B-175556, MAY 19, 1972

B-175556: May 19, 1972

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WHICH WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 72-10 BY THE PER DIEM. TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE (HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS THE PER DIEM COMMITTEE) AND WHICH WAS RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE ON MARCH 24. OLER AND THE AMOUNTS DISALLOWED IN CONNECTION WITH THESE EXPENSES ARE DESCRIBED BY YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 4. FROM 6 OCT 71 TO 20 OCT 71 FOR A TOTAL OF $245.22 FOR WHICH HE WAS REIMBURSED $236.13 ON DOV T-8798 DATED 1 NOV 71. THE AMOUNT OF $9.09 REPRESENTING COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER AND APPLICABLE TAX WAS DISALLOWED. "6. A SECOND COMMERCIAL CAR WAS RENTED FROM AVIS CO. OLER WAS REIMBURSED $321.08 ON DOV T-14915 DATED 23 NOV 71. THE AMOUNT OF $53.28 REPRESENTING COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER INSURANCE AND APPLICABLE TAX WAS DISALLOWED.".

B-175556, MAY 19, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - PURCHASE OF EXTRA COLLISION INSURANCE - REIMBURSEMENT CONCERNING WHETHER CHARLES R. OLER MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE COST OF PURCHASING EXTRA COLLISION INSURANCE ON CARS RENTED IN CONNECTION WITH TEMPORARY DUTY HE PERFORMED AS A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE AIR FORCE. IN GENERAL, RIGHTS UNDER ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS BECOME FIXED UPON THEIR ISSUANCE AND MAY ONLY BE RETROACTIVELY AMENDED TO CORRECT OBVIOUS ERRORS. 33 COMP. GEN. 174 (1953). IN THE INSTANT CASE, REIMBURSEMENT MAY ONLY BE ALLOWED FOR THE CAR RENTED PRIOR TO OCTOBER 10, 1971, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF PARAGRAPH 6101-3, JTR, VOLUME 2, WHICH SPECIFICALLY PRECLUDES REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF PURCHASING EXTRA COLLISION INSURANCE.

TO CAPTAIN P. J. MALVASO:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 4, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE 416CSG/ACFPT/MR. RUCCI/2805, WHICH WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 72-10 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE (HEREINAFTER REFERRED TO AS THE PER DIEM COMMITTEE) AND WHICH WAS RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE ON MARCH 24, 1972. THE SUBJECT LETTER REQUESTS OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER MR. CHARLES R. OLER, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE COST OF PURCHASING EXTRA COLLISION INSURANCE TO PROVIDE FULL COVERAGE FOR A CAR RENTED IN CONNECTION WITH TEMPORARY DUTY AT VARIOUS LOCALITIES WITHIN GERMANY FROM OCTOBER 5, 1971, TO NOVEMBER 17, 1971.

THE EXPENSES INCURRED BY MR. OLER AND THE AMOUNTS DISALLOWED IN CONNECTION WITH THESE EXPENSES ARE DESCRIBED BY YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 4, 1972:

"5. MR. OLER RENTED A COMMERCIAL CAR FROM AVIS CO. IN FRANKFURT, GERMANY, FROM 6 OCT 71 TO 20 OCT 71 FOR A TOTAL OF $245.22 FOR WHICH HE WAS REIMBURSED $236.13 ON DOV T-8798 DATED 1 NOV 71, DSSN 6762. THE AMOUNT OF $9.09 REPRESENTING COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER AND APPLICABLE TAX WAS DISALLOWED.

"6. A SECOND COMMERCIAL CAR WAS RENTED FROM AVIS CO. IN RAMSTEIN AB, GERMANY, FROM 20 OCT 71 TO 16 NOV 71 FOR A TOTAL OF $374.36 FOR WHICH MR. OLER WAS REIMBURSED $321.08 ON DOV T-14915 DATED 23 NOV 71, DSSN 5039. THE AMOUNT OF $53.28 REPRESENTING COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER INSURANCE AND APPLICABLE TAX WAS DISALLOWED."

THE DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED ON A NEW PARAGRAPH C 6101-3, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR), VOLUME 2, WHICH PROVIDES THAT EMPLOYEES COULD NO LONGER BE REIMBURSED FOR THE COST OF PURCHASING EXTRA COLLISION INSURANCE. THIS NEW PARAGRAPH WAS PUBLISHED IN CHANGE 74, DATED DECEMBER 1, 1971, BUT WAS FIRST ISSUED AS PART OF DOD CIVILIAN TRAVEL DETERMINATION (CTD) 20-71 ISSUED BY THE PER DIEM COMMITTEE ON SEPTEMBER 27, 1971, WITH AN EFFECTIVE DATE OF OCTOBER 10, 1971.

AS A GENERAL RULE, ONCE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS ARE ISSUED, RIGHTS THEREUNDER BECOME FIXED. ALTHOUGH SUCH REGULATIONS MAY BE AMENDED PROSPECTIVELY TO INCREASE OR DECREASE RIGHTS GIVEN THEREBY, THEY MAY NOT BE AMENDED RETROACTIVELY TO INCREASE OR DECREASE RIGHTS ALREADY VESTED OR FIXED, EXCEPT TO CORRECT OBVIOUS ERRORS. 32 COMP. GEN. 315 (1953); 33 ID. 174 (1953). UNDER THIS RULE, MR. OLER IS ENTITLED ONLY TO THAT REIMBURSEMENT TO WHICH HIS RIGHT HAD VESTED OR BECOME FIXED AS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF JTR, CHANGE 74.

ALTHOUGH THE NEW PARAGRAPH C 6101-3 WAS PROPERLY MADE EFFECTIVE AS OF OCTOBER 10, 1971, BY THE ISSUANCE OF CTD 20-71, THE PER DIEM COMMITTEE HAD NO AUTHORITY TO MAKE THE NEW REGULATION EFFECTIVE ON ANY OTHER DATE. EXPLAINED IN THE TRANSMITTAL NOTICE, JTR, CHANGE 74, MERELY IMPLEMENTED THE PROVISIONS OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB) CIRCULAR NO. A-7, DATED AUGUST 17, 1971, WHICH REVISED AND CLARIFIED THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (SGTR).

THE SGTR, ISSUED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF 5 U.S.C. 5707, ARE THE PRIMARY REGULATORY AUTHORITY FOR ALL CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES AS DEFINED IN 5 U.S.C. 5701. OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, ISSUED AUGUST 17, 1971, PROVIDES THAT THE REVISED SGTR ARE EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 10, 1971. SINCE THE SGTR ARE STATUTORY IN NATURE AND HAVE THE EFFECT OF LAW, ALL PERSONS CONCERNED WERE ON CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF THE REVISIONS AS OF OCTOBER 10, 1971. AN ATTEMPT TO MAKE JTR, CHANGE 74, EFFECTIVE ON ANY OTHER DATE WOULD HAVE BEEN WITHOUT LEGAL EFFECT.

THE SECOND QUESTION TO BE CONSIDERED IS WHEN MR. OLER'S RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ADDITIONAL COLLISION INSURANCE VESTED OR BECAME FIXED WITH RESPECT TO THE TWO CAR RENTAL CONTRACTS HE SIGNED. GENERALLY, LEGAL RIGHTS AND LIABILITIES IN REGARD TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCE VEST AS AND WHEN THE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED. SEE OUR DECISION OF JULY 20, 1970, B- 170072, COPY ENCLOSED. THEREFORE, WITH RESPECT TO TRAVEL PERFORMED AFTER OCTOBER 10, 1971, UNDER TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED PRIOR OR SUBSEQUENT THERETO, NO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ADDITIONAL COLLISION INSURANCE MAY BE ALLOWED REGARDLESS OF THE TRAVELER'S LACK OF ACTUAL NOTICE. SEE OUR DECISION OF MARCH 13, 1972, B-172721, COPY ENCLOSED.

HOWEVER, WITH RESPECT TO THE FIRST RENTAL AGREEMENT, WE NOTE THAT MR. OLER SIGNED SUCH AGREEMENT ON OCTOBER 6, 1971. ON THAT DATE HE WAS ENTITLED TO SO OBLIGATE HIMSELF WITH THE EXPECTATION OF BEING REIMBURSED IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS THEN IN EFFECT. THEREFORE, MR. OLER'S RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT VESTED ON OCTOBER 6, 1971, AND HE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE ADDITIONAL COLLISION INSURANCE WHICH HE OBLIGATED HIMSELF TO PAY ON THAT DATE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE PROCESSED FOR PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $9.09.