B-166493, APR. 22, 1969

B-166493: Apr 22, 1969

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BELDA WHOSE OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IS SAN FRANCISCO. WAS REQUIRED TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY AT SALT LAKE CITY. ALL OF THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BY MR. MILEAGE WAS CLAIMED AT THE RATES ESTABLISHED BY PARAGRAPH 53A OF THE DEPARTMENT'S HANDBOOK ON TRAVEL FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES WHEN IT IS DETERMINED THAT USE OF A GOVERNMENT OWNED AUTOMOBILE WOULD BE PREFERABLE. PER DIEM WAS CLAIMED FOR ALL THE TIME REQUIRED FOR PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE. THE EMPLOYEE'S ORIGINAL VOUCHER WAS CERTIFIED AND PAID BASED ON THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO SALT LAKE CITY AND FROM BOISE. REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL TO THE OTHER PLACES AT WHICH TEMPORARY DUTY WAS PERFORMED IN UTAH.

B-166493, APR. 22, 1969

TO MR. DONALD E. MULDOON:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 17, 1969, BY WHICH YOU REQUEST AN ADVANCE DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY PROPERLY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE ENCLOSED RECLAIM TRAVEL VOUCHER OF MR. JAMES C. BELDA, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, TO REIMBURSE HIM AN ADDITIONAL AMOUNT FOR TRAVEL HE PERFORMED ON TEMPORARY DUTY IN JULY AND AUGUST 1968.

MR. BELDA WHOSE OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IS SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, WAS REQUIRED TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY AT SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, AND AT VARIOUS POINTS IN UTAH, WYOMING AND IDAHO DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION. ALL OF THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BY MR. BELDA IN HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. MILEAGE WAS CLAIMED AT THE RATES ESTABLISHED BY PARAGRAPH 53A OF THE DEPARTMENT'S HANDBOOK ON TRAVEL FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES WHEN IT IS DETERMINED THAT USE OF A GOVERNMENT OWNED AUTOMOBILE WOULD BE PREFERABLE. SEE ALSO, THE THIRD PARAGRAPH OF SECTION 3.5A OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS AMENDED FEBRUARY 7, 1967. PER DIEM WAS CLAIMED FOR ALL THE TIME REQUIRED FOR PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE.

THE EMPLOYEE'S ORIGINAL VOUCHER WAS CERTIFIED AND PAID BASED ON THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO SALT LAKE CITY AND FROM BOISE, IDAHO, TO SAN FRANCISCO BY AIR. REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL TO THE OTHER PLACES AT WHICH TEMPORARY DUTY WAS PERFORMED IN UTAH, WYOMING AND IDAHO WAS BASED ON THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF SUCH TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT OWNED AUTOMOBILE. THE COMPARATIVE AIR TRAVEL COST PLUS MILEAGE AT THE RATES PRESCRIBED TOGETHER WITH PER DIEM FOR THAT CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL RESULTED IN A REDUCTION IN THE TOTAL REIMBURSEMENT CLAIMED OF $68.40 OF WHICH $7.40 REPRESENTS MILEAGE, $60 PER DIEM AND $1 BRIDGE TOLLS. THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED IS MR. BELDA'S RECLAIM OF THOSE AMOUNTS.

THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION WAS PERFORMED UNDER A CONSOLIDATED TRAVEL AUTHORITY WHICH PERMITTED ALL REGULAR EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL WITHIN THE UNITED STATES WHEN PROPERLY DIRECTED TO DO SO. YOU ENCLOSE A COPY OF THE MEMORANDUM OF AUGUST 28, 1968, OF MR. LOUIS B. AMBLER, JR., ASSISTANT REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR, HOUSING ASSISTANCE OFFICE, REGION VI, IN WHICH HE STATES THAT THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION WAS AUTHORIZED TO BE PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT ,CONSIDERING THE EXPEDITIOUS TRANSACTIONS OF THE BUSINESS INVOLVED AND THE NUMEROUS POINTS AT WHICH STOPS HAD TO BE MADE.'

WE DO NOT QUESTION AN AGENCY'S DETERMINATION THAT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT UNLESS THE DETERMINATION IS CLEARLY AT VARIANCE WITH THE FACTS OF THE CASE. 26COMP. GEN. 463. ALTHOUGH THERE IS SOME INDICATION THAT THE DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE IN THIS CASE MAY NOT HAVE BEEN ENTIRELY PROPER, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT WAS SO UNREASONABLE AS TO REQUIRE US TO QUESTION THE SAME.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.