B-175383, AUG 7, 1972

B-175383: Aug 7, 1972

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R. EVEN THOUGH THESE EXPENSES MAY HAVE RESULTED FROM THE ERROR OR INADVERTANCE OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL. THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS TO ALLOW SUCH CLAIMS. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT CLAIMANT WAS PAID THOSE AMOUNTS PROPERLY DUE UNDER JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THOSE ITEMS RELATED TO CARE AND SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD PETS ARE SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED BY ITEM 6. GROGAN: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF JANUARY 13 AND FEBRUARY 10. THE ORDER AUTHORIZED LEAVE EN ROUTE AND PROVIDED THAT YOU WERE TO DEPART FROM CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE. BY INDORSEMENT TO THE ORDER YOU WERE INSTRUCTED TO REPORT TO THE AIR PASSENGER TERMINAL AT CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE NOT EARLIER THAN 3 P.M. THIS ORDER WAS AMENDED BY SPECIAL ORDER NO.

B-175383, AUG 7, 1972

MILITARY PERSONNEL - TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES - HOUSEHOLD PETS DENIAL OF CLAIM OF SSG CHARLES E. GROGAN, USAF, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF ADDITIONAL EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH AUTHORIZED TRAVEL FROM VANDENBERG AFB, CALIF., TO RAMEY AFB, P. R. EVEN THOUGH THESE EXPENSES MAY HAVE RESULTED FROM THE ERROR OR INADVERTANCE OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL, IN THE ABSENCE OF SOME STATUTORY PROVISION AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT, THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS TO ALLOW SUCH CLAIMS. THE RECORD INDICATES THAT CLAIMANT WAS PAID THOSE AMOUNTS PROPERLY DUE UNDER JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THOSE ITEMS RELATED TO CARE AND SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD PETS ARE SPECIFICALLY EXCLUDED BY ITEM 6, PAR. M8000-2, JTR. SEE 38 COMP. GEN. 513 (1959).

TO STAFF SERGEANT CHARLES E. GROGAN:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTERS OF JANUARY 13 AND FEBRUARY 10, 1972, ADDRESSED TO THE AIR FORCE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE CENTER, AND FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE FOR REPLY, IN WHICH YOU IN EFFECT REQUEST REVIEW OF OUR CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT DATED DECEMBER 27, 1971, WHICH DENIED REIMBURSEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH AUTHORIZED TRAVEL FROM VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA, TO RAMEY AIR FORCE BASE, PUERTO RICO, NOVEMBER 20 - DECEMBER 4, 1970.

SPECIAL ORDER NO. AA-1220, SEPTEMBER 25, 1970, HEADQUARTERS 4392 AEROSPACE SUPPORT GROUP (SAC), VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA 93437, DIRECTED YOUR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION FROM THAT BASE TO 72 COMBAT SUPPORT GROUP (SAC), APO NEW YORK 09845 (RAMEY AIR FORCE BASE, PUERTO RICO). THE ORDER AUTHORIZED LEAVE EN ROUTE AND PROVIDED THAT YOU WERE TO DEPART FROM CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, SOUTH CAROLINA, FOR RAMEY AIR FORCE BASE ON FLIGHT BKAA 273 SCHEDULED TO DEPART AT 5 A.M., ON DECEMBER 2, 1970. BY INDORSEMENT TO THE ORDER YOU WERE INSTRUCTED TO REPORT TO THE AIR PASSENGER TERMINAL AT CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE NOT EARLIER THAN 3 P.M., DECEMBER 1, 1970, NOR LATER THAN 1 A.M., ON DECEMBER 2, 1970, FOR SCHEDULED DEPARTURE OF FLIGHT BKAA 273 AT 5 A.M. THIS ORDER WAS AMENDED BY SPECIAL ORDER NO. AA-1435, OCTOBER 15, 1970, SAME HEADQUARTERS, TO PROVIDE FOR CONCURRENT TRAVEL OF DEPENDENTS AND FOR SHIPMENT OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS. ADDITIONALLY, REFERENCE TO THE DEPARTURE TIME OF FLIGHT BKAA 273 WAS DELETED, BUT THE INDORSEMENT ON YOUR ORDER DIRECTING THAT YOU REPORT NOT LATER THAN 1 A.M., ON DECEMBER 2 WAS NOT CHANGED.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON NOVEMBER 20, 1970, YOU DEPARTED FROM VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE BY PRIVATE AUTOMOBILE AND ARRIVED AT CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE ON DECEMBER 1, 1970. YOU SAY YOU REPORTED AT THE MILITARY AIRLIFT COMMAND (MAC) TERMINAL AT 2 P.M., AND WERE TOLD TO RETURN AT 3 A.M., ON DECEMBER 2. YOU SAY IN ADDITION THAT BECAUSE GOVERNMENT TRANSIENT QUARTERS WERE UNAVAILABLE YOU STAYED AT AN OFF BASE MOTEL, RETURNED TO THE TERMINAL AT 2:30 A.M., AND WERE INFORMED THAT YOUR FLIGHT HAD DEPARTED AT 1 A.M.

YOU INDICATE THAT YOU STAYED THE NIGHT OF DECEMBER 2 AT THE BASE GUEST HOUSE WHERE YOU WERE REQUIRED TO PAY FOR THE NIGHT OF DECEMBER 1, ALSO, ALTHOUGH YOU DID NOT STAY THERE, SO YOU COULD QUALIFY FOR A CERTIFICATE OF NONAVAILABILITY. COMMERCIAL AIR TRANSPORTATION WAS MADE AVAILABLE TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY AND YOU DEPARTED FROM CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA, AT 1 P.M., ON DECEMBER 3, ARRIVING AT SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, AT ABOUT 10 P.M., OF THE SAME DAY.

BECAUSE OF THE LATE HOUR OF YOUR ARRIVAL NEITHER SCHEDULED AIR NOR BUS TRANSPORTATION WAS AVAILABLE TO TAKE YOU TO RAMEY AIR FORCE BASE, AND IN THE ABSENCE OF AVAILABLE TRANSIENT QUARTERS AT THE LOCAL NAVAL BASE YOU SPENT THE NIGHT AT A MOTEL. YOU SAY THAT THE NEXT MORNING YOU LEARNED AT THE AIR TERMINAL THAT YOUR PETS, WHICH HAD BEEN SHIPPED AT YOUR OWN EXPENSE, HAD ARRIVED THERE BUT BECAUSE YOU WERE UNAVAILABLE THEY WERE PLACED IN THE CARE OF A VETERINARIAN. THEN YOU TRAVELED BY TAXI TO CAROLINAS, PUERTO RICO, BUT FINDING THE VETERINARIAN'S OFFICE CLOSED YOU RETURNED TO THE TERMINAL FOR LUNCH, AND AFTERWARDS UTILIZED TAXI SERVICE TO OBTAIN YOUR ANIMALS AND RETURN TO THE SAN JUAN AIRPORT. YOU WERE PROVIDED WITH COMMERCIAL AIR TRANSPORTATION TO MAYAGUEZ, PUERTO RICO, AND TRAVELED FROM THERE BY TAXI TO RAMEY AIR FORCE BASE WHERE YOU ARRIVED AT 8:40 P.M., ON DECEMBER 4, 1970.

ON DECEMBER 8, 1970, YOU SUBMITTED A CLAIM FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES AND LATER RECEIVED $175.54. ON DECEMBER 31, 1970, YOU SUBMITTED AN ADDITIONAL CLAIM TOTALING $114.16 INCLUDING THE FOLLOWING:

MOTEL CHARGE, CHARLESTON, DECEMBER 1, $17.16;

TRANSIENT QUARTERS CHARGE, CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE,

DECEMBER 1 AND 2, $10.50;

MOTEL EXPENSE, SAN JUAN, DECEMBER 3, $20;

TAXI FARES, DECEMBER 3 AND 4, $16.50;

VETERINARIAN'S FEE, DECEMBER 4, $10; AND

FOOD FOR FAMILY, DECEMBER 1-4, $40

THIS CLAIM WAS RECEIVED FROM THE AIR FORCE ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE CENTER WITH A RECOMMENDATION THAT PAYMENT NOT BE MADE. THE SETTLEMENT OF DECEMBER 21, 1971, ALLOWED THE SUM OF $4.50 FOR TAXI TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE SAN JUAN AIR TERMINAL AND YOUR MOTEL, BUT NO OTHER PAYMENT WAS AUTHORIZED.

IN YOUR RECENT LETTERS YOU EXPRESS THE OPINION THAT THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSES YOU CLAIM SHOULD BE REIMBURSED TO YOU AS THEY WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN INCURRED IF YOU HAD NOT MISSED THE SCHEDULED AIRCRAFT WHICH EVENT OCCURRED, YOU SAY, BECAUSE THE REPORTING TIME ON YOUR ORDERS WAS WRONG AND YOU WERE NOT INFORMED OF THE CORRECT DEPARTURE TIME UPON CHECK-IN AT THE MAC TERMINAL AT CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE.

PURSUANT TO AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN 37 U.S.C. 404, PARAGRAPH M4150 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT A MEMBER TRAVELING UPON A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION MAY BE AUTHORIZED EITHER (1) MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF $0.06 PER MILE; (2) TRANSPORTATION IN KIND OR TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS PLUS PER DIEM; OR (3) TRANSPORTATION IN KIND OR TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS PLUS MEAL TICKETS. PARAGRAPH M4151 OF THE REGULATIONS, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF YOUR TRAVEL, PROVIDES THAT MILEAGE IS AN ALLOWANCE TO COVER THE AVERAGE COST OF FIRST CLASS TRANSPORTATION INCLUDING SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS, COST OF SUBSISTENCE, LODGING, AND OTHER INCIDENTAL EXPENSES DIRECTLY RELATED TO TRAVEL, AND THAT IN NO CASE WILL MILEAGE AND PER DIEM BE ALLOWED FOR THE SAME DAY. SEE ALSO PAR. M4201-1, JTR.

SINCE YOU WERE PAID A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL FROM VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA, TO CHARLESTON AIR FORCE BASE, SOUTH CAROLINA, THE AERIAL PORT OF EMBARKATION FOR PUERTO RICO, WHERE YOU ARRIVED ON DECEMBER 1, 1970, YOU MAY NOT BE PAID PER DIEM FOR ANY PART OF THAT DAY, NOR ADDITIONAL ALLOWANCE FOR FOOD OR LODGING, PAYMENT FOR WHICH ALREADY IS INCLUDED IN THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE. SEE DECISION B 168021, DECEMBER 2, 1969, COPY ENCLOSED.

PARAGRAPH M4152 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT IN CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION OR IS FURNISHED BY GOVERNMENT VIA COMMON CARRIER, A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR THE TIME REQUIRED TO TRAVEL BETWEEN PERMANENT STATIONS, INCLUDING NECESSARY DELAYS, IS PAYABLE BOTH WITHIN AND OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES.

YOU WERE PAID $2 PER DIEM FOR DECEMBER 2, 1970, IN ACCORD WITH PARAGRAPH M4205-5D(4) OF THE REGULATIONS WHICH ESTABLISHES THAT RATE FOR ENLISTED MEMBERS WHERE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE AVAILABLE OR UTILIZED AND GOVERNMENT MESS IS AVAILABLE. WHILE YOU FURNISHED A STATEMENT OF NONAVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT MESS AND QUARTERS FOR DECEMBER 1, 1970, YOU SUBMITTED NONE FOR DECEMBER 2, 1970, AND WE ARE INFORMED THAT GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AND MEALS WERE AVAILABLE OR UTILIZED BY YOU ON THAT DAY. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES THERE IS NO ENTITLEMENT TO ADDITIONAL PER DIEM FOR QUARTERS OR MEALS NOR MAY YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRANSIENT QUARTERS CHARGES FOR DECEMBER 2, 1970, BE ALLOWED.

PARAGRAPH M4253-2 (CHANGE 215, DECEMBER 1, 1970) OF THE REGULATIONS INDICATES THAT WHERE TRAVEL PER DIEM IS PAYABLE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES A MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF $8 REGARDLESS OF THE TRAVEL PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR THE COUNTRY OR PLACE IN WHICH THE TRAVEL IS DELAYED WHEN DELAYS OF LESS THAN 10 HOURS ARE INCURRED BECAUSE OF REASONS INCIDENT TO THE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION UTILIZED. WHILE THE TOTAL DELAY IN SAN JUAN EXCEEDED 10 HOURS, YOU WERE PAID PER DIEM BASED ON THE $8 RATE AND NOT ON THE LOCAL $47 RATE BECAUSE ADMINISTRATIVELY IT WAS DETERMINED THAT ONLY 7 HOURS 50 MINUTES WERE ATTRIBUTABLE TO YOUR OFFICIAL TRAVEL, AS THE REMAINING TIME WAS USED IN OBTAINING YOUR PET ANIMALS WHICH WERE BEING CARED FOR AT CAROLINAS, PUERTO RICO.

ITEM 6, PAR. M8000-2, JTR, INDICATES THAT THE TERM "HOUSEHOLD GOODS" DOES NOT INCLUDE ANIMALS NOT REQUIRED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES, AND THEREFORE, THEIR TRANSPORTATION IS NOT AUTHORIZED. IN 38 COMP. GEN. 513 (1959) WE SAID THAT ANY TRAVEL TIME ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION WHICH ARISES FROM PERSONAL REASONS TO THE EXTENT THAT IT EXCEEDS THE TRAVEL TIME NECESSARY IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED AS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL TIME, BUT PROPERLY SHOULD BE A CHARGE AGAINST AUTHORIZED LEAVE OF ABSENCE. AS THE SHIPMENT OF YOUR ANIMALS WAS A PERSONAL MATTER FOR WHICH THE GOVERNMENT ASSUMED NO RESPONSIBILITY, THE TIME UTILIZED IN THIS CONNECTION PROPERLY IS EXCLUDED FROM CONSIDERATION IN DETERMINING THE LENGTH OF DELAY. IT FOLLOWS THAT APPLICATION OF THE $8 PER DIEM RATE IS PROPER IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND NO ADDITIONAL PAYMENT MAY BE MADE BECAUSE OF YOUR $20 MOTEL EXPENSE ON DECEMBER 3, 1970.

IN FORWARDING YOUR CLAIM, THE CHIEF, ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE BRANCH, 72ND COMBAT SUPPORT GROUP (SAC), AND THE DIRECTOR OF ACCOUNTING AND FINANCE, HEADQUARTERS STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND EACH EXPRESSED THE OPINION THAT APPLICATION OF THE LESSER PER DIEM RATE WAS PROPER UNDER THE REGULATIONS, BUT THEY FAVORED AN AMENDMENT TO PERMIT PAYMENT OF THE LOCAL PER DIEM RATE DURING DELAYS OF LESS THAN 10 HOURS IF COMMERCIAL QUARTERS WERE REQUIRED. WHILE WE RECOGNIZE SOME BASIS FOR THIS VIEWPOINT, AMENDMENT OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IS A MATTER FOR INITIAL CONSIDERATION BY THE APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITIES AND NOT BY THIS OFFICE. ADDITIONALLY, SUCH AMENDMENT WOULD BE WITHOUT RETROACTIVE EFFECT, AND WOULD THEREFORE PROVIDE NO LEGAL BASIS FOR AUTHORIZING YOU INCREASED PER DIEM.

PARAGRAPH M4202 OF THE REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES THAT PER DIEM ALLOWANCES INCLUDE THE COST OF QUARTERS, SUBSISTENCE AND OTHER NECESSARY RELATED INCIDENTAL EXPENSES, ALSO PROVIDES THAT TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AS WELL AS OTHER EXPENSES DIRECTLY ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE ORDERED TRAVEL, ALSO ARE REIMBURSABLE. IN ADDITION, PAR. M4401 1, JTR, AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE USUAL TAXICAB, BUS, STREETCAR, SUBWAY OR OTHER PUBLIC CARRIER FARES INCLUDING (ITEM 3) FROM CARRIER TERMINALS TO LODGING AND RETURN WHEN REQUIRED TO COMPLETE ORDERED TRAVEL.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU WERE REIMBURSED $10 TAXI FARE FROM MAYAGUEZ TO RAMEY AIR FORCE BASE AND ALSO THE $4.50 TAXI CHARGE FOR TRAVEL FROM SAN JUAN AIR TERMINAL TO YOUR MOTEL AND FOR RETURN TRAVEL TO THE TERMINAL. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF TAXI FARES FOR ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN SAN JUAN AND CAROLINAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING YOUR HOUSEHOLD PETS, AS THIS WAS TRAVEL FOR PERSONAL REASONS FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED. SIMILARLY, YOU MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED THE VETERINARIAN'S $10 CHARGE FOR ANIMAL CARE, WHICH ALSO IS A PERSONAL EXPENSE.

UNDER AUTHORITY PROVIDED BY 37 U.S.C. 406(A), PARAGRAPH M7000 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS STATES IN PERTINENT PART THAT UPON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION MEMBERS ARE ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. HOWEVER, THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES (QUARTERS AND MEALS) INCURRED BY DEPENDENTS INCIDENT TO THE PERFORMANCE OF TRAVEL AUTHORIZED UNDER CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS. SEE DECISION B-168021, SUPRA. CONSEQUENTLY, YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF $40 CLAIMED AS YOUR FAMILY'S FOOD EXPENSE DURING THE PERIOD DECEMBER 1-4, 1970.

IT IS REGRETTABLE THAT YOU INCURRED ADDITIONAL EXPENSES WHICH RESULTED FROM MISSING YOUR SCHEDULED FLIGHT AT THE AERIAL PORT OF EMBARKATION. HOWEVER, EVEN THOUGH THESE EXPENSES MAY RESULT FROM THE ERROR OR INADVERTENCE OF GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL, IN THE ABSENCE OF SOME STATUTORY PROVISION AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT, IT HAS BEEN OUR OPINION THAT THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS TO ALLOW SUCH CLAIMS.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, THE DENIAL OF YOUR CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES IS SUSTAINED.