B-198341, APR 28, 1981

B-198341: Apr 28, 1981

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HIS ORDERS WERE MODIFIED PROSPECTIVELY TO AUTHORIZE COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT TRAVEL. THE REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL INCLUDING LEAVE IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF THE TRAVEL ON PUBLIC BUSINESS BETWEEN DUTY STATIONS VIA THE DIRECT ROUTE ON A CONSTRUCTIVE BASIS. USMC: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR ADVANCE DECISION BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER. COLONEL DOPLER WAS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL FROM HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION (ARLINGTON. HIS BASIC ORDERS WERE MODIFIED TO AUTHORIZE USE OF COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT IN LIEU OF GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT. THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY PERFORMED WAS FROM WASHINGTON. C. THE QUESTION ASKED IS WHETHER THE MEMBER MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE FROM HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION.

B-198341, APR 28, 1981

DIGEST: A SERVICE MEMBER RECEIVED ORDERS TO PERFORM ROUND-TRIP TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL VIA GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT. HIS ORDERS WERE MODIFIED PROSPECTIVELY TO AUTHORIZE COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT TRAVEL, CHANGE THE LENGTH OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY AND PERMIT THE TAKING OF LEAVE BEFORE AND AFTER THE PERFORMANCE OF PUBLIC BUSINESS. IN CONNECTION WITH HIS LEAVE HE TRAVELED TO HIS DUTY ASSIGNMENT VIA A CIRCUITOUS ROUTE. IT HAS LONG BEEN HELD THAT A MEMBER MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR ANY EXTRA EXPENSE OF TRAVEL FOR LEAVE PURPOSES. THE REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL INCLUDING LEAVE IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF THE TRAVEL ON PUBLIC BUSINESS BETWEEN DUTY STATIONS VIA THE DIRECT ROUTE ON A CONSTRUCTIVE BASIS. ON THAT BASIS THE MEMBER MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR HIS TRAVEL NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL VIA COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT VIA THE DIRECT ROUTE TO AND FROM HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION.

COLONEL JOHN R. DOPLER, USMC:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO A REQUEST FOR ADVANCE DECISION BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER, HEADQUARTERS BATTALION, HEADQUARTERS UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS, HENDERSON HALL, CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF MAKING PAYMENT ON A VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF COLONEL JOHN R. DOPLER, USMC, FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR TEMPORARY ADDITIONAL DUTY TRAVEL PERFORMED IN 1979. THE SUBMISSION HAS BEEN ASSIGNED CONTROL NO. 80-14 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE.

BY ORDERS DATED NOVEMBER 27, 1979, COLONEL DOPLER WAS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL FROM HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION (ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA), TO THE MARINE CORPS FINANCE CENTER, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, VIA GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT FOR 5 DAYS OF TEMPORARY DUTY AND RETURN, WITH A PROCEED DATE OF DECEMBER 3, 1979. ORDERS DATED NOVEMBER 28, 1979, HIS BASIC ORDERS WERE MODIFIED TO AUTHORIZE USE OF COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT IN LIEU OF GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT, DECREASE THE DAYS OF TEMPORARY DUTY FROM 5 TO 4 DAYS, AND AUTHORIZE HIM TO TAKE 6 DAYS OF LEAVE BEFORE AND AFTER HIS ASSIGNMENT, BUT AS PART OF HIS TRAVEL.

THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY PERFORMED WAS FROM WASHINGTON, D. C., TO STEUBENVILLE, OHIO (LEAVE POINT), TO PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA (LEAVE POINT), TO KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI (ASSIGNMENT POINT) AND RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D. C.

THE QUESTION ASKED IS WHETHER THE MEMBER MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED AT PERSONAL EXPENSE FROM HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION, TO SEVERAL LEAVE POINTS FROM WHICH HE DEPARTS ON TEMPORARY DUTY PROVIDED SUCH REIMBURSEMENT DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD HE PERFORMED THE ORDERED DIRECT ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL. THE QUESTION IS ANSWERED YES.

THE TRAVEL OF MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS GOVERNED BY 37 U.S.C. 404 (1976) WHICH AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCES TO MEMBERS WHILE TRAVELING AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARIES CONCERNED. IN LINE WITH SUCH STATUTORY AUTHORITY, PARAGRAPH M3050-1 OF VOLUME 1, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDES THAT MEMBERS ARE ENTITLED TO SUCH ALLOWANCES WHEN IN A "TRAVEL STATUS" AND THAT THEY SHALL BE DEEMED TO BE IN A TRAVEL STATUS ONLY WHILE TRAVELING ON PUBLIC BUSINESS, PURSUANT TO COMPETENT TRAVEL ORDERS, INCLUDING NECESSARY DELAYS EN ROUTE INCIDENT TO THE REQUIRED MODES OF TRAVEL.

PARAGRAPH M6454 OF THE SAME REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT EXPENSES INCURRED DURING PERIODS OF TRAVEL UNDER ORDERS WHICH DO NOT INVOLVE PUBLIC BUSINESS ARE NOT PAYABLE BY THE GOVERNMENT. THE WORDS "PUBLIC BUSINESS" AS USED IN THE REGULATIONS RELATE TO THE ACTIVITIES OR FUNCTIONS OF THE SERVICE TO WHICH THE TRAVELER IS ATTACHED. 55 COMP.GEN. 1332, 1334 (1976). WHEN A MEMBER PERFORMS CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL FOR HIS OWN PERSONAL CONVENIENCE, HIS REIMBURSEMENT IS ORDINARILY LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL BETWEEN HIS DUTY STATIONS VIA A DIRECT ROUTE. 47 COMP.GEN. 440 (1968); 53 COMP.GEN. 556 (1974); AND 54 COMP.GEN. 850 (1975).

IN THE PRESENT CASE, COLONEL DOPLER WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL TO HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION BY COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT AND TO MAKE LEAVE STOPOVERS EN ROUTE TO AND FROM THAT STATION. THEREFORE, HIS MAXIMUM PERMISSIBLE REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE FOR THE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL VIA COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT FROM ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, TO KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, AND RETURN.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER WHICH ACCOMPANIED THE SUBMISSION IS RETURNED TO THE DISBURSING OFFICER FOR PAYMENT, ON THIS BASIS, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.