B-77686, SEPTEMBER 23, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 192

B-77686: Sep 23, 1948

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ADMINISTRATIVELY MAY BE ALLOWED TRAVELING EXPENSES AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE TRAVELING AWAY FROM THEIR HOMES OR REGULAR PLACES OF BUSINESS FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES WHENEVER SUCH EXPENSES ARE NECESSARILY INCIDENT TO AND SOLELY ATTRIBUTABLE TO SUCH TRAVEL. EVEN THOUGH THE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED WHOLLY WITHIN A METROPOLITAN AREA. AUTHORIZES AND DIRECTS THE HOUSING EXPEDITER TO CREATE IN EACH DEFENSE-RENTAL AREA A LOCAL ADVISORY BOARD OF NOT LESS THAN FIVE MEMBERS WHO ARE CITIZENS OF THE AREA. AT THIS TIME THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 750 LOCAL RENT ADVISORY BOARDS COMPRISING A TOTAL OF IN EXCESS OF 4500 MEMBERS. THE MEMBERS ARE APPOINTED WITHOUT COMPENSATION WITH POST OF DUTY DESIGNATED AS THE PLACE WHERE THE BOARD HOLDS ITS MEETINGS.

B-77686, SEPTEMBER 23, 1948, 28 COMP. GEN. 192

TRAVELING EXPENSES - MEMBERS OF LOCAL RENT ADVISORY BOARDS - TRAVEL WITHIN METROPOLITAN AREA UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF SECTION 5 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, PERSONS WHO SERVED WITHOUT COMPENSATION AS MEMBERS OF LOCAL RENT ADVISORY BOARDS ESTABLISHED PURSUANT TO SECTION 204 (E) OF THE HOUSING AND RENT ACT OF 1947, AS AMENDED, ADMINISTRATIVELY MAY BE ALLOWED TRAVELING EXPENSES AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE TRAVELING AWAY FROM THEIR HOMES OR REGULAR PLACES OF BUSINESS FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES WHENEVER SUCH EXPENSES ARE NECESSARILY INCIDENT TO AND SOLELY ATTRIBUTABLE TO SUCH TRAVEL, WHETHER FOR ATTENDANCE AT BOARD MEETINGS OR OTHER OFFICIAL REASONS, EVEN THOUGH THE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED WHOLLY WITHIN A METROPOLITAN AREA.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE HOUSING EXPEDITER, SEPTEMBER 23, 1948:

CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 17, 1948, FILE A-2 2, AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 204 (E) OF THE HOUSING AND RENT ACT OF 1947 ( PUBLIC LAW 129 -- 80TH CONGRESS), AS AMENDED BY SEC. 202 (E) OF THE HOUSING AND RENT ACT OF 1948, ( PUBLIC LAW 464---80TH CONGRESS), AUTHORIZES AND DIRECTS THE HOUSING EXPEDITER TO CREATE IN EACH DEFENSE-RENTAL AREA A LOCAL ADVISORY BOARD OF NOT LESS THAN FIVE MEMBERS WHO ARE CITIZENS OF THE AREA, AND PRESCRIBES THE FUNCTIONS OF SUCH BOARDS.

AT THIS TIME THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 750 LOCAL RENT ADVISORY BOARDS COMPRISING A TOTAL OF IN EXCESS OF 4500 MEMBERS. THE MEMBERS ARE APPOINTED WITHOUT COMPENSATION WITH POST OF DUTY DESIGNATED AS THE PLACE WHERE THE BOARD HOLDS ITS MEETINGS. IT IS INCUMBENT ON THE HOUSING EXPEDITER TO MAINTAIN THE MEMBERSHIP OF THE BOARDS AND FOR SUCH BOARDS TO FUNCTION EFFICIENTLY IN ORDER TO CARRY OUT THE RENT CONTROL PROGRAM IN THE MANNER REQUIRED BY LAW.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 5 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSE STATUTE OF AUGUST 2, 1946, PERSONS SERVING WITHOUT COMPENSATION MAY BE ALLOWED, WHILE AWAY FROM THEIR HOMES OR REGULAR PLACES OF BUSINESS, TRANSPORTATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AND THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, AS AMENDED, AND NOT TO EXCEED $10 PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE EN ROUTE AND AT PLACE OF SUCH SERVICE OR EMPLOYMENT.

SOME DIFFICULTY IN BEING EXPERIENCED BECAUSE OF DISSATISFACTION ON THE PART OF BOARD MEMBERS RESULTING FROM THE DISALLOWANCE OF CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED SOLELY BECAUSE OF ATTENDANCE AT BOARD MEETINGS AND TRAVEL ON BUSINESS OF THE BOARD. IT IS THE ATTITUDE OF SOME OF THE BOARD MEMBERS THAT THEY ARE "AWAY FROM THEIR HOMES OR REGULAR PLACES OF BUSINESS" WHEN THEY DEPART FROM THE HOUSE IN WHICH THEY LIVE OR THE BUILDING IN WHICH THEIR BUSINESS IS LOCATED AND WHERE EXPENSES ARE INCURRED SOLELY BECAUSE OF BOARD BUSINESS, THEY SHOULD BE REIMBURSED THEREFOR.

IN 22 COMP. GEN. 512 AND 23 ID. 753, REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE RAND MCNALLY ATLAS IN DETERMINING THE METROPOLITAN AREA OR DISTRICT OF CERTAIN CITIES, FOR TRAVEL WITHIN WHICH IT WAS HELD THERE WAS NO AUTHORITY FOR MAKING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE OR OTHER EXPENSES.

ONE OF THE PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY THIS OFFICE IS CONCERNED WITH CLAIMS COVERING TRAVEL IN THE BOSTON AREA. THERE ARE ATTACHED TWO MAPS ISSUED BY THE STATE PLANNING BOARD OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS. THE LARGER MAP INDICATES THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICT AS DEFINED BY THE 16TH UNITED STATES CENSUS (1940) WHICH COINCIDES WITH THE METROPOLITAN AREA AS SHOWN IN THE RAND-MCNALLY ATLAS, INCLUDING 83 CITIES AND TOWNS WITHIN A RADIUS OF 30 MILES OF BOSTON PROPER. THIS MAP ALSO INDICATES THE BOSTON METROPOLITAN DISTRICT SERVED BY THE METROPOLITAN TRANSIT LINES INCLUDING 14 CITIES AND TOWNS WITHIN A 10 MILE RADIUS OF BOSTON PROPER. THE SMALLER MAP SHOWS THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICT AS DEFINED BY THE STATE PLANNING BOARD INCLUDING 43 CITIES AND TOWNS WITHIN A RADIUS OF 20 MILES OF BOSTON PROPER.

THE EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS ADVISORY BOARD MEETS IN THE CITY OF BOSTON PROPER. ONE OF THE BOARD MEMBERS IS A REAL ESTATE OPERATOR IN THE TOWN OF BROCKTON WHERE HE MAINTAINS HIS HOME AND HIS REGULAR PLACE OF BUSINESS. BROCKTON IS WITHIN THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICT AS DEFINED BY THE RAND- MCNALLY ATLAS BUT OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT AS DEFINED BY THE STATED PLANNING BOARD. THE ROUND TRIP RAIL AND STREET CAR FARE BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS IS $1.62. HOWEVER, IT IS REPORTED THAT TRAIN SERVICE IS AVAILABLE ONLY DURING THE MORNING AND EVENING RUSH PERIOD. THE BOARD MEMBER USES HIS AUTOMOBILE AND HAS ASSERTED A CLAIM FOR MILEAGE ON THE BASIS THAT HE HAS NO OTHER BUSINESS IN BOSTON AND INCURS THE TRAVEL EXPENSE SOLELY BECAUSE OF SERVICE RENDERED THE GOVERNMENT WITHOUT COMPENSATION.

THE ESSEX COUNTY BOARD MEETS AT LYNN. A MEMBER OF THIS BOARD IS A HOUSEWIFE RESIDING IN SALEM. SALEM AND LYNN ARE BOTH WITHIN THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICT AS SHOWN BY THE RAND-MCNALLY ATLAS. SALEM IS OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT AS DEFINED BY THE STATE PLANNING BOARD. THE BOARD MEMBER USES REGULAR TRAIN SERVICE BETWEEN THE TWO POINTS AT A COST OF 24 CENTS PER TRIP, AND HAS CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT ON THE BASIS THAT SHE HAS NO OTHER REASON TO PERFORM THE TRAVEL AND THE EXPENSE IS AN ADDITIONAL EXPENSE INCURRED SOLELY BECAUSE OF ATTENDANCE AT BOARD MEETINGS.

MEETINGS OF RENT ADVISORY BOARDS ARE USUALLY HELD IN THE EVENINGS OR OUTSIDE OF REGULAR OFFICE HOURS AS THIS IS THE ONLY TIME SOME OF THE MEMBERS ARE FREE FROM THEIR PRIVATE BUSINESS OBLIGATIONS, AND IN ALMOST EVERY INSTANCE THE TRAVEL INVOLVES AN EXTRA TRIP FROM THEIR RESIDENCE INVOLVING ADDITIONAL EXPENSE NOT ORDINARILY INCURRED.

UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE HOUSING AND RENT ACTS, THE HOUSING EXPEDITER FURNISHES THE LOCAL BOARDS WITH SUITABLE OFFICE SPACE AT WHICH MEETINGS OF THE BOARD ARE HELD. HOWEVER, FOR PURPOSES OTHER THAN ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS, THE RESIDENCES OF BOARD MEMBERS OR THEIR REGULAR PLACES OF BUSINESS ARE IN FACT THEIR OFFICES AND IT FREQUENTLY IS NECESSARY FOR THEM TO BEGIN AND END OFFICIAL TRAVEL AT SUCH PLACES. IN THIS CONNECTION, IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THE BOARD MEMBERS ARE IN THE SAME SITUATION AS A REGULAR EMPLOYEE TRAVELING TO AND FROM A GOVERNMENT OFFICE WHO IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR STREET CAR AND BUS FARES OR MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL WITHIN THE LIMITS OF THIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS.

IT IS REQUESTED THAT CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO THE CIRCUMSTANCES REFERRED TO HEREIN UNDER WHICH THIS OFFICE IS RECEIVING CLAIMS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED BY BOARD MEMBERS, AND THAT YOU ADVISE ME AS TO WHICH OF THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICTS OF THE CITY OF BOSTON MUST BE OBSERVED IN THE ALLOWANCE OF TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AND ALSO IF BOARD MEMBERS MAY BE ALLOWED TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL PERFORMED TO AND FROM THE HOUSES IN WHICH THEY LIVE OR THE BUILDINGS IN WHICH THEY CONDUCT THEIR REGULAR BUSINESS FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES OTHER THAN ATTENDANCE AT BOARD MEETINGS.

IN THE DECISION REPORTED IN 22 COMP. GEN. 512, TO WHICH REFERENCE IS MADE IN YOUR LETTER, SUPRA, IT WAS STATED ON PAGE 515:

* * * IT IS NOT THE DISTANCE TO BE TRAVELED THAT NECESSARILY CONTROLS--- EXCEPT AS TO THE 2-MILE LIMITATION PRESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPH 3 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS--- BUT RATHER THE FACT OF WHETHER THE HOME OR RESIDENCE OF A PERSON IS AT A POINT GENERALLY AND COMMONLY REGARDED AS A PART OF THE OFFICIAL STATION TO WHICH HE HAS BEEN ASSIGNED. THE PURPOSE OF APPROPRIATION PROVISIONS SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED IS TO REIMBURSE A TRAVELER FOR ANY ADDITIONAL COST OF TRANSPORTATION, SUBSISTENCE, AND OTHER EXPENSES TO WHICH HE MAY BE PUT BY REASON OF HIS TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS HOME. IF HIS HOME OR RESIDENCE BE LOCATED AT A POINT GENERALLY REGARDED AS PART OF THE CITY OR TOWN WHERE HE IS REQUIRED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND HE WOULD ORDINARILY COMMUTE FROM HIS RESIDENCE TO PERFORM OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN THAT CITY THERE IS NO JUSTIFICATION OR AUTHORITY FOR MAKING REIMBURSEMENT TO HIM FOR TRANSPORTATION OR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AND OTHER EXPENSES. * * *

IN THE DECISION REPORTED IN 24 COMP. GEN. 860, WHICH MODIFIED IN PART THE DECISION REPORTED IN 23 COMP. GEN. 753--- REFERENCE TO WHICH LATTER DECISION IS MADE IN YOUR LETTER, SUPRA--- IT WAS STATED, AT PAGE 862:

THE METROPOLITAN AREA RULE, ABOVE REFERRED TO, NECESSARILY IS APPLIED TO THE CASE OF THE OFFICER OR THE CONSULTANT CALLED TO SERVICE IN A POPULATION CENTER IN A SUBURB OF WHICH HE PERMANENTLY RESIDES. WHEN, IN FACT, HIS SERVICE CALLS HIM TO THE CENTER OF THE AREA IN WHICH HE LIVES AND WITHIN REASONABLE COMMUTING DISTANCE OF HIS HOME, AND HE DOES, IN FACT, COMMUTE DAILY BETWEEN HIS HOME AND HIS WORK, THE ENLISTMENT OF HIS SERVICES BY THE UNITED STATES DOES NOT REQUIRE HIM TO ESTABLISH AN EXTRA TEMPORARY LODGING OR TO INCUR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES IN ANY AMOUNT. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES HE CANNOT BE SAID TO BE SERVING AWAY FROM HIS HOME, AND A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE DOES NOT ACCRUE. 22 COMP. GEN. 129 ( BETHESDA, MARYLAND, AND WASHINGTON, D.C. ); B 34322, JUNE 16, 1943 ( LARCHMONT- 1MAMARONECK AND NEW YORK); B-32632, MARCH 3, 1943 ( MORRISTOWN, NEW JERSEY, AND NEW YORK CITY).

EACH OF THE DECISIONS CITED, AND PARTIALLY QUOTED ABOVE, INVOLVED APPROPRIATION PROVISIONS WHICH CONTAIN AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF TRAVELING AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO THE AUTHORITY NOW CONTAINED IN SECTION 5 OF PUBLIC LAW 600, APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946, 60 STAT. 808. AND THE PRINCIPLES UNDERLYING THE DECISIONS RENDERED UNDER SUCH APPROPRIATION PROVISIONS REASONABLY CAN BE CONSIDERED AS BEING APPLICABLE ALSO WHERE THERE IS INVOLVED SECTION 5 OF THE SAID ACT APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946. HOWEVER, AS INDICATED IN EACH OF THOSE DECISIONS, THE PROPRIETY OF PAYING TRAVELING AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF PERSONS COMMUTING FROM THEIR HOMES IN METROPOLITAN AREAS WAS FOR DETERMINING ACCORDING TO THE PURPOSE OF THE PROVISION INVOLVED. THAT PURPOSE, AS INDICATED IN 22 COMP. GEN. 512, AT PAGE 515, IS TO REIMBURSE A TRAVELER FOR ANY ADDITIONAL COST OF TRANSPORTATION, SUBSISTENCE, AND OTHER EXPENSE TO WHICH HE MAY BE PUT BY REASON OF HIS TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS HOME OR REGULAR PLACE OF BUSINESS. WHERE ADDITIONAL COSTS OF TRANSPORTATION, SUBSISTENCE, AND OTHER EXPENSES ARE INCURRED BY REASON OF PROPERLY AUTHORIZED TRAVEL AWAY FROM HOME OR REGULAR PLACE OF BUSINESS ON ACCOUNT OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS, NO COGENT REASON APPEARS FOR HOLDING THAT SUCH COSTS MAY NOT BE ALLOWED MERELY BECAUSE SUCH TRAVEL IS PERFORMED WHOLLY WITHIN A METROPOLITAN AREA. THE MATTER OF AUTHORIZING OR APPROVING REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH TRAVEL PRIMARILY IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITY, THE DUTY BEING UPON THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO AUTHORIZE OR APPROVE THE INCURRING OF SUCH EXPENSES ONLY AS ARE NECESSARILY INCIDENT TO AND SOLELY ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE TRAVEL ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. IN PROPER CASES, WHERE IT APPEARED THAT ADDITIONAL EXPENSES ACTUALLY WERE INCURRED, THIS OFFICE SPECIFICALLY HAS APPROVED PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES AND PER DIEM WHERE IT WAS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE PER DIEM WAS FIXED AT A RATE COMMENSURATE WITH THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSES INCURRED, EVEN THOUGH THE TEMPORARY DUTY WAS PERFORMED AT A PLACE IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO THE EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS AND AT WHICH HE ORDINARILY WOULD NOT INCUR ANY ADDITIONAL EXPENSES. SEE, FOR EXAMPLE, 24 COMP. GEN. 179.

ANSWERING SPECIFICALLY THE QUESTIONS CONTAINED IN THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, IT MAY BE STATED THAT NEITHER OF THE METROPOLITAN DISTRICTS OF THE CITY OF BOSTON IS REQUIRED TO BE OBSERVED IN THE ALLOWANCE OF TRAVELING EXPENSES AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE TO MEMBERS OF LOCAL RENT ADVISORY BOARDS SERVING WITHOUT COMPENSATION. RATHER, IT MAY BE STATED THAT TRAVELING EXPENSES AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE MAY BE ALLOWED UNDER AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 5 OF THE ACT APPROVED AUGUST 2, 1946, TO LOCAL RENT ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS, SERVING WITHOUT COMPENSATION, WHILE TRAVELING AWAY FROM THEIR HOMES OR REGULAR PLACES OF BUSINESS FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES WHENEVER ADDITIONAL EXPENSES ARE INCURRED, WHETHER THE PURPOSE BE FOR ATTENDANCE AT BOARD MEETINGS OR OTHER OFFICIAL REASONS. NO DIFFERENT RULE IS REQUIRED WHERE TRAVEL IS PERFORMED WHOLLY WITHIN THE METROPOLITAN AREA. HOWEVER, AS PREVIOUSLY STATED, PRIMARILY IT IS THE ADMINISTRATIVE DUTY AND RESPONSIBILITY IN AUTHORIZING TRAVEL GENERALLY TO LIMIT THE AUTHORIZATION FOR THE INCURRING OF EXPENSES TO SUCH ADDITIONAL EXPENSES TO SUCH ADDITIONAL EXPENSES AS ARE INCURRED ON ACCOUNT OF THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL.

AS INDICATED IN THE PENULTIMATE PARAGRAPH OF YOUR LETTER, LOCAL RENT ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS ARE IN THE SAME RELATIVE STATUS AS REGARDS STRICTLY LOCAL TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM THEIR HOMES AND USUAL PLACES OF BUSINESS AS REGULAR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAVELING TO AND FROM GOVERNMENT OFFICES WHO ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR STREET CAR AND BUS FARES. CONNECTION WITH THE LOCAL TRANSPORTATION OF SUCH EMPLOYEES, SEE 24 COMP. GEN. 858, AND DECISIONS THEREIN CITED. MILEAGE FOR LOCAL TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED IN ACCORDANCE WITH PARAGRAPH 12 (A) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED BY BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED, JULY 8, 1948.