B-130712, APR. 11, 1968

B-130712: Apr 11, 1968

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JOSEPH GRUBACH: THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 29. THE MODE OF TRAVEL WAS TO BE "COMMON CARRIER OR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. THE PER DIEM RATE WAS SET AT $16. YOU HAVE RETURNED TO YOUR ORIGINAL CONTENTION IN YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 29. HAVE DEVELOPED YOUR CLAIM ALONG BOTH LINES. THE AMOUNT OF $172.65 WAS DERIVED FROM THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF A ROUND TRIP TICKET BY AIR. YOU WERE ALLOWED $64.20 FOR ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BY AIR. YOUR CLAIM IS THEREFORE FOR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $172.65 AND $132.45 ($40.20) OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $200.12 AND $132.45 ($67.67). YOU ARGUE THAT THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF YOUR TRAVEL SHOULD BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF TRAVEL BY RAIL ON THE GROUND THAT NO MENTION WAS MADE IN THE ORDERS OF THE TYPE OF COMMON CARRIER TO BE USED FOR COMPARISON.

B-130712, APR. 11, 1968

TO MR. JOSEPH GRUBACH:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 29, 1968, APPEALING FROM OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT DATED FEBRUARY 20, 1968, Z-1823089, DENYING YOUR CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL REIMBURSEMENT FOR TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL FROM DETROIT, MICHIGAN, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., UNDER TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED APRIL 27, 1967, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF CUSTOMS.

THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION PROVIDED FOR TRAVEL FROM DETROIT TO WASHINGTON FROM APRIL 24, 1967, TO APRIL 26, 1967, TO DISCUSS A CURRICULUM FOR THE COMMODITY SPECIALISTS' TRAINING SCHOOL. THE MODE OF TRAVEL WAS TO BE "COMMON CARRIER OR PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. COST NOT TO EXCEED COST OF COMMON CARRIER.' THE PER DIEM RATE WAS SET AT $16.

YOU CHOSE TO TRAVEL IN YOUR OWN AUTOMOBILE DEPARTING DETROIT AT 8:30 A.M. ON SUNDAY, APRIL 23, 1967, AND ARRIVING IN WASHINGTON VIA THE OHIO AND PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKES AT 9:30 P.M. THE SAME DAY. FOLLOWING COMPLETION OF YOUR DISCUSSIONS AT 5 P.M. ON APRIL 26, 1967, YOU DEPARTED WASHINGTON AT 6 P.M. IN YOUR AUTOMOBILE FOR DETROIT ARRIVING AT 4 P.M. ON THE NEXT DAY.

FOR THIS TRAVEL ON YOUR ORIGINAL TRAVEL VOUCHER, MAY 3, 1967, YOU CLAIMED $200.12 BASED ON CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF TRAVEL BY RAIL. IN YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 29, 1967, TO US, YOU HAD REDUCED YOUR CLAIM TO $172.65 BASED ON CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF TRAVEL BY AIR. YOU HAVE RETURNED TO YOUR ORIGINAL CONTENTION IN YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 29, 1968, BUT HAVE DEVELOPED YOUR CLAIM ALONG BOTH LINES. THE AMOUNT OF $172.65 WAS DERIVED FROM THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF A ROUND TRIP TICKET BY AIR, $64.20, CAB, LIMOUSINE AND BUS FARES AT BOTH PLACES TOTALING $20.20, PARKING (HOTEL AND DUTY STATION) $12, TURNPIKE TOLLS, $8.50, AND CONSTRUCTIVE PER DIEM OF $66.75, REPRESENTING 4 DAYS AT $16 AND 1/4 DAY AT $11, $2.75.

YOU WERE ALLOWED $64.20 FOR ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BY AIR, $5.50, TO COVER THE COST OF LIMOUSINE CHARGES TO AND FROM TERMINALS AT FRIENDSHIP AND DULLES AIRPORTS, $12.00 TO COVER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IN DETROIT AND WASHINGTON AND PER DIEM OF $50.75, REPRESENTING 3 DAYS AT $16, AND 1/4 DAY AT $11 FOR A TOTAL OF $132.45. YOUR CLAIM IS THEREFORE FOR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $172.65 AND $132.45 ($40.20) OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $200.12 AND $132.45 ($67.67).

YOU ARGUE THAT THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF YOUR TRAVEL SHOULD BE COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF TRAVEL BY RAIL ON THE GROUND THAT NO MENTION WAS MADE IN THE ORDERS OF THE TYPE OF COMMON CARRIER TO BE USED FOR COMPARISON. IRRESPECTIVE OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS BY EITHER MODE OF COMMON CARRIER YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE ENTITLED TO PARKING AND TURNPIKE FEES OF $20.50, ADDITIONAL LOCAL TRAVEL OF $3.70, AND ADDITIONAL PER DIEM OF $16 BASED ON CONVENIENCE TO THE TRAVELER AND AVOIDANCE OF TRAVEL AT UNREASONABLE HOURS.

WITH RESPECT TO THE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE SECTION 3.5A STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (AS ADDED BY BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-7, REVISED, TRANSMITTAL MEMORANDUM NO. 6, FEBRUARY 7, 1967) PROVIDES:

"A. DETERMINATION THAT A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE (AUTOMOBILE, MOTORCYCLE, OR AIRPLANE) MAY BE USED.

"BEFORE USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE IS AUTHORIZED, THE AGENCY CONCERNED SHOULD DETERMINE (1) WHETHER IT IS FEASIBLE TO USE COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION OR A GOVERNMENT-OWNED CONVEYANCE RATHER THAN A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE, AND (2) WHETHER USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE IS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT. A DETERMINATION OF FEASIBILITY SHOULD INCLUDE CONSIDERATION OF SUCH FACTORS AS AVAILABILITY OF COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION OR GOVERNMENT-OWNED CONVEYANCES, SUITABILITY OF SCHEDULES, AND OTHER APPLICABLE REQUIREMENTS. DETERMINING WHETHER USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE IS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, CONSIDERATION WILL BE GIVEN TO THE ADVANTAGES RESULTING FROM THE MORE EXPEDITIOUS TRANSACTION OF THE PUBLIC BUSINESS, ECONOMY AND EMPLOYEE PERFORMANCE EFFECTIVENESS, AS WELL AS OTHER ADVANTAGES AND/OR DISADVANTAGES TO THE UNITED STATES IN THE PARTICULAR CASE.

"USE OF A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE MAY BE AUTHORIZED EVEN THOUGH COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION IS THE PREFERRED METHOD FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT, BUT THE AMOUNT OF REIMBURSEMENT, WITHIN APPLICABLE STATUTORY LIMITS, FOR SUCH USE WILL BE LIMITED TO THE ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED UNDER SUBSECTION 3.5C (2).'

SECTION 3.5C (2) OF CIRCULAR NO. A-7 (AS ADDED BY TRANSMITTAL MEMORANDUM NO. 6) PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"/2) WHENEVER A PRIVATELY OWNED CONVEYANCE IS USED FOR OFFICIAL PURPOSES AS A MATTER OF PERSONAL PREFERENCE, IN LIEU OF COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION, PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS SHALL BE LIMITED TO THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF APPROPRIATE COMMON CARRIER TRANSPORTATION OR THE STATUTORY MAXIMUM, WHICHEVER, IS LESS, AND ANY RELATED PER DIEM, DETERMINED AS FOLLOWS:

"/A) THE MILEAGE PAYMENT WILL NOT EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF COACH ACCOMMODATIONS (OR TOURIST OR ECONOMY ACCOMMODATIONS IF A CARRIER USES THIS TERM INSTEAD OF -COACH ACCOMMODATIONS-) ON AIRPLANES WHEN SUCH SERVICE IS PROVIDED BY A CARRIER. IF NOT PROVIDED, THE COMPARISON WILL BE MADE WITH STANDARD CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS, IF PROVIDED, OTHERWISE WITH FIRST -CLASS ACCOMMODATION. * * *

"IN DETERMINING THE CONSTRUCTIVE COMMON CARRIER COST THERE WILL ALSO BE INCLUDED THE USUAL TRANSPORTATION COSTS TO AND FROM THE COMMON CARRIER TERMINALS. * * *

"/B) THE CONSTRUCTIVE PER DIEM WILL BE LIMITED TO THE AMOUNT OTHERWISE ALLOWABLE IF THE TRAVELER HAD USED THE CARRIER UPON WHICH THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRANSPORTATION COSTS ARE DETERMINED.

"/C) IN MAKING THE FOREGOING CONSTRUCTIVE COST COMPARISONS OF TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM, SCHEDULED DEPARTURES AND ARRIVALS OF PLANES, TRAINS, AND BUSES AT UNREASONABLE HOURS WILL BE DISREGARDED. (FOR THIS PURPOSE, -UNREASONABLE HOURS' MEANS THOSE WHICH WOULD UNDULY INCONVENIENCE THE TRAVELER OR ADVERSELY AFFECT HIS SAFETY, OR WHICH WOULD RESULT IN UNDULY INCREASING THE CONSTRUCTIVE PER DIEM.)"

THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE COMPUTED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS OF YOUR TRAVEL IN ACCORDANCCE WITH THE ABOVE REGULATIONS AND DETERMINED THAT THE ALLOWANCE ON THAT BASIS WAS PROPER BECAUSE OF BEING LESS THAN PAYMENT ON A MILEAGE BASIS (INCLUDING HIGHWAY TOLLS). YOU WERE NOT ENTITLED TO ANY SEPARATE REIMBURSEMENT FOR TOLLS OR PARKING FEES BECAUSE THESE EXPENSES WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD TRAVEL BEEN BY AIR. MOREOVER, WE CANNOT SAY THAT THE METHOD OF DETERMINING THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF AIR TRAVEL WAS UNREASONABLE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING OUR PRIOR OFFICE SETTLEMENT DENYING YOUR ADDITIONAL CLAIM FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.

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