B-33771, JUNE 5, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 1078

B-33771: Jun 5, 1943

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AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY MILITARY OR NAVAL PERSONNEL WHILE PERFORMING TRAVEL ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS FOR WHICH NO TRANSPORTATION FARE IS CHARGED. IS REQUIRED TO EMBARK ON A GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSEL PRIOR TO THE HOUR OR DATE OF ACTUAL DEPARTURE OF THE VESSEL. IS DETAINED ON THE VESSEL AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE POINT OF DEBARKATION. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH A LETTER FROM THE ASSISTANT FOR DISBURSING. THE SUGGESTION IS MADE THAT. UNDER EXISTING INSTRUCTIONS REIMBURSEMENT FOR MESS BILLS INCURRED BY OFFICERS IN A TRAVEL STATUS ABOARD A GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSEL IS AUTHORIZED ONLY FROM THE DATE AND HOUR OF SAILING TO THE DATE AND HOUR OF DEBARKATION.

B-33771, JUNE 5, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 1078

SUBSISTENCE - MESS BILLS OF MILITARY AND NAVAL OFFICERS TRAVELING ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS - DELAY IN DEPARTURE OR DEBARKATION UNDER THE ACT OF MAY 21, 1926, AND SECTION 12 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942, AUTHORIZING REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY MILITARY OR NAVAL PERSONNEL WHILE PERFORMING TRAVEL ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS FOR WHICH NO TRANSPORTATION FARE IS CHARGED, A MILITARY OR NAVAL OFFICER, TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS, WHO, FOR PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT, IS REQUIRED TO EMBARK ON A GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSEL PRIOR TO THE HOUR OR DATE OF ACTUAL DEPARTURE OF THE VESSEL, OR WHO, FOR THE SAME REASONS, IS DETAINED ON THE VESSEL AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE POINT OF DEBARKATION, MAY BE CONSIDERED AS "PERFORMING TRAVEL" DURING SUCH PERIODS OF DELAY SO AS TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR MESS BILLS INCURRED BY THE OFFICER DURING THE PERIODS OF DELAY.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, JUNE 5, 1943:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 9, 1943, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH A LETTER FROM THE ASSISTANT FOR DISBURSING, U.S.S. POCOMOKE, DATED JANUARY 24, 1943, WITH ACCOMPANYING CORRESPONDENCE, RELATIVE TO THE QUESTION OF REIMBURSEMENT OF OFFICERS FOR MESS BILLS INCURRED WHILE PERFORMING TRAVEL ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS.

IN THE LETTER FROM THE ASSISTANT FOR DISBURSING, U.S.S. POCOMOKE, THE SUGGESTION IS MADE THAT, FOR REASONS THEREIN STATED, ARTICLE 2501-2 (B) (1), U.S. NAVY TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS, BE AMENDED SO AS TO AUTHORIZE REIMBURSEMENT FOR MESS BILLS INCURRED BY OFFICERS IN A TRAVEL STATUS ABOARD A GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSEL FROM THE DATE AND HOUR OF EMBARKATION TO THE DATE AND HOUR OF DEBARKATION. UNDER EXISTING INSTRUCTIONS REIMBURSEMENT FOR MESS BILLS INCURRED BY OFFICERS IN A TRAVEL STATUS ABOARD A GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSEL IS AUTHORIZED ONLY FROM THE DATE AND HOUR OF SAILING TO THE DATE AND HOUR OF DEBARKATION.

PARTICULAR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE ENCLOSED FORWARDING ENDORSEMENT OF THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS, DATED MARCH 11, 1943, WHEREIN REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S DECISION OF NOVEMBER 2, 1942 (22 COMP. GEN. 427). THAT DECISION INVOLVED AN INTERPRETATION OF THE ACT OF JUNE 13, 1940 (54 STAT. 383; 34 U.S.C. 506), WITH REGARD TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE FROM WHICH COMPENSATION AT ACTUAL EMPLOYMENT RATES WAS AUTHORIZED TO BE PAID IN THE CASE OF NAVY DEPARTMENT EMPLOYEES APPOINTED FOR OVERSEAS DUTY, THE CITED ACT AUTHORIZING PAYMENTS, IN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, FROM THE "DATE OF SAILING.' IT WAS HELD IN THAT DECISION (SYLLABUS):

"UNDER THE ACT OF JUNE 13, 1940, AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION AT ACTUAL EMPLOYMENT RATES TO CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, APPOINTED FOR DUTY BEYOND THE CONTINENTAL LIMITS OF THE UNITED STATES, "FROM THE DATE OF THEIR SAILING" UNTIL THEY REPORT FOR DUTY OVERSEAS, AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE ALLOWED COMPENSATION FROM THE DATE OF EMBARKATION ON A VESSEL WHERE, AFTER HE IS REQUIRED FOR PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT TO EMBARK, THERE IS A DELAY IN SAILING BECAUSE OF PRESENT WAR CONDITIONS NECESSITATING SECRECY IN SHIP MOVEMENTS.'

IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOREGOING, YOUR DECISION IS REQUESTED ON THE QUESTION PRESENTED IN THE ENCLOSED ENDORSEMENT OF THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS, AS FOLLOWS:

MAY THE RULE ANNOUNCED IN THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S DECISION OF NOVEMBER 2, 1942 (22 COMP. GEN. 427), BE APPLIED IN THE SETTLEMENT OF MESS BILLS INCURRED BY NAVY PERSONNEL ORDERED TO TRAVEL VIA GOVERNMENT OWNED VESSELS?

IT WILL BE OBSERVED FROM THE ENCLOSED COMMUNICATION FROM THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS THAT UNDER DATE OF JUNE 3, 1941, IT WAS DIRECTED THAT ORDERS TO OFFICERS BE WORDED SO AS TO ENABLE THEM TO REPORT TO A NEW SHIP OR STATION AND STILL NOT DIVULGE THE LOCATION OF SHIPS OR TASK FORCES, AND FURTHER, THAT SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION CONSTITUTED THE INITIAL ADOPTION OF THE PRESENT NECESSARY PRACTICE OF CLOAKING THE MOVEMENT OF NAVAL VESSELS IN SECRECY. FOR THESE REASONS THE NAVY DEPARTMENT FURTHER REQUESTS THAT YOU AUTHORIZE APPLICATION OF THE RULE PRESCRIBED IN 22 COMP. GEN. 427 IN THE SETTLEMENT OF DISBURSING OFFICERS' ACCOUNTS FOR PERIODS FROM JUNE 3, 1941, TO DATE IN ORDER TO VALIDATE PAYMENTS HERETOFORE MADE ON THE SAME BASIS AS SUGGESTED ABOVE, WITH THE EXPRESS UNDERSTANDING THAT SUCH ACTION WILL NOT SERVE AS A BASIS FOR AN ADDITIONAL CLAIM BY OFFICERS WHO HAVE BEEN REIMBURSED FOR MESS BILLS, OR WHOSE MESS BILLS HAVE BEEN PAID DIRECT TO THE MESS, ON THE BASIS HERETOFORE ALLOWED.

THE NEXT TO LAST PARAGRAPH OF SECTION 12 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF JUNE 16, 1942, 56 STAT. 364, PUBLIC LAW 607, PROVIDES:

PERSONNEL OF ANY OF THE SERVICES MENTIONED IN THE TITLE OF THIS ACT PERFORMING TRAVEL ON GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS FOR WHICH NO TRANSPORTATION FARE IS CHARGED SHALL BE ENTITLED ONLY TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED.

PRIOR TO THE SAID PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942, THE ACT OF MAY 21, 1926, 44 STAT. 595, CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING SIMILAR PROVISION WITH RESPECT TO OFFICERS OF THE NAVY AND NAVAL RESERVE WHILE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS:

* * * AND HEREAFTER OFFICERS PERFORMING TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS FOR WHICH NO TRANSPORTATION FARE IS CHARGED, SHALL ONLY BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED * * * A SIMILAR RESTRICTION RESPECTING TRAVEL OF MARINE CORPS OFFICERS WAS INCLUDED IN THE SAME ACT, 44 STAT. 611.

ARTICLE 2501-2 (B) (1), NAVY TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS, AS AMENDED OCTOBER 1, 1942, WITH RESPECT TO THE EXPENSES THAT ARE REIMBURSABLE TO OFFICERS TRAVELING VIA GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSELS READS:

ON GOVERNMENT VESSELS FOR WHICH NO FARE IS CHARGED: ONLY ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED WHICH ARE REIMBURSABLE ( ACT OF MAY 21, 1926 (44 STAT. 611) APPENDIX B, AND COMP. GEN. A-14225, JUNE 22, 1926). OFFICERS IN A TRAVEL STATUS ABOARD NAVAL VESSELS WHO ARE ENTITLED TO SUBSISTENCE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO PAY MESS BILLS SUBJECT TO CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT. DISBURSING OFFICER ABOARD SHIP WILL SETTLE SUCH MESS BILLS. SEE ART. 2136-77, S. AND A. MANUAL)

SUCH AMENDED INSTRUCTION OMITS THE STATEMENT THERETOFORE INCLUDED THEREIN THAT---

* * * THIS AUTHORIZES MESS BILLS ONLY, FROM DATE AND HOUR OF SAILING TO DATE AND HOUR OF DEBARKATION; AND ON DATES OF SAILING AND DEBARKATION, FOR EACH MEAL AT ONE-THIRD THE DAILY RATE CHARGED BY THE MESS OF THE VESSEL.

WHERE IT IS NECESSARY FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE GOVERNMENT TO REQUIRE AN OFFICER TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS TO EMBARK ON A GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSEL PRIOR TO THE HOUR OR DATE OF ACTUAL DEPARTURE OF THE VESSEL, OR WHERE, FOR THE SAME REASONS, AN OFFICER IS DETAINED ON THE VESSEL AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE POINT OF DEBARKATION, SUCH PERIODS OF DELAY MAY BE CONSIDERED AS TIME DURING WHICH THE OFFICERS WERE "PERFORMING TRAVEL" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE QUOTED PROVISIONS OF THE SAID ACTS OF MAY 21, 1926, AND JUNE 16, 1942, AND WITHIN THE PRINCIPLES APPLIED IN THE DECISION OF NOVEMBER 2, 1942, 22 COMP. GEN. 427, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER. ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THIS OFFICE WILL NOT BE REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO PAYMENTS, OTHERWISE CORRECT, HERETOFORE OR HEREAFTER MADE ON THAT BASIS.