B-160693, APR. 3, 1967

B-160693: Apr 3, 1967

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THE VOUCHER IS SUPPORTED BY A STORAGE DELIVERY SHEET SHOWING THAT RAILWAY EXPRESS CHARGES OF $4.45 WERE PAID FOR A 12-POUND SHIPMENT FROM STILLWATER. WHICH WAS DELIVERED TO DR. YOUNG WAS AUTHORIZED TO INCUR EXPENSES FOR NECESSARY SUPPLIES AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION (EL PASO. THAT THE GOVERNMENT RECEIVED THE BENEFIT FOR WHICH THE EXPENSE WAS INCURRED. YOUNG WAS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS AT THE TIME THE EXPENDITURE WAS MADE AND THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE THAT THE CARRIER HAD BEEN OFFERED OR REFUSED TO ACCEPT A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING. SINCE THE EXPENSE WAS INCURRED AT DR. THE USE OF THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING IS PRESCRIBED FOR FREIGHT AND EXPRESS SHIPMENTS BECAUSE THAT DOCUMENT PERMITS AN AUDIT TO BE MADE OF THE CHARGES AND HAS EVIDENTIAL VALUE IN ASSERTING CLAIMS FOR REPARATIONS AND OVERCHARGES.

B-160693, APR. 3, 1967

TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 5, 1967, WITH ENCLOSED VOUCHER FOR $4.45 IN FAVOR OF DR. EVIE F. YOUNG, JR., A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE, CROPS RESEARCH DIVISION, ASKS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE VOUCHER PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

THE VOUCHER IS SUPPORTED BY A STORAGE DELIVERY SHEET SHOWING THAT RAILWAY EXPRESS CHARGES OF $4.45 WERE PAID FOR A 12-POUND SHIPMENT FROM STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA, TO EL PASO, TEXAS, WHICH WAS DELIVERED TO DR. E. S. YOUNG ON OCTOBER 17, 1966. YOU STATE THAT THE SHIPMENT CONSISTED OF SEEDS SHIPPED C.O.D. BY OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY FOR EXPERIMENTAL PURPOSES AND THAT DR. YOUNG PAID THE CHARGES AND CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR IN HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER COVERING THE PERIOD OCTOBER 17 TO NOVEMBER 21, 1966. ALSO, YOU INDICATE THAT DR. YOUNG WAS AUTHORIZED TO INCUR EXPENSES FOR NECESSARY SUPPLIES AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION (EL PASO, TEXAS), AND THAT THE GOVERNMENT RECEIVED THE BENEFIT FOR WHICH THE EXPENSE WAS INCURRED. YOU SUSPENDED THE AMOUNT INVOLVED BECAUSE DR. YOUNG WAS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS AT THE TIME THE EXPENDITURE WAS MADE AND THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE THAT THE CARRIER HAD BEEN OFFERED OR REFUSED TO ACCEPT A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING.

TITLE 5, CHAPTER 3000, OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES, TO WHICH YOU REFER, PRESCRIBES STANDARD FORMS AND REGULATIONS FOR THE PROCUREMENT OF AND BILLING FOR FREIGHT OR EXPRESS TRANSPORTATION SERVICES FOR THE ACCOUNT OF THE UNITED STATES. IT DOES NOT, AS YOU OBSERVE, INCLUDE ANY GENERAL AUTHORITY FOR MAKING REIMBURSEMENT TO EMPLOYEES FOR RAILWAY EXPRESS CHARGES PAID FROM THEIR PERSONAL FUNDS, AND SINCE THE EXPENSE WAS INCURRED AT DR. YOUNG'S PERMANENT STATION, THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DO NOT APPLY.

THE USE OF THE GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING IS PRESCRIBED FOR FREIGHT AND EXPRESS SHIPMENTS BECAUSE THAT DOCUMENT PERMITS AN AUDIT TO BE MADE OF THE CHARGES AND HAS EVIDENTIAL VALUE IN ASSERTING CLAIMS FOR REPARATIONS AND OVERCHARGES. ALSO, IT CONTAINS PROVISIONS DESIGNED TO PROTECT THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE LOSS OR DAMAGE IS INVOLVED. MOREOVER, SECTION 3010.10 OF THE ABOVE-CITED CHAPTER PROVIDES IN PART THAT---

"* * * U.S. GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING FORMS SHOULD BE UTILIZED TO PROCURE THESE SERVICES EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED HEREIN OR AS SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED IN WRITING BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES.'

HOWEVER, THE CHARGES CLAIMED ARE CORRECT AND SMALL IN AMOUNT. THEY REPRESENT AN EXPENSE WHICH DR. YOUNG WAS AUTHORIZED TO INCUR IN OBTAINING NECESSARY SUPPLIES FOR HIS OFFICIAL STATION. NO LOSS AND DAMAGE IS INVOLVED AND THE AMOUNT IS NOT IN EXCESS OF WHAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PAY THE CARRIER HAD A GOVERNMENT BILL OF LADING BEEN ISSUED. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND WHILE DR. YOUNG'S ATTENTION SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO THE PRESCRIBED REGULATIONS REFERRED TO FOR HANDLING SIMILAR FUTURE OCCURRENCES OF THIS TYPE, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.