B-158519, FEB. 21, 1966

B-158519: Feb 21, 1966

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ASKS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE PAYMENT WAS PROPER IN THE LIGHT OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES RECITED IN YOUR LETTER. WHO WAS STATIONED IN CINCINNATI. WAS DIRECTED TO PERFORM SEVERAL DAYS TEMPORARY DUTY AT PIKETON. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO USE A PRIVATELY- OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS AT 9 CENTS A MILE. WAS SIMILARLY ORDERED FROM CINCINNATI TO PIKETON AND AUTHORIZED TO USE HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A LIKE BASIS FOR TEMPORARY DUTY AND RETURN ON THE SAME DAYS ON WHICH MR. WILSON WAS TO TRAVEL. WILSON TO AND FROM THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN 18 MILES IN EXCESS OF WHAT HE WOULD HAVE TRAVELED HAD HE PROCEEDED DIRECTLY FROM HIS PLACE OF ABODE OR OFFICE TO PIKETON AND RETURN.

B-158519, FEB. 21, 1966

TO MR. L. G. TANNER, UNITED STATES ATOMIC ENERGY COMMISSION:

YOUR LETTER, REFERENCE AFS:LGT, OF FEBRUARY 11, 1966, WITH ENCLOSED COPIES OF PAID VOUCHER AND RELATED PAPERS, COVERING PAYMENT OF $97.60 TO MR. HERBERT K. WILSON FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES, ASKS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE PAYMENT WAS PROPER IN THE LIGHT OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES RECITED IN YOUR LETTER.

YOU SAY THAT THE CLAIMANT, WHO WAS STATIONED IN CINCINNATI, OHIO, WAS DIRECTED TO PERFORM SEVERAL DAYS TEMPORARY DUTY AT PIKETON, OHIO, AND RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO USE A PRIVATELY- OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS AT 9 CENTS A MILE, SUCH USE HAVING BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED AS BEING ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT.

A COEMPLOYEE OF THE CLAIMANT, MR. ELDEN L. CARTER, WAS SIMILARLY ORDERED FROM CINCINNATI TO PIKETON AND AUTHORIZED TO USE HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A LIKE BASIS FOR TEMPORARY DUTY AND RETURN ON THE SAME DAYS ON WHICH MR. WILSON WAS TO TRAVEL. AS A CONSEQUENCE MR. WILSON APPARENTLY ROUTED HIS TRAVEL TO AND FROM PIKETON BY WAY OF MR. CARTER'S PLACE OF ABODE AND TRANSPORTED MR. CARTER AS A PASSENGER BOTH WAYS ON THE TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT.

BECAUSE OF HIS PICKING UP MR. CARTER THE DISTANCE TRAVELED BY MR. WILSON TO AND FROM THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN 18 MILES IN EXCESS OF WHAT HE WOULD HAVE TRAVELED HAD HE PROCEEDED DIRECTLY FROM HIS PLACE OF ABODE OR OFFICE TO PIKETON AND RETURN.

YOU SAY THAT THE ADDITIONAL MILEAGE, $1.62, WAS PAID TO MR. WILSON SINCE IT WAS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR MR. WILSON TO DRIVE BY AND PICK UP MR. CARTER THAN FOR THE LATTER TO TAKE A TAXICAB TO A PICK-UP POINT.

YOU ASK OUR DECISION AS TO THE LEGALITY OF THE PAYMENT FOR THE ADDITIONAL MILEAGE BECAUSE OF OUR DECISION OF OCTOBER 25, 1965, B 157849, AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS WHICH EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZE DEVIATIONS FROM A DIRECT ROUTE ONLY BECAUSE OF WEATHER OR ROAD CONDITIONS.

IT IS NOT ENTIRELY CLEAR THAT MR. WILSON WAS DIRECTED OR AUTHORIZED TO PICK UP AND TRANSPORT MR. CARTER ALTHOUGH MR. WILSON ON HIS VOUCHER EXPLAINS THE ADDED DISTANCE AS "INCREASE IN MILEAGE DUE TO TRANSPORTING OF MR. CARTER AS OFFICIAL PASSENGER.' IN ANY EVENT HIS ACTION SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED. THE ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT APPEARS TO STEM PRIMARILY FROM THE SAVINGS OF MILEAGE TO AND FROM PIKETON FOR WHICH THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN LIABLE HAD MR. CARTER TRAVELED SEPARATELY IN HIS PRIVATELY-OWNED VEHICLE.

YOU PRESENT THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS REGARDING THE CASE:

"1. IS THE VOUCHER CORRECT AS PAID, ALLOWING THE ADDITIONAL MILEAGE?

"2. IS A DEVIATION FROM THE RAND MCNALLY MILEAGE GUIDE ALLOWED ONLY FOR WEATHER AND ROAD CONDITIONS OR DETOURS?

"3. IF THE ADDITIONAL MILEAGE IS NOT PAYABLE, COULD MR. CARTER BE REIMBURSED TAXI FARES ON FUTURE TRIPS TO AND FROM THE PICK-UP POINT TO RIDE WITH MR. WILSON?

SINCE MR. WILSON'S MILEAGE BY THE ROUTE USED APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS BEING IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES WE REGARD IT AS OFFICIAL TRAVEL RATHER THAN A DEVIATION FROM A DIRECT ROUTE FOR PERSONAL REASONS. IN THAT REGARD COMPARE OUR DECISION OF JANUARY 11, 1966, B-158046, COPY HEREWITH. IN OUR DECISION OF OCTOBER 25, 1965, B-157849, THE FOUR PASSENGERS (EMPLOYEES) WERE REQUIRED UNDER THE ESTABLISHED RULE TO ASSUME PERSONALLY THE EXPENSES OF COMMUTING BETWEEN THEIR PLACES OF ABODE AND THEIR PLACES OF DUTY WITHIN THEIR OFFICIAL STATION AND THE GOVERNMENT AS WELL AS THE OPERATOR OF THE PRIVATELY-OWNED VEHICLE WERE UNDER NO OBLIGATION TO TRANSPORT THEM TO THEIR HOMES. THAT SITUATION DOES NOT PREVAIL IN THE INSTANT CASE. THEREFORE, QUESTION ONE IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE RENDERING UNNECESSARY ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS TWO AND THREE.

THE COPIES OF THE PAID VOUCHER AND RELATED PAPERS TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER ARE RETAINED IN THE FILES OF OUR OFFICE.