A-1919, JANUARY 5, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 584

A-1919: Jan 5, 1925

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS DURING THE PERIOD OF SUCH STAY IN WASHINGTON AND IS NOT ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR SUCH PERIOD. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 21. CREDIT FOR WHICH WAS DISALLOWED. YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW IS STATED TO BE BASED UPON 26 COMP. INVOLVING A CASE WHICH IS REPRESENTED TO BE ANALOGOUS IN ALL RESPECTS TO THE CASE HERE PRESENTED. IT IS SUBMITTED IN ADDITION THAT MR. TURNER WAS APPOINTED AS CLERK TO TRADE COMMISSIONER EFFECTIVE JULY 26. WAS DESIGNATED AS HIS OFFICIAL STATION. FOR WHICH PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WAS PAID TO HIM. HE WAS RECEIVING INSTRUCTIONS RELATIVE TO HIS DUTIES IN THE PERU OFFICE. IS DIRECTED. SO FAR AS PERTINENT: YOU HAVE BEEN APPOINTED SUBJECT TO TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE.

A-1919, JANUARY 5, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 584

PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE ON DUTY AT WASHINGTON AN EMPLOYEE APPOINTED AS CLERK TO A TRADE COMMISSIONER IN THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE WHO REPORTED FOR AND ENTERED UPON DUTY AT WASHINGTON WHERE HE REMAINED FOR 18 DAYS BEFORE PROCEEDING TO OTHER PLACES FOR DUTY UNDER ORDERS DIRECTING HIM TO RETURN TO WASHINGTON UPON COMPLETION OF DUTY AT SAID PLACES, IS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS DURING THE PERIOD OF SUCH STAY IN WASHINGTON AND IS NOT ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR SUCH PERIOD.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, JANUARY 5, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 21, 1924, FORWARDING LETTER OF EXPLANATION OF DANIEL WATERS, FORMER SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE, RELATIVE TO CERTAIN ITEMS IN HIS ACCOUNTS, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST REVIEW OF SO MUCH OF SETTLEMENT NO. C 2930-C, DATED OCTOBER 23, 1923, AS CONCERNS VOUCHER NO. 2, JULY, 1920, WHICH REPRESENTS PAYMENT TO RICHARD T. TURNER, CLERK TO TRADE COMMISSIONER, OF PER DIEM FOR JULY 26 TO 30, INCLUSIVE, FIVE DAYS AT $4, CREDIT FOR WHICH WAS DISALLOWED.

YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW IS STATED TO BE BASED UPON 26 COMP. DEC. 451, INVOLVING A CASE WHICH IS REPRESENTED TO BE ANALOGOUS IN ALL RESPECTS TO THE CASE HERE PRESENTED, AND IT IS SUBMITTED IN ADDITION THAT MR. TURNER WAS APPOINTED AS CLERK TO TRADE COMMISSIONER EFFECTIVE JULY 26, 1920, THAT LIMA, PERU, WAS DESIGNATED AS HIS OFFICIAL STATION, AND THAT WHILE IN WASHINGTON, D.C., FIVE DAYS, FOR WHICH PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WAS PAID TO HIM, HE WAS RECEIVING INSTRUCTIONS RELATIVE TO HIS DUTIES IN THE PERU OFFICE.

THE LETTER OF APPOINTMENT DATED JULY 7, 1920, IS DIRECTED, TO MR. RICHARD T. TURNER, THROUGH THE DIRECTOR, BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE, AND STATES, SO FAR AS PERTINENT:

YOU HAVE BEEN APPOINTED SUBJECT TO TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE, CLERK TO TRADE COMMISSIONER IN THE BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE AT A SALARY OF TWO THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS PER ANNUM, EFFECTIVE ON THE DATE ON WHICH YOU ENTER UPON DUTY IN THE ABOVE MENTIONED POSITION.

UNDER DATE OF JULY 26, 1920, A TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED WHICH PROVIDED IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

YOU ARE HEREBY AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL BY THE SHORTEST AND MOST DIRECT ROUTE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C. TO NEW ORLEANS AND LIMA, PERU, AND SUCH POINTS IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY THEREFOR AS MAY BE NECESSARY IN THE PURSUIT OF AN INVESTIGATION UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THIS BUREAU; AND UPON THE COMPLETION OF THIS SERVICE YOU WILL RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C., BY THE SHORTEST AND MOST DIRECT ROUTE, UNLESS OTHERWISE DIRECTED.

THE VOUCHER NO. 2, REFERRED TO, SHOWS HE ENTERED UPON DUTY AT WASHINGTON, D.C., JULY 26, AND THERE IS CHARGED THEREON FOR THE PERIOD BEGINNING ON THAT DATE TO JULY 30, INCLUSIVE, THE PER DIEM FOR FIVE DAYS AT $4, TOTALING $20, WHICH IS IN QUESTION. IT IS ALSO NOTED IN REVIEWING VOUCHER NO. 4, AUGUST, OF THE SAME ACCOUNT AND SETTLEMENT THAT THIS SAME EMPLOYEE IS SHOWN TO HAVE CONTINUED ON THE SAME DUTY FROM AUGUST 1 UNTIL 10.45 P.M. AUGUST 13, WHEN HE DEPARTED FOR NEW ORLEANS UPON THE FIRST LEG OF THE TRAVEL DIRECTED, AND A CHARGE IS MADE FOR PER DIEM FOR THIRTY-ONE DAYS IN THAT MONTH AT $4, THUS INCLUDING AN ADDITIONAL THIRTEEN DAYS FOR WHICH PER DIEM WAS CHARGED COVERING THE PERIOD WHILE ON DUTY IN WASHINGTON BEFORE DEPARTURE IN PURSUANCE OF THE TRAVEL ORDER CITED, SUPRA.

THIS PER DIEM REPRESENTS A COMMUTATION OF ACTUAL TRAVEL EXPENSES AND THE CLAIMING OF SUCH PER DIEM MUST BE UPON THE PRESUMPTION OF A TRAVEL STATUS, AND THE QUESTION FOR DETERMINATION THEREFORE IS WHETHER THERE WAS SUCH A STATUS.

THE ACTS AUTHORIZING TRAVEL ALLOWANCE STIPULATE FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES, THAT IS, EXPENSES OF ACTUAL TRAVEL INCURRED WHILE AWAY FROM HOME OR HEADQUARTERS, AND THE RIGHT TO PER DIEM IS CONDITIONED UPON THIS BASIC REQUIREMENT. WHILE THE APPOINTMENT TO THE POSITION AS CLERK TO TRADE COMMISSIONER, BUREAU OF FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC COMMERCE, WAS DATED JULY 7, 1920, IT APPEARS THAT THE EMPLOYEE DID NOT ENTER UPON DUTY UNDER SAID APPOINTMENT UNTIL JULY 26, ON WHICH DAY HE REPORTED AT WASHINGTON AND WAS GIVEN TRAVEL ORDERS WHICH ARE QUOTED SUPRA.

FOLLOWING THIS ORDER IT IS ASSERTED THAT THE EMPLOYEE REMAINED IN THIS CITY FIVE DAYS RECEIVING INSTRUCTIONS, THOUGH AS A MATTER OF FACT HE CHARGED AND RECEIVED A PER DIEM FOR EIGHTEEN DAYS WHILE REMAINING HERE. IT IS ASSERTED THAT LIMA, PERU, WAS THE EMPLOYEE'S DESIGNATED HEADQUARTERS, BUT IT IS NOT SO STATED IN THE APPOINTMENT, SUPRA, AND WHILE THE POST OF DUTY MAY FOR A TIME HAVE BEEN THAT CITY, SAID APPOINTMENT AND THE DIRECTIONS IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS TO RETURN TO WASHINGTON INDICATE THE HEADQUARTERS TO HAVE BEEN THIS CITY.

THE ACT AUTHORIZING TRAVEL EXPENSES, ACT OF MARCH 3, 1875, 18 STAT. 452, PROVIDES THAT ONLY ACTUAL TRAVELING EXPENSES, I.E., ONLY EXPENSES ON ACTUAL TRAVEL STATUS, SHALL BE ALLOWED TO ANY PERSON HOLDING EMPLOYMENT OR APPOINTMENT UNDER THE UNITED STATES; AND WHAT IS IN EFFECT AN AMENDMENT THERETO, SECTION 13 OF THE ACT OF AUGUST 1, 1914, 38 STAT. 680, PROVIDES:

THAT THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND OTHER GOVERNMENT ESTABLISHMENTS ARE AUTHORIZED TO PRESCRIBE PER DIEM RATES OF ALLOWANCE NOT EXCEEDING $4 IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE TO PERSONS ENGAGED IN FIELD WORK OR TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND OR TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OUTSIDE OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY, WHEN NOT OTHERWISE FIXED BY LAW * *

THE SITUATION HERE PRESENTED APPEARS TO BE THAT THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR AND ENTERED UPON DUTY AT WASHINGTON JULY 26, 1920, AND CONTINUED ON DUTY AT SAID PLACE UNTIL AUGUST 13, 1920, WHEN HE STARTED TO COMPLY WITH THE TRAVEL ORDERS DIRECTING HIM TO PROCEED FROM WASHINGTON TO CERTAIN OTHER PLACES AND TO RETURN TO WASHINGTON. THEREFORE, HE DID NOT ENTER UPON A TRAVEL STATUS WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE STATUTES ABOVE QUOTED UNTIL AUGUST 13, 1920. SUCH FACTS WERE NOT DISCLOSED IN THE CASE DECIDED IN 26 COMP. DEC. 451, REFERRED TO AS A PRECEDENT FOR SUCH PAYMENT, AND FURTHERMORE THE DECISION IN THAT CASE WAS OVERRULED BY THE DECISION IN 1 COMP. GEN. 426. SEE ALSO DECISION OF DECEMBER 15, 1923, REVIEW 4070.

UPON THE FACTS DISCLOSED IT MUST BE HELD THAT THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE COVERING THE PERIOD WHILE REMAINING IN WASHINGTON WAS UNAUTHORIZED, AND ACCORDINGLY NOT ONLY IS THE DISALLOWANCE OF $20, COVERING A PART OF SUCH TIME AFFIRMED, BUT UPON REVIEW A FURTHER SUM OF $52 IS RECHARGED TO RECOVER THE AMOUNT ERRONEOUSLY PAID FOR THE BALANCE OF THE PERIOD WHILE IN WASHINGTON.

AS THE SPECIAL AGENT IS DISCLOSED TO BE NO LONGER SERVING IN THAT CAPACITY, THE AMOUNT OF $72 ON ACCOUNT OF THE ITEM HEREIN CONSIDERED, TOGETHER WITH THE OTHER AMOUNTS STILL CHARGED IN HIS ACCOUNTS, SHOULD BE PROMPTLY DEPOSITED INTO THE TREASURY, OTHERWISE IT WILL BE NECESSARY TO PROCEED IN THE USUAL MANNER TO RECOVER THE AMOUNT OF THE BALANCE FROM HIM OR THE SURETY ON HIS BOND.