B-90946, DECEMBER 29, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 288

B-90946: Dec 29, 1949

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1949: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 21. IT WAS HELD THAT JURY COMMISSIONERS MAY NOT RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES UPON THE GROUND THERE WAS AT THAT TIME ( DECEMBER 1897) NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR SUCH PAYMENT. YOU EXPRESS DOUBT WHETHER THAT DECISION IS STILL CONTROLLING IN THE LIGHT OF CERTAIN LEGISLATION RECENTLY ENACTED- - PARTICULARLY THE REVISION OF THE JUDICIAL CODE. IT IS FOR NOTING THAT THE DECISION IN 4 COMP. THE SAID MILEAGE PAYMENT WAS PROPOSED BY THE UNITED STATES MARSHAL WHO REQUESTED THE DECISION BECAUSE OF SIMILAR PAYMENTS BEING MADE AT THAT TIME TO JURORS AND OTHER PERSONS. WHICH WERE SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE. THERE ALSO HAS BEEN ENACTED LEGISLATION PROVIDING FOR THE PAYMENT UPON A MILEAGE BASIS TO OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL PERFORMED IN PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES BUT THERE STILL IS NO SPECIFIC STATUTE AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE TO JURY COMMISSIONERS IN LIEU OF TRAVELING EXPENSES OF ANY NATURE.

B-90946, DECEMBER 29, 1949, 29 COMP. GEN. 288

TRAVELING EXPENSES - JURY COMMISSIONERS IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF 20 U.S.C. 962 AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES OF OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE U.S. COURTS ABSENT FROM THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, AND OF THE PROVISIONS IN THE CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR THE JUDICIARY FOR PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES "NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR," PAYMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED BY JURY COMMISSIONERS INCIDENT TO TRAVEL PERFORMED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS MAY BE REGARDED AS AUTHORIZED. 4 COMP. DEC. 352, DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE DIRECTOR, ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS, DECEMBER 29, 1949:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 21, 1949, SUBMITTING FOR DECISION THE QUESTION OF WHETHER JURY COMMISSIONERS FOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTS MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THEIR TRAVELING EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL REQUIRED OF THEM BY THE COURTS THEY SERVE IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THEIR OFFICIAL DUTIES.

YOU STATE IN YOUR LETTER THAT IN A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER OF THE TREASURY, NAMELY, 4 COMP. DEC. 352, IT WAS HELD THAT JURY COMMISSIONERS MAY NOT RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES UPON THE GROUND THERE WAS AT THAT TIME ( DECEMBER 1897) NO AUTHORITY OF LAW FOR SUCH PAYMENT. HOWEVER, YOU EXPRESS DOUBT WHETHER THAT DECISION IS STILL CONTROLLING IN THE LIGHT OF CERTAIN LEGISLATION RECENTLY ENACTED- - PARTICULARLY THE REVISION OF THE JUDICIAL CODE, WHICH, IN SECTION 962 (28 U.S.C. 962), PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES AND OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS NECESSARILY ABSENT FROM THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS SHALL BE ALLOWED TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES PURSUANT TO REGULATIONS PROMULGATED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE UNITED STATES COURTS.

IT IS FOR NOTING THAT THE DECISION IN 4 COMP. DEC. 352 ACTUALLY INVOLVED PAYMENT OF A MILEAGE RATE OF 5 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE TRAVEL PERFORMED RATHER THAN REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED. PRESUMABLY, THE SAID MILEAGE PAYMENT WAS PROPOSED BY THE UNITED STATES MARSHAL WHO REQUESTED THE DECISION BECAUSE OF SIMILAR PAYMENTS BEING MADE AT THAT TIME TO JURORS AND OTHER PERSONS, BUT WHICH WERE SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE.

SINCE THE DATE OF THE DECISION IN 4 COMP. DEC. 352, THERE ALSO HAS BEEN ENACTED LEGISLATION PROVIDING FOR THE PAYMENT UPON A MILEAGE BASIS TO OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL PERFORMED IN PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILES BUT THERE STILL IS NO SPECIFIC STATUTE AUTHORIZING THE PAYMENT OF A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE TO JURY COMMISSIONERS IN LIEU OF TRAVELING EXPENSES OF ANY NATURE.

WHILE THE APPROPRIATION ACT FOR THE JUDICIARY FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 1950, PUBLIC LAW 179, APPROVED JULY 20, 1949, 63 STAT. 472, DOES NOT CONTAIN ANY SPECIFIC PROVISION FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES OF JURY COMMISSIONERS, IT DOES CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING GENERAL PROVISION---

FOR NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR, INCURRED BY THE JUDICIARY * * *. AS POINTED OUT IN YOUR LETTER, IT HAS BEEN HELD BY THIS OFFICE THAT A PRIOR YEAR APPROPRIATION FOR THE JUDICIARY SIMILAR IN WORDING TO THE FOREGOING CURRENT APPROPRIATION FOR THE JUDICIARY SIMILAR IN WORDING TO THE FOREGOING CURRENT APPROPRIATION PROPERLY WAS CHARGEABLE WITH THE TRAVELING EXPENSES OF UNITED STATES COMMISSIONERS, IF IT WAS DETERMINED THAT PAYMENT THEREOF WAS NECESSARY TO CARRY OUT EFFECTIVELY THE AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES OF THE JUDICIAL BRANCH OF THE GOVERNMENT.

FROM THE FOREGOING, IT IS EVIDENT THAT AMPLE AUTHORITY NOW EXISTS FOR THE PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES OF JURY COMMISSIONERS FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, IF PROPERLY AUTHORIZED. ACCORDINGLY, THE DECISION IN 4 COMP. DEC. 352 IS TO BE VIEWED MERELY AS PRECLUDING THE PAYMENT OF A FLAT MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY JURY COMMISSIONERS WHEN THERE IS NOT INVOLVED THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE.