B-43457, OCTOBER 13, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 302

B-43457: Oct 13, 1944

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NAVY ENLISTED MEN TRAVELING TO A NEW STATION UNDER CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS RECEIVED WHILE ON LEAVE ARE ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED ONLY FOR THE EXCESS OF THE COST OF TRAVEL FROM THE PLACE OF LEAVE TO THE NEW STATION OVER THE COST OF RETURN TO THE OLD STATION. THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE RIGHT OF ENLISTED MEN TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES AS FOLLOWS: LEONARD N. WAS GRANTED LEAVE OF ABSENCE FROM 10800. ORDERS WERE ISSUED DIRECTING DITANO TO PROCEED FROM ORANGE. THE RULE IN SUCH CASES IS THAT THE ENLISTED MAN IS ENTITLED ONLY TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AMOUNT BY WHICH THE COST OF TRAVEL FROM THE PLACE HE RECEIVED HIS ORDERS TO THE NEW STATION EXCEEDS WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST HIM TO RETURN TO HIS OLD STATION.

B-43457, OCTOBER 13, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 302

TRANSPORTATION - NAVY ENLISTED MEN ORDERED TO NEW STATION WHILE ON LEAVE UNDER THE ESTABLISHED RULE (9 COMP. GEN. 152), NAVY ENLISTED MEN TRAVELING TO A NEW STATION UNDER CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS RECEIVED WHILE ON LEAVE ARE ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED ONLY FOR THE EXCESS OF THE COST OF TRAVEL FROM THE PLACE OF LEAVE TO THE NEW STATION OVER THE COST OF RETURN TO THE OLD STATION, NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW STATION, AND THE AUTHORITY IN CURRENT NAVAL APPROPRIATION ACTS TO PAY A MONEY ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION IN KIND HAS NO EFFECT TO CHANGE SUCH RULE.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, OCTOBER 13, 1944:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 22, 1944, REQUESTING DECISION ON A QUESTION PRESENTED BY THE CHIEF OF THE BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS IN LETTER DATED JULY 13, 1944, AS FOLLOWS:

1. THERE IS FOR CONSIDERATION THE RIGHT OF ENLISTED MEN TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES AS FOLLOWS:

LEONARD N. DITANO, COXSWAIN, USNR, STATIONED AT THE U.S. NAVAL RECEIVING STATION, ORANGE, TEXAS, WAS GRANTED LEAVE OF ABSENCE FROM 10800, 21 FEBRUARY 1944 TO 10800, 6 MARCH 1944. ON 26 FEBRUARY 1944, ORDERS WERE ISSUED DIRECTING DITANO TO PROCEED FROM ORANGE, TEXAS SO AS TO ARRIVE NOT LATER THAN 1 MARCH 1944 AT THE SUBMARINE CHASER TRAINING CENTER, MIAMI, FLORIDA. THE ENLISTED MAN RECEIVED TELEGRAPHIC NOTICE OF THESE ORDERS WHILE ON LEAVE AT MIDDLEBORO, MASSACHUSETTS, FROM WHERE HE PROCEEDED DIRECTLY TO MIAMI, FLORIDA, AT HIS OWN EXPENSE.

2. IN ACCORDANCE WITH DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL DATED 22 OCTOBER 1929, A-28857, THE RULE IN SUCH CASES IS THAT THE ENLISTED MAN IS ENTITLED ONLY TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AMOUNT BY WHICH THE COST OF TRAVEL FROM THE PLACE HE RECEIVED HIS ORDERS TO THE NEW STATION EXCEEDS WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST HIM TO RETURN TO HIS OLD STATION. SEE ALSO, DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL DATED 22 OCTOBER 1936, A-80827. UNDER THE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES AN OFFICER WOULD BE ENTITLED TO MILEAGE FROM THE PLACE HE RECEIVED HIS ORDERS TO THE NEW STATION--- NOT TO EXCEED MILEAGE FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW STATION--- WITHOUT REGARD TO THE TRAVEL HE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PERFORM TO RETURN TO HIS OLD STATION, HAD HE NOT RECEIVED SUCH ORDERS. SEE ARTICLE 2501-3 (B) (9), U.S. NAVY TRAVEL INSTRUCTIONS, AND DECISIONS OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY DATED 19 MAY 1914 AND 27 JUNE 1917.

3. UNDER THE PROVISIONS NOW CONTAINED IN THE ANNUAL NAVY APPROPRIATION ACTS, ENLISTED MEN WHO TRAVEL AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS, AND ACCORDINGLY, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THEIR RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE DISCUSSED, SHOULD BE THE SAME AS THAT FOR OFFICER PERSONNEL. FURTHERMORE, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE TRAVEL WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED OF THE ENLISTED MAN TO RETURN TO HIS OLD STATION AFFORDS ANY PROPER BASIS FOR COMPARISON, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT ENLISTED MEN ON LEAVE TRAVELING BY RAIL ARE ENTITLED TO AND MAY BE PRESUMED TO HAVE SECURED SPECIAL RATE, ROUND TRIP, FURLOUGH TICKETS. HOWEVER, WHEN THEY DO NOT USE THE RETURN PORTION OF SUCH SPECIAL RATE TICKETS BUT PROCEED TO A NEW POINT, AS IN THIS CASE, THEY MUST PAY THE COMMERCIAL FARES FOR THAT PORTION OF THEIR TRAVEL.

4. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT DECISION BE REQUESTED OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL AS TO THE PROPER METHOD OF REIMBURSING DITANO AND OTHER ENLISTED MEN TRAVELING UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES.

THE DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT THE CHANGE OF STATION OF A PERSON EFFECTED WHILE HE IS ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE DOES NOT RELIEVE HIM FROM BEARING SO MUCH OF THE NECESSARY EXPENSE OF TRAVELING FROM THE PLACE OF RECEIPT OF THE ORDERS DIRECTING THE CHANGE OF STATION TO THE NEW STATION AS HE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO BEAR HAD HE RETURNED FROM LEAVE TO THE OLD STATION. 8 COMP. DEC. 189; 11 COMP. GEN. 336; 21 ID. 224. THIS RULE, ORIGINALLY HELD APPLICABLE TO ALL GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL, BOTH MILITARY AND CIVIL (7 COMP. DEC. 78), WAS MODIFIED IN A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY DATED MARCH 18, 1905, 11 COMP. DEC. 537, TO EXCEPT THEREFROM OFFICERS OF THE MILITARY SERVICES ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES ON A MILEAGE BASIS. THE RIGHT OF COMMISSIONED OFFICERS TO MILEAGE UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES WAS THEREAFTER SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED FOR BY THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1906, 34 STAT. 247. NEITHER THE EXCEPTION MADE BY THE CITED DECISION OF MARCH 18, 1905, NOR THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 12, 1906, SUPRA, HAS BEEN CONSTRUED AS APPLYING TO GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL OTHER THAN COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE MILITARY SERVICES.

THE DECISION OF OCTOBER 2, 1929, A-28857 (9 COMP. GEN. 152), TO WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE IN THE QUOTED LETTER OF THE CHIEF OF BUREAU OF SUPPLIES AND ACCOUNTS, HELD THAT WHERE THERE IS A CHANGE OF AN ENLISTED MAN'S STATION WHILE HE IS ABSENT FROM HIS POST OF DUTY ON FURLOUGH, HE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM THE PLACE WHERE THE CHANGE OF STATION ORDERS WERE RECEIVED TO THE NEW STATION ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT SUCH COST EXCEEDS THAT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION THAT WOULD BE REQUIRED FOR TRAVEL TO THE OLD STATION, AND NOT TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW STATION. THE RULE IN THAT CASE, CONSISTENT WITH THE GENERAL RULE DISCUSSED ABOVE, HAS REMAINED UNCHANGED, TO THE PRESENT TIME AND HAS BEEN APPLIED IN ALL CASES OF ENLISTED MEN TRAVELING TO A NEW STATION UNDER ORDERS RECEIVED WHILE ON FURLOUGH.

IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE PROVISION CONTAINED IN THE CURRENT NAVAL APPROPRIATION ACTS AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF A MONEY ALLOWANCE AT 3 CENTS A MILE IN LIEU OF TRANSPORTATION AUTHORIZED BY LAW TO BE FURNISHED IN KIND, PROPERLY MAY BE CONSIDERED AS AUTHORITY TO PAY ENLISTED MEN THE MONEY ALLOWANCE ON THE SAME BASIS--- WHEN ORDERED TO A NEW STATION WHILE ON FURLOUGH--- AS PROVIDED FOR BY STATUTE IN THE CASES OF OFFICERS ORDERED TO A NEW STATION WHILE ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE. THE SAID PROVISION IN THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION ACTS AUTHORIZES A DIFFERENT FORM OF REIMBURSEMENT TO ENLISTED MEN TRAVELING AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE THAN WAS PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE. IT DOES NOT OTHERWISE ENLARGE ON THE RIGHTS OF ENLISTED MEN TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AND IT IS NOT PERCEIVED WHEREIN THIS NEW PROVISION REQUIRES OR WARRANTS ANY CHANGE IN THE ESTABLISHED RULE GOVERNING ENLISTED MEN'S RIGHTS TO TRAVEL ALLOWANCE WHEN ORDERED TO A NEW STATION WHILE ON FURLOUGH. NOR DOES THE FACT THAT ENLISTED MEN MAY BE PRESUMED TO HAVE PURCHASED ROUND TRIP FURLOUGH TICKETS AT REDUCED FARES OR THAT IN SOME INSTANCES THEY MIGHT BE ABLE TO PERFORM THE RETURN TRIP WITH NO PERSONAL EXPENDITURE FOR TRANSPORTATION WARRANT ANY MODIFICATION OF THE RULE.

ACCORDINGLY, IN THE CASE OF COXSWAIN DITANO, AND IN SIMILAR CASES INVOLVING A CHANGE OF STATION OF ENLISTED MEN WHILE ABSENT FROM THEIR POSTS OF DUTY ON FURLOUGH, THE RULE STATED IN 9 COMP. GEN. 152, SUPRA, IS FOR APPLICATION, AND THEY MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE COST OF TRAVEL FROM THE PLACE OF RECEIPT OF THE ORDERS WHILE ON FURLOUGH TO THE NEW STATION ONLY TO THE EXTENT THAT THE COST OF SUCH TRAVEL EXCEEDS WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST TO RETURN TO THE OLD STATION, SUCH AMOUNT IN NO INSTANCE TO EXCEED THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW STATION.