B-154795, SEP. 1, 1964

B-154795: Sep 1, 1964

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CLARK'S CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 2. CLARK SO TRAVELED HE WOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION. CLARK AND HIS WIFE FROM KEFLAVIK TO SAN JUAN WOULD HAVE TOTALED ABOUT $389.90. PROVIDES: "ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO OR FROM ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG. WE HAVE AUTHORIZED TRAVEL. ON SHIPS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY WHEN AMERICAN FLAG VESSELS WERE NOT AVAILABLE.

B-154795, SEP. 1, 1964

TO MR. J. F. GRINER, NATIONAL PRESIDENT:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 14, 1964, ASKS THAT WE RECONSIDER THE CLAIM OF MR. HARROLD WELLMAN CLARK FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED BY HIM IN RETURNING FROM KEFLAVIK, ICELAND, TO PUERTO RICO, HIS PLACE OF HIRE, INCIDENT TO HIS RETIREMENT AS A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY.

THE MAJOR PART OF MR. CLARK'S CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 2, 1964, BECAUSE OF THE USE BY HIM OF FOREIGN FLAG VESSELS IN PERFORMING THE TRAVEL TO PUERTO RICO. MR. CLARK USED A NETHERLANDS REGISTERED VESSEL BETWEEN KEFLAVIK AND ROTTERDAM AND APPARENTLY A VESSEL OF PORTUGUESE REGISTRY BETWEEN LISBON AND SAN JUAN. HIS REIMBURSEMENT, IF OTHERWISE PROPER, WOULD, OF COURSE, BE LIMITED TO THOSE TRAVELING AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES ESSENTIAL TO THE JOURNEY BY A DIRECT USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. HAD MR. CLARK SO TRAVELED HE WOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION, IN KIND, BY MATS BETWEEN KEFLAVIK AND MCGUIRE AIR FORCE BASE, NEW JERSEY; COMMERCIAL BUS TRANSPORTATION TO THE COMMERCIAL AIRPORT, PHILADELPHIA; COMMERCIAL AIR TRANSPORTATION TO SAN JUAN AND THENCE BY RAIL OR BUS TO HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE IN PUERTO RICO. THE COST OF DIRECT ROUTE TRAVEL BY MR. CLARK AND HIS WIFE FROM KEFLAVIK TO SAN JUAN WOULD HAVE TOTALED ABOUT $389.90. HIS LETTER OF AUTHORIZATION AFFORDED HIM AN OPPORTUNITY FOR TRAVEL BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE AT HIS EXPENSE ON A SPACE AVAILABLE BASIS VIA MSTS OR MATS TO EUROPE AND THENCE BY DIRECT ROUTE TO PUERTO RICO.

SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 49 STAT. 2015,PROVIDES:

"ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO OR FROM ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG; PROVIDED, THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY REFOR.'

THE TERM "NECESSITY" IN THE SECTION QUOTED CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN CONSTRUED BY OUR OFFICE AS MEANING OFFICIAL NEED OR THE NECESSITY OF THE MISSION, AND PERSONAL NECESSITY AS IN MR. CLARK'S CASE HAS NOT BEEN ACCEPTED AS JUSTIFYING THE USE OF FOREIGN FLAG VESSELS. HOWEVER, WE HAVE AUTHORIZED TRAVEL, IF OTHERWISE PROPER, ON SHIPS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY WHEN AMERICAN FLAG VESSELS WERE NOT AVAILABLE. SUCH APPEARS TO BE THE CASE CONCERNING THE TRAVEL BETWEEN KEFLAVIK AND ROTTERDAM, THE COST OF WHICH IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN $74.

SINCE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE TOTAL WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE BY THE DIRECT ROUTE, $389.90, AND AMOUNT OF $177.80, ALLOWED BY OUR SETTLEMENT WITH MR. CLARK OF MARCH 2, 1964, IS $212.10, SO MUCH OF THAT AMOUNT AS REPRESENTS ALLOWABLE TRAVEL COSTS MAY BE PAID. THEREFORE, WE ARE INSTRUCTING OUR CLAIMS DIVISION TO ALLOW TO MR. CLARK $74, REPRESENTING SURFACE TRANSPORTATION FROM KEFLAVIK TO ROTTERDAM OVER WHICH ROUTE NO AMERICAN FLAG VESSEL IS AVAILABLE. ALSO, THERE WILL BE ALLOWED AN ESTIMATED (CONSTRUCTIVE) TWO DAYS PER DIEM AT $16, OR $32, AS WELL AS $25, CONSISTING OF TAXI FARES AND BAGGAGE HANDLING CHARGES. A CHECK FOR THE TOTAL OF SUCH AMOUNTS ($131) SHOULD BE RECEIVED BY MR. CLARK IN REGULAR COURSE.

OUR SETTLEMENT OF MARCH 2, 1964, MUST BE SUSTAINED SO FAR AS IT DISALLOWED MR. CLARK'S CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTING HIS AUTOMOBILE, WHICH WAS NOT AUTHORIZED, AND HIS CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTATION ABOARD THE SS.,SANTA MARIA, A PORTUGUESE FLAG VESSEL.