A-78847, AUGUST 20, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 164

A-78847: Aug 20, 1936

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NOTWITHSTANDING THE RETURN TRAVEL WAS AFTER TERMINATION OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE. 1936: REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 26. AS FOLLOWS: THERE IS TRANSMITTED HEREWITH FOR YOUR APPROVAL A RESUBMISSION OF TRAVEL EXPENSES CLAIMED BY EDWARD R. THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THIS CASE ARE QUITE UNUSUAL. IT IS FELT THEY SHOULD WARRANT CAREFUL RECONSIDERATION. PRUNER WAS IN DALLAS ON AN AUTHORIZED LEAVE OF ABSENCE. HE WAS INSTRUCTED BY THE COMMISSION TO MAKE AN IMMEDIATE INVESTIGATION IN LOUISIANA OF A SPECIAL COMPLAINT. IT WAS KNOWN THAT MR. IT WAS MORE EXPEDITIOUS TO HAVE THE INVESTIGATION MADE BY MR. WHILE THE TRAVELER WAS ENGAGED IN THE INVESTIGATION. IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO DETAIN HIS FAMILY SO THAT THEY COULD RETURN WITH HIM TO WASHINGTON IN HIS AUTOMOBILE.

A-78847, AUGUST 20, 1936, 16 COMP. GEN. 164

TRAVELING EXPENSES - LEAVES OF ABSENCE - RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS AFTER PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTY A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE ORDERED TO DUTY WHILE ON AUTHORIZED LEAVE OF ABSENCE ACCOMPANIED BY HIS FAMILY, AND ALLOWED THE EXTRA EXPENSE TO WHICH SUBJECTED BY REASON OF THE TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT, MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED IN RETURNING TO HEADQUARTERS, NOTWITHSTANDING THE RETURN TRAVEL WAS AFTER TERMINATION OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE, AND THE PERFORMANCE OF SAID DUTY NECESSITATED ADDITIONAL FAMILY EXPENSE.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION, AUGUST 20, 1936:

REFERENCE IS HAD TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 26, 1936, AS FOLLOWS:

THERE IS TRANSMITTED HEREWITH FOR YOUR APPROVAL A RESUBMISSION OF TRAVEL EXPENSES CLAIMED BY EDWARD R. PRUNER, OF OUR STAFF, COVERING TRAVEL FROM DALLAS, TEXAS, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., IN OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER 1935. THIS CLAIM HAS BEEN DISALLOWED ON TWO OCCASIONS BY YOUR OFFICE (SCHEDULES 3731 AND 3865). THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THIS CASE ARE QUITE UNUSUAL, AND IT IS FELT THEY SHOULD WARRANT CAREFUL RECONSIDERATION, WITH A VIEW TO ALLOWING THE CLAIM.

WHILE MR. PRUNER WAS IN DALLAS ON AN AUTHORIZED LEAVE OF ABSENCE, HE WAS INSTRUCTED BY THE COMMISSION TO MAKE AN IMMEDIATE INVESTIGATION IN LOUISIANA OF A SPECIAL COMPLAINT. IT WAS KNOWN THAT MR. PRUNER HAD HIS FAMILY WITH HIM AND HAD TRAVELED TO TEXAS IN HIS OWN AUTOMOBILE. IT WAS MORE EXPEDITIOUS TO HAVE THE INVESTIGATION MADE BY MR. PRUNER THAN TO SEND AN INVESTIGATOR FROM WASHINGTON TO LOUISIANA AND RETURN. NATURALLY, UTILIZING HIS SERVICES RESULTED IN A CONSIDERABLE SAVING TO THE GOVERNMENT IN TIME AND MONEY. HOWEVER, WHILE THE TRAVELER WAS ENGAGED IN THE INVESTIGATION, IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO DETAIN HIS FAMILY SO THAT THEY COULD RETURN WITH HIM TO WASHINGTON IN HIS AUTOMOBILE. HE HAD CONSIDERABLE EXPENSE IN DELAYING THE RETURN OF HIS FAMILY, WHICH WAS ENTIRELY NECESSITATED BY HIS DETENTION ON THE BUSINESS OF THE GOVERNMENT.

ATTENTION IS ESPECIALLY INVITED TO THE FACT THAT THE TRAVELER'S LEAVE OF ABSENCE HAD EXPIRED BEFORE HE BEGAN THE OFFICIAL DUTIES ASSIGNED TO HIM. IN OTHER WORDS, THE TRAVELER WAS IN AN OFFICIAL STATUS WHEN HE ENGAGED ON THE TRAVEL FROM DALLAS, TEXAS, TO LOUISIANA, AND FROM LOUISIANA TO WASHINGTON, D.C. IT IS SUBMITTED THAT RETURNING TO HEADQUARTERS IN AN OFFICIAL STATUS WOULD APPEAR TO BE SUFFICIENT BASIS TO ENTITLE THE TRAVELER TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE USING HIS AUTOMOBILE. ESPECIALLY WOULD THIS OPINION SEEM TO BE JUSTIFIED WHEN IT IS REMEMBERED THAT THE TRAVELER HAD NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS IN HIS AUTOMOBILE.

IT IS NOT BELIEVED THAT THE ACCOUNTING REGULATIONS CONTEMPLATE PLACING A FINANCIAL BURDEN UPON A TRAVELER CALLED UPON TO DO SPECIAL WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT, ESPECIALLY WHERE HE WAS OBLIGED TO DEFER RETURNING HIS FAMILY TO WASHINGTON ON ACCOUNT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S WORK. THIS FACT WOULD SEEM TO TAKE THE CASE OUT OF THOSE REQUIRING THAT A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE IS REQUIRED TO PUT HIMSELF BACK AT HEADQUARTERS AT HIS OWN EXPENSE.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, IT IS HOPED THAT DUE CONSIDERATION WILL BE GIVEN TO THE EXTRAORDINARY AND UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE CLAIMANT'S CASE, AND THAT YOU WILL MAKE PROPER ALLOWANCE FOR THE FACT THAT THE TRAVELER'S LEAVE OF ABSENCE HAD EXPIRED, AND THEREFORE HE WAS IN AN OFFICIAL STATUS WHEN THE TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED.

IT HAS BEEN REPEATEDLY HELD BY THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE ABSENTS HIMSELF FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS UPON A LEAVE OF ABSENCE HE ASSUMES THE DUTY OF RETURNING HIMSELF TO HIS HEADQUARTERS AT HIS OWN EXPENSE AND THE CURTAILING OF HIS LEAVE FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS, OR ASSIGNMENT FOR TEMPORARY DUTY AT OR NEAR THE PLACE AT WHICH HE IS ON LEAVE, DOES NOT TRANSFER THIS EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT. 3 COMP. DEC. 170; 13 ID. 294; 19 ID. 232; 2 COMP. GEN. 424; 11 ID. 336. IN THE CASE OF MR. PRUNER IT APPEARS HE HAS BEEN ALLOWED THE EXTRA EXPENSE TO WHICH HE WAS SUBJECTED BY REASON OF HIS TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT TO DUTY IN LOUISIANA, AND WHILE IT IS TO BE REGRETTED THAT THE PERFORMANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY NECESSITATED ADDITIONAL FAMILY EXPENSES, SUCH EXPENSES ARE PERSONAL AND MAY NOT BE PAID FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY BY AN ALLOWANCE TO THE EMPLOYEE OF EXPENSES TO WHICH HE IS NOT OTHERWISE ENTITLED UNDER THE LAW.

AS NO PAYMENT IS DUE UPON THE RECLAIM VOUCHER IT WILL BE RETAINED IN THE FILES OF THIS OFFICE.