B-40381, MARCH 30, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 736

B-40381: Mar 30, 1944

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SINCE NO ULTIMATE EXCESS COST RESULTS TO THE GOVERNMENT AND IT BEING ASSUMED THAT THE APPROPRIATION BEARING THE BURDEN IN ONE INSTANCE WILL BE RELIEVED IN ANOTHER. AN OFFICIAL TRAVELER DRIVING A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS IS REQUESTED BY THE MILEAGE ADMINISTRATOR OR OTHER AUTHORIZED OFFICIAL OF HIS OWN AGENCY TO DEVIATE FROM HIS DIRECT ITINERARY FOR THE ACCOMMODATION OF AN ACCOMPANYING EMPLOYEE FROM ANOTHER AGENCY. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO REVISED STATUTES. FOR THE USE OF MOTOR VEHICLES DRIVEN IN THE LINE OF DUTY IS REQUESTED AS EXPLAINED BELOW. A COPY OF WHICH IS ATTACHED. THEY WERE INSTRUCTED TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY STEPS TO ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY USES. THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION WAS GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY TO SUPERVISE THE GOVERNMENT MILEAGE CONSERVATION PROGRAM IN WHICH EACH DEPARTMENT SHOULD PARTICIPATE.

B-40381, MARCH 30, 1944, 23 COMP. GEN. 736

TRAVELING EXPENSES - JOINT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE - CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL FOR BENEFIT OF ACCOMPANYING EMPLOYEE WHERE, IN CONNECTION WITH THE INTERAGENCY MILEAGE CONSERVATION PROGRAM, AN OFFICIAL TRAVELER DRIVING A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS DEVIATES SLIGHTLY FROM HIS ITINERARY TO ACCOMMODATE AN ACCOMPANYING EMPLOYEE FROM ANOTHER AGENCY, RESULTING IN ADDITIONAL MILEAGE AND SUBSISTENCE PAYMENTS TO THE DRIVER-EMPLOYEE, SUCH INCREASED PAYMENTS BY THE ONE AGENCY FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE OTHER NEED NOT BE CONSIDERED AS A DIVERSION OF APPROPRIATED MONEYS PROHIBITED BY SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES, SINCE NO ULTIMATE EXCESS COST RESULTS TO THE GOVERNMENT AND IT BEING ASSUMED THAT THE APPROPRIATION BEARING THE BURDEN IN ONE INSTANCE WILL BE RELIEVED IN ANOTHER. WHERE, IN CONNECTION WITH THE INTERAGENCY MILEAGE CONSERVATION PROGRAM, AN OFFICIAL TRAVELER DRIVING A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS IS REQUESTED BY THE MILEAGE ADMINISTRATOR OR OTHER AUTHORIZED OFFICIAL OF HIS OWN AGENCY TO DEVIATE FROM HIS DIRECT ITINERARY FOR THE ACCOMMODATION OF AN ACCOMPANYING EMPLOYEE FROM ANOTHER AGENCY, THE EXCESS MILEAGE AND SUBSISTENCE PAYABLE TO THE DRIVER-EMPLOYEE BY REASON OF THE DEVIATION NEED NOT BE REIMBURSED TO THE APPROPRIATION BEARING THE EXCESS BURDEN UNLESS THE DEVIATION EXCEEDS 100 PERCENT OF THE DIRECT DISTANCE, IN WHICH EVENT, THE APPROPRIATION BENEFITED BY THE EXTENSIVE DEVIATION SHOULD BEAR SUCH SHARE OF THE EXPENSE AS MAY BE AGREED UPON IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 601 OF THE ECONOMY ACT, AS AMENDED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE PRICE ADMINISTRATOR, OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION, MARCH 30, 1944:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 21, 1944, REFERENCE 735:1RWB, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO REVISED STATUTES, SECTION 3678, RELATING TO THE APPLICATION OF MONEYS APPROPRIATED. AN INTERPRETATION RESPECTING PAYMENT OF MILEAGE, IN CERTAIN INSTANCES, FOR THE USE OF MOTOR VEHICLES DRIVEN IN THE LINE OF DUTY IS REQUESTED AS EXPLAINED BELOW.

THE PRESIDENT, BY MEMORANDUM OF FEBRUARY 23, 1943, A COPY OF WHICH IS ATTACHED, DIRECTED THE HEAD OF EACH DEPARTMENT AND AGENCY USING MOTOR VEHICLES TO DESIGNATE A GOVERNMENT MILEAGE ADMINISTRATOR CLOTHED WITH THE AUTHORITY TO SUPERVISE THE USE OF MOTOR VEHICLES USED IN THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE. THEY WERE INSTRUCTED TO TAKE ALL NECESSARY STEPS TO ELIMINATE UNNECESSARY USES. AT THE SAME TIME, THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION WAS GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY TO SUPERVISE THE GOVERNMENT MILEAGE CONSERVATION PROGRAM IN WHICH EACH DEPARTMENT SHOULD PARTICIPATE.

IN FURTHERANCE OF THIS RESPONSIBILITY, FORMER PRICE ADMINISTRATOR PRENTISS M. BROWN APPOINTED AN ADVISORY BODY KNOWN AS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MILEAGE COORDINATION COMMITTEE, MADE UP OF REPRESENTATIVES FROM THE LARGER ESTABLISHMENTS. THE COMMITTEE SHORTLY THEREAFTER RECOMMENDED THAT A PLAN TO COORDINATE INTERDEPARTMENTAL FEDERAL FIELD TRAVEL BE WORKED OUT AS AN EXPERIMENT IN ATLANTA. RESULTS WERE SUFFICIENTLY SATISFACTORY TO ENCOURAGE THE COMMITTEE TO RECOMMEND THE ADOPTION OF A SIMILAR PLAN IN BOSTON. IF THE PROJECT THEN SEEMED FEASIBLE, CONSIDERATION WOULD BE GIVEN TO ITS EXTENSION THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY.

CAREFUL RECORDS IN BOTH INSTANCES WERE KEPT. THEY SHOWED THAT DURING THE FIRST MONTH OF OPERATION IN ATLANTA APPROXIMATELY 165,000 MILES OF TRAVEL WERE SAVED, USE OF AUTOMOBILES WAS DECREASED 38 PERCENT, AND A SAVING OF BETTER THAN $6,000 IN TRAVEL COSTS WAS MADE. THE RESULTS IN BOSTON WERE EVEN BETTER. DURING THE FIRST MONTH OF OPERATION, TRAVEL WAS REDUCED 366,000 MILES, AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL DECREASED 42 PERCENT, WITH A COMPUTED MONEY SAVING OF BETTER THAN $16,000.

UPON THE BASIS OF THESE RESULTS, THE COMMITTEE'S RECOMMENDATION THAT THE PLAN BE EXTENDED TO EIGHT ADDITIONAL LARGE CITIES IN WHICH FEDERAL ACTIVITIES ARE CONCENTRATED HAS BEEN CARRIED OUT.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE PLAN HAS GIVEN RISE TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTION UPON WHICH AN OPINION FROM YOUR OFFICE IS NEEDED:

WHEN A DRIVER UNDER TRAVEL ORDERS USING A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS REQUESTED EITHER BY THE FEDERAL INTERDEPARTMENTAL TRAVEL COORDINATOR OR BY THE MILEAGE ADMINISTRATOR OF HIS OWN DEPARTMENT TO DEVIATE FROM THE SHORTEST ROUTE BETWEEN HIS POINTS OF TRAVEL IN ORDER TO MAKE POSSIBLE A CONSOLIDATION OF TRAVEL WITH EMPLOYEES FROM OTHER DEPARTMENTS OR AGENCIES, CAN PAYMENT TO THE DRIVER FOR THE EXTRA MILEAGE AND POSSIBLE PER DIEM CAUSED BY THE DEVIATION BE MADE BY THE DRIVER EMPLOYEE'S DEPARTMENT WITHOUT REIMBURSEMENT FROM THE DEPARTMENTS OR AGENCIES OF THE RIDERS?

EXPERIENCE INDICATES THAT REQUESTS FOR DEVIATION FROM THE SHORTEST TRAVEL ROUTE ARE VERY INFREQUENT AND ORDINARILY INVOLVE ONLY A SMALL AMOUNT OF EXTRA MILEAGE. IT IS HOPED THAT CONSIDERATION MAY BE GIVEN TO THE FACT THAT WHEREAS ONE DEPARTMENT MIGHT EXTEND THE USE OF ITS TRAVEL FACILITIES INVOLVING A DEVIATION ON A GIVEN TRIP, IT WOULD BE EXPECTED THAT SIMILAR SERVICES ON ANOTHER OCCASION WOULD BE RECEIVED BY IT, THUS EFFECTING SUBSTANTIAL EQUALIZATION OF COSTS BETWEEN DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES. EACH INSTANCE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY INVOLVED WOULD BE COMPARATIVELY SO SLIGHT THAT ANY ATTEMPT TO ESTABLISH A REIMBURSABLE PROCEDURE WOULD CREATE SO MANY AUDITING PROBLEMS THAT CONSOLIDATIONS, WHERE THE QUESTION HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION IS INVOLVED, WOULD BE DISCOURAGED TO SUCH AN EXTENT THAT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE INTERDEPARTMENTAL TRAVEL PLAN MIGHT BE LESSENED.

IT IS SUBMITTED THAT THIS EFFORT TO ELIMINATE DUPLICATION OF TRAVEL FACILITIES IS DONE FOR THE PURPOSE OF CARRYING OUT THE PRESIDENT'S DIRECTIVE TO SAVE GASOLINE, TIRES, AND AUTOMOTIVE EQUIPMENT, ALL OF WHICH ARE VITAL WAR MATERIALS. THERE IS NO INTENTION THAT THE WILL OF THE CONGRESS BE CIRCUMVENTED THROUGH THE USE BY ONE DEPARTMENT OF APPROPRIATIONS DESIGNATED FOR ANOTHER.

ANY PROCEDURE WILL BE WELCOMED WHICH YOUR OFFICE SUGGESTS TO SAFEGUARD THE VALIDITY OF CLAIMS FOR MILEAGE AND PER DIEM PAYMENTS WHERE DEVIATIONS ARE CLAIMED TO EFFECTUATE TRIP CONSOLIDATIONS.

FOR YOUR FURTHER INFORMATION, I AM ENCLOSING MATERIALS RELATING TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE INTERDEPARTMENTAL TRAVEL PLAN.

SECTION 3678 REVISED STATUTES, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

ALL SUMS APPROPRIATED FOR THE VARIOUS BRANCHES OF EXPENDITURE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE SHALL BE APPLIED SOLELY TO THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPECTIVELY MADE, AND FOR NO OTHERS.

THE PRESIDENT'S MEMORANDUM OF FEBRUARY 23, 1943--- WHICH IS ADDRESSED " TO THE HEADS OF ALL DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES IN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT"--- REQUESTS EACH DEPARTMENT AND AGENCY TO APPOINT DESIGNATE A GOVERNMENT MILEAGE ADMINISTRATOR WITH AUTHORITY TO SUPERVISE THE USE OF PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLES DRIVEN IN THE FEDERAL SERVICE, TO ARRANGE FOR THE POOLING OF VEHICLES "TO CLEAR REQUESTS FOR PASSENGER CAR TRAVEL IN ADVANCE," AND OTHERWISE TO TAKE STEPS TO EFFECT A SUBSTANTIAL REDUCTION OF TOTAL AUTOMOBILE MILEAGE. IN SAID MEMORANDUM THE PRESIDENT STATED THAT HE HAD "REQUESTED THE ADMINISTRATOR OF THE OFFICE OF PRICE ADMINISTRATION TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR SUPERVISING OUR GOVERNMENT MILEAGE CONSERVATION PROGRAM.'

THE COMMITTEE, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, AFTER REVIEWING THE OPERATIONS OF THE EXPERIMENTAL PLAN FOR INTER- AND INTRA-DEPARTMENTAL CAR SHARING IN EFFECT AT BOSTON AND ATLANTA, RECOMMENDED THAT THE SAME PLAN BE PUT INTO EFFECT ELSEWHERE, WHICH RECOMMENDATION INCLUDED A STATEMENT OF THE COMMITTEE'S POLICY, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS (QUOTING FROM THE COMMITTEE'S REPORT OF NOVEMBER 5, 1943):

3. PARTICIPATION IN THE PLAN BY THE VARIOUS DEPARTMENTS SHOULD BE VOLUNTARY. HOWEVER, IT IS URGED THAT AT ANY OR ALL THE DESIGNATED AREAS ALL DEPARTMENTS WHICH OPERATE EITHER OFFICIALLY-OWNED PASSENGER VEHICLES OR PRIVATELY-OWNED ONES DRIVEN IN THE FEDERAL SERVICE SHOULD FULLY COOPERATE.

4. WHEN A DEPARTMENT AGREES TO PARTICIPATE, IT IS EXPECTED THAT ITS EMPLOYEES LOCATED WITHIN ANY OR ALL OF THE DESIGNATED AREAS WILL ABIDE BY THE PROCEDURES WHICH ARE SET UP LOCALLY TO OPERATE THE PLAN.

IT IS EVIDENT THAT WHEN AN OFFICIAL TRAVELER DEVIATES SOMEWHAT FROM HIS DIRECT ITINERARY TO COMPLY WITH THE ASSIGNMENTS OF AN ACCOMPANYING PASSENGER TRAVELING FOR ANOTHER DEPARTMENT, THE IMMEDIATE PURPOSE SERVED BY SUCH DEVIATION IS THE BUSINESS OF THE DEPARTMENT WHICH THE LATTER EMPLOYEE IS ENGAGED. HOWEVER, SINCE EACH SUCH DEVIATION IS BUT A PART OF THE GENERAL COOPERATIVE OR RECIPROCATIVE PLAN DESIGNED TO REDUCE THE COST OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL AND THEREBY CONSERVE THE APPROPRIATIONS OF ALL THE PARTICIPATING AGENCIES AND SINCE IT MAY BE ASSUMED THAT AN APPROPRIATION WHICH BEARS AN EXCESS TRAVEL EXPENSE BURDEN UNDER THE PLAN IN ONE INSTANCE WILL BE RELIEVED OF A BURDEN IN ANOTHER INSTANCE, IT WOULD SEEM THAT NO GOOD PURPOSE WOULD BE SERVED BY REQUIRING AN APPROPRIATION ADJUSTMENT WITH RESPECT TO EACH SUCH DEVIATION.

IN THAT VIEW, THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED DURING SUCH A DEVIATION WOULD NOT CONTRAVENE THE STATUTORY MANDATE PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 3678, REVISED STATUTES, SUPRA, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE EXPENDITURE OF APPROPRIATIONS BE CONFINED TO THE OBJECTS FOR WHICH APPROPRIATED. ACCORDINGLY, AND HAVING REGARD FOR THE FACT THAT THE COOPERATIVE ARRANGEMENT RECOMMENDED BY THE COMMITTEE IN LINE WITH THE PRESIDENT'S REQUEST ENTAILS NO ULTIMATE ADDITIONAL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT, THE QUESTION POSED IN THE SIXTH PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, SUBJECT TO THESE QUALIFICATIONS:

(1) THAT THE REQUEST FOR THE DEVIATION COME FROM THE MILEAGE ADMINISTRATOR OR OTHER OFFICER AUTHORIZED TO DIRECT TRAVEL IN HIS OWN DEPARTMENT AS CONTEMPLATED BY PARAGRAPHS 5 AND 7 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND

(2) THAT WHEN THE DEVIATED DISTANCE IS SO GREAT AS TO BE MORE THAN 100 PERCENT OF THE DISTANCE BY THE DIRECT ROUTE--- AS, FOR INSTANCE, IN THE CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE ORDERED TO TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO PHILADELPHIA, VIA PITTSBURGH, TO ACCOMMODATE AN EMPLOYEE OF ANOTHER DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY--- AN APPROPRIATION ADJUSTMENT WILL BE MADE SO THAT THE APPROPRIATION OF THE AGENCY WHOSE WORK PRIMARILY IS FURTHERED BY SUCH EXTENSIVE DEVIATION WILL BEAR ITS PROPER SHARE OF THE EXPENSE AS MAY BE AGREED UPON (SEE SECTION 601 OF THE ACT OF JUNE 30, 1932, 47 STAT. 417, AS AMENDED, 31 U.S.C. 686).