B-158034, DEC. 6, 1965

B-158034: Dec 6, 1965

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TICKETS FOR TRAVEL FROM LISBON TO SANTA MARIA WERE OBTAINED WITH A UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TRANSPORTATION REQUEST ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE FOR THAT PART OF THE TRAVEL. REIMBURSEMENT OF THOSE COSTS HAS NOT BEEN ALLOWED BECAUSE THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL FROM WIESBADEN TO LAJES FIELD USING MILITARY AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE (MATS) RATES PLUS PER DIEM APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL BY THAT MODE WAS COMPUTED BY YOU AS $296. AN AMOUNT LESS THAN THE AMOUNT PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION FROM LISBON TO SANTA MARIA WHICH WAS $320. FAIRMAN WAS ASKED TO REFUND THE EXCESS COST OF THE COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION PURCHASED BY THE GOVERNMENT OR $24. THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS WHETHER THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF MR.

B-158034, DEC. 6, 1965

TO CAPTAIN R. A. GARDNER, USAF:

ON SEPTEMBER 28, 1965, YOUR REFERENCE WCMAP, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY PAY THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY MR. WARREN I. FAIRMAN, A FORMER EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF CERTAIN EXPENSES HE INCURRED IN TRAVEL ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM WIESBADEN, GERMANY, TO LAJES FIELD, AZORES.

MR. FAIRMAN AND HIS FAMILY DEPARTED WIESBADEN ON AUGUST 23, 1964, BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND ON AUGUST 26 REACHED LISBON, PORTUGAL. THEY TRAVELED BY COMMERCIAL AIR FROM LISBON TO LAJES FIELD VIA SANTA MARIA, AZORES ON AUGUST 27. TICKETS FOR TRAVEL FROM LISBON TO SANTA MARIA WERE OBTAINED WITH A UNITED STATES OF AMERICA TRANSPORTATION REQUEST ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE FOR THAT PART OF THE TRAVEL. MR. FAIRMAN SEEKS REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AMOUNTS HE PAID FOR AIR FARE FROM SANTA MARIA TO LAJES FIELD, PASSPORTS FOR ENTRY TO THE AZORES, AND TAXI FARES TO THE AIRPORT IN LISBON. REIMBURSEMENT OF THOSE COSTS HAS NOT BEEN ALLOWED BECAUSE THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL FROM WIESBADEN TO LAJES FIELD USING MILITARY AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE (MATS) RATES PLUS PER DIEM APPLICABLE TO TRAVEL BY THAT MODE WAS COMPUTED BY YOU AS $296, AN AMOUNT LESS THAN THE AMOUNT PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE PURCHASE OF COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION FROM LISBON TO SANTA MARIA WHICH WAS $320. MR. FAIRMAN WAS ASKED TO REFUND THE EXCESS COST OF THE COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION PURCHASED BY THE GOVERNMENT OR $24.

THE QUESTION PRESENTED IS WHETHER THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF MR. FAIRMAN'S TRAVEL MUST BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF MATS RATES OR WHETHER THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST MAY BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF COMMERCIAL RATES FOR ALL OR PART OF THE TRAVEL. SINCE COMMERCIAL RATES ARE SUBSTANTIALLY HIGHER THAN MATS RATES MR. FAIRMAN WOULD BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF AT LEAST PART OF THE COSTS HE INCURRED IF THE LATTER METHOD OF COMPUTATION IS PROPER IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

SINCE THERE WAS NO DETERMINATION THAT MR. FAIRMAN'S USE OF HIS PRIVATELY- OWNED AUTOMOBILE WAS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT EITHER IN HIS TRAVEL ORDERS OR IN AIR FORCE REGULATIONS OF GENERAL APPLICATION THE ACTUAL COSTS HE INCURRED IN TRAVELING TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION MAY BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT THEY DO NOT EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST FOR TRAVEL BY THE ROUTE AND MODE OF TRAVEL HE WOULD HAVE USED HAD HE NOT ELECTED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE. UNDER APPLICABLE AIR FORCE REGULATIONS THE USE OF MATS SCHEDULED TRANSPORTATION TO, FROM OR BETWEEN OVERSEAS LOCATIONS IS REQUIRED IF AVAILABLE. AFM 75-4, PARA. 2208; AFM 40-10, CH. 6, IN FORCE AT THE TIME TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED. SINCE SPACE WAS AVAILABLE ON SCHEDULED MATS FLIGHTS BETWEEN FRANKFURT (WHICH IS ONLY A SHORT DISTANCE FROM WIESBADEN) AND LAJES FIELD, MR. FAIRMAN WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO TRAVEL BY MATS RATHER THAN BY COMMERCIAL AIR HAD HE TRAVELED DIRECTLY FROM HIS OLD POST TO HIS NEW POST. THE ACTION OF THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER IN ISSUING A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR THE PURCHASE OF COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION FOR PART OF THE TRIP WOULD HAVE BEEN PROPER IF THE COST WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED FOR TRAVEL VIA GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT. IN VIEW OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF AIR FORCE REGULATIONS RELATIVE TO THE USE OF MATS SCHEDULED FLIGHTS AND SINCE NO SPECIFIC JUSTIFICATION FOR USE OF COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION WAS ISSUED BY THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AT THE TIME HE ISSUED MR. FAIRMAN A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST IT MUST BE ASSUMED THAT THE REQUEST WAS MISTAKENLY ISSUED UNDER THE ASSUMPTION THAT THE COST OF COMMERCIAL TRAVEL AUTHORIZED THEREBY WOULD NOT EXCEED THE TOTAL COST OF TRAVEL BY MATS. THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER INTENDED TO AUTHORIZE MR. FAIRMAN AND HIS FAMILY TO TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIR FROM WIESBADEN TO LAJES FIELD.

THEREFORE, MR. FAIRMAN IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COSTS HE CLAIMS IN THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION AND IS INDEBTED TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE $24 EXCESS PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT ON THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST ISSUED.