B-155310, FEB. 5, 1965

B-155310: Feb 5, 1965

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OAKDALE ARMY INSTALLATION: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 24. THE TEMPORARY DUTY WAS PERFORMED PURSUANT TO SPECIAL ORDER T-189. THOSE THREE ORDERS WERE AMENDED TO PROVIDE FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE. THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT MENTIONED ABOVE FOR THE REASON STATED THEREIN. THAT THE AIRMAN WHO TYPED UP THE ORDERS WAS NEW TO THAT DUTY AND MADE THE ERROR WHICH WAS NOT ASCERTAINED UNTIL AFTER PAYMENT OF THE TRAVEL VOUCHER. HAVE BEEN PROPERLY PAID. PROVIDES THAT IT IS THE POLICY OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TO "AUTHORIZE" (AS DISTINGUISHED FROM . PERMIT") MEMBERS TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE ONLY WHEN SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS ACCEPTABLE TO THE MEMBER AND IS DETERMINED TO BE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT.

B-155310, FEB. 5, 1965

TO MAJOR MICHAEL J. PROKOPCHAK, OAKDALE ARMY INSTALLATION:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 24, 1964, IN EFFECT REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1964, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEVEN CENTS PER MILE AND FIVE CENTS PER MILE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY DURING THE PERIODS NOVEMBER 19 TO 23, 1963, DECEMBER 8 TO 13, 1963, AND MARCH 12 TO 21, 1964.

THE TEMPORARY DUTY WAS PERFORMED PURSUANT TO SPECIAL ORDER T-189, DATED NOVEMBER 19, 1963; SPECIAL ORDER T-196, DATED DECEMBER 4, 1963, AND SPECIAL ORDER 51, DATED MARCH 16, 1964. THE FIRST ORDER PROVIDED FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE, MILITARY AIR AND/OR COMMERCIAL IR; THE SECOND FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATE AUTO, AND THE THIRD FOR TRAVEL BY MILITARY OR COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT AND/OR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE. SPECIAL ORDER 61, DATED APRIL 3, 1964, THOSE THREE ORDERS WERE AMENDED TO PROVIDE FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE, ON THE BASIS THAT THIS MODE OF TRAVEL HAD BEEN DETERMINED TO BE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT.

THE CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY THE SETTLEMENT MENTIONED ABOVE FOR THE REASON STATED THEREIN. IN YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW YOU STATE THAT PRIOR TEMPORARY DUTY ORDERS PROVIDED FOR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT BASED ON RESEARCH INTO TOTAL COST BY THAT MEANS OF TRAVEL AS COMPARED TO COMMERCIAL CARRIER; THAT THE AIRMAN WHO TYPED UP THE ORDERS WAS NEW TO THAT DUTY AND MADE THE ERROR WHICH WAS NOT ASCERTAINED UNTIL AFTER PAYMENT OF THE TRAVEL VOUCHER, AND THAT SUBSEQUENT ORDERS HAD BEEN PROOF-READ TO ASCERTAIN CORRECTNESS AND THEREFORE, HAVE BEEN PROPERLY PAID.

PARAGRAPH 4203-3B/1) OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO 37 U.S.C. 404, PROVIDES THAT IT IS THE POLICY OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TO "AUTHORIZE" (AS DISTINGUISHED FROM ,PERMIT") MEMBERS TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE ONLY WHEN SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS ACCEPTABLE TO THE MEMBER AND IS DETERMINED TO BE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. THAT PROVISION CONTEMPLATES THAT THE ORDERS CONTAIN A PROVISION THAT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE IS AUTHORIZED AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. PARAGRAPH 17C/3), AIR FORCE MANUAL 10-3, JUNE 28, 1961, PROVIDES THAT, PURSUANT TO DECISION OF THIS OFFICE PUBLISHED AT 24 COMP. GEN. 439, RETROACTIVE AMENDMENTS TO ORDERS TO INCREASE OR DECREASE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY DUE THE TRAVELER OR THE GOVERNMENT MUST BE FULLY EXPLAINED AND JUSTIFIED, AND THAT REQUESTS FOR SUCH AMENDMENTS MUST CLEARLY SHOW THAT THE ORIGINAL ORDER WAS AMBIGUOUS, INCOMPLETE, OR THROUGH INADVERTENCE OR IGNORANCE, LACKED PERTINENT INFORMATION.

IN THE PRESENT CASE THE THREE ORDERS WERE NOT INCOMPLETE OR UNAMBIGUOUS ON THEIR FACE AND, AS TO TWO OF THEM, A PROVISION THAT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE HAD BEEN DETERMINED MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCONSISTENT WITH THE OTHER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION AUTHORIZED BY THE ORDERS.

THE RECORD CONTAINS A STATEMENT BY THE OFFICER WHO ISSUED THE THREE ORIGINAL ORDERS THAT THE ORDERS WERE ISSUED IN ERROR IN THAT IT WAS DETERMINED "AT THAT TIME" THAT THE COST OF COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION AND TAXI FARES EXCEEDED THE COST OF PRIVATE CONVEYANCE AND WOULD HAVE NECESSITATED FREQUENT GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY POINT. THE RECORD, HOWEVER, ALSO CONTAINS A STATEMENT BY THE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE OFFICER INVOLVED IN EFFECT RECOMMENDING AGAINST PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM FOR THE REASON THAT THE ORIGINAL ORDERS WERE NOT AMBIGUOUS OR INCOMPLETE AND SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN AMENDED. IN AN INDORSEMENT DATED JULY 22, 1964, HEADQUARTERS ADC, ENT AIR FORCE BASE, COLORADO, AGREED WITH THAT RECOMMENDATION. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, AND AS THE TEMPORARY DUTY ORDERS WERE NEITHER INCOMPLETE NOR AMBIGUOUS, THE AMENDATORY ORDERS OF APRIL 3, 1964, ARE WITHOUT EFFECT TO EITHER INCREASE OR DECREASE THE AMOUNT OF MILEAGE DUE YOU UNDER SUCH ORDERS.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1964, WAS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED.