A-9259, AUGUST 19, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 128

A-9259: Aug 19, 1925

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SUBSISTENCE - FRACTIONAL DAYS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT WHO IS ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FOR SHORT PERIODS OF A DAY NOT FALLING ENTIRELY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. UNDER CONDITIONS CREATING A PRESUMPTION OF THE NECESSITY FOR DISRUPTING THE ORDINARY ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUBSISTENCE IS IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH EXPENSE ACTUALLY INCURRED WITHIN THE STATUTORY LIMIT. 1925: THERE WAS RECEIVED APRIL 15. BY WHICH WAS DISALLOWED $7.25 OF HIS CLAIM OF $8.45 REPRESENTING EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE PERFORMING OFFICIAL DUTIES AS STEAMBOAT INSPECTOR WHILE ON SHORT TRIPS AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION DURING OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER. THE QUESTION RAISED IS WHETHER WHILE ON SUCH SHORT TRIPS THE CLAIMANT WAS IN A TRAVEL STATUS ENTITLING HIM TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUBSISTENCE.

A-9259, AUGUST 19, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 128

SUBSISTENCE - FRACTIONAL DAYS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT WHO IS ABSENT FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FOR SHORT PERIODS OF A DAY NOT FALLING ENTIRELY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M. UNDER CONDITIONS CREATING A PRESUMPTION OF THE NECESSITY FOR DISRUPTING THE ORDINARY ARRANGEMENTS FOR SUBSISTENCE IS IN A TRAVEL STATUS AND IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH EXPENSE ACTUALLY INCURRED WITHIN THE STATUTORY LIMIT.

DECISION BY COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL, AUGUST 19, 1925:

THERE WAS RECEIVED APRIL 15, 1925, THE REQUEST OF MANLEY F. LITTLEFIELD, STEAMBOAT INSPECTION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, FOR A REVIEW OF SETTLEMENT NO. 070586, DATED MARCH 24, 1925, BY WHICH WAS DISALLOWED $7.25 OF HIS CLAIM OF $8.45 REPRESENTING EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE PERFORMING OFFICIAL DUTIES AS STEAMBOAT INSPECTOR WHILE ON SHORT TRIPS AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION DURING OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER, 1924.

THE QUESTION RAISED IS WHETHER WHILE ON SUCH SHORT TRIPS THE CLAIMANT WAS IN A TRAVEL STATUS ENTITLING HIM TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUBSISTENCE.

THERE APPEAR TO BE NO PRESCRIBED REGULATIONS WITH RESPECT TO ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR SUBSISTENCE INCURRED DURING PERIODS OF TRAVEL INVOLVING ONLY FRACTIONS OF A DAY THAT ARE MADE SPECIALLY APPLICABLE TO INSPECTORS IN THE STEAMBOAT INSPECTION SERVICE.

THE FACTS IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRIPS IN THE INSTANT CASE APPEAR AS FOLLOWS:

CLAIMANT WAS STATIONED AT PORTLAND, ME., IT APPEARING THAT HIS DUTIES REQUIRED HIM TO TRAVEL OCCASIONALLY ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN THE TERRITORY ADJACENT THERETO.

ON OCTOBER 9, 1924, CLAIMANT LEFT PORTLAND, ME., FOR ROCKLAND, ME., AT 7.05 A.M. AND RETURNED TO PORTLAND AT 10 P.M. THE SAME DAY.

ON OCTOBER 14, 24, AND NOVEMBER 24, 1924, HE LEFT PORTLAND, AT 7.05 A.M. FOR ROCKLAND, RETURNING TO PORTLAND AT 5.35 P.M. EACH DAY. ON OCTOBER 20 HE LEFT AT 7.30 A.M. AND RETURNED AT 4.30 P.M. IT IS NOTED THAT IN EACH INSTANCE THE DEPARTURE WAS BEFORE 8 A.M.

THE RULE ESTABLISHED IN RECENT DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE RELATIVE TO THE PAYMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES RESTS UPON THE BASIS OF WHETHER THERE ACTUALLY EXISTED SUCH A TRAVEL STATUS AS AUTHORIZED PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES EITHER ON THE BASIS OF A PER DIEM OR REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES.

IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT WHERE AN EMPLOYEE OF THE GOVERNMENT IS ONLY ABSENT ON SHORT TRIPS INTO THE TERRITORY ADJACENT TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M., THERE IS MERELY AN OPERATING WITHIN THE OFFICIAL DISTRICT THAT DOES NOT CONSTITUTE A TRAVEL STATUS, AND AN EMPLOYEE OPERATING UNDER SUCH CONDITIONS IS NOT ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM OR REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES. 4 COMP. GEN. 274; ID. 331; ID. 467.

IT HAS ALSO BEEN HELD THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE LEAVES HIS OFFICIAL STATION BEFORE 8 A.M. FOR A SHORT TRIP ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS THE ABSENCE, THOUGH SHORT, IS NOT ENTIRELY BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 A.M. AND 6 P.M., AND THERE IS A PRESUMPTION OF A NECESSARY INTERFERENCE WITH THE ORDINARY ARRANGEMENT FOR SUBSISTENCE, THEREBY CONSTITUTING A TRAVEL STATUS, AND THEREFORE THE REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH ACTUAL EXPENSE AS MAY BE INCURRED FOR NECESSARY MEALS DURING SUCH ABSENCE IS AUTHORIZED, REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT THE ONLY EXPENSE ACTUALLY INCURRED FOR SUBSISTENCE MAY BE FOR A MIDDAY MEAL.