B-167315, JUL. 30, 1969

B-167315: Jul 30, 1969

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MILITARY - DEPENDENT TRAVEL AND DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE DECISION TO CERTIFYING OFFICER OF UNITED STATES COAST GUARD CONCLUDING THAT VOUCHER FOR CLAIM FOR DEPENDENT TRAVEL AND DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE INCIDENT TO DUTY IN COMMISSIONING OF CGC COURAGEOUS WHOSE HOME PORT WAS SAN JUAN. BECAUSE OFFICER WAS REQUIRED TO VACATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS DURING COMMISSIONING DETAIL IN YORKTOWN. THE CLAIM IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR RETURN TRANSPORTATION PERFORMED BY COMMERCIAL AIR. WHILE THE MEMBER WAS TRANSFERRED FROM SHORE TO SEA DUTY THERE WAS NO RIGHT TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES. SINCE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED WITHOUT ORDERS OR APPROVAL THERE IS NO BASIS FOR ALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM. THE FACT THAT THE OFFICER COULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE HAD PROPER PROCEDURE BEEN FOLLOWED DOES NOT AFFORD ANY AUTHORITY FOR ALLOWANCE OF CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE UNDER REGULATIONS THAT EXPRESSLY PROHIBIT SUCH ALLOWANCES.

B-167315, JUL. 30, 1969

MILITARY - DEPENDENT TRAVEL AND DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE DECISION TO CERTIFYING OFFICER OF UNITED STATES COAST GUARD CONCLUDING THAT VOUCHER FOR CLAIM FOR DEPENDENT TRAVEL AND DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE INCIDENT TO DUTY IN COMMISSIONING OF CGC COURAGEOUS WHOSE HOME PORT WAS SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO WHERE OFFICER HAD BEEN PERMANENTLY STATIONED. BECAUSE OFFICER WAS REQUIRED TO VACATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS DURING COMMISSIONING DETAIL IN YORKTOWN, VA. AND COULD NOT REMAIN IN GUEST HOUSE QUARTERS INDEFINITELY HE MOVED HIS FAMILY FROM SAN JUAN TO STONINGTON, CONN. UNTIL QUARTERS AGAIN BECAME AVAILABLE IN SAN JUAN. THE CLAIM IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR RETURN TRANSPORTATION PERFORMED BY COMMERCIAL AIR. WHILE THE MEMBER WAS TRANSFERRED FROM SHORE TO SEA DUTY THERE WAS NO RIGHT TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES. SINCE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED WITHOUT ORDERS OR APPROVAL THERE IS NO BASIS FOR ALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM. THE FACT THAT THE OFFICER COULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE HAD PROPER PROCEDURE BEEN FOLLOWED DOES NOT AFFORD ANY AUTHORITY FOR ALLOWANCE OF CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE UNDER REGULATIONS THAT EXPRESSLY PROHIBIT SUCH ALLOWANCES.

TO MR. C. D. ELLING:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 18, 1969, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO THE LEGALITY OF PAYMENT TO LIEUTENANT GEORGE A. WILDES, USCG, ON A VOUCHER EVIDENCING A CLAIM FOR DEPENDENT TRAVEL AND DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES PRESENTED.

BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. 34071, DATED SEPTEMBER 7, 1967, AS AMENDED, THE OFFICER WAS DIRECTED TO PROCEED FROM U. S. COAST GUARD BASE, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, TO YORKTOWN, VIRGINIA, REPORTING NOT LATER THAN MIDNIGHT JANUARY 21, 1968, FOR TEMPORARY DUTY WITH THE PRECOMMISSIONING DETAIL OF THE CGC COURAGEOUS (WMEC 622) AND TO DUTY ON BOARD WHEN COMMISSIONED. THE HOME PORT OF THE VESSEL WAS SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, AND THE ORDER STATED THAT THE PERMANENT STATION REMAINED AT SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT UPON RECEIPT OF THE ORDERS ON SEPTEMBER 7, 1967, THE OFFICER AND HIS DEPENDENTS WERE RESIDING IN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AT THE COAST GUARD BASE, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO. ON SEPTEMBER 17, 1967, HE WAS ORDERED TO VACATE THESE QUARTERS DUE TO THE ASSIGNMENT OF THE QUARTERS TO HIS RELIEF AND FAMILY. HE AND HIS FAMILY MOVED TO THE GUEST HOUSE AT THE NAVAL STATION IN THE VICINITY AND HIS HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS WERE PLACED IN TEMPORARY STORAGE.

THE OFFICER STATED THAT SINCE HE COULD NOT REMAIN IN THE NAVY GUEST HOUSE INDEFINITELY AND SINCE GOVERNMENT HOUSING WAS NOT AVAILABLE, HE SENT HIS DEPENDENTS TO STONINGTON, CONNECTICUT, WHILE WAITING FOR MILITARY HOUSING TO BECOME AVAILABLE AT HIS DUTY STATION. HE SAYS HE TOOK THIS ACTION BECAUSE CIVILIAN HOUSING WAS EITHER NONEXISTENT OR HIGHLY PRICED AT THAT TIME AND HE WAS DUE TO DEPART TO THE UNITED STATES FOR TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY UNDER OTHER ORDERS. ON JANUARY 21, 1968, HE BEGAN HIS TEMPORARY DUTY WITH THE PRECOMMISSIONING DETAIL AND ON APRIL 10, 1968, HE REPORTED FOR DUTY ON BOARD THE USCGC COURAGEOUS.

ON JUNE 5, 1968, QUARTERS BECAME AVAILABLE IN SAN JUAN AND SHORTLY THEREAFTER THE OFFICER'S DEPENDENTS TRAVELED FROM STONINGTON, CONNECTICUT, TO SAN JUAN, HOME PORT OF HIS VESSEL. THE VOUCHER EVIDENCING CLAIM FOR TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT AND DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE FOR THE TRAVEL OF THE DEPENDENTS FROM STONINGTON, CONNECTICUT, TO SAN JUAN, SHOWS THAT THEIR TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED BY COMMERCIAL AIR ON JULY 8, 1968.

BY LETTER DATED FEBRUARY 10, 1969, THE COMMANDANT DISAPPROVED THE CLAIM, CITING PARAGRAPHS M7061 AND M9004-4, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS AUTHORITY FOR DETERMINING THAT THERE WAS NO BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL. THE COMMANDANT STATED THAT DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL TO STONINGTON, CONNECTICUT, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED AND ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN TO RECOVER $101.15, THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT.

LIEUTENANT WILDES RESUBMITTED HIS CLAIM ON MARCH 21, 1969. ENDORSEMENTS DATED MARCH 25, 1969, HIS COMMANDING OFFICER AND THE COMMANDER, GREATER ANTILLES SECTION, RECOMMENDED FAVORABLE RECONSIDERATION OF THE CLAIM, DUE TO THE FACT THAT LIEUTENANT WILDES WAS ORDERED TO VACATE COAST GUARD CONTROLLED HOUSING APPROXIMATELY SIXTY DAYS IN ADVANCE OF DETACHMENT AND THAT HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE UNDER PARAGRAPH M4303-2, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, HAD THE PROPER PROCEDURES BEEN FOLLOWED. IN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 18, 1969, YOU QUESTION WHETHER THE CLAIM MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED UNDER PARAGRAPH M7103-2 (3), JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS BEING UNDER UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES.

PARAGRAPH M1150-10A, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, DEFINES A PERMANENT DUTY STATION IN PERTINENT PART AS THE POST OF DUTY OR OFFICIAL STATION (INCLUDING THE HOME PORT OR HOME YARD OF A VESSEL OF A SHIP BASED MEMBER INSOFAR AS TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS IS CONCERNED) TO WHICH A MEMBER IS ASSIGNED OR ATTACHED TO DUTY OTHER THAN "TEMPORARY DUTY" OR "TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY" THE LIMITS OF WHICH WILL BE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OR TOWN IN WHICH THE MEMBER IS STATIONED. PARAGRAPH M7061 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT UPON TRANSFER FROM A SHORE STATION TO A VESSEL, TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS AUTHORIZED FROM THE OLD SHORE STATION TO THE HOME YARD OR HOME PORT OF THE VESSEL. PARAGRAPH M9004-1, ITEM 4, PROVIDES THAT DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE IS NOT PAYABLE IN CONNECTION WITH PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TRAVEL PERFORMED BETWEEN STATIONS LOCATED WITHIN THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE SAME CITY.

IT LONG HAS BEEN THE RULE THAT THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT REIMBURSABLE ON ACCOUNT OF DEPENDENT TRAVEL BETWEEN POINTS OTHER THAN THE OLD AND THE NEW STATION COULD NOT, IN ANY EVENT, EXCEED THE AMOUNT IT WOULD HAVE COST THE GOVERNMENT HAD TRAVEL BEEN BETWEEN THE OLD AND THE NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATIONS. 34 COMP. GEN. 467; 43 ID. 639. IN THIS INSTANCE, THE OLD DUTY STATION, SAN JUAN, AND THE HOME PORT OF THE MEMBER'S NEW STATION, THE USCGC COURAGEOUS IS SAN JUAN. THUS, WHILE THERE WAS A CHANGE IN DUTY ASSIGNMENT FROM SHORE TO SEA DUTY, THERE WAS NO CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION AND NO RIGHT TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES COULD ACCRUE IN CONNECTION WITH SUCH A TRANSFER. NOR WOULD THERE BY ANY ENTITLEMENT UNDER APPLICABLE REGULATIONS TO A DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE BY REASON OF SUCH TRANSFER. SEE, IN THAT CONNECTION, 36 COMP. GEN. 824, COPY ENCLOSED.

WITH RESPECT TO THE POSSIBILITY OF AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM ON THE BASIS THAT THE TRAVEL COULD HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED UNDER PARAGRAPH M7103 -2 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDING FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS INCIDENT TO UNUSUAL OR EMERGENCY CIRCUMSTANCES IN PERSONAL SITUATIONS, IT MAY BE NOTED THAT THE REGULATION CONTEMPLATES THE ADVANCE APPROVAL AND AUTHORIZATION OF SUCH TRAVEL. AND, PARAGRAPH M7103-1 PROVIDES SPECIFICALLY THAT "WHEN DEPENDENTS HAVE PERFORMED TRAVEL WITHOUT ORDERS TO AN APPROPRIATE DESTINATION UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH WOULD HAVE PERMITTED THEIR TRAVEL TO HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THIS PARAGRAPH, NO REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH TRAVEL IS AUTHORIZED * * *.' ACCORDINGLY, WE SEE NO GROUNDS FOR FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION OF THE CLAIM UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH M7103-2 OF THE REGULATIONS.

ALSO, WE FAIL TO SEE HOW THE FACT THAT LIEUTENANT WILDES POSSIBLY COULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO A TEMPORARY LODGING ALLOWANCE UNDER PARAGRAPH M4303- 2 OF THE REGULATIONS, HAD THE PROPER PROCEDURES BEEN FOLLOWED, MAY BE VIEWED AS AFFORDING SOME AUTHORITY FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF HIS CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AND DISLOCATION ALLOWANCE UNDER REGULATIONS WHICH NOT ONLY DO NOT AUTHORIZE BUT EXPRESSLY PROHIBIT THE PAYMENT OF SUCH ALLOWANCES IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF HIS CASE.

THE ALLOWANCE OF LIEUTENANT WILDES' CLAIM IS NOT AUTHORIZED AND THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER IS RETAINED HERE. ORIGINAL ORDERS DATED AUGUST 4, 1967, ARE RETURNED HEREWITH.