B-64718, MAY 1, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 841

B-64718: May 1, 1947

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1947: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER FROM MR. AS FOLLOWS: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 5. THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON DUTY AT THE TIME HIS RESIGNATION WAS ACCEPTED. WAS PLACED ON TERMINAL LEAVE EFFECTIVE ON JULY 1. HIS RESIGNATION WAS ACCEPTED EFFECTIVE AT THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS AUGUST 1. SHEEHAN'S RESIGNATION THERE WAS CONSIDERABLE DOUBT AS TO WHAT EXPENSES. THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE WAS AUTHORIZED TO PAY IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSFER FROM LAST DUTY STATION TO HOME IN THE CASE OF COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE REGULAR CORPS OF WHICH DOCTOR SHEEHAN WAS A MEMBER. THE QUESTION WAS SUBMITTED TO COMPTROLLER GENERAL FOR CLARIFICATION ON MAY 23. 1946 (B-58038) THAT COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE REGULAR CORPS UPON RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE WERE NOT AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR DEPENDENTS NOR FOR THE SHIPMENT OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM LAST DUTY STATION TO HOME.

B-64718, MAY 1, 1947, 26 COMP. GEN. 841

MILEAGE - OFFICERS OF REGULAR CORPS OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE - LAST STATION TO HOME - ABSENCE OF COMPETENT ORDERS FORMER OFFICERS OF THE REGULAR CORPS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE WHO, AT THE TIME THEY TRAVELED FROM THEIR LAST STATIONS TO THEIR HOMES PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATES OF THEIR RESIGNATIONS FROM THE SERVICE, HAD NOT BEEN ISSUED COMPETENT ORDERS DIRECTING SUCH TRAVEL WOULD NOT NOW BE ENTITLED UNDER SECTION 12 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942, AS AMENDED, AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL "UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS" FROM LAST STATION TO HOME UPON DISCHARGE, TO MILEAGE FOR SUCH TRAVEL ON BASIS OF SUBSEQUENTLY ISSUED ORDERS PURPORTING TO DIRECT THE FORMER OFFICERS TO PROCEED TO THEIR HOMES INCIDENT TO SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE.

ASSISTANT COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE FEDERAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATOR, MAY 1, 1947:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER FROM MR. W. P. DEARING, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, CHIEF, DIVISION OF COMMISSIONED OFFICERS, TO THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE DATED FEBRUARY 12, 1947, AS FOLLOWS:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 5, 1947, WITH WHICH YOU FORWARDED FOR APPROPRIATE ACTION COPY OF LETTER DATED JANUARY 29, 1947, RECEIVED IN YOUR OFFICE FROM THE OFFICE OF CONGRESSMAN JOHN F. KENNEDY RELATIVE TO CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES OF DOCTOR JOHN C. SHEEHAN, A FORMER COMMISSIONED OFFICER OF THIS SERVICE, FROM DETROIT, MICHIGAN, THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON DUTY AT THE TIME HIS RESIGNATION WAS ACCEPTED, TO BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, THE PLACE WHERE HE ORIGINALLY ENTERED THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE. DOCTOR SHEEHAN ENTERED THE COMMISSIONED CORPS OF THIS SERVICE ON JANUARY 1, 1944, WAS PLACED ON TERMINAL LEAVE EFFECTIVE ON JULY 1, 1946, AND HIS RESIGNATION WAS ACCEPTED EFFECTIVE AT THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS AUGUST 1, 1946.

AT THE TIME OF THE ACCEPTANCE OF DR. SHEEHAN'S RESIGNATION THERE WAS CONSIDERABLE DOUBT AS TO WHAT EXPENSES, IF ANY, THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE WAS AUTHORIZED TO PAY IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSFER FROM LAST DUTY STATION TO HOME IN THE CASE OF COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE REGULAR CORPS OF WHICH DOCTOR SHEEHAN WAS A MEMBER. ACCORDINGLY, THE QUESTION WAS SUBMITTED TO COMPTROLLER GENERAL FOR CLARIFICATION ON MAY 23, 1946. THE COMPTROLLER RULED UNDER DATE OF JULY 12, 1946 (B-58038) THAT COMMISSIONED OFFICERS OF THE REGULAR CORPS UPON RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE WERE NOT AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF THEIR DEPENDENTS NOR FOR THE SHIPMENT OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS FROM LAST DUTY STATION TO HOME. HOWEVER, IN THIS SAME DECISION THE COMPTROLLER HELD THAT SUCH OFFICERS WERE ENTITLED TO MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FROM LAST DUTY STATION TO HOME PROVIDED THAT THE TRAVEL FROM LAST DUTY STATION TO HOME WAS PERFORMED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF TH RESIGNATION AND UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS DIRECTING THE TRAVEL. THIS DECISION WAS CLARIFIED AND AFFIRMED IN TH COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S DECISION OF JANUARY 30, 1947 (B-58038).

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT AT THE TIME OF DOCTOR SHEEHAN'S SEPARATION THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE WAS IN DOUBT AS TO WHETHER OR NOT REGULAR OFFICERS COULD BE REIMBURSED FOR ANY EXPENSE ON SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS TO SUCH OFFICERS WAS HELD IN ABEYANCE PENDING THE COMPTROLLER'S DECISION. NOW, IN VIEW OF THE COMPTROLLER'S STATEMENT THAT SUCH OFFICERS ARE ENTITLED TO MILEAGE FROM LAST DUTY STATION TO HOME PROVIDED THAT THE "TRAVEL IS PERFORMED PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS DIRECTING SUCH TRAVEL," (ITALICS SUPPLIED) AND IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT DUE TO THE INTERPRETATION OF THE LAW MADE BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE WHICH HAS SINCE BEEN DECLARED ERRONEOUS BY THE COMPTROLLER'S DECISION THE QUESTION ARISES AS TO WHETHER THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AT THIS DATE MAY ISSUE "COMPETENT" ORDERS TO COMPTROLLER'S SECOND CONDITION--- COMPLETION OF TRAVEL PRIOR TO EFFECTIVE DATE OF SEPARATION -- HAS BEEN SATISFIED. A RULING ON THIS POINT FROM THE CLAIMS DIVISION WOULD BE APPRECIATED AND WOULD ENABLE THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE NOT ONLY TO SETTLE THE CLAIM OF DOCTOR SHEEHAN, BUT MORE THAN 100 ADDITIONAL CLAIMS FROM OFFICERS WHO WERE SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES.

UPON RECEIPT OF A REPLY TO THIS COMMUNICATION WE SHALL BE PLEASED TO INFORM CONGRESSMAN KENNEDY AS TO WHAT ACTION MAY BE TAKEN REGARDING THE CLAIM SUBMITTED BY HIS CONSTITUENT.

SECTION 12 OF THE PAY READJUSTMENT ACT OF 1942, 56 STAT. 364, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 9 OF THE ACT OF SEPTEMBER 7, 1944, 58 STAT. 730, PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

OFFICERS OF ANY OF THE SERVICES MENTIONED IN THE TITLE OF THIS ACT INCLUDING ACTIVE AND RETIRED PERSONNEL OF THE REGULAR ESTABLISHMENTS AND MEMBERS OF THE RESERVE COMPONENTS THEREOF AND THE NATIONAL GUARD, WHILE ON ACTIVE DUTY IN THE FEDERAL SERVICE, WHEN TRAVELING UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS WITHOUT TROOPS, INCLUDING TRAVEL FROM HOME TO FIRST STATION IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR APPOINTMENT OR CALL TO ACTIVE DUTY AND FROM LAST STATION TO HOME IN CONNECTION WITH RELIEF FROM ACTIVE DUTY OR DISCHARGE NOT THE RESULT OF THEIR OWN MISCONDUCT, SHALL RECEIVE A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE AT THE RATE OF 8 CENTS PER MILE * * *.

AS STATED IN THE CITED DECISIONS OF JULY 12, 1946, 26 COMP. GEN. 18, AND JANUARY 30, 1947, B-58038, 26 COMP. GEN. 533, THE FOREGOING PROVISIONS OF LAW AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE TO AN OFFICER OF THE REGULAR CORPS OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE UPON DISCHARGE NOT THE RESULT OF HIS OWN MISCONDUCT--- INCLUDING A SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE AS A RESULT OF A VOLUNTARY RESIGNATION FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE--- FROM HIS LAST STATION TO HIS HOME, PROVIDED THAT THE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS AND PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF SUCH DISCHARGE OR SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE. IT IS STATED THAT DR. JOHN C. SHEEHAN AND THE OTHER OFFICERS REFERRED TO IN THE ABOVE-QUOTED LETTER, ALL HAVE BEEN SEPARATED FROM THE SERVICE. WHILE IT IS INDICATED THAT SUCH FORMER OFFICERS PROCEEDED TO THEIR RESPECTIVE HOMES PRIOR TO THE EFFECTIVE DATES OF THEIR RESIGNATIONS FROM THE SERVICE, NO ORDERS WERE ISSUED DIRECTING THAT TRAVEL. TRAVEL ACCOMPLISHED PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS DIRECTING SUCH TRAVEL MAY NOT BE REGARDED AS TRAVEL PERFORMED ,UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS.' SEE DECISION OF NOVEMBER 19, 1946, B-60368; COMPARE 13 COMP. DEC. 156. ALSO, ORDERS ARE VALID AND EFFECTIVE ONLY AS TO PERSONNEL WHO ARE UNDER THE JURISDICTION AND CONTROL OF THE DEPARTMENT OR AGENCY CONCERNED AT THE TIME THE ORDERS ARE ISSUED.

ACCORDINGLY, I HAVE TO ADVISE THAT ORDERS ISSUED AT THIS TIME PURPORTING TO DIRECT THE FORMER OFFICERS INVOLVED TO PROCEED TO THEIR HOMES WOULD BE WITHOUT EFFECT TO ENTITLE THEM TO MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL THERETOFORE PERFORMED BY THEM WHILE THEY WERE STILL IN THE SERVICE. THE FACT THAT THE FAILURE TO ISSUE TRAVEL ORDERS AT THE TIME THEIR RESIGNATIONS WERE ACCEPTED WAS DUE TO THE DOUBT OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE AS TO THEIR RIGHTS TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES OF TRAVEL TO THEIR HOMES AFFORDS NO BASIS FOR THE ISSUANCE OF ORDERS TO SUCH PERSONNEL AT THIS TIME AND NO SUCH ORDERS SO ISSUED WOULD ENTITLE THEM TO MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED INCIDENT TO THEIR SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE.