B-163702, APR. 15, 1968

B-163702: Apr 15, 1968

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BOYLE'S TRAVEL ARE SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS: "MR. ALTHOUGH IT WAS KNOWN THAT MR. HE WAS ASKED IF HE WOULD TAKE ON A SHORT ASSIGNMENT FOR FAS WHILE HE WAS IN LONDON. BOYLE HAD INDICATED HIS OWN PLAN WAS TO USE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION. SINCE AIR TRANSPORTATION WAS MORE ECONOMICAL THAN SURFACE TRANSPORTATION THIS ARRANGEMENT WAS CONCURRED IN BY FAS. THERE HAD BEEN NO INDICATION THAT A FOREIGN FLAG SURFACE VESSEL WAS TO HAVE BEEN USED. "WHEN THE ORIGINAL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER WAS RECEIVED IT WAS THEN LEARNED THAT MR. IN ABSENCE OF A JUSTIFICATION SHOWING THE OFFICIAL NEED FOR USE OF A FOREIGN FLAG VESSEL THE COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM CLAIMED WAS DISALLOWED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE AUDIT.'.

B-163702, APR. 15, 1968

TO MR. A. M. FLATEQUAL:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 28, 1968, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MR. JOSEPH E. BOYLE FOR $523.30, REPRESENTING THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS (INCLUDING PER DIEM) OF ROUND-TRIP AIR TRAVEL BETWEEN NEW YORK AND LONDON.

THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF MR. BOYLE'S TRAVEL ARE SET FORTH IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

"MR. BOYLE HAS TRAVELED AS A CONSULTANT FOR THE FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS. IN THIS CASE, ALTHOUGH IT WAS KNOWN THAT MR. BOYLE HAD PLANNED A MIDSUMMER TRIP TO EUROPE, HE WAS ASKED IF HE WOULD TAKE ON A SHORT ASSIGNMENT FOR FAS WHILE HE WAS IN LONDON, WITH FAS PAYING PER DIEM AND MISCELLANEOUS TRAVEL EXPENSES WHILE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

"HE AGREED TO TAKE THE ASSIGNMENT PROVIDING FAS WOULD ALSO ALLOW REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ROUND TRIP TRANSPORTATION ON THE BASIS OF ECONOMY AIR TRANSPORTATION SINCE MR. BOYLE HAD INDICATED HIS OWN PLAN WAS TO USE SURFACE TRANSPORTATION. SINCE AIR TRANSPORTATION WAS MORE ECONOMICAL THAN SURFACE TRANSPORTATION THIS ARRANGEMENT WAS CONCURRED IN BY FAS. THERE HAD BEEN NO INDICATION THAT A FOREIGN FLAG SURFACE VESSEL WAS TO HAVE BEEN USED.

"WHEN THE ORIGINAL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER WAS RECEIVED IT WAS THEN LEARNED THAT MR. BOYLE HAD TRAVELED TO AND FROM EUROPE ON A FOREIGN FLAG VESSEL. IN ABSENCE OF A JUSTIFICATION SHOWING THE OFFICIAL NEED FOR USE OF A FOREIGN FLAG VESSEL THE COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM CLAIMED WAS DISALLOWED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE AUDIT.'

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. BOYLE COMMENCED HIS PERSONAL TRAVEL TO EUROPE BY FOREIGN VESSEL ON JUNE 19, 1967, AND ARRIVED IN LONDON ON JULY 23. DURING THE PERIOD JULY 23 - AUGUST 5, 1967, MR. BOYLE CONDUCTED AN EVALUATION OF THE CRANBERRY MARKET DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM FOR THE FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE. WE UNDERSTAND THAT MR. BOYLE WAS FORMALLY APPOINTED TO THE POSITION OF CONSULTANT AND THAT HE RECEIVED COMPENSATION FOR HIS SERVICES. MR. BOYLE DEPARTED LONDON BY FOREIGN VESSEL ON AUGUST 10, 1967.

SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, AS AMENDED, 46 U.S.C. 1241 (A) PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"ANY OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO OR FROM ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES THE USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG: PROVIDED, THAT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL NOT CREDIT ANY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL OR SHIPPING EXPENSES INCURRED ON A FOREIGN SHIP IN THE ABSENCE OF SATISFACTORY PROOF OF THE NECESSITY REFOR.'

THE TERM "NECESSITY" IN THE SECTION QUOTED ABOVE HAS BEEN CONSTRUED BY OUR OFFICE AS MEANING OFFICIAL NECESSITY OR THE NECESSITY OF THE MISSION. HOWEVER, WE HAVE AUTHORIZED TRAVEL ON SHIPS OF FOREIGN REGISTRY WHEN AMERICAN FLAG VESSELS WERE NOT AVAILABLE. IN THAT REGARD THE RECORD HERE DISCLOSES THAT MR. BOYLE WAS UNABLE TO SECURE RESERVATIONS ON AN AMERICAN FLAG VESSEL AT THE TIME HE PERFORMED HIS TRAVEL TO EUROPE AND RETURN.

IN VIEW THEREOF WE MAY CONCLUDE THAT AN AMERICAN VESSEL WAS NOT AVAILABLE FOR THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION AND, THEREFORE, THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.