B-43682, AUGUST 30, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 168

B-43682: Aug 30, 1944

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EVEN THOUGH THE DISTANCES IN SOME INSTANCES ARE NOT SUSCEPTIBLE OF VERIFICATION FROM HIGHWAY OR MILEAGE GUIDES. 1944: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR UNDATED LETTER. WHICH IS EVIDENCED BY STANDARD FORM 1012E " STATEMENT OF TRAVEL BY MOTOR VEHICLE" AND MADE A PART OF HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER. UPON EXAMINATION OF THE VOUCHER IT IS NOTED THAT THE SPEEDOMETER READINGS HAVE NOT BEEN RECORDED BY THE TRAVELER ON FORM 1012E STATING "THAT THE SPEEDOMETER ON MY AUTOMOBILE IS BROKEN AND REPAIR PARTS CANNOT BE OBTAINED. MILEAGE CLAIMED IS ROAD-MAP MILEAGE EXCEPT THAT IN AND AROUND CITIES AWAY FROM MY OFFICIAL STATION. IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE WHERE MILEAGE CANNOT BE VERIFIED BY ANY CONCRETE EVIDENCE THAT SUCH "IN AND AROUND" TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED.

B-43682, AUGUST 30, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 168

MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - EVIDENCE ACCEPTABLE IN LIEU OF SPEEDOMETER READINGS WHERE, BECAUSE OF THE PRESENT DIFFICULTY OF OBTAINING REPAIRS, AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING ON A MILEAGE BASIS BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE HAVING A BROKEN SPEEDOMETER CANNOT SHOW IN HIS EXPENSE ACCOUNT THE METER READINGS REPRESENTING DISTANCES TRAVELED, AS REQUIRED BY PARAGRAPH 83 (E) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, THE TRAVELER'S STATEMENT AS TO THE DISTANCES TRAVELED, SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE OF A RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER HAVING KNOWLEDGE OF THE FACTS, MAY BE ACCEPTED AS THE BEST OBTAINABLE EVIDENCE THEREOF, EVEN THOUGH THE DISTANCES IN SOME INSTANCES ARE NOT SUSCEPTIBLE OF VERIFICATION FROM HIGHWAY OR MILEAGE GUIDES.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO L. H. PERKINS, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, AUGUST 30, 1944:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR UNDATED LETTER, FILE SOL:JP:AMC, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE HAS BEEN SUBMITTED TO US FOR PAYMENT A TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHERS COVERING EXPENSES INCURRED BY OUR ATTORNEY, GLENN M. ELLIOTT IN THE AMOUNT OF $80.35, OF WHICH $42.85 COVERS TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, WHICH IS EVIDENCED BY STANDARD FORM 1012E " STATEMENT OF TRAVEL BY MOTOR VEHICLE" AND MADE A PART OF HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER.

UPON EXAMINATION OF THE VOUCHER IT IS NOTED THAT THE SPEEDOMETER READINGS HAVE NOT BEEN RECORDED BY THE TRAVELER ON FORM 1012E STATING "THAT THE SPEEDOMETER ON MY AUTOMOBILE IS BROKEN AND REPAIR PARTS CANNOT BE OBTAINED. MILEAGE CLAIMED IS ROAD-MAP MILEAGE EXCEPT THAT IN AND AROUND CITIES AWAY FROM MY OFFICIAL STATION, AND IN SUCH CASES THE MILEAGE HAS BEEN CAREFULLY AND CONSERVATIVELY ESTIMATED.'

THE WRITER HAS PREVIOUSLY CERTIFIED TRAVEL VOUCHERS WHERE AUTOMOBILE MILEAGE CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE RAND-MCNALLY STANDARD MILEAGE GUIDE WHEN SUPPORTED BY A JUSTIFIABLE EXPLANATION THAT THE SPEEDOMETER CANNOT BE REPAIRED DUE TO INABILITY TO SECURE PARTS CAUSED BY THE WAR. HOWEVER, IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE WHERE MILEAGE CANNOT BE VERIFIED BY ANY CONCRETE EVIDENCE THAT SUCH "IN AND AROUND" TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED, WE ARE HESITANT TO CERTIFY THE VOUCHER IN QUESTION.

WE ARE UNABLE TO FIND ANY RECENT DECISION REGARDING INSTANCES OF THIS TYPE ALTHOUGH WE ARE GUIDED BY STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PARAGRAPH 83 (E) WHICH WE PARTLY QUOTE,"WHEN TRAVEL IS AUTHORIZED BY A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS, PLACES BETWEEN WHICH THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED AND METER READINGS REPRESENTING THE DISTANCES TRAVELED MUST BE SHOWN IN THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT, WHICH WILL BE ACCEPTED AS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE OF THE CORRECTNESS OF SUCH DISTANCES, SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION BY MEANS OF OFFICIAL TABLE OF DISTANCES, OR IN AN ABSENCE OF THE REQUIRED INFORMATION THEREIN BY MEANS OF OTHER ACCEPTABLE EVIDENCE.'

THERE APPEARS TO BE NO OTHER METHOD BY WHICH THE TRAVELER CAN SECURE EVIDENCE OF MILEAGE INCURRED, PARTICULARLY MILEAGE INCURRED "IN AND AROUND" EXCEPT ON TRAVELER'S OWN JUDGMENT AND HONESTY.

SINCE THERE WILL UNDOUBTEDLY BE MANY MORE CASES OF THIS KIND NOW THAT REPAIR PARTS FOR SPEEDOMETERS ARE DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN, YOUR CONSIDERATION OF THE INSTANT CLAIM WILL BE APPRECIATED AND YOUR DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF MY CERTIFICATION OF THE VOUCHER IS REQUESTED.

ATTACHED IS THE VOUCHER WITH THE SUPPORTING FORM 1012E RELATING TO THE CLAIM.

THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER SHOWS THAT THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELED IN HIS PRIVATELY- OWNED AUTOMOBILE FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, HIS OFFICIAL STATION, TO JOHNSON CITY, NEWPORT, GREENEVILLE, AND CHATTANOOGA, ALL IN THE STATE OF TENNESSEE, LEAVING NASHVILLE ON JULY 23, 1944, AT 7:00 A.M. AND RETURNING THERETO ON JULY 29, 1944, AT 12:00 P.M. STANDARD FORM 1012E, REVISED, SHOWS 774 MILES WERE TRAVELED BETWEEN THE NAMED CITIES, AND 83 MILES WERE TRAVELED "IN AND AROUND" NEWPORT, GREENEVILLE, AND JOHNSON CITY. STATEMENT IS FURNISHED TO THE EFFECT THAT THE SPEEDOMETER ON THE CAR WAS BROKEN AND REPAIR PARTS WERE NOT OBTAINABLE AND THAT THE MILEAGE CLAIMED, 857 MILES AT FIVE CENTS PER MILE, OR $42.85, IS BASED UPON ROAD-MAP MILEAGE, EXCEPT THE 83 MILES TRAVELED IN THE VICINITY OF NEWPORT, GREENEVILLE, AND JOHNSON CITY WHICH IS ESTIMATED, AND YOU INDICATE THAT BECAUSE OF THIS ESTIMATED MILEAGE YOU HESITATE TO CERTIFY THE VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT. ALSO, PER DIEM IS CLAIMED FOR 6 1/4 DAYS AT $6, OR $37.50, MAKING THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $80.35 CLAIMED ON THE VOUCHER FOR THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION.

NO APPROPRIATION IS STATED ON THE VOUCHER, AND A COPY OF THE TRAVEL ORDER NO. SOL-45-7, DATED JULY 1, 1944, CITED AS AUTHORITY FOR THE TRAVEL, IS NOT WITH THE VOUCHER. IT IS ASSUMED, HOWEVER, THAT THE APPROPRIATION FOR CHARGING WITH THE PROPOSED PAYMENT IS "1650108, TRAVELING EXPENSES, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, 1945," AND THAT THE TRAVEL ORDER INCLUDED AUTHORITY FOR TRAVEL IN PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS AF FIVE CENTS PER MILE.

THE AUTHORITY UNDER WHICH THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE PAID MILEAGE IS THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, 46 STAT. 1103, AS AMENDED BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, AND THE ACT OF APRIL 25, 1940, 54 STAT. 167, WHICH PROVIDES IN PART:

THAT A CIVILIAN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE ENGAGED IN NECESSARY TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY MAY BE PAID, IN LIEU OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION, UNDER REGULATIONS TO BE PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, NOT TO EXCEED 2 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED MOTORCYCLE OR 5 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FOR SUCH TRANSPORTATION, WHENEVER SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL HAS BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED AND PAYMENT ON SUCH MILEAGE BASIS IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES.

UNDER THE ABOVE-QUOTED STATUTE THE EMPLOYEE'S RIGHT TO MILEAGE IS DEPENDENT UPON WHETHER HE WAS AUTHORIZED PRIOR TO THE DATE OF TRAVEL TO USE A PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT A SPECIFIED RATE PER MILE AND WHETHER SUCH MODE OF TRAVEL IS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES.

THAT PART OF PARAGRAPHS 83 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, MENTIONED BY YOU, REQUIRES THAT EXPENSE ACCOUNTS IN WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS CLAIMED FOR USE OF AUTOMOBILES ON A MILEAGE BASIS BE SUPPORTED BY A STATEMENT OF SPEEDOMETER READINGS. SAID REGULATION HAS THE FORCE AND EFFECT OF LAW.

WHERE, HOWEVER, A SPEEDOMETER, BECAUSE OF ITS BEING BROKEN, OR FOR ANY OTHER REASON, FAILS TO ESTABLISH THE DISTANCE TRAVELED A CLAIM MAY BE MADE FOR THE ACTUAL DISTANCE TRAVELED BASED UPON RECOGNIZED TABLES OF DISTANCES, SUCH CLAIM TO BE SUPPORTED BY A FULL EXPLANATION AS TO THE DEFECTIVE SPEEDOMETER AND BY A CERTIFICATE BY A RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER HAVING KNOWLEDGE OF THE FACTS SHOWING THAT THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY WAS PERFORMED BY THE TRAVELER. THE MILEAGE CLAIMED UPON SUCH BASIS IS, OF COURSE, SUBJECT TO VERIFICATION BY THIS OFFICE FROM STANDARD HIGHWAY OR MILEAGE GUIDES.

REFERENCE TO RAND-MCNALLY STANDARD HIGHWAY MILEAGE GUIDE DISCLOSES THAT THE "ROAD-MAP" MILEAGE CLAIMED IN THE INSTANT CASE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BETWEEN THE VARIOUS CITIES IS CORRECT. IN VIEW OF THE PRESENT WAR CONDITIONS AND THE DIFFICULTY IN SECURING THE REPAIR OF SPEEDOMETERS, AND AS THE ROAD GUIDES COULD NOT BE DETERMINATIVE IN ALL CASES OF THE DISTANCE TRAVELED "IN AND AROUND" CITIES, THE TRAVELER'S STATEMENT AS TO THE DISTANCE TRAVELED APPROVED BY COMPETENT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY MAY BE ACCEPTED AS THE BEST OBTAINABLE EVIDENCE IN SUCH CASES. CF. 22 COMP. GEN. 1080.

THE APPLICABLE TRAIN AND BUS SCHEDULES SHOW THAT THE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER WOULD HAVE BEEN APPROXIMATELY THE SAME AS THE COST OF THE TRAVEL AS PERFORMED BETWEEN POINTS COVERED THEREBY, WHICH REASONABLY ESTABLISHES THAT THE MODE OF TRAVEL USED WAS MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE UNITED STATES THAN TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER WOULD HAVE BEEN.

THEREFORE, IF THE VOUCHER IS SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE OF A RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER HAVING KNOWLEDGE OF THE FACTS IN THE CASE, SHOWING THAT THE EMPLOYEE PERFORMED THE TRAVEL FOR WHICH MILEAGE IS CLAIMED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, AND WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE AFORE-MENTIONED CONDITIONS IN RESPECT TO THE AUTHORITY FOR USE OF A PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS HAVE BEEN MET, THE VOUCHER, IF OTHERWISE PROPER, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT CLAIMED.