B-175312, APR 25, 1972

B-175312: Apr 25, 1972

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THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOU WERE ONE OF EIGHT MEMBERS OF AN INSPECTION TEAM ASSIGNED TO TEMPORARY DUTY IN DETROIT. FROM WHICH POINT THE TRAVEL WAS TO BE COMPLETED BY RENTAL CAR TO HARRISBURG. THIS TRAVEL ROUTING WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE THE MOST FAVORABLE AND IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE. A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE FROM YOUR PERSONAL PHYSICIAN STATING THAT YOU WERE UNDER HIS CARE FOR THE TREATMENT OF MOTION SICKNESS AND RECOMMENDING RESTRICTION OF TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE. YOUR REQUEST WAS DISALLOWED AND THE TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT WAS UNDERTAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TRAVEL PLANS. YOU ARE SEEKING TO BE REIMBURSED $5.25 WHICH YOU PAID FOR THE DIFFERENCE IN THE COST OF THE TICKET FROM DETROIT TO WASHINGTON.

B-175312, APR 25, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - ADDITIONAL TRAVEL EXPENSES - REIMBURSEMENT DECISION DENYING THE CLAIM OF JAMES J. LEIGHTON FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF ADDITIONAL TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO TEMPORARY DUTY PERFORMED FOR THE GENERAL INSPECTION OF THE DEFENSE CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION SERVICES REGION DETROIT. SINCE CLAIMANT SELECTED AN UNAUTHORIZED MODE OF TRAVEL FROM DETROIT TO HARRISBURG, PA., FOR PERSONAL REASONS, THE PRIOR DENIAL OF HIS CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENT MUST BE SUSTAINED.

TO MR. JAMES J. LEIGHTON:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 24, 1972, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST RECONSIDERATION OF OUR CLAIMS SETTLEMENT DATED DECEMBER 15, 1971, DISALLOWING YOUR CLAIM FOR $5.25 AS ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR TEMPORARY DUTY IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN, FROM MARCH 15 TO MARCH 20, 1970.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT YOU WERE ONE OF EIGHT MEMBERS OF AN INSPECTION TEAM ASSIGNED TO TEMPORARY DUTY IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN, IN MARCH 1970 INCIDENT TO THE GENERAL INSPECTION OF THE DEFENSE CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION SERVICES REGION DETROIT. TRAVEL ORDER NO. 299-70, DATED JULY 28, 1969, AS AMENDED BY SUPPLEMENTAL ORDER NO. 11, DATED FEBRUARY 16, 1970, PROVIDED FOR THE INSPECTION TEAM MEMBERS TO TRAVEL BY AIR TO DETROIT AND, FOLLOWING PERFORMANCE OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY, TO RETURN BY AIR TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FROM WHICH POINT THE TRAVEL WAS TO BE COMPLETED BY RENTAL CAR TO HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA. THIS TRAVEL ROUTING WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE THE MOST FAVORABLE AND IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS WERE MADE.

YOU INDICATE THAT ON MARCH 10, 1970, 5 DAYS BEFORE THE SCHEDULED TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT, YOU SUBMITTED TO THE CHIEF OF THE DSA IG FIELD OFFICE IN MECHANICSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA, A MEDICAL CERTIFICATE FROM YOUR PERSONAL PHYSICIAN STATING THAT YOU WERE UNDER HIS CARE FOR THE TREATMENT OF MOTION SICKNESS AND RECOMMENDING RESTRICTION OF TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE. THEREFORE YOU REQUESTED PERMISSION TO FLY DIRECTLY TO HARRISBURG FROM DETROIT RATHER THAN MAKE THE RETURN TRIP PARTLY BY RENTAL CAR. YOUR REQUEST WAS DISALLOWED AND THE TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT WAS UNDERTAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TRAVEL PLANS.

SUBSEQUENTLY, UPON COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT AND PRIOR TO LEAVING THE DETROIT AIRPORT, YOU CHECKED ON THE WEATHER CONDITIONS BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND HARRISBURG, DETERMINED THAT YOU WOULD PREFER TO MAKE THE ENTIRE RETURN TRIP BY AIR, AND EXCHANGED YOUR PLANE TICKET TO WASHINGTON FOR ONE TO HARRISBURG. THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE INSPECTION TEAM COMPLETED THE TRAVEL AS PREVIOUSLY SCHEDULED. YOU ARE SEEKING TO BE REIMBURSED $5.25 WHICH YOU PAID FOR THE DIFFERENCE IN THE COST OF THE TICKET FROM DETROIT TO WASHINGTON, AND THE COST OF THE ONE FROM DETROIT TO HARRISBURG.

AS WE POINTED OUT IN OUR SETTLEMENT LETTER, SECTION 2.1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES, IN PART, THAT ALL TRAVEL WILL BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR BY AN OFFICIAL TO WHOM SUCH AUTHORITY HAS BEEN DELEGATED. THUS, THE SELECTION OF A PARTICULAR MODE OF TRAVEL IN CONNECTION WITH TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENTS IS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION BASED UPON INFORMATION AVAILABLE AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL IS PLANNED AND THAT DETERMINATION CANNOT BE DISTURBED BY THIS OFFICE IN THE ABSENCE OF A SHOWING THAT IT WAS ARBITRARY OR CAPRICIOUS OR CONTRARY TO APPLICABLE LAWS AND REGULATIONS. IT APPEARS FROM THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT THAT AT THE TIME THE TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL WAS PLANNED THERE APPEARED TO BE A POSSIBILITY THAT EXCESSIVE LAYOVER TIMES WOULD BE INVOLVED IF THE TRAVEL WAS COMPLETED ENTIRELY BY AIR, AND THEREFORE, TOGETHER WITH EFFECTED ECONOMY IN THE OVERALL COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION, THERE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN AMPLE JUSTIFICATION FOR THE MODE OF TRAVEL DECIDED UPON.

WE HELD IN 21 COMP. GEN. 116 (1941) THAT WHERE AN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER, WHO IS VESTED WITH AUTHORITY TO DIRECT THE TRAVEL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, DETERMINES THAT A PARTICULAR MODE OF TRANSPORTATION IS IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND THE MODE SELECTED IS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE GOVERNING REGULATIONS, THEN SUCH A MATTER IS FOR THE DETERMINATION OF THE OFFICER AND NOT THE EMPLOYEE AND AN EMPLOYEE WHO DISREGARDS SUCH AN ORDER MAY NOT OBLIGATE THE GOVERNMENT FOR AN EXPENSE WHICH THE GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT HAVE HAD TO PAY IF THE EMPLOYEE HAD TRAVELED AS DIRECTED.

WHILE WE ARE AWARE OF YOUR CONCERN OVER TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE FOR HEALTH REASONS, WE NOTE THAT YOU HAD ACCEPTED TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE ON PRIOR TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENTS AND WE ARE AWARE OF NO REGULATION IN EFFECT AT THE TIME WHICH WOULD HAVE MADE IT MANDATORY UPON THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER ORDERING THE TRAVEL TO PROVIDE FOR TRANSPORTATION FOR YOU OTHER THAN THAT USED BY THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE INSPECTION TEAM. THE DSA IG POLICY LETTER TO WHICH YOU REFER IS DATED APRIL 6, 1971, AND HAS NO EFFECT UPON TRAVEL PERFORMED PRIOR TO THAT TIME. PARAGRAPH C6150 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR) IS APPLICABLE ONLY TO THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE WHILE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE IS DEFINED IN JTR PARAGRAPH C1100 AS A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE USED BY A TRAVELER OTHER THAN ON A HIRE OR RENTAL BASIS.

THEREFORE, SINCE IT APPEARS THAT YOU CHOSE TO PERFORM THE TRAVEL FROM DETROIT TO YOUR RESIDENCE IN HARRISBURG FOR PERSONAL REASONS BY A DIFFERENT ROUTE AND MODE OF TRAVEL OTHER THAN THAT APPROVED AND AUTHORIZED, WE MUST AFFIRM THE DECEMBER 15, 1971, ACTION OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION IN DISALLOWING YOUR REQUEST FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE ADDITIONAL COST OF TRAVEL.