B-45286, NOVEMBER 7, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 365

B-45286: Nov 7, 1944

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SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS - VESSELS - DEDUCTIONS FOR MEALS AND LODGING FURNISHED ON GOVERNMENT-OPERATED VESSELS WHERE AN EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED $7 PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES "EXCEPT THAT THE RATE WILL BE $2.50 ABOARD SHIPS WHEN TICKET INCLUDES MEALS AND BERTH. " THE EXCEPTION IS REGARDED AS HAVING BEEN INTENDED FOR APPLICATION IF THE TRAVEL WERE PERFORMED ON A COMMERCIAL VESSEL. WHERE THE TRAVEL WAS NOT SO PERFORMED BUT BY A VESSEL OPERATED BY THE GOVERNMENT UNDER BAREBOAT CHARTER. 944: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 21. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS ATTACHED HERETO A VOUCHER WHICH HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO THE UNDERSIGNED. TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED ON A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST COVERING TRANSPORTATION.

B-45286, NOVEMBER 7, 1944, 24 COMP. GEN. 365

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEMS - VESSELS - DEDUCTIONS FOR MEALS AND LODGING FURNISHED ON GOVERNMENT-OPERATED VESSELS WHERE AN EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED $7 PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES "EXCEPT THAT THE RATE WILL BE $2.50 ABOARD SHIPS WHEN TICKET INCLUDES MEALS AND BERTH," THE EXCEPTION IS REGARDED AS HAVING BEEN INTENDED FOR APPLICATION IF THE TRAVEL WERE PERFORMED ON A COMMERCIAL VESSEL, AND WHERE THE TRAVEL WAS NOT SO PERFORMED BUT BY A VESSEL OPERATED BY THE GOVERNMENT UNDER BAREBOAT CHARTER, THE $7 RATE BECAME THE BASIC RATE PAYABLE, FROM WHICH ONE-FIFTH MUST BE DEDUCTED FOR EACH MEAL AND LODGING FURNISHED WITHOUT COST, IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 47 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO CAPT. R. F. LUNE, U.S. COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY, NOVEMBER 7, 944:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 21, 1944 (51-NFL-HMH), AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS ATTACHED HERETO A VOUCHER WHICH HAS BEEN PRESENTED TO THE UNDERSIGNED, CERTIFYING OFFICER, FOR CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT, IN FAVOR OF ROBERT F. MAFFEY, SENIOR ENGINEERING AID, IN THE AMOUNT OF $12.50, COVERING PER DIEM BETWEEN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON AND SEWARD, ALASKA FROM JUNE 23 TO 28, 1944, UNDER ORDERS OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE CAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY DATED MAY 30, 1944.

THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDERS PROVIDED FOR A PER DIEM OF $2.50 "ABOARD SHIPS WHEN TICKET INCLUDES MEALS AND BERTH.' TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED ON A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST COVERING TRANSPORTATION, MEALS AND BERTH ON THE S.S. DENALI OF THE ALASKA STEAMSHIP COMPANY OPERATING UNDER BAREBOAT CHARTER TO THE WAR SHIPPING ADMINISTRATION.

THE UNDERSIGNED IS IN DOUBT AS TO WHETHER PARAGRAPH 47 (A) OF THE GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDING THAT NOT LESS THAN ONE-FIFTH OF THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE WILL BE DEDUCTED FOR EACH MEAL AND/OR LODGING FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY IS FOR APPLICATION TO THE EXTENT OF A DEDUCTION OF 4/5 FOR THE THREE MEALS AND BERTH FURNISHED, BECAUSE OF THE FACT THAT THE VESSEL ON WHICH TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED WAS UNDER CHARTER TO AN AGENCY OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. IT IS ANTICIPATED THAT A NUMBER OF SIMILAR VOUCHERS WILL BE SUBMITTED TO THE UNDERSIGNED FOR CERTIFICATION, AND AN EARLY DECISION IN THE MATTER IS THEREFORE RESPECTFULLY REQUESTED.

THE TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED MAY 30, 1944, AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY ROBERT F. MAFFEY AND TWO OTHERS BETWEEN CORINTH, MISSISSIPPI, AND ANCHORAGE, ALASKA, PROVIDED FOR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE OF $5 WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES BETWEEN CORINTH, MISSISSIPPI, AND SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AND $7 PER DIEM OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES "EXCEPT THAT THE RATE WILL BE $2.50 ABOARD SHIPS WHEN TICKET INCLUDE MEALS AND BERTH.' THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED IN FAVOR OF MR. MAFFREY THAT THE TRANSPORTATION BY STEAMSHIP BETWEEN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AND SEWARD, ALASKA, WAS PROCURED UPON GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST NO. C-487497 AT A COST OF $81.20.

PARAGRAPH 47 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

ON VESSELS.--- ON VESSELS WHERE THE PRICE OF PASSAGE INCLUDES MEALS, PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ON SHIPBOARD WILL BE ALLOWED IF SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED. (GRATUITIES TO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WILL NOT BE ALLOWED.)

(A) FURNISHED BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY WITHOUT CHARGE.--- NOT LESS THAN ONE -FIFTH OF THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE WILL BE DEDUCTED FOR EACH MEAL AND/OR LODGING FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY.

IN DECISION OF AUGUST 25, 1942, B-24517, TO THE CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION, THERE WAS CONSIDERED A CLAIM FOR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FILED BY AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND HONOLULU ON A VESSEL CHARTERED TO THE NAVY DEPARTMENT (THE EMPLOYEE HAVING BEEN INCLUDED IN A GROUP OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WHOSE TRANSPORTATION WAS PROCURED UPON A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST) IN WHICH DECISION IT WAS STATED---

WHEN TRANSPORTATION IS OBTAINED ON ORDINARY COMMERCIAL LINES, PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, EVEN WHERE THE PRICE OF PASSAGE INCLUDES MEALS, MAY BE AUTHORIZED ADMINISTRATIVELY, SUBJECT TO THE EMPHATIC REQUIREMENT OF PARAGRAPH 45 OF THE REGULATIONS, STATING---

"* * * IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE HEADS OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS TO SEE THAT TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZE ONLY SUCH PER DIEM RATES AS ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE NATURE OF THE TRAVEL. TO THIS END CARE SHOULD BE EXERCISED TO PREVENT THE FIXING OF A PER DIEM RATE IN EXCESS OF THAT REQUIRED TO MEET THE NECESSARY AUTHORIZED EXPENSES.'

HOWEVER, IN THE PRESENT CASE, SINCE THE VESSEL WAS BEING OPERATED BY THE UNITED STATES AND NO CHARGE WAS MADE FOR MEALS, IT IS EVIDENT THAT PARAGRAPH 47 (A) OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS, HEREINBEFORE QUOTED, APPLIES DIRECTLY, AND THAT ONE-FIFTH OF THE PER DIEM RATE MUST BE DEDUCTED FOR EACH MEAL (PRESUMABLY THREE) FURNISHED ON BOARD EACH DAY. COMPARE 15 COMP. GEN. 78; A-37479, AUGUST 3, 1931. HOWEVER, THE BERTHING OF THE ENTIRE GROUP OF TRAVELERS IN THE SOCIAL LOUNGE OF THE VESSEL NEED NOT BE REGARDED AS THE FURNISHING OF "LODGING" WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE REGULATIONS, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT MAY BE CONSIDERED, RATHER, TO HAVE BEEN MERELY A NECESSARY INCIDENT TO THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEES, AND NO DEDUCTION NEED BE REQUIRED THEREFOR.

HAD THE TRAVEL ORDERS IN THE PRESENT CASE MERELY PRESCRIBED $7 PER DIEM FOR TRAVEL OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, AS IN THE CASE CONSIDERED IN THE ABOVE DECISION, THERE WOULD BE NO DOUBT BUT THAT THE $7 PER DIEM SHOULD BE REDUCED BY ONE-FIFTH FOR EACH MEAL AND LODGING FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE TO THE TRAVELER ON A VESSEL OWNED OR CONTROLLED BY THE UNITED STATES. DOUBT IS INJECTED INTO THE CASE BY THE PROVISION IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS "EXCEPT THAT THE RATE WILL BE $2.50 ABOARD SHIPS WHEN THE TICKET INCLUDES MEALS AND BERTH.' HOWEVER, THAT PROVISION DOUBTLESS HAS REFERENCE TO TRAVEL IF PERFORMED UPON COMMERCIAL VESSELS, IN WHICH CASE THE FIRST SUBPARAGRAPH OF PARAGRAPH 47 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, SUPRA, WOULD APPLY. BUT THE TRAVEL HERE WAS NOT SO PERFORMED WITHIN CONTEMPLATION OF SAID SUBPARAGRAPH OF THE REGULATIONS. RATHER, IN THE LIGHT OF THE DECISION, SUPRA, THERE IS FOR INVOKING HERE THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 47 (A) OF THE ABOVE-QUOTED REGULATIONS. THE PAYMENT OF $2.50 PER DIEM WITHOUT REDUCTION WOULD BE IN EXCESS OF THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED UNDER THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHEN THE TRAVELER IS FURNISHED MEALS AND LODGING FREE OF CHARGE BY THE GOVERNMENT, ITS APPLICATION TO TRAVEL ON A VESSEL OWNED AND CHARTERED BY THE UNITED STATES IS NOT AUTHORIZED, AND SAID PROVISION OF THE TRAVEL ORDER PROPERLY IS FOR DISREGARDING. ACCORDINGLY, AS THE TRAVEL WAS NOT ON A COMMERCIAL VESSEL BUT ON A GOVERNMENT-OWNED VESSEL, THE $7 PER DIEM RATE SPECIFIED IN THE TRAVEL ORDER FOR TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES BECOMES THE BASIC RATE FOR CONSIDERATION IN THIS CASE AND, AS SUCH, IS SUBJECT TO REDUCTION OF ONE-FIFTH FOR EACH MEAL AND LODGING FURNISHED THE TRAVELER WITHOUT CHARGE BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY (IN THIS CASE THE VESSEL UNDER CHARTER TO THE UNITED STATES). HENCE, THE TRAVELER IN THIS CASE WILL BE ENTITLED ONLY TO ONE-FIFTH OF $7 PER DIEM OR $1.40 FOR EACH WHOLE DAY COVERED BY TRAVEL ON THE VESSEL BETWEEN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AND SEWARD, ALASKA, AND PROPORTIONATELY FOR FRACTIONAL DAYS. FOR COMPUTATION OF PER DIEM WHEN THE RATE CHANGES DURING THE DAY SEE 12 COMP. GEN. 429; 13 ID. 94; 24 ID. 7.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND SHOULD BE RECOMPUTED TO ACCORD WITH THE FOREGOING BEFORE BEING CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.