A-96530, MARCH 6, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 869

A-96530: Mar 6, 1943

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AFTER HAVING OTHERWISE QUALIFIED FOR THE POSITION IS SUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY AN ADMINISTRATIVE CERTIFICATION THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAS ENTERED UPON DUTY. PAYMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES AND SUBSISTENCE FOR THE TRIP EVENTUALLY REQUIRED TO THE FIRST PERMANENT DUTY POST. IS REQUIRED EN ROUTE TO SUCH OTHER POINT TO PERFORM CERTAIN TEMPORARY DUTY OR TRAINING AT A THIRD POINT. IF AND WHEN THE EMPLOYEE IS TRANSFERRED. IF THE PLACE OF APPOINTMENT IS DETERMINED TO BE A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES TO THE FIRST PERMANENT DUTY STATION IS NOT AUTHORIZED. UNLESS THE TEMPORARY DUTY IS PERFORMED IN THE CITY OF THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE. 1943: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE MATTER OF THE INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES INVOLVED IN THE CASE OF THE LATE WALTER HOAG.

A-96530, MARCH 6, 1943, 22 COMP. GEN. 869

SALARY AND TRAVELING EXPENSES OF NEWLY APPOINTED EMPLOYEES - TEMPORARY DUTY, ETC., PRIOR TO REPORTING TO FIRST PERMANENT STATION THE RENDITION BY A NEWLY APPOINTED EMPLOYEE OF SERVICE OF ANY SUBSTANTIAL KIND, HOWEVER TEMPORARY (WHETHER DUTY, INSTRUCTION, TRAINING, OBSERVATION, SELECTION, OR PROBATION), AFTER HAVING OTHERWISE QUALIFIED FOR THE POSITION IS SUFFICIENT TO JUSTIFY AN ADMINISTRATIVE CERTIFICATION THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAS ENTERED UPON DUTY, EVEN THOUGH THE EMPLOYEE HAS NOT ARRIVED AT HIS FIRST PERMANENT DUTY POST, SO AS TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF SALARY, BUT PAYMENT IS NOT AUTHORIZED FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES AND SUBSISTENCE FOR THE TRIP EVENTUALLY REQUIRED TO THE FIRST PERMANENT DUTY POST. WHEN AN APPOINTEE RECEIVES NOTICE AT ONE POINT OF HIS APPOINTMENT TO A POSITION LOCATED AT ANOTHER POINT, BUT IS REQUIRED EN ROUTE TO SUCH OTHER POINT TO PERFORM CERTAIN TEMPORARY DUTY OR TRAINING AT A THIRD POINT, THE IMMEDIATE TRAVEL FROM THE PLACE OF APPOINTMENT TO THE PLACE OF TEMPORARY DUTY OR TRAINING CONSTITUTES RENDITION OF OFFICIAL SERVICE ENTITLING THE EMPLOYEE TO PAYMENT OF SALARY AT ONCE UPON THE TAKING OF THE OATH OF OFFICE AT THE PLACE OF APPOINTMENT; BUT, FROM THE TRAVELING EXPENSES PAYABLE FOR THE ENTIRE JOURNEY THERE MUST BE DEDUCTED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF A CORRESPONDING JOURNEY DIRECT FROM THE PLACE OF APPOINTMENT TO THE FIRST PERMANENT DUTY POST. WHERE THE POINT OF FINAL ASSIGNMENT OF A NEWLY APPOINTED EMPLOYEE CANNOT BE DETERMINED AT THE TIME OF APPOINTMENT, THE PLACE OF APPOINTMENT MAY BE ADMINISTRATIVELY DESIGNATED AS THE FIRST DUTY STATION IF SOME ACTUAL AND SUBSTANTIAL DUTY--- AS DISTINGUISHED FROM TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE, PHYSICAL EXAMINATION, OR JOB TRAINING--- BE REQUIRED AT SUCH PLACE, IN WHICH EVENT, IF AND WHEN THE EMPLOYEE IS TRANSFERRED, BONA FIDE, TO THE FINAL DUTY STATION, TRAVELING EXPENSES MAY BE PAID TO SUCH PLACE; BUT IF THE PLACE OF APPOINTMENT IS DETERMINED TO BE A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES TO THE FIRST PERMANENT DUTY STATION IS NOT AUTHORIZED. A NEWLY APPOINTED EMPLOYEE WHO PERFORMS TEMPORARY DUTY AT THE PLACE OF HIS APPOINTMENT BEFORE REPORTING TO HIS FIRST PERMANENT DUTY STATION MAY BE PAID ADMINISTRATIVELY AUTHORIZED SUBSISTENCE FOR THE TEMPORARY DUTY PERIOD UP TO THE TIME OF DEPARTURE FOR HIS FIRST PERMANENT POST, UNLESS THE TEMPORARY DUTY IS PERFORMED IN THE CITY OF THE EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL WARREN TO THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE, MARCH 6, 1943:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO THE MATTER OF THE INDEBTEDNESS TO THE UNITED STATES INVOLVED IN THE CASE OF THE LATE WALTER HOAG--- AT ONE TIME AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FORMER RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION. SAID MATTER HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF CONSIDERABLE CORRESPONDENCE--- SEE PARTICULARLY LETTER DATED OCTOBER 31, 1941, FROM THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THIS OFFICE TO THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, AND LETTER DATED JANUARY 3, 1942, FROM THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE. IN OFFICE LETTER OF OCTOBER 31, 1941, JUST REFERRED TO, THERE WERE REVIEWED THE FACTS INDICATING (1) MR. HOAG'S ORIGINAL APPOINTMENT TO HAVE BEEN MADE ON OCTOBER 7, 1935, AS JUNIOR ATTORNEY IN THE RESETTLEMENT ADMINISTRATION, (2) HIS ORDER DATED SEPTEMBER 27, 1935, PURPORTING TO TRANSFER HIS STATION FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO MONTANA, WITH DIRECTIONS TO DEPART ON OR ABOUT OCTOBER 7, 1935, AND (3) HIS TRAVEL TO MONTANA COMMENCING OCTOBER 8, WITH STOPOVERS DIRECTED FOR INSTRUCTION PURPOSES AT DENVER, COLORADO, AND HELENA, MONTANA, ARRIVING AT HAVRE ON OCTOBER 16, FOR DUTY. UPON THE BASIS THAT HAVRE, MONTANA, WAS THE FIRST DUTY STATION, CHARGES WERE RAISED BY THIS OFFICE AGAINST THE RESPONSIBLE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS FOR THE SALARY CREDITED TO MR. HOAG AND THE TRANSPORTATION FURNISHED HIM PRIOR TO OCTOBER 16, LESS A CREDIT ON BOTH ITEMS FOR THE EXTRA TIME AND EXPENSE OF THE SIDE TRIPS TO DENVER AND HELENA. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE NOW HAS REQUESTED REVIEW OF THAT ACTION IN THE HOAG CASE, AND OF THE LIKE ACTION WITH RESPECT TO THE IDENTICAL CASE OF ALLAN SMITH (WHO HAS REFUNDED THE INVOLVED AMOUNT, $94.88), ADDING TO THE FACTS ABOVE GIVEN ONLY THAT EACH APPOINTEE RECEIVED A LETTER DATED OCTOBER 1, 1935, EVIDENCING HIS APPOINTMENT AS JUNIOR ATTORNEY, P-1, IN THE OFFICE OF THE GENERAL COUNSEL, EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 7, 1935, AND TOOK THE OATH AND ENTERED ON DUTY ON OCTOBER 7, THAT LETTERS WERE ISSUED OCTOBER 16, 1935, TRANSFERRING THEM TO THE FIELD SERVICE, AND THAT,"SO FAR AS THIS DEPARTMENT CAN DETERMINE, THESE EMPLOYEES TRAVELED FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE HOMES IN MONTANA AND COLORADO TO WASHINGTON, AT NO EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT, TO REPORT FOR DUTY HERE PRIOR TO TRAVELING TO HAVRE, MONTANA, WHICH HAS BEEN DETERMINED BY YOUR OFFICE TO BE THE FIRST OFFICIAL DUTY STATION.' IT IS URGED THAT THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AND THE TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WERE PROPERLY ISSUED, THAT WASHINGTON, D.C., SHOULD BE REGARDED AS A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION TO THE SAME EXTENT AS DENVER AND HELENA, WHICH MIGHT ENTITLE THE EMPLOYEES TO THE ENTIRE EXTRA EXPENSE OF REPORTING FOR DUTY BY WAY OF THOSE THREE POINTS, AND PARTICULARLY THAT, IN ANY EVENT, THE PAYMENT OF THEIR SALARY BEGINNING OCTOBER 7, 1935, WAS CORRECT.

IN NUMEROUS DECISIONS OF THE ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE UNITED STATES THERE HAS BEEN REITERATED THE CONSISTENT RULE OF LONG STANDING THAT AN APPOINTEE MUST BEAR THE EXPENSES OF HIS TRAVEL FROM THE PLACE WHERE THE DEFINITE NOTICE OF HIS APPOINTMENT REACHES HIM TO THE FIRST OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS OF HIS NEW POSITION--- THE REASON FOR THE RULE BEING THAT THE PLACING OF ONESELF AT THE STATION WHERE HIS WORK REQUIRES HIM TO BE IS ONE OF THE BURDENS OF QUALIFYING FOR EMPLOYMENT, AND THAT TO SHIFT SUCH EXPENSE TO THE UNITED STATES WOULD RESULT IN THE PAYMENT OF ADDITIONAL COMPENSATION NOT ALLOWED BY LAW. 4 COMP. DEC. 629 (1898); 11 ID. 691; 7 COMP. GEN. 114; ID. 203; 13 ID. 390, 392; 14 ID. 871; 16 ID. 852; 19 ID. 71; 20 ID. 820; 22 ID. 231; ID. 392.

UPON THE VIEW THAT THE RIGHT TO SALARY ACCRUES WHEN THE APPOINTEE, HAVING OTHERWISE ALIFIED,"BEGINS TO DEVOTE HIMSELF TO THE PUBLIC SERVICE" (5 LAWR. FIRST COMP. DEC. 374 (1884), FOLLOWING 10 OP. ATTY. GEN. 251), THE RIGHT TO SALARY FOR THE TRANSIT PERIOD TO THE FIRST PERMANENT HEADQUARTERS TYPICALLY IS NOT IN QUESTION, SINCE THE REQUIRED RENDITION OF SERVICE OF ANY SUBSTANTIAL KIND, HOWEVER TEMPORARY (WHETHER DUTY, INSTRUCTION, TRAINING, OBSERVATION, SELECTION, OR PROBATION), WILL JUSTIFY A CERTIFICATION THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAS ENTERED UPON DUTY, EVEN BEFORE ARRIVING AT HIS PERMANENT POST, IN WHICH CASE SALARY IS PAYABLE, BUT NOT TRAVEL EXPENSES OR SUBSISTENCE FOR THE TRIP EVENTUALLY REQUIRED TO THE FIRST PERMANENT POST OF DUTY. 9 COMP. GEN. 59; 10 ID. 415; 11 ID. 56; ID. 132; AND CF. 20 COMP. GEN. 605; 22 ID. 342. SIMILARLY, WHEN THE APPOINTEE IS NOTIFIED OF HIS APPOINTMENT FOR A POSITION LOCATED AT SOME DISTANT POINT, BUT IS REQUIRED EN ROUTE TO PERFORM CERTAIN DUTY OR TRAINING AT SOME THIRD POINT, SALARY MAY BEGIN AT ONCE UPON TAKING OF THE OATH AT THE FIRST POINT, SINCE SUCH IMMEDIATE TRAVEL TO A PLACE OF TEMPORARY DUTY PLAINLY IS OFFICIAL SERVICE--- NOT PERSONAL; BUT, FROM THE TRAVEL EXPENSES PAYABLE FOR THE ENTIRE JOURNEY THERE MUST BE DEDUCTED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF A CORRESPONDING JOURNEY DIRECT FROM THE PLACE OF APPOINTMENT TO THE FIRST PERMANENT HEADQUARTERS, SINCE THE REQUIREMENT OF TEMPORARY DUTY DOES NOT AFFECT THE EMPLOYEE'S PRIMARY BURDEN OF REPORTING, AND HE IS CHARGEABLE WITH THE TRAVEL EXPENSE TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN SUBJECT HAD NO TEMPORARY DUTY BEEN REQUIRED. 10 COMP. GEN. 184; ID. 222.

ESPECIALLY WHERE THE POINT OF FINAL ASSIGNMENT CANNOT BE KNOWN AT THE TIME OF APPOINTMENT, IT MAY BE PROPER TO DESIGNATE THE PLACE OF APPOINTMENT FOR WORK EVENTUALLY TO BE PERFORMED ELSEWHERE AS THE APPOINTEE'S FIRST DUTY STATION, IF SOME ACTUAL AND SUBSTANTIAL DUTY--- AS DISTINGUISHED FROM TAKING THE OATH, PHYSICAL EXAMINATION OR JOB TRAINING-- - BE THERE REQUIRED. IN SUCH CASE, ANY REASONABLE ADMINISTRATIVE DESIGNATION OF THE FIRST DUTY STATION IS NOT ORDINARILY QUESTIONED, AND IF AND WHEN THE EMPLOYEE BE TRANSFERRED, BONA FIDE, TO THE FINAL DUTY STATION, TRAVEL EXPENSES ARE PAYABLE, CONVERSELY, IF THE PLACE OF APPOINTMENT IS DETERMINED TO BE ONLY A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, THE TRAVEL EXPENSES TO THE PERMANENT DUTY POST ARE NOT PAYABLE, BUT SUBSISTENCE ADMINISTRATIVELY MAY BE AUTHORIZED FOR THE TEMPORARY DUTY PERIOD UP TO THE TIME OF DEPARTURE (10 COMP. GEN. 222; 21 ID. 7; B 22542, JANUARY 3, 1942; AND CF. B-20078, OCTOBER 16, 1941), UNLESS, OF COURSE, THE TEMPORARY DUTY REQUIRED OF THE NEW EMPLOYEE IS IN THE CITY OF HIS RESIDENCE, AND, THEREFORE, ENTAILS NO EXTRA EXPENSES TO BE REIMBURSED (11 COMP. GEN. 132; 15 ID. 624; 20 ID. 820).

CONSIDERED IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, IT IS CLEAR, IN THE PARTICULAR CASES OF HOAG AND SMITH, THAT THE SALARY PAYMENTS WERE PROPERLY CERTIFIED SINCE, ON THE DAY FOLLOWING THEIR EMPLOYMENT HERE, THEY LEFT AS DIRECTED FOR DENVER AND HELENA, FOR TEMPORARY SERVICE PRIOR TO REPORTING TO THEIR PERMANENT DUTY STATION. AS TO THEIR TRAVEL EXPENSES, IT IS NOT SHOWN THAT THEY WERE IN COLORADO OR MONTANA WHEN NOTIFIED OF THEIR DEFINITE APPOINTMENTS, NOR, IF SUCH BE SO, IS IT SUGGESTED BY WHOSE DIRECTION THEY WERE REQUIRED TO MAKE A TRANSCONTINENTAL ROUND TRIP IN ORDER TO SERVE FOR LESS THAN TWO DAYS AT WASHINGTON IN THEIR NEW APPOINTMENTS AS JUNIOR ATTORNEYS. THE ,TRANSFER" AUTHORIZATION, DIRECTING DEPARTURE FROM WASHINGTON FOR MONTANA ON OR ABOUT OCTOBER 7, 1935, HAVING BEEN SIGNED SEPTEMBER 27 (TEN DAYS BEFORE THEY WERE EMPLOYED), IT IS EVIDENT THERE WAS NOT EVEN AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF A FIRST, PERMANENT DUTY STATION IN WASHINGTON. SINCE TEMPORARY SERVICE WAS REQUIRED EN ROUTE, THE EXTRA TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES SO CAUSED WERE FOR PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT, BUT, UPON THE FACTS APPEARING, THE EMPLOYEES PROPERLY WERE CHARGED WITH THE DIRECT TRAVEL COSTS BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND HAVRE, MONTANA.

ACCORDINGLY, THE CHARGES RAISED FOR THE CERTIFICATION OF MR. HOAG'S SALARY WILL BE WITHDRAWN, AND A CLAIM FROM MR. SMITH FOR REFUND OF THE SALARY REPAYMENT WILL RECEIVE CONSIDERATION, IF AND WHEN PRESENTED TO THIS OFFICE. THE CHARGE FOR THE DISALLOWED PORTION OF MR. HOAG'S TRAVEL EXPENSES WAS NOT RAISED AGAINST AN ACCOUNTABLE FISCAL OFFICER (THE ONLY ACTUAL PAYMENT HAVING BEEN MADE TO THE RAILROAD COMPANIES, WHICH WERE ENTITLED IN ANY EVENT); AND SINCE IT IS EVIDENT THE TRAVEL ORDERS WERE ISSUED AS A RESULT OF MISUNDERSTANDING, RATHER THAN OUTRIGHT ERROR OR NEGLIGENCE, AND IN CONSIDERATION OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S VIEW IN THE MATTER, CONTINUATION OF THE CHARGE RAISED AGAINST THE OFFICER WHO ISSUED THE TRAVEL ORDER WILL NOT BE REQUIRED.

THERE REMAINS, HOWEVER, A SIMILAR UNACCOUNTED FOR CHARGE IN THE AMOUNT OF $30.63 PAID ON ANOTHER TRANSPORTATION REQUEST WHICH WAS ALLOWED TO REMAIN IN MR. HOAG'S POSSESSION AFTER HE HAD RESIGNED, AND AFTER HIS FINAL SALARY HAD BEEN PAID TO HIM IN FULL, THE REQUEST HAVING BEEN USED BY HIM FOR PERSONAL TRAVEL. A-96530, APRIL 8, 1939. THE SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE IS REPORTED TO HAVE DETERMINED THAT THE REGIONAL ATTORNEY, MR. WILLIAM F. FARRELL, WAS THE EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBLE, AND TO HAVE MADE SEVERAL DEMANDS UPON HIM FOR REPAYMENT, BUT NO COLLECTION OF THE AMOUNT HAS BEEN REPORTED. FOR YOUR CONVENIENT REFERENCE, THERE IS ENCLOSED A COPY OF A LETTER FROM THIS OFFICE DATED SEPTEMBER 19, 1940, A-96530, IN REPLY TO MR. FARRELL'S REQUEST FOR A RULING ON THE QUESTION OF HIS LIABILITY.