B-172225, JUN 15, 1971

B-172225: Jun 15, 1971

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AT A RATE OF $.068 PER MILE IF A GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE WAS AVAILABLE AND AT $.10 PER MILE IF ONE WAS NOT FOR LOCAL TRAVEL PERFORMED IN A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE PRIOR TO OCTOBER 2. HAS DENIED APPROVAL FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOCAL TRAVEL IN A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE WHEN A GOVERNMENT VEHICLE IS AVAILABLE EFFECTIVE AFTER OCTOBER 2. THIS DECISION IS A PROPER EXERCISE OF THE DISCRETION GRANTED THE DSA UNDER THE JTR. USAF: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JANUARY 11. YOUR LETTER WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY FIRST INDORSEMENT DATED MARCH 12. CLAIMS FOR LOCAL TRAVEL WERE PREPARED AND PAID IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLISHED LOCAL INSTRUCTIONS. THE BASIC AUTHORIZATION FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS IS CONTAINED IN CHAPTER 6.

B-172225, JUN 15, 1971

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - MILEAGE - LOCAL TRAVEL AUTHORIZING FOR PAYMENT CLAIMS FOR MILEAGE OF EMPLOYEES OF THE DSA FOR TRAVEL IN AND ABOUT CHICAGO, ILL., AT A RATE OF $.068 PER MILE IF A GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE WAS AVAILABLE AND AT $.10 PER MILE IF ONE WAS NOT FOR LOCAL TRAVEL PERFORMED IN A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE PRIOR TO OCTOBER 2, 1970. HOWEVER, THE DSA, AT ITS DISCRETION, HAS DENIED APPROVAL FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOCAL TRAVEL IN A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE WHEN A GOVERNMENT VEHICLE IS AVAILABLE EFFECTIVE AFTER OCTOBER 2, 1970. THIS DECISION IS A PROPER EXERCISE OF THE DISCRETION GRANTED THE DSA UNDER THE JTR.

TO MAJOR S. G. OROSCO, USAF:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JANUARY 11, 1971 (FILE REFERENCE DCRI-FA-DM) REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF AUTHORIZING PAYMENT ON SEPARATE VOUCHERS SUBMITTED BY RAYMOND J. SWIDERSKI AND FRANCES MEEKS, REPRESENTING THEIR CLAIMS FOR MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL IN AND ABOUT THE CHICAGO, ILLINOIS AREA PRIOR TO OCTOBER 2, 1970. YOUR LETTER WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY FIRST INDORSEMENT DATED MARCH 12, 1971, FROM THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE AND HAS BEEN ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 71-14.

WE UNDERSTAND FROM YOUR SUBMISSION AND PAPERS ATTACHED THERETO THAT PRIOR TO OCTOBER 2, 1970, CLAIMS FOR LOCAL TRAVEL WERE PREPARED AND PAID IN ACCORDANCE WITH PUBLISHED LOCAL INSTRUCTIONS, AUTHORIZING THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES IN LIEU OF GOVERNMENT OWNED VEHICLES AND REIMBURSABLE AT $.068 PER MILE.

THE BASIC AUTHORIZATION FOR THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS IS CONTAINED IN CHAPTER 6, PART D. VOLUME II, OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PARAGRAPH C6150 OF WHICH PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

"THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED FOR EMPLOYEES OR OTHERS RENDERING SERVICE TO THE GOVERNMENT WHEN ENGAGED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE BY OWNER OR AS A PASSENGER MAY NOT BE DIRECTED, BUT THE USE OF SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION MAY BE PERMITTED WHEN IT IS REQUESTED BY THE EMPLOYEE OR ENCOURAGED WHEN IT IS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. *** WHENEVER POSSIBLE, ANY NECESSARY TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE SHOULD BE AUTHORIZED IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS, TOGETHER WITH THE APPROPRIATE MILEAGE RATE. WHEN SUCH AUTHORIZATION IS NOT MADE, THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE MAY BE APPROVED, WITH APPROPRIATE NOTATIONS OR LIMITATIONS, ON THE REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER. *** FOR RATES OF ALLOWANCES, SEE CHAPTER 8, PART E (OF THESE REGULATIONS) *** ."

PARAGRAPH C8200, WHICH RELATES TO TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL, PROVIDES IN SUBPARAGRAPH 2A, THAT WHERE THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, THE REIMBURSEMENT RATE IS $.10 PER MILE. IN SUBPARAGRAPH 2B, IN SITUATIONS WHERE THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS DETERMINED NOT TO BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, SUCH USE (1) IS SUBJECT TO THE COMMON CARRIER LIMITATIONS IMPOSED BY PARAGRAPH C6152, AT A RATE NOT IN EXCESS OF $.10 PER MILE OR (2) MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED UNDER PARAGRAPH C6157, AT THE RATE OF $.068 PER MILE, WHEN THE USE OF A GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE IS AUTHORIZED IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS BUT THE EMPLOYEE ELECTS TO USE A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE.

ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1970, A LETTER WAS ADDRESSED TO FIELD ACTIVITIES OF THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY BY THE HEADQUARTERS OFFICE, ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA, IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"2. BY REFERENCED LETTER, IT WAS EMPHASIZED THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE INSTANCE WHEN A TRAVELER USING HIS OWN POV CAN BE REIMBURSED AT THE RATE OF $.068 PER MILE. THAT INSTANCE IS WHEN THE TRAVELER IS AUTHORIZED A GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE IN HIS TDY ORDERS AND HE ELECTS TO USE HIS OWN VEHICLE. THE ENCLOSURE TO REFERENCE PROVIDES BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE. THERE IS NO INSTANCE WHEN A TRAVELER WILL BE PAID $.068 PER MILE FOR LOCAL TRAVEL.

"3. FOR LOCAL TRAVEL, THE TRAVELER USING HIS OWN POV, WHEN ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, WILL RECEIVE $.10 PER MILE. IF GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION IS AVAILABLE AND ITS USE WILL RESULT IN EQUAL OR GREATER ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT, PERSONNEL WILL BE DIRECTED TO USE SUCH TRANSPORTATION. IF A TRAVELER ELECTS TO USE HIS OWN VEHICLE, AND IT HAS NOT BEEN DETERMINED TO BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, HE WILL RECEIVE NO MILEAGE ALLOWANCE."

APPARENTLY THE ABOVE LETTER WAS A CLARIFICATION OF PRIOR INSTRUCTIONS WHICH DID NOT INTEND THAT ANY MILEAGE BE PAID FOR LOCAL TRAVEL WHEN A GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE WAS AVAILABLE FOR USE OF AN EMPLOYEE AND HE ELECTED TO USE A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. WE NOTE THAT IN SUCH LETTER A DISTINCTION APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN MADE BETWEEN TEMPORARY DUTY AND LOCAL TRAVEL. AFTER RECEIPT OF THE LETTER BY YOUR LOCAL INSTALLATION A NOTICE TO ALL TRAVELERS BASED ON THE CONTENTS THEREOF WAS PUBLISHED IN THE LOCAL BULLETIN PRESUMABLY DATED OCTOBER 2, 1970, WHICH CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING PERTINENT PROVISIONS:

"C. WHEN THE USE OF A GOVERNMENT-OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS AUTHORIZED FOR TEMPORARY DUTY TO BEGIN AND END AT THE EMPLOYEE'S PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND ITS USE WILL RESULT IN EQUAL OR GREATER ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT, PERSONNEL WILL BE DIRECTED TO USE SUCH TRANSPORTATION. IF A TRAVELER ELECTS TO USE HIS OWN VEHICLE, HE WILL RECEIVE NO MILEAGE ALLOWANCE. HOWEVER, IF A CERTIFICATE OF NON-AVAILABILITY OF A GOVERNMENT VEHICLE HAS BEEN DULY ISSUED AND ATTACHED TO THE REIMBURSEMENT CLAIM, THE RATE OF REIMBURSEMENT WILL BE AT $.10 PER MILE. (NOTE: IF GOVERNMENT VEHICLES ARE NOT ASSIGNED TO THE EMPLOYEE'S PERMANENT DUTY STATION, THE REMARK 'GOVERNMENT VEHICLES ARE NOT ASSIGNED' WILL BE PLACED ON THE STANDARD FORM 1164.)

"D. THE BASIC POINT OF CONTROL IN VICINITY TRAVEL IS THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE (POV) FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL. ONCE SUCH A MODE OF TRANSPORTATION HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED AS MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, ALL FACTORS BEING CONSIDERED, ALLOWANCES SHOULD BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE LISTED GUIDES." THESE PROVISIONS SEEM TO REGARD LOCAL TRAVEL AS BEING EMBRACED WITHIN THE TERM "TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL."

BECAUSE OF THE INDICATION IN THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 22, 1970, THAT EVEN IN THE PAST NO TRAVELER WAS ENTITLED TO $.068 PER MILE FOR LOCAL TRAVEL (AS DISTINGUISHED FROM TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL) YOU EXPRESS DOUBT WHETHER PAYMENTS AT THAT RATE FROM OCTOBER 1, 1968, WERE PROPER AND WHETHER THE INSTANT CLAIMS SHOULD BE PAID AT THAT RATE OR SOME OTHER RATE. YOU INDICATE THAT PRIOR TO OCTOBER 1, 1970, THE DETERMINATION OF "MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT" WAS NOT A PREREQUISITE FOR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE APPROVAL.

THE FOLLOWING COMMENT HAD BEEN MADE TO OUR OFFICE ON THE FOREGOING MATTER BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE:

"THE INTENT OF JTR, PAR. C6157, IS TO PROVIDE A BASIS FOR COMPUTING MILEAGE AND PER DIEM WHEN THE EMPLOYEE ELECTS, FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE, TO USE POV IN LIEU OF A GOVERNMENT VEHICLE. IT DOES NOT DISTINGUISH 'LOCAL TRAVEL' FROM ANY OTHER TRAVEL, BUT APPLIES WHEN GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE IS THE ONLY MODE OF TRAVEL AUTHORIZED. THE EXTRACT OF THE WEEKLY BULLETIN PROMULGATED BY THE DCASR, CHICAGO OFFICE IS INCONSISTENT WITH JTR, VOL. 2, IN THAT IT PURPORTS TO DENY REIMBURSEMENT WHEN A POV IS USED IN LIEU OF A GOVERNMENT VEHICLE. JTR, PAR. C6157, HAS BEEN IN EFFECT SINCE 25 SEPTEMBER 1967 (CHANGE 30). CONSEQUENTLY, SINCE ONLY THE RATE OF $.068 IS APPLICABLE, WHETHER THE TRAVEL IS 'LOCAL' OR OTHERWISE, THE 'CLARIFICATION' REFERRED TO IN PARAGRAPH 3 OF THE 11 JANUARY 1971 LETTER AFFORDS NO BASIS FOR A DIFFERENT METHOD OF COMPUTATION OF MILEAGE AS STATED IN JTR, PAR. C6157, WHETHER PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT TO 1 OCTOBER 1970."

REGARDLESS OF THE ABOVE COMMITTEE'S COMMENTS IT SEEMS TO US THAT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PREVIOUSLY REFERRED TO THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY HAS DISCRETIONARY AUTHORITY TO DENY APPROVAL OF ANY REIMBURSEMENT FOR PURELY LOCAL TRAVEL WHEN AN EMPLOYEE IS DIRECTED TO USE A GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE AND IN LIEU THEREOF USES A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. WHETHER ANY CHANGE IN THAT POLICY SHOULD BE MADE IN LINE WITH THE COMMENTS OF THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE IS NOT FOR US TO DETERMINE.

IT APPEARS REASONABLY CLEAR THAT THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY HAS EXERCISED ITS DISCRETION TO DENY APPROVAL OF ANY REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOCAL TRAVEL UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED ABOVE ON AND AFTER OCTOBER 2, 1970, WHEN NOTICE THEREOF TO EMPLOYEES WAS PUBLISHED. HOWEVER, THE SAME CANNOT BE SAID FOR THE PERIODS OF TRAVEL PRIOR TO OCTOBER 2, 1970. WE MUST ASSUME THAT CONFUSION EXISTED BECAUSE YOUR INSTALLATION PAID CLAIMS FOR LOCAL TRAVEL ON THE BASIS OF $.068 PER MILE IN LIEU OF THE USE OF GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE. THIS WAS PROBABLY DUE TO DISTINCTIONS INTENDED TO BE MADE IN SOME INSTANCES BETWEEN LOCAL TRAVEL AND TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL. IN VIEW THEREOF, THERE IS NO NECESSITY FOR DISTURBING PAYMENTS FOR LOCAL TRAVEL PRIOR TO OCTOBER 2, 1970.

AS TO THE INSTANT CLAIMS FOR TRAVEL PRIOR TO OCTOBER 2, 1970, WE NOTE THAT THE VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MR. SWIDERSKI FOR MILEAGE HAS BEEN COMPUTED AT THE RATE OF $.068 PER MILE FOR PART OF THE TRAVEL AND $.10 PER MILE FOR OTHER TRAVEL. ALSO, THE VOUCHER HAS BEEN APPROVED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. APPARENTLY, SUCH APPROVAL RELATES TO THAT PART OF THE MILEAGE CLAIMED AT THE RATE OF $.10 PER MILE. WE DO NOT UNDERSTAND THE ADVANTAGEOUS APPROVAL UNLESS ON AND AFTER SEPTEMBER 21, 1970, THERE WAS NO GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE AVAILABLE FOR THE EMPLOYEE'S USE. IF SUCH BE THE CASE, THE VOUCHER MAY BE PAID AS SUBMITTED. HOWEVER, IF SUCH APPROVAL COVERS THE ENTIRE PERIOD THEN THE VOUCHER SHOULD BE RECOMPUTED AND PAID AT THE RATE OF $.10 PER MILE.

CONCERNING THE CLAIM OF FRANCES MEEKS, WE SEE NO REASON WHY THE VOUCHER FOR TRAVEL ON OCTOBER 1, 1970, MAY NOT BE PAID AT THE RATE OF $.068 PER MILE, ASSUMING OF COURSE THAT A GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE WAS AVAILABLE FOR USE. IF NOT, A DETERMINATION OF ADVANTAGE COULD BE MADE AND MILEAGE ALLOWED AT THE RATE OF $.10 PER MILE.