A-36090, APRIL 15, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 469

A-36090: Apr 15, 1931

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WHEREBY CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED FOR PAYMENTS AGGREGATING $93.75. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM "LOS ANGELES. HE WAS FURTHER AUTHORIZED TO HIRE STENOGRAPHERS. A SUPPLEMENTAL TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED BY AIRWAYS ENGINEER J. BY WHICH HIS PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WAS INCREASED TO $5. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM SALT LAKE CITY TO CERTAIN SPECIFIED POINTS AND RETURN. WAS GIVEN GENERAL AUTHORITY THEREIN TO TRAVEL TO SUCH "INTERMEDIATE POINTS AS FOUND PRACTICABLE AND NECESSARY. IT APPEARS THAT AT NO TIME DURING SUCH PERIOD WAS HE IN WASHINGTON. IT IS CLEAR THAT IT WAS CONTEMPLATED THAT HE PERFORM ANY DUTIES IN WASHINGTON. IT IS NOTED. TO BE SUPPLIED ON ALL VOUCHERS AS TO THE APPROXIMATE DATE OF THE RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS OF AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE DUTY AT A PARTICULAR PLACE IS PROLONGED BEYOND A PERIOD OF 30 DAYS.

A-36090, APRIL 15, 1931, 10 COMP. GEN. 469

SUBSISTENCE - HEADQUARTERS THE AUTHORITY TO DESIGNATE THE POST OF DUTY OF AN EMPLOYEE INCLUDES ONLY THE AUTHORITY TO FIX THE PLACE AT WHICH THE EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY ESTABLISHES OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS. THE DESIGNATION OF ANY OTHER PLACE FOR THE PURPOSE OF GIVING HIM A SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE OR A PER DIEM IN LIEU THEREOF DOES NOT ENTITLE HIM THERETO WHEN ABSENT FROM HIS ACTUAL OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, APRIL 15, 1931:

HENRY SIMMONS, SPECIAL DISBURSING AGENT, LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, BY LETTER OF FEBRUARY 14, 1931, REQUESTED REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT F-21529-C, DATED DECEMBER 5, 1930, WHEREBY CREDIT WAS DISALLOWED FOR PAYMENTS AGGREGATING $93.75, $87.50, $65.00, AND $40.00 ON VOUCHERS 3734, 4211, 4718, AND 4849, RESPECTIVELY, OF HIS ACCOUNTS FOR THE QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 1930, TO RAY I. HESS, ASSISTANT ENGINEER, FOR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, WHILE AT SALT LAKE CITY, DURING THE PERIOD FROM DECEMBER 14, 1929, TO MARCH 10, 1930.

THE RECORDS SHOW THAT BY LETTER ADDRESSED TO MR. HESS AT LOS ANGELES, CALIF., ON MARCH 21, 1928, BY THE COMMISSIONER OF LIGHTHOUSES, HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM "LOS ANGELES, CALIF., TO SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH, AND INTERMEDIATE POINTS AS FOUND NECESSARY AND THENCE TO WASHINGTON, C., " FOR THE PURPOSE OF ASSISTING IN THE SURVEY OF IMMEDIATE LANDING FIELDS ON AIRWAYS, SUCH TRAVEL TO BEGIN ON MARCH 21, 1928. HE WAS FURTHER AUTHORIZED TO HIRE STENOGRAPHERS, LABOR, AND AUTOMOBILES, WHEN NECESSARY, TO PURCHASE NECESSARY GASOLINE, OIL, MAPS, AND EQUIPMENT, AND TO RECEIVE A PER DIEM OF $4 IN LIEU OF ACTUAL NECESSARY SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES.

THE EXPENSE ACCOUNT OF MR. HESS COVERING THE PERIOD FROM MARCH 21 TO APRIL 9, 1928, VOUCHER 1825, SETTLEMENT K-34850-C, BEARS THE STATEMENT THAT HE ENTERED ON DUTY IN LOS ANGELES AT 8 A.M. ON MARCH 21, 1928. HIS EXPENSE ACCOUNT FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 22, 1928, TO APRIL 22, 1928, VOUCHER 1992, SHOWS THAT HE LEFT LOS ANGELES AT 8 A.M. ON MARCH 22, 1928, BY OFFICIAL AUTOMOBILE, SENDING HIS TRUNK BY EXPRESS TO SALT LAKE CITY. ARRIVED ON APRIL 3, 1928, IN SALT LAKE CITY, WHICH POINT THEREAFTER BECAME HIS POST OF DUTY AND THE PLACE FROM WHICH HE OPERATED. HIS EXPENSE ACCOUNTS FOR THE PERIOD FROM APRIL 3, 1928, TO MAY 12, 1930, COVER PER DIEMS IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE IN AND AWAY FROM SALT LAKE CITY, TOGETHER WITH EXPENSES OF TRANSPORTATION, SUPPLIES, AND SERVICES OF THIRD PERSONS, INCIDENT TO SURVEYING TRIPS MADE TO NEAR-BY POINTS. AFTER EACH SUCH TRIP HE RETURNED TO SALT LAKE CITY, WHERE HE FREQUENTLY EMPLOYED A STENOGRAPHER FOR A FEW DAYS THEREAFTER, PRESUMABLY IN CONNECTION WITH THE PREPARATION OF REPORTS OF HIS FIELD SURVEYS, AND WHERE HE PERFORMED MISCELLANEOUS OFFICE WORK. SEE PARTICULARLY VOUCHERS 5050 AND 5318, SETTLEMENT K-53264-C.

ON MARCH 21, 1929, A SUPPLEMENTAL TRAVEL ORDER WAS ISSUED BY AIRWAYS ENGINEER J. P. WORTHINGTON, APPROVED BY THE ACTING COMMISSIONER OF LIGHTHOUSES, AND ADDRESSED TO MR. HESS AT SALT LAKE CITY, BY WHICH HIS PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WAS INCREASED TO $5, AND HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM SALT LAKE CITY TO CERTAIN SPECIFIED POINTS AND RETURN, AND WAS GIVEN GENERAL AUTHORITY THEREIN TO TRAVEL TO SUCH "INTERMEDIATE POINTS AS FOUND PRACTICABLE AND NECESSARY, AND RETURN TO SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH.' SUBSEQUENT GENERAL TRAVEL ORDERS, ISSUED ON JUNE 20, 1929, SEPTEMBER 17, 1929, AND JANUARY 23, 1930, EACH AUTHORIZED TRAVEL FROM SALT LAKE CITY AND RETURN THERETO.

ALTHOUGH HIS EXPENSE ACCOUNTS FOR THE PERIOD FROM MARCH 21, 1928, THE DATE OF HIS ENTRY ON DUTY, TO MAY 12, 1930, SHOW WASHINGTON, D.C., AS HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS, IT APPEARS THAT AT NO TIME DURING SUCH PERIOD WAS HE IN WASHINGTON, AND, FROM THE TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED TO HIM, IT IS CLEAR THAT IT WAS CONTEMPLATED THAT HE PERFORM ANY DUTIES IN WASHINGTON. IT IS NOTED, FURTHERMORE, THAT THE INFORMATION REQUIRED BY GENERAL REGULATIONS NO. 36, SUPPLEMENTAL NO. 1, 6 COMP. GEN. 876, TO BE SUPPLIED ON ALL VOUCHERS AS TO THE APPROXIMATE DATE OF THE RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS OF AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE DUTY AT A PARTICULAR PLACE IS PROLONGED BEYOND A PERIOD OF 30 DAYS, WHICH INFORMATION IS ESSENTIAL IN ORDER THAT THIS OFFICE MAY BE IN POSSESSION OF FACTS BY WHICH IT MAY BE DETERMINED WHETHER THE PLACE AT WHICH THE EMPLOYEE CLAIMS SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE IS IN FACT TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, WAS NOT SUPPLIED AS REQUIRED. SEE PARAGRAPH 48 (A) AND APPENDIX VI OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE DAYS ON WHICH HE IS SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN ON ANNUAL LEAVE, MR. HESS CLAIMED AND WAS PAID A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD FROM THE DATE HE ENTERED THE SERVICE, ON MARCH 20, 1928, TO MAY 12, 1930. CREDIT FOR PER DIEM AGGREGATING $286.25, PAID TO HIM WHILE HE WAS IN SALT LAKE CITY DURING THE PERIOD FROM DECEMBER 14, 1929, TO MARCH 10, 1930, WAS DISALLOWED ON THE GROUND THAT SUCH POINT WAS, IN FACT HIS REGULAR POST OF DUTY, AT WHICH PLACE,UNDER THE LAW AND REGULATIONS, AS CONSTRUED BY NUMEROUS DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE, HE WAS NOT ENTITLED TO A SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE. SEE 5 COMP. GEN. 400 AND PAR. 46 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW OF THE DISALLOWANCE IN QUESTION IS BASED UPON THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT BY THE BUREAU OF LIGHTHOUSES TRANSMITTED TO THIS OFFICE ON NOVEMBER 29, 1930, BY THE ACTING COMMISSIONER OF LIGHTHOUSES:

DURING THE PERIOD COVERED BY VOUCHERS 3734, 4211, 4718, AND 4849, MR. HESS WAS EMPLOYED BY THIS OFFICE AND ON FIELD STATUS. HIS BASE OF OPERATIONS WAS CONSIDERED AS WASHINGTON, D.C.EACH OF THE TRAVEL ORDERS ON WHICH THIS WORK WAS PERFORMED, SHOULD HAVE STATED THAT THEY WERE SUPPLEMENTARY TO PREVIOUS ORDERS, AND INDICATING ONLY CHANGE IN ITINERARY. SALT LAKE CITY OFFICE WAS NOT CONSIDERED IN THE NATURE OF A BASE. IT MERELY HAPPENED TO BE THE POINT OF INTERSECTION OF SEVERAL AIRWAYS ON WHICH MR. HESS WAS ASSIGNED FOR THE SURVEY AND CONDITIONING OF INTERMEDIATE FIELDS.

MR. HESS IS ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF $5 FOR PERIOD COVERED BY THESE TRAVEL ORDERS.

IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY AND CONSISTENTLY HELD BY FORMER COMPTROLLERS OF THE TREASURY AND BY THIS OFFICE THAT THE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE AND DESIGNATE THE POST OF DUTY OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT INCLUDES ONLY THE AUTHORITY TO FIX THE PLACE AT WHICH THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD ACTUALLY ESTABLISH OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS, AND FROM WHICH HE SHOULD IN FACT OPERATE, WHICH ORDINARILY, IS THE PLACE WHERE THE EMPLOYEE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO SPEND MOST OF HIS TIME. THE DESIGNATION OF ANY OTHER PLACE, FOR THE PURPOSE OF GIVING THE EMPLOYEE A SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FOR THE GREATER PORTION, OR ALL, OF HIS TIME, IS NOT WITHIN THE AUTHORITY VESTED IN THE HEAD OF A DEPARTMENT OR OTHER ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIAL CHARGED WITH THE DUTY OF DESIGNATING POSTS OF DUTY OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AND DOES NOT ENTITLE AN EMPLOYEE TO PER DIEM WHEN ABSENT THEREFROM, AND PERFORMING DUTY AT ANOTHER PLACE, WHICH LATTER PLACE IS IN FACT HIS POST OF DUTY. SEE 22 COMP. DEC. 496; 1 COMP. GEN. 62, 426; 2 ID. 757; 4 ID. 320; 5 ID. 400; A-856, JULY 19, 1924; A-10713, SEPTEMBER 21, 1925; A-13110, MARCH 6, 1926; A-16501, JANUARY 11, 1927; A-16506, JANUARY 13, 1927; A-17690, MARCH 26, 1927; A-22079, MARCH 22, 1928. SEE, ALSO, DECISION OF THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT AT BALTIMORE, MD., IN UNITED STATES V. UNITED STATES FIDELITY AND DEPOSIT CO., DECIDED MARCH 17, 1931.

UNDER ALL OF THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE, AS ABOVE SET OUT, IT IS CLEAR THAT SALT LAKE CITY WAS THE ACTUAL POST OF DUTY OF MR. HESS DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION, AND THAT HE WAS NOT ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE THERE.

REFERENCE TO VOUCHER 4849 DISCLOSING THAT THE AMOUNT PROPERLY DEDUCTIBLE THEREFROM IS $38.75 RATHER THAN $40, CREDIT FOR $1.25 WILL BE ALLOWED IN A SUPPLEMENT OF THE DISBURSING OFFICER'S ACCOUNTS.

THE REMAINING DISALLOWANCES AGGREGATING $285, ARE SUSTAINED UPON REVIEW, AND THE AMOUNT THEREOF SHOULD BE DEPOSITED IN THE TREASURY WITHOUT DELAY.