B-155131, OCT. 16, 1964

B-155131: Oct 16, 1964

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THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM OMAHA TO VERMILLION. NO OFFICIAL TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED AND NEITHER MILEAGE NOR PER DIEM IS CLAIMED FOR MAY 29. SATTLER PERFORMED THE TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE AND IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE USE OF SUCH PRIVATELY- OWNED VEHICLE WAS NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT. YOU POINT OUT THAT CPR T3.7-9A (1) PROVIDES THAT IF TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZE TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER OR GOVERNMENT VEHICLE AND PRIVATE CONVEYANCE IS USED BUT IS NOT DETERMINED TO HAVE BEEN IN THE GOVERNMENT'S BEST INTERESTS. REIMBURSEMENT WILL BE LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BY THE AUTHORIZED MEANS. YOU ALSO SAY THAT COSTS OF GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION GOVERNMENT VEHICLES ARE DETERMINABLE FROM REGIONAL GSA CIRCULAR NO. 248 AND LOCAL ACCOUNTING RECORDS AND BASED THEREON THE AVERAGE COST FOR SEDANS IS 6.4 CENTS PER MILE.

B-155131, OCT. 16, 1964

TO MR. W. M. WILSON, DISBURSING OFFICER, U.S. ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT, OMAHA:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 8, 1964, REFERENCE MROCF-E (RECEIVED HERE SEPTEMBER 9, 1964), REQUESTING OUR DECISION RELATIVE TO PAYMENT OF A VOUCHER IN THE SUM OF $84.70 COVERING MILEAGE AND PER DIEM INCIDENT TO TRAVEL PERFORMED BY DONALD C. SATTLER, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS, OMAHA DISTRICT.

BY ORDER DATED MAY 21, 1964, THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM OMAHA TO VERMILLION, YANKTON, AND SIOUX FALLS, SOUTH DAKOTA, AND VICINITIES AND RETURN TO OMAHA. HE DEPARTED OMAHA AT 7:30 A.M. MAY 27 AND RETURNED TO THAT POINT AT 9:30 P.M. ON JUNE 2. NO OFFICIAL TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED AND NEITHER MILEAGE NOR PER DIEM IS CLAIMED FOR MAY 29, 30 AND 31 (MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND) AND JUNE 1 ON WHICH HE TOOK ANNUAL LEAVE.

ALTHOUGH THE ORDER AUTHORIZED THE USE OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED VEHICLES ONLY, MR. SATTLER PERFORMED THE TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE AND IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE USE OF SUCH PRIVATELY- OWNED VEHICLE WAS NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT.

YOU POINT OUT THAT CPR T3.7-9A (1) PROVIDES THAT IF TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZE TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER OR GOVERNMENT VEHICLE AND PRIVATE CONVEYANCE IS USED BUT IS NOT DETERMINED TO HAVE BEEN IN THE GOVERNMENT'S BEST INTERESTS, REIMBURSEMENT WILL BE LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BY THE AUTHORIZED MEANS, INCLUDING PER DIEM. YOU ALSO SAY THAT COSTS OF GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION GOVERNMENT VEHICLES ARE DETERMINABLE FROM REGIONAL GSA CIRCULAR NO. 248 AND LOCAL ACCOUNTING RECORDS AND BASED THEREON THE AVERAGE COST FOR SEDANS IS 6.4 CENTS PER MILE.

APPARENTLY YOU VIEW CPR T3.7-9A (1) AS REQUIRING THAT SETTLEMENT BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST BY GOVERNMENT VEHICLE OR 6.4 CENTS PER MILE. YOUR DOUBTS, HOWEVER, ARISE FROM SECTION 3 (B) OF MISSOURI RIVER DIVISION REGULATION NO. 55-1-1, WHICH READS IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"B. PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE

"PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE MAY BE UTILIZED TO PERFORM TDY TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. IF CONSIDERED ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT A MILEAGE RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE WILL BE ALLOWED. IF NOT CONSIDERED ADVANTAGEOUS THE TRAVELER WILL BE REIMBURSED TO THE EXTENT OF COST TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR TRAVEL BY RAIL, INCLUDING PER DIEM, UNLESS RAIL IS NOT AVAILABLE, THEN IT WILL BE THE MODE NORMALLY USED, EXCEPT THAT GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE, INCLUDING GSA VEHICLES, WILL NOT BE USED FOR COMPARISON PURPOSES. * * *

IN THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 3, 1964, WITH WHICH YOUR LETTER AND ENCLOSURES WERE FORWARDED HERE, THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS RECOMMENDED THAT PAYMENT BE AUTHORIZED AT THE RATE OF 7 CENTS PER MILE BASED ON EXPERIENCE DATA REFLECTED IN GENERAL SERVICES PUBLICATION "ANNUAL MOTOR VEHICLE REPORT" FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1963.

THAT OFFICE ALSO EXPRESSED THE VIEW THAT A CORPS-WIDE POLICY OF THE USE OF A FLAT MILEAGE ALLOWANCE BASED ON DATA CONTAINED IN THE CURRENT GSA ANNUAL MOTOR VEHICLE REPORT WOULD BE DESIRABLE FOR ALL TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY -OWNED VEHICLES NOT DETERMINED TO BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, IN THAT IT WOULD ELIMINATE INNUMERABLE COMPUTATIONS AND COMPARISONS WITH COMMON CARRIER RATES AND THUS PROVE MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE GOVERNMENT.

HAVING BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT THE MATTER OF A CORPS-WIDE POLICY AS INDICATED HEREIN IS UNDER CONSIDERATION BY THE PROCEDURES AND REGULATIONS DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, WE EXPRESS NO OPINION WITH RESPECT THERETO AT THIS TIME.

IN THE SUBJECT CASE THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT VEHICLE AND NO ALTERNATE MEANS WAS GIVEN. THE NECESSITY FOR THE THE USE OF A PRIVATELY-OWNED VEHICLE WAS NOT SHOWN ON THE VOUCHER. ON THE CONTRARY, THE TRAVELER ADMITS THAT HE USED HIS PRIVATELY-OWNED VEHICLE SOLELY FOR PERSONAL REASONS. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE KNOW OF NO PROPER BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT ON A FLAT RATE MILEAGE BASIS. HOWEVER, THE EMPLOYEE DID, IN FACT, PERFORM SOME OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY MEANS OF HIS PRIVATELY-OWNED VEHICLE AND, THEREFORE, HE REASONABLY MAY BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSES BASIS, THAT IS, FOR GASOLINE, OIL, ETC., USED WHILE TRAVELING ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS. SINCE THE EMPLOYEE ALSO USED THE CAR FOR PERSONAL TRAVEL DURING THE WEEKEND AND WHILE ON LEAVE AND MAY NOT BE ABLE TO DETERMINE AND PRODUCE RECEIPTS FOR THE COSTS OF THE AMOUNTS USED FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL WE WOULD NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO PAYMENT BASED ON A REASONABLE ESTIMATE OF SUCH COSTS WITH DUE CONSIDERATION TO THE MILES TRAVELED AND THE MAKE AND MODEL OF THE VEHICLE USED. SUCH REIMBURSEMENT, INCLUDING PER DIEM, IN THIS CASE IS NOT IN ANY EVENT TO EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST BY THE AUTHORIZED MEANS, INCLUDING PER DIEM.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT EXCEPT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.

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