B-180567, MAR 12, 1975

B-180567: Mar 12, 1975

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PHONE BILLS INCURRED BECAUSE OF UNFORESEEN DELAY CAUSED BY FERRY STRIKE WHILE MEMBER WAS EN ROUTE TO NEW DUTY STATION IN ARGENTIA. IS DENIED SINCE 1 JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IN EFFECT AT TIME OF TRAVEL PROVIDED THAT WHEN MILEAGE FOR MEMBER'S TRAVEL AND A MONETARY ALLOWANCE FOR DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL WAS AUTHORIZED IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FOR WHICH GOVERNMENT OTHERWISE WOULD BE OBLIGATED. SUCH ALLOWANCES WERE EXCLUSIVE AND NO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL EXPENSES INCURRED IS AUTHORIZED EVEN THOUGH UNFORESEEN OCCURRENCES OVER WHICH THE MEMBER HAD NO CONTROL CAUSED THE DELAY RESULTING IN INCREASED EXPENSES. USN: THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR ADVANCE DECISION RECEIVED FROM THE DISBURSING OFFICER.

B-180567, MAR 12, 1975

CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES FOR MOTEL FACILITIES, MEALS, AND PHONE BILLS INCURRED BECAUSE OF UNFORESEEN DELAY CAUSED BY FERRY STRIKE WHILE MEMBER WAS EN ROUTE TO NEW DUTY STATION IN ARGENTIA, NEWFOUNDLAND, IS DENIED SINCE 1 JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS IN EFFECT AT TIME OF TRAVEL PROVIDED THAT WHEN MILEAGE FOR MEMBER'S TRAVEL AND A MONETARY ALLOWANCE FOR DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL WAS AUTHORIZED IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FOR WHICH GOVERNMENT OTHERWISE WOULD BE OBLIGATED, SUCH ALLOWANCES WERE EXCLUSIVE AND NO REIMBURSEMENT FOR ADDITIONAL EXPENSES INCURRED IS AUTHORIZED EVEN THOUGH UNFORESEEN OCCURRENCES OVER WHICH THE MEMBER HAD NO CONTROL CAUSED THE DELAY RESULTING IN INCREASED EXPENSES.

ENTITLEMENT TO ADDITIONAL EXPENSES CAUSED BY FERRY STRIKE - CS2 ELDON CARSON, USN:

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR ADVANCE DECISION RECEIVED FROM THE DISBURSING OFFICER, U.S. NAVAL STATION, ARGENTIA, NEWFOUNDLAND, CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT ON VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $287.06 SUBMITTED BY CS2 ELDON CARSON FOR FOOD, LODGING, AND EXPENSES INCURRED AT NORTH SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA, WHILE THE MEMBER AND HIS DEPENDENT AWAITED THE END OF A STRIKE OF THE CANADIAN NATIONAL RAILROAD EMPLOYEES AND THE RESUMPTION OF FERRY SERVICE OPERATED BY THE RAILROAD TO THE ISLAND OF NEWFOUNDLAND. THE REQUEST HAS BEEN ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 74-8 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

BY ORDERS DATED APRIL 12, 1973, THE MEMBER WAS REASSIGNED FROM THE U.S.S. JUNEAU, HOME PORT, LONG BEACH, CALIFORNIA, TO THE NAVAL STATION, ARGENTIA, NEWFOUNDLAND, WITH INTERMEDIATE LEAVE AND DUTY PRIOR TO REPORTING TO THE NAVAL STATION. INDIVIDUAL TRAVEL, WITHOUT ANY INDICATION AS TO THE PARTICULAR METHOD OF TRAVEL TO BE USED, WAS AUTHORIZED IN THE ORDERS.

BY ENDORSEMENT TO ORDERS DATED JULY 27, 1973, THE INTERMEDIATE DUTY STATION DETACHED THE MEMBER AND DIRECTED HIM TO REPORT TO THE NAVAL STATION ON SEPTEMBER 1, 1973. THE ENDORSEMENT AUTHORIZED THE MEMBER 27 DAYS OF LEAVE AND 9 DAYS OF TRAVEL PRIOR TO REPORTING TO ARGENTIA. ALSO PROVIDED THAT TRAVEL WOULD BE AS SPECIFIED IN THE APRIL 12 BASIC ORDERS.

THE MEMBER AND HIS WIFE ARRIVED AT NORTH SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA, BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON AUGUST 23, 1973. HE AND HIS WIFE THEN REMAINED IN VARIOUS MOTELS IN NORTH SYDNEY UNTIL THE STRIKE WAS OVER AND THEY WERE ABLE TO OBTAIN FERRY SERVICE, AND CONNECTING TRANSPORTATION TO ARGENTIA ON SEPTEMBER 3, 1974, AND REPORTED THERE ON SEPTEMBER 4, 1974.

SUBSEQUENT TO SEPTEMBER 4, THE MEMBER'S TRAVEL AND THE CONCURRENT TRAVEL OF HIS DEPENDENT, BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE WAS RETROACTIVELY AUTHORIZED, AND THE PERIOD FROM AUGUST 24 TO SEPTEMBER 4 WAS RETROACTIVELY CHARGED AS TRAVEL TIME BECAUSE OF "NON-EXISTENCE OF APPROPRIATE TRANSPORTATION DURING THAT PERIOD."

SINCE THE FERRY STRIKE WAS NOT ANTICIPATED BY THE MEMBER AND THE HOTEL AND MEAL EXPENSES INCURRED WERE NOT FOR HIS CONVENIENCE, THE DISBURSING OFFICER QUESTIONS WHETHER THE MEMBER IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE EXPENSES CLAIMED OR ONLY A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE AND MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.

SECTIONS 404 AND 406 OF TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, PROVIDE AUTHORITY FOR THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED TO PRESCRIBE REGULATIONS FOR ENTITLEMENT OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES TO TRANSPORTATION IN KIND, REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR, OR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES WHILE TRAVELING WITH THEIR DEPENDENTS UNDER PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS. SECTION 411(B) OF THAT TITLE PROVIDES THAT IN ESTABLISHING RATES AND KINDS OF ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED, THE SECRETARIES SHALL CONSIDER THE AVERAGE COST OF FIRST-CLASS TRANSPORTATION, INCLUDING SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS, WHEN PRESCRIBING A MONETARY ALLOWANCE IN PLACE OF TRANSPORTATION, AND WHEN PRESCRIBING MILEAGE RATES, THEY SHALL INCLUDE IN ADDITION, LODGING AND OTHER NECESSARY INCIDENTAL EXPENSES RELATING THERETO. THERE IS NO STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES (SUCH AS FOR QUARTERS AND MEALS) INCURRED BY DEPENDENTS INCIDENT TO THE PERFORMANCE OF TRAVEL AUTHORIZED UNDER CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS.

PARAGRAPH M4159-3, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME, PROVIDED IN PART, THAT A MEMBER TRAVELING UNDER PERMANENT CHANGE-OF-STATION ORDERS BETWEEN A POINT IN THE UNITED STATES AND A POINT IN "THE ISLAND PORTION OF NEWFOUNDLAND" WHO WAS AUTHORIZED TO AND DID PERFORM TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO THE ALLOWANCES PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH M4150 FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE INVOLVED.

PARAGRAPH M4150, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME, PROVIDED THAT A MEMBER TRAVELING ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION UNDER VARIOUS CIRCUMSTANCES COULD BE AUTHORIZED EITHER (1) MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF SIX CENTS 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 PROVIDED 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 THE TRAVEL, AND THAT IT IS PAYABLE FOR THE MEMBER'S TRAVEL WHEN HE IS AUTHORIZED TO AND DOES PERFORM SUCH TRAVEL AT PERSONAL EXPENSE, REGARDLESS OF THE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION UTILIZED.

PARAGRAPH M7000 OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDED, IN PERTINENT PART, THAT UPON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION, MEMBERS ARE ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. PARAGRAPH M7003 3C, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE TRAVEL, PROVIDED THAT A MEMBER ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS WAS AUTHORIZED A MONETARY ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY DEPENDENTS BETWEEN A POINT IN THE UNITED STATES AND A POINT ON "THE ISLAND PORTION OF NEWFOUNDLAND" FOR THE OFFICIAL DISTANCE INVOLVED. NO ITEMS OF EXPENSE ARE REIMBURSABLE WHEN DEPENDENTS TRAVEL ON A MONETARY ALLOWANCE BASIS SINCE THE ALLOWANCE IS IN LIEU OF ALL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES FOR WHICH THE GOVERNMENT OTHERWISE WOULD BE OBLIGATED.

THE REGULATIONS ESTABLISHED MILEAGE FOR MEMBERS' TRAVEL AND MONETARY ALLOWANCE FOR DEPENDENTS' TRAVEL AS THE MAXIMUM AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION. NO PROVISION WAS MADE FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF ADDITIONAL EXPENSES THAT MAY HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY A MEMBER, WITH OR WITHOUT DEPENDENTS, EVEN THOUGH CAUSED BY UNFORESEEN OCCURRENCES THAT MAY HAVE RESULTED IN DELAY WITH INCREASED EXPENSES. SEE B-168021, DECEMBER 2, 1969.

ALTHOUGH IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT THE MEMBER INCURRED EXPENSES NOT NORMALLY ANTICIPATED WHILE TRAVELING WITH DEPENDENTS UNDER PERMANENT CHANGE-OF- STATION ORDERS, THESE EXPENSES ARE NOT LEGALLY REIMBURSABLE BY THE GOVERNMENT.

CONSEQUENTLY, NO AUTHORITY EXISTS FOR PAYMENT OF THE SUBJECT CLAIM. SEE, IN THIS CONNECTION, OUR DECISION OF TODAY IN B-180697. SINCE PAYMENT OF THE EXPENSES CLAIMED IS NOT AUTHORIZED THE VOUCHERS WILL BE RETAINED HERE.