B-162326, SEP. 14, 1967

B-162326: Sep 14, 1967

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A PROPOSAL TO PROVIDE FREE TRANSPORTATION BY BUS FOR POSTAL EMPLOYEES FROM DOWNTOWN CHICAGO TO THE AIR MAIL FACILITY AT O-HARE AIRPORT BECAUSE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR CERTAIN TOURS OF DUTY IS A PROPOSAL THAT MAY NOT BE AUTHORIZED BUT IS A MATTER FOR WHICH AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION SHOULD BE SOUGHT. YOU SAY THAT THE FACILITY IS LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 17 MILES FROM THE GENERAL POST OFFICE IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO. MORE THAN 650 EMPLOYEES ARE ASSIGNED TO O-HARE WHICH IS OPERATED SEVEN DAYS A WEEK. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IS BY TAXICAB. THERE IS A SHUTTLE BUS OPERATED FROM THE AIRLINE EMPLOYEES' PARKING LOT TO THE VARIOUS TERMINALS. THE NEAREST TERMINAL OF THE SHUTTLE BUS IS APPROXIMATELY ONE-QUARTER MILE FROM THE AIR MAIL FACILITY.

B-162326, SEP. 14, 1967

TRANSPORTATION - TO EMPLOYMENT DECISION TO POSTMASTER GENERAL CONCERNING PROPRIETY OF FURNISHING FREE TRANSPORTATION TO EMPLOYEES FROM DOWNTOWN CHICAGO TO AIR MAIL FACILITY AT O-HARE AIRPORT. A PROPOSAL TO PROVIDE FREE TRANSPORTATION BY BUS FOR POSTAL EMPLOYEES FROM DOWNTOWN CHICAGO TO THE AIR MAIL FACILITY AT O-HARE AIRPORT BECAUSE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR CERTAIN TOURS OF DUTY IS A PROPOSAL THAT MAY NOT BE AUTHORIZED BUT IS A MATTER FOR WHICH AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION SHOULD BE SOUGHT.

TO MR. POSTMASTER GENERAL:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 21, 1967, REQUESTING WHETHER WE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT IF YOUR DEPARTMENT FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM O-HARE AIRPORT, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, TO AIR MAIL FACILITY EMPLOYEES.

YOU SAY THAT THE FACILITY IS LOCATED APPROXIMATELY 17 MILES FROM THE GENERAL POST OFFICE IN DOWNTOWN CHICAGO. MORE THAN 650 EMPLOYEES ARE ASSIGNED TO O-HARE WHICH IS OPERATED SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, TWENTY-FOUR HOURS A DAY. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IS BY TAXICAB, AIRLINE LIMOUSINE AND BUS. THE BUSES LEAVE FROM THE GREYHOUND TERMINAL IN THE LOOP AND END AT THE AIRLINE EMPLOYEES' PARKING LOT AT O-HARE. THERE IS A SHUTTLE BUS OPERATED FROM THE AIRLINE EMPLOYEES' PARKING LOT TO THE VARIOUS TERMINALS. THE NEAREST TERMINAL OF THE SHUTTLE BUS IS APPROXIMATELY ONE-QUARTER MILE FROM THE AIR MAIL FACILITY.

THE BUS SERVICE IS SAID TO BE SCHEDULED OUTBOUND TO O-HARE, TEN MINUTES AFTER THE HOUR, EVERY HOUR BETWEEN 7:10 A.M. AND 6:10 P.M., MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY AND INBOUND TO CHICAGO, TEN MINUTES BEFORE THE HOUR, EVERY HOUR BETWEEN 5:50 A.M. TO 7:50 P.M., ON THE SAME DAYS. THE EMPLOYEES AT O-HARE ARE SAID TO WORK ON TOUR 1 FROM 11 P.M. TO 7:30 A.M., TOUR 2 FROM 7 A.M. TO 3:30 P.M., AND TOUR 3 FROM 3 P.M. TO 11:30 P.M. EMPLOYEES ON TOURS 1 AND 2 CAN RETURN FROM O-HARE BUT CANNOT GO TO O-HARE ON THE BUS LINE. EMPLOYEES ON TOUR 3 CAN GO TO O-HARE BUT CANNOT RETURN FROM O-HARE. SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS THERE IS NO BUS SERVICE AND THE EMPLOYEES THEN MUST USE PRIVATE VEHICLES TO COMMUTE BETWEEN THEIR HOMES AND THE PLACE OF WORK.

THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT PROPOSES TO TRANSPORT POSTAL EMPLOYEES FROM THE DOWNTOWN AREA OF CHICAGO TO THE AIR MAIL FACILITY AT O-HARE AND USE PASSENGER BUSES WHICH WOULD ALSO TRANSPORT MAIL IN THEIR BAGGAGE COMPARTMENTS. THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEES WOULD NOT BE DURING THEIR DUTY TOURS BUT WOULD BE PERFORMED WITHOUT COST TO THE EMPLOYEES BEFORE AND AFTER THEIR REGULAR HOURS OF DUTY. THREE ROUND TRIPS WOULD BE REQUIRED DAILY.

IN YOUR LETTER YOU REFER TO SEVERAL DECISIONS OF OUR OFFICE WHEREIN WE RULED THAT IT IS THE DUTY AND OBLIGATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TO PLACE THEMSELVES AT THEIR REGULAR PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT AND TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMES AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE EVEN THOUGH SUCH EXPENSES MAY BE INCREASED BY OVERTIME OR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS. ALSO, YOU REFER TO THE PROVISIONS OF LAW FORMERLY IN 5 U.S.C. 78, NOW IN 31 U.S.C. 638, WHICH IN SUBSECTION (C) (2) PROVIDES THAT "OFFICIAL URPOSES" SHALL NOT INCLUDE THE TRANSPORTATION OF EMPLOYEES BETWEEN THEIR DOMICILES AND PLACES OF EMPLOYMENT. THE DEPARTMENT BASES ITS PROPOSED PROGRAM UPON THE FURTHERANCE OF THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT IN WHICH VIEW THE RELIEVING OF THE EMPLOYEES OF THEIR NORMAL OBLIGATIONS TO GO TO AND FROM THEIR WORK AT THEIR EXPENSE WOULD BE BUT INCIDENTAL TO THE LARGER OBJECTIVE OF IMPROVED SERVICE.

WE DO NOT QUESTION THE SERIOUSNESS OF THE PROBLEM OUTLINED IN YOUR LETTER, AND WHAT IS SAID OF THE O-HARE AIR MAIL FACILITY MAY WELL APPLY, PROSPECTIVELY AT LEAST, TO OTHER METROPOLITAN AIR MAIL FACILITIES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY. HOWEVER, IT IS TO BE NOTED THAT 31 U.S.C. 638A (C) EXPRESSLY EXCEPTS FROM ITS OPERATION CERTAIN CLASSES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. ALSO, WE INVITE YOUR ATTENTION TO THE AUTHORITY IN THAT REGARD GRANTED TO THE SECRETARIES OF THE SEVERAL MILITARY DEPARTMENTS IN 10 U.S.C. 2632.

IN VIEW OF THE NOVELTY OF THE PROPOSED EMPLOYEE TRANSPORTATION PROGRAM, SO FAR AS THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT IS CONCERNED AND OF ITS POSSIBLE RAMIFICATIONS, OUR CONSIDERED OPINION IS THAT THE DEPARTMENT SHOULD SEEK AUTHORIZING LEGISLATION SIMILAR TO THAT CONTAINED IN 10 U.S.C. 2632.