A-13502, APRIL 7, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 804

A-13502: Apr 7, 1926

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WHERE AN EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS ARE NOT FIXED BY LAW OR BY THE TERMS OF HIS EMPLOYMENT AT A PARTICULAR PLACE AND HE IS APPOINTED FOR FIELD DUTY GENERALLY WITHIN A SPECIFIED DISTRICT. WHEN SUCH CHANGE IS NECESSARY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT AND DIRECTED BY PROPER AUTHORITY. WHEREIN CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF R. THE FOLLOWING DIRECTION FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE WAS ISSUED TO JOHNSON: YOU ARE HEREBY DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO ATLANTA. YOU WILL BE ALLOWED ACTUAL NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES. HE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN ON DUTY AT THE ATLANTA OFFICE. HE WAS GRANTED A LEAVE OF ABSENCE FROM JUNE 15 TO 19. WAS ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS. PAYMENTS ON WHICH WILL NOT NOW BE QUESTIONED.

A-13502, APRIL 7, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 804

TRAVELING EXPENSES - EMPLOYEES TRANSFERRED TO THE FIELD - CHANGE OF HEADQUARTERS CHANGES IN HEADQUARTERS OF EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES CONSTITUTING A DISCHARGE AND REAPPOINTMENT DO NOT ENTITLE THE EMPLOYEES TO TRAVELING EXPENSES, IT BEING THE DUTY OF EMPLOYEES GENERALLY TO PLACE THEMSELVES AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE AT THEIR FIRST-DUTY STATION UNDER EACH APPOINTMENT. WHERE AN EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS ARE NOT FIXED BY LAW OR BY THE TERMS OF HIS EMPLOYMENT AT A PARTICULAR PLACE AND HE IS APPOINTED FOR FIELD DUTY GENERALLY WITHIN A SPECIFIED DISTRICT, REPORTS FOR DUTY OR INSTRUCTION AND TAKES THE OATH OF OFFICE AT THE HEADQUARTERS OF THAT DISTRICT, HIS ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OF TRAVEL BETWEEN SUCH HEADQUARTERS AND THE DUTY STATION TO WHICH SUBSEQUENTLY ASSIGNED, OR BETWEEN TWO DUTY STATIONS WITHIN THE SAME DISTRICT, WHEN SUCH CHANGE IS NECESSARY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT AND DIRECTED BY PROPER AUTHORITY, MAY BE REIMBURSED TO HIM TO THE EXTENT AUTHORIZED BY LAW OR REGULATIONS APPLICABLE THERETO.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, APRIL 7, 1926:

THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, BY LETTER OF FEBRUARY 25, 1926, REQUESTED REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT C-32896-TI, DATED NOVEMBER 23, 1925, WHEREIN CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED IN THE ACCOUNTS OF R. T. MILES, SPECIAL DISBURSING OFFICER, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, FOR A PAYMENT MADE TO THOMAS J. JOHNSON, INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT, AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL FROM ATLANTA, GA., TO TAMPA, FLA., AMOUNTING TO $28.74.

ON MAY 29, 1925, THE FOLLOWING DIRECTION FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE WAS ISSUED TO JOHNSON:

YOU ARE HEREBY DIRECTED TO PROCEED TO ATLANTA, GEORGIA, AND OTHER POINTS ON JUNE 1, 1925, FOR THE PURPOSE OF TRANSACTING INTERNAL REVENUE BUSINESS.

YOU WILL BE ALLOWED ACTUAL NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES, SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS PRESCRIBED BY LAW AND DEPARTMENTAL REGULATIONS, WHEN ABSENT ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FROM YOUR DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, PAYABLE FROM THE APPROPRIATION "COLLECTING THE INTERNAL REVENUE.'

PURSUANT TO SAID ORDER JOHNSON LEFT WASHINGTON, D.C., JUNE 1, 1925, ARRIVING AT ATLANTA, GA., JUNE 2, AND FROM JUNE 2 TO JUNE 12, 1925, HE APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN ON DUTY AT THE ATLANTA OFFICE. ON JUNE 13, 1925, HE WAS GRANTED A LEAVE OF ABSENCE FROM JUNE 15 TO 19, INCLUSIVE, TOOK OATH OF OFFICE AS AN INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT, AND ON THE SAME DAY (SATURDAY, JUNE 13) LEFT ATLANTA, BY DIRECTION OF THE AGENT IN CHARGE AT THAT PLACE, EN ROUTE TO TAMPA, FLA. HE ARRIVED AT MORRISTON, FLA., JUNE 14 AT 4 P.M., AND APPARENTLY SPENT HIS LEAVE THERE, LEAVING MORRISTON JUNE 19 AT 4 P.M. FOR TAMPA, WHERE HE ARRIVED AT 8 A.M. JUNE 20. THE TRANSPORTATION FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO ATLANTA, GA., WAS ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS, PAYMENTS ON WHICH WILL NOT NOW BE QUESTIONED, AS THEY COME WITHIN THE CLASS OF PAYMENTS AUTHORIZED TO BE PASSED FOR CREDIT UNDER DECISION OF JANUARY 11, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 467. TRANSPORTATION FROM ATLANTA, GA., TO MORRISTON, FLA., WAS FURNISHED ON TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS, WHILE FOR THE TRAVEL FROM MORRISTON TO TAMPA JOHNSON PURCHASED A TICKET.

THE FACTS SO STATED PRESENT FOR DECISION WHETHER THE TRAVEL FROM ATLANTA, GA., TO TAMPA, FLA., WAS A TRANSFER BETWEEN TWO FIELD-DUTY STATIONS, OR WAS IN FACT A PART OF THE TRANSFER OF THE EMPLOYEE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO THE FIELD.

ON AUGUST 10, 1925, THE SUPERVISING INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT AT ATLANTA, GA., RECOMMENDED THAT JOHNSON'S DUTY STATION BE FIXED AT TAMPA, FLA., EFFECTIVE JUNE 13, 1925, WHICH RECOMMENDATION WAS APPROVED SEPTEMBER 8, 1925, BY THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE.

IN REQUESTING RECONSIDERATION THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY STATES:

IT APPEARS MR. JOHNSON, AT HIS OWN EXPENSE, REPORTED TO ATLANTA, GEORGIA, JUNE 13, 1925, TO THE INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT IN CHARGE AND WAS SWORN IN AS AN INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT JUNE 13, 1925. HE WAS GIVEN INSTRUCTIONS IN FIELD PROCEDURE AND THE PROPER USE OF BLANK FORMS AND WAS DIRECTED BY THE INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT IN CHARGE TO REPORT TO TAMPA, FLORIDA, FOR DUTY. IT WAS NOT KNOWN BY THE NEW APPOINTEE OR THE INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT IN CHARGE AT WHAT PLACE THE FORMER WOULD BE ASSIGNED. THIS WAS A MATTER FOR THE INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT IN CHARGE TO DETERMINE AFTER HAVING INTERVIEWED THE NEW APPOINTEE AND ASCERTAINING HIS QUALIFICATIONS. * * *

THE RECORDS DISCLOSE THAT THE TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON TO ATLANTA, GA., WAS NOT MADE AT MR. JOHNSON'S EXPENSE, AS STATED BY THE SECRETARY. HOWEVER, IT WOULD APPEAR FROM ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE THAT THE TRAVEL FROM ATLANTA, GA., TO TAMPA, FLA., WAS A PART OF THE GENERAL SCHEME TO TRANSFER THIS EMPLOYEE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO A FIELD POSITION, WHICH WAS NOT COMPLETED UNTIL HIS ARRIVAL AT TAMPA, HIS FINAL DUTY STATION. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, CREDIT FOR THE PAYMENTS IN QUESTION WILL BE PASSED IN THE DISBURSING ACCOUNT UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF 5 COMP. GEN. 467.

IN HIS LETTER OF FEBRUARY 25, 1926, THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY QUOTES A LETTER FROM THE INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT IN CHARGE AT ATLANTA, DATED JANUARY 11, 1926, IN WHICH THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT IS MADE:

WITH THIS EXPLANATION I HAVE FURTHER TO STATE THAT THIS IS THE FIRST AND ONLY TIME THAT THE TRANSFER OF AN OFFICER IN THE ATLANTA DIVISION HAS BEEN QUESTIONED REGARDING THE EXPENSE INCURRED IN PROCEEDING FROM THE OFFICE OF THE AGENT IN CHARGE. ATLANTA, GA., TO HIS POST OF DUTY, WHEN HE HAS BEEN DIRECTED TO DO SO UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF THE AGENT IN CHARGE, AND I AM ONLY BRINGING THIS TO YOUR ATTENTION FOR THE REASON THAT IT HARDLY SEEMS EQUITABLE TO HAVE ONE OFFICER CHARGED WITH DEFRAYING HIS OWN EXPENSES IN TRAVELING FROM THE OFFICE OF THE AGENT IN CHARGE TO HIS POST OF DUTY, WHEREAS ALL OF THE OTHER OFFICERS OF THE DIVISION HAVE NOT BEEN CHARGED WITH THIS EXPENSE.

IF THIS RULING IS STRICTLY ENFORCED IT WOULD APPEAR THAT IT WILL INCUR A HARDSHIP ON AN OFFICER TO ACCEPT A GOVERNMENT POSITION AND BE FORCED TO TRAVEL UNDER THE ORDERS OF THE AGENT IN CHARGE AND NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSE, AND I AM SUBMITTING THIS INFORMATION FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION AND REQUEST TO BE ADVISED AFTER YOU HAVE THOROUGHLY DIGESTED THE THOUGHT WHICH I WISH TO CONVEY TO YOU AT THIS TIME.

WITH RESPECT TO THE MATTER THUS SUBMITTED, IT MAY BE STATED THAT THE QUESTION WHETHER THE EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE IN MAKING A CHANGE OF HEADQUARTERS MAY BE REIMBURSED IS DEPENDENT UPON THE FACTS IN EACH PARTICULAR CASE. IT HAS BEEN HELD UNIFORMLY THAT AN EMPLOYEE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE EXPENSE OF PLACING HIMSELF AT HIS FIRST DUTY STATION UNLESS PREVIOUSLY AGREED UPON AS A PART OF THE CONSIDERATION FOR HIS SERVICES AND THE SALARY OR COMPENSATION OF THE POSITION IS NOT FIXED BY LAW. WHERE, THEREFORE, THE CHANGE IN HEADQUARTERS CONSTITUTES A DISCHARGE AND REAPPOINTMENT, THERE IS GENERALLY NO AUTHORITY TO REIMBURSE THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE EXPENSES OF TRAVEL BETWEEN THE TWO DUTY STATIONS. COMP. DEC. 442; 20 ID. 73; 4 COMP. GEN. 641; 5 ID. 467. WHERE, HOWEVER, AN EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS ARE NOT FIXED BY LAW OR BY THE TERMS OF HIS EMPLOYMENT AT A PARTICULAR PLACE, AND HE IS APPOINTED FOR FIELD DUTY GENERALLY WITHIN A SPECIFIED DISTRICT, REPORTS FOR DUTY OR INSTRUCTION AND TAKES THE OATH OF OFFICE AT THE HEADQUARTERS OF THAT DISTRICT, HIS ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES OF TRAVEL BETWEEN SUCH HEADQUARTERS AND THE DUTY STATION TO WHICH SUBSEQUENTLY ASSIGNED, OR BETWEEN TWO DUTY STATIONS WITHIN THE SAME DISTRICT, WHEN SUCH CHANGE IS NECESSARY FROM THE GOVERNMENT'S STANDPOINT AND DIRECTED BY PROPER AUTHORITY, MAY BE REIMBURSED TO HIM TO THE EXTENT AUTHORIZED BY LAW AND REGULATIONS APPLICABLE THERETO. 4 COMP. GEN. 627; A-471, APRIL 29, 1924.