B-132166, JUL. 12, 1957

B-132166: Jul 12, 1957

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THE SOLE QUESTION INVOLVED HERE IS WHETHER THE TELEPHONE CALL WAS MADE ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS. A CAREFUL EXAMINATION OF THE RECORD REVEALS THAT THE TELEPHONE CALL WAS MADE BY YOU FROM ALBUQUERQUE TO A THIRD PERSON IN LAS CRUCES TO BE RELAYED TO YOUR WIFE. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE LAS CRUCES AIRPORT IS CLOSED AFTER DARK WITH NO TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION OR TAXICAB TRANSPORTATION AVAILABLE TO LAS CRUCES. THE MATTER IS GOVERNED BY SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF MAY 10. TO THE EFFECT THAT THE USE OF THE TELEPHONE IN SUCH INSTANCES WAS NECESSARY IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT.'. AS THE TELEPHONE CALL IS NOT ADMINISTRATIVELY CERTIFIED TO HAVE BEEN ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WE ARE REQUIRED TO SUSTAIN OUR SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 30.

B-132166, JUL. 12, 1957

TO MR. DAVID GREGG:

YOUR LETTER DATED MAY 20, 1957, REQUESTS RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 30, 1957, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $1.55, REPRESENTING THE COST OF A TELEPHONE CALL IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL PERFORMED PURSUANT TO AUTHORIZATION NO. CTO NO. 918, DATED JANUARY 13, 1957.

THE SOLE QUESTION INVOLVED HERE IS WHETHER THE TELEPHONE CALL WAS MADE ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS. A CAREFUL EXAMINATION OF THE RECORD REVEALS THAT THE TELEPHONE CALL WAS MADE BY YOU FROM ALBUQUERQUE TO A THIRD PERSON IN LAS CRUCES TO BE RELAYED TO YOUR WIFE, WHO HAD BEEN REQUESTED TO MEET YOU WITH YOUR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN EL PASO, TEXAS. INSTEAD, YOU ASKED THAT SHE MEET YOU AT THE LAS CRUCES AIRPORT. IT IS UNDERSTOOD THAT THE LAS CRUCES AIRPORT IS CLOSED AFTER DARK WITH NO TELEPHONE COMMUNICATION OR TAXICAB TRANSPORTATION AVAILABLE TO LAS CRUCES, SOME THREE MILES DISTANT FROM THE AIRPORT. THE CHANGE IN PLANS RESULTED FROM AN EARLY COMPLETION OF YOUR WORK IN ALBUQUERQUE, PERMITTING YOUR RETURN AND LANDING AT LAS CRUCES AIRPORT BEFORE DARK.

THE MATTER IS GOVERNED BY SECTION 4 OF THE ACT OF MAY 10, 1939 (53 STAT. 738), READING AS FOLLOWS:

"THAT HEREAFTER NO PART OF THIS OR ANY OTHER APPROPRIATION FOR ANY EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR AGENCY SHALL BE USED FOR THE PAYMENT OF LONG-DISTANCE TELEPHONE TOLLS EXCEPT FOR THE TRANSACTION OF PUBLIC BUSINESS WHICH THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT REQUIRE TO BE SO TRANSACTED; AND ALL SUCH PAYMENTS SHALL BE SUPPORTED BY A CERTIFICATE BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT, ESTABLISHMENT, OR AGENCY CONCERNED, OR SUCH SUBORDINATES AS HE MAY SPECIALLY DESIGNATE, TO THE EFFECT THAT THE USE OF THE TELEPHONE IN SUCH INSTANCES WAS NECESSARY IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT.'

IF WE HAD AUTHORITY TO SUBSTITUTE OUR JUDGMENT FOR THAT OF THE DEPARTMENT CONCERNED, PERHAPS A DIFFERENT CONCLUSION WOULD BE REACHED. HOWEVER, AS THE TELEPHONE CALL IS NOT ADMINISTRATIVELY CERTIFIED TO HAVE BEEN ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS WE ARE REQUIRED TO SUSTAIN OUR SETTLEMENT OF APRIL 30, 1957.

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