B-39503, FEBRUARY 2, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 562

B-39503: Feb 2, 1944

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION - SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS THE FACT THAT IT WAS NECESSARY THAT A PARTICULAR OFFICIAL TRAVELER WORK ON SECRET AND CONFIDENTIAL FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS AND SCHEDULES PERTAINING TO SHIP CONSTRUCTION COSTS WHILE EN ROUTE TO AND FROM A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE NONAPPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3. THE FACT THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO WAS ORDERED ON A FEW HOURS NOTICE TO LEAVE HIS HEADQUARTERS. 1944: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 15. 1944 (YOUR FILE A5 (RCA ( KRME) ( AS FOLLOWS: ATTACHED IS A VOUCHER PRESENTED TO ME FOR CERTIFICATION IN FAVOR OF WILLIAM H. NO PORTION OF THE EXPENSE INCURRED BY THE TRAVELER HAS BEEN REIMBURSED SINCE IT IS HIS DESIRE THAT A DECISION BE RENDERED BY YOUR OFFICE BEFORE ANY DEDUCTIONS ARE MADE FROM THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER.

B-39503, FEBRUARY 2, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 562

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION - SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS THE FACT THAT IT WAS NECESSARY THAT A PARTICULAR OFFICIAL TRAVELER WORK ON SECRET AND CONFIDENTIAL FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS AND SCHEDULES PERTAINING TO SHIP CONSTRUCTION COSTS WHILE EN ROUTE TO AND FROM A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE NONAPPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, LIMITING TRAVEL ALLOWANCE ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS TO ,THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED," AND, THEREFORE, AN EMPLOYEE WHO PROCURES A PULLMAN BEDROOM ACCOMMODATION UNDER SUCH CONDITIONS MAY NOT BE ALLOWED THE EXCESS COST FOR THE USE OF SUCH SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATION. THE FACT THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO WAS ORDERED ON A FEW HOURS NOTICE TO LEAVE HIS HEADQUARTERS, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, AND REPORT TO WASHINGTON, D.C., FOR A CONFERENCE AT A CERTAIN TIME ON A PARTICULAR DATE COULD OBTAIN ONLY A PULLMAN BEDROOM ACCOMMODATION ON THE TRAIN WHICH WOULD PLACE HIM IN WASHINGTON IN TIME FOR THE CONFERENCE DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE NONAPPLICATION OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, LIMITING TRAVEL ALLOWANCE ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS TO ,THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED," SO AS TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF THE EXCESS COST FOR THE USE OF SUCH SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATION.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO R. M. KRAMER, UNITED STATES MARITIME COMMISSION, FEBRUARY 2, 1944:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 15, 1944 (YOUR FILE A5 (RCA ( KRME) ( AS FOLLOWS:

ATTACHED IS A VOUCHER PRESENTED TO ME FOR CERTIFICATION IN FAVOR OF WILLIAM H. QUARG IN THE AMOUNT OF $104.50, COVERING TRAVEL PERFORMED BY HIM DURING THE PERIOD JUNE 8, 1943, TO JUNE 25, 1943. THIS VOUCHER INCLUDES A REQUEST FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR CERTAIN EXPENDITURES FOR RAILWAY ACCOMMODATIONS SUPERIOR TO MINIMUM FIRST CLASS RATES INCURRED UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND HIS CONTROL. NO PORTION OF THE EXPENSE INCURRED BY THE TRAVELER HAS BEEN REIMBURSED SINCE IT IS HIS DESIRE THAT A DECISION BE RENDERED BY YOUR OFFICE BEFORE ANY DEDUCTIONS ARE MADE FROM THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER.

THE VOUCHER CONTAINS A COMPLETE STATEMENT AS TO THE CONDITIONS WHICH RESULTED IN THE NECESSITY FOR SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS. SUBSTANTIATING STATEMENTS SIGNED BY J. A. HONSICK, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF FINANCE, U.S. MARITIME COMMISSION ARE ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER. THESE INCLUDE A TELEGRAM DATED JUNE 8, 1943, ADDRESSED TO THE TRAVELER, AN INTEROFFICE MEMORANDUM TO THE CHIEF, ADMINISTRATIVE SECTION DATED JULY 8, 1943, AND A LETTER TO THE TRAVELER DATED JULY 20, 1943, FILE NO. 20-1.

THIS OFFICE IS FAMILIAR WITH THE CONTENTS OF YOUR LETTERS B-35167 DATED JULY 7, 1943, B-35013 DATED JUNE 22, 1943, AND B-34185 DATED JUNE 16, 1943, COVERING CERTAIN OF THE DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED BY TRAVELERS UNDER WAR CONDITIONS. HOWEVER, THIS TRAVELER, MR. W. H. QUARG, REGIONAL CONSTRUCTION AUDITOR, DIVISION OF FINANCE, WEST COAST REGION, U.S. MARITIME COMMISSION, OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA, CLAIMS THAT THESE DECISIONS ARE NOT EXACTLY ANALOGOUS TO THE CONDITIONS PREVAILING IN HIS CASE.

A SUMMARY OF THE CONDITIONS UNDER WHICH MR. QUARG IS BASING HIS CLAIM WOULD BE AS FOLLOWS:

(1) HE WAS ORDERED ON A FEW HOURS NOTICE BY HIS OFFICIAL SUPERIOR TO LEAVE HIS DUTY STATION BY TRAIN ON JUNE 8, 1943 AND ARRIVE IN WASHINGTON FOR A CONFERENCE ON THE MORNING OF JUNE 11, 1943.

(2) THE TRAIN SCHEDULES OF EVERY TRAIN ON EVERY RAILROAD LEAVING FROM THE WEST COAST WITH CONNECTIONS TO WASHINGTON, D.C., WAS CAREFULLY CHECKED. THE ONLY TRAIN WHICH WOULD REACH THE DESTINATION BY THE MORNING OF JUNE 11TH WAS THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC COMPANY," CITY OF SAN FRANCISCO" LEAVING SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA AT 4:30 P.M. ON JUNE 8TH, CONNECTING AT CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, WITH THE PENNSYLVANIA RAILROAD " LIBERTY LIMITED" ARRIVING IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AT 8:55 A.M. ON JUNE 11, 1943.

(3) DUE TO THE SHORTNESS OF TIME, THE MILITARY BUREAU WAS UNABLE TO SECURE ANY RESERVATION LOWER THAN A BEDROOM AND THERE WERE NO CANCELLATIONS OF ANY LOWER ACCOMMODATIONS UP TO THE HOUR OF DEPARTURE. THE BEDROOM WAS SECURED AND LIMITED TO SINGLE OCCUPANCY FOR THE REASONS ENUMERATED BELOW.

(4) IN ANY EVENT, AN ACCOMMODATION SUPERIOR TO A LOWER BERTH, SUCH AS A ROOMETTE, WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED SINCE IT WAS NECESSARY TO WORK ON SCHEDULES AND CONFIDENTIAL FINANCIAL DOCUMENTS ON SHIP CONSTRUCTION COSTS IN THE WEST COAST REGION. THESE RECORDS CONTAINED UNPUBLISHED INFORMATION, THE SECRECY OF WHICH WAS VITAL TO NATIONAL SECURITY.

(5) THE RETURN TRIP WAS ALSO MADE UNDER THE SAME CONDITIONS AND IT WAS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL THAT THE TRAVELER ARRIVE AT HIS DUTY STATION ON THE MORNING OF JUNE 25, 1943, TO MEET WITH A GROUP OF MARITIME COMMISSION OFFICIALS SENT TO THE WEST COAST TO INVESTIGATE CERTAIN URGENT MATTERS REVEALED IN CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON.

(6) THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT THE USE OF EXTRA-FARE TRAINS SINCE THIS ITEM IS PROPERLY AUTHORIZED AND APPROVED.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES AS OUTLINED CAN I PROPERLY CERTIFY THE TRAVELER'S VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT CLAIMED.

IN DECISION OF JULY 7, 1943, 23 COMP. GEN. 9, IT WAS HELD AS FOLLOWS (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

THE GENERAL UNSATISFACTORY CONDITIONS OF TRAVEL FOR CIVILIANS DUE TO WAR EMERGENCY DO NOT JUSTIFY NONAPPLICATION OF PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, LIMITING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS TO "THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED," SO THAT EVEN THOUGH A ROOMETTE IS THE ONLY FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION AVAILABLE TO A PARTICULAR EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME HE APPLIES FOR TRANSPORTATION, THE EXCESS COST THEREOF OVER THE COST OF A LOWER BERTH MAY NOT BE ALLOWED, NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT THE DELAY IN AWAITING THE AVAILABILITY OF STANDARD PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS WOULD RESULT IN THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN EXCESS OF THE ADDITIONAL TRANSPORTATION COST. COMPARE 22 COMP. GEN. 1122. ALSO, SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 290, WHEREIN THE SAME RULE WAS APPLIED TO THE TRAVEL OF HONORABLE GEORGE F. ALEXANDER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE, DISTRICT OF ALASKA.

ALL OF THE CONDITIONS STATED IN THE NUMBERED PARAGRAPHS OF THE SUMMARY SET OUT IN YOUR LETTER, EXCEPT PARAGRAPHS NUMBERED 4 AND 6, APPEAR TO INVOLVE GENERAL UNSATISFACTORY TRANSPORTATION CONDITIONS CAUSED BY THE WAR. UNDER THE RULE STATED IN THE DECISIONS, SUPRA, SAID CONDITIONS WOULD NOT CONSTITUTE GROUNDS FOR ALLOWING REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF A ROOMETTE OR OTHER SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS.

WITH REFERENCE TO PARAGRAPH NUMBER 4, YOUR ATTENTION IS INVITED TO DECISION OF APRIL 27, 1936, 15 COMP. GEN. 942, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD AS FOLLOWS (QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS):

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR INCREASING THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF TRANSPORTING A NAVAL OFFICER ON CHANGE OF STATION IN EXCESS OF THE RATE FIXED BY LAW MERELY BECAUSE HE ACTED AS A COURIER IN THE DELIVERY OF SECRET DOCUMENTS, NOR IS THERE AVAILABLE ANY APPROPRIATION FOR PAYMENT OF SUCH INCREASED COST AS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE DOCUMENTS. WHILE THAT DECISION DID NOT DISCUSS THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, HERE INVOLVED, THERE IS FOR NOTING THAT IN THE BODY OF SAID DECISION REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE DECISION OF MAY 17, 1933, A-48568, WHICH LATTER DECISION HELD THAT THE EXTRA COSTS OF SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS WERE NOT AUTHORIZED UNDER THE PROVISION OF THE 1933 STATUTE FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSPORTING CONFIDENTIAL PAPERS IN THE CUSTODY OF EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, AND IT WAS STATED THAT THE SAME RULE WAS THERE FOR APPLICATION. CF. 15 COMP. GEN. 188, 463.

THE CONCLUSION STATED IN PARAGRAPH 6 IS CORRECT.

ACCORDINGLY, THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT TO INCLUDE THE COST FOR USE OF SUPERIOR ACCOMMODATIONS.