B-36505, SEPTEMBER 16, 1943, 23 COMP. GEN. 197

B-36505: Sep 16, 1943

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SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS - FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WHERE OFFICIAL TRAVEL IS COMMENCED PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF A FISCAL YEAR AND COMPLETED AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF SUCH FISCAL YEAR. PER DIEM ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE ALLOWANCES ACCRUE. 943: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 16. -$86.50 THESE VOUCHERS WERE PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION SALARIES AND EXPENSES. THE SYNOPSIS OF WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS: "WHERE OFFICIAL TRAVEL COMMENCED PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF A FISCAL YEAR WAS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO APPROPRIATIONS FOR THAT YEAR. THE EXPENSE OF THE RETURN JOURNEY PERFORMED AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF SUCH FISCAL YEAR IS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION UNDER WHICH THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE JOURNEY WAS AUTHORIZED.'.

B-36505, SEPTEMBER 16, 1943, 23 COMP. GEN. 197

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS - FISCAL YEAR APPROPRIATION CHARGEABLE WHERE OFFICIAL TRAVEL IS COMMENCED PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF A FISCAL YEAR AND COMPLETED AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF SUCH FISCAL YEAR, PER DIEM ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ARE CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE ALLOWANCES ACCRUE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO W. P. HILLMAN, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, SEPTEMBER 16, 943:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 16, 1943, AS FOLLOWS:

AS CERTIFYING OFFICER, I RESPECTFULLY REQUEST RECONSIDERATION OF THE SETTLEMENT OF THE FOLLOWING VOUCHERS CERTIFIED BY ME AND PAID BY G. F. ALLEN, CHIEF DISBURSING OFFICER:

NO. 18-4429, THOMAS LOMMASSON, JUNE 2 TO JULY 2, 1941----$99.87

NO. 18-2252, RAYMOND M. WEST, JUNE 9 TO JULY 2, 1941-----$86.50

THESE VOUCHERS WERE PAID FROM THE APPROPRIATION SALARIES AND EXPENSES, FOREST SERVICE, 1941, NATIONAL FOREST PROTECTION AND MANAGEMENT, MISCELLANEOUS. THEY COVER TRAVELING EXPENSES IN JUNE AND ENDING ON JULY 2, 1941, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH 26 CD 86, THE SYNOPSIS OF WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

"WHERE OFFICIAL TRAVEL COMMENCED PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF A FISCAL YEAR WAS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO APPROPRIATIONS FOR THAT YEAR, THE EXPENSE OF THE RETURN JOURNEY PERFORMED AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF SUCH FISCAL YEAR IS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION UNDER WHICH THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE JOURNEY WAS AUTHORIZED.'

I APPROVED CHARGING THE ENTIRE AMOUNT OF EACH VOUCHER TO THE FOREST SERVICE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1941.

UPON AUDIT IN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE IN AUGUST 1942, $7.00 WAS SUSPENDED FROM MR. LOMMASSON'S ACCOUNT AND $5.00 FROM MR. WEST-S, THEIR PER DIEM FOR JULY 1 AND 2, FOR THE REASON THAT "THE APPROPRIATION " SALARIES AND EXPENSES, FOREST SERVICE, 1941" IS NOT AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES INCURRED DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1942.' UNDER DATE OF OCTOBER 3, 1942, I MADE THE FOLLOWING REPLY IN EACH CASE:

"THIS ACCOUNT WAS PASSED IN ACCORDANCE WITH 26 CD, PAGE 86,"TRAVELING EXPENSES COVERING PORTIONS OF TWO FISCAL YEARS.'"

THIS REPLY WAS NOT SATISFACTORY AND UNDER DATE OF DECEMBER 17, 1942, THE FOLLOWING WAS ECEIVED:

"REPLY DATED OCTOBER 3, 1942, NOTED.

"THE DECISION REPORTED IN 26 COMP. DEC. 86 MERELY AUTHORIZED THE CHARGE OF TRANSPORTATION TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE TRANSPORTATION WAS PROCURED. PER DIEM ALLOWANCES IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ARE PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE WAS INCURRED.'

SINCE THIS DID NOT AGREE WITH THE DECISION REFERRED TO AS I AND A NUMBER OF OTHERS UNDERSTOOD IT, THE FOLLOWING REPLY WAS MADE UNDER DATE OF JANUARY 26, 1943:

"BASED ON OTHER VOUCHERS OF THE SAME KIND SUSPENDED AND LATER PASSED AND CREDITED UPON REFERENCE TO 26 C.D. 86, THE SUSPENSION IS IN ERROR AND REPLY OF OCTOBER 3, 1942, IS CORRECT. THE DECISION IN REFERENCE DOES NOT LIMIT THE EXPENSES TO TRANSPORTATION BUT SPECIFICALLY REFERS TO ,EXPENSES OF * * * TRAVEL.' THIS INCLUDES PER DIEM OR SUBSISTENCE AS WELL AS TRANSPORTATION. I AM UNABLE TO FIND IN THE C.D.'S OR THE C.G.'S DECISIONS THAT "TRAVELING EXPENSES" ARE LIMITED TO ,TRANSPORTATION.' IT IS THEREFORE RESPECTFULLY RECOMMENDED THAT THE VOUCHER BE PASSED AS SUBMITTED.'

UNDER DATE OF JUNE 9, 1943, THE FOLLOWING REPLY WAS RECEIVED FROM THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING FFICE:

"REPLY DATED JANUARY 26, 1943, CITES THE DECISION, 26 COMP. DEC. 86 AS AUTHORITY FOR THE CHARGE AS STATED ON THE VOUCHER. THE APPROPRIATION SOUGHT TO BE CHARGED FOR PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN JULY 1941 WAS APPROPRIATED BY PUBLIC NO. 658 APPROVED JUNE 25, 1940 AND WAS MADE AVAILABLE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1941. IT HAS LONG BEEN THE ACCEPTED RULE OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT A CLAIM AGAINST AN ANNUAL APPROPRIATION IS CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR IN WHICH THE LIABILITY WAS INCURRED. 18 COMP. GEN. 363 AT PAGE 365. UNDER PARAGRAPH 44 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES IS HELD TO INCLUDE ALL CHARGES FOR MEALS, LODGINGS, TIPS, ETC.THE DECISION REPORTED IN 26 COMP. DEC. 86 DID NOT AUTHORIZE THE CHARGING OF MISCELLANEOUS TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND PER DIEM TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE TRANSPORTATION WAS PROCURED BUT CONTEMPLATED ONLY THE CHARGING OF THE COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION PROPER TO SAID APPROPRIATION.'

IT WAS UNDERSTOOD BY THIS OFFICE THAT THE CASE UNDER REVIEW IN DECISION 26 CD 86 WAS BASED ON ALL TRAVELING EXPENSES AND NOT ONLY TRANSPORTATION. A NUMBER OF VOUCHERS HAVE IN THE PAST BEEN PAID AND CHARGED AS WE UNDERSTOOD THAT DECISION. WHEN THAT DECISION WAS RENDERED THE PURCHASE OF ROUND-TRIP TICKETS WAS NOT A COMMON PRACTICE, THEREFORE IT IS BELIEVED THAT THE EXPRESSION "TRAVEL EXPENSES" USED IN THE BODY OF THE DECISION WAS NOT LIMITED TO TRANSPORTATION BUT TO SUBSISTENCE AS WELL AND THAT THE CHARGES TO THE APPROPRIATION SALARIES AND EXPENSES, FOREST SERVICE, 1941, WERE CORRECT AND SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO STAND.

WHILE THE AMOUNTS INVOLVED, $7.00 AND $5.00, RESPECTIVELY, MAY READILY BE TRANSFERRED FROM THE APPROPRIATION SALARIES AND EXPENSES, FOREST SERVICE, 1941, TO SALARIES AND EXPENSES, 1942, IN VIEW OF THE DIFFERENCES OF THE INTERPRETATION OF THE DECISION REFERRED TO YOUR RECONSIDERATION OF THE SETTLEMENT WILL BE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.

IN THE DECISION 26 COMP. DEC. 86, IT WAS HELD BY THE FORMER COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, QUOTING THE SYLLABUS:

WHERE OFFICIAL TRAVEL COMMENCED PRIOR TO THE EXPIRATION OF A FISCAL YEAR WAS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO APPROPRIATIONS FOR THAT YEAR, THE EXPENSE OF THE RETURN JOURNEY PERFORMED AFTER THE CONCLUSION OF SUCH FISCAL YEAR IS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO THE APPROPRIATION UNDER WHICH THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE JOURNEY WAS AUTHORIZED.

IT IS TRUE THAT THERE IS NOTHING STATED IN THE ABOVE DECISION REFERRING SPECIFICALLY TO SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES, THE REFERENCE BEING ONLY TO THE EXPENSES OF THE RETURN TRIP TO WASHINGTON. HOWEVER, WITH RESPECT TO SAID DECISION IT WAS SAID IN DECISION OF MAY 27, 1931, A 36450:

THE DECISION REPORTED IN 26 COMP. DEC. 86, CITED BY THE ASSISTANT COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS AND THE ASSISTANT SURGEON GENERAL AS AUTHORITY FOR THE POSITION TAKEN BY THEM IN THESE MATTERS DID NOT AUTHORIZE THE CHARGING OF MISCELLANEOUS TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND SUBSISTENCE AND PER DIEM CHARGES TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE TRANSPORTATION WAS PROCURED BUT CONTEMPLATED ONLY CHARGING OF THE COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION PROPER TO SAID APPROPRIATION. EXPENDITURES SUCH AS TIPS TO PORTERS, BAGGAGE TRANSFER AND CHECKING CHARGES, ETC., WHILE PROPERLY CLASSED AS ITEMS OF TRANSPORTATION, NEVERTHELESS SHOULD BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE EXPENDITURES ARE MADE. LIKEWISE, SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES AND PER DIEM ALLOWANCES SHOULD BE CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE EXPENDITURES ARE MADE OR THE ALLOWANCES ACCRUE.

* * * IN THIS CONNECTION IT MAY BE STATED THAT IT HAS BEEN FOUND EXPEDIENT IN THE INTEREST OF A UNIFORM AUDIT OF VOUCHERS COVERING REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES, EXCEPT IN CASES WHERE THE TRAVELER IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS--- AS TO WHICH SEE 9 COMP. GEN. 458--- TO PRESCRIBE DEFINITE RULES BASED ON A PROPER INTERPRETATION OF THE STATUTES AND DECISIONS RELATIVE THERETO, AS FOLLOWS:

1. TRANSPORTATION PROCURED AT THE END OF ONE FISCAL YEAR WILL BE ALLOWED AS A CHARGE TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR THAT YEAR EVEN THOUGH THE RETURN JOURNEY IS MADE IN THE SUCCEEDING YEAR.

2. TRANSPORTATION PROCURED EN ROUTE IS TO BE REGARDED AS A CHARGE TO THE TRANSPORTATION FOR THE YEAR IN WHICH THE OBLIGATION WAS INCURRED.

3. SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES, OR PER DIEM ALLOWANCES IN LIEU THEREOF, WILL BE CONSIDERED AS CHARGES TO THE APPROPRIATION CURRENT AT THE TIME THE EXPENSE WAS INCURRED. COMPARE ALSO 9 COMP. GEN. 458; 16 ID. 858; ID. 926, WITH RESPECT TO APPROPRIATIONS CHARGEABLE WITH PASSENGER TRANSPORTATION.

IN LINE WITH THE DECISION OF MAY 27, 1931, THE ACTION OF THIS OFFICE IN WITHHOLDING CREDIT ON THE TWO VOUCHERS REFERRED TO FOR THE PER DIEM CHARGES FOR JULY 1 AND 2, 1941, CHARGED TO THE APPROPRIATION FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1941 WAS CORRECT. ACCORDINGLY, PROPER ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN TO ADJUST THE APPROPRIATIONS INVOLVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE REQUEST IN NOTICE OF EXCEPTION DATED JUNE 9, 1943, AND THIS OFFICE NOTIFIED WHEN SUCH ACTION HAS BEEN TAKEN.