B-153706, JUN. 2, 1964

B-153706: Jun 2, 1964

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WHICH AMOUNT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM HIS ORIGINAL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER COVERING ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN PASCO. THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM RICHLAND. A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST WAS ISSUED FOR AIR TRANSPORTATION WITH THE FOLLOWING ROUTINGS: PASCO. BY WAY OF EXPLANATION YOU SAY: "EMPLOYEES OF THE AEC AT RICHLAND HAVING TEMPORARY DUTY IN EASTERN CITIES WHO CHOOSE TO TRAVEL BY AIRPLANE ARE NORMALLY ROUTED VIA SPOKANE. ONLY FIRST CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE AVAILABLE FROM PASCO (RICHLAND) TO THOSE THREE CITIES BUT JET TOURIST IS GENERALLY USED FROM THOSE POINTS EASTWARD. THE COST IS $16.00 MORE EACH WAY VIA PORTLAND OR SEATTLE THAN VIA SPOKANE TO NYC BUT SCHEDULES AND CONNECTIONS OFTEN DO NOT PERMIT ADVANTAGEOUS TRAVEL VIA SPOKANE.

B-153706, JUN. 2, 1964

TO MR. P. A. CLARK, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, UNITED STATES ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 19, 1964, YOUR FILE FAC:PAC, REQUESTING OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A RECLAIM VOUCHER FOR $16 IN FAVOR OF MR. EDWARD B. JACKSON, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION, WHICH AMOUNT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM HIS ORIGINAL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER COVERING ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN PASCO, WASHINGTON, AND NEW YORK, NEW YORK, DURING OCTOBER 1963.

BY ORDER DATED OCTOBER 1, 1963, THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM RICHLAND, WASHINGTON, TO HEMPSTEAD, NEW YORK, AND RETURN, WITH 5 DAYS ANNUAL LEAVE TO BE TAKEN EN ROUTE. THE QUESTION YOU PRESENT PERTAINS ONLY TO THE AMOUNT PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR AIR FARE FROM NEW YORK CITY TO PASCO ON THE RETURN TRIP.

ON OCTOBER 1, A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST WAS ISSUED FOR AIR TRANSPORTATION WITH THE FOLLOWING ROUTINGS: PASCO--- PORTLAND, FC; PORTLAND--- NEW YORK CITY, JT; RETURN NEW YORK CITY--- PORTLAND,JT; PORTLAND--- PASCO, FC. THE AGENCY RESERVATION CLERK OBTAINED SPACE FOR THE OUTBOUND TRIP BUT LEFT THE RETURN FLIGHTS OPEN AT THE REQUEST OF THE EMPLOYEE. BY WAY OF EXPLANATION YOU SAY:

"EMPLOYEES OF THE AEC AT RICHLAND HAVING TEMPORARY DUTY IN EASTERN CITIES WHO CHOOSE TO TRAVEL BY AIRPLANE ARE NORMALLY ROUTED VIA SPOKANE, PORTLAND OR SEATTLE, DEPENDING UPON CONNECTIONS, AIRLINE SCHEDULES AND AVAILABLE SPACE, FOR BOTH OUTBOUND AND RETURN TRAVEL. ONLY FIRST CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE AVAILABLE FROM PASCO (RICHLAND) TO THOSE THREE CITIES BUT JET TOURIST IS GENERALLY USED FROM THOSE POINTS EASTWARD. THE COST IS $16.00 MORE EACH WAY VIA PORTLAND OR SEATTLE THAN VIA SPOKANE TO NYC BUT SCHEDULES AND CONNECTIONS OFTEN DO NOT PERMIT ADVANTAGEOUS TRAVEL VIA SPOKANE. THE ONLY EASTBOUND JET FLIGHT FROM SPOKANE DEPARTS AROUND MIDNIGHT AND THE ONLY WESTBOUND JET FLIGHT LANDING AT SPOKANE DEPARTS CHICAGO AT 7:35 P.M. (OCTOBER 1963). THIS FLIGHT ARRIVES 9:11 P.M., MAKING CONNECTIONS WITH WCA FLIGHT DEPARTING SPOKANE AT 9:30 P.M. FOR PASCO.

"BUT WHEN DUTY IS IN NYC IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO MAKE THE CHICAGO CONNECTION IF WORK IS NOT COMPLETED BY NOON, AND SINCE EMPLOYEES MAY NOT KNOW WHEN THEIR DUTY WILL BE COMPLETED, IT IS ASSUMED THAT RETURN TRAVEL VIA PORTLAND OR SEATTLE WILL BE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS AND TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS ARE ISSUED ACCORDINGLY. HOWEVER, SHOULD IT BE KNOWN IN ADVANCE THAT WORK IN THE NYC AREA WILL BE COMPLETED BY NOON, ROUTING VIA SPOKANE RETURNING WOULD BE INDICATED ON THE T/R AND OUR RESERVATION CLERK WOULD OBTAIN THOSE ACCOMMODATIONS. ALSO, TRAVELERS ARE EXPECTED TO, AND FREQUENTLY DO, TAKE EARLIER FLIGHTS THAN SCHEDULED IF DUTY IS COMPLETED AHEAD OF TIME, AND IF RESERVATIONS CAN BE OBTAINED. LACKING INFORMATION ON WHEN MR. JACKSON'S DUTY WOULD BE COMPLETED, THE T/R WAS ISSUED FOR TRAVEL VIA PORTLAND EACH WAY, WHICH WAS CHEAPER THAN FC ALL THE WAY FROM PASCO TO NYC VIA SPOKANE.'

YOU ALSO SAY THAT THE ROUND TRIP TICKET WAS OBTAINED WITH THE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST IN PASCO ON OCTOBER 8 WHICH WAS THE DAY THE TRAVEL COMMENCED AND THAT THE TICKET STUBS INDICATE THAT ON THE SAME DAY IN PORTLAND MR. JACKSON EXCHANGED THE RETURN TRIP PORTION OF THE TICKET (PAYING THE ADDITIONAL CHARGES FROM PERSONAL FUNDS) FOR TICKETS SHOWING CONFIRMED SPACE FOR A RETURN SCHEDULE REQUIRING DEPARTURE FROM NEW YORK CITY AT 2 P.M., OCTOBER 11; FROM COLUMBUS, OHIO, FOLLOWING ANNUAL LEAVE AT 10 A.M., OCTOBER 18; FROM CHICAGO AT 1:30 P.M.; FROM SEATTLE AT 5 P.M.; AND FROM PORTLAND AT 7:45 P.M. ALSO ON OCTOBER 18. THE ORIGINAL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE EMPLOYEE COMPLETED THE OFFICIAL DUTY AT 1 P.M. ON OCTOBER 11 AND FOLLOWED THIS SCHEDULE THROUGHOUT THE RETURN TRIP.

ON THE BASIS OF THAT EVIDENCE THE AGENCY CONCLUDED THAT THE EMPLOYEE KNEW IN ADVANCE THE LENGTH OF HIS TOUR AND THAT A DISCLOSURE THEREOF BY HIM WOULD HAVE PERMITTED A RETURN ROUTING VIA SPOKANE AT A COST OF $16 LESS THAN THAT VIA PORTLAND AND MADE REIMBURSEMENT ACCORDINGLY.

SECTION 3.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY OTHERWISE, ALL TRAVEL MUST BE BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. THUS IT IS NO LONGER REQUIRED THAT THE ROUTING BE BY "THE MOST ECONOMICAL" ROUTE. FROM THE INFORMATION SET FORTH IN THE QUOTED PORTION OF YOUR LETTER IT APPEARS THAT EITHER OF THE ROUTES MENTIONED THEREIN MAY BE CONSIDERED A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE, AND WHEN TRAVEL IS SO PERFORMED THE FACTOR OF A REASONABLE COST VARIATION STANDING ALONE WOULD NOT PRECLUDE THE USE OF THE ROUTE WITH THE HIGHER FARE.

IN CASES OF DEVIATION FROM USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTES OR INTERRUPTED TRAVEL, SECTION 3.3 OF SUCH REGULATIONS PROVIDES:

"INDIRECT-ROUTE OR INTERRUPTED TRAVEL.--- IN CASE A PERSON FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE TRAVELS BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE OR INTERRUPTS TRAVEL BY DIRECT ROUTE, THE EXTRA EXPENSE WILL BE BORNE BY HIMSELF. REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES SHALL BE BASED ONLY ON SUCH CHARGES AS WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. WHEN TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS ARE USED, THEY SHOULD BE ISSUED ONLY FOR THAT PORTION OF THE EXPENSE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT, AND THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD PAY THE ADDITIONAL PERSONAL EXPENSE TO THE CARRIER IN CASH, INCLUDING THE FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION TAX.'

FROM THE INFORMATION FURNISHED IT APPEARS THAT THE RETURN TRIP ROUTING SHOWN ON THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST IS CONSIDERED TO BE A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE AND THAT THE TRAVELER PAID FROM HIS PERSONAL FUNDS THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY REASON OF THE DEVIATION THEREFROM AND THE INTERRUPTION OF HIS TRAVEL FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING ANNUAL LEAVE. ALSO APPEARS THAT THE ALLOWABLE PER DIEM WAS NOT INCREASED BY HIS ACTION. HOWEVER, YOU SAY (1) THAT A DIFFERENT RETURN ROUTING (VIA SPOKANE) WOULD HAVE BEEN PRESCRIBED ON THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST IF THE ISSUING OFFICER HAD BEEN MADE AWARE OF THE LENGTH OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TEMPORARY DUTY, AND (2) THAT TRAVELERS ARE EXPECTED TO TAKE EARLIER FLIGHTS WHEN THEIR DUTIES ARE COMPLETED AHEAD OF TIME AND RESERVATIONS ARE AVAILABLE.

WE RECOGNIZE THAT AGENCIES FREQUENTLY IMPLEMENT GENERAL STATUTES AND REGULATIONS THEREUNDER BY WRITTEN DIRECTIVES, ORDERS, INSTRUCTIONS, ETC., AND ESTABLISH POLICIES WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE ANTECEDENT AUTHORITIES. IT IS NOT CLEAR FROM YOUR LETTER WHETHER THERE WAS IN EFFECT IN YOUR AREA ANY WRITTEN POLICY, DIRECTIVE, ETC., APPLICABLE IN THIS CASE. ALSO, WHILE THE TIME AND PLACE AT WHICH THE RETURN PORTION OF THE TICKET WAS EXCHANGED WOULD INDICATE THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS AWARE OF THE LENGTH OF HIS TOUR OF DUTY IN NEW YORK, IT ALSO MAY BE THAT HE HAD DOUBTS IN THE MATTER BUT IN VIEW OF THE ANNUAL LEAVE FACTOR HE ASSUMED THE RISK OF SUBSEQUENT CANCELLATION OF THE SPACE SO OBTAINED.

THE EMPLOYEE WAS TRAVELING ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS AND REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR IS CONTROLLED BY GOVERNMENT REGULATIONS. HENCE, WE AGREE THAT HIS REMARKS CONCERNING SUBSEQUENT RECOVERY OF SUCH EXPENSES FROM A NON- GOVERNMENT AGENCY HAVE NO BEARING ON THE MATTER. ALSO, WE AGREE THAT IN DETERMINING CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS IN CASES OF DEVIATION FROM USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTES IT SHOULD NOT BE ASSUMED THAT NORMAL CONNECTIONS WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE NOR THAT SPACE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE.

IN THIS CASE IF IT IS FOUND THAT PRIOR TO HIS DEPARTURE ON THE OUTBOUND TRIP THE EMPLOYEE KNEW THAT HIS DUTY WOULD BE COMPLETED IN TIME TO PERMIT DEPARTURE FROM NEW YORK AT 2:30 P.M. AND THAT HIS FAILURE TO DISCLOSE SUCH INFORMATION TO THE AUTHORIZING OFFICIAL WAS IN CONTRAVENTION OF THE WRITTEN ESTABLISHED POLICY, INSTRUCTIONS, ETC., PROPERLY ISSUED IN IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, THE CLAIM MAY NOT BE ALLOWED. OTHERWISE, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.