B-117577, JUN. 16, 1955

B-117577: Jun 16, 1955

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WHICH CONCLUDED THAT ON THE RECORD THERE DISCLOSED MILEAGE WAS NOT PAYABLE INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION SAID TO HAVE BEEN ACCOMPLISHED FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY APPEARS TO REGARD THE DECISION AS TAKING THE VIEW THAT AN OFFICER IS ENTITLED TO MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED ON REASSIGNMENT TO A NEW STATION FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS IF THE REASON FOR THE REASSIGNMENT IS NOT INCONSISTENT WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SERVICE. HE SUGGESTS THAT THE REQUIRED MOVE OF ANOTHER QUALIFIED OFFICER TO REPLACE THE PERSON REASSIGNED IS NOT CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE THAT THE REASSIGNMENT WAS INCONSISTENT WITH SUCH NEEDS. HE ARGUES THAT IN DETERMINING WHETHER A REASSIGNMENT WILL BE CONSISTENT WITH THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE.

B-117577, JUN. 16, 1955

TO THE HONORABLE SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE:

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE AIR FORCE, BY LETTER OF MARCH 21, 1955, HAS REQUESTED RECONSIDERATION OF OUR DECISION DATED JANUARY 26, 1954, B- 117577, WHICH CONCLUDED THAT ON THE RECORD THERE DISCLOSED MILEAGE WAS NOT PAYABLE INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION SAID TO HAVE BEEN ACCOMPLISHED FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS. THE DECISION SUGGESTED THAT APPROPRIATE CHANGES BE MADE IN THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS SO THAT SUCH CHANGES OF STATION WOULD BE MADE ONLY WHEN CONSISTENT WITH THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY APPEARS TO REGARD THE DECISION AS TAKING THE VIEW THAT AN OFFICER IS ENTITLED TO MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED ON REASSIGNMENT TO A NEW STATION FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS IF THE REASON FOR THE REASSIGNMENT IS NOT INCONSISTENT WITH THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SERVICE. HE SUGGESTS THAT THE REQUIRED MOVE OF ANOTHER QUALIFIED OFFICER TO REPLACE THE PERSON REASSIGNED IS NOT CONCLUSIVE EVIDENCE THAT THE REASSIGNMENT WAS INCONSISTENT WITH SUCH NEEDS. HE ARGUES THAT IN DETERMINING WHETHER A REASSIGNMENT WILL BE CONSISTENT WITH THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE, CONSIDERATION MUST BE GIVEN TO MANY TANGIBLE AND INTANGIBLE FACTORS SUCH AS WHETHER IT WILL PERMIT (AID) THE AIR FORCE TO RETAIN TRAINED PERSONNEL, WHETHER IT CAN BE EXPECTED TO INCREASE THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PERSON CONCERNED AND WHETHER HE CAN BE UTILIZED IN HIS PRIMARY AIR FORCE SPECIALTY AT HIS NEW STATION. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY STATES FURTHER THAT OFFICERS WHO MUST PASS ON APPLICATIONS FOR REASSIGNMENTS ARE IN THE BEST POSITION TO KNOW THE FACTS AND THAT SUCH OFFICERS GIVE FULL CONSIDERATION TO THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE SERVICE.

PARAGRAPH 20-22, AIR FORCE REGULATION 35-59, CONTAINED THE REGULATIONS GOVERNING REASSIGNMENTS FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS AT THE TIME THE DECISION WAS PREPARED. THOSE REGULATIONS ARE NOW CONTAINED IN SECTION I, AIR FORCE REGULATIONS 35-11. HOWEVER, INSOFAR AS HERE MATERIAL, NO SUBSTANTIAL DIFFERENCE IN THE REGULATIONS IS NOTED. THE CRITERIA SET FORTH IN THOSE REGULATIONS FOR GRANTING REQUESTS FOR REASSIGNMENT FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS DO NOT MENTION THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE. THEY RELATE SOLELY TO CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ARE PERSONAL TO THE INDIVIDUAL CONCERNED AND MERELY CONCLUDE THAT SUCH REASSIGNMENTS AS ARE APPROVED WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT AND FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE SERVICE. WHEN A REASSIGNMENT IS APPROVED AND ORDERED UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS, WE CAN ASSUME NOTHING MORE THAN THAT THE REQUISITE PERSONAL REASONS EXISTED AND THAT THE AIR FORCE HAD NO OBJECTION TO THE REASSIGNMENT.

WE KNOW OF NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF MILEAGE OR OTHER TRAVELING EXPENSE INCIDENT TO A CHANGE OF STATION MADE FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS ONLY. WHILE A PERSONAL REQUEST FOR REASSIGNMENT TO A PARTICULAR STATION FOR COMPASSIONATE OR OTHER PERSONAL REASONS DOES NOT LESSEN AN OFFICER'S RIGHT TO TRAVELING EXPENSES IF HIS REASSIGNMENT IS NECESSARY IN THE SERVICE, IT NOT ENOUGH THAT A REASSIGNMENT IS MERELY NOT INCONSISTENT WITH THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE. IT SHOULD APPEAR THAT MILITARY CONSIDERATIONS INDUCED THE REASSIGNMENT AND HENCE THAT THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED ON PUBLIC BUSINESS. PERRIMOND V. UNITED STATES, 19 C.CLS. 509. THAT A MEMBER OF THE ARMED SERVICES MIGHT BE MORE DISPOSED TO CONTINUE IN THE SERVICE FOR A LONGER PERIOD THAN HE IS REQUIRED TO SERVE, IF HE IS REASSIGNED FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS, IS A POSSIBILITY THAT EXISTS IN ALL CASES INVOLVING PERMISSIVE CHANGES OF STATION. SUCH POSSIBILITY HAS NEVER BEEN REGARDED AS FURNISHING A SUFFICIENT BASIS FOR CONCLUDING THAT SUCH PERMISSIVE CHANGE WAS MADE DUE TO THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE. A REQUEST FOR REASSIGNMENT TO A PARTICULAR STATION FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS MAY WARRANT THE GIVING OF PREFERENCE TO THE PERSON MAKING THE REQUEST OVER OTHER QUALIFIED PERSONS WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR REASSIGNMENT TO MEET THE NECESSITY OF THE SERVICE. THE REASON FOR REASSIGNMENT, HOWEVER, MUST BE THE NEED OF THE SERVICE THAT AN INDIVIDUAL BE REASSIGNED TO THAT STATION RATHER THAN THE DESIRE OF THE PERSON TO BE REASSIGNED.

IF AN OFFICER HAS BEEN TRAINED IN A SPECIALTY WHICH CANNOT BE USED AT HIS STATION, AND HE IS TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER STATION SO THAT THE AIR FORCE CAN HAVE THE BENEFIT OF THE SPECIAL SERVICE FOR WHICH HE WAS TRAINED, TRAVEL TO THE NEW STATION WOULD SEEM TO BE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND THE FACT THAT HE REQUESTED THE REASSIGNMENT FOR PERSONAL REASONS WOULD, OF COURSE, BE NO BASIS FOR DENYING PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF HIS TRAVELING EXPENSES. HOWEVER, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT SUCH WAS THE SITUATION IN THE CASE OF LIEUTENANT PAPPAS CONSIDERED IN THE DECISION OF JANUARY 26, 1954. WHILE IT IS STATED THAT HIS AIR FORCE SPECIALTY WAS THAT OF JET PILOT, IT ALSO APPEARS THAT THERE WAS A CRITICAL SHORTAGE OF JET PILOTS WITHIN THE COMMAND OF WHICH HIS STATION WAS A PART AND, IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY, IT MUST BE ASSUMED THAT THE SHORTAGE ALSO EXISTED AT HIS STATION. IT IS NOT SHOWN WHY HIS DUTY ASSIGNMENT AT THAT PLACE (NOW STATED TO BE ARMAMENT SYSTEMS OFFICER, ESSENTIALLY A GROUND DUTY) WAS NOT FOR DUTY AS A JET PILOT. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, IT IS DIFFICULT TO SEE HOW HIS REASSIGNMENT FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS TO ANOTHER STATION FOR DUTY AS A JET PILOT COULD BE REGARDED AS BEING IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST, SINCE A CHANGE IN HIS DUTY ASSIGNMENT TO THAT OF JET PILOT AT HIS OLD STATION, COULD HAVE ACCOMPLISHED THE SAME RESULT. NO SHOWING HAS BEEN MADE THAT THE SHORTAGE OF JET PILOTS AT HIS NEW STATION WAS OF GREATER CONCERN TO THE AIR FORCE THAN THE SHORTAGE AT HIS OLD STATION NOR HAS ANY OTHER ADEQUATE MILITARY REASON FOR HIS REASSIGNMENT BEEN DISCLOSED. ON THE PRESENT RECORD, THE AUDIT EXCEPTION AGAINST PAYMENT OF MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL TO HIS NEW STATION AT STEWART AIR FORCE BASE, NEW YORK, MUST BE CONTINUED.

CONCERNING THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S STATEMENT THAT THE DECISION OF HEADQUARTERS, NINTH AIR FORCE, THAT THE PROPOSED REASSIGNMENT OF LIEUTENANT PAPPAS WOULD BE IN THE "BEST INTEREST OF THE AIR FORCE," "SHOULD NOT BE LIGHTLY OVERTURNED," IT SHOULD NOT BE OVERLOOKED THAT SUCH DECISION RAISED AND LEFT UNANSWERED QUESTIONS AS TO THE JET PILOT SHORTAGE WITHIN THAT COMMAND. IN SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, AND SINCE THE DECISION WAS MADE UNDER REGULATIONS WHICH REFER TO REASSIGNMENTS FOR PERSONAL REASONS ONLY--- YET STATE THAT COMPASSIONATE REASSIGNMENTS "WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE SERVICE" (PARAGRAPH 28, AIR FORCE REGULATION 35-11/--- SUCH DECISION FURNISHES A LITTLE BASIS FOR A CONCLUSION THAT THE TRAVEL TO STEWART AIR FORCE BASE WAS ON PUBLIC BUSINESS.

IF IT IS INTENDED THAT THE GOVERNMENT BEAR THE COST OF TRAVEL IN CONNECTION WITH ALL REASSIGNMENTS FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS, IT IS AGAIN SUGGESTED THAT THE REGULATIONS BE AMENDED TO AN APPROPRIATE MANNER TO ASSURE THAT REQUESTS FOR TRANSFER FOR COMPASSIONATE REASONS WILL BE GRANTED ONLY IN THOSE CASES WHERE THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE ARE THE DETERMINING FACTOR. WE DO NOT MEAN THAT FACTORS SUCH AS THOSE MENTIONED BY THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE. THE PRESENT REGULATIONS, HOWEVER, DO NOT REQUIRE THE APPROVING OFFICER TO CONSIDER THE NEEDS OF THE SERVICE AS THE BASIC DETERMINING FACTOR.