Author Topic: Obligation to Arrange Travel and Selection of Method of Travel  (Read 893 times)

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Offline Lumber

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CFTDTIs state very clearly that the approving authority selects the method of travel. In doing so, he takes several thing into consideration. One of these considerations includes "(g) the member’s safety and convenience";

So, I have a few questions.

1. Can a member elect not to receive travel arrangements? Can he simply say "don't worry, I got this", or is the approving authority obligated to make arrangements? This might not seem like a likely case in the Reg Force, but since I started working for the PRes, it's come up a few times. If the member doesn't like what's being offered to him, can he simply say "no, I will get there myself"?

2. Similarly, could member request travel to the TD location, but not back? Perhaps he knows he'll be picking up a car at his new location, and knows that he won't be approved POMV travel, could he request (and we oblige) a 1-way ticket by commercial air to the TD location, and make no arrangements to return, since he'll drive himself? Or, once the CO has taken it upon himself to get a person to the TD location, are they now obligated to make arrangements to get them back?

While I'm interested in the universal answer for future applicability, I'll provide a little bit of context.

A member wanted to drive to his TD location and back. However, for various reasons (times lines for vacation and lack of parking), we felt that the only option was to book the member travel by commercial air. We made these arrangements before getting full concurrence from the member, but from our perspective, there was no other option. As far as we were concerned, if we're flying you there, we're also flying you back, and we did not feel at the time that driving back would ever be a real possibility.

While the member was on TD, they travelled home on their own dime, picked up their vehicle, and drove back to the TD location, and somehow found parking at a base that has no parking, which is fine. However, now that they have their personal vehicle at the TD location, they don't want the return flight, they want to drive back.

Normally, I think this would be fine. I would tell them member "roger, we'll cancel your flight, no big deal, but realize that you will receive no pay, no meals, no kilometers, no gas, no TD benefits whatsoever on your travel day. You're on your own because you are forfeiting the selected method of travel". We've had this happen with new recruits. They go away on basic trg, and then their parents drive out for their graduation, and request that they be allowed to drive little johnny and sally home instead of taking the flight. We cancel the flight and all other benefits for that day.

However, in this case, the member's argument is that, because we made these flight arrangements before they had a chance to work out a plan with our BOR for the return leg, we're in the wrong. Their argument is that, had we taken the time to listen, we could have booked a 1 way flight to the TD location, and made arrangements for either:
a. approved return by POMV;
b. no arrangements whatsoever for return; leave the member on his own to get back however.

They feel like we were not automatically required to book a return flight, and as such, they was wronged by being forced into a method of travel that they did not want.

My opinion is that, in the end it doesn't matter what your preferences are. Whatever the approving authority selects as the method of travel is up to the approving authority alone. The can obtain, but does not require, your input, and if you don't like what was booked, your crap-out-of-luck.

Thoughts?

I am a loggie and I've been around a long time.  Compensation and benefits is one of my specialties and I've personally done a lot of international TD.
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Offline SeaKingTacco

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Re: Obligation to Arrange Travel and Selection of Method of Travel
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2017, 17:09:53 »
Lumber, I tend to agree with you that the approving authority (ie the CoC) gets to select the method of travel. It is nice, but not required, that it coincide with the wishes of the CF member.

But I am also real interested what Pusser has to say on this.

Offline ModlrMike

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Re: Obligation to Arrange Travel and Selection of Method of Travel
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2017, 19:07:33 »
I would agree with you. If the member reads the CFTDI, they'll realize that want doesn't enter into it. It is common practice to try and accommodate the member' wishes with respect to travel, where possible. None the less, there are frequent occasions where "here's your ticket, get yourself sorted out" is the order of the day. Nothing in CFTDI permits the member to challenge the decision regarding travel arrangements. That doesn't mean he's not welcome to try.

If we're talking about a NAVRES unit, then there's a travel directory that prohibits the situation you describe. The member must travel as arranged, unless the distance travelled is less than 500km, then POMV may be authorized.
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Offline Pusser

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Re: Obligation to Arrange Travel and Selection of Method of Travel
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2017, 22:39:36 »
First and foremost, yes, the CoC approves the method of travel.  However, the CoC is ultimately the CO, NOT a clerk in the OR.  So if the member wants to challenge what the clerks want to do, he can do so and the OR really shouldn't be making arrangements without consulting the member, unless there is compelling reason to do so (urgent requirement to make bookings and member is unavailable to consult).  At the end of the day though, the CO still gets to decide (we are still a military force after all).

Having said this, I'm a firm believer that the CoC should not be dicks about this sort of thing and that the member's wishes should actually take priority as long as operations are not jeopardized, the request is reasonable and there is no additional cost to the Crown.  In other words, as a claim approving authority, I would be happy to approve what the member has requested in this case, up the maximum amount determined by a cost comparison.  Keep in mind that round trip tickets are sometimes cheaper than one way tickets.  The problem in this case is that the arrangements have already been made.  If the member truly did ask for this arrangement in plenty of time, then his wishes should have been granted and he has a reasonable case for reimbursement for a return trip by POMV.  However, if this is not the case and even though his desire to return via POMV may still be granted, he shouldn't be reimbursed anything.  In fact, if the Crown incurs any cancellation fees, he should be required to repay those (unlikely as HRGS can often get us a credit).

Can a member refuse travel arrangements?  In many ways, yes.  It can boil down to a matter of being required to report for duty at a certain place and time.  As long as he shows up on time, there should be no issue.  However, he should make his intention clear, BEFORE travel arrangements are made, in order to avoid being charged (the member or the Crown) for not showing up for a flight.

There is no restriction in the CFTDI as to how far one can travel via POMV on TD.  There are restrictions on what you can be reimbursed, but no restrictions on the travel itself.  If you need more than one day to drive, you will have to take leave to cover the additional days (can be Weekend, Stat, etc. - whatever is appropriate and properly authorized as long as it is PAID leave).  I would argue that for Reservists, the member is simply on his own for the additional travel time (i.e. his "contract" doesn't start until one day prior to RFD and ends one day after the last day on TD).  I would also argue that a Reservist would not be considered "on duty" on the additional travel days and so there could be some benefit implications should tragedy strike en route.  For Regular Force personnel there would be considered on leave and so, not "on duty" (i.e. not really any different than getting hit by a bus on the way to work).

This can get complicated and confusing; however, if folks apply a little common sense and reason, everybody can actually win.  I would be inclined in this particular case to grant the member his wish to return home via POMV, but unless, the travel arrangements can be cancelled without penalty, he would not be entitled to any reimbursement for travel costs.
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Offline EME101

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Re: Obligation to Arrange Travel and Selection of Method of Travel
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2017, 05:59:13 »
Sometimes there are reasons for not allowing POMV.  It used to be an issue in Gagetown, when the reserves did a summer concentration at the end of the IT cycle.  The plan was for all of the vehicles that were EMO'ed in for IT, be driven back to their home units by the reservists that were participating in collective training.  Unfortunately, they often had difficulties getting enough drivers, since a large number of those pers had brought their POMVs to training.

So there is sometimes a reason for denying POMV.