B-181181, JAN 27, 1975, 54 COMP GEN 620

B-181181: Jan 27, 1975

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MILEAGE - MILITARY PERSONNEL - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - RECRUITERS - AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COVERAGE ALTHOUGH UNDER 37 U.S.C. 428 AND 1 JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PARAGRAPH M5600 A MEMBER OF ARMED SERVICES WHOSE PRIMARY ASSIGNMENT IS TO PERFORM RECRUITING DUTY MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH PERFORMANCE OF THOSE DUTIES. RECRUITER IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT BY GOVERNMENT FOR INCREASED COST OF EXTENDED INSURANCE COVERAGE INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN PERFORMANCE OF DUTIES WHERE A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE IS AUTHORIZED INCIDENT TO SUCH DUTIES SINCE SUCH ALLOWANCE IS A COMMUTATION OF THE EXPENSE OF OPERATING AN AUTOMOBILE INCLUDING THE COST OF INSURANCE.

B-181181, JAN 27, 1975, 54 COMP GEN 620

MILEAGE - MILITARY PERSONNEL - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - RECRUITERS - AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COVERAGE ALTHOUGH UNDER 37 U.S.C. 428 AND 1 JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PARAGRAPH M5600 A MEMBER OF ARMED SERVICES WHOSE PRIMARY ASSIGNMENT IS TO PERFORM RECRUITING DUTY MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH PERFORMANCE OF THOSE DUTIES, RECRUITER IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT BY GOVERNMENT FOR INCREASED COST OF EXTENDED INSURANCE COVERAGE INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN PERFORMANCE OF DUTIES WHERE A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE IS AUTHORIZED INCIDENT TO SUCH DUTIES SINCE SUCH ALLOWANCE IS A COMMUTATION OF THE EXPENSE OF OPERATING AN AUTOMOBILE INCLUDING THE COST OF INSURANCE.

IN THE MATTER OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR RECRUITERS, JANUARY 27, 1975:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO LETTER DATED APRIL 15, 1974, FROM THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, MANPOWER AND RESERVE AFFAIRS, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION CONCERNING REIMBURSING ARMED FORCES RECRUITERS FOR INCREASED INSURANCE COSTS THEY MAY INCUR AS A RESULT OF USING THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES IN THE CONDUCT OF THEIR RECRUITING DUTIES. THE REQUEST WAS ASSIGNED CONTROL NUMBER 74-17 AND FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE LETTER DATED APRIL 18, 1974.

THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER INDICATES THAT FREQUENTLY, DUE TO THE SHORTAGE OR NONAVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT MOTOR VEHICLES, MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES WHOSE PRIMARY ASSIGNMENT IS TO PERFORM RECRUITING DUTY ARE AUTHORIZED TO USE THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL IN THE CONDUCT OF THEIR DUTIES. INCIDENT TO SUCH TRAVEL AND DUTY THE MEMBERS ARE ENTITLED TO MILEAGE ALLOWANCE AND REIMBURSEMENT FOR VARIOUS ACTUAL NECESSARY EXPENSES.

THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY FURTHER INDICATES THAT A RECRUITER'S AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY WOULD, IN ALL LIKELIHOOD, DENY LIABILITY FOR DAMAGES RESULTING FROM AN ACCIDENT OCCURRING WHILE THE RECRUITER WAS ACTING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, UNLESS THE RECRUITER HAD PREVIOUSLY NOTIFIED HIS INSURANCE COMPANY THAT HE WAS USING HIS AUTOMOBILE FOR BUSINESS PURPOSES. APPARENTLY, INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR SUCH "BUSINESS" USE OF THEIR AUTOMOBILES WILL RESULT IN INCREASED INSURANCE PREMIUMS FOR RECRUITERS WHICH, THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY INDICATES, WILL MAKE RECRUITERS RELUCTANT TO USE THEIR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES IN CARRYING OUT THEIR DUTIES.

THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY POINTS OUT THAT 37 U.S.C. 428 (SUPP. II, 1972) AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT OF RECRUITERS FOR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH RECRUITING DUTIES. HE ALSO NOTES THAT THE IMPLEMENTING REGULATIONS (1 JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (1 JTR), PARAS. M5600-M5603), WHILE AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT FOR VARIOUS EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO RECRUITING DUTY, DO NOT SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR INSURANCE. THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY STATES THAT IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY IS SUFFICIENTLY BROAD IN SCOPE THAT SUCH AN EXPENSE WOULD BE WITHIN THE INTENT OF THE LEGISLATION. HOWEVER, HE INDICATES THAT IT IS NOT FREE FROM DOUBT THAT SUCH AN EXPENSE IS "NECESSARY" WITHIN THE MEANING OF 37 U.S.C. 428. ACCORDINGLY, HE ASKS "WHETHER THE INCREASED COST OF INSURANCE TO OBTAIN PROPER COVERAGE INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF A RECRUITER'S PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN THE CONDUCT OF HIS DUTIES WOULD BE PROPERLY REIMBURSABLE."

SECTION 428 OF TITLE 37, U.S. CODE, WHICH WAS ADDED BY THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1971, TITLE II, SECTION 205(A), PUBLIC LAW 92-129, 85 STAT. 348, 359, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

IN ADDITION TO OTHER PAY OR ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED BY LAW, AND UNDER UNIFORM REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED, A MEMBER WHO IS ASSIGNED TO RECRUITING DUTIES FOR HIS ARMED FORCE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH THOSE DUTIES.

THE PURPOSE OF THAT PROVISION OF LAW IS STATED TO BE AS FOLLOWS IN A LETTER DATED JANUARY 29, 1971, FROM THE DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE, PROPOSING ITS ENACTMENT:

THE PURPOSE OF THE PROPOSED LEGISLATION IS TO PROVIDE REIMBURSEMENT TO MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES ON RECRUITING DUTY FOR ACTUAL AND NECESSARY OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES INCURRED BY THEM INCIDENT TO THEIR RECRUITING DUTIES.

IN RECRUITING WORK, PERSONNEL ON RECRUITING DUTY MUST PROJECT THEMSELVES AS BEING WILLING TO DISCUSS THEIR SERVICE'S SELLING QUALITIES WITH ANY INTERESTED PARTY AT ALMOST ANY HOUR. CONSEQUENTLY, LUNCHEONS, SNACKS, COFFEE, AND EVEN DINNER ENGAGEMENTS WITH PROSPECTS OR THEIR FAMILIES ARE NOT UNUSUAL. PARKING FEES WHILE AT ITINERARY STOPS, TELEPHONE CALLS WHILE WORKING AWAY FROM THE OFFICE, PURCHASE OF PHOTOSTATIC COPIES OF VITAL DOCUMENTS FOR PROSPECTIVE RECRUITS AND CANDIDATES, AND OTHER SMALL BUT NECESSARY EXPENDITURES ARE COSTS THAT THE SERVICEMAN MUST PAY FROM HIS OWN POCKET.

ALL OF THE ABOVE ITEMS OF EXPENSE REPRESENT COSTS INCURRED IN THE RECRUITMENT OF PERSONNEL FOR THE ARMED FORCES. NONE OF THESE COSTS ARE BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR WHOSE BENEFIT THEY ARE INCURRED. MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES ASSIGNED TO RECRUITING DUTY FIND THEMSELVES OBLIGED TO BEAR THESE COSTS OUT OF THEIR OWN POCKETS IN ORDER TO DO THE MOST EFFECTIVE JOB OF RECRUITING PERSONNEL FOR THE ARMED FORCES. THE MEMBERS RECEIVE NO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THESE OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSES. ENACTMENT OF THIS LEGISLATION WOULD ASSIST THE MEMBER IN MEETING COSTS HE INCURS IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS RECRUITING DUTIES AND WOULD, THEREFORE, CONTRIBUTE SUBSTANTIALLY TO THE TOTAL RECRUITMENT EFFORT.

SEE SENATE REPORT NO. 92-93, 92D CONG., 1ST SESS., MAY 5, 1971, WHICH ACCOMPANIED H.R. 6531 IN THE SENATE, THE BILL WHICH EVENTUALLY BECAME PUBLIC LAW 92-129.

PURSUANT TO 37 U.S.C. 428 AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS LEGISLATIVE HISTORY 1 JTR PARA. M5600 AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT TO RECRUITERS FOR SNACKS, NONALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, AND OCCASIONAL LUNCHES AND DINNERS PURCHASED FOR PROSPECTIVE RECRUITS, CANDIDATES AND CERTAIN OTHERS; PARKING FEES INCURRED AT ITINERARY STOPS; OFFICIAL TELEPHONE CALLS; PURCHASE OF PHOTOGRAPHIC COPIES OF VITAL DOCUMENTS FOR PROSPECTIVE RECRUITS AND CANDIDATES; AND OTHER SMALL BUT NECESSARY EXPENDITURES RELATED TO RECRUITING DUTY THAT THE MEMBER MUST PAY FROM PERSONAL FUNDS. IN ADDITION PARAGRAPH M5600 SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT REIMBURSEMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED FOR EXPENSES "COVERED BY OTHER REGULATIONS OR ELSEWHERE IN THIS VOLUME (E.G., TEMPORARY DUTY AND LOCAL TRAVEL EXPENSES ***)."

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF 37 U.S.C. 404 AND 408 (1970), MILEAGE RATES ARE PROVIDED FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES. SEE JTR PARAS. M4203, M4414, AND M4502-1. IN THIS REGARD, THIS OFFICE HAS LONG HELD THAT A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS A COMMUTATION OF ALL THE EXPENSES OF OPERATING SUCH AUTOMOBILE AND PRECLUDES REIMBURSEMENT IN ADDITION THERETO FOR ANY ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED UNLESS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED BY LAW. SEE 7 COMP. GEN. 284 (1927), 21 ID. 507 (1941), 41 ID. 637 (1962), AND B 174669, FEBRUARY 8, 1972. SINCE THE COST OF AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE, LIKE THE COST OF FUEL, OIL, REPAIRS AND DEPRECIATION, IS ONE OF THE EXPENSES OF OPERATING AN AUTOMOBILE, WHICH EXPENSE IS REIMBURSED TO THE MEMBER THROUGH THE MILEAGE ALLOWANCE, THE COST OF ADDITIONAL INSURANCE IS IN FACT REIMBURSED IN THE MILEAGE RATE PAID AND MAY NOT ALSO BE REIMBURSED AS AN OUT-OF-POCKET EXPENSE UNDER 37 U.S.C. 428.

ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTING ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE.