B-156130, MAR. 9, 1965

B-156130: Mar 9, 1965

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THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY YOU IN YOUR LETTER AND EARLIER CORRESPONDENCE HAVE BEEN NOTED. DISPOSITION OF YOUR CLAIM IS GOVERNED BY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 3.6C (1) AND 3.8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SUCH REGULATIONS ARE SUPPLEMENTED IN THE AEC TRAVEL HANDBOOK (MANUAL. AS A MATTER OF POLICY SECTION 3.6C (1) (B) OF THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS PRECLUDES THE USE OF FIRST-CLASS JET ACCOMMODATIONS EXCEPT WHEN LESS COSTLY ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE "IN TIME TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSE OF THE TRAVEL. SAY THAT FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS MAY BE USED WHEN LESS COSTLY ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE "AT THE TIME RESERVATIONS ARE MADE.'. WE HAVE NOTED YOUR STATEMENTS AS TO WHY YOU CONCLUDED THAT THAT RESERVATION WAS NOT USABLE.

B-156130, MAR. 9, 1965

TO MR. CHARLES L. MARSHALL, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF CLASSIFICATION, UNITED STATES ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION:

ON FEBRUARY 1, 1965, AND BASED ON THE ENCLOSURES WITH YOUR LETTER, YOU REQUESTED RECONSIDERATION OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT DATED JANUARY 27, 1965, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR RECLAIM FOR $25 INCIDENT TO YOUR RETURN TRAVEL ON AUGUST 15, 1964, BY COMMERCIAL AIRLINE FROM LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., UNDER TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. WA 429, DATED JULY 13, 1964, OF THE ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION (AEC).

THE VIEWS EXPRESSED BY YOU IN YOUR LETTER AND EARLIER CORRESPONDENCE HAVE BEEN NOTED. HOWEVER, DISPOSITION OF YOUR CLAIM IS GOVERNED BY THE PROVISIONS OF SECTIONS 3.6C (1) AND 3.8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED (TM 29, JULY 20, 1964, AND TM 24, JULY 4, 1962, RESPECTIVELY); ALSO, SEE SECTIONS 3.6C AND 3.9. MOREOVER, SUCH REGULATIONS ARE SUPPLEMENTED IN THE AEC TRAVEL HANDBOOK (MANUAL, APPENDIX 1501) PART III A. THEREIN SECTIONS A2, A14A (3) AND 14C SET FORTH THE CRITERIA UNDER WHICH AN AEC EMPLOYEE MIGHT JUSTIFY HIS USE OF FIRST-CLASS JET ACCOMMODATIONS FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL WITHIN THE UNITED STATES.

AS A MATTER OF POLICY SECTION 3.6C (1) (B) OF THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS PRECLUDES THE USE OF FIRST-CLASS JET ACCOMMODATIONS EXCEPT WHEN LESS COSTLY ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE "IN TIME TO CARRY OUT THE PURPOSE OF THE TRAVEL," OR WHEN, UNDER SUBSECTION (C), AN AUTHORIZING OFFICER AUTHORIZES OR APPROVES THE USE OF FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS AS NECESSARY FOR THE CONDUCT OF THE MISSION OR FOR REASONS OF THE TRAVELER'S HEALTH. WE NOTE THAT SIMILAR POLICY STATEMENTS IN PART III, SECTION A14, OF THE AEC TRAVEL HANDBOOK, SUBSECTION A14C (1), SAY THAT FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS MAY BE USED WHEN LESS COSTLY ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE "AT THE TIME RESERVATIONS ARE MADE.' AS TO THE LATTER PROVISION, THE RECORD SHOWS THAT PRIOR TO YOUR DEPARTURE FROM WASHINGTON THE AEC TRAVEL OFFICE FURNISHED YOU A ROUND-TRIP JET TOURIST TICKET AND A RESERVATION HAD BEEN MADE FOR YOUR RETURN FLIGHT SCHEDULED TO LEAVE LAS VEGAS AT 8:30 A.M. ON SATURDAY, AUGUST 15, 1964. WE HAVE NOTED YOUR STATEMENTS AS TO WHY YOU CONCLUDED THAT THAT RESERVATION WAS NOT USABLE, AS SET FORTH ON VOUCHER NO. 2428-65. ALSO, THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN YOUR LETTERS OF SEPTEMBER 10, 1964, NOVEMBER 18, 1964, AND FEBRUARY 1, 1965, HAVE BEEN FULLY CONSIDERED.

GENERALLY, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 1.1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, OFFICIAL TRAVELERS ARE EXPECTED TO EXERCISE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS. SECTION 1.2 CONFINES REIMBURSABLE TRAVEL EXPENSES TO THOSE EXPENSES WHICH ARE ESSENTIAL TO THE TRANSACTION OF THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 1, 1965, PROTESTS THE SETTLEMENT'S REFERENCE TO "PERSONAL REASONS" FOR USING ACCOMMODATIONS SUPERIOR TO THOSE AUTHORIZED, AND YOU SAY THE REASON FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS WERE USED IS THAT THERE WERE NO OTHER SEATS AVAILABLE ON THE AIRPLANE. HOWEVER, THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOUR DECISION TO USE THE JET FLIGHT LEAVING LAS VEGAS AT 1:10 A.M. ON AUGUST 15 WAS LARGELY BASED ON PER DIEM FACTORS--- A SAVINGS OF $4 ( 1/4 OF THE $16 PER DIEM RATE/--- NOTWITHSTANDING THE $25 DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS YOU USED AND THE ,AVAILABLE" TOURIST ACCOMMODATIONS ALREADY RESERVED FOR YOU ON THE 8:30 A.M. FLIGHT ON AUGUST 15. HOWEVER, WE POINT OUT THAT UNDER SECTION 3.6C (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS,"AGENCIES MAY SPECIFY ON TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS, OR OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTIVES, THAT THE LESS COSTLY ACCOMMODATIONS BE USED.'

THE AEC TRAVEL HANDBOOK SUBSECTIONS A14C (2), (3) AND (5) CONTAIN ADDITIONAL CRITERIA WHICH MAY BE ADMINISTRATIVELY CONSIDERED AND APPROVED, NAMELY, WHETHER THE TOTAL FIRST-CLASS TRAVEL COST (INCLUDING PER DIEM) WOULD BE GREATER THAN THE TOTAL COST OF THE AVAILABLE LESSER CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS; WHETHER EXCESS LOSS OF PRODUCTIVE TIME WOULD RESULT FROM USE OF THE AVAILABLE LESSER ACCOMMODATIONS; AND/OR WHETHER UNDUE INCONVENIENCE TO THE TRAVELER WOULD OTHERWISE ENSUE. THE MATTER OF TOTAL COST IS DISCUSSED ABOVE. AS YOUR RETURN WAS ON A SATURDAY, IT IS NOT APPARENT THAT "PRODUCTIVE TIME" IS INVOLVED IN YOUR CASE. THE MATTER OF HOTEL COSTS AND SAVING OF PER DIEM DISCUSSED IN YOUR LETTERS, AND ANY INCONVENIENCE INVOLVED, WERE CONSIDERED ADMINISTRATIVELY IN THE UNFAVORABLE REPORT OF YOUR CLAIM TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ON JANUARY 4, 1965, FOR SETTLEMENT. WE WERE ADVISED THAT YOUR ACTIONS DID NOT JUSTIFY THE USE OF FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE-CITED REGULATIONS. WE ARE NOT DISPOSED TO DISAGREE WITH THAT ADMINISTRATIVE OPINION.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND FOR THE REASONS STATED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF JANUARY 27, 1965, THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM IS SUSTAINED.

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