A-17231, FEBRUARY 15, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 537

A-17231: Feb 15, 1927

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - FIRST DUTY STATION AN ADMINISTRATIVE ATTEMPT TO PLACE A DEPARTMENTAL EMPLOYEE IN A FIELD STATUS BY NOMINALLY TRANSFERRING HIM TO THE BALTIMORE FIELD UNIT AND ORDERING HIM FROM BALTIMORE TO WASHINGTON FOR INSTRUCTION PURPOSES PRIOR TO HIS ACTUAL TRANSFER TO THE FIELD IS INEFFECTUAL TO ENTITLE THE EMPLOYEE TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN TRAVELING TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION. IN WHICH WAS DISALLOWED CREDIT IN HIS ACCOUNTS FOR PAYMENTS AGGREGATING $16.18 MADE TO EARL S. KNAUER WAS TRANSFERRED. "OR AS SOON THEREAFTER AS YOU WILL HAVE FINISHED TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT IN CHARGE OF THE BALTIMORE DIVISION ANY UNCOMPLETED CASES NOW IN YOUR POSSESSION.

A-17231, FEBRUARY 15, 1927, 6 COMP. GEN. 537

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FIRST DUTY STATION AN ADMINISTRATIVE ATTEMPT TO PLACE A DEPARTMENTAL EMPLOYEE IN A FIELD STATUS BY NOMINALLY TRANSFERRING HIM TO THE BALTIMORE FIELD UNIT AND ORDERING HIM FROM BALTIMORE TO WASHINGTON FOR INSTRUCTION PURPOSES PRIOR TO HIS ACTUAL TRANSFER TO THE FIELD IS INEFFECTUAL TO ENTITLE THE EMPLOYEE TO REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN TRAVELING TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, FEBRUARY 15, 1927:

REVIEW HAS BEEN REQUESTED BY T. G. THURSTON, INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT IN CHARGE, INDIANAPOLIS, IND., OF SETTLEMENT NO. K-1092-TI, DATED DECEMBER 14, 1926, IN WHICH WAS DISALLOWED CREDIT IN HIS ACCOUNTS FOR PAYMENTS AGGREGATING $16.18 MADE TO EARL S. KNAUER, INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT, REPRESENTING EXPENSES INCURRED IN TRAVELING FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO INDIANAPOLIS, IND., JULY 1 TO 3, 1926.

IT APPEARS BY LETTER, DATED JUNE 14, 1926, FROM THE COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE, THAT MR. KNAUER WAS TRANSFERRED, EFFECTIVE ON DATE OF OATH, FROM THE DEPARTMENTAL POSITION OF ASSISTANT AUDITOR IN THE INCOME TAX UNIT OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE BUREAU AT WASHINGTON, D.C., TO THAT OF INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT IN THE FIELD SERVICE ASSIGNED TO THE BALTIMORE DIVISION, AND THAT HE TOOK OATH UNDER THE LATTER APPOINTMENT AT BALTIMORE ON JUNE 26, 1926. AT 11 A.M. OF THE SAME DAY HE PROCEEDED TO WASHINGTON, REPORTING TO REVENUE AGENT GORMAN FOR THE ALLEGED PURPOSE OF RECEIVING INSTRUCTION FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE MONTH. LETTER OF JUNE 29, 1926, FROM THE ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL REVENUE PURPORTED TO RELIEVE HIM FROM DUTY UNDER THE BALTIMORE DIVISION AND TO ASSIGN HIM TO DUTY IN THE INDIANAPOLIS DIVISION, EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1926,"OR AS SOON THEREAFTER AS YOU WILL HAVE FINISHED TO THE SATISFACTION OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE AGENT IN CHARGE OF THE BALTIMORE DIVISION ANY UNCOMPLETED CASES NOW IN YOUR POSSESSION," THE LETTER FURTHER STATING THAT HIS ACTUAL, NECESSARY TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED IN PROCEEDING FROM BALTIMORE TO INDIANAPOLIS WOULD BE ALLOWED SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS PRESCRIBED BY LAW AND REGULATION.

IT WOULD APPEAR FROM ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THE CASE THAT THE TRAVEL FROM BALTIMORE TO INDIANAPOLIS WAS PART OF A GENERAL SCHEME TO TRANSFER THIS EMPLOYEE FROM A DEPARTMENTAL TO A FIELD POSITION AT THE EXPENSE OF THE UNITED STATES, WHICH TRANSFER WAS NOT ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHED UNTIL HIS ARRIVAL AT INDIANAPOLIS. THE APPARENT PURPOSE OF THE PURPORTED ASSIGNMENT TO THE BALTIMORE DIVISION WAS TO CREATE A FIELD SERVICE STATUS WITH A VIEW TO PERMITTING REIMBURSING FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED IN PROCEEDING TO ANOTHER FIELD STATION, RATHER THAN TO EFFECT AN ACTUAL NECESSARY TRANSFER TO BALTIMORE. THEREFORE, SUCH ASSIGNMENT WAS INVALID. SEE A-15842, OCTOBER 7, 1926.

THE FACT THAT UPON TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE AT BALTIMORE, HE IMMEDIATELY RETURNED TO WASHINGTON, WHERE HE RECEIVED INSTRUCTIONS IN THE DUTIES OF A FIELD AGENT AND WHERE HE REMAINED UNTIL RECEIPT OF TRAVEL ORDERS TO INDIANAPOLIS CLEARLY INDICATES THAT BOTH THE INSTRUCTIONS AND HIS DETENTION IN WASHINGTON WERE INCIDENT TO HIS WORK AT INDIANAPOLIS AND HAD NO CONNECTION WITH DUTIES OR TRAVEL TO BE PERFORMED UNDER THE BALTIMORE DIVISION. THE ILLEGALITY OF CHARGING EXPENSES INCURRED IN EFFECTING A TRANSFER FROM THE DEPARTMENTAL SERVICE TO THE FIELD SERVICE WAS POINTED OUT IN DECISION OF JANUARY 11, 1926, 5 COMP. GEN. 467, WHICH RULING WAS ANNOUNCED AS A GUIDE FOR THE PROPER ADMINISTRATIVE AND DISBURSING ACTION THEREAFTER. SEE ALSO 1 COMP. GEN. 426; 4 COMP. GEN. 641; 5 COMP. GEN. 804, ID. 941, ID. 987, ID. 1025; 6 ID. 92, ID. 136.

IN VIEW OF THE FACTS APPEARING IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE PAYMENT TO EARL S. KNAUER AS REIMBURSEMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED IN EFFECTING HIS TRANSFER TO INDIANAPOLIS WAS ERRONEOUS AND THAT CREDIT THEREFOR IS NOT AUTHORIZED.