B-160074, OCT. 3, 1966

B-160074: Oct 3, 1966

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ONE OF THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED IS $60 FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR THE DRIVER OF MR. THERE IS AN ADDITIONAL ITEM OF $6.83 FOR GASOLINE FOR MR. HE WAS HOSPITALIZED IN BARRON UNTIL FEBRUARY 2. AT WHICH TIME HE WAS FLOWN BACK TO LINCOLN IN A CHARTERED AMBULANCE PLANE. IN VIEW OF HIS ITINERANT ASSIGNMENTS AND THE LENGTH OF TIME HE IS REQUIRED TO BE AWAY MR. COOVER'S AUTOMOBILE WITH THE REA SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT WAS DRIVEN FROM BARRON TO LINCOLN BY MR. YOU POINT OUT THAT REA DOES NOT HAVE ANY FIELD OFFICE IN THE BARRON AREA AND NO FIELD EMPLOYEES IN A SIMILAR POSITION IN THE AREA WHO COULD TAKE OVER THE EQUIPMENT. HAVE NO OBJECTION TO MAKING PAYMENT IF PROPER. COOVER STATES IN THE ALTERNATIVE THAT IF HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES THAT HE INCURRED IN HAVING HIS AUTOMOBILE RETURNED TO LINCOLN THEN HE OUGHT TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF HAVING THE GOVERNMENT EQUIPMENT CRATED AND SHIPPED FROM BARRON TO LINCOLN.

B-160074, OCT. 3, 1966

TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 15, 1966, REQUESTS OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT A TRAVEL VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF FRANK G. COOVER, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE RURAL ELECTRIFICATION ADMINISTRATION (REA), COVERING EXPENSES INCURRED IN RETURNING HIS AUTOMOBILE FROM BARRON, WISCONSIN, TO LINCOLN, NEBRASKA.

ONE OF THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED IS $60 FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR THE DRIVER OF MR. COOVER'S AUTOMOBILE, MR. STUART VOIGHT, FOR MEALS, LODGING, AND RETURN PLANE FARE FROM LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, TO MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, AND RETURN TRANSPORTATION IN MR. VOIGHT'S PERSONAL AUTOMOBILE FROM MINNEAPOLIS TO BARRON. THERE IS AN ADDITIONAL ITEM OF $6.83 FOR GASOLINE FOR MR. COOVER'S AUTOMOBILE WHILE BEING DRIVEN FROM BARRON TO LINCOLN.

MR. COOVER SUFFERED A HEART ATTACK IN BARRON ON JANUARY 19, 1966, WHILE CARRYING OUT HIS DUTIES OF MAKING POWER REQUIREMENT STUDIES OF REA ELECTRIC BORROWERS. HE WAS HOSPITALIZED IN BARRON UNTIL FEBRUARY 2, 1966, AT WHICH TIME HE WAS FLOWN BACK TO LINCOLN IN A CHARTERED AMBULANCE PLANE. IN VIEW OF HIS ITINERANT ASSIGNMENTS AND THE LENGTH OF TIME HE IS REQUIRED TO BE AWAY MR. COOVER CARRIES WITH HIM ON HIS TRIPS APPROXIMATELY 100 POUNDS OF REA EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES.

MR. COOVER'S AUTOMOBILE WITH THE REA SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT WAS DRIVEN FROM BARRON TO LINCOLN BY MR. VOIGHT ON FEBRUARY 5 AND 6, 1966. YOU POINT OUT THAT REA DOES NOT HAVE ANY FIELD OFFICE IN THE BARRON AREA AND NO FIELD EMPLOYEES IN A SIMILAR POSITION IN THE AREA WHO COULD TAKE OVER THE EQUIPMENT. YOU CONSIDER THAT MR. COOVER ACTED IN PRUDENT FASHION TO PROTECT GOVERNMENT PROPERTY, AND HAVE NO OBJECTION TO MAKING PAYMENT IF PROPER.

MR. COOVER STATES IN THE ALTERNATIVE THAT IF HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES THAT HE INCURRED IN HAVING HIS AUTOMOBILE RETURNED TO LINCOLN THEN HE OUGHT TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF HAVING THE GOVERNMENT EQUIPMENT CRATED AND SHIPPED FROM BARRON TO LINCOLN.

MR. COOVER'S TRAVEL ORDERS INDICATE THAT HE WAS AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT AT 9 CENTS PER MILE FOR TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE IN ACCORDANCE WITH REA STAFF INSTRUCTION 645-2, APPENDIX I, PARAGRAPH XIX, C.1. HE PROCEEDED TO BARRON BY THIS METHOD. FOLLOWING HIS HEART ATTACK HIS RETURN FROM BARRON BY SPECIAL CONVEYANCE (AIR AMBULANCE) UPON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE ATTENDING PHYSICIAN WAS AUTHORIZED BY THE DEPARTMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 3.4A OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THERE WAS NO BASIS FOR ADDITIONAL PAYMENT OF MILEAGE IN CONNECTION WITH THE MOVEMENT OF HIS AUTOMOBILE FROM BARRON TO LINCOLN SINCE HE HAD ALREADY BEEN COMPENSATED FOR SUCH TRAVEL BY SPECIAL CONVEYANCE, UNLESS IT COULD BE ESTABLISHED THAT THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF MOVING THE VEHICLE WAS THE TRANSPORTATION AND PROTECTION OF THE GOVERNMENT PROPERTY INVOLVED. SEE B-156893, JUNE 11, 1965, COPY ENCLOSED. HOWEVER, THE RECORD FAILS TO ESTABLISH THAT THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE MOVEMENT OF THE VEHICLE FROM BARRON TO LINCOLN SEVERAL DAYS AFTER THE PLANE FLIGHT WAS TO RETURN THE GOVERNMENT PROPERTY TO LINCOLN AND THAT THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE'S AUTOMOBILE WAS MERELY INCIDENTAL THERETO. ON THE CONTRARY, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE PURPOSE OF MR. VOIGHT'S TRIP WAS TO RETURN MR. COOVER'S CAR TO LINCOLN AND THAT HIS TRAVEL EXPENSES WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED IRRESPECTIVE OF THE FACT THAT GOVERNMENT EQUIPMENT WAS IN THE AUTOMOBILE. CONSEQUENTLY, ON THE PRESENT RECORD THERE EXISTS NO BASIS FOR ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE RETURN OF THE VEHICLE, OR FOR ANY ALLOWANCE FOR THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF PACKAGING AND SHIPPING THE SEVERAL ITEMS OF GOVERNMENT PROPERTY BACK TO HIS HEADQUARTERS.

THE VOUCHER WHICH WITH ITS ATTACHMENTS IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.