B-49680, MAY 22, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 841

B-49680: May 22, 1945

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1945: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 8. THERE IS FORWARDED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION AND DECISION RECLAIM VOUCHER PAYABLE IN THE AMOUNT OF $9.00 IN FAVOR OF SUPERVISING INSPECTOR STANTON W. ADMINISTRATIVE EXCEPTION WAS TAKEN FOR THE REASON THAT THE EMPLOYEE USED SUPERIOR PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS. A DRAWING ROOM WAS SHARED WITH ANOTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELER FROM PITTSBURGH. COPIES OF WHICH ARE ATTACHED. 1 DRAWING ROOM WAS USED IN ITS ENTIRETY. WOOD POINTED OUT THAT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN INDIVIDUAL RESERVATIONS BUT THAT THE PULLMAN COMPANY AGREED TO FURNISH AN ENTIRE CAR. THE EMPLOYEES WOULD HAVE HAD TO SPACE OUT THEIR TRAVEL OVER A PERIOD OF A DAY OR TWO. THROUGH THE USE OF AN ENTIRE PULLMAN CAR A NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES WERE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH AT LEAST A FULL DAY'S MORE WORK IN AND AROUND PITTSBURGH ON THEIR REGULAR WORK ASSIGNMENTS BEFORE REPORTING FOR THE CONFERENCE.

B-49680, MAY 22, 1945, 24 COMP. GEN. 841

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - LOWEST FIRST-CLASS LIMITATION - USE OF ENTIRE PULLMAN CAR THE COST OF AN ENTIRE PULLMAN CAR--- CONSISTING OF UPPER AND LOWER BERTHS AND A DRAWING ROOM--- PROCURED FOR OFFICIAL TRAVELERS ON ONE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST MAY BE PRORATED AMONG THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF THE PARTY, AND IF THE AGGREGATE COST INCURRED DOES NOT EXCEED THE PRORATED AGGREGATE COST OF LOWER BERTHS FOR THE NUMBER OF PERSONS INVOLVED, THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS FARE RESTRICTION OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF A LOWER BERTH AND THE DRAWING ROOM BE CHARGED TO THE EMPLOYEES WHO OCCUPIED IT. 14 COMP. GEN. 629, DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO SEYMOUR SWIMMER, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, MAY 22, 1945:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MAY 8, 1945 (FILE REFERENCE BM:SS:MB), AS FOLLOWS:

PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF DECEMBER 29, 1941, 55 STAT. 876, AND THE REQUEST OF THE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR OF THESE DIVISIONS, THERE IS FORWARDED FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION AND DECISION RECLAIM VOUCHER PAYABLE IN THE AMOUNT OF $9.00 IN FAVOR OF SUPERVISING INSPECTOR STANTON W. B. WOOD.

ADMINISTRATIVE EXCEPTION WAS TAKEN FOR THE REASON THAT THE EMPLOYEE USED SUPERIOR PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS. A DRAWING ROOM WAS SHARED WITH ANOTHER OFFICIAL TRAVELER FROM PITTSBURGH, PA. TO PHILADELPHIA, PA. AND RETURN.

THE ENDORSEMENT ON THE ATTACHED VOUCHER AND CORRESPONDENCE FROM SUPERVISING INSPECTOR STANTON W. B. WOOD AND HIS REGIONAL DIRECTOR MR. FRANK J. G. DORSEY, COPIES OF WHICH ARE ATTACHED, DISCLOSES THE FOLLOWING FACTS.

MR. WOOD ARRANGED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIMSELF AND 25 OTHER EMPLOYEES FOR THE JOURNEY FROM PITTSBURGH TO PHILADELPHIA AND RETURN. THE DUTY ENJOINED BEING ATTENDANCE AT A CONFERENCE. FOR THIS PURPOSE A PULLMAN CAR CONSISTING OF 12 LOWER BERTHS, 12 UPPER BERTHS, AND 1 DRAWING ROOM WAS USED IN ITS ENTIRETY. IN THIS CONNECTION MR. WOOD POINTED OUT THAT IT WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN INDIVIDUAL RESERVATIONS BUT THAT THE PULLMAN COMPANY AGREED TO FURNISH AN ENTIRE CAR. UNLESS THIS ARRANGEMENT HAD BEEN MADE, THE EMPLOYEES WOULD HAVE HAD TO SPACE OUT THEIR TRAVEL OVER A PERIOD OF A DAY OR TWO, NECESSITATING A NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES ARRIVING IN PHILADELPHIA PERHAPS A DAY PRIOR TO THE CONFERENCE WITH RESULTANT INCREASE IN COST OF PER DIEM AND TAKING EMPLOYEES OFF THEIR REGULAR DUTIES EARLIER THAN NECESSARY. THROUGH THE USE OF AN ENTIRE PULLMAN CAR A NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES WERE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH AT LEAST A FULL DAY'S MORE WORK IN AND AROUND PITTSBURGH ON THEIR REGULAR WORK ASSIGNMENTS BEFORE REPORTING FOR THE CONFERENCE, MAKING AN ADDITIONAL SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT OVER AND ABOVE THE SAVINGS AS DETERMINED BY MR. WOOD.

PULLMAN ACCOMMODATIONS FOR THE GOING TRIP WERE SECURED ON T/R L 678,721 AND FOR THE RETURN TRIP ON T/R L-678,722 THE VALUE OF EACH T/R BEING $72.20. MR. WOOD CONTENDED THAT HAD A LOWER BERTH BEEN SECURED FOR EACH TRAVELER THE ONE WAY COST TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN $76.70. ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE FACTS MR. WOOD WAS AND STILL IS OF THE OPINION THAT HIS METHOD OF HANDLING THE SITUATION HAD IN EFFECT RESULTED IN A NET SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF $4.50 ONE WAY OR $9.00 FOR THE ROUND-TRIP AND REQUESTED REVIEW OF THE EXCEPTION.

SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, PROVIDES:

"WHENEVER BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF LAW ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL MAY BE ALLOWED TO OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES, SUCH ALLOWANCES, IN THE CASE OF TRAVEL ORDERED AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT, SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRAVEL.'

13 COMP. GEN. 17 STATES," THE PROVISIONS OF THE ABOVE SECTION OF THE STATUTE (SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, SUPRA) HOWEVER, ARE CLEAR AND UNAMBIGUOUS AND ADMIT OF NO EXCEPTION.'

IT WAS FURTHER HELD IN 14 COMP. GEN. 629,"CIVILIAN OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES PERFORMING TRAVEL UPON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ARE LIMITED TO ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL BY THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 452 AND DO NOT TRAVEL AS A UNIT IN THE SAME SENSE THAT TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY A BODY OF TROOPS.' (ITALICS SUPPLIED.)

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, MR. WOOD'S CONTENTION THAT THE PULLMAN COSTS BE CONSIDERED ON AN AGGREGATE BASIS RATHER THAN ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS WAS NOT CONCURRED IN BY THE UNDERSIGNED.

THE PRINCIPLE ENUNCIATED IN 14 COMP. GEN. 629 APPEARS APPLICABLE TO THE INSTANT CASE, HOWEVER THE SURROUNDING CIRCUMSTANCES ARE NOT ENTIRELY ANALOGOUS.

THE RECORD EVINCES THAT MR. WOOD PERFORMED IN GOOD FAITH AND AS A PRUDENT MAN WOULD. IT IS SUFFICIENTLY CLEAR THAT HIS INTENT WAS NOT TO CIRCUMVENT THE LAW NOR TO ACCOMPLISH INDIRECTLY WHAT THE LAW PROHIBITED DIRECTLY.

THE DOUBT ARISING IN THE INSTANT CASE IS WHETHER THE EXCEPTION AS TAKEN SHOULD BE SUSTAINED THUS DISREGARDING THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE ACTED IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND PERFORMED HIS DUTIES IN A COMMENDABLE FASHION.

SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, PROVIDES:

SEC. 10. WHENEVER BY OR UNDER AUTHORITY OF LAW ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL MAY BE ALLOWED TO OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES, SUCH ALLOWANCES, IN THE CASE OF TRAVEL ORDERED AFTER THE DATE OF ENACTMENT OF THIS ACT, SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRAVEL.

IN 13 COMP. GEN. 254, IT WAS HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

IN THE TRANSPORTATION OF A DETACHMENT OF TROOPS ON COMMERCIAL VESSELS ON WHICH THERE ARE NOT SUFFICIENT MINIMUM-RATE FIRST-CLASS STATEROOMS TO ACCOMMODATE ALL OF THE DETACHMENT, SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, REQUIRES THE PROCUREMENT OF STATEROOM ACCOMMODATIONS BEGINNING WITH THE MINIMUM FIRST-CLASS RATE ACCOMMODATIONS AND CONTINUING WITH THE NEXT HIGHER-PRICED ACCOMMODATIONS AS MAY BE REQUIRED AFTER THE LOWER-PRICED ACCOMMODATIONS ARE EXHAUSTED, ON CONDITION THAT THE AGGREGATE COST OF THE TRANSPORTATION OF THE DETACHMENT DOES NOT EXCEED THE COST OF THEIR TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL.

HOWEVER, IN 14 COMP. GEN. 629, IT WAS HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

THE FACT THAT A LARGE NUMBER OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES MAY BE TRAVELING TO A COMMON DESTINATION BY THE SAME TRANSPORTATION FACILITY DOES NOT ADMIT OF ANY EXCEPTION TO THE RESTRICTIONS OF SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, LIMITING THE ALLOWANCE FOR TRANSPORTATION TO THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED. 13 COMP. GEN. 254, DISTINGUISHED.

THE VOUCHER UPON WHICH PAYMENT WAS MADE FOR THE TRANSPORTATION IN QUESTION IS NOT IDENTIFIED IN YOUR SUBMISSION. HOWEVER, ASSUMING THAT THE ENTIRE PULLMAN CAR WAS PROCURED FOR EACH TRIP (OUTGOING AND RETURN) ON ONE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, AS ALLEGED, AND THAT INDIVIDUAL ACCOMMODATIONS WERE NOT PROCURED FOR THE RESPECTIVE MEMBERS OF THE PARTY, THE COST OF THE ENTIRE CAR PROPERLY MAY BE PRORATED AMONG THE INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF THE PARTY, AND IF THE AGGREGATE COST INCURRED DOES NOT EXCEED THE PRORATED AGGREGATE COST OF LOWER BERTHS FOR THE NUMBER OF PERSONS INVOLVED, IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO CHARGE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF A LOWER BERTH AND THE DRAWING ROOM TO THE EMPLOYEES WHO NECESSARILY OCCUPIED THE DRAWING ROOM AS THEIR PART OF THE ACCOMMODATIONS SO PROCURED. THIS IS DISTINGUISHABLE FROM THE CASE REPORTED IN 14 COMP. GEN. 629, SUPRA, AS THE INDIVIDUAL TRAVELERS IN THAT CASE PROCURED INDIVIDUAL ACCOMMODATIONS, NONE OF WHICH INVOLVED LESS THAN THE COST OF THE FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION, AND A LARGE NUMBER EXCEEDED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS IN COST.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE VOUCHER RECLAIMING $9 PREVIOUSLY COLLECTED FROM A MEMBER OF THE GROUP OCCUPYING THE DRAWING ROOM MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER OBJECTION.