Reimbursement for International Travel by Sea

B-177449: Jan 23, 1973

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IT IS THE VIEW OF THE COMP. BY WHICH YOU REQUEST A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL WHETHER YOU ARE REQUIRED TO COLLECT ANY PART OF THE AMOUNTS PAID TO MR. YOUR REQUEST WAS FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE BY THE COMMITTEE UNDER PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 72-54. HE WAS ADVISED VERBALLY AND IN HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION THAT IF HE TRAVELED BY SEA REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE LIMITED TO THE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL BY AIR. ALBICOCCO SECURED PASSAGE ON THE ONLY AMERICAN FLAG VESSEL AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS A FREIGHTER WITH LIMITED PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS SAILING FROM LEGHORN. TRAVEL FROM PORT EVERGLADES TO NEW YORK WAS PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. ALBICOCCO SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO REFUND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT PAID AND THE AMOUNT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE PAID IF THE TRAVEL HAD BEEN PERFORMED BY AIR OVER A DIRECT ROUTE.

B-177449, JAN 23, 1973

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - DEPENDENT TRAVEL - USE OF SURFACE TRANSPORTATION DECISION REGARDING PAYMENTS MADE TO SALVATORE P. ALBICOCCO FOR SURFACE TRAVEL OF HIMSELF AND HIS FAMILY INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER FROM LEGHORN, ITALY, TO NEW YORK, N.Y., AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS. IT IS THE VIEW OF THE COMP. GEN. THAT PRIOR TO THE OCTOBER 1, 1972 AMENDMENTS, THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DID NOT REQUIRE OR PERMIT A LIMITATION ON REIMBURSEMENT TO THE COST OF AIR TRAVEL IN CONNECTION WITH OVERSEAS TRAVEL OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OF AN EMPLOYEE. HOWEVER, REIMBURSEMENT MAY BE SO LIMITED AS TO THE EMPLOYEE WHEN HE ELECTS TO USE COMMERCIAL SURFACE TRAFFIC IN LIEU OF GOVERNMENT PROCURED AIR TRANSPORTATION. SEE B-166553, MAY 15, 1969. ACCORDINGLY, ANY PAYMENTS MADE TO MR. ALBICOCCO AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR HIS OWN TRAVEL WHICH EXCEEDS THE COST OF DIRECT AIR TRAVEL SHOULD BE COLLECTED FROM HIM. THE PAYMENTS FOR THE DEPENDENT'S TRAVEL MAY BE RETAINED BY HIM.

TO MR. ROBERT W. BLAKELEY:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 26, 1972, YOUR REFERENCE DAEN-ASZ T, TO THE CHAIRMAN, PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE, BY WHICH YOU REQUEST A DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL WHETHER YOU ARE REQUIRED TO COLLECT ANY PART OF THE AMOUNTS PAID TO MR. SALVATORE P. ALBICOCCO FOR SURFACE TRAVEL OF HIMSELF AND HIS FAMILY INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER FROM LEGHORN, ITALY, TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS. YOUR REQUEST WAS FORWARDED TO OUR OFFICE BY THE COMMITTEE UNDER PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 72-54.

WHEN NOTIFIED OF HIS PENDING TRANSFER TO THE UNITED STATES MR. ALBICOCCO REQUESTED PERMISSION TO TRAVEL BY SEA IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT CERTAIN MEMBERS OF HIS FAMILY WOULD NOT CONSENT TO TRAVEL BY AIR. HE WAS ADVISED VERBALLY AND IN HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION THAT IF HE TRAVELED BY SEA REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE LIMITED TO THE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL BY AIR. THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION EXPRESSED THIS LIMITATION IN TERMS OF THE "MOST DIRECT ROUTE AND MOST USUALLY TRAVELED MODE FROM OLD DUTY STATION TO NEW DUTY STATION." NEVERTHELESS MR. ALBICOCCO SECURED PASSAGE ON THE ONLY AMERICAN FLAG VESSEL AVAILABLE FOR TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES WHICH WAS A FREIGHTER WITH LIMITED PASSENGER ACCOMMODATIONS SAILING FROM LEGHORN, ITALY, TO PORT EVERGLADES, FLORIDA. TRAVEL FROM PORT EVERGLADES TO NEW YORK WAS PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE.

MR. ALBICOCCO HAS BEEN REIMBURSED THE FULL AMOUNT HE HAD PAID FOR OCEAN TRANSPORTATION, MILEAGE AND TOLLS FOR THE AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL PERFORMED, AND PER DIEM FOR HIMSELF AND HIS DEPENDENTS BASED ON THE TRAVEL AS PERFORMED WITHOUT REGARD TO THE LIMITATION IMPOSED IN HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION. YOU REQUEST OUR DECISION WHETHER MR. ALBICOCCO SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO REFUND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT PAID AND THE AMOUNT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE PAID IF THE TRAVEL HAD BEEN PERFORMED BY AIR OVER A DIRECT ROUTE.

THE CURRENT PROVISIONS OF PARAGRAPH C6001 OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (JTR), VOLUME 2, SPECIFICALLY PROVIDE FOR THE AUTHORIZATION OF GOVERNMENT OFFERED AIR TRANSPORTATION EXCEPT IN CERTAIN ENUMERATED CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH ARE NOT PERTINENT HERE. HOWEVER, AS PREVIOUSLY INDICATED, THAT PROVISION WAS NOT CONTAINED IN THE JTR AT THE TIME MR. ALBICOCCO AND HIS FAMILY PERFORMED THE TRAVEL HERE IN QUESTION.

OUR VIEW IS THAT THE JTR PRIOR TO THE OCTOBER 1, 1972 AMENDMENT DID NOT REQUIRE OR PERMIT A LIMITATION ON REIMBURSEMENT TO THE COST OF AIR TRAVEL IN CONNECTION WITH OVERSEAS TRAVEL OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OF AN EMPLOYEE. IN THAT CONNECTION WE NOTE THAT DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY CIRCULAR NO. 55-56, MAY 8, 1970, SO FAR AS IT REQUIRES THE USE OF AIR TRAVEL, MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED AS APPLICABLE TO THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OF AN EMPLOYEE.

WITH RESPECT TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THE EMPLOYEE THE PROVISIONS OF THE JTR AS INTERPRETED IN THE CITED DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT TO BE LIMITED TO AIR TRAVEL WHEN THE EMPLOYEE ELECTS TO USE COMMERCIAL SURFACE TRANSPORTATION IN LIEU OF GOVERNMENT PROCURED AIR TRANSPORTATION. COMPARE B-166553, MAY 15, 1969, COPY ENCLOSED. SUCH A LIMITATION ON REIMBURSEMENT WAS CONTAINED IN THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AND VERBALLY COMMUNICATED TO HIM. THE FACT THAT THE LIMITATION IS REGARDED AS INAPPLICABLE TO THE TRAVEL OF THE EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY DOES NOT AFFECT HIS RIGHT TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR HIS OWN TRAVEL UNDER THE RULES ESTABLISHED.

ACCORDINGLY, ANY AMOUNT PAID MR. ALBICOCCO FOR THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION WHICH REPRESENTS REIMBURSEMENT FOR HIS OWN TRAVEL IN AN AMOUNT WHICH EXCEEDS THE COST OF AIR TRAVEL BY THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE FROM OLD DUTY STATION TO NEW DUTY STATION SHOULD BE COLLECTED FROM HIM. HOWEVER, HE MAY BE ALLOWED TO RETAIN PAYMENTS RECEIVED FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY BY SHIP AND PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE. IN THAT CONNECTION WE DO NOT FIND IT NECESSARY TO QUESTION THE ROUTE USED BY THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY IN VIEW OF ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED.

THE PAPERS FORWARDED WITH YOUR REQUEST ARE RETURNED FOR HANDLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE.

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