B-284, JUNE 24, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 971

B-284: Jun 24, 1939

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SINCE REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSE OF THE TRAVEL IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL OVER THE DIRECT ROUTE. ANY ADDITIONAL EXPENSE INCURRED BY THE FAMILY WHILE ACCOMPANYING THE OFFICER ON TEMPORARY DETAIL INVOLVING CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL IS A MATTER OF PERSONAL EXPENSE AND MAY NOT BE CHARGED TO APPROPRIATED FUNDS. 1939: THERE WAS RECEIVED A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE CHIEF DIVISION OF ACCOUNTS. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO TWO NOTICES OF EXCEPTION DATED FEBRUARY 8. THAT SUSPENSIONS HAVE BEEN MADE IN HIS NOVEMBER 1937 ACCOUNTS AS FOLLOWS: TABLE VOUCHER NO. 1 . SINCE IT NOW APPEARS THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO USE THE DELTA LINE VIA NEW ORLEANS. THE DEPARTMENT WILL HEREAFTER REQUIRE THAT SIMILAR TRAVEL BE PERFORMED BY THAT ROUTE.

B-284, JUNE 24, 1939, 18 COMP. GEN. 971

TRAVELING EXPENSES - CIRCUITOUS ROUTES - TRAVEL VIA PORT OF NEW ORLEANS OR NEW YORK ALTHOUGH, UPON CHANGE OF STATION, A FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER'S DEPENDENTS MAY PRECEDE, ACCOMPANY, OR FOLLOW HIM TO THE NEW POST, SINCE REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSE OF THE TRAVEL IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL OVER THE DIRECT ROUTE, ANY ADDITIONAL EXPENSE INCURRED BY THE FAMILY WHILE ACCOMPANYING THE OFFICER ON TEMPORARY DETAIL INVOLVING CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL IS A MATTER OF PERSONAL EXPENSE AND MAY NOT BE CHARGED TO APPROPRIATED FUNDS. TRAVEL VIA NEW ORLEANS, LA., ON VESSELS OF THE DELTA LINE OFFICIALLY CLASSIFIED AS PASSENGER VESSELS, AND INVOLVING A MORE DIRECT AND ECONOMICAL ROUTE, MUST BE CONSIDERED AS THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BETWEEN SANTOS, BRAZIL, AND NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO, WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE APPLICABLE STATE DEPARTMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, RATHER THAN THE ROUTE VIA NEW YORK CITY.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL BROWN TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE, JUNE 24, 1939:

THERE WAS RECEIVED A LETTER ADDRESSED TO THIS OFFICE BY THE CHIEF DIVISION OF ACCOUNTS, DEPARTMENT OF STATE, UNDER DATE OF MARCH 3, 1939, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO TWO NOTICES OF EXCEPTION DATED FEBRUARY 8, 1939, INFORMING ODIN G. LOREN, FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER AT NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO, THAT SUSPENSIONS HAVE BEEN MADE IN HIS NOVEMBER 1937 ACCOUNTS AS FOLLOWS:

TABLE

VOUCHER NO. 1 --------------------------------------------- $199.23

VOUCHER NO. 2 --------------------------------------------- 25.00

BOTH OF THESE SUSPENSIONS RELATE TO TRAVELING EXPENSES OF MR. LOREN'S FAMILY IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR JOURNEY FROM SANTOS, BRAZIL, TO NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO, VIA NEW YORK, INSTEAD OF VIA A VESSEL OF THE DELTA LINE TO NEW ORLEANS AND THENCE TO NUEVO LAREDO.

IT HAS HERETOFORE NOT BEEN THE PRACTICE OF THE DEPARTMENT TO REQUIRE TRAVEL OR TO ISSUE TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN SOUTH AMERICAN PORTS AND MEXICO VIA NEW ORLEANS. ALSO, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THIS REQUIREMENT HAS HERETOFORE BEEN APPLIED TO THE SETTLEMENT OF TRAVEL ACCOUNTS OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE. SINCE IT NOW APPEARS THAT IT IS NECESSARY TO USE THE DELTA LINE VIA NEW ORLEANS, THE DEPARTMENT WILL HEREAFTER REQUIRE THAT SIMILAR TRAVEL BE PERFORMED BY THAT ROUTE; AND IN VIEW OF THE PRACTICE OF LONG STANDING IN PERMITTING TRAVEL BY WAY OF NEW YORK, IT WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED IF TRAVEL VIA NEW YORK BE ALLOWED IN THIS INSTANCE, THUS GIVING THE DEPARTMENT SUFFICIENT TIME TO EFFECT THE NECESSARY CHANGE IN PROCEDURE TO REQUIRE THAT TRAVEL SIMILAR TO THAT UNDER REFERENCE BE VIA NEW ORLEANS ON THE DELTA LINE.

WHILE REQUESTS FOR REVIEW OF EXCEPTIONS OR DISALLOWANCES MADE IN THE SETTLEMENT OF A DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNT ORDINARILY ARE NOT FOR CONSIDERATION BY THIS OFFICE UNLESS SUBMITTED BY THE DISBURSING OFFICER WHOSE ACCOUNTS ARE INVOLVED, SINCE THE ABOVE-QUOTED LETTER INDICATES A MISUNDERSTANDING AS TO THE EFFECT OF THE DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE IN THE MATTER AND INVOLVES WHAT APPEARS TO BE AN ERRONEOUS ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE, THE SOURCE OF THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW WILL NOT BE FURTHER QUESTIONED IN THIS INSTANCE.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER ODIN G. LOREN WAS REQUIRED TO TRAVEL FROM RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL, TO NUEVO LAREDO, MEXICO, UPON CHANGE OF STATION WITH ORDERS TO PROCEED VIA WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONSULTATION IN THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND THAT HE WAS ACCOMPANIED BY HIS DEPENDENTS IN PROCEEDING VIA NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON, THEREBY INCURRING AN EXPENSE OF $1,333.41 FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS FAMILY; WHEREAS, IT APPEARS THEY COULD HAVE TRAVELED FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW POST VIA NEW ORLEANS USING THE S.S. DELSUD OF THE DELTA LINE FOR SEA TRAVEL AT A COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF $1,134.18. THE LETTER, SUPRA, STATES THAT THE REQUIREMENT AS TO USE OF THE MOST ECONOMICAL ROUTE HAS NOT HERETOFORE BEEN APPLIED TO THE SETTLEMENT OF TRAVEL ACCOUNTS OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE AND THAT, IN VIEW OF THE PRACTICE OF LONG STANDING, THE APPLICATION OF SUCH REQUIREMENT WILL NECESSITATE A CHANGE IN PROCEDURE TO REQUIRE TRAVEL VIA THAT ROUTE.

NOTE 1, REVISED SUPPLEMENT TO STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, DATED OCTOBER 15, 1937, PROVIDES:

FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES TRAVELING AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ARE EXPECTED TO USE EVERY EFFORT TO EXPEDITE JOURNEYS AND TO OCCUPY ONLY AS SHORT A TIME IN TRANSIT AS CONDITIONS PERMIT. WHEN ANY TRAVEL EXPENSES ARE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT EVERY POSSIBLE CARE SHOULD BE TAKEN TO ASSURE THAT TICKETS ARE PURCHASED THE MOST ECONOMICAL WAY, KEEPING IN MIND THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 901, MERCHANT MARINE ACT, 1936, AND THAT ALL EXPENDITURES ARE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH EXISTING LAWS AND REGULATIONS.

SEE ALSO PARAGRAPH 9, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

UPON CHANGE OF STATION, THE OFFICER'S DEPENDENTS MAY PRECEDE, ACCOMPANY, OR FOLLOW HIM TO THE NEW POST, BUT REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSE OF THE TRAVEL IS LIMITED TO THE COST OF TRAVEL OVER THE DIRECT ROUTE. SHOULD THE FAMILY OF THE OFFICER ACCOMPANY HIM WHILE ON TEMPORARY DETAIL INVOLVING CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL, THE ADDITIONAL TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES SO INCURRED BY THE FAMILY MAY NOT BE CHARGED TO APPROPRIATED FUNDS. COMP. GEN. 453; A-88104, AUGUST 7, 1937.

SUCH VESSELS OF THE DELTA LINE AS ARE OFFICIALLY CLASSIFIED BY THE AMERICAN BUREAU OF SHIPPING AS PASSENGER VESSELS APPEAR FULLY EQUIPPED AND SAFE FOR THE PURPOSE AND AFFORD REASONABLE COMFORT TO THE TRAVELER. TRAVEL BY THESE VESSELS IS MORE DIRECT AND ECONOMICAL THAN THAT VIA ANY OTHER AVAILABLE ROUTE, THE AVAILABILITY OF SUCH VESSELS MUST, WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE REGULATIONS, SUPRA, BE CONSIDERED AS ESTABLISHING THE SHORTEST USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE BETWEEN THE POINTS INVOLVED. INASMUCH AS THE AUDIT ACTION IS BASED UPON A RULE LONG ESTABLISHED, NO REASON APPEARS FROM THE PRESENT RECORD JUSTIFYING OR NECESSITATING ANY EXCEPTION IN THIS CASE TO SAID RULE. THE DISALLOWANCE IS SUSTAINED.