B-157035, JUN. 29, 1965

B-157035: Jun 29, 1965

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COVERING MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF HIS PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHICH WAS USED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF ANOTHER EMPLOYEE UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER RELATED. IT IS STATED THAT THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED FROM HARRISON. IN ORDER TO OBTAIN ANOTHER GOVERNMENT VEHICLE LOCATED AT SCOTTVILLE WHICH WAS AVAILABLE FOR TRANSFER TO HARRISON. THERE WAS NO GOVERNMENT VEHICLE AVAILABLE TO MAKE THE TRIP NOR WERE THERE ANY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES AVAILABLE BETWEEN HARRISON AND SCOTTVILLE. DUMONT WAS REQUESTED TO MAKE THE TRIP IN HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND TO TRANSPORT ANOTHER EMPLOYEE. NO TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED TO MR. BECAUSE THERE WAS NO OTHER MEANS BY WHICH THE EMPLOYEES COULD GET TO SCOTTVILLE TO PICK UP THE GOVERNMENT VEHICLE THERE FOR TRANSFER TO HARRISON.

B-157035, JUN. 29, 1965

TO MR. M. L. COLLINS, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 14, 1965, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT MAY BE MADE ON THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED PROPOSING PAYMENT OF $17.91 TO MR. JOSEPH R. DUMONT, COVERING MILEAGE FOR THE USE OF HIS PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE WHICH WAS USED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF ANOTHER EMPLOYEE UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER RELATED.

IT IS STATED THAT THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED FROM HARRISON, MICHIGAN, TO SCOTTVILLE, MICHIGAN, AND RETURN, IN ORDER TO OBTAIN ANOTHER GOVERNMENT VEHICLE LOCATED AT SCOTTVILLE WHICH WAS AVAILABLE FOR TRANSFER TO HARRISON. HOWEVER, THERE WAS NO GOVERNMENT VEHICLE AVAILABLE TO MAKE THE TRIP NOR WERE THERE ANY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES AVAILABLE BETWEEN HARRISON AND SCOTTVILLE. MR. DUMONT WAS REQUESTED TO MAKE THE TRIP IN HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND TO TRANSPORT ANOTHER EMPLOYEE, MR. RICHARD CRANE WITH HIM TO ASSIST IN THE RETURN OF THE GOVERNMENT VEHICLE TO HARRISON. AS MR. CRANE WOULD INCUR NO PER DIEM EXPENSES, AND AS HIS TRAVEL WOULD BE CONFINED TO THAT OF A PASSENGER IN A PRIVATELY-OWNED VEHICLE AND AS A DRIVER OF THE GOVERNMENT VEHICLE ON THE RETURN TRIP, NO TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED TO MR. CRANE. BECAUSE THERE WAS NO OTHER MEANS BY WHICH THE EMPLOYEES COULD GET TO SCOTTVILLE TO PICK UP THE GOVERNMENT VEHICLE THERE FOR TRANSFER TO HARRISON, AND THE MANNER IN WHICH THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED FOR THAT PURPOSE WAS THE ONLY PRACTICABLE MEANS BY WHICH THE JOB COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED, IT WAS DETERMINED THAT MR. DUMONT'S USE OF HIS PRIVATELY-OWNED VEHICLE ON A MILEAGE BASIS WAS TO THE GOVERNMENT'S ADVANTAGE.

THE DOUBT EXPRESSED BY YOU CONCERNING THE MATTER ARISES FROM THE HOLDING IN 22 COMP. GEN. 544, AND 28 ID. 332, TO THE EFFECT THAT UNDER THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 21, 1931, AS AMENDED, AN EMPLOYEE MAY NOT BE PAID MILEAGE FOR USE OF A PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN TRANSPORTING ANOTHER EMPLOYEE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WHERE THE OWNER OR OPERATOR THEREOF DID NOT PERFORM OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

THE FOREGOING DECISIONS WERE RENDERED UNDER THE MILEAGE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, WHICH HAS BEEN SUPERSEDED BY SECTION 4 OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, APPROVED JUNE 6, 1949, 63 STAT. 166. HOWEVER, THE LATER ACT DOES NOT REMOVE THE REQUIREMENT THAT THE TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS MUST BE ON "OFFICIAL BUSINESS.'

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THERE WAS NO PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN HARRISON AND SCOTTVILLE AND THE USE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE WAS DETERMINED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT AND TO BE THE ONLY PRACTICABLE MEANS BY WHICH THE MISSION COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED, IT REASONABLY MAY BE CONCLUDED IN THIS CASE THAT THE USE OF THE PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE WAS IN FACT UPON "OFFICIAL BUSINESS" SO AS TO ENTITLE THE EMPLOYEE TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH TRAVEL ON A MILEAGE BASIS.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.