A-7572, MARCH 14, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 767

A-7572: Mar 14, 1925

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SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES - FRACTIONAL DAYS - CUSTOMS INSPECTORS THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IN SO FAR AS THEY FIX THE HOURS OF DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL ESSENTIAL TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR MEALS EN ROUTE ARE PREDICATED UPON THE CUSTOMARY HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT AND TO THAT EXTENT ARE ADMINISTRATIVE AND MAY BE WAIVED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT FOR MEALS TAKEN BY CUSTOMS OFFICERS WHILE ABSENT FROM THEIR HEADQUARTERS FOR APPROXIMATELY 13 HOURS DAILY BEGINNING AT 1 P.M. 1925: I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 12. WHICH INDICATES WHY IT WAS NECESSARY FOR THE MEN TO SECURE TWO MEALS DAILY WHEN ABSENT ON THESE DETAILS. THE INSPECTOR IS FREE. THE SLEEPERS ON THE TRAIN ARE OPENED AND THE INSPECTOR IS ON DUTY IN THE DEPOT EXAMINING THE BAGGAGE OF PASSENGERS WHO BOARD SAID SLEEPERS UNTIL 12.01 A.M.

A-7572, MARCH 14, 1925, 4 COMP. GEN. 767

SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES - FRACTIONAL DAYS - CUSTOMS INSPECTORS THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT IN SO FAR AS THEY FIX THE HOURS OF DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL ESSENTIAL TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR MEALS EN ROUTE ARE PREDICATED UPON THE CUSTOMARY HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT AND TO THAT EXTENT ARE ADMINISTRATIVE AND MAY BE WAIVED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY TO PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT FOR MEALS TAKEN BY CUSTOMS OFFICERS WHILE ABSENT FROM THEIR HEADQUARTERS FOR APPROXIMATELY 13 HOURS DAILY BEGINNING AT 1 P.M.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, MARCH 14, 1925:

I HAVE YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 12, 1925, IN WHICH YOU INQUIRE IF TREASURY DEPARTMENT REGULATIONS CAN BE WAIVED SO AS TO ALLOW UNDER SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES CHARGES OF CUSTOMS OFFICERS FOR DINNER (LUNCH) WHEN THEY DEPART FROM THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS AT 1 P.M.

YOU INCLOSE A LETTER FROM COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS, SEATTLE, WASH., DATED DECEMBER 26, 1924, WHICH STATES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

THE DEPUTY COLLECTOR OF CUSTOMS OF BLAINE SUBMITS THE FOLLOWING DETAILED REPORT OF THE ASSIGNMENT COVERED BY THESE INSPECTORS, AND WHICH INDICATES WHY IT WAS NECESSARY FOR THE MEN TO SECURE TWO MEALS DAILY WHEN ABSENT ON THESE DETAILS, ALTHOUGH THEY DEPARTED AT 1.00 P.M.:

"THIS INSPECTOR LEAVES BLAINE DAILY AT 1.00 P.M., ARRIVING VANCOUVER, B.C., CANADA, AT 3.00 P.M. FROM THAT TIME UNTIL 9.00 P.M. THE INSPECTOR IS FREE. AT 9.00 P.M. THE SLEEPERS ON THE TRAIN ARE OPENED AND THE INSPECTOR IS ON DUTY IN THE DEPOT EXAMINING THE BAGGAGE OF PASSENGERS WHO BOARD SAID SLEEPERS UNTIL 12.01 A.M., AT WHICH TIME THE TRAIN LEAVES VANCOUVER. THE INSPECTOR CONVOYS THE TRAIN TO BLAINE, EXAMINING THE BAGGAGE OF PASSENGERS IN THE DAY COACHES, BONDING AND EXAMINING CHECK BAGGAGE AND CHECKING EXPRESS MATTER WITH THE MANIFEST. THE TRAIN ARRIVES AT BLAINE AT 1.45 A.M., AND BY THE TIME THE INSPECTOR IS THROUGH HIS WORK AT BLAINE IT IS ANYWHERE FROM 2.00 TO 2.30 A.M. PRACTICALLY SPEAKING THIS INSPECTOR WORKS A SHIFT OF THIRTEEN HOURS. IF THIS INSPECTOR GOES TO BED AND SLEEPS EIGHT HOURS, IT IS AT LEAST 10.30 OR 11.00 A.M. WHEN HE EATS BREAKFAST, AND IT WOULD BE ABSURD IF HE WERE THEN COMPELLED TO EAT AGAIN BEFORE LEAVING BLAINE. THIS OFFICE FAILS TO SEE WHY THIS INSPECTOR SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TWO MEALS DURING HIS WORKING HOURS ON A 13-HOUR SHIFT.'

IN ABSENCES UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES JUST DESCRIBED THE EMPLOYEE WHO IS AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR A PERIOD OF 12 HOURS IS IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND IS ENTITLED TO ACTUAL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES AS PROVIDED BY THE ACTS OF APRIL 6, 1914, 38 STAT. 318, AND MARCH 4, 1923, 42 STAT. 1454, UNLESS PRECLUDED THEREFROM BY VALID REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY.

THE ONLY PERTINENT REGULATION APPEARS TO BE THE ONE TO WHICH YOU REFER, WHICH PROVIDES:

SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES.

(10A) MEALS EN ROUTE: CHARGES FOR MEALS TAKEN EN ROUTE TO AND FROM OFFICIAL STATION WILL BE ALLOWED ONLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOLLOWING:

DINNER WHEN DEPARTURE IS BEFORE 1 P.M.

IN SO FAR AS THE REGULATIONS RELATE TO THE TIME AND MANNER OF EMPLOYMENT AND PERFORMANCE OF PRESCRIBED DUTIES, OR AFFECT EMPLOYEES WHOSE DUTIES ARE SUCH AS TO PLACE THEM BEYOND THE SCOPE THEREOF, IT WOULD SEEM THEY ARE ADMINISTRATIVE AND CAN BE WAIVED OR EXCEPTIONS MADE THERETO BY THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT. SEE 21 COMP. DEC. 482 AND AUTHORITIES THERE CITED. WOULD APPEAR THAT THE PROVISION OF THE REGULATIONS HERE INVOLVED WAS INTENDED TO GOVERN EMPLOYEES WHO SERVE UNDER THE USUAL DAILY HOURS OF EMPLOYMENT, AND IF YOU SHOULD SPECIFICALLY WAIVE SAID PROVISION IN THE CASE OF THESE CUSTOMS INSPECTORS WHOSE HOURS OF SERVICE ARE UNUSUAL IN THAT THEIR REGULAR WORKING DAY IS FROM ABOUT 1 P.M. TO ABOUT 1.45 A.M., SUCH ACTION WOULD BE CONSIDERED AS BEING WITHIN YOUR ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION AND REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE AUTHORIZED FOR THE NECESSARY EXPENSES SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN ACTUALLY INCURRED FOR TWO MEALS TAKEN AWAY FROM DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 1 P.M. AND 1.45 A.M. IN THE CASES MENTIONED IN THE COLLECTOR'S LETTER, SUPRA. ..END :