B-173944, DEC 22, 1971

B-173944: Dec 22, 1971

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

AS A FOREIGN-FLAG SHIP WAS USED WITHOUT PRIOR DETERMINATION THAT A U.S.-FLAG SHIP WAS UNAVAILABLE. REIMBURSEMENT IS NOT POSSIBLE WHERE. SHIPMENT BY COMMERCIAL MEANS WAS PERSONALLY ARRANGED. INC.: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF AUGUST 5 AND NOVEMBER 4. YOUR CLAIM FOR $25 TAXI FARE BETWEEN THOSE TWO POINTS WAS DISALLOWED. ON A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY AND SHIPMENT OF YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE ON THE SAME VESSEL WAS DISALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS THERE CITED. YOU STATE THAT YOU WERE TOLD IF YOU RETURNED AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE. THE MAXIMUM THAT WOULD BE ALLOWED YOU WOULD BE THE COST THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PAY FOR THE TRAVEL FROM ATHENS.

B-173944, DEC 22, 1971

MILITARY PERSONNEL - TRAVEL EXPENSES - SHIPMENT OF POV DECISION DENYING CLAIM OF MR. PETER D. YATRAKIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL PERFORMED BY HIM AND HIS WIFE FROM ATHENS, GREECE TO EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR SHIPPING HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE (POV) FROM AVILES, SPAIN TO NEW YORK, N.Y., UPON RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY AS AN OFFICER IN THE UNITED STATES ARMY. SINCE CLAIMANT'S ORDERS BY REFERENCE SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED - AS DISTINGUISHED FROM AUTHORIZED - TRAVEL BY CATEGORY Z AIR, COST OF TRAVEL BY FOREIGN-FLAG SHIP EMPLOYED AT CLAIMANT'S ELECTION MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED. FURTHER, EVEN IF ORDERS HAD NOT SPECIFIED THE MODE OF TRAVEL, REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE HERE, AS A FOREIGN-FLAG SHIP WAS USED WITHOUT PRIOR DETERMINATION THAT A U.S.-FLAG SHIP WAS UNAVAILABLE. SEE SECTION 901, MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 49 STAT. 2015, AS AMENDED, 64 U.S.C. 1241(A). ALTHOUGH POVS MAY BE SHIPPED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES, REIMBURSEMENT IS NOT POSSIBLE WHERE, AS HERE, SHIPMENT BY COMMERCIAL MEANS WAS PERSONALLY ARRANGED. SEE JTR, M11002-1.

TO PACIFIC RANGE TANK AGENCY, INC.:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF AUGUST 5 AND NOVEMBER 4, 1971, CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY YOU AND YOUR WIFE FROM ATHENS, GREECE, TO EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY, AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR SHIPPING YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE FROM AVILES, SPAIN, TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK, INCIDENT TO YOUR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY ON MARCH 29, 1970, AS AN OFFICER, UNITED STATES ARMY.

OUR CLAIMS DIVISION, IN SETTLEMENT DATED JULY 15, 1971, ALLOWED YOU MILEAGE IN THE AMOUNT OF $1.56 FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY YOU AND YOUR WIFE FROM NEW YORK TO EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY, 13 MILES AT $0.6 EACH PER MILE. IN THE ABSENCE OF A RECEIPT, YOUR CLAIM FOR $25 TAXI FARE BETWEEN THOSE TWO POINTS WAS DISALLOWED. YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR PERSONAL AND DEPENDENT TRAVEL FROM AVILES, SPAIN, TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK, ON A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY AND SHIPMENT OF YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE ON THE SAME VESSEL WAS DISALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS THERE CITED.

IN REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF THE MATTER, YOU STATE THAT YOU WERE TOLD IF YOU RETURNED AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE, THE MAXIMUM THAT WOULD BE ALLOWED YOU WOULD BE THE COST THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PAY FOR THE TRAVEL FROM ATHENS, GREECE, TO NEW YORK CITY. YOU FURTHER STATE THAT YOU AND YOUR WIFE RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES ON A FOREIGN FLAG VESSEL BECAUSE NO AMERICAN-FLAG CARRIERS WERE AVAILABLE AT AVILES, SPAIN, THE PORT WHERE YOU DEPARTED FOR THE UNITED STATES. IN THIS CONNECTION, YOU SAY THAT YOU COULD NOT HAVE OBTAINED A STATEMENT FROM A TRANSPORTATION OFFICER OR OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIAL AS TO THE NONAVAILABILITY OF AMERICAN-FLAG CARRIERS SINCE NO SUCH OFFICIALS WERE PRESENT AT AVILES, SPAIN. YOU ALSO SAY THAT YOU AND YOUR WIFE TRAVELED FROM AVILES, SPAIN, TO NEW YORK, ON BOARD THE M/V "MINOAN STAR," A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY, AT A COST TO YOU OF $450 ($225 EACH PER PASSENGER), WITH AN ADDITIONAL COST OF $75 FOR THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR CAR ON THE SAME VESSEL.

IN FILING YOUR CLAIM WITH THE ARMY FINANCE CENTER, IN LETTER DATED AUGUST 28, 1970, YOU ALLEGED THAT YOU HAD BEEN STATIONED IN GREECE WITH THE 558TH USAAG SINCE JULY 1967 AND THAT YOU WERE RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY MARCH 31, 1970, IN ATHENS, GREECE. YOU ALSO ALLEGE THAT YOU WERE THEN WORKING IN GREECE BUT THAT YOU WERE IN THE UNITED STATES FOR A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. IN ADDITION, YOU SAID "I DID NOT CHOSE FOR US TO RETURN BY AIR BUT MADE SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR MYSELF, MY WIFE, AND OUR CAR TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES BY SHIP." YOU CITE ARMY REGULATION 37-106 FOR PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM. THIS REGULATION PROVIDES GUIDANCE TO ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE OFFICERS WITH RESPECT TO THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES IN ACCORDANCE WITH APPLICABLE LAW AND REGULATIONS.

SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 5, DATED JANUARY 9, 1970, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, HEADQUARTERS, 558TH USA ARTILLERY GROUP, AS AMENDED BY SPECIAL ORDERS NO. 44, DATED MARCH 26, 1970, SAME HEADQUARTERS, DIRECTED YOUR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY ON MARCH 29, 1970, AND ASSIGNMENT TO HEADQUARTERS, US ARMY RESERVE AFFAIRS, EUROPE, APO 09403, EFFECTIVE MARCH 30, 1970. THE ORDERS OF MARCH 26, 1970, SHOW YOUR HOME OF RECORD AS EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY.

THE SAME ORDERS SPECIFICALLY CONTAIN SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS TO BE FOLLOWED AS THERE LISTED, INCLUDING "(A) COMPLY WITH FOLLOWING NUMBERED ITEMS OF DA SUPPLEMENTAL INSTRUCTIONS (APPENDIX B, AR 310-10): 6, 31, 33, 39." ITEM 6 CONTAINED IN APPENDIX B STATES "CAT Z TOURIST ACCOMMODATIONS DIRECTED WHEN SUITABLE FOR MISSION (AR 59-41)." CATEGORY Z TRAVEL UNDER PARAGRAPH 2B OF ARMY REGULATION 59-41, IS COMMERCIAL SERVICE AIRLIFT TO AND FROM OVERSEAS AVAILABLE AT SPECIAL TARIFFS FOR DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE TRAFFIC. THUS, YOUR ORDERS BY REFERENCE SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED - AS DISTINGUISHED FROM AUTHORIZED - TRAVEL BY CATEGORY Z AIR SINCE THERE IS NOTHING TO INDICATE THAT SUCH TRANSPORTATION WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SUITABLE FOR THE TRAVEL INVOLVED HAD YOU NOT ELECTED TO TRAVEL BY A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE.

THE TRANSPORTATION OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AND THEIR DEPENDENTS IS GOVERNED BY THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROMULGATED PURSUANT TO 37 U.S.C. 404 AND 406 AND IMPLEMENTED BY REGULATIONS OF THE SERVICE CONCERNED. PARAGRAPH 4159-4A OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT "WHEN TRAVEL IS DIRECTED BY GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION, INCLUDING MILITARY AIRLIFT COMMAND CONTRACT SPACE AND MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND 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."

AS STATED ABOVE, YOUR ORDERS BY REFERENCE SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED THE USE OF CATEGORY Z AIR TOURIST ACCOMMODATIONS. IN A REPORT ON YOUR CLAIM DATED FEBRUARY 10, 1970, THE CHIEF TRANSPORTATION MOVEMENTS DIVISION, DIRECTORATE OF ARMY TRANSPORTATION, ADVISED THE ARMY FINANCE CENTER, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, THAT "THE AUTHORIZED MODE OF TRAVEL FROM ATHENS, GREECE, TO CONUS WAS CATEGORY Z AIR SERVICE FROM ATHENS, GREECE, TO NEW YORK, N.Y." THE REPORT ALSO STATES THAT THE COST PER PASSENGER FOR CATEGORY Z AIR TRAVEL BETWEEN THOSE TWO POINTS WAS $155.20.

YOU WERE RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY AT ATHENS, GREECE, AND YOUR ORDERS SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED BY REFERENCE THAT YOU WERE TO TRAVEL TO THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES BY CATEGORY Z AIR SERVICE. SINCE YOU ELECTED TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES BY ANOTHER MODE OF TRANSPORTATION, NAMELY, WATER TRANSPORTATION FROM SPAIN ON A VESSEL OF FOREIGN REGISTRY, THE STATUTORY REGULATIONS (PARAGRAPH 4159-4A, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS) EXPRESSLY PRECLUDE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF YOUR TRAVEL BY THAT MODE OF TRANSPORTATION.

MOREOVER, EVEN IF YOUR ORDERS HAD NOT DIRECTED TRAVEL BY A SPECIFIED MODE, NAMELY CATEGORY Z AIR SERVICE, THERE WOULD BE NO LEGAL BASIS FOR REIMBURSING YOU FOR YOUR PERSONAL AND DEPENDENT TRAVEL ON A FOREIGN REGISTRY VESSEL IN THE ABSENCE OF A STATEMENT FROM A TRANSPORTATION OFFICER OR OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIAL THAT CARRIERS OF UNITED STATES REGISTRY WERE NOT AVAILABLE. SECTION 901 OF THE MERCHANT MARINE ACT OF 1936, 49 STAT. 2015, AS AMENDED, 46 U.S.C. 1241(A), PROVIDES THAT AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OVERSEAS OR TO OR FROM ANY OF THE POSSESSIONS OF THE UNITED STATES SHALL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT HIS PERSONAL EFFECTS ON SHIPS REGISTERED UNDER THE LAWS OF THE UNITED STATES WHERE SUCH SHIPS ARE AVAILABLE UNLESS THE NECESSITY OF HIS MISSION REQUIRES USE OF A SHIP UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG.

CONCERNING THE NONAVAILABILITY DETERMINATION BY THE TRANSPORTATION OR OTHER APPROPRIATE OFFICIAL OF VESSELS OF AMERICAN REGISTRY, PARAGRAPH M2150-3, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, REQUIRES THAT A STATEMENT OF DETERMINATION BE ANNOTATED ON THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, BILL OF LADING, OR OTHER TRANSPORTATION PROCUREMENT DOCUMENT OR APPENDED TO THE MEMBER'S VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT. PARAGRAPH M2150-4 OF THE SAME REGULATION PROVIDES IN PART THAT THE DETERMINATION REFERRED TO IN SUBPARAGRAPH 3 "MAY NOT BE BASED UPON *** THE DESIRE TO ARRANGE CIRCUITOUS ROUTES FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF A TRAVELER, OR ANY SIMILAR REASONS." IN THIS CONNECTION, SINCE, AS YOU STATE, YOU CHOSE TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES BY WAY OF A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE, IT IS EXTREMELY DOUBTFUL, IN THE LIGHT OF THE REGULATIONS, THAT A STATEMENT OF NONAVAILABILITY COULD PROPERLY HAVE BEEN MADE IN YOUR CASE EVEN IF AN APPROPRIATE OFFICIAL HAD BEEN AVAILABLE AND PRESENT AT AVILES, SPAIN, AT THE TIME OF YOUR DEPARTURE.

WITH RESPECT TO YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR SHIPPING YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE ON A FOREIGN FLAG VESSEL, 10 U.S.C. 2634 PROVIDES THAT WHEN A MEMBER OF AN ARMED FORCE IS ORDERED TO MAKE A CHANGE OF PERMANENT STATION, ONE MOTOR VEHICLE OWNED BY THE MEMBER AND FOR HIS PERSONAL USE OF FOR THE USE OF HIS DEPENDENTS MAY BE TRANSPORTED, AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES, TO HIS NEW STATION OR SUCH OTHER PLACE AS THE SECRETARY CONCERNED MAY AUTHORIZE VIA GOVERNMENT-PROCURED AMERICAN-FLAG SHIPPING FACILITIES OR VIA GOVERNMENT PROCURED FOREIGN FLAG SHIPPING FACILITIES IF GOVERNMENT OWNED OR GOVERNMENT-PROCURED AMERICAN-FLAG SHIPPING FACILITIES ARE NOT REASONABLY AVAILABLE.

THE STATUTE IS NOT SELF-EXECUTING, BUT REQUIRES THAT IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS BE ISSUED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE SERVICE CONCERNED. WHILE THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS PROVIDE FOR TRANSOCEANIC SHIPMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES ON COMMERCIAL AMERICAN VESSELS OR IN THEIR ABSENCE, ON FOREIGN FLAG VESSELS, THEY CONTEMPLATE THAT ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUCH SHIPMENT WILL BE MADE BY THE APPROPRIATE SHIPPING OFFICER. IN THIS RESPECT, CHAPTER 16, ARMY REGULATION 55-71, WHICH PRESCRIBES THE POLICIES AND PROCEDURES FOR THE OVERSEAS SHIPMENT OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES OF MILITARY PERSONNEL, PROVIDES IN PARAGRAPH 16- 26 THAT A SPONSOR (MILITARY OR CIVILIAN) IS NOT AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF SHIPMENT OF A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE BY COMMERCIAL MEANS WHEN HE PERSONALLY ARRANGES FOR SUCH SERVICE. A SIMILAR PROVISION IS CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH M11002-1 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT THE ABOVE LAW AND REGULATIONS CONTEMPLATE THAT THE SHIPMENT OF A MEMBER'S PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE TO OR FROM AN OVERSEAS PORT WILL BE ARRANGED FOR AND EFFECTED BY AN APPROPRIATE TRANSPORTATION OFFICER AND THAT NO AUTHORITY EXISTS FOR THE REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE MEMBER INCIDENT TO A PERSONALLY ARRANGED SHIPMENT. 45 COMP. GEN. 39 (1965).

CONCERNING YOUR CLAIM FOR TAXI FARE IN THE AMOUNT OF $25 FROM NEW YORK TO EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY, PARAGRAPH M4400-1, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BETWEEN PORT OF DEBARKATION AND HOME OF RECORD. PARAGRAPH M4400-2 OF THE SAME REGULATION PROVIDES THAT A RECEIPT TO SUPPORT A CLAIM FOR A REIMBURSABLE ITEM OF TRAVEL EXPENSES, SUCH AS TAXI FARE, WILL BE FURNISHED FOR ANY ITEM IN EXCESS OF $15 WHEN IT IS PRACTICABLE TO OBTAIN IT. FAILURE TO FURNISH RECEIPTS MUST BE FULLY EXPLAINED. SINCE YOU NOW SAY THAT YOU CAN FURNISH A RECEIPT FOR THE TAXI FARE, WE WILL ACCEPT YOUR STATEMENT - WITHOUT THE SUPPORTING RECEIPT - AND YOU MAY BE REIMBURSED IN THE AMOUNT OF $25 FOR THE AMOUNT OF THE TAXI FARE.

ACCORDINGLY, CHECK NO. 7,848,302, DATED JULY 23, 1971, TO YOUR ORDER IN THE AMOUNT OF $1.56 WHICH WAS RETURNED BY YOU, IS ENCLOSED AND MAY BE NEGOTIATED IN DUE COURSE. A SUPPLEMENTAL SETTLEMENT WILL ISSUE IN YOUR FAVOR IN THE AMOUNT OF $23.44 REPRESENTING THE ADDITIONAL AMOUNT ALLOWABLE AS TAXI FARE FROM NEW YORK, NEW YORK, TO EAST ORANGE, NEW JERSEY.

SINCE THE ABOVE-MENTIONED CHECK DATED JULY 23, 1971, WAS ISSUED AT THE UNITED STATES ARMY FINANCE CENTER, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, WE CAN FURNISH NO EXPLANATION FOR THE DELAY IN THE DELIVERY OF THE CHECK TO YOU UNTIL AUGUST 3, 1971, AS INDICATED IN YOUR LETTER.