B-9110, MARCH 30, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 836

B-9110: Mar 30, 1940

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WHERE AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICE IS IN A PARTICULAR BUILDING AND HE IS ASSIGNED TO DUTY ELSEWHERE WITHIN THE CITY. WHEN THE LATTER IS GREATER. 1940: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 9. AS FOLLOWS: IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE THIS OFFICE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT CARFARES PAID BY CUSTOMS LABORERS FOR LOCAL TRAVEL IN NEW YORK WOULD BE REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES: AT THE PORT OF NEW YORK THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 351 LABORERS EMPLOYED AT THE VARIOUS PIERS AND RAILROAD TERMINALS BY THE CUSTOMS SERVICE. WHOSE DUTIES ARE TO ASSIST IN THE HANDLING OF IMPORTED MERCHANDISE THAT REQUIRES WEIGHING. THIS IS DUE TO THE FLUCTUATION OF SHIPPING THAT OCCURS THROUGHOUT THE PORT. AT THE PRESENT TIME THE LABORERS RECEIVE THEIR DAILY ASSIGNMENTS THE NIGHT BEFORE AND REPORT TO THE PIERS AND TERMINALS WHERE THEIR SERVICES ARE REQUIRED.

B-9110, MARCH 30, 1940, 19 COMP. GEN. 836

TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES WITHIN THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS AN EMPLOYEE MUST BEAR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE TO HIS PLACE OF BUSINESS AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION. AN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE MAY DESIGNATE A PARTICULAR OFFICE OR BUILDING IN A CITY AS THE HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OF ITS EMPLOYEES AND REIMBURSE THEM THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM THE HEADQUARTERS OFFICE TO A PARTICULAR PLACE OF DUTY WITHIN THE OFFICIAL STATION TO WHICH THEY MAY BE ASSIGNED ON ANY DAY. WHERE AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICE IS IN A PARTICULAR BUILDING AND HE IS ASSIGNED TO DUTY ELSEWHERE WITHIN THE CITY, HE MAY BE PERMITTED TO PROCEED DIRECTLY FROM HIS HOME TO THE PLACE OF DUTY FOR THE PARTICULAR DAY AND BE REIMBURSED THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF REPORTING TO HIS HEADQUARTERS OFFICE AND THE COST OF REPORTING TO HIS PLACE OF DUTY, WHEN THE LATTER IS GREATER.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, MARCH 30, 1940:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 9, 1940, AS FOLLOWS:

IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOU ADVISE THIS OFFICE AS TO WHETHER OR NOT CARFARES PAID BY CUSTOMS LABORERS FOR LOCAL TRAVEL IN NEW YORK WOULD BE REIMBURSABLE UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES:

AT THE PORT OF NEW YORK THERE ARE APPROXIMATELY 351 LABORERS EMPLOYED AT THE VARIOUS PIERS AND RAILROAD TERMINALS BY THE CUSTOMS SERVICE, WHOSE DUTIES ARE TO ASSIST IN THE HANDLING OF IMPORTED MERCHANDISE THAT REQUIRES WEIGHING, GAUGING, MEASURING, CHECKING, ETC. THE PORT LIMITS AT NEW YORK INCLUDE THE BOROUGHS OF THE BRONX, MANHATTAN, RICHMOND, BROOKLYN, AND QUEENS, AND EXTEND NORTHWARD IN WESTCHESTER COUNTY TO TARRYTOWN. IN NEW JERSEY THE PORT INCLUDES THE TOWNS OF BAYONNE, JERSEY CITY, HOBOKEN, NORTH BERGEN, FORT LEE, AND ENGLEWOOD. FOR ADMINISTRATIVE REASONS IT HAS BEEN FOUND IMPRACTICABLE TO PERMANENTLY ASSIGN MORE THAN A VERY FEW OF THESE LABORERS TO A FIXED STATION. THIS IS DUE TO THE FLUCTUATION OF SHIPPING THAT OCCURS THROUGHOUT THE PORT.

AT THE PRESENT TIME THE LABORERS RECEIVE THEIR DAILY ASSIGNMENTS THE NIGHT BEFORE AND REPORT TO THE PIERS AND TERMINALS WHERE THEIR SERVICES ARE REQUIRED. BY REASON OF THE REMOTENESS OF SOME OF THE DUTY LOCATIONS THE COST OF JOURNEYING FROM THEIR PLACES OF ABODE TO THE ASSIGNMENTS AND RETURN VARIES FROM TEN TO FIFTY CENTS A DAY. IT IS FELT THAT IN SOME INSTANCES THE AMOUNTS THAT MUST BE SPENT BY THESE LABORERS ARE EXCESSIVE AND, DUE TO THE METHOD OF ASSIGNMENT FOLLOWED, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR LABORERS TO REDUCE THEIR OWN EXPENSES. THE LABORERS IN NEW YORK CLAIM THAT THESE EXPENDITURES REDUCE THEIR EARNINGS TO AN AMOUNT THAT CREATES AN UNDUE HARDSHIP.

THE FOLLOWING HAS BEEN PROPOSED AS A MEANS OF RELIEVING THIS CONDITION BY PROVIDING REIMBURSEMENT TO THE LABORERS FOR EXCESSIVE CARFARE:

THAT ALL CUSTOMS LABORERS IN NEW YORK BE PERMANENTLY ASSIGNED TO A CENTRAL POINT, NAMELY, THE BARGE OFFICE, WHICH IS LOCATED AT THE BATTERY;

THAT THEY CONTINUE TO RECEIVE EACH AFTERNOON THEIR INSTRUCTIONS AS TO THE PLACES THEIR SERVICES WILL BE REQUIRED THE FOLLOWING WORKDAY;

THAT ALL LABORERS BE REQUIRED TO BEAR THAT PART OF THE COST OF THEIR TRANSPORTATION TO THE PLACE OF DAILY WORK WHICH REPRESENTS THE COST OF TRAVELING FROM THEIR HOMES TO THE BARGE OFFICE, BUT IF THE LABORER RECEIVED AN ASSIGNMENT BY REASON OF WHICH HE INCURS AN EXPENSE IN EXCESS OF THE AMOUNT REQUIRED TO REACH THE BARGE OFFICE AND RETURN TO HIS HOME THEN THIS AMOUNT REPRESENTS A REIMBURSABLE EXPENSE.

THIS METHOD OF ASSIGNMENT WOULD AND COULD NOT REQUIRE THE LABORERS TO REPORT FOR DUTY AT THE BARGE OFFICE FOR THE REASON THAT CONSIDERABLE TIME OF EACH LABORER WOULD BE LOST EACH DAY IN HIS PROCEEDING FROM THE BARGE OFFICE TO THE OFFICE AT WHICH HIS SERVICES ARE REQUIRED.

IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT THE ABOVE MATTER HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF CORRESPONDENCE BY THE UNITED FEDERAL WORKERS OF AMERICA, IT IS REQUESTED THAT YOUR DECISION HEREON BE RENDERED AT THE EARLIEST PRACTICABLE DATE.

THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION ARE NOT UNDERSTOOD TO BE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AWAY FROM OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS, BUT THAT THERE WILL BE INVOLVED SIMPLY THE PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AT OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS.

THE SETTLED RULE IS THAT AN EMPLOYEE MUST BEAR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE TO HIS PLACE OF BUSINESS AT HIS OFFICIAL STATION. HOWEVER, IT IS CLEARLY WITHIN THE ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION TO DESIGNATE A PARTICULAR OFFICE OR BUILDING IN A CITY AS THE HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OF THE EMPLOYEES, WHETHER LABORERS OR OTHER CLASSES OF PERSONNEL, AND TO REIMBURSE THEM THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION FROM THE HEADQUARTERS OFFICE TO A PARTICULAR PLACE OF DUTY WITHIN THE OFFICIAL STATION TO WHICH THEY MAY BE ASSIGNED ON ANY DAY. THE SITUATION GENERALLY IS NO DIFFERENT THAN THE UNIFORM PRACTICE OF ALLOWING CARFARE OR REIMBURSEMENT BY OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION FROM THE BUILDING IN WHICH AN EMPLOYEE REGULARLY WORKS TO OTHER PARTS OF THE CITY WHEN NECESSARY ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. ALSO, WHEN AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICE IS IN A PARTICULAR BUILDING AND HE IS ASSIGNED TO DUTY ELSEWHERE WITHIN THE CITY, THERE IS NO LEGAL OBJECTION TO PERMITTING HIM TO PROCEED DIRECTLY FROM HIS HOME TO THE PLACE OF DUTY FOR THE PARTICULAR DAY INSTEAD OF FIRST REPORTING TO HIS HEADQUARTERS OFFICE, AND REIMBURSING HIM FOR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF REPORTING TO HIS HEADQUARTERS OFFICE AND THE COST OF REPORTING TO HIS PLACE OF DUTY, WHEN THE LATTER IS THE GREATER. COMPARE A-6311, A-96697, DATED NOVEMBER 1, 1938, TO YOU.

YOU ARE ADVISED, THEREFORE, THAT THIS OFFICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO OBJECT TO THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURE PROPOSED IN YOUR LETTER.