B-176543, AUG 30, 1972

B-176543: Aug 30, 1972

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SINCE THE STATUTORY REGULATIONS FOR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL ARE SGTR. SINCE NOTICE OF THE NEW PROVISION PROHIBITING REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXTRA COLLISION INSURANCE WAS DISSEMINATED ON AUGUST 17. GAO CONCLUDES THAT ALL PERSONS CONCERNED WERE ON ACTUAL OR CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF SUCH PROVISION AT THE TIME OF ITS EFFECTIVE DATE ON OCTOBER 10. AS THE COST OF THE TELEGRAPHIC MONEY ORDER RELATES TO THE PAYMENT OF AN EXPENSE VOUCHER IT IS CONSIDERED AS A PERSONAL EXPENSE AND REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH COST WOULD BE PRECLUDED UNDER SECTION 8.4B. AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY WAS DISALLOWED. THE FACTS IN YOUR CASE WERE STATED IN OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 19. THE $42 COST FOR COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER INSURANCE ON THE RENTAL CAR WAS DISALLOWED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 6101.3 OF VOLUME 2 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR).

B-176543, AUG 30, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - TRAVEL EXPENSES - NOTICE OF REGULATIONS DECISION DENYING CLAIM OF MELVIN D. CURRY, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF CERTAIN TRAVEL EXPENSES TOTALING $54.25 INCURRED INCIDENT TO A TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT AT FORT GORDON, GA., AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. SINCE THE STATUTORY REGULATIONS FOR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL ARE SGTR, RATHER THAN JTR, AND SINCE NOTICE OF THE NEW PROVISION PROHIBITING REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXTRA COLLISION INSURANCE WAS DISSEMINATED ON AUGUST 17, 1971, GAO CONCLUDES THAT ALL PERSONS CONCERNED WERE ON ACTUAL OR CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF SUCH PROVISION AT THE TIME OF ITS EFFECTIVE DATE ON OCTOBER 10, 1971. THEREFORE, REIMBURSEMENT OF THE $42 PAID FOR COLLISION DAMAGE INSURANCE FOR THE RENTAL CAR MAY NOT BE ALLOWED. AS THE COST OF THE TELEGRAPHIC MONEY ORDER RELATES TO THE PAYMENT OF AN EXPENSE VOUCHER IT IS CONSIDERED AS A PERSONAL EXPENSE AND REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH COST WOULD BE PRECLUDED UNDER SECTION 8.4B, OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-7.

TO MR. MELVIN D. CURRY:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 13, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION OF OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 19, 1972, WHEREIN YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR CERTAIN TRAVEL EXPENSES TOTALING $54.25 INCURRED INCIDENT TO YOUR TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT AT FORT GORDON, GEORGIA, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY WAS DISALLOWED.

THE FACTS IN YOUR CASE WERE STATED IN OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 19, 1972, AND NEED NOT BE REPEATED HERE EXCEPT AS PERTINENT TO THE PRESENT DISCUSSION OF THE CASE. THE $42 COST FOR COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER INSURANCE ON THE RENTAL CAR WAS DISALLOWED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 6101.3 OF VOLUME 2 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR). THE $12.25 COST OF THE TELEGRAPHIC MONEY ORDER WHICH WIRED YOU ADDITIONAL MONEY TO PAY THE RENTAL CAR BILL WAS ALSO DISALLOWED AS A PERSONNEL EXPENSE NOT REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE GOVERNING REGULATIONS.

YOU SAY THAT AT THE TIME TRAVEL ORDER DATED JANUARY 6, 1972, WAS ISSUED WHICH AUTHORIZED TRAVEL FROM LEXINGTON-BLUE GRASS ARMY DEPOT TO FORT GORDON, GEORGIA, FOR APPROXIMATELY 30 DAYS, YOU WERE NOT AWARE OF THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 6101.3 OF VOLUME 2 OF JTR. YOU ALSO STATED THAT IT IS PROBABLE THAT THE CHANGE HAD NOT BEEN RECEIVED AT THE TIME YOUR TRAVEL ORDERS WERE ISSUED.

THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (SGTR), ISSUED UNDER 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 (OMB) CIRCULAR NO. A-7 WAS ISSUED ON AUGUST 17, 1971, AND PROMULGATED A NEW REVISION OF SGTR TO BECOME EFFECTIVE ON AND AFTER OCTOBER 10, 1971. THE REGULATIONS ARE STATUTORY IN NATURE AND HAVE THE EFFECT OF LAW.

THE REVISION OF AUGUST 17, 1971, INCLUDED A NEW PROVISION IN SECTION 3.2C WHICH STATES:

"DAMAGE WAIVER ON RENTAL AUTOMOBILES. IN CONNECTION WITH THE RENTAL OF AUTOMOBILES FROM COMMERCIAL SOURCES THE GOVERNMENT WILL NOT PAY NOR WILL IT REIMBURSE EMPLOYEES FOR THE COST OF THE COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER OR COLLISION DAMAGE INSURANCE AVAILABLE IN COMMERCIAL RENTAL CONTRACTS FOR AN EXTRA FEE. THE WAIVER OR INSURANCE REFERRED TO IS THE TYPE OFFERED A RENTER TO RELEASE HIM FROM LIABILITY FOR DAMAGE TO THE RENTED AUTOMOBILE IN AMOUNTS UP TO THE AMOUNT DEDUCTIBLE (USUALLY $100) ON THE INSURANCE INCLUDED AS A PART OF THE RENTAL CONTRACT WITHOUT ADDITIONAL CHARGE. UNDER DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL THE AGENCY IN APPROPRIATE CIRCUMSTANCES IS AUTHORIZED TO PAY FOR DAMAGE TO THE RENTED AUTOMOBILE UP TO THE DEDUCTIBLE AMOUNT AS CONTAINED IN THE RENTAL CONTRACT SHOULD THE RENTED AUTOMOBILE BE DAMAGED WHILE BEING USED FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS."

THIS SAME PROVISION WAS ADDED TO VOLUME 2 OF JTR AS PARAGRAPH C6101 3. THE ADDITION WAS EFFECTED BY CHANGE 74 DATED DECEMBER 1, 1971, WITH A STATED EFFECTIVE DATE OF OCTOBER 10, 1971, WHICH COINCIDES WITH THE EFFECTIVE DATE STATED IN OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-7, PROMULGATED ON AUGUST 17, 1971. THE TRANSMITTAL NOTICE WITH JTR CHANGE 74 EXPLAINS THAT IT IMPLEMENTS THE CITED OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-7.

SINCE THE STATUTORY REGULATIONS FOR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL ARE SGTR, RATHER THAN JTR, AND SINCE NOTICE OF THE NEW PROVISION PROHIBITING REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXTRA COLLISION INSURANCE WAS DISSEMINATED ON AUGUST 17, 1971, WE CONCLUDE THAT ALL PERSONS CONCERNED WERE ON ACTUAL OR CONSTRUCTIVE NOTICE OF SUCH PROVISION AT THE TIME OF ITS EFFECTIVE DATE ON OCTOBER 10, 1971. THEREFORE, REIMBURSEMENT OF THE $42 PAID FOR COLLISION DAMAGE INSURANCE FOR THE RENTAL CAR MAY NOT BE ALLOWED.

SECTION 8.4B OF CIRCULAR NO. A-7 PROVIDES THAT:

"B. PERSONAL BUSINESS. TELEPHONE CALLS, TELEGRAMS, CABLEGRAMS, AND RADIOGRAMS RELATING TO LEAVE OF ABSENCE, OR EXTENSION THEREOF, OR TO PAYMENT OF SALARY OR EXPENSE VOUCHERS, AND ANSWERS THERETO, OR THOSE CONTAINING OTHER MATTER OF A PURELY PERSONAL NATURE, MUST NOT BE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AND CHARGES THEREFOR WILL NOT BE ALLOWED."

SIMILAR PROVISIONS ARE CONTAINED IN PARAGRAPH C9007-3 OF VOLUME 2 OF JTR.

SINCE THE COST OF THE TELEGRAPHIC MONEY ORDER WHICH WIRED YOU THE MONEY TO PAY THE RENTAL CAR BILL RELATES TO THE PAYMENT OF AN EXPENSE VOUCHER IT IS CONSIDERED AS A PERSONAL EXPENSE AND REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH COST WOULD BE PRECLUDED UNDER SECTION 8.4B. THE FACT THAT YOU SAY YOU SAVED THE GOVERNMENT $18.81 (DISCOUNT) BY PAYING CASH FOR THE RENTAL OF THE CAR MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS PERMITTING AN EXCEPTION IN YOUR CASE. NOR DOES THE FACT THAT YOU FAILED TO RECEIVE SUFFICIENT TRAVEL ADVANCE FUNDS FORM A BASIS FOR A DIFFERENT VIEW.

THEREFORE, THE SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 19, 1972, IS SUSTAINED.