B-174477, FEB 8, 1972

B-174477: Feb 8, 1972

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SINCE DEPENDENTS ARE NOT ORDINARILY SUBJECT TO STRICT TIME LIMITATIONS. IF THE CURRENT JTR PROVISIONS ARE TO BE AMENDED TO PERMIT SUCH LIMITATION. PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS: " *** EXCEPT WHEN TRAVEL BY AIRCRAFT IS PRECLUDED FOR MEDICAL REASONS (SEE SUBPAR. WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO TRAVEL BY AIRCRAFT WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT. OFFICIALS DIRECTING TRAVEL WILL ADHERE STRICTLY TO THE POLICY ON TRAVEL BY AIRCRAFT CONTAINED IN THIS PARAGRAPH.". STATES WITH RESPECT TO COMPUTATION OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF MODE OTHER THAN AUTHORIZED AS FOLLOWS: " *** THE TRANSPORTATION COST OF TRAVEL BY A MODE OR ROUTE OTHER THAN THAT AUTHORIZED WILL BE THE CONSTRUCTIVE EXPENSE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE AUTHORIZED ROUTE AND MODE OF TRANSPORTATION.

B-174477, FEB 8, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - DEPENDENT TRAVEL - LIMITED REIMBURSEMENT CONCERNING WHETHER REIMBURSEMENT OF DEPENDENTS FOR COMMERCIAL SURFACE TRANSPORTATION FROM OVERSEAS DUTY STATIONS MAY BE LIMITED TO THE COST OF GOVERNMENT OFFERED AIR TRANSPORTATION. THE PROVISIONS OF JTR, PARAGRAPH C6001-3A, PERMIT COMMERCIAL SURFACE TRAVEL WHENEVER THE NEEDS OF GOVERNMENT ALLOW. SINCE DEPENDENTS ARE NOT ORDINARILY SUBJECT TO STRICT TIME LIMITATIONS, AND SINCE AIR TRAVEL MAY BE PRECLUDED FOR MEDICAL OR INSURANCE REASONS, THE REGULATIONS DO NOT ALLOW REIMBURSEMENT TO BE LIMITED TO THE COST OF GOVERNMENT OFFERED AIR TRANSPORTATION. IF THE CURRENT JTR PROVISIONS ARE TO BE AMENDED TO PERMIT SUCH LIMITATION, EXCEPTIONS SHOULD BE PROVIDED FOR MEDICAL REASONS AND WITH REGARD TO THE AVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT AS TO WAITING TIME.

TO MR. SECRETARY:

WE REFER TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 21, 1971, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY (MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS) REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE REIMBURSEMENT OF DEPENDENT TRAVEL FROM OVERSEAS DUTY STATIONS PERFORMED BY COMMERCIAL SURFACE MEANS MAY BE LIMITED TO THE COST OF GOVERNMENT OFFERED AIR TRANSPORTATION.

THE LETTER POINTS OUT THAT JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR) PAR. C6001 4A, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

" *** EXCEPT WHEN TRAVEL BY AIRCRAFT IS PRECLUDED FOR MEDICAL REASONS (SEE SUBPAR. G), EMPLOYEES MAY BE REQUIRED TO PERFORM NECESSARY TRAVEL BY REGULARLY SCHEDULED COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT. DEPENDENTS, HOWEVER, WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO TRAVEL BY AIRCRAFT WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT. OFFICIALS DIRECTING TRAVEL WILL ADHERE STRICTLY TO THE POLICY ON TRAVEL BY AIRCRAFT CONTAINED IN THIS PARAGRAPH."

THE LETTER ALSO REFERS TO JTR, PARS. C7001-3, C7002-4, AND C7003-6, WHICH RELATE TO TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AND WHICH STATE THAT THE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION SHALL BE AS AUTHORIZED IN CHAPTER 6, JTR. IN ADDITION THE LETTER NOTES THAT JTR, PAR. C10200-4, STATES WITH RESPECT TO COMPUTATION OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USE OF MODE OTHER THAN AUTHORIZED AS FOLLOWS:

" *** THE TRANSPORTATION COST OF TRAVEL BY A MODE OR ROUTE OTHER THAN THAT AUTHORIZED WILL BE THE CONSTRUCTIVE EXPENSE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE AUTHORIZED ROUTE AND MODE OF TRANSPORTATION. THIS MEANS THE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS VOLUME. *** "

OUR ATTENTION IS ALSO DRAWN TO DOD (DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE) CIVILIAN TRAVEL DETERMINATION NO. 1-65, DATED JULY 1, 1965, WHICH INDICATES THAT NO FURTHER ENTITLEMENT REGULATIONS SHALL THEREAFTER BE ISSUED. WE UNDERSTAND THE EFFECT OF NO. 1-65 TO BE THAT AS TO ENTITLEMENT THE JTR IS FINAL AND NO FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION BY COMPONENTS OF DOD IS NEEDED OR PERMITTED. SEE JTR, PAR. C1002.

THE LETTER SPECIFICALLY ASKS WHETHER CURRENT REGULATIONS PERMIT - OR MAY BE AMENDED TO PERMIT - ORDER ISSUING AGENCIES TO LIMIT REIMBURSEMENT FOR DEPENDENT TRAVEL FROM OVERSEAS DUTY STATIONS WHICH IS PERFORMED BY COMMERCIAL SURFACE MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION TO THE COST OF GOVERNMENT OFFERED AIR TRANSPORTATION.

AS STATED IN JTR, PAR. C6001-3A, TRAVEL BY A SURFACE MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION MAY BE PERMITTED AT THE OPTION OF THE TRAVELER WHENEVER THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE DO NOT REQUIRE THE USE OF A FASTER MODE. SINCE THE TIME OF ARRIVAL OF DEPENDENTS IS APPARENTLY UNRELATED TO THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE AND TRAVEL BY CERTAIN TYPES OF AIRCRAFT MAY HAVE THE EFFECT OF VOIDING PERSONAL INSURANCE CONTRACTS - AS NOTED IN JTR, PAR. C6001-4A - THE POLICY DECISION NOT TO REQUIRE DEPENDENTS TO TRAVEL BY AIRCRAFT UNLESS THEY CONSENT IS PROPERLY WITHIN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION. WE BELIEVE THE REGULATION AS NOW WRITTEN SUGGESTS THAT DEPENDENTS BEING AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY A SURFACE MODE WOULD NOT HAVE THEIR REIMBURSEMENT LIMITED TO THE COST OF GOVERNMENT OFFERED AIR TRANSPORTATION.

WE HAVE INDICATED GENERALLY THAT THE OPTION OF A TRAVELER AS TO MODE OF TRANSPORTATION DOES NOT NECESSARILY DETERMINE THE LEGAL EXTENT OF REIMBURSEMENT. SEE B-153231, JULY 17, 1969; B-166553, MAY 15, 1969, AND REAFFIRMED NOVEMBER 21, 1969; B-165721, OCTOBER 23, 1969; AND B 156047, FEBRUARY 11, 1965.

BUT, IF REIMBURSEMENT OF DEPENDENT TRAVEL FROM OVERSEAS DUTY STATIONS IS TO BE LIMITED TO THE COST OF GOVERNMENT OFFERED AIR TRANSPORTATION, THE CURRENT JTR PROVISIONS SHOULD BE REVISED TO MAKE THIS CLEAR. WE SUGGEST THAT THIS BE DONE IN TERMS OF LIMITATION OF COST AND NOT IN TERMS OF DEPENDENTS BEING REQUIRED TO USE GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT. ALSO, IN THIS CONNECTION WE THINK APPROPRIATE EXCEPTIONS SHOULD BE PROVIDED IN SUCH CASES AS MEDICAL REASONS PRECLUDING AIR TRAVEL AND AVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT AS RELATED TO WAITING TIME.