B-15194, MARCH 8, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 512

B-15194: Mar 8, 1941

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1941: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 21. WHO WERE TRANSFERRED BY ORDER OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY. THE ORDERS TO EACH OF THE EMPLOYEES CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS: "AS THIS TRANSFER IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND IT IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. YOU ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM THIS TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND YOU WILL BE ALLOWED EXPENSES ON A MILEAGE BASIS AT THE RATE OF THREE AND ONE- HALF CENTS PER MILE FOR TRANSPORTATION.'. CRABBE WERE RECEIVED AT THE SAME TIME AND EACH CLAIM FOR TRAVEL. THE FACT THAT BOTH CLAIMS WERE RECEIVED AT THE SAME TIME MADE POSSIBLE THE DETERMINATION THAT THE TWO EMPLOYEES TRAVELED IN THE SAME MACHINE.

B-15194, MARCH 8, 1941, 20 COMP. GEN. 512

MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - JOINT WHERE TWO OR MORE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES PERFORM AN OFFICIAL TRIP IN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, ONLY ONE OF THEM MAY BE REIMBURSED ON A MILEAGE BASIS. 8 COMP. GEN. 134, INVOLVING A MONEY ALLOWANCE TO NAVY ENLISTED MEN, DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, MARCH 8, 1941:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 21, 1941, REF. L1/L20-3 (410210/S, AS FOLLOWS:

THE NAVY DEPARTMENT HAS UNDER CONSIDERATION TRAVEL EXPENSE CLAIMS SUBMITTED BY TWO OF ITS CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES, MRS. NELLIE H. HORTON AND MR. ROGER P. CRABBE, WHO WERE TRANSFERRED BY ORDER OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, ISSUED DECEMBER 23, 1940, FROM DUTY IN THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS, NAVY DEPARTMENT, WASHINGTON, D.C. TO CORPUS CHRISTI, TEXAS. THE ORDERS TO EACH OF THE EMPLOYEES CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS:

"AS THIS TRANSFER IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT AND IT IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, YOU ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM THIS TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND YOU WILL BE ALLOWED EXPENSES ON A MILEAGE BASIS AT THE RATE OF THREE AND ONE- HALF CENTS PER MILE FOR TRANSPORTATION.'

THE TRAVEL CLAIMS OF BOTH MRS. HORTON AND MR. CRABBE WERE RECEIVED AT THE SAME TIME AND EACH CLAIM FOR TRAVEL, EXCLUSIVE OF SUBSISTENCE, TOTALS 1,747 MILES AT 3 1/2 CENTS OR $61.15.

STANDARD FORM NO. 1012-E ATTACHED TO MR. CRABBE'S CLAIM SHOWED HARRY HORTON TO BE THE OWNER OF THE AUTOMOBILE. THE FACT THAT BOTH CLAIMS WERE RECEIVED AT THE SAME TIME MADE POSSIBLE THE DETERMINATION THAT THE TWO EMPLOYEES TRAVELED IN THE SAME MACHINE. THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED BY SUBPARAGRAPH (C) OF PARAGRAPH 11 PROVIDES---

"CHARGE FOR THE HIRE OF A CONVEYANCE OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, OF A MEMBER OF THE TRAVELER'S FAMILY, OR OF A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY OF ANOTHER GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE, WILL NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE ABSENCE OF A SATISFACTORY SHOWING THAT THE CONVEYANCE WAS NOT SO PROCURED BECAUSE OF SUCH PERSONAL OR OFFICIAL RELATIONSHIP; THAT IT WAS IMPRACTICABLE TO OTHERWISE PROCURE, AND THAT THE MEMBER OF THE FAMILY SO FURNISHING WAS NOT DEPENDENT UPON THE TRAVELER FOR SUPPORT. THE MATERIAL FACTS SHOULD BE REPORTED IN THE ACCOUNT.'

PUBLIC ACT NO. 485--- 76TH CONGRESS APPROVED APRIL 25, 1940, AUTHORIZES THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR TRAVEL WITHOUT LIMITATION OF OWNERSHIP.

YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER UNDER TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZING THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, THE SHOWING CONTEMPLATED BY PARAGRAPH 11-C OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED, ABOVE QUOTED, IS NECESSARY, OR WHETHER THE RULE LAID DOWN IN THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF SEPTEMBER 18, 1928 (8 COMP. GEN. 134) WOULD GOVERN. THE CITED DECISION HELD THAT IN THE TRAVEL OF ENLISTED MEN, THE RATE PER MILE WAS A MONEY ALLOWANCE AND THAT---

"IT IS NOT THE MAN'S RIGHT TO SUCH MONEY ALLOWANCE WHETHER HE TRAVEL IN THE SAME CONVEYANCE WITH OTHER ENLISTED MEN ENTITLED TO THE SAME MONEY ALLOWANCE, OR OTHER PERSONS, NOR WHETHER HE OWNED THE CONVEYANCE IN WHICH THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED. WHEN TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE PROPERLY AUTHORIZED ACCORDING TO REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, HAS BEEN ACCOMPLISHED, THE MAN IS ENTITLED TO THE PRESCRIBED MONEY ALLOWANCE.'

SUBPARAGRAPH (C) OF PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, QUOTED IN YOUR LETTER, MUST BE READ IN CONNECTION WITH THE OPENING STATEMENT OF THE PARAGRAPH, AS FOLLOWS:

SPECIAL CONVEYANCES.--- THE HIRE OF BOAT, AUTOMOBILE, AIRCRAFT, LIVERY, OR OTHER SPECIAL CONVEYANCE WILL BE ALLOWED ONLY WHEN NO PUBLIC OR REGULAR MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION ARE AVAILABLE OR WHEN SUCH REGULAR MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION CANNOT BE USED ADVANTAGEOUSLY IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT, IN WHICH CASE A SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION MUST ACCOMPANY THE ACCOUNT.

THERE IS FOR NOTING THAT THE HIRE OF SPECIAL CONVEYANCES IS ALLOWED UNDER THE REGULATIONS,"ONLY" UPON TWO CONDITIONS, NAMELY, (1) WHEN NO PUBLIC OR REGULAR MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION ARE AVAILABLE OR (2) WHEN SUCH REGULAR MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION CANNOT BE USED ADVANTAGEOUSLY IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT. NEITHER OF THESE TWO CONDITIONS APPEARS PRESENT IN THE CASES SUBMITTED; HENCE, THE REFERRED-TO REGULATIONS WOULD APPEAR TO HAVE NO APPLICATION THERETO.

IT MAY BE STATED GENERALLY THAT THE TERMS OF PARAGRAPH 11 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS APPEAR TO HAVE APPLICATION ONLY TO CASES COVERING REIMBURSEMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY APPEAR TO HAVE NO APPLICATION TO TRAVEL ON A MILEAGE BASIS IN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE--- INCLUDING AN AUTOMOBILE OWNED BY ANOTHER EMPLOYEE--- UNDER THE TERMS OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS AMENDED BY THE ACTS OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, AND APRIL 25, 1940, 54 STAT. 167, AND UNDER THE PROVISION OF SECTION 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SEE 20 COMP. GEN. 345.

THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 452, 5 U.S.C. 73, PROVIDES THAT, WITH CERTAIN CEPTIONS,"ONLY ACTUAL TRAVELING EXPENSES SHALL BE ALLOWED TO ANY PERSON HOLDING EMPLOYMENT OR APPOINTMENT UNDER THE UNITED STATES.' UNDER THAT STATUTE REIMBURSEMENT IS MADE FOR THE AMOUNT ACTUALLY EXPENDED FOR TRANSPORTATION BASED ON RECEIPTS, ETC. THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, AND THE ACT OF APRIL 25, 1940, 54 STAT. 167, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

THAT A CIVILIAN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ENGAGED IN NECESSARY TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY MAY BE PAID, IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION, UNDER REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, NOT TO EXCEED 2 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLE OR 5 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION, WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT ON SUCH MILEAGE BASIS IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES. * * * ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

SEE, ALSO, PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED. 19 COMP. GEN. 984.

THERE IS FOR NOTING THE ITALICIZED PORTION OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATUTE. IN DECISION OF JULY 24, 1940, B-10837, IT WAS STATED:

THE ORIGINAL ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE TO CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES ENGAGED IN NECESSARY TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHILE AWAY FROM THEIR HEADQUARTERS OR POST OF DUTY "IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION; " THAT IS, THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE IS A COMMUTATION OF ACTUAL EXPENSES AND IT WAS NOT ANTICIPATED THAT TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS SHOULD PROFIT THE EMPLOYEE FINANCIALLY WHEN USING HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE, BUT ONLY THAT HE SHOULD BE MADE WHOLE IN THAT RESPECT. THE AMENDMENTS OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, AND APRIL 25, 1940, 54 STAT. 167, MADE NO CHANGE IN THE QUOTED LANGUAGE. ACCORDINGLY, WHEN TRANSPORTATION IS PROCURED FREE OF ANY EXPENSES THE TRAVELER MAY NOT BE PAID MILEAGE FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF SUCH TRAVEL IN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, FOR, IN SUCH A SITUATION, THERE COULD BE NO COMMUTATION OF "ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION" WHICH ARE NONEXISTENT. ACCORDINGLY, WHEN A TRAVEL VOUCHER IS SUBMITTED CLAIMING MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE NOT THE PROPERTY OF THE TRAVELER, THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO FURNISH A STATEMENT WHETHER HE ACTUALLY PAID THE WHOLE OR A SUBSTANTIAL PART OF THE COST OF OPERATION OF THE VEHICLE OVER THE DISTANCE FOR WHICH MILEAGE IS CLAIMED. ( ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

IN THE DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 18, 1928, 8 COMP. GEN. 134, TO WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE IN YOUR LETTER, THERE WAS CONSIDERED A STATUTE AUTHORIZING A MONEY ALLOWANCE "IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION BY THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE NOW AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO BE FURNISHED IN KIND," RATHER THAN MILEAGE IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION FOR WHICH PAYMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN MADE ON A REIMBURSEMENT BASIS. THAT IS TO SAY, NONE OF THE ENLISTED MEN IN THE SITUATION THERE PRESENTED WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO SHOW ACTUAL EXPENDITURES FOR TRANSPORTATION--- A SITUATION ENTIRELY DIFFERENT FROM THAT PRESENTED BY THE STATUTE HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION. HENCE, THE RULE STATED IN THAT DECISION HAS NO APPLICATION HERE.

THE MILEAGE LAW OF 1931, AS AMENDED, ABOVE QUOTED, IS APPLICABLE TO CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES, AND WAS ENACTED AS AN EXCEPTION TO THE GENERAL STATUTE OF 1875 IN ORDER TO ALLOW PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES ON A COMMUTATION BASIS. SAID 1931 STATUTE CONTEMPLATES REIMBURSEMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS ONLY TO ONE PERSON FOR TRAVEL BY THE SAME PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON THE SAME TRIP, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER HE BE THE OWNER OF THE CAR, OR WHETHER OTHER EMPLOYEES MAY BE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN THE SAME CAR. THE CONGRESS INTENDED, BY THE STATUTE, TO FIX 5 CENTS PER MILE AS THE MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE FOR THE USE OF ONE PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. OF COURSE, THERE IS NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO THE TRAVEL OF MORE THAN ONE EMPLOYEE, ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, IN THE SAME PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. BUT THIS IS MERELY A FACTOR TO BE CONSIDERED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE IN DETERMINING WHETHER TRAVEL BY A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS MORE ,ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES" AND IN FIXING THE MILEAGE RATE--- NOT TO EXCEED 5 CENTS PER MILE-- - FOR THE PARTICULAR TRAVEL PERFORMED. SEE 13 COMP. GEN. 163.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, THE PRESENT RECORD FAILS TO ESTABLISH ANY PROPER BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF MR. CRABBE'S MILEAGE CLAIM.