B-174338, DEC 28, 1971

B-174338: Dec 28, 1971

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AS IT APPEARS THAT THE PROCEDURE PROPOSED IS SIMILAR TO THAT APPROVED FOR USE IN THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION (APPROVED BY DECISION OF MARCH 1. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY STATES THAT THERE IS UNDER CONSIDERATION THE ADOPTION OF A PROPOSAL TO ISSUE ONE GENERAL TRAVEL ORDER. THE ISSUANCE OF SUCH A GENERAL OR BLANKET TRAVEL ORDER IS CONSIDERED TO BE JUSTIFIED BECAUSE OF FREQUENT AND ROUTINE TRAVEL PERFORMED BY SUCH EMPLOYEES AS WELL AS THE COST SAVINGS THAT WILL RESULT FROM THE ELIMINATION OF PAPER WORK. THE CURRENT PROCEDURE FOR ISSUING TRAVEL ORDERS IN THE FAA IS STATED TO BE AS FOLLOWS: "AT THE PRESENT TIME THE ADMINISTRATIONS MAY ISSUE INDIVIDUAL ANNUAL TRAVEL ORDERS TO EMPLOYEES WHOSE DUTIES REQUIRE FREQUENT TRAVEL.

B-174338, DEC 28, 1971

TEMPORARY TRAVEL ORDERS - BLANKET ORDERS CONCERNING THE POLICY AND PROCEDURE WITH RESPECT TO THE PREPARATION AND PROCESSING OF TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL ORDERS BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION. AS IT APPEARS THAT THE PROCEDURE PROPOSED IS SIMILAR TO THAT APPROVED FOR USE IN THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION (APPROVED BY DECISION OF MARCH 1, 1955, B-120671) AND AS THE CONTROLS SEEM ADEQUATE FOR AUDIT AND OTHER PURPOSES, THE COMP. GEN. HAS NO OBJECTION TO THE USE OF BLANKET TRAVEL ORDERS IN THE MANNER SPECIFIED.

TO MR. SECRETARY:

WE REFER TO THE LETTER OF YOUR ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION, MR. WILLIAM S. HEFFELFINGER, DATED OCTOBER 8, 1971, REQUESTING OUR APPROVAL OF PROPOSED CHANGES IN POLICY AND PROCEDURE WITH RESPECT TO PREPARATION AND PROCESSING OF TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL ORDERS.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY STATES THAT THERE IS UNDER CONSIDERATION THE ADOPTION OF A PROPOSAL TO ISSUE ONE GENERAL TRAVEL ORDER, COVERING ALL EMPLOYEES IN A PARTICULAR ORGANIZATION UNDER THE DEPARTMENT (SUCH AS AN FAA REGION), AS AUTHORITY FOR FREQUENT ROUTINE TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL RATHER THAN ISSUING INDIVIDUAL ANNUAL OR TRIP TRAVEL ORDERS. THE ISSUANCE OF SUCH A GENERAL OR BLANKET TRAVEL ORDER IS CONSIDERED TO BE JUSTIFIED BECAUSE OF FREQUENT AND ROUTINE TRAVEL PERFORMED BY SUCH EMPLOYEES AS WELL AS THE COST SAVINGS THAT WILL RESULT FROM THE ELIMINATION OF PAPER WORK.

THE CURRENT PROCEDURE FOR ISSUING TRAVEL ORDERS IN THE FAA IS STATED TO BE AS FOLLOWS:

"AT THE PRESENT TIME THE ADMINISTRATIONS MAY ISSUE INDIVIDUAL ANNUAL TRAVEL ORDERS TO EMPLOYEES WHOSE DUTIES REQUIRE FREQUENT TRAVEL. THESE ORDERS AUTHORIZE THE INDIVIDUAL TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL UNDER PROPER DIRECTION WITHIN SPECIFIC GEOGRAPHIC AREAS DEPENDING UPON THE POSITION THEY HOLD. IN ADDITION EMPLOYEES ARE ISSUED TRIP TRAVEL ORDERS WHICH MAY BE FOR ROUTINE TYPE TRAVEL FOR EMPLOYEES NOT TRAVELLING FREQUENTLY ENOUGH TO JUSTIFY AN ANNUAL TRAVEL ORDER OR FOR NON-ROUTINE TRAVEL FOR ANY EMPLOYEE WHETHER OR NOT HE HOLDS AN ANNUAL TRAVEL ORDER. THESE LATTER CASES INVOLVE TRAINING OR SPECIAL MEETING TRAVEL, FOREIGN TRAVEL OR TRAVEL UNDER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES. REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES IS AUTHORIZED ON ANNUAL TRAVEL ORDERS 'IN ACCORDANCE WITH CURRENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS'. THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS CONTAIN ADMINISTRATIVE TRAVEL REGULATIONS OF THE ADMINISTRATION AND IDENTIFY PER DIEM, MILEAGE, AND OTHER TRAVEL ALLOWANCES PAYABLE UNDER VARIOUS CONDITIONS OF TRAVEL.

"THE MAJORITY OF TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL IN THE FAA IS NOW PERFORMED UNDER INDIVIDUAL ANNUAL TRAVEL ORDERS. THERE ARE ABOUT 5,000 TO 6,000 SUCH TRAVEL ORDERS PREPARED EACH FISCAL YEAR. TO CONTROL TRAVEL FUNDS THE CURRENT PROCEDURE IN THE FAA IS FOR EACH TRAVEL ISSUING OFFICE TO PROVIDE ITS ACCOUNTING OFFICE, FOR OBLIGATION PURPOSES, A MONTHLY MEMORANDUM WHICH IDENTIFIES THE ANNUAL TRAVEL ORDER NUMBER, THE ESTIMATED UNVOUCHERED TRAVEL EXPENSES, AND THE APPLICABLE ACCOUNTING CLASSIFICATION CODES. ADDITION TRAVEL FUNDS ARE INFORMALLY CONTROLLED BY THE VARIOUS TRAVEL ISSUING AUTHORITIES ON A MEMORANDUM BASIS TO ASSURE THAT TRAVEL IS NOT AUTHORIZED UNLESS FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE.

"IN ADDITION TO THE TRAVEL PERFORMED UNDER ANNUAL TRAVEL ORDERS THE FAA ALSO ISSUES 12,000 TO 13,000 INDIVIDUAL TRIP TRAVEL ORDERS EACH FISCAL YEAR. THE COST OF TRAVEL TO BE PERFORMED ON TRIP TRAVEL ORDERS IS ESTIMATED ON THE TRAVEL ORDER AND THE ORIGINAL IS SUBMITTED TO THE ACCOUNTING ACTIVITY FOR OBLIGATION. SIMILAR PROCEDURES ARE USED IN THE OTHER OPERATING ADMINISTRATIONS."

IT IS SUGGESTED THAT FOR ROUTINE TRAVEL THE ISSUANCE OF ANNUAL OR TRIP TRAVEL ORDERS IS NOT NECESSARY TO CONTROL TRAVEL, MANAGE FUNDS, OR CONVEY SPECIFIC INFORMATION TO THE TRAVELER CONCERNING ITINERARY, MODE OF TRAVEL, AND REIMBURSEMENT. THE FOLLOWING WOULD BE THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE UNDER THE PROPOSED GENERAL TRAVEL ORDERS:

" *** UNDER THE PROPOSED PROCEDURE TRAVEL WOULD BE CONTROLLED AND SPECIFIC INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THE BASIS OF PROPER DIRECTION GIVEN TO THE TRAVELLER BY HIS SUPERVISOR PRIOR TO THE BEGINNING OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL AS IS DONE NOW IN THE CASE OF ANNUAL TRAVEL ORDERS. THE OFFICIAL DELEGATED AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE TRAVEL WILL APPROVE THE TRAVELLER'S REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER AND SUCH APPROVAL WILL CONSTITUTE APPROVAL OF THE MODE OF TRAVEL AND THE REIMBURSEMENT CLAIMED. TRAVEL FUNDS WILL BE CONTROLLED IN THE SAME MANNER AS THEY ARE NOW CONTROLLED FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED UNDER INDIVIDUAL ANNUAL TRAVEL ORDERS, I.E., AT THE END OF EACH MONTH THE ACCOUNTING ACTIVITY WILL RECEIVE A MEMORANDUM OF ESTIMATED UNVOUCHERED TRAVEL COSTS FOR THE MONTH FOR OBLIGATION PURPOSES. INDIVIDUAL TRIP TRAVEL ORDERS, INDIVIDUALLY OBLIGATED, WILL BE REQUIRED FOR NON-ROUTINE TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL SUCH AS ATTENDANCE AT TRAINING SCHOOLS OR AT MEETINGS OF ORGANIZATIONS AND PROFESSIONAL SOCIETIES OR FOR FOREIGN TRAVEL. THE REASONS FOR REQUIRING INDIVIDUAL TRIP TRAVEL ORDERS FOR SUCH TRAVEL ARE THE SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS WHICH INVOLVE LIVING ACCOMMODATIONS, PER DIEM RATES, MODES OF TRAVEL, AND ASSURANCE THAT THE UNUSUAL CONDITIONS SURROUNDING THESE TYPES OF TRAVEL ARE MUTUALLY UNDERSTOOD BY THE TRAVELLER AND THE AUTHORIZING OFFICIAL."

IT APPEARS THAT THE PROCEDURE PROPOSED IS SIMILAR TO THAT APPROVED FOR USE IN THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION BY OUR DECISION OF MARCH 1, 1955, B- 120671, WHICH WE UNDERSTAND FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER HAS ALSO BEEN ADOPTED BY THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE. IN VIEW THEREOF AND AS THE CONTROLS PREVIOUSLY SET FORTH SEEM ADEQUATE FOR AUDIT AND OTHER PURPOSES, WE SEE NO OBJECTION TO THE USE OF BLANKET TRAVEL ORDERS IN THE MANNER SPECIFIED.