B-164428, SEPT. 5, 1968

B-164428: Sep 5, 1968

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TO STAFF SERGEANT PAUL TOTURA: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 15. YOU SAID THAT YOU WERE DENIED REIMBURSEMENT AT THE RATE OF $0.10 PER MILE FOR THE REQUIRED USE OF YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS DURING THE PERIOD JUNE 14. FOR TRAVEL FROM THE PLACE WHERE YOU WERE STATIONED. YOU SAID FURTHER THAT THE NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE TRAVEL SECTION OF THE BASE FINANCE OFFICE STATED THAT YOU WERE NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE PAY FOR SUCH TRAVEL AND REFUSED TO PERMIT YOU TO SUBMIT A CLAIM INCIDENT TO SUCH TRAVEL. YOU ALSO SAID IN THAT LETTER THAT THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE MOTOR POOL REFUSED TO GIVE YOU A "CERTIFICATE OF NON-AVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION" FOR THE PERIOD INVOLVED BECAUSE HE WAS NOT ASSIGNED TO YOUR ORGANIZATION AT THAT TIME.

B-164428, SEPT. 5, 1968

TO STAFF SERGEANT PAUL TOTURA:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 15, 1968, IN EFFECT REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF SETTLEMENT DATED APRIL 12, 1968, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR DAILY ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BETWEEN KADENA AIR BASE AND NAHA PORT, OKINAWA, DURING THE PERIOD JUNE 14, 1965, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 1966.

IN A LETTER DATED DECEMBER 15, 1967, PRESENTING YOUR CLAIM, YOU SAID THAT YOU WERE DENIED REIMBURSEMENT AT THE RATE OF $0.10 PER MILE FOR THE REQUIRED USE OF YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT BUSINESS DURING THE PERIOD JUNE 14, 1965, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 1966, FOR TRAVEL FROM THE PLACE WHERE YOU WERE STATIONED, KADENA AIR BASE, OKINAWA, TO YOUR PLACE OF DUTY, NAHA PORT, OKINAWA, LOCATED 18 MILESAWAY, AND RETURN, AND FOR TRAVEL WITHIN THAT PORT. YOU SAID FURTHER THAT THE NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE TRAVEL SECTION OF THE BASE FINANCE OFFICE STATED THAT YOU WERE NOT ENTITLED TO RECEIVE PAY FOR SUCH TRAVEL AND REFUSED TO PERMIT YOU TO SUBMIT A CLAIM INCIDENT TO SUCH TRAVEL.

YOU ALSO SAID IN THAT LETTER THAT THE OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE MOTOR POOL REFUSED TO GIVE YOU A "CERTIFICATE OF NON-AVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION" FOR THE PERIOD INVOLVED BECAUSE HE WAS NOT ASSIGNED TO YOUR ORGANIZATION AT THAT TIME, AND YOU ASKED WHY YOU WERE AUTHORIZED PAYMENT FOR THE MONTHS OF OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER 1966, BUT NOT FOR THE INVOLVED PERIOD.

THE CLAIM WAS FORWARDED BY THE AIR FORCE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE CENTER, DENVER, COLORADO, TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION FOR SETTLEMENT. BY SETTLEMENT DATED APRIL 12, 1968, IT WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT SINCE YOU WERE NOT AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED, THE GOVERNING REGULATIONS AFFORD NO BASIS FOR REIMBURSING YOU FOR SUCH TRAVEL. IN THAT SETTLEMENT MENTION WAS MADE OF PARAGRAPH 40241, AIR FORCE MANUAL 177 103, WHICH PROVIDES THAT EXCEPT IN UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES, CLAIMS INVOLVING TRANSPORTATION AT THE PERMANENT STATION WILL BE SUBMITTED FOR PAYMENT WITHIN ONE MONTH AFTER THE TRANSPORTATION IS PROCURED.

IN YOUR LETTER OF MAY 15, 1968, YOU SAY THAT SINCE YOU WERE NOT PERMITTED TO SUBMIT A CLAIM INCIDENT TO YOUR TRAVEL AND WERE NOT FURNISHED THE CERTIFICATE CONCERNING THE NONAVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION, YOUR CASE SHOULD COME UNDER THE UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES EXCEPTION CONTAINED IN ABOVE-MENTIONED PARAGRAPH 40241, AIR FORCE MANUAL 177-103.

ALSO, YOU POINT OUT THAT AFAFC FORM 610-13, DATED FEBRUARY 23, 1968, TRANSMITTING YOUR CLAIM HERE CONTAINS A STATEMENT THAT "ALL RECORDS PERTINENT TO SUBJECT ACCOUNT HAVE BEEN EXAMINED AND IT HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY CONCLUDED THAT PAYEE IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT IN NET AMOUNT SHOWN BELOW.' IN VIEW OF THAT STATEMENT, YOU CONTEND THAT YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

IT IS PROVIDED BY 37 U.S.C. 408 THAT A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE MAY BE DIRECTED, BY REGULATIONS OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY IN WHICH HE IS SERVING, TO PROCURE TRANSPORTATION NECESSARY FOR CONDUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE UNITED STATES WITHIN THE LIMITS OF HIS STATION AND THAT EXPENSES SO INCURRED BY HIM FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES AT A FIXED RATE A MILE SHALL BE DEFRAYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY UNDER WHICH HE IS SERVING, OR HE IS ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSE.

PARAGRAPH M4500, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH IMPLEMENTS THE ABOVE LAW, PROVIDES THAT WHEN DETERMINED BY THEM TO BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, OFFICIALS DESIGNATED BY THE SERVICES CONCERNED MAY AUTHORIZE IN ADVANCE, OR SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVE, REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, AS DESCRIBED IN THAT PART OF THE REGULATIONS, WHICH ARE NECESSARILY INCURRED BY MEMBERS IN CONDUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS, AND IN THE METROPOLITAN AREAS SURROUNDING THOSE STATIONS WHICH ARE ORDINARILY SERVED BY LOCAL COMMON CARRIERS OF THE CITIES OR TOWNS IN WHICH SUCH STATIONS ARE LOCATED, OR IN COMPARABLE SURROUNDING AREAS IF THE POSTS OF DUTY ARE NOT LOCATED WITHIN RECOGNIZED METROPOLITAN AREAS.

PARAGRAPH M4502 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED UNDER THE CONDITIONS OF THAT PART OF THE REGULATIONS, MEMBERS WHO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT AT A RATE OF $0.10 A MILE FOR USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE, BASED ON SPEEDOMETER READINGS OR OTHER EVIDENCE FURNISHED BY THE MEMBER INVOLVED AS TO THE ACTUAL DISTANCE NECESSARILY TRAVELED IN CONDUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

THE ABOVE PROVISION OF LAW IS FURTHER IMPLEMENTED BY CHAPTER 6, AIR FORCE MANUAL 177-103. PARAGRAPH 20601B THEREOF PROVIDES THAT COMMANDERS OR THEIR DESIGNEES AT PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS MAY AUTHORIZE OR APPROVE USE AND PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION INCURRED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE BY A MEMBER WHO PERFORMS OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF OR IN THE VICINITY OF HIS DUTY STATION.

UNDER THE ABOVE REGULATIONS REIMBURSEMENT AT THE RATE OF $0.10 PER MILE TO A MEMBER FOR THE USE OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN CONDUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND VICINITY THEREOF MAY BE MADE ONLY WHEN SUCH TRAVEL HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE OR SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVED BY THE APPROPRIATE OFFICIAL.

THERE IS NOTHING IN THE RECORD TO SHOW THAT THE USE OF YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR THE INVOLVED TRAVEL DURING THE PERIOD JUNE 14, 1965, THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 1966, WAS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY PROPER AUTHORITY. IN FACT, THE REPORTED REFUSAL OF THE NONCOMMISSIONED OFFICER IN CHARGE OF THE TRAVEL SECTION TO CONSIDER YOUR CLAIM INDICATES THAT THE TRAVEL WAS VIEWED AS ORDINARY COMMUTING TRAVEL FROM YOUR HOME TO YOUR POST OF DUTY AND AS SUCH NOT REIMBURSABLE. THAT VIEW CLEARLY WOULD NOT BE UNREASONABLE.

THE PAYMENT TO YOU OF MILEAGE FOR YOUR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BETWEEN KADENA AIR BASE AND NAHA PORT DURING THE MONTHS OF OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER 1966, WAS BASED UPON THE SPECIFIC APPROVAL BY PROPER AUTHORITY. THE APPARENT PRIOR VIEW THAT THE TRAVEL WAS NO MORE THAN NORMAL HOME TO OFFICE COMMUTING TRAVEL GIVES RISE TO SOME DOUBT AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF THAT APPROVAL AND WE FIND NO BASIS FOR APPLYING IT AS AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL PERFORMED PRIOR TO OCTOBER 1966.

CONCERNING YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE STATEMENT ON AFAFC FORM 610-13, DATED FEBRUARY 23, 1968, TRANSMITTING YOUR CLAIM AND SUPPORTING PAPERS TO THIS OFFICE, MAY BE CONSIDERED AS AN AUTHORIZATION OF YOUR TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE PRIOR TO OCTOBER 1966, THAT STATEMENT IS ONE OF SEVERAL PRINTED STATEMENTS ON THE FORM REQUIRED TO BE CHECKED BY THE AIR FORCE FINANCE AND ACCOUNTING CENTER IF DETERMINED TO BE APPLICABLE IN YOUR CASE. NO CHECK MARK HAS BEEN INSERTED IN THE APPROPRIATE BLOCK TO THE LEFT OF THAT STATEMENT AND, THEREFORE, IT HAS NO APPLICATION TO YOUR CASE. ON THE CONTRARY, ON THE REVERSE SIDE OF THE FORM THERE IS A STATEMENT TO THE EFFECT THAT THE CENTER DOES NOT RECOMMEND PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM.