B-67868, AUGUST 7, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 66

B-67868: Aug 7, 1947

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IT MAY BE REGARDED THAT USE OF COMMON CARRIER FOR SUCH TRAVEL WAS IMPRACTICABLE WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS WHENEVER TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER IS IMPRACTICABLE. 1947: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 8. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS ATTACHED A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $12.60 IN FAVOR OF MR. YOU ARE AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT AT THE RATE SPECIFIED. WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTO A STATEMENT SHOULD BE MADE ON VOUCHER SHOWING IMPRACTICABILITY OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER.'. MILEAGE IN THE AMOUNT OF $12.60 WAS CLAIMED. SINCE COMMON CARRIER SCHEDULES WERE AVAILABLE AND THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE IN THE VOUCHER ESTABLISHING THE NECESSITY FOR THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE AT THE TEMPORARY-DUTY POINTS.

B-67868, AUGUST 7, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 66

MILEAGE - TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - IMPRACTICABILITY OF COMMON CARRIER TRAVEL WHERE, AT THE TIME AN EMPLOYEE COMMENCED TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, THERE EXISTED A PROBABILITY THAT THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE WOULD BE REQUIRED IN OR AROUND HIS TEMPORARY-DUTY STATION IN ORDER TO SATISFACTORILY PERFORM OFFICIAL DUTIES WHICH MIGHT BE ASSIGNED THEREAT, IT MAY BE REGARDED THAT USE OF COMMON CARRIER FOR SUCH TRAVEL WAS IMPRACTICABLE WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS WHENEVER TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER IS IMPRACTICABLE, SO AS TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS REVISED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO LOUIS LITSKY, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, AUGUST 7, 1947:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 8, 1947, FILE REFERENCE HBBF-5, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS ATTACHED A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $12.60 IN FAVOR OF MR. VINCENT P. HIPPOLITUS, RECLAIMING AMOUNTS DEDUCTED FROM HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER FOR THE PERIOD DECEMBER 3-17, 1946, AND THE SUPPORTING FILE.

MR. HIPPOLITUS TRAVELED UNDER TRAVEL ORDER NUMBER USES 41-938, WHICH AUTHORIZED THE FOLLOWING MODE OF TRAVEL:

"/F) COMMON CARRIER WHENEVER PRACTICABLE. WHEN NOT PRACTICABLE OR WHEN OTHER PERSONS PROPERLY AUTHORIZED OFFICIAL TRAVEL ACCOMPANY YOU, YOU ARE AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT AT THE RATE SPECIFIED, SUCH ALLOWANCE HAVING BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO GOVT. WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTO A STATEMENT SHOULD BE MADE ON VOUCHER SHOWING IMPRACTICABILITY OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER.'

ON DECEMBER 10, 1946, MR. HIPPOLITUS TRAVELED FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION, HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, TO NEW LONDON, AND RETURN, AND ON DECEMBER 12, TO STAMFORD, CONNECTICUT, AND RETURN. IN SUBMITTING THE TRAVEL VOUCHER, MILEAGE IN THE AMOUNT OF $12.60 WAS CLAIMED. THIS OFFICE ALLOWED THE TRAVELER $5.62, ROUND TRIP BUS FARE TO THE TWO TEMPORARY-DUTY POINTS AND SUSPENDED THE DIFFERENCE, SINCE COMMON CARRIER SCHEDULES WERE AVAILABLE AND THERE WAS NO EVIDENCE IN THE VOUCHER ESTABLISHING THE NECESSITY FOR THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE AT THE TEMPORARY-DUTY POINTS.

IT WAS THE INTENT OF THIS OFFICE THAT MR. HIPPOLITUS TRAVELED BY THE MOST ADVANTAGEOUS MEANS AVAILABLE, TAKING INTO CONSIDERATION THE SITUATION AT THE TIME TRAVEL WAS BEGUN. WHEN IT WAS KNOWN IN ADVANCE THAT TRAVEL WAS TO BE FROM POINT TO POINT AND RETURN, IT WAS INTENDED THAT THE TRAVEL BE PERFORMED BY COMMON CARRIER. HOWEVER, WHEN A PROBABILITY EXISTED THAT AFTER REACHING THE TEMPORARY-DUTY POINT, A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE MIGHT BE NECESSARY TO THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES, IT WAS INTENDED THAT THE TRAVEL BE PERFORMED BY THAT MEANS.

THE NATURE OF MR. HIPPOLITUS' DUTIES REQUIRES THAT HE BE GIVEN A GENERAL TRAVEL ORDER COVERING AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME. IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DECISION OF MARCH 21, 1934, NO. A-54061, TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER AND MILEAGE ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED IN ADVANCE TO BE MORE ECONOMICAL AND ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT MAY NOT BE AUTHORIZED IN THE SAME GENERAL ORDER. THEREFORE, TRAVEL WAS AUTHORIZED AS ABOVE.

I AM AWARE OF THE DECISIONS IN 11 COMP. GEN. 155, 16 COMP. GEN. 620, AND 26 COMP. GEN. 580 (1), HOWEVER, NONE SEEMS COMPLETELY IN POINT.

YOUR OPINION IS REQUESTED AS TO WHETHER MR. HIPPOLITUS' EXPLANATION MAY BE REGARDED AS FULFILLING THE REQUIREMENT OF THE TRAVEL ORDER OF A SHOWING OF IMPRACTICABILITY OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER WHEN PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS USED, SO THAT THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED IN THE AMOUNT OF $6.98, WHICH WAS DEDUCTED FROM THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER.

YOUR EARLY DECISION IS REQUESTED SINCE I HAVE BEFORE ME FOR CERTIFICATION OTHER VOUCHERS OF A SIMILAR NATURE.

THE MEMORANDUM FROM THE CLAIMANT'S SUPERVISOR, ARTHUR V. GEARY, TO PERRY FAULKNER, CHIEF, VETERANS' EMPLOYMENT SERVICE, REFERRED TO IN THE ABOVE LETTER READS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

I BELIEVE THE MATTER IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT IT WOULD BE QUITE POSSIBLE TO DISALLOW ANY ONE OF THE AUTOMOBILE TRIPS IN THIS STATE SINCE RAILROAD SERVICE AND BUS SERVICE IS QUITE COMPLETE BETWEEN ALL TOWNS AND COMMUNITIES. THE WORK OF THE VES STAFF, HOWEVER, MAKES IT MANDATORY TO USE AUTOMOBILE IN PRACTICALLY ALL TRAVEL INSTEAD OF COMMON CARRIER IN ORDER TO EFFICIENTLY CARRY ON VES DUTIES. IF THE NECESSARY TRAVEL INCLUDED ONLY A TRIP BETWEEN THE HARTFORD HEADQUARTERS AND ONE OF THE LOCAL OFFICES IT IS QUITE POSSIBLE THAT IN MANY INSTANCES THIS COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED SATISFACTORILY AT A SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT WITHOUT ANY LOSS OF EMERGENCY IN OPERATIONS OR LOSS OF SERVICE TO LOCAL OFFICES, VETERANS' ORGANIZATIONS, ETC.

THE ACTUAL SITUATION IS: THAT WHEN MR. HIPPOLITUS OR ANY OTHER MEMBER OF THE STAFF LEAVES HARTFORD FOR A VISIT TO A LOCAL OFFICE THERE IS NO WAY OF KNOWING IN ADVANCE WHETHER OR NOT IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO TRAVEL FROM THE LOCAL OFFICE TO ANY NUMBER OF POINTS IN THE TERRITORY AND IN SOME INSTANCES TO POINTS THAT ARE INACCESSIBLE BY TROLLEY OR BUS. IN SOME CASES WHILE THE LOCATIONS TO WHICH THE TRAVELER NECESSARILY MUST GO ARE SERVICED BY TROLLEY AND BUS THE LONG DELAY IN WAITING FOR SUCH SERVICE AND THE TIME CONSUMED IN TRAVEL OF THIS TYPE WOULD MAKE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO FULLY COVER THE NECESSARY ACTIVITIES IN THE TERRITORY DURING WORKING HOURS.

FOR EXAMPLE, THE CASE OF THE TRIP TO NEW LONDON AND THE TRIP TO STAMFORD MADE BY MR. HIPPOLITUS. THERE WAS NO WAY OF HIS KNOWING WHETHER OR NOT THE LOCAL VES OR MANAGER WOULD REQUEST HIS ASSISTANCE IN CONNECTION WITH VETERANS PROBLEMS INVOLVING VISITING THE LOCAL VETERANS CENTER, VETERANS ADMINISTRATION, THE OFFICER OF VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION, THE PERSONNEL DEPARTMENT OF AN EMPLOYER, THE HOME OF A VETERAN, OR POSSIBLY A COMBINATION OF SEVERAL OF THESE TRIPS. THESE VISITS THAT MIGHT BE NECESSARY REQUIRE TRAVEL TO SMALLER TOWNS IN THE DISTRICTS SERVICED BY THE STAMFORD OR NEW LONDON OFFICES, AND IF THE VISIT REQUIRED SERVICE TO A PARAPLEGIC OR A HOME-BOUND VETERAN IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO VISIT THE RESIDENCE OF THE VETERAN WHO MIGHT BE LOCATED IN THE COUNTRY SOME DISTANCE FROM AVAILABLE TRANSPORTATION. IN CHECKING WITH MR. HIPPOLITUS I FOUND THAT ON THESE PARTICULAR TRIPS NO SPECIAL REASONS DEVELOPED NECESSITATING TRIPS TO ANY OF THE PLACES MENTIONED, BUT THAT WHEN HE LEFT HARTFORD HE HAD NO WAY OF KNOWING THAT THIS WOULD BE THE SITUATION. THE SAME GENERAL SITUATION APPLIES TO ALL VES TRAVELERS IN THE STATE.

I AM HOPEFUL, THEREFORE, THAT SOME PERMANENT DECISION CAN BE REACHED COVERING TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT COMMON CARRIER WILL BE USED WHENEVER THE TRAVELER KNOWS THAT THE USE OF COMMON CARRIER WILL NOT INTERFERE WITH COMPLETE SERVICE TO VETERANS AND THE HANDLING OF ALL HIS VARIOUS DUTIES.

THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF THE APPLICABLE LAW AND REGULATIONS, TO WIT, THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, (5 U.S.C. 73A), AS AMENDED BY SECTION 3 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 807, AND PARAGRAPH 12 (A) (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED, DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1946, AND RETROACTIVELY EFFECTIVE AS OF AUGUST 2, 1946, ARE QUOTED IN 26 COMP. GEN. 581, 582, REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, AND WILL NOT BE SET FORTH HEREIN.

WHERE TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER "WHENEVER PRACTICABLE" IS AUTHORIZED BY A PROPER TRAVEL ORDER AND, IF NOT PRACTICABLE, TRAVEL TO BE PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT A DESIGNATED RATE PER MILE, IT NECESSARILY FOLLOWS THAT, IN THE EVENT TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE, THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED FOR PAYMENT OF MILEAGE MUST CONTAIN AN ACCEPTABLE EXPLANATION OF THE NECESSITY FOR USE OF THAT MODE OF CONVEYANCE; OR, IN OTHER WORDS, A STATEMENT WHICH SATISFACTORILY SHOWS THE IMPRACTICABILITY OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER. UPON RECEIPT OF THE CLAIMANT'S VOUCHER, THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICER IS CHARGED WITH THE DUTY OF DETERMINING WHETHER THE FACTS OF THE PARTICULAR CASE JUSTIFY THE CONCLUSION THAT USE OF COMMON CARRIER WAS IMPRACTICABLE AND THAT THE STATUTORY REQUIREMENT THAT TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE BE MORE ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN SATISFIED. MOREOVER, THIS OFFICE ORDINARILY WILL NOT QUESTION SUCH A DETERMINATION.

THE FACTS OF EACH PARTICULAR CASE MUST CONTROL THE DISPOSITION THEREOF WITH RESPECT TO THE DETERMINATION OF IMPRACTICABILITY OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER AND PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR USE OF PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE UNDER THE APPLICABLE LAW AND REGULATIONS. IN THE INSTANT CASE, SINCE THERE APPEARS TO HAVE EXISTED THE PROBABILITY, AT THE TIME THE EMPLOYEE DEPARTED FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION, THAT IT WOULD BE NECESSARY FOR HIM TO USE A PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN OR AROUND HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION IN ORDER TO SATISFACTORILY PERFORM OFFICIAL DUTIES WHICH MIGHT BE ASSIGNED TO HIM AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR USE THEREOF WILL NOT BE QUESTIONED BY THIS OFFICE.

ACCORDINGLY, UPON THE FACTS OF THIS PARTICULAR CASE, THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.