B-149026, JUL. 10, 1962

B-149026: Jul 10, 1962

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THE UNUSED TICKET WAS NOT ATTACHED TO MR. THE TRAVELER STATES THAT HE BELIEVES THE UNUSED PORTION OF THE TICKET WAS ATTACHED TO HIS VOUCHER WHEN IT LEFT HIS OFFICE AND PROBABLY WAS LOST IN THE MESSENGER MAIL SERVICE. REFUSED TO REFUND THE COST OF THE LOST TICKET AND SUCH COST WAS DEDUCTED FROM MR. TRAVELERS OR OTHER ACCOUNTABLE PERSONS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CUSTODY OF TICKETS AND OTHER TRANSPORTATION DOCUMENTS RECEIVED IN EXCHANGE FOR TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS OR OTHER PROCURING INSTRUMENTS. THE FAILURE TO SAFEGUARD SUCH DOCUMENTS TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY ARE USED BY UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS MAY RESULT IN PERSONAL LIABILITY TO THE TRAVELER OR OTHER ACCOUNTABLE PERSON. WE UNDERSTAND THAT RAILROAD COMPANIES WILL GENERALLY ALLOW A REFUND ON PROPERLY IDENTIFIED LOST TICKETS.

B-149026, JUL. 10, 1962

TO MR. CHARLES H. LUCAS, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION:

ON MAY 24, 1962, YOUR REFERENCE 375, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER OF MR. WALTER N. MCCORMICK, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION AT BILLINGS, MONTANA, FOR THE COST OF THE RETURNED PORTION OF A ROUND TRIP RAIL TICKET BETWEEN BILLINGS AND BUTTE, MONTANA.

MR. MCCORMICK TRAVELED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT NO EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT RATHER THAN BY RAIL WHEN RETURNING FROM TEMPORARY DUTY AT BUTTE AND THUS, DID NOT USE THE RETURN PORTION OF THE ROUND TRIP RAIL TICKET HE HAD PURCHASED FOR THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION. THE UNUSED TICKET WAS NOT ATTACHED TO MR. MCCORMICK'S TRAVEL VOUCHER WHEN RECEIVED IN THE PAYING OFFICE. THE TRAVELER STATES THAT HE BELIEVES THE UNUSED PORTION OF THE TICKET WAS ATTACHED TO HIS VOUCHER WHEN IT LEFT HIS OFFICE AND PROBABLY WAS LOST IN THE MESSENGER MAIL SERVICE.

THE NORTHERN PACIFIC RAILROAD, THE ISSUING CARRIER, REFUSED TO REFUND THE COST OF THE LOST TICKET AND SUCH COST WAS DEDUCTED FROM MR. MCCORMICK'S ORIGINAL TRAVEL VOUCHER.

YOUR QUESTION ARISES FROM THE WORDING OF 5GAO 2058.10 WHICH PROVIDES:

"2058.10 LOST OR STOLEN TICKETS. TRAVELERS OR OTHER ACCOUNTABLE PERSONS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CUSTODY OF TICKETS AND OTHER TRANSPORTATION DOCUMENTS RECEIVED IN EXCHANGE FOR TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS OR OTHER PROCURING INSTRUMENTS, AND THE FAILURE TO SAFEGUARD SUCH DOCUMENTS TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY ARE USED BY UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS MAY RESULT IN PERSONAL LIABILITY TO THE TRAVELER OR OTHER ACCOUNTABLE PERSON. ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS ISSUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 2075 BELOW SHOULD CAUTION TRAVELERS OR OTHER ACCOUNTABLE PERSONS IN THIS RESPECT.'

WE UNDERSTAND THAT RAILROAD COMPANIES WILL GENERALLY ALLOW A REFUND ON PROPERLY IDENTIFIED LOST TICKETS, SUBJECT TO REPAYMENT IN CASE THE TICKET IS SUBSEQUENTLY USED. THUS, THE REGULATION IN QUESTION INDICATES THAT AN EMPLOYEE WILL BEAR THE COST OF A LOST TICKET ONLY WHEN SUCH TICKET IS USED BY SOME UNAUTHORIZED PERSON. ANOTHER EFFORT SHOULD BE MADE TO COLLECT THE AMOUNT FROM THE CARRIER, BUT IN ANY EVENT THE TRAVELER'S STATEMENT MAY BE ACCEPTED AS INDICATING THE UNUSED PORTION OF THE TICKET WAS LOST AFTER BEING PLACED IN THE GOVERNMENT MESSENGER MAIL SERVICE, AND REFUND MADE TO HIM OF THE VALUE THEREOF.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.