B-149849, NOV. 1, 1962

B-149849: Nov 1, 1962

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PROVIDES THAT AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICERS "SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO APPLY FOR AND OBTAIN A DECISION BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON ANY QUESTION OF LAW INVOLVED IN A PAYMENT ON ANY VOUCHER PRESENTED TO THEM FOR CERTIFICATION.'. OUR OFFICE IS WITHOUT JURISDICTION TO RENDER A DECISION TO YOU AS AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER UPON GENERAL QUESTIONS NOT INVOLVED IN THE CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER ACCOMPANYING YOUR REQUEST FOR A DECISION. THE VOUCHER FORWARDED BY YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED AND A DECISION RENDERED WITH RESPECT TO THE QUESTION OF LAW INVOLVED IN THE CERTIFICATION THEREOF. WITH 5 DAYS CONSULTATION IN WASHINGTON EN ROUTE AND THAT AT THE TIME HE DEPARTED FROM COCHABAMBA HIS RETURN TO THAT POST WAS NOT CONTEMPLATED.

B-149849, NOV. 1, 1962

TO MISS EDNA M. MIENCIER, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, U.S. AID TO BOLIVIA:

YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 8, 1962, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE MC-3/113, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED FOR $663.48, IN FAVOR OF MR. L. GEORGE COONROD, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT TO BOLIVIA, WHICH INCLUDES REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF SHIPMENT OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FROM GLADSTONE, MISSOURI, TO LA PAZ, BOLIVIA, INCIDENT TO HIS TRAVEL.

ALSO, YOU REQUEST OUR COMMENTS ON THE PROPRIETY OF INSTRUCTIONS ADMINISTRATIVELY ISSUED CONCERNING SUCH TRANSPORTATION. IN REGARD TO THE LATTER REQUEST SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 55 STAT. 876, PROVIDES THAT AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICERS "SHALL HAVE THE RIGHT TO APPLY FOR AND OBTAIN A DECISION BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL ON ANY QUESTION OF LAW INVOLVED IN A PAYMENT ON ANY VOUCHER PRESENTED TO THEM FOR CERTIFICATION.' ACCORDINGLY, OUR OFFICE IS WITHOUT JURISDICTION TO RENDER A DECISION TO YOU AS AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER UPON GENERAL QUESTIONS NOT INVOLVED IN THE CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER ACCOMPANYING YOUR REQUEST FOR A DECISION. SEE 38 COMP. GEN. 5, 26 ID. 797, AND 24 ID. 546. THE VOUCHER FORWARDED BY YOU WILL BE CONSIDERED AND A DECISION RENDERED WITH RESPECT TO THE QUESTION OF LAW INVOLVED IN THE CERTIFICATION THEREOF.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED FEBRUARY 17, 1961, AUTHORIZED MR. COONROD TO TRAVEL FROM COCHABAMBA, BOLIVIA, TO KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, FOR THE PURPOSE OF HOME LEAVE AND TRANSFER TO SUDAN, AFRICA, WITH 5 DAYS CONSULTATION IN WASHINGTON EN ROUTE AND THAT AT THE TIME HE DEPARTED FROM COCHABAMBA HIS RETURN TO THAT POST WAS NOT CONTEMPLATED.

THE TRAVEL ORDER AS ORIGINALLY ISSUED AUTHORIZED THE SHIPMENT OF AN AUTOMOBILE AND TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO SUDAN BUT DIRECTED THAT THE GOODS AND AUTOMOBILE WERE TO BE HELD IN BOLIVIA PENDING SHIPPING INSTRUCTIONS. PRIOR TO DEPARTURE FOR HOME LEAVE MR. COONROD WITH THE PERMISSION OF THE DIRECTOR, U.S. MISSION/BOLIVIA SOLD HIS AUTOMOBILE AND PART OF HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS. WHILE IN THE UNITED STATES HE PURCHASED ANOTHER AUTOMOBILE TO REPLACE THE ONE SOLD WHICH HAD BEEN SHIPPED TO BOLIVIA AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AT THE TIME OF HIS INITIAL ASSIGNMENT TO THAT POST.

THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION OF FEBRUARY 17, 1961, WAS AMENDED TO SHOW THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZED THEREIN WAS "HOME LEAVE AND RETURN TO POST.' PRIOR TO AND AFTER HIS RETURN TO BOLIVIA MR. COONROD REQUESTED THAT HE BE AUTHORIZED TO SHIP CERTAIN HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND THE SECOND AUTOMOBILE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. IN COMPLIANCE WITH THAT REQUEST HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO SHIP THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS LIMITED TO THAT PORTION OF HIS MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE NOT PREVIOUSLY USED ON HIS ORIGINAL ASSIGNMENT TO THE POST, BUT WAS DENIED AUTHORITY TO SHIP THE NEWLY ACQUIRED AUTOMOBILE.

SECTION 913 OF PUBLIC LAW 86-723, APPROVED SEPTEMBER 8, 1960, 74 STAT. 847, 22 U.S.C. 1138, AMENDING THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946, AUTHORIZED THE SECRETARY OF STATE TO TRANSPORT FOR OR ON BEHALF OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE. THAT STATUTE PROVIDES AMONG OTHER THINGS, AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF A PERIOD OF FOUR YEARS FOLLOWING THE DATE OF TRANSPORTATION UNDER AUTHORITY OF THIS SECTION OF A PRIVATELY OWNED MOTOR VEHICLE OF ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE WHO HAS REMAINED IN CONTINUOUS SERVICE OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES * * * DURING SUCH PERIOD, THE TRANSPORTATION OF A REPLACEMENT FOR SUCH MOTOR VEHICLE FOR SUCH OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE MAY BE AUTHORIZED BY THE SECRETARY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS SECTION.'

SECTION 636 (A) (14) OF THE ACT FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF 1961, PUBLIC LAW 87-195, 75 STAT. 458, APPROVED SEPTEMBER 4, 1961, AUTHORIZES THE USE OF FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR THE PURPOSES OF THAT ACT "IN ACCORDANCE WITH AUTHORITIES OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED (22 U.S.C. 801, ET SEQ.), NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR.' ALSO, SEE SECTION 636 (A) (17) OF PUBLIC LAW 87-195. THUS, THERE IS A STATUTORY BASIS FOR TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FOR WHICH MR. COONROD SEEKS REIMBURSEMENT.

HOWEVER, NEITHER OF THE STATUTORY PROVISIONS ARE SELF-EXECUTING AND MUST BE IMPLEMENTED BY APPROPRIATE REGULATIONS BEFORE THE BENEFITS OF THE PROVISIONS MAY ACCRUE TO EMPLOYEES. SUCH REGULATIONS WHICH MAY BE PROSPECTIVELY EFFECTIVE ONLY WITH REGARD TO THE AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT HAD NOT BEEN PROMULGATED AT THE TIME MR. COONROD'S REPLACEMENT AUTOMOBILE WAS TRANSPORTED FROM THE UNITED STATES TO BOLIVIA. THUS THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR THE PAYMENT OF MR. COONROD'S CLAIM FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS SECOND AUTOMOBILE. IF MR. COONROD HAS NOT BEEN REIMBURSED FOR THE COST OF HIS RETURN TRAVEL TO LA PAZ, BOLIVIA, HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL IN ACCORDANCE WITH TERMS OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION OF FEBRUARY 17, 1961, AS AMENDED.

THEREFORE, ACTION ON THE VOUCHER TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER AND WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, SHOULD BE TAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.