B-93358, MAY 3, 1950, 29 COMP. GEN. 440

B-93358: May 3, 1950

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WAS ORDERED TO OTHER POINTS FOR ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY DUTY IS TO BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING HAD HIS MILEAGE STATUS PRESCRIBED BY ORDERS AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE SUSPENDED. SO THAT STORAGE CHARGES INCURRED FOR SUCH PERIOD MAY BE VIEWED AS AN EXTRAORDINARY TRAVEL EXPENSE FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS AUTHORIZED. 1950: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 27. WHICH AMOUNT WAS DEDUCTED ADMINISTRATIVELY FROM HIS ORIGINAL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER FOR THE REASON THAT SAID ITEM OF EXPENSE "IS NOT REIMBURSABLE FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS.'. MOORE WAS AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL ORDER IV-170 DATED SEPTEMBER 30. TRAVEL WAS AUTHORIZED TO BE PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS.

B-93358, MAY 3, 1950, 29 COMP. GEN. 440

STORAGE CHARGES - PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE - PERIOD OF SUSPENSION OF MILEAGE STATUS AN EMPLOYEE WHO, WHILE AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION IN A MILEAGE STATUS, WAS ORDERED TO OTHER POINTS FOR ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY DUTY IS TO BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING HAD HIS MILEAGE STATUS PRESCRIBED BY ORDERS AUTHORIZING TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE SUSPENDED, SO THAT STORAGE CHARGES INCURRED FOR SUCH PERIOD MAY BE VIEWED AS AN EXTRAORDINARY TRAVEL EXPENSE FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT IS AUTHORIZED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO VERA D. HUNTSMAN, DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, MAY 3, 1950:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 27, 1950, REQUESTING TO BE ADVISED WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A RECLAIM VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF MAURICE E. MOORE, COVERING AN EXPENDITURE IN THE AMOUNT OF $8.25, FOR STORAGE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE FROM OCTOBER 6 TO 14, 1949, WHICH AMOUNT WAS DEDUCTED ADMINISTRATIVELY FROM HIS ORIGINAL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER FOR THE REASON THAT SAID ITEM OF EXPENSE "IS NOT REIMBURSABLE FROM GOVERNMENT FUNDS.'

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT MR. MOORE WAS AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL ORDER IV-170 DATED SEPTEMBER 30, 1949, TO PROCEED FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION AT CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, TO STATES IN REGION IV, ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. TRAVEL WAS AUTHORIZED TO BE PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS, IN THOSE INSTANCES IN WHICH IT WAS NOT PRACTICABLE TO TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER. IT APPEARS THAT THE EMPLOYEE PROCEEDED TO ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE BECAUSE OF THE NATURE OF THE TEMPORARY DUTIES TO BE PERFORMED. ON OCTOBER 6--- PRIOR TO COMPLETION OF HIS DUTIES AT ST. LOUIS--- HE WAS ORDERED TO PROCEED BY COMMON CARRIER TO NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA, AND, ACCORDINGLY, HE PLACED HIS AUTOMOBILE IN STORAGE AT ST. LOUIS. WHILE AT NEW ORLEANS HE WAS DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO WASHINGTON, D.C., THENCE TO ST. LOUIS FOR COMPLETION OF HIS ASSIGNMENT AT THAT POINT.

THE RECLAIM VOUCHER, CERTIFIED BY THE CLAIMANT AND RECOMMENDED FOR APPROVAL BY HIS IMMEDIATE SUPERVISING OFFICIAL, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

THIS ITEM (STORAGE CHARGES) WAS CLAIMED BECAUSE DEPARTURE WAS MADE FROM OFFICIAL STATION TO ST. LOUIS, MO., BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AS IT WAS MORE ECONOMICAL TO THE GOVERNMENT. AT THE TIME THE TRIP WAS MADE, IT WAS NOT CONTEMPLATED THAT AN EMERGENCY TRIP TO EXPEDITE COLLECTION OF DATA IN SUGAR INDUSTRY WOULD BE REQUESTED. ON OCTOBER 6, THIS AGENT WAS ORDERED BY TELEPHONE TO FLY TO HOUSTON, TEXAS AT ONCE. RETURN TRIP TO ST. LOUIS HAD TO BE MADE TO COMPLETE THE ASSIGNMENT. SINCE TIME WAS OF ESSENCE AND THE GOVERNMENT WAS SAVED EXPENSE BY PROCEEDING DIRECT TO HOUSTON, TEXAS INSTEAD OF RETURNING FIRST TO CHICAGO, AGENT'S CAR WAS STORED IN HOTEL GARAGE. STORAGE WAS NECESSARY BECAUSE A CITY ORDINANCE MAKES IT A PENALTY TO LEAVE A CAR ON THE STREETS OF THE ST. LOUIS DOWNTOWN DISTRICT. A SPECIAL RATE WAS SECURED BY THE HOTEL STATLER GARAGE. WHEN AGENT ARRIVED IN HOUSTON, WORK WAS COMPLETED AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, AND DEPARTURE WAS MADE FOR NEW ORLEANS. AT NEW ORLEANS, AGENT RECEIVED A TELEGRAM TO PROCEED TO WASHINGTON TO ATTEND A MEETING BEFORE RETURNING TO ST. LOUIS, AND FOR THIS REASON, EIGHT DAYS INTERVENED BEFORE HIS RETURN TO THAT CITY.

AGENT BELIEVES THAT BECAUSE STORING OF THE CAR WAS IN THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT AND MADE NECESSARY BECAUSE OF CONDITIONS OVER WHICH HE HAD NO CONTROL THAT THE EXPENSE SHOULD BE REIMBURSED, PARTICULARLY SINCE THIS WAS THE MOST ECONOMICAL THING TO DO. UNDER THE SAME OR SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES, ANY PERSON WHO WAS CONDUCTING BUSINESS ON HIS OWN BEHALF WOULD HAVE DONE LIKEWISE.

MILEAGE IS A COMMUTATION OF EXPENSES ORDINARILY INCURRED IN THE USE OF AN AUTOMOBILE (INCLUDING GARAGE STORAGE) FOR WHICH AN EMPLOYEE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS. SEE 2 COMP. GEN. 809; 21 ID. 507, 510; 26 ID. 286; AND SECTION 4 OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 166, WHICH SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES FOR PAYMENT OF CERTAIN ITEMS IN ADDITION TO MILEAGE BUT NOT FOR STORAGE CHARGES FOR AUTOMOBILES. SEE, GENERALLY, SECTION 12 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WITH RESPECT TO GARAGE RENT BEING ALLOWABLE WHERE TRAVEL BY AUTOMOBILE IS ON ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS. HOWEVER, IT IS CONCLUDED THAT MR. MOORE'S MILEAGE STATUS, IN FACT, WAS SUSPENDED FOR REASONS BEYOND HIS CONTROL AT ST. LOUIS WHEN HE PLACED HIS CAR IN STORAGE AND, PURSUANT TO COMPETENT ORDERS, USED OTHER MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION TO PROCEED TO HOUSTON, TEXAS, AND OTHER POINTS FOR ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY DUTY BEFORE RETURNING TO ST. LOUIS FOR THE RESUMPTION OF HIS MILEAGE STATUS. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, THE STORAGE CHARGES REASONABLY MAY BE VIEWED AS AN EXTRAORDINARY TRAVEL EXPENSE NECESSARILY INCURRED BY MR. MOORE IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSACTION OF GOVERNMENT BUSINESS AND IN NOWISE COMMUTED. SEE PARAGRAPH 79 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

ACCORDINGLY, AND SINCE A RECEIPT APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN FURNISHED IN SUPPORT OF STORAGE CHARGES, THE RECLAIM VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.