B-174685, AUG 11, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 75

B-174685: Aug 11, 1972

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

IS DETERMINED NOT TO BE AVAILABLE BECAUSE OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LODGINGS AND THE MESS LOCATION. MAY BE PAID PER DIEM AT A RATE AUTHORIZED WHEN A GOVERNMENT MESS IS NOT AVAILABLE ON THE BASIS THAT A MEMBER IN A TRAVEL STATUS IS NOT REQUIRED TO USE INADEQUATE QUARTERS. DISTANCE IS A FACTOR IN DETERMINING THE IMPRACTICABILITY OF UTILIZING A GOVERNMENT FACILITY. IF IT IS PRACTICABLE TO UTILIZE A MESS FOR SOME BUT NOT ALL MEALS BECAUSE OF THE INCOMPATIBILITY OF DUTY HOURS. 1972: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF NOVEMBER 22. FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS) IN WHICH A DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES MAY BE PAID A PER DIEM FOR THE PERIOD AT A TEMPORARY DUTY OR DELAY POINT AT A RATE AUTHORIZED WHEN GOVERNMENT MESS IS NOT AVAILABLE WHEN THE IMPRACTICABILITY DETERMINATION OF UTILIZING AN AVAILABLE MESS IS BASED ON NOT ONLY THE DISTANCE FROM THE PLACE OF LODGING TO THE LOCATION OF THE GOVERNMENT MESS.

B-174685, AUG 11, 1972, 52 COMP GEN 75

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM - MILITARY PERSONNEL - QUARTERS AND MESSING FACILITIES FURNISHED - DETERMINATION OF AVAILABILITY A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AT A TEMPORARY DUTY OR DELAY POINT WHERE A GOVERNMENT MESS, AS DEFINED IN PARAGRAPH M1150-4 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IS DETERMINED NOT TO BE AVAILABLE BECAUSE OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN LODGINGS AND THE MESS LOCATION, OR BECAUSE OF THE INCOMPATIBILITY OF MESS HOURS WITH DUTY HOURS, MAY BE PAID PER DIEM AT A RATE AUTHORIZED WHEN A GOVERNMENT MESS IS NOT AVAILABLE ON THE BASIS THAT A MEMBER IN A TRAVEL STATUS IS NOT REQUIRED TO USE INADEQUATE QUARTERS, UNLESS A MILITARY NECESSITY, AND DISTANCE IS A FACTOR IN DETERMINING THE IMPRACTICABILITY OF UTILIZING A GOVERNMENT FACILITY. HOWEVER, REGARDLESS OF DISTANCE, IF IT IS PRACTICABLE TO UTILIZE A MESS FOR SOME BUT NOT ALL MEALS BECAUSE OF THE INCOMPATIBILITY OF DUTY HOURS, BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER SHOULD BE CONSIDERED SEPARATELY IN DETERMINING THE IMPRACTICABILITY OF UTILIZING AN AVAILABLE MESS.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, AUGUST 11, 1972:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF NOVEMBER 22, 1971, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY (MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS) IN WHICH A DECISION IS REQUESTED WHETHER A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES MAY BE PAID A PER DIEM FOR THE PERIOD AT A TEMPORARY DUTY OR DELAY POINT AT A RATE AUTHORIZED WHEN GOVERNMENT MESS IS NOT AVAILABLE WHEN THE IMPRACTICABILITY DETERMINATION OF UTILIZING AN AVAILABLE MESS IS BASED ON NOT ONLY THE DISTANCE FROM THE PLACE OF LODGING TO THE LOCATION OF THE GOVERNMENT MESS, BUT ALSO INCOMPATIBILITY OF MESS HOURS WITH REQUIRED HOURS OF DUTY. THE REQUEST HAS BEEN ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 71-52 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REFERS TO PARAGRAPH M4451-1, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH PROVIDES GENERALLY THAT EXCEPT WHEN DIRECTED BECAUSE OF MILITARY NECESSITY, A MEMBER IN A TRAVEL STATUS WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO USE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS DESIGNATED AS INADEQUATE BY THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY OF THE SERVICE CONCERNED. IT FURTHER PROVIDES THAT AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS DESIGNATED AS ADEQUATE AND MESS WILL BE USED BY MEMBERS IN A TRAVEL STATUS TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PRACTICABLE, EXCEPT (ITEM 2) WHEN FURNISHED A STATEMENT BY COMPETENT AUTHORITY AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY OR DELAY POINT TO THE EFFECT THAT UTILIZATION OF EXISTING GOVERNMENT FACILITIES WAS IMPRACTICABLE. PARAGRAPH M4451-2 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT SUCH A STATEMENT SHALL HAVE THE EFFECT OF A STATEMENT OF NONAVAILABILITY.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY REFERS ALSO TO ITEM 2, PARAGRAPH 4050-2B (2)(B), NAVY TRAVEL INSTRUCTION, WHICH PROVIDES THAT IMPRACTICABILITY DETERMINATIONS AS TO THE USE OF AN AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT MESS MAY NOT BE BASED ON THE DISTANCE OR COST INCIDENT TO TRAVEL FROM THE LOCATION OF THE MEMBER'S QUARTERS TO THE SITE WHERE THE GOVERNMENT MESS IS LOCATED IN THOSE INSTANCES WHERE THE MEMBER ELECTS NOT TO OCCUPY AVAILABLE INADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY QUESTIONS WHETHER THIS RESTRICTION IS MANDATORY IN PER DIEM CASES, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT IN 42 COMP. GEN. 558(1963) SUCH LIMITATION WAS APPLIED WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF A GOVERNMENT MESS AT AN ENLISTED MEMBER'S PERMANENT DUTY STATION FOR PURPOSES OF BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE. HE SAYS THAT IT IS DOUBTFUL WHETHER THE LIMITATION APPLIES IN INSTANCES WHEN A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AND PER DIEM ARE INVOLVED.

SECTION 404(B)(2), TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, PROVIDES THAT THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED MAY PRESCRIBE THE ALLOWANCES FOR THE KINDS OF TRAVEL, BUT NOT MORE THAN THE AMOUNTS AUTHORIZED IN THAT SECTION. SUBSECTION (D)(2) PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT THE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED FOR EACH KIND OF TRAVEL MAY NOT BE MORE THAN ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:

(2) TRANSPORTATION IN KIND, REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, OR A MONETARY ALLOWANCE AS PROVIDED IN CLAUSE (1) OF THIS SUBSECTION, PLUS A PER DIEM IN PLACE OF SUBSISTENCE OF NOT MORE THAN $25 A DAY:***.

AS STATED IN THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER, PARAGRAPH M4451-1(2), JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IMPLEMENTING SECTION 404 OF TITLE 37, PROVIDES THAT, EXCEPT WHEN DIRECTED BECAUSE OF MILITARY NECESSITY, A MEMBER IN A TRAVEL STATUS WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO USE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS DESIGNATED AS INADEQUATE BY THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY OF THE SERVICE CONCERNED. AND, AS NOTED ABOVE, IT ALSO STATES THAT AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS DESIGNATED AS ADEQUATE AND MESS WILL BE USED BY MEMBERS IN A TRAVEL STATUS TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PRACTICABLE, EXCEPT WHEN THE COMMANDING OFFICER (OR HIS DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE) AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY OR DELAY POINT FURNISHES A STATEMENT TO THE EFFECT THAT UTILIZATION OF EXISTING GOVERNMENT FACILITIES WAS IMPRACTICABLE.

PARAGRAPH M1150-4, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, DEFINES THE TERM "GOVERNMENT MESS" AS ANY OF THE MESSES THERE SPECIFIED, PROVIDED IT IS MADE AVAILABLE TO, OR UTILIZED BY, THE MEMBER CONCERNED, EVEN THOUGH OFFICERS ARE ASSESSED A CHARGE THEREFOR.

AS INDICATED, PARAGRAPH 4050-2B(2)(B)(2), NAVY TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT THE COMMANDING OFFICER OR HIS DESIGNATED REPRESENTATIVE AT THE POINT OF TEMPORARY DUTY OR DELAY WILL ENDORSE THE MEMBER'S ORDERS TO SPECIFY, AS APPROPRIATE.

THAT THE USE OF AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT MESS OR OFFICERS' OR ENLISTED OPEN MESS IS IMPRACTICABLE AND THE REASON FOR SUCH DETERMINATION (SUCH IMPRACTICABILITY DETERMINATIONS MAY NOT BE BASED ON DISTANCE OR COST INCIDENT TO TRAVEL FROM THE LOCATION OF THE MEMBER'S QUARTERS TO THE SITE WHERE THE GOVERNMENT MESS OR OFFICERS' OR ENLISTED OPEN MESS IS LOCATED IN THOSE INSTANCES WHERE THE MEMBER ELECTS NOT TO OCCUPY AVAILABLE, INADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AND OCCUPIES PRIVATE QUARTERS).

SINCE THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT, EXCEPT WHEN DIRECTED BECAUSE OF MILITARY NECESSITY, A MEMBER IN A TRAVEL STATUS WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO USE INADEQUATE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS, WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT, IN MAKING DETERMINATIONS AS TO THE IMPRACTICABILITY OF UTILIZATION OF AN AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT MESS, THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE MESS AND PLACE OF LODGING IS A FACTOR PROPERLY FOR CONSIDERATION.

ALSO FOR CONSIDERATION IS THE DISTANCE (AND AVAILABILITY OF TRANSPORTATION WHEN NECESSARY) BETWEEN THE PLACE OF DUTY AND THE MESS AS WELL AS THE COMPATIBILITY OF THE MESSING HOURS WITH THE HOURS OF DUTY. THUS, REGARDLESS OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN PLACE OF LODGING AND MESS, IT MAY BE PRACTICAL FOR THE MEMBER TO UTILIZE THE MESS FOR ONE OR TWO MEALS (BREAKFAST AND LUNCH) EACH DAY, BUT IMPRACTICABLE TO UTILIZE THE MESS FOR THE THIRD MEAL (DINNER) BECAUSE OF THE INCOMPATIBILITY OF HIS DUTY HOURS WITH THE TIME HE NORMALLY WOULD EAT SUCH MEAL AND BECAUSE OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN HIS PLACE OF LODGING AND THE MESS. HENCE, BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER SHOULD BE CONSIDERED SEPARATELY IN MAKING DETERMINATIONS AS TO THE IMPRACTICABILITY OF UTILIZING AN AVAILABLE MESS.

YOUR QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY. AND, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE CITED PROVISION IN PARAGRAPH 4050, NAVY TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS, IS MORE RESTRICTIVE THAN IS REQUIRED.