B-120726, AUG 3, 1954

B-120726: Aug 3, 1954

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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 10. YOU ADVISE THAT WHILE THE MEN WERE STATIONED AT CHATEAUROUX AIR DEPOT. THEY MADE APPLICATION TO HAVE THEIR WIVES AND FAMILIES JOIN THEM AT THEIR OVERSEAS STATION. THAT AS SOON AS SUCH APPLICATIONS WERE APPROVED AND SUITABLE CIVILIAN HOUSING WAS FOUND THEY WERE REQUIRED TO MOVE OFF THE BASE AND RESIDE IN SUCH HOUSING. THAT THEY WERE REQUIRED TO PAY FOR SUCH MEALS AS THEREAFTER WERE EATEN IN THE SQUADRON MESS ON THE BASE. EXAMINATION OF THEIR PAY RECORDS SHOWS THAT IN EACH CASE THE ENLISTED MAN WAS PAID STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AT THE RATE OF $9 PER DAY FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 6 TO SEPTEMBER 3. THE ENLISTED MEN WERE ENTITLED TO STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCE AT THE RATE OF $4.75 PER DAY DURING THE PERIODS COVERED BY THE AUDIT EXCEPTIONS.

B-120726, AUG 3, 1954

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

HONORABLE DOUGLAS R. STRINGFELLOW, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 10, 1950, RELATIVE TO AUDIT EXCEPTIONS TAKEN BY THE DIVISION OF AUDITS OF THIS OFFICE TO PAYMENTS RECEIVED BY GLEN M. ROBINS, ROBERT W. DAVIS AND DAVID D. RUSSELL, FORMER AIR FORCE ENLISTED MEN, FOR STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES IN CONNECTION WITH DUTY PERFORMED BY THEM AT HEADQUARTERS, 73D AIR DEPOT WING, CHATEAUROUX, FRANCE. THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED, ALSO, YOUR LETTER OF JULY 21, 1954, CONCERNING THIS MATTER.

YOU ADVISE THAT WHILE THE MEN WERE STATIONED AT CHATEAUROUX AIR DEPOT, THEY MADE APPLICATION TO HAVE THEIR WIVES AND FAMILIES JOIN THEM AT THEIR OVERSEAS STATION, THAT AS SOON AS SUCH APPLICATIONS WERE APPROVED AND SUITABLE CIVILIAN HOUSING WAS FOUND THEY WERE REQUIRED TO MOVE OFF THE BASE AND RESIDE IN SUCH HOUSING, AND THAT THEY WERE REQUIRED TO PAY FOR SUCH MEALS AS THEREAFTER WERE EATEN IN THE SQUADRON MESS ON THE BASE.

EXAMINATION OF THEIR PAY RECORDS SHOWS THAT IN EACH CASE THE ENLISTED MAN WAS PAID STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AT THE RATE OF $9 PER DAY FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 6 TO SEPTEMBER 3, 1951, AND THEN AT THE RATE OF $4.75 PER DAY UNTIL HIS DEPENDENTS JOINED HIM OR, IN THE CASE OF MR. RUSSELL, UNTIL FEBRUARY 15, 1952. IT APPEARS THAT MRS. DAVIS ARRIVED AT HER HUSBAND'S STATION ON NOVEMBER 5, 1951, THAT MR. ROBINS' DEPENDENTS JOINED HIM ON DECEMBER 18, 1951, AND THAT MR. RUSSELL'S DEPENDENTS DID NOT RESIDE AT HIS STATION AT ANY TIME DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED.

UNDER APPLICABLE PROVISIONS OF LAW AND REGULATIONS CONTAINED IN SECTION 303(B) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 813, AND PART G, CHAPTER 4, AND APPENDIX B OF THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, THE ENLISTED MEN WERE ENTITLED TO STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCE AT THE RATE OF $4.75 PER DAY DURING THE PERIODS COVERED BY THE AUDIT EXCEPTIONS, IF GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AND MESS WERE NOT AVAILABLE, THE RATE BEING $3.75 PER DAY FOR SUBSISTENCE AND $1 PER DAY FOR QUARTERS. THE AUDIT EXCEPTIONS WERE ISSUED AS A RESULT OF AN INVESTIGATION OF CONDITIONS AT THE ENLISTED MEN'S STATION CONDUCTED BY REPRESENTATIVES OF THIS OFFICE. SUCH INVESTIGATION REVEALED THAT A GOVERNMENT MESS OR MESSES WERE AVAILABLE FOR ALL ENLISTED MEN AT THAT BASE. YOUR LETTER APPEARS TO SUPPORT THAT FINDING SINCE YOU INDICATE THAT THE ENLISTED MEN ATE SOME OF THEIR MEALS AT SUCH A MESS. THE INVESTIGATION DISCLOSED ALSO THAT GOVERNMENT QUARTERS FOR ENLISTED MEN AT THE MEN'S STATION AT THAT TIME CONSISTED OF TENTS WHICH COULD BE ERECTED AS THE NEED FOR THEM AROSE. HENCE, IT APPEARS CLEAR THAT BOTH GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AND MESS WERE AVAILABLE FOR THE ENLISTED MEN.

UNDER THE REGULATIONS AN ENLISTED MAN IS CONSIDERED TO BE "WITHOUT DEPENDENTS" FOR STATION PER DIEM PURPOSES UNLESS HIS DEPENDENTS RESIDE WITH HIM AT OR IN THE VICINITY OF HIS FOREIGN DUTY STATION. PARAGRAPH 2, ARTICLE 4301, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IT FOLLOWS THAT THE ENLISTED MEN HERE INVOLVED MAY NOT HAVE THEIR RIGHTS DETERMINED ON THE BASIS THAT THEY HAD DEPENDENTS UNTIL THE DATE THEIR DEPENDENTS ARRIVED AT THE FOREIGN DUTY STATION AND, SINCE SUBSISTENCE AND QUARTERS WERE AVAILABLE, NO STATION PER DIEM WAS AUTHORIZED PRIOR TO SUCH DATE OF ARRIVAL. WHILE IT APPEARS THAT THE MEN WERE PUT TO SOME EXPENSE IN PREPARING FOR THE ARRIVAL OF THEIR DEPENDENTS, SUCH EXPENSE DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN THE RESULT OF ANY ACTION BY THE COMMANDING GENERAL AT THE BASE WITH RESPECT TO OCCUPANCY OF GOVERNMENT QUARTERS. THEIR EXPENSE FOR RENT OF CIVILIAN QUARTERS WOULD HAVE BEEN THE SAME EVEN IF THEY HAD CONTINUED TO OCCUPY AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AT THE BASE. THERE SEEMS TO BE LITTLE DOUBT THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE ATTEMPT TO CONFER A RIGHT TO STATION PER DIEM IN SUCH CASES WAS BASED ON THE HARDSHIP RESULTING FROM PAYMENT OF RENT FOR CIVILIAN QUARTERS, RATHER THAN ON AN ACTUAL NONAVAILABILITY OF GOVERNMENT QUARTERS AND MESSING FACILITIES AS CONTEMPLATED BY THE LAW AND REGULATIONS. SUCH HARDSHIP RESULTED BECAUSE OF THE DELAY BETWEEN THE SECURING OF CIVILIAN QUARTERS AND THE ARRIVAL OF THE DEPENDENTS. THE PAYMENT OF RENT FOR THE PRIVATE QUARTERS DOUBTLESS WAS BURDENSOME, BUT THAT FACT DOES NOT FURNISH A PROPER BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE UNDER THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PAYMENT OF CLAIMS OF THIS CHARACTER APPARENTLY REALIZED AT A LATER DATE THAT THEY WERE ERRONEOUS, SINCE IT APPEARS THAT SUCH PAYMENTS WERE DISCONTINUED ON FEBRUARY 16, 1952. COMMENCING ON THAT DATE STATION PER DIEM PAYMENTS WERE NOT CREDITED UNTIL DEPENDENTS OF THE PERSON CONCERNED ACTUALLY ARRIVED AT HIS STATION.

IT IS NOT KNOWN WHY THE ALLOWANCE WAS PAID AT THE RATE OF $9 PER DAY RATHER THAN $4.75 PER DAY FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 6 TO SEPTEMBER 3, 1951. WHILE PARAGRAPH 4303, CHANGE 1, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDES FOR THE PAYMENT OF STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCE AT THE TRAVEL RATE (THE TRAVEL RATE FOR FRANCE AT THE TIME WAS $9 PER DAY) FOR THE THE RATE BE REDUCED TO THE REGULAR STATION RATE "WHEN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE FURNISHED OR PERMANENT HOUSING IS OBTAINED." CIVILIAN HOUSING WAS OBTAINED BY THE ENLISTED MEN MENTIONED IN YOUR LETTER ON AUGUST 6, 1951.

THE RECORD APPEARS SUFFICIENT TO ESTABLISH THAT THE MEN INVOLVED WERE PERMITTED TO MESS SEPARATELY, AND HENCE, THEY WERE ENTITLED TO A BASIC ALLOWANCE FOR SUBSISTENCE AT THE RATE OF $1.05 PER DAY AS PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 301 OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 812. ALSO, SOME ADDITIONAL AMOUNT IS ALLOWABLE FOR THE DAY THEIR DEPENDENTS ARRIVED AT CHATEAUROUX, DEPENDING ON THE HOUR OF ARRIVAL.

ACCORDINGLY, CREDIT WILL BE ALLOWED FOR THE AMOUNTS INDICATED ABOVE, UPON RECEIPT OF INFORMATION FROM MR. DAVIS AND MR. ROBINS SHOWING THE TIME THEIR DEPENDENTS ARRIVED AT CHATEAUROUX. HOWEVER, NO BASIS HAS BEEN FOUND ON WHICH THE PAYMENTS MADE MAY BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED.