B-204744.OM, JUL 12, 1982

B-204744.OM: Jul 12, 1982

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CZARSTY: QUESTION THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR MEMORANDUM ASKING WHETHER AN APPROVING OFFICIAL CAN CHOOSE NOT TO AUTHORIZE AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRING TO OR FROM AN OVERSEAS LOCATION TO DRIVE HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE (POV) FROM HIS OLD DUTY STATION TO A PORT OF SHIPMENT. YOU INDICATE THAT THE DIRECTOR OF GAO'S INTERNATIONAL DIVISION APPEARS CONCERNED ABOUT THE NUMBER OF DAYS AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRING TO OR FROM AN OVERSEAS LOCATION IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR WORK BECAUSE HE IS DRIVING HIS POV CROSS-COUNTRY TO A PORT OF SHIPMENT. IF IT WILL RESULT IN AN ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT. ANALYSIS YOUR MEMORANDUM STATES THAT UNDER THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS THE AGENCY HEAD CONCERNED OR HIS DESIGNEE MAY DETERMINE THAT IT IS REASONABLE TO EXPECT THE EMPLOYEE TO DRIVE THE POV PART OF THE DISTANCE ALLOWED BETWEEN TRANSFER POINTS WHERE FEASIBLE.

B-204744.OM, JUL 12, 1982

SUBJECT: TRAVEL INCIDENT TO SHIPMENT OF A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE - B-204744 O.M.

AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, JUDITH B. CZARSTY:

QUESTION

THIS IS IN RESPONSE TO YOUR MEMORANDUM ASKING WHETHER AN APPROVING OFFICIAL CAN CHOOSE NOT TO AUTHORIZE AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRING TO OR FROM AN OVERSEAS LOCATION TO DRIVE HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE (POV) FROM HIS OLD DUTY STATION TO A PORT OF SHIPMENT. YOU INDICATE THAT THE DIRECTOR OF GAO'S INTERNATIONAL DIVISION APPEARS CONCERNED ABOUT THE NUMBER OF DAYS AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRING TO OR FROM AN OVERSEAS LOCATION IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR WORK BECAUSE HE IS DRIVING HIS POV CROSS-COUNTRY TO A PORT OF SHIPMENT, AS WHEN AN EMPLOYEE TRANSFERRING TO HONOLULU DRIVES HIS POV FROM HIS OLD DUTY STATION ON THE EAST COAST TO A PORT OF SHIPMENT ON THE WEST COAST. YOU ALSO ASK WHETHER, IF AN APPROVING OFFICIAL CAN CHOOSE NOT TO AUTHORIZE THE DRIVING OF A POV UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, IT WOULD BE INCUMBENT UPON THAT OFFICIAL TO PREPARE A COST COMPARISON TO SUBSTANTIATE THE DECISION.

ANSWER

THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FTR) PROVIDE THAT THE AGENCY MUST DETERMINE THE METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION TO BE USED BY THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY FOR TRAVEL TO THE NEW DUTY STATION. ALTHOUGH THE AGENCY MAY REQUIRE THE EMPLOYEE TO DRIVE HIS POV PART OR ALL OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW DUTY STATIONS, WE CONCLUDE THAT, IF IT WILL RESULT IN AN ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT, THE AGENCY HAS THE DISCRETION TO REQUIRE SHIPMENT OF THE POV FOR THE ENTIRE DISTANCE AND TO REQUIRE THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY TO TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER. THE DETERMINATION OF WHETHER TO SHIP THE POV OR DRIVE IT PART OF THE DISTANCE MUST BE BASED ON AN ANALYSIS OF A NUMBER OF FACTORS, INCLUDING COST, AND IT SHOULD BE THE SUBJECT OF AN ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION OR INSTRUCTION.

ANALYSIS

YOUR MEMORANDUM STATES THAT UNDER THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS THE AGENCY HEAD CONCERNED OR HIS DESIGNEE MAY DETERMINE THAT IT IS REASONABLE TO EXPECT THE EMPLOYEE TO DRIVE THE POV PART OF THE DISTANCE ALLOWED BETWEEN TRANSFER POINTS WHERE FEASIBLE. THE PROVISION YOU REFER TO IS PARAGRAPH 2-10.4C OF THE FTR. YOU CONCLUDE THAT IT APPEARS NOT TO INCLUDE A SEPARATE TRIP MADE BY THE EMPLOYEE TO DELIVER A VEHICLE TO PORT FOR SHIPPING, BUT YOU THEN POINT OUT THAT UNDER OUR DECISIONS, AN EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO ONE-WAY COSTS TO DRIVE HIS POV PROVIDED THE COST DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST OF SHIPPING THE POV TO THE PORT INVOLVED.

SECTION 5727(B) OF TITLE 5, U.S.C. PROVIDES THAT A POV MAY BE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO, FROM, AND BETWEEN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND A POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES WHEN THE EMPLOYEE IS ASSIGNED TO THE POST FOR OTHER THAN TEMPORARY DUTY, PROVIDED THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED DETERMINES THAT IT IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE EMPLOYEE TO HAVE THE USE OF A MOTOR VEHICLE AT THE POST OF DUTY. IMPLEMENTING THESE STATUTORY REQUIREMENTS, THE FTR PROVIDES IN PARAGRAPH 2-10.2C THAT AN EMPLOYEE'S POV MAY BE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ONLY IF THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR HIS DESIGNEE DETERMINES THAT IT IS IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR THE EMPLOYEE TO HAVE THE USE OF A POV AT HIS POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES. SINCE THAT DETERMINATION IS A MATTER OF AGENCY DISCRETION, AN APPROVING OFFICIAL COULD REFUSE TO AUTHORIZE TRANSPORTATION OF AN EMPLOYEE'S POV UPON A DETERMINATION THAT IT WOULD NOT BE IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST.

ONCE IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT THE EMPLOYEE'S POV SHALL BE TRANSPORTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, THE EMPLOYEE'S ENTITLEMENT TO TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IS GOVERNED BY THE FTR. PARAGRAPHS 2-2.1 AND 2-2.2 OF THE FTR PROVIDE THAT ALLOWANCES FOR TRANSPORTATION INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF DUTY STATION SHALL BE ALLOWED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF CHAPTER 1 OF THE FTR. PARAGRAPH 1 2.2B OF THE FTR PROVIDES THAT THE METHOD OF TRANSPORTATION CHOSEN FOR TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS MUST BE THAT WHICH WILL RESULT IN THE GREATEST ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT, COST AND OTHER FACTORS CONSIDERED. THIS REGULATION POINTS TO THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC FACTORS: ENERGY CONSERVATION; TOTAL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING THE COSTS OF PER DIEM, OVERTIME, LOST WORKTIME, AND ACTUAL TRANSPORTATION COSTS; TOTAL DISTANCE OF TRAVEL; THE NUMBER OF POINTS VISITED; AND THE NUMBER OF TRAVELERS.

PARAGRAPH 1-2.2C(3) OF THE FTR, DEALING SPECIFICALLY WITH POV TRAVEL, PROVIDES THAT THE USE OF A POV SHALL BE AUTHORIZED ONLY WHEN SUCH USE IS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. SUCH A DETERMINATION MUST BE PRECEDED BY A DETERMINATION THAT COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION OR GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED VEHICLE TRANSPORTATION IS NOT AVAILABLE OR WOULD NOT BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. SEE ALSO FTR PARA. 1-2.2C(1) AND (2). ONCE IT HAS BEEN DETERMINED THAT COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION OR GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED VEHICLE TRANSPORTATION IS NOT AVAILABLE OR ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, THEN USE OF A POV FOR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TRAVEL IS DEEMED TO BE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. SEE FTR PARA. 2-2.3A. WE NOTE THAT ONCE THE USE OF A POV FOR PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TRAVEL HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, FTR PARAGRAPH 2-2.3A PRECLUDES AN APPROVING OFFICIAL FROM CONCLUDING SUCH TRAVEL WAS NOT ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT SO AS TO LIMIT THE EMPLOYEE'S REIMBURSEMENT TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF COMMON CARRIER. B-168883, APRIL 15, 1970. THE EVENT AN EMPLOYEE USES A POV AS A MATTER OF PERSONAL PREFERENCE AND SUCH USE IS COMPATIBLE WITH THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS, SUCH USE MAY BE AUTHORIZED WITH REIMBURSEMENT LIMITED TO THAT PROVIDED IN FTR PARAGRAPH 1-2.2D.

ACCORDINGLY, WE BELIEVE THAT IT IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE AGENCY TO DETERMINE THE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS METHOD OF TRANSPORTING A POV INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF DUTY STATION. THIS DISCRETION IS NOT LIMITED BY FTR PARAGRAPH 2-10.4C WHICH PROVIDES THAT IF HARD-SURFACED, ALL WEATHER HIGHWAYS, INCLUDING FERRIES, ARE AVAILABLE FOR PART OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW DUTY STATIONS, THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE EXPECTED TO DRIVE THE POV FOR THAT DISTANCE. THIS LATTER REGULATION WOULD NOT PRECLUDE THE AGENCY FROM REQUIRING SHIPMENT OF THE POV FOR ALL OR PART OF THE DISTANCE BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW DUTY STATIONS.

WE BELIEVE THE DETERMINATION WHETHER OR NOT TO AUTHORIZE AN EMPLOYEE TO DRIVE HIS POV CROSS-COUNTRY SHOULD BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF EITHER A GAO REGULATION OR INTERNATIONAL DIVISION INSTRUCTION OR REGULATION WHICH SETS FORTH THE CONSIDERATIONS LISTED IN FTR PARAGRAPH 1-2.2B. FOR EXAMPLE, WE NOTE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE LIMITS TRANSPORTATION OF A POV TO OVERWATER MOVEMENT BETWEEN "APPROPRIATE" PORTS AND PRECLUDES SHIPMENT OF THE POV AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BETWEEN CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES PORTS FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE TRAVELER. 2 JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PARA. C11004.2.A.