B-170796, DEC. 2, 1970

B-170796: Dec 2, 1970

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COMPENSATION - MILEAGE ALLOWING CLAIM FOR HIGHER PER MILE RATE TO BE PAID TO EMPLOYEE OF NLRB WHO WAS REQUIRED TO RENT A CAMPER-TRAILER IN CONNECTION WITH HIS SUPERVISION OF AN ELECTION AT VARIOUS CONSTRUCTION SIGHTS IN NEW MEXICO. IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT THE SLIDING SCALE RATES ESTABLISHED WERE PRESUMABLY DESIGNED FOR NORMAL AUTOMOBILE USE. NO OBJECTION IS MADE TO AN INCREASED MILEAGE RATE FOR THE 338 MILES DRIVEN WITH THE TRAILER ATTACHED. GRUBE: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9. GOMEZ WAS ASSIGNED TO SUPERVISE AN ELECTION AND SINCE PROPER FACILITIES WERE NOT AVAILABLE. HE WAS AUTHORIZED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE ALBUQUERQUE OFFICE OF NLRB TO RENT A CAMPER TRAILER AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.

B-170796, DEC. 2, 1970

COMPENSATION - MILEAGE ALLOWING CLAIM FOR HIGHER PER MILE RATE TO BE PAID TO EMPLOYEE OF NLRB WHO WAS REQUIRED TO RENT A CAMPER-TRAILER IN CONNECTION WITH HIS SUPERVISION OF AN ELECTION AT VARIOUS CONSTRUCTION SIGHTS IN NEW MEXICO. IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT THE SLIDING SCALE RATES ESTABLISHED WERE PRESUMABLY DESIGNED FOR NORMAL AUTOMOBILE USE, NO OBJECTION IS MADE TO AN INCREASED MILEAGE RATE FOR THE 338 MILES DRIVEN WITH THE TRAILER ATTACHED, SO LONG AS THE RATE DOES NOT EXCEED THE $0.12 MILE MAXIMUM SET BY 5 U.S.C. 5704.

TO MR. FRANK L. GRUBE:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1970, AND ENCLOSURES, CONCERNING THE RECLAIM VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY CONRADO GOMEZ, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD (NLRB), FOR ADDITIONAL MILEAGE IN THE TOTAL SUM OF $47.32, TO COVER THE AUTHORIZED USE OF HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE TO PULL A CAMPER TRAILER IN CONNECTION WITH AN ELECTION AT VARIOUS CONSTRUCTION SITES IN THE VICINITY OF TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES AND SOCORRO, NEW MEXICO.

MR. GOMEZ WAS ASSIGNED TO SUPERVISE AN ELECTION AND SINCE PROPER FACILITIES WERE NOT AVAILABLE, HE WAS AUTHORIZED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE ALBUQUERQUE OFFICE OF NLRB TO RENT A CAMPER TRAILER AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. DURING THE MONTH OF JUNE 1970 THE CLAIMANT DROVE HIS PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE A TOTAL OF 3,177 MILES WITH THE CAMPER TRAILER ATTACHED THERETO FOR A DISTANCE OF 338 MILES. YOUR OFFICE ALLOWED 3,177 MILES AT $165 FOR THE FIRST 1,800 MILES AND 7 CENTS FOR EACH ADDITIONAL MILE OVER 1,800.

WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED BY OFFICIALS OF NLRB THAT THE AGENCY UTILIZES A SLIDING SCALE OF REIMBURSEMENT RATES WHICH DIMINISH AS MILEAGE INCREASES EACH MONTH. THE SCALE RECOGNIZES THAT DEPRECIATION AND OTHER FIXED CHARGES, WHEN SPREAD OVER A GREATER NUMBER OF MILES REDUCES THE AVERAGE COST PER MILE FOR DRIVERS WHO USE THEIR AUTOMOBILES EXTENSIVELY ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. MR. GOMEZ CONTENDS THAT IT IS INAPPROPRIATE TO APPLY THE SLIDING SCALE WITH RESPECT TO THE 338 MILES OVER WHICH HE TOWED THE CAMPER TRAILER AND HE CLAIMS REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR AT THE RATE OF 21 CENTS PER MILE ON THE BASIS THAT HIS EXPENSES WERE CONSIDERABLY INCREASED.

AS AUTHORIZED BY 5 U.S.C. 5704, THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDE FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AT RATES NOT TO EXCEED 12 CENTS PER MILE. THE REGULATIONS REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS TO FIX SUCH RATES AT OR UNDER 12 CENTS PER MILE AS WILL MOST NEARLY COMPENSATE THE EMPLOYEE FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES.

BASED UPON THE SLIDING SCALE OF MILEAGE RATES UTILIZED BY NLRB, THE MILEAGE RATE PAID THE CLAIMANT FALLS WITHIN THE MAXIMUM ALLOWED BY THE LAW AND REGULATIONS AND IS A MATTER WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION OF THE AGENCY. HOWEVER, WHILE MR. GOMEZ HAS NOT SUBMITTED ANY SPECIFIC EVIDENCE IN SUPPORT OF THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSES HE CLAIMS TO HAVE INCURRED IN TOWING THE TRAILER, IT IS EVIDENT THAT THE EXPENSES INVOLVED FOR THE MILES THUS COVERED WERE GREATER THAN WOULD HAVE BEEN THE CASE WITHOUT THE TRAILER.

THEREFORE, AND IN LIGHT OF THE FACT THAT THE SLIDING SCALE OF RATES ESTABLISHED WAS PRESUMABLY DESIGNED FOR NORMAL AUTOMOBILE USE, WE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL FOR THE MILEAGE IN QUESTION OF A RATE IN EXCESS OF 7 CENTS PER MILE SUBJECT TO THE AUTHORIZED MAXIMUM OF 12 CENTS.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED FOR HANDLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE.