B-68295, NOVEMBER 4, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 265

B-68295: Nov 4, 1947

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TRAVELED TO HIS HOME BY WAY OF A SEPARATION CENTER OTHER THAN THAT DESIGNATED AS SERVING THE AREA IN WHICH HIS HOME IS LOCATED SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PAID MILEAGE FOR THE DISTANCE SO TRAVELED IN EXCESS OF THAT HAD THE OFFICER PROCEEDED TO HIS HOME BY WAY OF THE NEAREST SEPARATION CENTER. WHERE THE INFORMATION BEFORE THE DISBURSING OFFICER AT THE TIME MILEAGE PAYMENT WAS MADE WAS SUCH AS TO PUT HIM ON NOTICE. THAT THE ORDERS WERE ISSUED FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE AND BENEFIT OF THE OFFICER. WHERE SUCH PAYMENTS ARE IN EXCESS OF THE MILEAGE TO THE SEPARATION CENTER NEAREST TO THE OFFICER'S HOME OF RECORD AT THE TIME HE ENTERED ON ACTIVE DUTY. WHICH IS STATED TO BE REPRESENTATIVE OF EXCEPTIONS BEING RECEIVED BY DISBURSING OFFICERS.

B-68295, NOVEMBER 4, 1947, 27 COMP. GEN. 265

MILEAGE - RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY - TRAVEL BY WAY OF SEPARATION CENTERS OTHER THAN THAT NEAREST HOME A NAVAL RESERVE OFFICER WHO, PURSUANT TO ORDERS DIRECTING HIS RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY, TRAVELED TO HIS HOME BY WAY OF A SEPARATION CENTER OTHER THAN THAT DESIGNATED AS SERVING THE AREA IN WHICH HIS HOME IS LOCATED SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PAID MILEAGE FOR THE DISTANCE SO TRAVELED IN EXCESS OF THAT HAD THE OFFICER PROCEEDED TO HIS HOME BY WAY OF THE NEAREST SEPARATION CENTER, WHERE THE INFORMATION BEFORE THE DISBURSING OFFICER AT THE TIME MILEAGE PAYMENT WAS MADE WAS SUCH AS TO PUT HIM ON NOTICE, OR AT LEAST ON INQUIRY, THAT THE ORDERS WERE ISSUED FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE AND BENEFIT OF THE OFFICER.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, NOVEMBER 4, 1947:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 24, 1947, CONCERNING EXCEPTIONS TAKEN BY THE AUDIT DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE IN THE ACCOUNTS OF DISBURSING OFFICERS AT OFFICER SEPARATION CENTERS FOR PAYMENTS OF MILEAGE TO OFFICERS OF THE NAVAL RESERVE FOR TRAVEL TO SUCH SEPARATION CENTERS, IN CONNECTION WITH THEIR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY, WHERE SUCH PAYMENTS ARE IN EXCESS OF THE MILEAGE TO THE SEPARATION CENTER NEAREST TO THE OFFICER'S HOME OF RECORD AT THE TIME HE ENTERED ON ACTIVE DUTY.

THE PARTICULAR EXCEPTION REFERRED TO IN YOUR LETTER, WHICH IS STATED TO BE REPRESENTATIVE OF EXCEPTIONS BEING RECEIVED BY DISBURSING OFFICERS, INVOLVES A PAYMENT OF MILEAGE TO JOSEPH P. MORGAN, ENSIGN, U.S. NAVAL RESERVE, ON VOUCHER 3382, AUGUST 1946 ACCOUNT OF LIEUTENANT B. A. MAGO, U.S. NAVY, UNDER ORDERS DATED MAY 31, 1946, DIRECTING THE OFFICER TO PROCEED FROM PEARL HARBOR, TERRITORY OF HAWAII, TO THE SEPARATION CENTER AT NEW YORK, AND REPORT TO THE COMMANDING OFFICER AT THAT STATION FOR TEMPORARY DUTY, AND UPON COMPLETION OF SUCH DUTY TO PROCEED TO HIS HOME FOR RELEASE FROM ACTIVE DUTY. ATTACHED TO THE SAID VOUCHER IS A COPY OF SEVENTH ENDORSEMENT OF THE U.S. NAVAL PERSONNEL SEPARATION CENTER ( OFFICER), NEW YORK, NEW YORK, DATED ABOUT AUGUST 5, 1946, WHICH SHOWS THAT THE OFFICER STATED THAT HE WAS CALLED TO ACTIVE DUTY FROM TULSA, OKLAHOMA; THAT HIS OFFICIAL RESIDENCE AT THE TIME HE WAS CALLED TO ACTIVE DUTY WAS TULSA, OKLAHOMA, BUT THAT HIS ,PRESENT ADDRESS, (WHEN RELEASED FROM ACTIVE DUTY) WAS 124 WASHINGTON PLACE, NEW YORK. ON THE BASIS OF SUCH INFORMATION, AN EXCEPTION WAS ISSUED BY THE AUDIT DIVISION AS FOLLOWS:

CREDIT FOR $91.21 PAID TO JOSEPH P. MORGAN 454696 ENS. WILL BE WITHHELD OR A CHARGE WILL BE RAISED IN YOUR NEXT STATEMENT OF SETTLEMENT FOR THE REASON STATED BELOW UNLESS A SATISFACTORY EXPLANATION IS PROMPTLY MADE OR THE AMOUNT DEPOSITED:

PAID MILEAGE FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK-- $245.67.

ALLOWED OMT SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA TO MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE 2299 MILES AT .06 LESS 982 MILES LAND GRANT AT .03--- $154.46.

BUREAU OF PERSONNEL DIRECTIVE PROVIDES THAT UPON SEPARATION OFFICER WILL BE ORDERED TO SEPARATION CENTER SERVING THE ADDRESS TO WHICH HE IS ENTITLED TO BE RETURNED UPON SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE. ALNAV 234 45.

SEPARATION CENTER SERVING OFFICER'S HOME OF RECORD AT TIME OF CALL TO ACTIVE DUTY WAS MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE.

IN REQUESTING REMOVAL OF THE EXCEPTION IN THAT AND SIMILAR CASES, IT IS STATED THAT THE DEMOBILIZATION OF NAVAL PERSONNEL REQUIRED THAT THE PROCESSING OF LARGE NUMBERS OF PERSONNEL FOR SEPARATION BE ACCOMPLISHED AS EXPEDITIOUSLY AS POSSIBLE; THAT IT WAS ESSENTIAL THAT THE WORK LOAD BE DISTRIBUTED AMONG THE ESTABLISHED SEPARATION CENTERS AND THAT THERE BE A GENERAL DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY, ESPECIALLY IN CONNECTION WITH WRITING RELEASE ORDERS; THAT IN CERTAIN INSTANCES SEPARATION CENTERS NEAREST THE OFFICE'S HOME OF RECORD WERE OVERCROWDED, THEREBY NECESSITATING ROUTING OFFICERS TO A SEPARATION CENTER OTHER THAN THAT NEAREST THEIR HOMES; AND THAT IT WAS REALIZED THAT IN SOME CASES OFFICERS MIGHT BE ORDERED TO SEPARATION CENTERS OTHER THAN THE ONE NEAREST THEIR HOMES OF RECORD, BUT THAT IT WAS NOT INTENDED THAT THE INDIVIDUAL BE PENALIZED BY REASON OF SUCH ADMINISTRATIVE ERRORS. HOWEVER, IT ALSO IS STATED THAT THE ORDER- WRITING COMMANDS DID NOT HAVE PERSONNEL RECORDS AVAILABLE TO ESTABLISH THE OFFICERS' HOMES OF RECORD AT THE TIME THEY WERE CALLED TO ACTIVE DUTY AND, THEREFORE, IT BECAME NECESSARY TO AUTHORIZE THE ACCEPTANCE OF A CERTIFICATE FROM EACH OFFICER CERTIFYING AS TO HIS HOME OF RECORD AT THE TIME CALLED TO ACTIVE DUTY. IN VIEW OF SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS REQUESTED THAT "IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE IMPUTING FRAUD, COLLUSION OR CRIMINALITY TO THE DISBURSING OFFICERS," THAT THE EXCEPTIONS BE REMOVED AND THE PAYMENTS PASSED TO CREDIT.

UNDER ORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES, AN OFFICER WHO, PURSUANT TO ORDERS, TRAVELS TO HIS HOME BY WAY OF A SEPARATION CENTER OTHER THAN THAT DESIGNATED AS SERVING THE AREA IN WHICH HIS HOME IS LOCATED WOULD BE ENTITLED TO MILEAGE FOR THE DISTANCE SO TRAVELED, EVEN THOUGH IT MAY EXCEED THE DISTANCE INVOLVED HAD THE OFFICER PROCEEDED TO HIS HOME BY WAY OF THE NEAREST SEPARATION CENTER, PROVIDED THAT SUCH EXCESS TRAVEL WAS NOT DIRECTED PRIMARILY FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE OFFICER RATHER THAN FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT. IN THE PARTICULAR CASE HERE INVOLVED, THE OFFICER WAS DETACHED FROM DUTY AT PEARL HARBOR, TERRITORY OF HAWAII, AND DIRECTED UPON ARRIVAL IN THE UNITED STATES (PRESUMABLY SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA), AND THENCE TO THE SEPARATION CENTER AT NEW YORK, THE OFFICER CERTIFIED THAT HIS OFFICIAL RESIDENCE AND PLACE FROM WHICH HE WAS CALLED TO ACTIVE DUTY WAS TULSA, OKLAHOMA, BUT THAT HIS "PRESENT" ADDRESS WAS 124 WASHINGTON PLACE, NEW YORK, NEW YORK. SUCH INFORMATION (WHICH APPARENTLY WAS BEFORE THE DISBURSING OFFICER PRIOR TO PAYMENT) WAS SUFFICIENT TO PUT THE DISBURSING OFFICER ON NOTICE, OR AT LEAST ON INQUIRY, THAT THE ORDER DIRECTING TRAVEL TO THE NEW YORK SEPARATION CENTER INSTEAD OF THE MEMPHIS SEPARATION CENTER, CONTRARY TO ADMINISTRATIVE INSTRUCTIONS, WAS FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE AND BENEFIT OF THE OFFICER AND NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT OR THE NECESSITIES OF THE NAVAL SERVICE. ACCORDINGLY, THE EXCEPTION IN SUCH CASE, AND IN SIMILAR CASES WHERE THE DISBURSING OFFICER IS CHARGEABLE WITH NOTICE, WILL BE CONTINUED ON THE PRESENT RECORD IN THE ABSENCE OF FACTS ESTABLISHING IN EACH CASE THAT THE EXCESS TRAVEL WAS NOT DIRECTED FOR THE PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF THE OFFICER INVOLVED. HOWEVER, SUCH PAYMENTS MADE WITHIN THE PERIOD COVERED BY THE RELIEF ACT OF JULY 26, 1947, PUBLIC LAW 248, 61 STAT. 493, ENACTED SUBSEQUENT TO THE SUBMISSION OF THE PRESENT MATTER, WILL BE CONSIDERED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THAT ACT UPON RECEIPT OF INFORMATION FROM THE NAVY DEPARTMENT NECESSARY THEREUNDER.