B-152809, NOV. 12, 1963

B-152809: Nov 12, 1963

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GOEBEL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CORRESPONDENCE DATED OCTOBER 22. IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE AUTOMOBILES IN QUESTION WERE PURCHASED. THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT PERSONS APPLYING FOR THE POSITION OF INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY ADMINISTRATOR WERE QUESTIONED AS TO THE POSSIBILITY OF USING THEIR PERSONAL AUTOMOBILE IN CONNECTION WITH THE POSITION. APPARENTLY THIS WAS NECESSARY IN VIEW OF THE AMOUNT OF TRAVEL INVOLVED AND THE LIMITED NUMBER OF AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT VEHICLES. PARENTHETICALLY IT IS REPORTED THAT SUCH ARRANGEMENT IS BENEFICIAL TO THE INDIVIDUAL AS WELL AS TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE EMPLOYEE IS BENEFITED IN THAT HE IS SAVED THE EXPENSE AND INCONVENIENCE OF A LONG DRIVE THROUGH CITY TRAFFIC TO AND FROM HEADQUARTERS WHICH IS NOT OTHERWISE REIMBURSABLE.

B-152809, NOV. 12, 1963

TO MR. PAUL C. GOEBEL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CORRESPONDENCE DATED OCTOBER 22, 1963, REQUESTING REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED OCTOBER 18, 1963, WHEREIN THIS OFFICE DENIED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF 3 AUTOMOBILES. IT IS ALLEGED THAT THE AUTOMOBILES IN QUESTION WERE PURCHASED, USED AND SUBSEQUENTLY WORN OUT DUE TO USE IN CONNECTION WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR DUTIES WHILE EMPLOYED AS AN INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY ADMINISTRATOR WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE. IN YOUR LETTER OF MAY 24, 1963, YOU STATE,"THIS REPRESENTS A 85-90 PERCENT UTILIZATION OF A $3000 - $4000 PERSONAL INVESTMENT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVT.'

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT PERSONS APPLYING FOR THE POSITION OF INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY ADMINISTRATOR WERE QUESTIONED AS TO THE POSSIBILITY OF USING THEIR PERSONAL AUTOMOBILE IN CONNECTION WITH THE POSITION. APPARENTLY THIS WAS NECESSARY IN VIEW OF THE AMOUNT OF TRAVEL INVOLVED AND THE LIMITED NUMBER OF AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT VEHICLES. PARENTHETICALLY IT IS REPORTED THAT SUCH ARRANGEMENT IS BENEFICIAL TO THE INDIVIDUAL AS WELL AS TO THE GOVERNMENT. BY USE OF PERSONAL VEHICLES, EMPLOYEES CAN PROCEED DIRECTLY TO THE SCHEDULE CONTRACTOR'S PLANT, RATHER THAN FIRST REPORTING TO THEIR OFFICE. THIS PRACTICE OFTEN RESULTS IN A SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT OF SEVERAL HOURS. THE EMPLOYEE IS BENEFITED IN THAT HE IS SAVED THE EXPENSE AND INCONVENIENCE OF A LONG DRIVE THROUGH CITY TRAFFIC TO AND FROM HEADQUARTERS WHICH IS NOT OTHERWISE REIMBURSABLE. THE RECORD FURTHER SHOWS THAT THIS PRACTICE WAS FULLY EXPLAINED TO YOU AT THE TIME OF YOUR SELECTION IN JULY 1957. AGAIN ON SEPTEMBER 21, 1958, AFTER A BRIEF ASSIGNMENT AT ANOTHER INSTALLATION, YOU WERE APPRISED AS TO THE POSITION OF YOUR AGENCY IN THIS MATTER. YOU ALSO ACCEPTED THIS CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT UPON TRANSFER TO YOUR LAST ASSIGNMENT IN SEPTEMBER 1960. THE RECORD IS UNCONTROVERTED THAT AT ALL TIMES YOU RECEIVED A MILEAGE RATE FOR THE USE OF YOUR AUTOMOBILE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

AS POINTED OUT TO YOU PREVIOUSLY, THIS OFFICE IS AWARE OF NO REGULATION WHICH PROHIBITS AN AGENCY FROM REQUIRING AN INDIVIDUAL TO OWN AN AUTOMOBILE AND USE IT IN CONNECTION WITH HIS EMPLOYMENT. MATTERS PERTAINING TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF JOB QUALIFICATIONS AND CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT ARE GENERALLY WITHIN THE PROVINCE OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED AND THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION.

SPECIFICALLY IN REGARD TO YOUR REQUEST CONCERNING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE AUTOMOBILES PURCHASED, THIS OFFICE HAS CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT THE ALLOWANCE OF MILEAGE TO AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL PERFORMED IN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AS AUTHORIZED BY THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 166, AS AMENDED, IS A COMMUTATION OF THE EXPENSE OF OPERATING SUCH AUTOMOBILE INCLUDING DEPRECIATION. THE LONG ESTABLISHED RULE IS THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO RECEIVES REIMBURSEMENT UPON A MILEAGE BASIS FOR THE USE OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ASSUMES ALL EXPENSES IN CONNECTION THEREWITH EXCEPT THOSE SPECIFICALLY ENUMERATED IN EITHER THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, SUPRA, OR IN SECTION 3.5 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THEREFORE, SINCE YOU IN FACT RECEIVED FULL REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF YOUR AUTOMOBILE AS REQUIRED BY LAW, OUR SETTLEMENT OF OCTOBER 18, 1963, MUST BE AND HEREBY IS SUSTAINED.