B-160203, OCT. 31, 1966

B-160203: Oct 31, 1966

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THE EXPRESS CHARGES WERE $14.85. YOU ARE UNCERTAIN AS TO THE PROPER AMOUNT ALLOWABLE. IT APPEARS THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS UNABLE TO FURNISH PROPER EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL WEIGHT OR VOLUME AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 2.1G OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR HIS ACTUAL EXPENSES TO THE EXTENT THEY DO NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE FOR SUCH ESTIMATED WEIGHT AT THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATES. * * *" IN LINE WITH THE HOLDING IN 38 COMP. BOWERS IS ABLE TO FURNISH ANY EVIDENCE REASONABLY SUPPORTING HIS ESTIMATE OF THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS TRANSPORTED IN THE RENTED CAR HE MAY BE REIMBURSED THE ACTUAL EXPENSES HE INCURRED FOR RENTAL OF THE AUTOMOBILE ($50) PLUS THE RAILWAY EXPRESS SHIPMENT ($14.10.

B-160203, OCT. 31, 1966

TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTERS DATED OCTOBER 6 AND OCTOBER 11, 1966, AND ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE AMOUNT YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT IN CONNECTION WITH THE CLAIM OF RAYMOND BOWERS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN TRANSPORTING HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS FROM ITHACA, NEW YORK, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., INCIDENT TO HIS APPOINTMENT WITH THE OFFICE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY.

MR. BOWERS STATES THAT ON JULY 24, 1966, HE TRANSPORTED BETWEEN 300 AND 400 POUNDS OF PERSONAL EFFECTS IN THE BACK SEAT OF A RENTED AUTOMOBILE. NO EVIDENCE OF THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS, EITHER ACTUAL OR CONSTRUCTIVE, HAS BEEN FURNISHED. IN ADDITION TO THE ABOVE, THE EMPLOYEE SHIPPED 150 POUNDS OF PERSONAL EFFECTS VIA RAILWAY EXPRESS FROM ITHACA TO WASHINGTON. THE EXPRESS CHARGES WERE $14.85, INCLUDING 75 CENTS FOR INSURANCE.

THE EMPLOYEE'S ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE HAS APPROVED PAYMENT OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED, BUT YOU ARE UNCERTAIN AS TO THE PROPER AMOUNT ALLOWABLE.

IT APPEARS THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS UNABLE TO FURNISH PROPER EVIDENCE OF ACTUAL WEIGHT OR VOLUME AS REQUIRED BY SECTION 2.1G OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 AND, THEREFORE, HE MAY NOT BE ALLOWED REIMBURSEMENT AT THE COMMUTED RATE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS. IN FACT THE EMPLOYEE HAS PRESENTED NO SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE SUPPORTING HIS ESTIMATE OF THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS TRANSPORTED IN THE RENTED CAR AND IN THE ABSENCE THEREOF HE WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS FOR THE EFFECTS TRANSPORTED IN SUCH RENTED CAR. COMPARE 38 COMP. GEN. 554 HOLDING IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"WHEN * * * THE EVIDENCE AVAILABLE AFFORDS A BASIS FOR CONCLUDING THAT THE ACTUAL WEIGHT OF THE GOODS SHIPPED REASONABLY APPROXIMATES THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT, THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR HIS ACTUAL EXPENSES TO THE EXTENT THEY DO NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE FOR SUCH ESTIMATED WEIGHT AT THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATES. * * *"

IN LINE WITH THE HOLDING IN 38 COMP. GEN. 554, IF MR. BOWERS IS ABLE TO FURNISH ANY EVIDENCE REASONABLY SUPPORTING HIS ESTIMATE OF THE WEIGHT OF THE EFFECTS TRANSPORTED IN THE RENTED CAR HE MAY BE REIMBURSED THE ACTUAL EXPENSES HE INCURRED FOR RENTAL OF THE AUTOMOBILE ($50) PLUS THE RAILWAY EXPRESS SHIPMENT ($14.10, EXCLUDING THE 75 CENTS INSURANCE CHARGE WHICH IS A PERSONAL EXPENSE) TO THE EXTENT SUCH EXPENSES DO NOT EXCEED THE SUM WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE FOR THE ESTIMATED WEIGHT AT THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATE. IN THAT REGARD, WE POINT OUT THAT THE WEIGHT SHIPPED BY RAILWAY EXPRESS (150 POUNDS) MUST BE COMBINED WITH THE WEIGHT TRANSPORTED BY AUTOMOBILE IN ARRIVING AT THE APPLICABLE COMMUTED RATE. SEE SECTION 1.9 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56. IN THE EVENT NO ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE OF THE WEIGHT OF THE GOODS TRANSPORTED IN THE RENTED CAR CAN BE FURNISHED, MR. BOWERS COULD BE REIMBURSED ON A COMMUTED BASIS FOR THE EFFECTS TRANSPORTED BY RAILWAY EXPRESS.

ALSO, SECTION 2.1D OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT WHEN USING THE COMMUTED RATE SYSTEM, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE TWO SHIPPING POINTS SHALL BE DETERMINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH HOUSEHOLD GOODS MILEAGE GUIDES FILED WITH THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN ITHACA AND WASHINGTON, AS SHOWN IN SUCH GUIDES, IS 304 MILES.

WE NOTE THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE HAS APPROVED THE EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE FOR 350 MILES. THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE TRAVELED TO WASHINGTON BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE ON JUNE 25, 1966. UNDER SECTION 1.3 OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, AS AMENDED BY TRANSMITTAL MEMORANDUM NO. 5, THE APPLICABLE MILEAGE RATE FOR AN EMPLOYEE ACCOMPANIED BY ONE MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY IS 8 CENTS PER MILE. UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS, AS DESCRIBED IN SECTION 1.3, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE MAY DETERMINE THAT A HIGHER MILEAGE RATE IS JUSTIFIED. HOWEVER, IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION, AS HERE, REIMBURSEMENT FOR MILEAGE SHOULD BE LIMITED TO THE RATE SPECIFIED IN THE REGULATIONS.

FURTHERMORE, SECTION 3.5B (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

"WHEN TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLES OR AUTOMOBILES, DISTANCES BETWEEN POINTS TRAVELED WILL BE AS SHOWN IN STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDES OR BY SPEEDOMETER READINGS. ANY SUBSTANTIAL DEVIATIONS FROM DISTANCES SHOWN IN THE STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDES WILL BE EXPLAINED.'

THE RAND MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE SHOWN THE DISTANCE BETWEEN ITHACA AND WASHINGTON TO BE 304 MILES. ACCORDINGLY, MR. BOWERS SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO FURNISH A STATEMENT EXPLAINING THE DEVIATION OF 46 MILES.