIONS, NOR LIMIT THE EMPLOYEES TO TRAVEL ACCOMMODATIONS LESS COSTLY THAN DOES THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, NOR EVIDENCE ADVANCE OF FUNDS ESTIMATED TO COVER SUCH EXPENSES, YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO CERTIFY THE INVOICES FOR PAYMENT.