B-148240, APR. 10, 1962

B-148240: Apr 10, 1962

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WHEELER: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 6. YOU WERE DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM ALBUQUERQUE. AT SUCH TIME AS WAS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO REPORT PRIOR TO 4:00 P.M. YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE SUBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT AND YOU WERE ENTITLED TO PAY AND ALLOWANCES FOR THE TIME NECESSARY TO PERFORM THE TRAVEL. YOU WERE RELEASED FROM DUTY ON THAT VESSEL ON MARCH 26. THE EXCEPTION TO THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES STATED THAT YOU COULD HAVE LEFT ALBUQUERQUE BY BUS AT 7:00 P.M. OUR AUDIT EXCEPTION WAS ON THE BASIS OF THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN ALBUQUERQUE AND SAN DIEGO COMPUTED VIA PHOENIX. IN VIEW OF THE QUESTION RAISED AS TO THE CORRECTNESS OF THAT DISTANCE A REPORT WAS OBTAINED FROM THE CHIEF OF FINANCE.

B-148240, APR. 10, 1962

TO MR. JOHN L. WHEELER:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 6, 1962, WITH ENCLOSURES, RELATIVE TO PAY AND MILEAGE ALLOWANCE RECEIVED BY YOU INCIDENT TO TRAINING DUTY PERFORMED IN 1960.

BY ORDERS OF FEBRUARY 15, 1960, ISSUED BY THE COMMANDANT, EIGHTH NAVAL DISTRICT, UNITED STATES NAVAL STATION, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, YOU WERE DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO, AT SUCH TIME AS WAS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO REPORT PRIOR TO 4:00 P.M. ON MARCH 13, 1960, TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER, NAVAL RECEIVING STATION, NAVAL STATION, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, FOR FURTHER TRANSFER TO THE U.S.S. NOBLE (APA 218) OR SUCH OTHER DUTY AFLOAT AS MIGHT BE AVAILABLE FOR ACTIVE DUTY FOR TRAINING. YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE SUBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT AND YOU WERE ENTITLED TO PAY AND ALLOWANCES FOR THE TIME NECESSARY TO PERFORM THE TRAVEL.

THE ITINERARY OF TRAVEL ON YOUR ORDERS OF FEBRUARY 15, 1960, SHOWS THAT YOU DEPARTED FROM ALBUQUERQUE BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT 8:00 P.M. ON MARCH 11, 1960, AND REPORTED ABOARD THE U.S.S. NOBLE (APA 218) AT 2:30 P.M. ON MARCH 13, 1960. YOU WERE RELEASED FROM DUTY ON THAT VESSEL ON MARCH 26, 1960, TIME NOT SHOWN, AND PAID MILEAGE FROM ALBUQUERQUE TO SAN DIEGO AND RETURN, 2,028 MILES AT SIX CENTS PER MILE, AND PAY AND ALLOWANCES FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 11 TO MARCH 28, 1960. AUDIT EXCEPTIONS TO THESE PAYMENTS ALLOWED YOU MILEAGE FOR 1,646 MILES ROUND TRIP BASED ON OFFICIAL MILEAGE TABLES SHOWING THE DISTANCE FROM ALBUQUERQUE TO SAN DIEGO, VIA PHOENIX, ARIZONA, AS 823 MILES; AND ALLOWED PAY AND ALLOWANCES FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 12 TO 27, 1960, EXCEPTION BEING TAKEN TO PAYMENT FOR TWO DAYS, MARCH 11 AND MARCH 28. THE EXCEPTION TO THE PAY AND ALLOWANCES STATED THAT YOU COULD HAVE LEFT ALBUQUERQUE BY BUS AT 7:00 P.M. ON MARCH 12 AND ARRIVED IN SAN DIEGO AT 2:00 P.M. ON MARCH 13; AND DEPARTED FROM SAN DIEGO AT 2:00 P.M. ON MARCH 26 AND ARRIVED IN ALBUQUERQUE AT 10:15 A.M. ON MARCH 27.

OUR AUDIT EXCEPTION WAS ON THE BASIS OF THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN ALBUQUERQUE AND SAN DIEGO COMPUTED VIA PHOENIX, BUT IN VIEW OF THE QUESTION RAISED AS TO THE CORRECTNESS OF THAT DISTANCE A REPORT WAS OBTAINED FROM THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, WHICH SHOWS IT TO BE 808 MILES ONE WAY, EFFECTIVE AUGUST 10, 1959. THEREFORE, YOU WERE ENTITLED TO MILEAGE FOR 1,616 MILES FOR THE ROUND TRIP. WITH REGARD TO TRAVEL TIME, THE NOTICE OF EXCEPTION WAS COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF BUS SCHEDULES RATHER THAN RAIL SERVICE WHICH WAS AVAILABLE FOR THE ENTIRE TRIP. BASED ON A CONSTRUCTIVE SCHEDULE VIA RAIL, YOU COULD HAVE DEPARTED FROM ALBUQUERQUE AT 7:40 A.M. ON MARCH 12 AND ARRIVED IN SAN DIEGO AT 3:00 A.M. ON MARCH 13. IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING WHETHER YOU COULD HAVE REACHED THE RAILROAD TERMINAL IN TIME TO DEPART AT 8:30 A.M. ON THE DATE OF YOUR DETACHMENT, MARCH 26 (TIME UNKNOWN), YOUR RETURN TRAVEL TIME WAS RECOMPUTED BASED ON A DEPARTURE AS OF 8:30 A.M. ON MARCH 27, AND YOU WOULD HAVE THEN ARRIVED IN ALBUQUERQUE AT 9:30 A.M. ON MARCH 28, THUS ENTITLING YOU TO PAY AND ALLOWANCES FOR THAT DAY.

IN YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 6, 1962, YOU SAY YOU HAVE DECIDED NOT TO SUBMIT A CLAIM FOR $24.12, THE NET AMOUNT DUE YOU AS A RESULT OF THE OVERSTATEMENT OF THE EXCEPTION FOR ONE DAY'S PAY AT $25.92 AND THE UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE EXCEPTION FOR MILEAGE FOR 30 MILES AT SIX CENTS PER MILE, OR $1.80. HOWEVER, YOU SAY YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY IN COMPUTING THE DISTANCE BETWEEN ALBUQUERQUE AND SAN DIEGO BUS TRAVEL WAS USED BUT IN COMPUTING TIME ALLOTTED FOR THE TRAVEL, RAIL TRAVEL WAS USED.

SECTION 303 (A) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 37 U.S.C. 253 (A), PROVIDES THAT THE MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF COST OF TRANSPORTATION SHALL BE BASED ON DISTANCES ESTABLISHED OR TO BE ESTABLISHED OVER THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTES, IN ACCORDANCE WITH MILEAGE TABLES PREPARED BY THE CHIEF OF FINANCE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE ARMY. THE TERM "SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE" RELATES NOT TO TRAVEL BY MILITARY PERSONNEL ALONE BUT TO TRAVEL BY THE PUBLIC IN GENERAL INCLUDING MILITARY PERSONNEL AND THEIR DEPENDENTS. WHILE THE LAW REQUIRES THAT DISTANCES BE ESTABLISHED OVER,"THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE," THE QUESTION AS TO WHAT CONSTITUTES THAT ROUTE IS ONE OF FACT TO BE DETERMINED IN THE FIRST INSTANCE BY THE CHIEF OF FINANCE. IN VIEW OF THE SPECIFIC AUTHORITY VESTED IN THAT OFFICIAL BY THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949 TO ESTABLISH MILEAGE TABLES OVER THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE, IT IS MANDATORY THAT YOUR MILEAGE ALLOWANCE BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF HIS REPORT AS TO THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN ALBUQUERQUE AND SAN DIEGO.

ON THE BASIS THAT TRAVEL BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IS THE ONLY MODE OF TRANSPORTATION AUTHORIZED FOR TRAVEL TO TRAINING DUTY FOR LESS THAN 90 DAYS, PARAGRAPH 044735-2A OF THE NAVY COMPTROLLER MANUAL, IN EFFECT DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED, PROVIDED THAT COMPUTATION OF TRAVEL TIME IN SUCH CASES WOULD BE BASED ON ACTUAL TRAVEL TIME NOT TO EXCEED CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. TRAVEL TIME TO THE PLACE FROM WHICH ORDERED TO ACTIVE DUTY FOR TRAINING AND UPON RELEASE FROM TRAINING DUTY WAS TO BE BASED ON CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL TIME BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE REGARDLESS OF PERFORMANCE OF TRAVEL. SINCE TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER WAS THE ONLY MODE OF TRANSPORTATION AUTHORIZED, TRAVEL TIME PROPERLY IS TO BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF RAIL SCHEDULES SINCE SUCH TRANSPORTATION WAS AVAILABLE AND YOU WERE NOT DIRECTED TO TRAVEL BY ANY OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION. THEREFORE, YOU WERE LIMITED TO TRAVEL TIME VIA RAIL EVEN THOUGH YOU PERFORMED THE TRAVEL BY OTHER MEANS AND THE CHIEF OF FINANCE COMPUTED THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE OVER A DIFFERENT ROUTE.

WITH REGARD TO YOUR SUGGESTION THAT THE GOVERNMENT ADOPT THE PLAN USED BY PRIVATE INDUSTRIES AND REIMBURSE RESERVISTS FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES ON THE BASIS OF ROUND TRIP AIR FARE BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS INVOLVED IRRESPECTIVE OF THE MODE OF TRAVEL AND THE TIME TAKEN TO MAKE THE TRIP, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE ENTITLEMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TO ALLOWANCES FOR TRAVEL AND TEMPORARY DUTY IS GOVERNED BY SECTION 303 (A) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, CITED ABOVE, AND THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO THIS STATUTORY AUTHORITY BY THE SECRETARIES OF THE DEPARTMENTS CONCERNED. ALTHOUGH IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT REGULATIONS PROVIDING FOR REIMBURSEMENT ON THE BASIS SUGGESTED COULD PROPERLY BE ADOPTED UNDER THE PRESENT LAW, THE MATTER OF ISSUING SUCH REGULATIONS WOULD BE FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE FIRST INSTANCE BY THE DEPARTMENTS CONCERNED. THEREFORE, YOUR SUGGESTION SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY FOR CONSIDERATION.