B-119892, JUNE 2, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 582

B-119892: Jun 2, 1954

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IS CONSIDERED OFFICIAL BUSINESS. 1954: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 28. APPEARS THAT SUCH HEARINGS NORMALLY ARE HELD AT THE DUTY STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED BUT ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATION IS BEING GIVEN TO HOLDING THEM AT OTHER PLACES WHEN DEEMED NECESSARY IN THE INTEREST OF THE EMPLOYEE OR THE GOVERNMENT. WHO IS A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES WHOSE EMPLOYMENT IS SUSPENDED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THIS ACT. SHALL BE GIVEN AFTER HIS SUSPENSION AND BEFORE HIS EMPLOYMENT IS TERMINATED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THIS ACT. (2) AN OPPORTUNITY WITHIN THIRTY DAYS THEREAFTER (PLUS AN ADDITIONAL THIRTY DAYS IF THE CHARGES ARE AMENDED) TO ANSWER SUCH CHARGES AND TO SUBMIT AFFIDAVITS.

B-119892, JUNE 2, 1954, 33 COMP. GEN. 582

TRAVELING EXPENSES - EMPLOYEES SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY IN INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY - ATTENDANCE AT HEARINGS THE TRAVEL OF AN EMPLOYEE, SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY, IN ATTENDING AN ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING OF HIS CASE UNDER THE RIGHT CONFERRED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 26, 1950, BEFORE TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, IS CONSIDERED OFFICIAL BUSINESS, AND THEREFORE THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE PAID TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO SUCH TRAVEL AND A PER DIEM SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL WEITZEL TO THE ADMINISTRATOR OF VETERANS AFFAIRS, JUNE 2, 1954:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 28, 1954, WITH ENCLOSURE, REQUESTING A DECISION UPON THE AVAILABILITY OF VETERANS ADMINISTRATION APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF AN EMPLOYEE, SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY, INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AT AN ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING OF HIS CASE PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 733, APPROVED AUGUST 26, 1950, 64 STAT. 476, APPLICABLE TO THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION BY VIRTUE OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10450. APPEARS THAT SUCH HEARINGS NORMALLY ARE HELD AT THE DUTY STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED BUT ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATION IS BEING GIVEN TO HOLDING THEM AT OTHER PLACES WHEN DEEMED NECESSARY IN THE INTEREST OF THE EMPLOYEE OR THE GOVERNMENT.

PUBLIC LAW 733, PROVIDING IN THE INTEREST OF NATIONAL SECURITY FOR THE SUSPENSION WITHOUT PAY OF CIVILIAN OFFICERS OR EMPLOYEES, FURTHER PROVIDES, SO FAR AS APPEARS PERTINENT HEREIN:

* * * THAT ANY EMPLOYEE HAVING A PERMANENT OR INDEFINITE APPOINTMENT, AND HAVING COMPLETED HIS PROBATIONARY OR TRIAL PERIOD, WHO IS A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED STATES WHOSE EMPLOYMENT IS SUSPENDED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THIS ACT, SHALL BE GIVEN AFTER HIS SUSPENSION AND BEFORE HIS EMPLOYMENT IS TERMINATED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THIS ACT, (1) A WRITTEN STATEMENT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS AFTER HIS SUSPENSION OF THE CHARGES AGAINST HIM, WHICH SHALL BE SUBJECT TO AMENDMENT WITHIN THIRTY DAYS THEREAFTER AND WHICH SHALL BE STATED AS SPECIFICALLY AS SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS PERMIT; (2) AN OPPORTUNITY WITHIN THIRTY DAYS THEREAFTER (PLUS AN ADDITIONAL THIRTY DAYS IF THE CHARGES ARE AMENDED) TO ANSWER SUCH CHARGES AND TO SUBMIT AFFIDAVITS; (3) A HEARING, AT THE EMPLOYEE'S REQUEST, BY A DULY CONSTITUTED AGENCY AUTHORITY FOR THIS PURPOSE; (4) A REVIEW OF HIS CASE BY THE AGENCY HEAD, OR SOME OFFICIAL DESIGNATED BY HIM, BEFORE A DECISION ADVERSE TO THE EMPLOYEE IS MADE FINAL; AND (5) A WRITTEN STATEMENT OF THE DECISION OF THE AGENCY HEAD: * * *

THE QUESTION OF REIMBURSEMENT AND THE AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE IN ATTENDING AN ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING UPON PERSONNEL MATTERS HAS BEEN THE SUBJECT OF TWO PRIOR DECISIONS: 21 COMP. GEN. 382, AND 31 ID. 346. THE FIRST DECISION INVOLVED THE HEARING OF PERSONNEL GRIEVANCES AS AUTHORIZED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7916, ISSUED JUNE 24, 938; THE SECOND A HEARING UPON A PERFORMANCE-RATING APPEAL UNDER PUBLIC LAW 873, SEPTEMBER 30, 1950, 64 STAT. 1098. IN BOTH CASES IT WAS HELD THAT THE PARTICIPATION IN THE HEARINGS BY THE PETITIONING OR APPEALING EMPLOYEE CONSTITUTED OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND, THEREFORE, THAT THE TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE EMPLOYEE WERE REIMBURSABLE AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE APPROPRIATIONS AVAILABLE THEREFOR.

THE DOUBT IN THE SITUATION NOW UNDER CONSIDERATION ARISES FROM THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS IN A SUSPENDED WITHOUT PAY STATUS. HOWEVER, SINCE UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 733 THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO A HEARING BEFORE TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT, THE TRAVEL CONSTITUTES OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND THE RULING OF THE PRIOR DECISIONS WOULD APPEAR TO BE EQUALLY FOR APPLICATION. SEE 5 CFR 4.301 (14) DEFINING "SUSPENSION" AS USED IN THE CIVIL SERVICE REGULATIONS.

ACCORDINGLY, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED MAY BE PAID THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION AND A PER DIEM SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND THAT THE COST THEREOF PROPERLY IS CHARGEABLE TO APPROPRIATIONS OF THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION OTHERWISE AVAILABLE FOR SUCH EXPENSES.