A-49150, SEPTEMBER 6, 1939, 19 COMP. GEN. 320

A-49150: Sep 6, 1939

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- WHICH IS NOT ON THE SHORTEST OR MOST ECONOMICAL ROUTE FROM TEMPORARY DUTY STATION TO HEADQUARTERS. - THE REMAINDER OF THE RETURN TRIP WAS CANCELED IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST AND THE EMPLOYEE ORDERED TO RETURN TO THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. THE COST OF EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL FROM TEMPORARY DUTY STATION TO HIS HOME WAS PERSONAL TO THE TRAVELER AND NOT INCURRED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR PER DIEM OR EXPENSES COVERING THAT PORTION OF THE TRIP WAS PROPER. SINCE EMPLOYEE'S RETURN TO TEMPORARY DUTY STATION WAS FOR OFFICIAL REASONS WHICH AROSE AFTER HIS DEPARTURE THEREFROM. THIS CASE IS DISTINGUISHABLE FROM ONE IN WHICH EMPLOYEE IS ABSENT FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS ON AUTHORIZED LEAVE AND IS REQUIRED TO RETURN THERE TO DUTY AT HIS OWN EXPENSE.

A-49150, SEPTEMBER 6, 1939, 19 COMP. GEN. 320

TRAVELING EXPENSES - LEAVES OF ABSENCE EN ROUTE TO HEADQUARTERS - RETURN TO TEMPORARY DUTY STATION ORDERED IN GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST WHERE AN EMPLOYEE LEFT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, WHILE IN A LEAVE STATUS, FOR THE PURPOSE OF VISITING HIS HOME UNDER ORDERS AUTHORIZING A DELAY OF TWENTY DAYS EN ROUTE TO HIS HEADQUARTERS TO BE CHARGED AS LEAVE, AND WHILE STILL AT HIS HOME--- WHICH IS NOT ON THE SHORTEST OR MOST ECONOMICAL ROUTE FROM TEMPORARY DUTY STATION TO HEADQUARTERS--- THE REMAINDER OF THE RETURN TRIP WAS CANCELED IN THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST AND THE EMPLOYEE ORDERED TO RETURN TO THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, THE COST OF EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL FROM TEMPORARY DUTY STATION TO HIS HOME WAS PERSONAL TO THE TRAVELER AND NOT INCURRED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, THE COST OF TRAVEL FROM EMPLOYEE'S HOME TO HEADQUARTERS BEING SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME AS FROM TEMPORARY DUTY STATION TO HEADQUARTERS, AND DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR PER DIEM OR EXPENSES COVERING THAT PORTION OF THE TRIP WAS PROPER, BUT SINCE EMPLOYEE'S RETURN TO TEMPORARY DUTY STATION WAS FOR OFFICIAL REASONS WHICH AROSE AFTER HIS DEPARTURE THEREFROM, THE SAID RETURN TRIP MAY BE REGARDED AS OFFICIAL TRAVEL AND THE COST THEREOF PROPERLY PAYABLE FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS. THIS CASE IS DISTINGUISHABLE FROM ONE IN WHICH EMPLOYEE IS ABSENT FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS ON AUTHORIZED LEAVE AND IS REQUIRED TO RETURN THERE TO DUTY AT HIS OWN EXPENSE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, SEPTEMBER 6, 1939:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 31, 1939, RELATIVE TO AN EXCEPTION IN THE AMOUNT OF $38.56 TAKEN IN CONNECTION WITH THE AUDIT OF THE ACCOUNTS OF CHARLES E. MOLSTER DISBURSING CLERK, COVERING THE PERIOD NOVEMBER 30 TO DECEMBER 5, 1931. THE AMOUNT INVOLVED IS A PART OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSES PAID ON VOUCHER NO. 44161 TO HAROLD L. OLIVER, JR., A FORMER EMPLOYEE IN THE BUREAU OF FISHERIES.

THERE WAS TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER A MEMORANDUM DATED JULY 26, 1939, FROM THE ACTING COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES, AS FOLLOWS:

THE FACTS RELATING TO THE TRAVEL PERFORMED BY HAROLD L. OLIVER ARE AS FOLLOWS:

ON APRIL 27, 1931, THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES APPROVED TRAVEL ORDER NO. 1561, COPY ATTACHED, DIRECTING HAROLD L. OLIVER TO PROCEED ON OR ABOUT APRIL 31, 1931, BY THE SHORTEST AND MOST DIRECT ROUTE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., VIA SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, TO SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AND THE PRIBILOF ISLANDS, AND RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C.

PURSUANT TO THIS TRAVEL ORDER, MR. OLIVER PERFORMED THE SERVICES AT THE POINTS NAMED, RETURNING TO SEATTLE ON AUGUST 24, 1931. HE REMAINED ON DUTY IN SEATTLE THROUGH OCTOBER 5, AND THE FOLLOWING DAY BEGAN ANNUAL LEAVE. MR. OLIVER HAD PERMISSION FROM THE BUREAU OF FISHERIES TO TAKE ABOUT 20 DAYS' ANNUAL LEAVE WHILE RETURNING FROM SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, TO WASHINGTON, D.C. THIS RETURN JOURNEY WAS BEING PERFORMED IN ACCORDANCE WITH AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN TRAVEL ORDER NO. 1561, ISSUED APRIL 27, 1931.

ACCORDING TO THE RECORDS, MR. OLIVER TOOK THREE DAYS' ANNUAL LEAVE IN SEATTLE AND DEPARTED AT 11:15 P.M., OCTOBER 8, EN ROUTE TO WASHINGTON, D.C., VIA BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA, WHERE HE WAS TO TAKE ADDITIONAL ANNUAL LEAVE. A REPORT DATED OCTOBER 6, 1931, FROM FIELD SUPERINTENDENT J. R. RUSSELL, SEATTLE, WAS RECEIVED IN THE BUREAU AT WASHINGTON ON OCTOBER 9, AND CAUSED THE OFFICIALS TO REACH THE CONCLUSION TO TERMINATE MR. OLIVER'S SERVICES. ACCORDINGLY, ON OCTOBER 10, A TELEGRAM READING AS FOLLOWS WAS SENT TO MR. OLIVER:

" YOUR ORDERS TO RETURN WASHINGTON CANCELLED STOP ON EXPIRATION LEAVE RETURN SEATTLE AND AWAIT FURTHER ADVICE STOP WIRE THIS OFFICE DATE YOU WILL REACH SEATTLE"

THE FOLLOWING LETTER WAS SENT TO HIM THE SAME DAY:

"THIS IS TO ADVISE YOU THAT YOUR SERVICES IN THE EXCEPTED POSITION OF JUNIOR ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT HAVE NOT BEEN SATISFACTORY AND IT IS DESIRED THAT YOU SUBMIT YOUR RESIGNATION EFFECTIVE CLOSE OF BUSINESS OCTOBER 31, 1931. IF THIS IS DONE I WILL ACCEPT YOUR RESIGNATION WITHOUT PREJUDICE. OTHERWISE, I WILL RECOMMEND TO THE DEPARTMENT THAT YOU BE DROPPED.' ( SGD.) ALBERT K. BROWN, COMMISSIONER.

THE BUREAU'S DECISION WAS UNKNOWN TO MR. OLIVER UNTIL HE RECEIVED THE ABOVE LETTER DATED OCTOBER 10, ON HIS RETURN TO SEATTLE.

IT WAS THEREFORE NECESSARY TO INSTRUCT MR. OLIVER TO RETURN TO SEATTLE FOR THE PURPOSE OF CHECKING IN MATERIAL AND EQUIPMENT IN HIS POSSESSION. THE UNUSED PORTION OF THE TICKET WHICH MR. OLIVER SECURED WAS FORWARDED TO THE CHIEF OF THE CLAIMS DIVISION, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE, ON DECEMBER 17, 1931, WITH BILL P-4010 OF THE SOUTHERN PACIFIC COMPANY, SO THAT DUE CREDIT THEREFOR MIGHT BE OBTAINED. CREDIT WAS TAKEN ON THE BILL ON BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 361923, D/O VOUCHER NO. 55217, PAID JANUARY 21, 1932, ACCOUNTS, MR. C. E. MOLSTER, SYMBOL NO. 80005.

IT HAS BEEN THE POLICY OF THE BUREAU OF FISHERIES FOR YEARS, AND I BELIEVE THE POLICY IS GENERALLY FOLLOWED THROUGHOUT THE GOVERNMENT, TO PERMIT AN EMPLOYEE TO TRAVEL AN INDIRECT ROUTE, TAKING LEAVE EN ROUTE, AND IN SUBMITTING HIS VOUCHER CLAIM THE TRANSPORTATION COST AND PER DIEM NECESSARY HAD THE TRAVELER USED THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE. THE EXCESS TIME INCURRED BY THE INDIRECT TRAVEL WAS CHARGED TO ANNUAL LEAVE. THIS WAS CONTEMPLATED IN MR. OLIVER'S CASE, HAD THE BUREAU NOT DECIDED ON OCTOBER 10 TO TERMINATE HIS SERVICES. AS SET OUT HEREIN, HIS RESIGNATION WAS AT THE DIRECTION OF THE COMMISSIONER OF THE BUREAU OF FISHERIES. THEREFORE, HIS TRAVEL PERFORMED IN GOOD FAITH WAS REGULAR, THE CANCELLATION OF HIS RETURN TO WASHINGTON WAS PROPER, AND HIS RETURN TO SEATTLE WAS ACCORDING TO INSTRUCTIONS AND NECESSARY TO PROTECT THE GOVERNMENT'S INTEREST.

THE RECORDS IN THE BUREAU SHOW THAT MR. OLIVER DESIRED TO REMAIN IN THE SERVICE AND URGED THE COMMISSIONER OF FISHERIES TO RECONSIDER HIS DECISION, BUT THE DEPARTMENT THOUGHT BEST THAT HE NOT BE RETAINED LONGER IN THE SERVICE, AND ACCEPTED HIS RESIGNATION.

THIS MATTER WAS CONSIDERED BY THE FORMER COMPTROLLER GENERAL IN A DECISION OF JUNE 26, 1933. HOWEVER, THE NEW AND MATERIAL EVIDENCE NOW SUBMITTED TO THE EFFECT THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE RETURN TRIP FROM BERKELEY, CALIF., TO SEATTLE, WASH., WAS TO "TURN IN THE MATERIAL AND EQUIPMENT IN HIS POSSESSION," THUS REQUIRING THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY AT THE LATTER POINT, IS CONSIDERED SUFFICIENT TO WARRANT RECONSIDERATION OF THE CASE. SEE 16 COMP. GEN. 51; ID. 118.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT THE TRAVELER LEFT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AT SEATTLE, WASH., WHILE IN A LEAVE STATUS, FOR THE PURPOSE OF VISITING HIS HOME AT BERKELEY, CALIF., UNDER ORDERS AUTHORIZING A DELAY OF 20 DAYS EN ROUTE TO BE CHARGED AS LEAVE. WHILE STILL AT BERKELEY THE REMAINDER OF THE RETURN TRIP TO WASHINGTON, D.C., WAS CANCELLED IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT, AND THERE IS PRESENTED THE QUESTION WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BEAR THE ENTIRE COST OF THE TRAVEL FROM SEATTLE TO BERKELEY AND RETURN ON THE THEORY THAT HAD THE TRAVELER BEEN PERMITTED TO RETURN TO WASHINGTON HE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO BEAR ONLY THE EXCESS COST OF THE CIRCUITOUS TRAVEL. IF THE SHORTEST OR MOST ECONOMICAL ROUTE FROM SEATTLE TO WASHINGTON HAD BEEN BY WAY OF BERKELEY THE ENTIRE COST OF THE TRAVEL FROM SEATTLE TO BERKELEY AND RETURN WOULD BE CHARGEABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT. BUT BERKELEY IS NOT ON THE SHORTEST OR MOST ECONOMICAL ROUTE FROM SEATTLE TO WASHINGTON. AND AS THE COST OF TRAVEL FROM BERKELEY TO WASHINGTON, D.C., WOULD BE SUBSTANTIALLY THE SAME AS FROM SEATTLE TO WASHINGTON, D.C., THE TRAVEL FROM SEATTLE TO BERKELEY MUST BE REGARDED AS PERSONAL TO THE TRAVELER RATHER THAN ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. ACCORDINGLY, THE DISALLOWANCE OF CREDIT FOR PER DIEM OR EXPENSES COVERING THAT PORTION OF THE TRIP WAS PROPER. BUT WITH RESPECT TO THE RETURN TRIP FROM BERKELEY TO SEATTLE SINCE IT NOW APPEARS FROM THE RECORD THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAD COMPLETED ALL DUTY REQUIRED AT SEATTLE AND THAT THE NEXT DUTY CONTEMPLATED WAS FOR PERFORMANCE AT WASHINGTON, D.C., AND THAT HIS RETURN TO SEATTLE WAS FOR OFFICIAL REASONS WHICH AROSE AFTER HIS DEPARTURE THEREFROM, SAID RETURN TRIP PROPERLY MAY BE REGARDED AS OFFICIAL TRAVEL. THE FACTS OF THIS CASE DISTINGUISH IT FROM ONE IN WHICH THE EMPLOYEE IS ABSENT FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS ON AUTHORIZED LEAVE AND IS REQUIRED TO RETURN THERE TO DUTY AT HIS OWN EXPENSE--- THE TRAVELER IN SUCH CASE ABSENTING HIMSELF WITH THE KNOWLEDGE THAT, INASMUCH AS HIS BUSINESS IS WHOLLY FOR PERSONAL REASONS, HE MUST PLACE HIMSELF IN A DUTY STATUS UPON TERMINATION OF HIS LEAVE AT HIS OWN EXPENSE. COMPARE 16 COMP. GEN. 164 AND AUTHORITIES THEREIN CITED. AS THE GOVERNMENT IN THE PRESENT CASE SUBSTITUTED, FOR OFFICIAL REASONS, TRAVEL FROM BERKELEY TO SEATTLE IN LIEU OF TRAVEL FROM BERKELEY TO WASHINGTON, D.C., WHICH, AS INDICATED ABOVE, WOULD HAVE BEEN AT THE EXPENSE OF THE GOVERNMENT, THE COST OF THE SUBSTITUTED TRAVEL IS PROPERLY PAYABLE FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS.

THE AMOUNT OF THE DISALLOWANCE, $38.56, REPRESENTS PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR PORTIONS OF OCTOBER 6, 8, AND 10, AGGREGATING 2 1/2 DAYS WHEN ON ANNUAL LEAVE AT SEATTLE AND EN ROUTE TO BERKELEY; PER DIEM, 1 3/4 DAYS, WHILE EN ROUTE FROM BERKELEY TO SEATTLE; AND MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES AMOUNTING TO $13.06 FOR THE PERIOD OCTOBER 8 TO 31. OF THESE ITEMS THE DISALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM WHILE ON LEAVE AT SEATTLE AND PER DIEM AND MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES EN ROUTE FROM SEATTLE TO BERKELEY WAS PROPER, BUT CREDIT WILL NOW BE ALLOWED FOR THE PER DIEM FOR THE TIME COVERED BY THE RETURN TRIP FROM BERKELEY TO SEATTLE AND THE MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE RETURN TRIP, AMOUNT TO $19.23, THUS REDUCING THE DISALLOWANCE IN THIS CASE TO $19.33.

THE CHARGE RAISED AGAINST THE EMPLOYEE FOR THE COST TO THE UNITED STATES OF TRANSPORTATION PROCURED ON GOVERNMENT REQUESTS COVERING THE TRIPS FROM SEATTLE TO BERKELEY AND BERKELEY TO SEATTLE WILL LIKEWISE BE REDUCED TO THE COST TO THE UNITED STATES OF THE TRIP FROM SEATTLE TO BERKELEY.