B-166550, JUN. 3, 1969

B-166550: Jun 3, 1969

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DIMAK: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 13. YOU WERE REASSIGNED FROM FORT RICHARDSON. YOU WERE RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY AND THE PAYMENT MADE TO YOU ON THAT DATE INCLUDED THE SUM OF $1.86 AS THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FROM FORT LEWIS TO SEATTLE. YOU EXPRESS DISSATISFACTION WITH THE SETTLEMENT OF $30 INASMUCH AS YOU SAY YOU WERE ADVISED BY THE FINANCE OFFICE IN ALASKA THAT YOU WOULD RECEIVE $0.06 PER MILE FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN ALASKA AND SEATTLE. PARAGRAPH M4159-3 PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER WHO IS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE BETWEEN A POINT IN THE UNITED STATES AND A POINT IN ALASKA. WILL BE ENTITLED TO ALLOWANCES IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH M4159-1.

B-166550, JUN. 3, 1969

TO MR. JAMES A. DIMAK:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 13, 1969, AND ENCLOSURES, IN EFFECT REQUESTING A REVIEW OF OFFICE SETTLEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 13, 1969, WHICH ALLOWED YOU THE SUM OF $30 ON YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF YOUR TRAVEL FROM FORT RICHARDSON (ANCHORAGE), ALASKA, TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, ON FEBRUARY 24 AND 25, 1968.

BY PARAGRAPH 2, SPECIAL ORDER NO. 13, DATED JANUARY 23, 1968, YOU WERE REASSIGNED FROM FORT RICHARDSON, ALASKA, TO THE U.S. ARMY TRANSFER STATION, FORT LEWIS, WASHINGTON, FOR PROCESSING FOR SEPARATION AND DIRECTED TO REPORT NOT LATER THAN MARCH 3, 1968. THOSE ORDERS AUTHORIZED 8 DAYS' TRAVEL TIME VIA ALCAN HIGHWAY IN PROCEEDING TO THE NEW ASSIGNMENT STATION. ON MARCH 1, 1968, YOU WERE RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY AND THE PAYMENT MADE TO YOU ON THAT DATE INCLUDED THE SUM OF $1.86 AS THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FROM FORT LEWIS TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, YOUR HOME OF RECORD.

IN A LETTER DATED MARCH 14, 1968, YOU STATED THAT YOU HAD UTILIZED A COMMERCIAL FLIGHT IN TRAVELING FROM FORT RICHARDSON TO SEATTLE AND THAT YOU DID NOT RECEIVE A MONETARY ALLOWANCE FOR SUCH TRAVEL. ON JUNE 14, 1968, YOU SUBMITTED A CLAIM FOR TRAVEL ALLOWANCES, SHOWING ON THE CLAIM FORM THAT YOU HAD TRAVELED BY NORTHWEST AIRLINES ON MAY (FEBRUARY) 24 AND 25, 1968. THE FINANCE CENTER, U.S. ARMY, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, FORWARDED YOUR CLAIM TO OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ON DECEMBER 24, 1968. BY THE SETTLEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 13, 1969, THE CLAIMS DIVISION ALLOWED YOU THE SUM OF $30, REPRESENTING THE MILITARY AIRLIFT COMMAND RATE FOR A FLIGHT FROM ANCHORAGE TO MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE, WASHINGTON.

IN YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13, 1969, YOU EXPRESS DISSATISFACTION WITH THE SETTLEMENT OF $30 INASMUCH AS YOU SAY YOU WERE ADVISED BY THE FINANCE OFFICE IN ALASKA THAT YOU WOULD RECEIVE $0.06 PER MILE FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN ALASKA AND SEATTLE. YOU ALSO SAY THAT BASED ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT YOU WOULD RECEIVE $150 AS REIMBURSEMENT AT SEATTLE AND TO SAVE WEAR ON YOUR AUTOMOBILE, YOU SHIPPED IT BY SEALAND, INC., IN ALASKA, FOR $125 AND UTILIZED COMMERCIAL AIR TRANSPORTATION FOR TRAVEL TO SEATTLE. IN SUPPORT OF THAT STATEMENT YOU FORWARDED A COPY OF YOUR PLANE TICKET ISSUED BY WESTERN AIR LINES, INC., SHOWING THE FARE AS $49.28. VIEW THEREOF, YOU CONTEND THAT YOU SHOULD BE FULLY REIMBURSED FOR THE COST OF YOUR TRAVEL.

THE PERTINENT STATUTE, 37 U.S.C. 404, PROVIDES FOR THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES TO A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TRAVELING UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS AWAY FROM HIS POST OF DUTY, UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED. PARAGRAPH M4159-3 PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER WHO IS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE BETWEEN A POINT IN THE UNITED STATES AND A POINT IN ALASKA, BUT PERFORMS SUCH TRAVEL BY OTHER MEANS, E.G., COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION, WILL BE ENTITLED TO ALLOWANCES IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH M4159-1.

PARAGRAPH M4159-1 PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER TRAVELING UNDER PERMANENT CHANGE -OF-STATION ORDERS (INCLUDING SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE OR RELIEF FROM ACTIVE DUTY) TO, FROM, OR BETWEEN POINTS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, WHICH ORDERS DO NOT SPECIFY GROUP TRAVEL OR DIRECT TRAVEL BY A SPECIFIC MODE OF TRANSPORTATION, WILL BE ENTITLED TO:

"1. THE ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED IN PAR. M4150 OR M4154, AS APPLICABLE, FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN THE OLD PERMANENT STATION AND THE APPROPRIATE AERIAL OR WATER PORT OF EMBARKATION SERVING THE OLD DUTY STATION:

"2. TRANSPORTATION BY GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT OR VESSEL, IF AVAILABLE, OTHERWISE GOVERNMENT PROCURED TRANSPORTATION OR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION PROCURED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE FOR THE TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL INVOLVED (SEE SUBPAR. 4), PLUS PER DIEM, IF APPLICABLE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PART F; AND

"3. THE ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED IN PAR. M4150 OR M4154, AS APPLICABLE, FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN THE APPROPRIATE AERIAL OR WATER PORT OF DEBARKATION SERVING THE NEW STATION AND THE NEW PERMANENT STATION.'

PARAGRAPH M4159-4 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT WHEN TRAVEL IS DIRECTED BY GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION, INCLUDING MILITARY AIRLIFT COMMAND CONTRACT SPACE AND MILITARY SEA TRANSPORTATION SERVICE EN BLOC SPACE, AND THE MEMBER PERFORMS TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL BY ANOTHER MODE OF TRANSPORTATION AT PERSONAL EXPENSE, NO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL IS AUTHORIZED. THIS PARAGRAPH ALSO PROVIDES THAT WHEN TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED (AS DISTINGUISHED FROM DIRECTED) AND THE MEMBER PERFORMS TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL BY ANOTHER MODE OF TRANSPORTATION (OTHER THAN FOREIGN-FLAG) AT PERSONAL EXPENSE, THE MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION UTILIZED NOT TO EXCEED THE APPLICABLE TARIFF CHARGE WHICH THE SPONSORING SERVICE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PAY FOR THE AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION.

IN OUR DECISION OF AUGUST 10, 1961, 41 COMP. GEN. 100, WE HELD THAT MEMBERS UNDER PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS BETWEEN A POINT IN THE UNITED STATES AND A POINT IN ALASKA WHO ARE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE BUT WHO PERFORM SUCH TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL MEANS MAY BE CONSIDERED UNDER THE PURVIEW OF THE ABOVE MENTIONED REGULATIONS AS HAVING BEEN AUTHORIZED TO USE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION WHEN SUCH TRANSPORTATION IS AVAILABLE FOR THEIR USE AND REIMBURSEMENT TO SUCH MEMBERS MAY NOT BE BASED ON THE COST OF COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION BUT ON THE BASIS OF THE LEAST EXPENSIVE AVAILABLE TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN MILITARY SEA TRANSPORTATION SERVICE AND MILITARY AIR TRANSPORT SERVICE (NOW MILITARY AIRLIFT COMMAND).

SINCE YOUR ORDERS OF JANUARY 23, 1968, AUTHORIZED YOU TO UTILIZE YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN TRAVELING TO YOUR NEW STATION BUT YOU ELECTED TO UTILIZE COMMERCIAL AIR TRANSPORTATION IN LIEU THEREOF AND SINCE THERE IS NOTHING IN THE RECORD TO SHOW THAT GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION WAS NOT AVAILABLE AT THE TIME YOU DEPARTED FROM ANCHORAGE, YOUR ENTITLEMENT UNDER THE ABOVE REGULATIONS AND OUR DECISION OF AUGUST 10, 1961, IS LIMITED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR AIR TRAVEL FROM ANCHORAGE TO FORT MCCHORD AIR FORCE BASE. THAT COST AS SHOWN BY MILITARY AIRLIFT COMMAND RATE SCHEDULES IS $30, THE AMOUNT WHICH OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ALLOWED TO YOU IN THE SETTLEMENT. HENCE, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO LEGAL BASIS FOR PAYMENT TO YOU OF ANY AMOUNT IN EXCESS THEREOF.

WHILE THE FINANCE OFFICE IN ALASKA MAY HAVE ERRONEOUSLY INFORMED YOU THAT YOU WOULD RECEIVE MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF $0.06 PER MILE FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN ANCHORAGE AND SEATTLE, THAT INFORMATION DOES NOT, IN OUR OPINION, PROVIDE ANY BASIS TO ALLOW YOU SUCH MILEAGE CONTRARY TO THE GOVERNING REGULATIONS. PRESUMABLY SUCH INFORMATION WAS FURNISHED ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT YOU WOULD TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE AS INDICATED IN YOUR ORDERS.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SETTLEMENT OF FEBRUARY 13, 1969, WAS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED. THE COPY OF THAT SETTLEMENT WHICH YOU FORWARDED WITH YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13, 1969, IS RETURNED.