B-158222, FEB. 2, 1966

B-158222: Feb 2, 1966

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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE: THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 21. MISS BRAME WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL ON OR ABOUT APRIL 19. ON THE BASIS OF THIS ORDER SHE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL ON OR ABOUT MAY 20. TO NEW YORK WAS THE SAME AS FROM ALGECIRAS. AT THAT TIME SHE WAS REQUESTED TO RETURN FOR OBSERVATION AROUND APRIL 15. THE MATS TRANSPORTATION TO PISA WAS ON A SPACE-AVAILABLE BASIS AND WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE HAD NOT BEEN BILLED FOR IT. THIS WAS NOT CHANGED BY THE SECOND SET OF ORDERS AUTHORIZING TRAVEL TO WIESBADEN. INDEPENDENCE WAS RETAINED BY MISS BRAME TO ACCOMPLISH THAT TRAVEL AS ORIGINALLY PLANNED DESPITE THE ADDITIONAL TRAVEL TO WIESBADEN.

B-158222, FEB. 2, 1966

TO MR. A. M. FLATEQUAL, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 21, 1965, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE PROPER ROUTE AND MODE OF TRAVEL IN THE CASE OF MISS OLETA BRAME, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE STATIONED IN THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN RABAT, MOROCCO.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT ON MARCH 16, 1965, MISS BRAME WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL ON OR ABOUT APRIL 19, 1965 (T.A. NO. 810-66) FROM RABAT, MOROCCO, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., WITH HOME LEAVE IN ORLANDO, FLORIDA, AND RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR ASSIGNMENT (TRANSFER OF DUTY STATION). ON THE BASIS OF THIS ORDER SHE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL ON OR ABOUT MAY 20, 1965, ON THE SS. INDEPENDENCE BETWEEN ALGECIRAS, SPAIN, AND NEW YORK AT MINIMUM FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS AVAILABLE AT TIME OF RESERVATION.

MISS BRAME'S ORIGINAL PLAN CALLED FOR HER TO TRAVEL BY PLANE AND FERRY BOAT FROM RABAT, MOROCCO, TO ALGECIRAS, SPAIN, ABOUT APRIL 15, 1965. SHE HAD OBTAINED PERMISSION TO USE ANNUAL LEAVE FROM THAT TIME UNTIL HER PROSPECTIVE DEPARTURE ON MAY 20, VACATIONING IN SOUTHERN ITALY. SINCE THE SHIP FARE FROM NAPLES, ITALY, TO NEW YORK WAS THE SAME AS FROM ALGECIRAS, SPAIN, TO NEW YORK AND SINCE SHE WOULD BE IN THE NAPLES AREA WHEN THE S.S. INDEPENDENCE CALLED AT THAT PORT, THE EMBASSY OBTAINED ACCOMMODATIONS FOR HER FROM NAPLES.

MISS BRAME HAD UNDERGONE MEDICAL TREATMENT AT THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE HOSPITAL IN WIESBADEN, GERMANY, EARLY IN FEBRUARY 1965. AT THAT TIME SHE WAS REQUESTED TO RETURN FOR OBSERVATION AROUND APRIL 15, 1965. RATHER THAN BE ABSENT FROM HER PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT AT RABAT FOR 8-10 DAYS AND RETURN JUST IN TIME TO BE TRANSFERRED, MISS BRAME DELAYED THE TRIP TO WIESBADEN UNTIL APRIL 19, 1965, SO THAT IT COINCIDED WITH HER TRANSFER FROM RABAT TO WASHINGTON, D.C. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER AT THE AMERICAN EMBASSY IN RABAT ISSUED TRAVEL ORDER DATED APRIL 5, 1965, AUTHORIZING MISS BRAME TO TRAVEL TO WIESBADEN, GERMANY, FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT AND INDICATING PARENTHETICALLY THAT SHE WOULD PROCEED TO THE UNITED STATES ON HOME LEAVE AND TRANSFER FOLLOWING DISCHARGE FROM HOSPITAL.

MISS BRAME TRAVELED FROM RABAT TO WIESBADEN ON APRIL 19, 1965, VIA MATS PLANE AND UPON COMPLETION OF CONSULTATION AT WIESBADEN OBTAINED TRANSPORTATION ON A MATS PLANE TO PISA, ITALY. THE MATS TRANSPORTATION TO PISA WAS ON A SPACE-AVAILABLE BASIS AND WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE HAD NOT BEEN BILLED FOR IT. FROM PISA SHE PROCEEDED BY TRAIN TO NAPLES, ITALY, WHERE APPROXIMATELY ONE MONTH LATER SHE BOARDED THE SS. INDEPENDENCE AS SCHEDULED FOR THE VOYAGE TO NEW YORK. THE INDEPENDENCE DEPARTED ALGECIRAS ON MAY 24, 1965, ARRIVING IN NEW YORK ON MAY 31, 1965.

BASED ON THE FACTS OF THIS CASE AND THE UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN MISS BRAME AND THE OFFICIALS AT THE AMERICAN EMBASSY AT RABAT IT APPEARS THAT THE DIRECT METHOD OF TRAVEL FOR HER FROM RABAT AND WIESBADEN TO WASHINGTON, D.C., REMAINED TRAVEL BY SHIP FROM ALGECIRAS, SPAIN, TO NEW YORK, AND THIS WAS NOT CHANGED BY THE SECOND SET OF ORDERS AUTHORIZING TRAVEL TO WIESBADEN, GERMANY, FOR MEDICAL TREATMENT. THE TICKET FOR THE PASSAGE BY SHIP TO NEW YORK ON THE SS. INDEPENDENCE WAS RETAINED BY MISS BRAME TO ACCOMPLISH THAT TRAVEL AS ORIGINALLY PLANNED DESPITE THE ADDITIONAL TRAVEL TO WIESBADEN.

THAT PORTION OF HER TRAVEL FROM WIESBADEN, GERMANY, TO PISA, ITALY, ABOARD THE MATS PLANE MAY BE CONSIDERED TO BE DIRECT TRAVEL TOWARD ALGECIRAS, SPAIN, WHERE HER ULTIMATE TRAVEL TO NEW YORK WAS TO COMMENCE, AND TO WHICH SHE WAS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF MEDICAL TREATMENT. 6 FAM 181.1-4. HOWEVER, HER TRAVEL FROM PISA TO NAPLES AND LATER NAPLES TO ALGECIRAS, SPAIN, WAS INDIRECT TRAVEL. SHE HAD MERELY MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO BOARD THE SHIP AT NAPLES ON MAY 20, 1965, AS A MATTER OF CONVENIENCE TO HERSELF SINCE SHE WOULD BE IN THAT AREA. IN THIS REGARD, HOWEVER, HER ENTITLEMENT TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCE CANNOT BE CONSTRUCTIVELY COMPUTED AS URGED IN HER STATEMENT OF DECEMBER 2, 1965, AS THOUGH SHE HAD BEEN TRANSFERRED DIRECT FROM RABAT TO ALGECIRAS; FOR THIS TRAVEL WAS NEVER ACTUALLY PERFORMED. SEE 31 COMP. GEN. 389; B-147380, OCTOBER 30, 1961; B-146206, APRIL 8, 1963.

WITH RESPECT TO INDIRECT TRAVEL AND THE LIMITATIONS UPON REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, SECTIONS 131.3 AND 131.4-1C OF VOL. 6 FAM, PROVIDE IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"131.3 REIMBURSEMENT FOR INDIRECT TRAVEL

"WHEN A TRAVELER DEVIATES FROM A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE, THE EXTRA EXPENSE FOR THE PORTION OF THE JOURNEY WHICH IS BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE IS BORNE BY HIMSELF. THE REIMBURSEMENT FOR COSTS INCURRED ON THAT PORTION OF THE JOURNEY WHICH IS TRAVELED BY INDIRECT ROUTE IS LIMITED TO THE TOTAL COST OF PER DIEM, TRANSPORTATION AND INCIDENTAL EXPENSES WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY TRAVELING ON A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. * * *

"131.4 LIMITATIONS ON REIMBURSEMENT FOR INDIRECT TRAVEL

"131.4-1CPARTLY BY AIR AND PARTLY BY SURFACE.

"COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL BY LESS THAN FIRST-CLASS AIR ACCOMMODATIONS. HOWEVER, WHEN THE AIR PORTIONS ARE ENTIRELY WITHIN THE COUNTRY OF AUTHORIZED ORIGIN OR DESTINATION, REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE MADE FOR THE SURFACE TRAVEL ACTUALLY PERFORMED ON THE BASIS OF SURFACE TRAVEL * * *.'

UNDER THE FOREGOING REGULATION THE LIMITATIONS UPON REIMBURSEMENT FOR INDIRECT TRAVEL APPLY ONLY TO THAT PORTION OF THE JOURNEY INVOLVING INDIRECT TRAVEL. SINCE MISS BRAME ULTIMATELY SAILED FROM THE DESIGNATED PORT, ALGECIRAS, ON THE NAMED SHIP AND PRESCRIBED DATE, THE JOURNEY FROM WIESBADEN TO PISA AND FROM ALGECIRAS ONWARD MUST BE TREATED AS DIRECT TRAVEL.

SINCE THE COST OF TRANSPORTING MISS BRAME FROM PISA, ITALY, TO ALGECIRAS, SPAIN, WOULD HAVE ENTAILED CONSIDERABLY GREATER COST THAN THE SUM SHE IS CLAIMING FOR RAIL TRAVEL FROM PISA TO NAPLES THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO PAYING THAT PORTION OF HER CLAIM. THE TIME INVOLVED IN THE TRAVEL FROM PISA TO ALGECIRAS WOULD CLOSELY APPROXIMATE THE ONE DAY'S PER DIEM MISS BRAME IS CLAIMING IN HER TRAVEL FROM PISA TO NAPLES SO THERE IS ALSO NO OBJECTION TO THAT PORTION OF HER CLAIM. HOWEVER, IT IS NOTED THAT MISS BRAME IS CLAIMING $6 PER DIEM FOR MAY 23, 1965, FOR SHIPBOARD TRAVEL ALLOWANCE WHEREAS YOUR LETTER INDICATES THAT THE SHIP DEPARTED ALGECIRAS ON MAY 24, 1965. HER ENTITLEMENT TO PER DIEM WOULD COMMENCE AS OF THE LATTER DATE UNDER THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL CONCEPT WE HAVE ADVANCED ABOVE.

IT IS NOTED THAT ON THE ATTACHED PASSENGER RECEIPT A SO-CALLED "NAPLES" TAX OF $13 HAS BEEN ADDED TO THE $452 COST OF THE TICKET BRINGING THE TOTAL TO $465. SINCE THIS OFFICE HAS BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT THE TAX ON THE SAME TICKET FROM ALGECIRAS IS ONLY $3 THE DIFFERENCE OF $10 BETWEEN THE TWO TAXES SHOULD BE SET OFF AGAINST MISS BRAME'S CLAIM FOR TRAVEL.

IF THE FIGURES AS TO THE COST OF BUS TRANSPORTATION FROM NEW YORK TO WASHINGTON, D.C., TO ORLANDO, FLORIDA, AND RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C., ARE OTHERWISE CORRECT THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO PAYMENT OF THIS PORTION OF THE CLAIM.

MISS BRAME'S ANNUAL LEAVE BALANCE IS FOR COMPUTATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING ANALYSIS.

THE VOUCHER FORWARDED BY YOUR LETTER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND, SUBJECT TO THE EXCEPTIONS RESPECTING PER DIEM FOR MAY 23, 1965, AND THE OVERPAYMENT OF $10 TAX ON THE STEAMSHIP TICKET, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, IT MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.