A-60370, JUNE 4, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 871

A-60370: Jun 4, 1935

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - FIRST DUTY STATION EMPLOYEES WHO ARE INVOLUNTARILY FURLOUGHED FROM THEIR REGULAR POSITION AND GIVEN TEMPORARY APPOINTMENTS AT HIGHER SALARIES ELSEWHERE PAYABLE FROM AN ALLOTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS FUNDS MUST PLACE THEMSELVES AT THEIR PLACE OF DUTY UNDER THE NEW APPOINTMENT AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE. THE DISALLOWANCES BEING FOR THE REASON THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW BY WHICH AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSES OF REPORTING TO HIS FIRST DUTY STATION UNDER A NEW APPOINTMENT. THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW IS BASED UPON AN IDENTICAL MEMORANDUM OF EXPLANATION AS FOLLOWS: PARAGRAPH 1046.3 OF ORDERS AND REGULATIONS OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS STATES THAT "THE SECRETARY OF WAR CONSIDERS THAT THE INTERESTS OF THE SERVICE REQUIRE THAT EMPLOYEES AT LARGE IN THE DEPARTMENT MUST BE SUBJECT TO ORDERS IN REGARD TO TRANSFERS OF STATION AND A REFUSAL TO OBEY SUCH ORDERS WILL BE DEEMED A PROPER AND SUFFICIENT REASON FOR DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE.'.

A-60370, JUNE 4, 1935, 14 COMP. GEN. 871

TRAVELING EXPENSES - FIRST DUTY STATION EMPLOYEES WHO ARE INVOLUNTARILY FURLOUGHED FROM THEIR REGULAR POSITION AND GIVEN TEMPORARY APPOINTMENTS AT HIGHER SALARIES ELSEWHERE PAYABLE FROM AN ALLOTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS FUNDS MUST PLACE THEMSELVES AT THEIR PLACE OF DUTY UNDER THE NEW APPOINTMENT AT THEIR OWN EXPENSE.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, JUNE 4, 1935:

REVIEW HAS BEEN REQUESTED OF THE ACTION OF THIS OFFICE IN DISALLOWING CREDIT IN THE ACCOUNTS OF CAPT. C. N. IRY, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, UNITED STATES ARMY, FOR PAYMENTS TO NUMEROUS EMPLOYEES OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AND TRAVELING EXPENSES INCIDENT TO TRAVEL TO REPORT TO DUTY AT GLASGOW, MONTANA, FROM VICKSBURG, MISS., LA FOLLETTE, TENN., AND MARSHALL, MO., THE DISALLOWANCES BEING FOR THE REASON THAT THERE IS NO AUTHORITY OF LAW BY WHICH AN EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXPENSES OF REPORTING TO HIS FIRST DUTY STATION UNDER A NEW APPOINTMENT. IN EACH CASE, THE REQUEST FOR REVIEW IS BASED UPON AN IDENTICAL MEMORANDUM OF EXPLANATION AS FOLLOWS:

PARAGRAPH 1046.3 OF ORDERS AND REGULATIONS OF THE CORPS OF ENGINEERS STATES THAT "THE SECRETARY OF WAR CONSIDERS THAT THE INTERESTS OF THE SERVICE REQUIRE THAT EMPLOYEES AT LARGE IN THE DEPARTMENT MUST BE SUBJECT TO ORDERS IN REGARD TO TRANSFERS OF STATION AND A REFUSAL TO OBEY SUCH ORDERS WILL BE DEEMED A PROPER AND SUFFICIENT REASON FOR DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE.' HAD THE EMPLOYEE NOT OBEYED THE ORDERS DIRECTING HIM TO PROCEED TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN SUBJECT TO DISMISSAL FROM THE SERVICE.

IN CONNECTION WITH THE ORGANIZATION AND OPERATION OF THE NEW FORT PECK ENGINEER DISTRICT, FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF A $72,000,000 PROJECT, IT WAS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL THAT EMPLOYEES WITH CONSIDERABLE EXPERIENCE IN ENGINEER DEPARTMENT WORK BE TRANSFERRED TO FILL KEY POSITIONS IN THE ORGANIZATION. MOST OF THESE EMPLOYEES WERE TRANSFERRED FROM POSITIONS OF A PERMANENT NATURE IN THE DEPARTMENT, WHERE THEY HAD REASON TO EXPECT LIFE -TIME EMPLOYMENT, TO POSITIONS IN THE FORT PECK DISTRICT IN CONNECTION WITH A PARTICULAR PROJECT WHICH SHOULD NOT REQUIRE MORE THAN FOUR YEARS TO COMPLETE. AT THE COMPLETION OF THIS WORK THE EMPLOYEES WILL BE REQUIRED TO SEEK EMPLOYMENT ELSEWHERE. THE TRANSFERS WERE NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE BUT STRICTLY IN THE INTEREST OF THE SERVICE. THE EMPLOYEES WOULD NO DOUBT HAVE PREFERRED TO REMAIN IN THE POSITIONS WHICH THEY OCCUPIED RATHER THAN ACCEPT SHORT-TIME EMPLOYMENT AND PAY THEIR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES, AND THE EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE SHIPMENT OF THEIR HOUSEHOLD GOODS, TO THIS REMOTE LOCALITY.

THIS EMPLOYEE WAS IN THE REGULAR SERVICE OF THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT. HAD ALREADY PAID HIS EXPENSES TO HIS FIRST PLACE OF EMPLOYMENT. HIS TRANSFER WAS INITIATED BY THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT IN THE INTEREST OF THE GOVERNMENT SERVICE AND NOT FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE.

THIS WAS NOT A TRANSFER FROM SOME OTHER DEPARTMENT OF THE GOVERNMENT, BUT WAS A TRANSFER WITHIN THE ENGINEER DEPARTMENT AT LARGE FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE SERVICE, AND IT IS THEREFORE UNDERSTOOD THAT THE COMPTROLLER'S DECISION NO. A-54484, DATED MAY 25, 1934, IS NOT APPLICABLE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, IT IS REQUESTED THAT THIS DISALLOWANCE BE REMOVED.

THE NAMES OF THE VARIOUS EMPLOYEES AND THEIR EMPLOYMENT STATUS BEFORE AND AFTER REPORTING TO GLASGOW, ARE AS FOLLOWS:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * (TABLE OMITTED) * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

AS IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE TO HAVE GRANTED THE INCREASES IN COMPENSATION TO THESE EMPLOYEES HAD THEY BEEN CONTINUED IN THE POSITIONS HELD BY THEM BEFORE THE TRANSFER, SUCH INCREASES BEING PROHIBITED BY SECTION 7 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 3, 1933, THE TRAVEL TO GLASGOW CAN BE CONSIDERED ONLY AS TRAVEL INCIDENT TO REPORTING TO THEIR DUTY STATION UNDER NEW APPOINTMENTS. SUCH NEW APPOINTMENT OR TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT AT INCREASED SALARIES PAYABLE FROM ALLOTMENTS FROM THE APPROPRIATION FOR CARRYING OUT THE NATIONAL INDUSTRIAL RECOVERY ACT WHILE THE EMPLOYEE IS INVOLUNTARILY FURLOUGHED FROM HIS PERMANENT POSITION HAS BEEN HELD PERMISSIBLE, A-50707, AUGUST 30, 1933; AND A-50831, SEPTEMBER 9, 1933. EACH CASE THE EMPLOYEE SIGNED AN AGREEMENT TO ACCEPT EMPLOYMENT AT GLASGOW, PROVIDED HE WAS FURNISHED TRANSPORTATION FOR HIMSELF AND HIS EFFECTS. SUCH AN AGREEMENT, HOWEVER, IS WITHOUT FORCE AS THE POSITIONS TO WHICH APPOINTED APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN CLASSIFIED, AND ACCORDINGLY, THE PAYMENT OF ANY ALLOWANCE NOT AUTHORIZED BY LAW IN ADDITION TO THE CLASSIFIED SALARY WOULD BE IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 1765, REVISED STATUTES. IN ONE OR TWO OF THE CASES IT WAS ATTEMPTED TO CREATE A TEMPORARY TRAVEL STATUS BY ORDERS DIRECTING TRAVEL FROM THE PRIOR DUTY STATION TO GLASGOW FOR TEMPORARY DUTY, AND UPON COMPLETION THEREOF, TO RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS, BUT NO EFFECT CAN BE GIVEN SUCH ORDERS WHEN THE RECORD OTHERWISE DISCLOSES THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAD PREVIOUSLY SIGNED AN AGREEMENT TO ACCEPT EMPLOYMENT AT GLASGOW AND WAS FURLOUGHED FROM HIS FORMER POSITION, BEFORE BEING PLACED UPON THE ROLLS AT GLASGOW.

THE SETTLEMENT IN THIS CASE WAS CORRECT AND UPON REVIEW MUST BE AND IS SUSTAINED.