B-76581, MAY 28, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 732

B-76581: May 28, 1948

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - SUPERIOR STEAMER ACCOMMODATIONS - PAYMENTS TO CARRIER WHERE THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS STEAMSHIP ACCOMMODATION IS UNAVAILABLE AND A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST IS ISSUED ON WHICH THE VALUE OF THE ONLY AVAILABLE FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION IS INSERTED. 1948: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 19. HAVE PLANNED A TRIP TO SEWARD. WHICH APPARENTLY IS THE AGENCY FOR THE ALASKAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY. COMMISSIONER AKERS WAS INFORMED BY THE CANADIAN PACIFIC AGENT THAT THE ALASKAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY WOULD HONOR THE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF $85.00 FOR A ONE-WAY TRIP. WHICH IS THE MINIMUM RATE FOR CABIN AND OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS. THE AGENT OF THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY WAS CONTACTED.

B-76581, MAY 28, 1948, 27 COMP. GEN. 732

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FARES - SUPERIOR STEAMER ACCOMMODATIONS - PAYMENTS TO CARRIER WHERE THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS STEAMSHIP ACCOMMODATION IS UNAVAILABLE AND A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST IS ISSUED ON WHICH THE VALUE OF THE ONLY AVAILABLE FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION IS INSERTED, AS REQUIRED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET BULLETIN NO. 1947-48: 19, APRIL 28, 1948, RELATIVE TO THE CHANGES IN THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS MADE NECESSARY BY SECTION 6 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, THE CARRIER, UPON ACCEPTING THE REQUEST IN EXCHANGE FOR A PROPER TICKET, BECOMES ENTITLED TO PAYMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH SAID REQUEST AT THE FILED TARIFF RATE FOR SUCH ACCOMMODATION.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL YATES TO THE CHIEF JUSTICE, COURT OF CLAIMS OF THE UNITED STATES, MAY 28, 1948:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 19, 1948, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

COMMISSIONER AKERS OF THE UNITED STATES COURT OF CLAIMS, AND MR. D. B. MACGUINEAS, AN ATTORNEY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IN THE CLAIMS DIVISION, HAVE PLANNED A TRIP TO SEWARD, ALASKA, FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING TESTIMONY IN SEVERAL COURT OF CLAIMS CASES. * * *

THE COMMISSIONER AND MR. MACGUINEAS, OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, IN ENDEAVORING TO MAKE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THESE HEARINGS IN ALASKA, CONTACTED THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY TICKET OFFICE IN WASHINGTON, WHICH APPARENTLY IS THE AGENCY FOR THE ALASKAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY, THE LATTER BEING THE ONLY MODE OF TRANSPORTATION FROM SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, TO SEWARD. COMMISSIONER AKERS WAS INFORMED BY THE CANADIAN PACIFIC AGENT THAT THE ALASKAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY WOULD HONOR THE GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST ONLY TO THE EXTENT OF $85.00 FOR A ONE-WAY TRIP, WHICH IS THE MINIMUM RATE FOR CABIN AND OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS. THE ALASKAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY INFORMED US THAT THE ONLY AVAILABLE ACCOMMODATIONS LEFT AT THE TIME OF SAILING TO SEWARD WOULD COST $95.00 AND THAT THE ONLY AVAILABLE ACCOMMODATIONS ON HIS RETURN TRIP WOULD COST $130.50. THE ALASKAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY, HOWEVER, HAS REFUSED TO HONOR THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST IN EXCESS OF $85.00, THUS MAKING IT NECESSARY FOR THE TRAVELER TO PAY THE DIFFERENCE IN CASH, PLUS 15 PERCENT TAX. THEY ALSO STATED THAT IN ORDER TO RESERVE THEIR ACCOMMODATIONS IT WOULD BE NECESSARY TO IMMEDIATELY DEPOSIT 25 PERCENT OF THE COST OF THE TRIP, PAYABLE ONLY IN CASH, AND THAT THEY COULD NOT ACCEPT A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR THIS PORTION OF THE FARE.

THE AGENT OF THE CANADIAN PACIFIC RAILWAY WAS CONTACTED, WHEREUPON IT WAS FOUND THAT HE WOULD ACCEPT A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, PROVIDED WE ALSO INSERTED ON EACH REQUEST THE FOLLOWING: "THIS REQUEST MAY BE HONORED FOR ACCOMMODATIONS TO A VALUE OF $95.00.' THE SAME NOTATION WAS MADE FOR THE RETURN TRIP FROM SEWARD, EXCEPT THE VALUE LIMIT WAS PLACED AT $130.50. THE CANADIAN PACIFIC ACCEPTED THESE VOUCHERS AND APPARENTLY FORWARDED THEM TO THE ALASKAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY FOR THE ISSUANCE OF TICKETS. I HAVE BEEN INFORMED THIS DATE BY THE CANADIAN PACIFIC THAT FOR SOME UNKNOWN REASON THE ALASKAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY WILL NOT ACCEPT THESE TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS, EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE STATED THEREON THAY THEY COULD BE HONORED FOR THE AFORESAID VALUES. THEY STILL INSIST THAT THEY CAN ONLY ACCEPT A TRAVEL REQUEST TO THE EXTENT OF $85.00 AND THAT THE TRAVELER MUST PAY THE DIFFERENCE IN CASH PLUS TAX, OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, IF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL WILL AUTHORIZE THE TRAVEL REQUEST TO BE HONORED TO THE EXTENT OF $95.00 AND $130.50, THAT THEY WILL THEN, AND THEN ONLY, ISSUE THE TICKETS TO THE TRAVELER. THE REASON FOR THEIR STAND IN THIS MATTER IS ENTIRELY UNKNOWN TO US.

IN ANY EVENT, THE COMMISSIONER, AND ALSO THE GOVERNMENT ATTORNEY, BEING AWAY FROM HOME FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD WILL, OF NECESSITY, BE UNDER HEAVY EXPENSE WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE $85.00 AND THE AMOUNTS REQUIRED FOR THE ACCOMMODATIONS, AND IT IS THEREFORE EARNESTLY REQUESTED THAT A LETTER BE PREPARED BY THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT TO THE ALASKAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY OF THE $95.00 AND $130.50, WHICH IS THE COST OF THE LOWEST AVAILABLE ACCOMMODATIONS, IN ORDER THAT THESE TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS MAY BE HONORED. * * *

SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, 47 STAT. 1516, PROVIDED THAT ACTUAL EXPENSES OF TRAVEL ,SHALL NOT EXCEED THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE BY THE TRANSPORTATION FACILITY USED IN SUCH TRAVEL.' HOWEVER, BY SECTION 6 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 808, SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, WAS AMENDED SO AS TO PERMIT TRANSPORTATION AT OTHER THAN THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS RATE, WHERE "IT IS CERTIFIED IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE PRESIDENT, THAT LOWEST FIRST -CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE OR THAT USE OF A COMPARTMENT OR SUCH OTHER ACCOMMODATIONS AS MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED, OR SUCH SUBORDINATES AS HE MAY DESIGNATE, IS REQUIRED FOR THE PURPOSES OF SECURITY.' THE CHANGES IN THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS MADE NECESSARY BY THE ENACTMENT OF PUBLIC LAW 600, SUPRA, SO FAR AS THEY PERTAIN TO STEAMER ACCOMMODATIONS, ARE CONTAINED IN BUREAU OF THE BUDGET BUREAU BULLETIN IND. 1947-48:19, DATED APRIL 28, 1948, A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED HEREWITH. RELATIVE THERETO, IT IS RECOGNIZED BY THIS OFFICE THAT WHILE THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, AS AMENDED, APPLIES TO THE JUDICIARY, AS WELL AS TO THE EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENTS, THE PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DO NOT SO APPLY TO THE JUDICIARY. HOWEVER, IT IS THE UNDERSTANDING OF THIS OFFICE THAT NO REGULATIONS HAVE BEEN PROMULGATED BY THE PRESIDENT UNDER SECTION 6 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, SUPRA, FOR THE GUIDANCE OF THE JUDICIARY AND THAT WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED BY COMMISSIONERS OR OTHER EMPLOYEES OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ARE FOLLOWED SO FAR AS IS FEASIBLE. ACCORDINGLY, FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS CASE IT IS ASSUMED THAT THE PROVISIONS OF BULLETIN OF APRIL 28, 1948, SUPRA, RELATING TO BOAT ACCOMMODATIONS ARE BEING FOLLOWED IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEES OF THE COURT OF CLAIMS.

THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE CONSISTENTLY HAS HELD THAT THE CARRIER IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT FOR THE SERVICES CALLED FOR ON THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, BUT NO MORE. 16 COMP. GEN. 594. WITH RESPECT TO BOAT TRAVEL, IT IS AMPLY CLEAR FROM THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 29 OF THE ENCLOSED BULLETIN THAT WHERE, AT THE TIME OF ISSUANCE OF A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, IT IS KNOWN THAT MINIMUM FIRST-CLASS IS NOT AVAILABLE, THE LOWEST AVAILABLE FIRST-CLASS (OR STATEROOM, WHERE STATEROOM IS A SEPARATE CHARGE) SHOULD BE SECURED AND A NOTATION OF THE SPECIFIC VALUE THEREOF INSERTED ON THE REQUEST. IF, AT THE TIME OF ISSUING THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, A DETERMINATION OF WHAT STATEROOM ACCOMMODATION IS AVAILABLE IS IMPRACTICABLE, THE PROPER PROCEDURE IS TO INSERT THE WORDS "IF MINIMUM ST CL. UNAVAILABLE, NOT TO EXCEED LOWEST ST CL. AVAILABLE" ON THE REQUEST. IN EITHER EVENT, THE CARRIER WHO FURNISHES THE SERVICES CALLED FOR ON THE REQUEST IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT AT THE FILED TARIFF RATE FOR THE ACCOMMODATION SO FURNISHED.

WHILE IT IS NOT KNOWN TO THIS OFFICE UPON WHICH BASIS THE ALASKAN STEAMSHIP COMPANY REFUSED TO ACCEPT THE TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS ISSUED FOR THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION IN EXCESS OF THE MINIMUM FIRST-CLASS RATE, IT MAY BE STATED THAT IT HAS COME TO THE ATTENTION OF THIS OFFICE THAT PRIOR TO THE ISSUANCE OF THE BULLETIN OF APRIL 28, 1948, SEVERAL STEAMSHIP COMPANIES ENTERTAINED A DOUBT AS TO THE MAXIMUM ACCOMMODATIONS WHICH COULD BE FURNISHED TO FEDERAL EMPLOYEES UNDER THE THEN EXISTING REGULATIONS. THAT DOUBT APPARENTLY AROSE BECAUSE OF THE WORDING OF THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 13 (B) AND 29 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS CONTAINED IN BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED, DATED SEPTEMBER 5, 1946, AND AUGUST 7, 1947. THOSE PARAGRAPHS OF THE SAID REGULATIONS WERE SUSCEPTIBLE OF BEING INTERPRETED AS MEANING THAT THE LOWEST AVAILABLE FIRST-CLASS RATE WAS THE MOST THAT COULD BE FURNISHED TO GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE FACT THAT ACCOMMODATIONS MIGHT NOT BE AVAILABLE AT THAT PARTICULAR RATE AT THE TIME THE RESERVATION WAS MADE. THAT DEFECT WAS CURED BY THE BULLETIN OF APRIL 28, 1948, AS A CAREFUL READING THEREOF IMMEDIATELY WILL SHOW.

ACCORDINGLY, THERE WOULD SEEM TO BE NO DOUBT WHETHER UNDER THE CURRENT LAW AND REGULATIONS THAT WHERE, AS HERE, THE LOWEST FIRST-CLASS BOAT ACCOMMODATION IS UNAVAILABLE AND A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST IS ISSUED UPON WHICH THE VALUE OF THE ONLY AVAILABLE FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATION IS INSERTED--- IN THIS INSTANCE, $95, ON THE OUTGOING TRIP AND $130.50 FOR THE RETURN TRIP--- THE CARRIER, UPON ACCEPTING THE REQUEST IN EXCHANGE FOR A PROPER TICKET, BECOMES ENTITLED TO PAYMENT IN THE SUM CALLED FOR ON THE SAID REQUEST, PROVIDED, OF COURSE, THE RATE BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FILED TARIFF RATE FOR SUCH ACCOMMODATION.