B-172918, AUG 12, 1971

B-172918: Aug 12, 1971

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

THE APPLICABLE PARAGRAPHS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS REQUIRE THAT THE MEMBER USE EITHER GOVERNMENT SUPPLIED OR AMERICAN FLAG TRANSPORTATION FOR DEPENDENT TRAVEL WHERE IT IS AVAILABLE. SINCE THE RECORD INDICATES THAT FOREIGN FLAG TRANSPORTATION WAS USED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE MEMBER. THERE IS NO BASIS FOR ALLOWING REIMBURSEMENT. USN: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL FROM NICE. YOU WERE DIRECTED TO PROCEED ON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO THE NAVAL ORDNANCE STATION. YOU WERE GRANTED A DELAY EN ROUTE OF 30 DAYS TO BE COUNTED AS LEAVE. YOUR LEAVE ADDRESS WAS RUE DE LA VICTOIRE. YOU WERE GRANTED PERMISSION TO VISIT FRANCE IN A LEAVE STATUS.

B-172918, AUG 12, 1971

DEPENDENT TRAVEL - REIMBURSEMENT FOR COSTS - USE OF FOREIGN FLAG AIRLINES DECISION DENYING THE CLAIM OF RONALD F. STARR FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR DEPENDENTS TRAVEL FROM NICE, FRANCE TO DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, VIRGINIA, INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. THE APPLICABLE PARAGRAPHS OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS REQUIRE THAT THE MEMBER USE EITHER GOVERNMENT SUPPLIED OR AMERICAN FLAG TRANSPORTATION FOR DEPENDENT TRAVEL WHERE IT IS AVAILABLE. SINCE THE RECORD INDICATES THAT FOREIGN FLAG TRANSPORTATION WAS USED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE MEMBER, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR ALLOWING REIMBURSEMENT.

TO RONALD F. STARR, SHC, USN:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL FROM NICE, FRANCE, TO DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, VIRGINIA, INCIDENT TO YOUR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM THURSO, SCOTLAND, TO INDIAN HEAD, MARYLAND.

BY ORDERS NO. 051-69, UNITED STATES NAVAL RADIO STATION, THURSO, SCOTLAND, DATED DECEMBER 17, 1969, YOU WERE DIRECTED TO PROCEED ON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO THE NAVAL ORDNANCE STATION, INDIAN HEAD, MARYLAND 20640, WITH TEMPORARY DUTY EN ROUTE AT THE NAVY RESALE SYSTEMS OFFICE, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, AND AT THE NAVY EXCHANGE, NAVAL STATION, WASHINGTON, D.C. YOU WERE GRANTED A DELAY EN ROUTE OF 30 DAYS TO BE COUNTED AS LEAVE. YOUR LEAVE ADDRESS WAS RUE DE LA VICTOIRE, VILLEFRANCHE, S/M 06, FRANCE.

BY FIRST ENDORSEMENT TO YOUR ORDERS OF THE SAME DATE, YOU WERE GRANTED PERMISSION TO VISIT FRANCE IN A LEAVE STATUS, AND YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL FROM THURSO, SCOTLAND, TO FRANCE, PRIOR TO REPORTING TO YOUR PERMANENT DUTY STATION. YOU WERE ADVISED THAT COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION FOR YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS WOULD HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE FROM PRESTWICK, SCOTLAND, TO THE UNITED STATES HAD YOU NOT ELECTED TO TRAVEL IN A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE. GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION WAS NOT AVAILABLE FROM THURSO TO GLASGOW, SCOTLAND. YOU WERE FURTHER ADVISED THAT YOU WOULD BEAR THE EXPENSE OF TRAVELING FROM GLASGOW TO FRANCE AND FROM FRANCE TO THE PORT OF DEBARKATION FOR RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES. IT WAS STATED THAT THE CIRCUITOUS ROUTE OF TRAVEL WAS FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS AND WAS NOT SUBJECT TO REIMBURSEMENT.

THE RECORD BEFORE US SHOWS THAT YOUR DEPENDENTS TRAVELED FROM THURSO TO WICK, SCOTLAND, BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE, AND FROM THERE VIA BRITISH EUROPEAN AIRWAYS TO NICE, FRANCE, ON DECEMBER 17, 1969. ON MARCH 31, 1970, THEY DEPARTED VIA AIR FRANCE FROM NICE, ARRIVING THE FOLLOWING DAY AT DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, VIRGINIA, AND FROM THERE THEY TRAVELED BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE TO INDIAN HEAD, MARYLAND.

BECAUSE OF DOUBT REGARDING YOUR ENTITLEMENT TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR DEPENDENT TRAVEL, YOUR CLAIM WAS FORWARDED THROUGH MILITARY CHANNELS AND WAS RECEIVED IN THIS OFFICE FROM THE NAVY REGIONAL FINANCE CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C. 20390, ON JUNE 16, 1970.

BY SETTLEMENT OF DECEMBER 10, 1970, OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ALLOWED YOU THE AMOUNT OF $46.44 FOR YOUR DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL FROM THURSO TO GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, AND FROM DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO INDIAN HEAD. REIMBURSEMENT WAS ALLOWED FOR $562 AIRFARE FROM NICE TO DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, AS YOUR DEPENDENTS UTILIZED A FOREIGN COMMERCIAL CARRIER, AIR FRANCE, FOR THIS TRAVEL.

YOUR RECLAIM FOR THE TRANSATLANTIC TRAVEL, IN THE SUM OF $452, WAS RECEIVED FROM THE NAVY FINANCE CENTER, WASHINGTON, D.C., ON MARCH 15, 1971, WITH THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER, NAVAL ORDNANCE STATION, INDIAN HEAD, MARYLAND, THAT FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT IN THE AMOUNT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE PAID IF YOUR DEPENDENTS HAD TRAVELED VIA GOVERNMENT-APPROVED COMMERCIAL AIRLINE.

IN FORWARDING YOUR CLAIM, THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE NAVAL ORDNANCE STATION, INDIAN HEAD, MARYLAND, STATES THAT CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL WAS APPROVED BECAUSE DEPENDENT HOUSING WAS NOT AVAILABLE AT YOUR INTERMEDIATE TEMPORARY DUTY STATIONS, AND THAT AFTER YOU ARRIVED AT YOUR NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND SECURED HOUSING FOR YOUR FAMILY YOU RETURNED TO FRANCE TO ACCOMPANY THEM TO THEIR NEW HOME. BECAUSE OF YOUR DUTIES YOU WERE GRANTED ONLY THREE DAYS' LEAVE FOR THIS PURPOSE (FRIDAY TO MONDAY).

AS THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH TIME TO TRAVEL TO FRANCE, OBTAIN TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS AND RETURN WITH YOUR FAMILY TO THE UNITED STATES, THE DISBURSING OFFICER SAYS THAT WHILE IN FRANCE YOU PURCHASED TICKETS ON THE FIRST AVAILABLE AIRLINE THAT COULD FLY YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TO THE UNITED STATES IN TIME SO THAT YOU WOULD NOT BE OVER LEAVE. ADDITIONALLY, IT IS INDICATED THAT YOU WERE NOT INFORMED OF RESTRICTIONS IN THE USE OF FOREIGN COMMERCIAL AIR PRIOR TO OBTAINING PASSAGE FOR YOUR DEPENDENTS FROM FRANCE TO THE UNITED STATES.

PARAGRAPH M7000 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO 37 U.S.C. 406, PROVIDES THAT MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ARE ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED FROM THE OLD STATION TO THE NEW PERMANENT STATION OR BETWEEN POINTS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED IN THE REGULATIONS, EXCEPT FOR ANY PORTION OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY A FOREIGN REGISTERED VESSEL OR AIRPLANE, IF AMERICAN REGISTERED VESSELS OR AIRPLANES ARE AVAILABLE BY THE USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. (M7000-7).

PARAGRAPH M2150 OF THE REGULATIONS (CHANGE 181, EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 1, 1968) PROVIDES THAT EXCEPT WHERE THE AUTHORITY ISSUING TRAVEL ORDERS OR THE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER OR OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICER MAY DETERMINE OTHERWISE, VESSELS AND AIRCRAFT REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WILL BE USED FOR ALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. MERE INCONVENIENCE OR SHORT DELAYS IN AWAITING TRANSPORTATION BY VESSEL OR AIRCRAFT OF UNITED STATES REGISTRY, THE DESIRE TO ARRANGE CIRCUITOUS ROUTES FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF A TRAVELER, OR ANY SIMILAR REASONS, ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY USE OF A FOREIGN CARRIER. (M2150-4).

PARAGRAPH 2000-2, U.S. NAVY TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS, PROVIDES THAT WHEN IT IS DETERMINED THAT COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION WILL BE PROVIDED FOR TRAVEL TO, FROM, OR OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, AIRCRAFT AND SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WILL BE USED UNLESS THE NONAVAILABILITY OF SUCH AIRCRAFT OR SHIPS OR THE EXIGENCIES OF THE MISSION REQUIRE THE USE OF AIRCRAFT OR SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG.

PARAGRAPH M4159-1 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES, WITH EXCEPTIONS NOT HERE RELEVANT, THAT A MEMBER TRAVELING UNDER PERMANENT CHANGE-OF STATION ORDERS 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 THE TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AS OTHERWISE PRESCRIBED FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE BETWEEN THE OLD PERMANENT STATION AND THE APPROPRIATE AERIAL OR WATER PORT OF EMBARKATION SERVING THE OLD STATION AND BETWEEN THE APPROPRIATE AERIAL OR WATER PORT OF DEBARKATION SERVING THE NEW STATION AND THE NEW PERMANENT STATION. ALSO, HE WILL BE ENTITLED TO:

"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) *** "

WITH RESPECT TO REIMBURSEMENT WHEN GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION IS AVAILABLE, PARAGRAPH M4159-4A, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF YOUR DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL, STATES THAT WHEN TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION IS AUTHORIZED (AS DISTINGUISHED FROM DIRECTED) AND THE MEMBER PERFORMS TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL BY ANOTHER MODE OF TRANSPORTATION AT PERSONAL EXPENSE (OTHER THAN FOREIGN FLAG), 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.

PARAGRAPH M7002-2B INDICATES THAT FOR TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS, THE MEMBER MAY BE REIMBURSED IN THE SAME MANNER AS IS PROVIDED FOR HIS PERSONAL TRAVEL IN PARAGRAPH M4159-4, WITH EXCEPTIONS NOT HERE RELEVANT.

IT LONG HAS BEEN THE ESTABLISHED RULE THAT TRAVEL OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, FOR REIMBURSEMENT PURPOSES, IS REQUIRED TO BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF THE MOST DIRECT, USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED AND ADDITIONAL EXPENSES MAY NOT BE AUTHORIZED FOR CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL. SEE 47 COMP. GEN. 440 (1968) AND DECISION B-166200, MARCH 20, 1969, COPIES ENCLOSED.

IN ACCORD WITH PARAGRAPHS M7000-7, M2150 AND M4159-4A OF THE REGULATIONS, WHERE TRANSPORTATION BY AMERICAN CARRIER IS AVAILABLE ON THE DIRECT, USUALLY TRAVELED TRANSOCEANIC ROUTE, BUT A FOREIGN CARRIER IS UTILIZED FOR CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL, WE HAVE DENIED ANY REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL BY THE FOREIGN CARRIER. SEE DECISION B-166105, APRIL 8, 1969, COPY ENCLOSED.

THE ENDORSEMENT TO YOUR TRAVEL ORDERS INDICATES THAT COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION WOULD HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE FOR YOU AND YOUR DEPENDENTS FROM PRESTWICK, SCOTLAND, TO THE UNITED STATES IF A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE FOR TRAVEL FROM THURSO, SCOTLAND, TO INDIAN HEAD, MARYLAND, HAD NOT BEEN UTILIZED. WE ARE INFORMED THAT ON DECEMBER 17, 1969, THE DATE YOUR DEPENDENTS COMMENCED THEIR CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL FROM SCOTLAND TO FRANCE AND THEN TO THE UNITED STATES, AMERICAN COMMERCIAL AIR WAS AVAILABLE FROM PRESTWICK, SCOTLAND, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., AND THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT FOR THIS CATEGORY "Z" TRANSPORTATION WAS $119.20 PER PASSENGER.

AS IT APPEARS THAT AMERICAN FLAG TRANSPORTATION WAS AVAILABLE TO YOUR DEPENDENTS FOR TRAVEL BY THE DIRECT, USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE TO YOUR NEW DUTY STATION IN THE UNITED STATES, BUT, INSTEAD, THEY UTILIZED FOREIGN COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION FROM SCOTLAND TO FRANCE AND FROM FRANCE TO THE UNITED STATES, NO REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE AUTHORIZED FOR THIS TRANSOCEANIC TRAVEL WHICH WAS AT YOUR PERSONAL EXPENSE.

IT IS REGRETTABLE THAT BECAUSE OF TIME LIMITATIONS YOU FELT IT NECESSARY TO PROCURE FOREIGN AIR TRANSPORTATION FOR YOUR DEPENDENTS, INSTEAD OF UTILIZING GOVERNMENT-PROCURED TRANSPORTATION FROM A PORT OF EMBARKATION IN FRANCE OR ALTERNATIVELY, OBTAINING TRANSPORTATION AT PERSONAL EXPENSE ON AN AMERICAN AIR CARRIER. HOWEVER, AS INDICATED IN YOUR ORDERS, THE CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL WAS FOR YOUR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE AND IT WAS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO MAKE SUCH ARRANGEMENTS FOR THIS TRAVEL AS WOULD NOT INTERFERE WITH YOUR MILITARY DUTIES.

ANY FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL TO INFORM YOU THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR FOREIGN FLAG TRAVEL COULD NOT BE MADE WHEN TRANSPORTATION BY AN AMERICAN CARRIER WAS AVAILABLE, DOES NOT, IN OUR OPINION, AFFORD A LEGAL BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION.

UPON REVIEW, WE MUST SUSTAIN OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF DECEMBER 10, 1970, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR COMMERCIAL AIR TRAVEL OF YOUR DEPENDENTS FROM NICE, FRANCE, TO DULLES INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, VIRGINIA, INCIDENT TO YOUR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM THURSO, SCOTLAND, TO INDIAN HEAD, MARYLAND.

YOUR ORDERS OF DECEMBER 17, 1969, AND FIRST ENDORSEMENT OF THE SAME DATE ARE ENCLOSED.