B-150009, OCT. 24, 1962

B-150009: Oct 24, 1962

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VARYE'S TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE WAS AUTHORIZED UPON A MILEAGE BASIS AT THE RATE OF 12 CENTS PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL BY USUAL MODE OF TRANSPORTATION INCLUDING PER DIEM. THE RECORD SHOWS THE EMPLOYEE WAS REIMBURSED FOR MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE FOR HIS OWN TRAVEL AND AT THE RATE OF 2 CENTS PER MILE FOR SEPARATE TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED VEHICLE FOR HIS WIFE. YOUR QUESTION WHETHER THE USE OF SEPARATE AUTOMOBILES FOR THE TRAVEL OF THE EMPLOYEE AND TRANSPORTATION OF HIS WIFE WAS PROPER. THERE IS A FURTHER QUESTION CONCERNING THE MILEAGE RATE THAT WOULD BE ALLOWABLE FOR THE WIFE'S SEPARATE TRANSPORTATION BY AUTOMOBILE RATHER THAN BY COMMON CARRIER AS AUTHORIZED IN THE TRAVEL ORDER.

B-150009, OCT. 24, 1962

TO MR. JOHN H. GREVE, FISCAL OFFICE, DEFENSE LOGISTICS SERVICES CENTER:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 27, 1962, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE TRANSMITTED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MR. WILLIAM C. VAREY, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEFENSE LOGISTICS SERVICES CENTER, FOR $58, COVERING ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS DEPENDENT WIFE FROM ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, TO BATTLE CREEK, MICHIGAN, UPON CHANGE OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATION.

THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZES HIS TRAVEL TO BATTLE CREEK, BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND SEPARATE TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER FOR HIS WIFE TO BE PERFORMED AT A LATER DATE.

MR. VARYE'S TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE WAS AUTHORIZED UPON A MILEAGE BASIS AT THE RATE OF 12 CENTS PER MILE NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL BY USUAL MODE OF TRANSPORTATION INCLUDING PER DIEM. THE RECORD SHOWS THE EMPLOYEE WAS REIMBURSED FOR MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE FOR HIS OWN TRAVEL AND AT THE RATE OF 2 CENTS PER MILE FOR SEPARATE TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED VEHICLE FOR HIS WIFE.

YOUR QUESTION WHETHER THE USE OF SEPARATE AUTOMOBILES FOR THE TRAVEL OF THE EMPLOYEE AND TRANSPORTATION OF HIS WIFE WAS PROPER. IF SO, THERE IS A FURTHER QUESTION CONCERNING THE MILEAGE RATE THAT WOULD BE ALLOWABLE FOR THE WIFE'S SEPARATE TRANSPORTATION BY AUTOMOBILE RATHER THAN BY COMMON CARRIER AS AUTHORIZED IN THE TRAVEL ORDER.

SECTION 1 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 73B--- 1 (A) IS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY SUCH SUBORDINATE OFFICIAL OR OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED AS THE HEAD THEREOF MAY DESIGNATE FOR THE PURPOSE, BE ALLOWED AND PAID FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS THE EXPENSES OF TRAVEL OF HIMSELF AND THE EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY (OR A COMMUTATION THEREOF IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 73A OF THIS TITLE) * * *"

ARMY CIVILIAN PERSONNEL REGULATIONS, T3.3-4A (2) READ, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE * * * INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION WILL BE SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATION OF EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE USUAL MODE OF TRANSPORTATION, INCLUDING PER DIEM, BUT WILL NOT EXCEED 12 CENTS A MILE. WHERE DEPENDENTS TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED CONVEYANCE WITH THE EMPLOYEE, OR IN A SEPARATE CONVEYANCE ON THE SAME OR A LATER DATE, THE COST OF DEPENDENTS' TRANSPORTATION SHOULD BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE USUAL MODE OF TRANSPORTATION.'

IN VIEW OF THE AUTHORIZATION FOR THE EMPLOYEE'S WIFE TO DEPART FROM HIS FORMER OFFICIAL DUTY STATION AT A LATER DATE THAN THE EMPLOYEE HIMSELF, IT IS CLEAR THAT IT WAS NOT INTENDED BY THE AUTHORITY ISSUING THE ORDER THAT THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE TRAVEL TOGETHER IN THE SAME AUTOMOBILE. ON THE OTHER HAND, IT WAS NOT CONTEMPLATED THAT THE EMPLOYEE'S WIFE TRAVEL BY A SECOND AUTOMOBILE BECAUSE THE TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED HER TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER. WE CANNOT PRESUME TO KNOW WHAT MILEAGE RATE WOULD HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE IF IT WERE KNOWN AT THE TIME OF ISSUANCE OF THE TRAVEL ORDER THAT THE DEPENDENT WOULD USE A PRIVATELY- OWNED CONVEYANCE RATHER THAN A COMMON CARRIER. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE ARE WARRANTED IN REQUIRING SPECIFIC APPROVAL OF A MILEAGE RATE BEFORE AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR THE TRAVEL OF THE EMPLOYEE'S WIFE. SUCH MILEAGE RATE IS SPECIFICALLY APPROVED, HOWEVER, THE USE OF THE SECOND AUTOMOBILE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE DOES NOT APPEAR TO BE UNREASONABLE AND WE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH TRAVEL. SEE 38 COMP. GEN. 542. ACCORDINGLY, IF AND WHEN SPECIFIC APPROVAL IS GRANTED, PAYMENT MAY BE MADE AT THE APPROVED RATE IN A TOTAL AMOUNT, HOWEVER, OR NOT TO EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS TRANSPORTATION BY COMMON CARRIER BY THE POINTS IN QUESTION.