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IN RE CLAIM FOR DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AMOUNT
PAID FOR TRANSPORTATION AND MILEAGE FOR TRAVEL PERFORMED BY SECOND ASSISTANT
ENGINEER MYRON H. KNAPP. An officer of the Navy, who was in 1866, on the report of a medical board
of survey, sent from Hongkong to the United States for hospital
June 30, 1896. Charles G. Hampton, as executor of the estate of Myron H. Knapp, deceased, appeals from the decision of the Auditor for the Navy Department of May 16, 1896, disallowing claim set up by the executor for mileage on account of travel performed by Assistant Engineer Knapp in 1866 in returning from Hongkong to the United States, his passage having been paid by the paymaster under orders from his superior officers. The grounds of the Auditor's disallowance are as follows:
"Assistant Engineer Knapp, while attached to the Wachusett in 1866, was recommended by a medical board of survey to be sent to the United States for hospital treatment. His passage to the United States was paid by the paymaster of that vessel, by direction of the commander of the fleet, but there is no order requiring him to perform the travel.
- From the fact that his disease did not originate in the line of duty, it is assumed, unless an order for the travel be produced, that he returned by permission, and if such be the case, he was not entitled to the difference between the cost of transportation and mileage."
A duly convened medical survey on August 26,1866, reported that Assistant Engineer Knapp was suffering from a disease contracted not in line of duty and of uncertain duration, and recommended that he be sent to the United States for hospital treatment by the first favorable opportunity.” After the approval of the report of the medical survey the com. manding officer addressed the following communication to
“In compliance with medical survey and by order of RearAdmiral H. H. Bell, your passage to the United States will be paid in the American ship Powhatan. You will consider it your duty to see that Samuel Falstead, ordinary seaman, who goes home for the same reason and by the same conveyance, receives proper care and attention during the voyage, and that his bills here previous to sailing are duly paid, for which purpose $30 of his money will be placed in your hands, the unexpended balance to be returned to him.”
Passage was duly procured for Knapp, and on March 21, 1867, he reported to the United States Naval Hospital, Brooklyn, N. Y., and on the 230 thereof was discharged from the Wachusett, and placed on sick leave by order of the Chief of the Bureau of Navigation.
Upon this state of facts the counsel for the claimant insists that Knapp was traveling under orders within the meaning of the act of March :3, 1835, and was entitled to mileage. He appears to base this claim principally upon the fact that it was made his duty to see that Samuel Falstead received proper care and attention during the voyage, and also he assumes that
“ This officer came home for discharge and was entitled to be discharged within the United States, and the Government recognized the fact that he was traveling under orders by paying his passage home and by placing him on duty during such passage.”
I am unable to find anything in the papers submitted which indicates that the recommendation of the medical survey, or of the orders approving that, contemplated his discharge. It is specifically recommended that he be sent to the United States for hospital treatment. No order is furnished showing that he was directed to travel or that this travel was performed upon public business. To sustain a claim for mileage, the officer must show that he traveled upon business and in obedience to orders. It appears to me that the case of Perri. mond v. United States (19 C. Cls. R., 509) is conclusive of the claimant's right, where it is held that if an officer was not traveling on public business, but private delinquency was the cause of the travel, the officer performing it has no ground for claiming mileage. (See also Du Bose, Richardson, and Hannum cases, 19 C. Cls. R., 514, 516).
The claim of Childs for mileage, decided by Assistant Comptroller Mansur, March 9, 1895, (1 Comp. Dec., 292), indicates that the mere order to take “charge of persons named in the following list, who were also sent home on sick tickets,” can
not be construed as the performance of such duty as to entitle the person so ordered to mileage.
In the case of Surgeon Beyer, who was directed to take charge of certain invalids by the commandant of the station in returning home, it was claimed that he was upon duty and entitled to traveling expenses, but this claim was disapproved by the Navy Department and disallowed by the accounting officers February 24, 1890. On March 27, 1893, the Assistant Secretary of the Navy asked for a reconsideration of the claim, upon the ground that he was on duty during the time he was in charge of the invalids. Comptroller Gilkeson, on April 14, 1893, denied a rehearing, holding in effect that because Dr. Beyer was ordered to take charge of the invalids he was not placed on such duty as to entitle him to traveling expenses.
This is in accordance with the uniform rulings of this Department. The appeal of Mr. Hampton as executor of the estate of Myron H. Knapp is therefore dismissed and the Auditor's decision affirmed.
EDW. A. BOWERS,
APPENDIX. CONTAINING CIRCULARS ISSUED BY THE COMPTROLLER
OF THE TREASURY IN CONNECTION WITH THE SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS.
[Department Circular No. 27.]
TRANSMISSION OF GOVERNMENT MESSAGES OVER BOND-AIDED OR SUBSIDIZED TELEGRAPH LINES.
Washington, D. C., February 17, 1896.
The observance and enforcement of the following regulations will hereafter be required of the disbursing officers and other officers and agents of the Government. A strict com. pliance therewith will obviate the necessity of disallowances and suspensions in the settlement of their accounts:
1. The statutes of the United States require that the compensation for messages sent at Government expense over telegraph lines constructed in connection with Pacific railroads, to which bonds have been issued by the United States in aid of their construction, shall be withheld by the Secretary of the Treasury and applied in payment of the subsidy bonds and interest. In order that these provisions of law may be complied with, the accounts of the respective telegraph companies for Government messages sent over bond-aided or subsidized lines must be transmitted to the Treasury Department for settlement, and not be paid by disbursing officers or by any other officers or agents of the Government.