B-174207, OCT 27, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 236

B-174207: Oct 27, 1972

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TRAVEL WITHIN LIMITS OF DUTY STATION THE TRAVEL OF A MARINE OFFICER WHO WAS VERBALLY DIRECTED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE FROM HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT QUANTICO TO MARINE HEADQUARTERS IN ARLINGTON. INCIDENT TO TEMPORARY DUTY - TRAVEL SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVED FOR REIMBURSEMENT - IS INTERSTATION TRAVEL WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF 37 U.S.C. 404 AND REIMBURSABLE AT THE 7 CENTS PER MILE RATE PRESCRIBED BY PARAGRAPH M4203-3B OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS RATHER THAN AT THE HIGHER RATE PROVIDED BY PARAGRAPH M4502-1. 1972: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 27. YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 71- 40 BY THE PER DIEM. THAT THE TRAVEL PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE WAS "ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT.".

B-174207, OCT 27, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 236

MILEAGE - MILITARY PERSONNEL - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - INTERSTATION TRAVEL V. TRAVEL WITHIN LIMITS OF DUTY STATION THE TRAVEL OF A MARINE OFFICER WHO WAS VERBALLY DIRECTED TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE FROM HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT QUANTICO TO MARINE HEADQUARTERS IN ARLINGTON, AS WELL AS TO VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., INCIDENT TO TEMPORARY DUTY - TRAVEL SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVED FOR REIMBURSEMENT - IS INTERSTATION TRAVEL WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF 37 U.S.C. 404 AND REIMBURSABLE AT THE 7 CENTS PER MILE RATE PRESCRIBED BY PARAGRAPH M4203-3B OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS RATHER THAN AT THE HIGHER RATE PROVIDED BY PARAGRAPH M4502-1, PURSUANT TO 37 U.S.C. 408, FOR TRAVEL WITHIN THE LIMITS OF A MEMBER'S STATION. ALTHOUGH 37 U.S.C. 404 REQUIRES TRAVEL TO BE AUTHORIZED BY WRITTEN ORDERS, CONFIRMATION OF THE VERBAL ORDERS BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY SHORTLY AFTER THE PERFORMANCE OF THE TRAVEL AS BEING ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT MAY BE ACCEPTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF REIMBURSING THE OFFICER.

TO MAJOR F. R. HASLER, UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, OCTOBER 27, 1972:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 27, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURES, FORWARDED HERE ON SEPTEMBER 27, 1971, BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING PAYMENT ON A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $7 IN FAVOR OF MAJOR ROBERT W. SHAW, USMC, REPRESENTING MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE BETWEEN QUANTICO, VIRGINIA, AND ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DISCLOSED. YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 71- 40 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER CONTAINS THE APPROVAL OF THE DEPUTY CHIEF OF STAFF, DEVELOPMENT CENTER, QUANTICO, VIRGINIA, THAT THE TRAVEL PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE WAS "ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT."

YOU REFER TO THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH M4500-2, PART K, CHAPTER 4, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND YOU STATE THAT THE QUESTION ARISES AS TO THE LEGALITY OF MAKING PAYMENT IN THE INSTANT CLAIM AND IN SIMILAR CLAIMS AT THE RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE FOR USE OF PRIVATE VEHICLE FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN QUANTICO AND HEADQUARTERS U.S. MARINE CORPS WHEN, (1) TRAVEL INVOLVED IS FROM THE MEMBER'S QUARTERS TO THE TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY (TAD) POINT AND RETURN, AND (2) TRAVEL IS APPROVED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY ON STANDARD FORM 1164 IN LIEU OF ISSUING ORDERS. YOU SAY THAT WHILE THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE MADE UNDER PARAGRAPH M4203-3, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHEN ORDERS ARE INVOLVED, YOU EXPRESS DOUBT AS TO THE PROPER REIMBURSEMENT WHEN THE MEMBER IS VERBALLY ORDERED TO PERFORM TAD WHICH IS SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVED FOR REIMBURSEMENT.

YOU EXPRESS THE VIEW THAT SINCE IT IS A KNOWN FACT THAT PERSONNEL COMMUTE DAILY TO WASHINGTON, D.C., AND ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, FROM QUANTICO, AND VARIOUS LOCATIONS ADJACENT TO QUANTICO, QUANTICO COULD BE CONSIDERED AS BEING IN AN "AREA" ADJACENT TO HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS WITHIN THE MEANING OF PARAGRAPH M4500-2 OF THE REGULATIONS. IN SUPPORT OF THIS VIEW, YOU POINT OUT THAT ORDERS REQUIRING PERSONNEL FROM QUANTICO TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY AT HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS INVARIABLY CONTAIN THE STATEMENT IN THE ORDERS (PARAGRAPH M4201-14) REQUIRING THE INDIVIDUAL TO COMMUTE AND TO INCUR NO ADDITIONAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE. IN ADDITION, YOU SAY THAT FOR PURPOSES OF THE ABOVE-CITED PART K OF THE REGULATIONS, AS IT PERTAINS TO TRAVEL OF RESERVE COMPONENTS, THE COMMANDER AT QUANTICO HAS ESTABLISHED A RADIUS OF 50 ROAD MILES IN WHICH A RESERVE MUST COMMUTE UNLESS THE NATURE OF DUTIES INVOLVED REQUIRE OTHERWISE.

BY FIRST ENDORSEMENT DATED MAY 10, 1971, THE COMMANDING GENERAL, MARINE CORPS DEVELOPMENT AND EDUCATION COMMAND, COMMENTS THAT PERSONNEL OF THAT COMMAND ARE OFTEN REQUIRED TO UTILIZE PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES FOR TRAVEL TO HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS, AS WELL AS TO VARIOUS LOCATIONS IN WASHINGTON, D.C. REQUIREMENTS FOR SUCH TRIPS OCCUR AT ALL TIMES DURING THE DAY, AND ARE NORMALLY PERFORMED WITHIN THE SPAN OF A FEW HOURS AND ARE SELDOM COVERED BY ORDERS. IT IS FURTHER STATED THAT SOME OF THE PERSONEL INVOLVED PERFORM THIS TRAVEL FREQUENTLY ENOUGH FOR THE PERSONAL EXPENSE TO BE MEANINGFUL AND WHILE CONFIRMATION ORDERS COULD BE ISSUED, EVEN THE TRAVELERS FEEL THE ADMINISTRATIVE BURDEN AND EXPENSE WOULD OUTWEIGH THE AMOUNT OF MONEY INVOLVED FOR SUCH A TRIP.

IN TRANSMITTING YOUR REQUEST HERE, THE COMMANDANT OF THE MARINE CORPS IN THIRD ENDORSEMENT DATED AUGUST 30, 1971, STATES THAT THE DOUBT EXPRESSED IN YOUR LETTER APPARENTLY STEMS FOR OUR DECISION OF APRIL 21, 1970, 49 COMP. GEN. 709. IT IS POINTED OUT THAT THE DEFINITION OF "AREA" CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH M4500-2 OF THE REGULATIONS WAS AMENDED JUNE 1, 1970, TO INCLUDE AREAS ADJACENT TO THE PLACE AT WHICH THE PERMANENT AND/OR TEMPORARY DUTY STATION IS LOCATED FROM WHICH PERSONNEL CUSTOMARILY COMMUTE DAILY TO THAT PLACE. IN EXPRESSING THE VIEW THAT ENTITLEMENT EXISTS, MARINE CORPS HEADQUARTERS REITERATES THE FACT THAT PERSONNEL COMMUTE DAILY BETWEEN QUANTICO AND ARLINGTON AND EVEN MORE DISTANT LOCATIONS.

SECTION 408 OF TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE MAY BE DIRECTED, BY REGULATIONS OF THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY IN WHICH HE IS SERVING, TO PROCURE TRANSPORTATION NECESSARY FOR CONDUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE UNITED STATES "WITHIN THE LIMITS OF HIS STATION" AND EXPENSES SO INCURRED BY HIM FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AT A FIXED RATE A MILE SHALL BE DEFRAYED BY THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY UNDER WHICH HE IS SERVING, OR HE IS ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSES.

PARK K, CHAPTER 4, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IMPLEMENTING THE ABOVE LAW, PRESCRIBES THE BASIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL WITHIN AND ADJACENT TO PERMANENT AND TEMPORARY DUTY STATIONS. PARAGRAPH M4500-1, INCLUDED IN PART K, PROVIDES THAT WHEN DETERMINED TO BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, OFFICIALS DESIGNATED BY THE SERVICE CONCERNED MAY AUTHORIZE IN ADVANCE, OR SUBSEQUENTLY APPROVE, REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, AS PRESCRIBED IN PART K, WHICH ARE NECESSARILY INCURRED BY MEMBERS IN CONDUCTING OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN AND AROUND THEIR DUTY STATIONS.

PARAGRAPH M4502-1 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDED AT THE TIME INVOLVED THAT WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED UNDER THE CONDITIONS OF PART K, MEMBERS WHO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT AT A RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE (11 CENTS A MILE EFFECTIVE NOVEMBER 30, 1971, CHANGE 228) FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE.

IN OUR DECISION OF APRIL 21, 1970, 49 COMP. GEN. 709, CITED ABOVE, THE OFFICER WAS DIRECTED BY WRITTEN ORDERS TO COMMUTE BETWEEN QUANTICO, VIRGINIA, HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION, AND HEADQUARTERS MARINE CORPS, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. THE ORDERS FURTHER PROVIDED THAT HE WOULD INCUR NO ADDITIONAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES, CITING PARAGRAPH M4201-14 OF THE REGULATIONS. IN THAT DECISION WE HELD THAT THE OFFICER'S TRAVEL FROM QUANTICO TO HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AND RETURN WAS NOT LIMITED TO THE AREA SURROUNDING SUCH TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH M4500-2 OF THE REGULATIONS, BUT CONSTITUTED INTER- STATION TRAVEL AND PAYMENT OF A TRAVEL ALLOWANCE WAS GOVERNED BY 37 U.S.C. 404 AND THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS (CITING 45 COMP. GEN. 30).

THEREFORE, WE SAID THE OFFICER WAS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION AT THE RATE OF 7 CENTS PER MILE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH M4203-3 OF THE REGULATIONS BUT HE WAS NOT ENTITLED TO PER DIEM FOR HIS TEMPORARY DUTY.

THEREFORE, THERE IS NO BASIS FOR AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT UNDER SECTION 408 OF TITLE 37 FOR INTER-STATION TRAVEL, AS IN THE INSTANT CASE, AND ANY REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION IS AUTHORIZED ONLY IF IT BE VIEWED AS COMING WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF SECTION 404 OF TITLE 37 AND PARAGRAPH M4203-3 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

SECTION 404 PROVIDES THAT UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, A MEMBER OF A UNIFORMED SERVICE IS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED UNDER "ORDERS" AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY REGARDLESS OF THE LENGTH OF TIME HE IS AWAY FROM THAT POST. PARAGRAPH M4203-3B OF THE REGULATIONS, IMPLEMENTING SECTION 404, DESCRIBES THE POLICY OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TO AUTHORIZE MEMBERS TO TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS ACCEPTABLE TO THE MEMBER AND IT IS DETERMINED TO BE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. THE SAME REGULATION ALSO PROVIDES FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH TRAVEL AT THE RATE OF 7 CENTS PER MILE PROVIDED CERTAIN CONDITIONS ARE MET AS THERE INDICATED.

ALTHOUGH THE TRAVEL IN THE INSTANT CASE WAS NOT PERFORMED PURSUANT TO WRITTEN ORDERS, PRESUMABLY IT WAS PERFORMED PURSUANT TO VERBAL ORDERS AND THE VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE TRAVEL WAS APPROVED BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY AS BEING ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT AND SUCH APPROVAL WAS MADE WITHIN FOUR DAYS AFTER THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND SINCE THE TRAVEL WAS APPROVED SHORTLY AFTER IT WAS PERFORMED, WE WILL CONSIDER THE APPROVAL IN THIS CASE AS IN EFFECT A CONFIRMATION OF THE VERBAL ORDERS AND CONSTITUTING WRITTEN ORDERS WITHIN THE MEANING OF SECTION 404 OF TITLE 37 AND PARAGRAPH M4203-3B OF THE REGULATIONS, FOR THE PURPOSE OF AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH TRAVEL AT THE RATE OF 7 CENTS PER MILE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND IF THE VOUCHER IS AMENDED TO CONFORM WITH THE FOREGOING, PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED THEREON IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.