B-82874, MAY 2, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 627

B-82874: May 2, 1949

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IS TO BE REGARDED AS AN EXPENSE OF SUBSISTENCE PAYABLE BY THE GOVERNMENT ONLY IF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE ARE REIMBURSABLE. SO THAT SUCH COST MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS REIMBURSABLE IN THE CASE OF EMPLOYEE WHO WERE ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE IN A TRAVEL STATUS. 1949: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 23. REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF EVERETT P. ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 5 (C). IT IS REPORTED THAT DURING THE PERIOD FROM JUNE 1 TO JULY 12. SCHERER WAS IN CHARGE OF A SOILS INVESTIGATION PARTY ON TEMPORARY DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH A FLOOD WALL STABILITY TEST UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN CINCINNATI.

B-82874, MAY 2, 1949, 28 COMP. GEN. 627

WATER - DRINKING - COST OF COOLING AS EXPENSE OF SUBSISTENCE THE COST OF ICE FOR COOLING DRINKING WATER, BEING A PART OF THE AGGREGATE COST OF THE WATER, IS TO BE REGARDED AS AN EXPENSE OF SUBSISTENCE PAYABLE BY THE GOVERNMENT ONLY IF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE ARE REIMBURSABLE, SO THAT SUCH COST MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS REIMBURSABLE IN THE CASE OF EMPLOYEE WHO WERE ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE IN A TRAVEL STATUS.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO COL. J. L. PERSON, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, MAY 2, 1949:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 23, 1948, REFERENCE OVLVF, TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE BY SECOND ENDORSEMENT OF JANUARY 14, 1949, FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS, REFERENCE ENGFA 201 CIV., REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON A VOUCHER STATED IN FAVOR OF EVERETT P. SCHERER, 2124 GRINSTEAD DRIVE, LOUISVILLE 4, KENTUCKY, IN THE AMOUNT OF $3.40 COVERING REIMBURSEMENT OF AN AMOUNT EXPENDED BY HIM FROM HIS PERSONAL FUNDS FOR ICE PURCHASED BY HIM AS CHIEF OF A SOILS INVESTIGATION CREW FOR COOLING DRINKING WATER FOR THE USE OF THE SAID CREW.

ATTENTION IS INVITED TO THE PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH 5 (C), ARMY REGULATIONS 35-730, DATED JANUARY 31, 1949, WITH RESPECT TO THE PROPER ROUTING OF COMMUNICATIONS ADDRESSED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL BY DISBURSING OFFICERS.

IT IS REPORTED THAT DURING THE PERIOD FROM JUNE 1 TO JULY 12, 1948, MR. SCHERER WAS IN CHARGE OF A SOILS INVESTIGATION PARTY ON TEMPORARY DUTY IN CONNECTION WITH A FLOOD WALL STABILITY TEST UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN CINCINNATI, OHIO, THE ENTIRE PARTY BEING PAID PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE; THAT FROM JUNE 7 TO JULY 2 THE WEATHER WAS "EXCESSIVELY HOT, MAKING THE WORKING CONDITIONS DISAGREEABLE; " THAT THE WATER AVAILABLE FROM THE REGULAR SUPPLY WAS WARM AND UNPALATABLE; AND THAT MR. SCHERER PURCHASES ICE FOR COOLING THE DRINKING WATER, BELIEVING THAT SUCH ACTION WOULD INCREASE THE EFFICIENCY OF THE PARTY.

IN 5 COMP. GEN. 90 IT WAS HELD (QUOTING SYLLABUS):

THE PURCHASE OF DRINKING WATER UNDER APPROPRIATIONS NOT SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED THEREFOR MAY BE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES ONLY:

WHERE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE, SUBJECT TO STATUTORY LIMITATION, REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES THEREFOR AS A PART OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE IS AUTHORIZED UPON A SHOWING OF REASONABLE NECESSITY THEREFOR FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THE INDIVIDUAL OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE.

WHERE THE PURCHASE IS FOR OFFICE USE IT IS AUTHORIZED AS A CHARGE UNDER SAID APPROPRIATIONS ONLY WHEN THERE IS SHOWN TO BE (A) A NECESSITY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT TO MAINTAIN A SUPPLY OF DRINKING WATER IN SAID OFFICE AND

(B) NO OTHER WATER FIT FOR DRINKING PURPOSES IS AVAILABLE FOR SAID OFFICE WITHOUT CHARGE OR AT A LOWER COST.

THE SAID DECISION IS BASED ON THE PREMISE THAT, WITH RESPECT TO PERSONNEL IN A TRAVEL STATUS, THE COST OF WATER IS AN EXPENSE OF SUBSISTENCE.

SEE, ALSO, SECTION 2 OF THE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE ACT OF 1926, 44 STAT. 689, DEFINING SUBSISTENCE AS FOLLOWS:

THE TERM "SUBSISTENCE" MEANS LODGING, MEALS, AND OTHER NECESSARY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE PERSONAL SUSTENANCE OR COMFORT OF THE TRAVELER.

THE COST OF COOLING DRINKING WATER IS TO BE REGARDED AS A PART OF THE AGGREGATE COST OF THE WATER AND CLEARLY IS NOT TO BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT UNLESS THE COST OF THE WATER IS TO BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT. 5 COMP. GEN. 201.

FOR THE REASONS ABOVE INDICATED, IT MUST BE HELD THAT ANY NECESSARY COST OF DRINKING WATER INCURRED BY PERSONNEL IN A TRAVEL STATUS IS A PART OF THE EXPENSE OF SUBSISTENCE, TO BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT ONLY IF SUCH PERSONNEL ARE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE, SUBJECT TO STATUTORY LIMITATIONS. IN THE INSTANT MATTER, THE PERSONNEL INVOLVED WERE PAID PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE THEREFORE, PAYMENT ON THE SAID VOUCHER COVERING THE COST OF ICE FOR COOLING DRINKING WATER IS NOT AUTHORIZED.