B-150671, NOV. 19, 1963

B-150671: Nov 19, 1963

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WE HAVE ALSO RECEIVED A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 24. 46 U.S.C. 1241 (A) WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT: "ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS * * * SHALL TRAVEL * * * ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE * * * PROVIDED. YOU HAVE NOT ESTABLISHED PROOF OF THE NECESSITY FOR USE OF THE FOREIGN SHIP. THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM. WE HAVE NO INTENT TO DENY YOU THE OPPORTUNITY OF PRESENTING EVIDENCE. OR THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WAS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR METHOD OF TRAVEL. IT WOULD NOT PROVIDE A BASIS FOR ALLOWING YOUR CLAIM SINCE THE FINANCIAL LIABILITY FOR USE OF A FOREIGN FLAG VESSEL BY AN EMPLOYEE IN THE ABSENCE OF A NEED FOR SUCH USE IS PLACED BY LAW UPON THE EMPLOYEE.

B-150671, NOV. 19, 1963

TO MR. GEORGE DELIANEDIS:

YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 21, 1963, REQUESTS FURTHER RECONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES AS A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY INCIDENT TO YOUR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES FOR PURPOSES OF SEPARATION. WE HAVE ALSO RECEIVED A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 24, 1963, FROM THE HONORABLE GEORGE E. BROWN, JR., HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, REQUESTING A FURTHER REVIEW OF THE MATTER.

YOU CLAIM INVOLVES THE COST OF TRAVEL BY A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY FROM GENOA, ITALY, TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, WHICH HAS BEEN DENIED ON PREVIOUS OCCASIONS BECAUSE OF THE PROHIBITION CONTAINED IN SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 49 STAT. 2015, AS AMENDED, 46 U.S.C. 1241 (A) WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT:

"ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS * * * SHALL TRAVEL * * * ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE * * * PROVIDED, THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL * * * INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY THEREFOR.'

AS PREVIOUSLY INDICATED, YOU HAVE NOT ESTABLISHED PROOF OF THE NECESSITY FOR USE OF THE FOREIGN SHIP. SINCE SECTION 901 PROHIBITS GOVERNMENT PAYMENT FOR TRAVEL BY AN EMPLOYEE ON A FOREIGN VESSEL UNLESS NECESSITY EXISTS FOR SUCH TRAVEL, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM.

WE HAVE NO INTENT TO DENY YOU THE OPPORTUNITY OF PRESENTING EVIDENCE. HOWEVER, EVIDENCE THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE ERRED IN FAILING TO INFORM YOU OF THE STATUTORY PROHIBITION, OR THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WAS SOLELY RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR METHOD OF TRAVEL, HAS NO MATERIAL BEARING IN THE MATTER. EVEN IF YOU ESTABLISHED THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR OCCURRED, IT WOULD NOT PROVIDE A BASIS FOR ALLOWING YOUR CLAIM SINCE THE FINANCIAL LIABILITY FOR USE OF A FOREIGN FLAG VESSEL BY AN EMPLOYEE IN THE ABSENCE OF A NEED FOR SUCH USE IS PLACED BY LAW UPON THE EMPLOYEE.

WE CANNOT COMMENT ON THE TRAVEL OF THE OTHER EMPLOYEES MENTIONED BY YOU, AS WE DO NOT HAVE THE FACTS PERTINENT TO THEIR CASES. HOWEVER, IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THEY USED AMERICAN SHIPS OR SUBMITTED EVIDENCE THAT SUCH SHIPS WERE NOT AVAILABLE BY DIRECT ROUTES BACK TO THE UNITED STATES.

IF YOU STILL DESIRE TO SUBMIT ADDITIONAL INFORMATION IT MAY BE SENT DIRECTLY HERE, OR IN THE EVENT YOU WOULD RATHER DELIVER IT IN PERSON, YOU MAY DO SO BY CONTACTING OUR REGIONAL MANAGER, MR. HAROLD L. RYDER, UNITED STATES GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, ROOM 423, 1031 SOUTH BROADWAY, LOS ANGELES 15; TELEPHONE 688-3813.

IN REGARD TO YOUR RIGHTS OF APPEAL, THE DECISIONS OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ARE BINDING ON THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT (31 U.S.C. 74). HOWEVER, YOU MAY PURSUE YOUR CLAIM FURTHER BY FILING SUIT IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF CLAIMS, WASHINGTON, D.C.

A COPY OF THIS LETTER IS BEING FURNISHED TO CONGRESSMAN GEORGE E. BROWN, JR. ..END :