B-121178, Oct 20, 1954

B-121178: Oct 20, 1954

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Office of Defense Mobilization: Reference is made to your letter of August 20. Was engaged on a project in Mexico city for the Michigan Department of Health. Which began on the first of June 1954 and was to last approximately three months when travel authorization of the Office of Defense Mobilization. Was issued authorizing his travel from Mexico City to Washington. The transportation was procured by use of a Government transportation request. Your doubt as to the legality of certifying the voucher for payment appears to have arisen by reason of the fact that Dr. You state that his "home and regular place of business are located in Lansing. There was considered similar language in section 5 of the Administrative Expenses Act of 1946.

B-121178, Oct 20, 1954

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

Miss G. Grace Kingsbury, Authorized Certifying Officer, Executive Office of the President, Office of Defense Mobilization:

Reference is made to your letter of August 20, 1954, enclosing a voucher in favor of Dr. G.D. Cummings for $53, representing per diem and taxicab expenses incurred for travel from Mexico City, Mexico to Washington, D.C., and return, as an intermittent consultant in the Office of Defense Mobilization employed pursuant to section 710(c) of the Defense Production Act of 1950, 64 Stat. 821. You request a decision as to whether the voucher properly may be certified for payment.

Section 710(c) of the act provides that consultants employed thereunder, "while away from their homes or regular places of business," may be allowed transportation and not to exceed $15 per diem in lieu of subsistence.

Dr. Cummings, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Blood, Health Resources Advisory Committee, was engaged on a project in Mexico city for the Michigan Department of Health, which began on the first of June 1954 and was to last approximately three months when travel authorization of the Office of Defense Mobilization, dated June 1, 1954, was issued authorizing his travel from Mexico City to Washington, D.C., and return, for the purpose of attending a meeting of the Subcommittee on Blood during the period June 10-11, 1954. Dr. Cummings left Mexico City by air on June 6 and after completing his duties in Washington, D.C., returned by air to Mexico City, arriving thereat on June 14, 1954. The transportation was procured by use of a Government transportation request.

Your doubt as to the legality of certifying the voucher for payment appears to have arisen by reason of the fact that Dr. Cummings traveled from a place outside the United States to the site of the meeting and return. You state that his "home and regular place of business are located in Lansing, Michigan,"

In decision of July 20, 1953, B-115282, 33 Comp.Gen. 39, referred to in your letter, there was considered similar language in section 5 of the Administrative Expenses Act of 1946, 60 Stat. 806. It was held in that decision that the words "regular place of business" need not be applied in a restricted sense. Reimbursement was authorized for expenses incurred in traveling from a point in the United States at which the consultant was engaged on personal business to the place of official duty for the Government, notwithstanding that the expenses exceeded the constructive cost of travel from his private business headquarters. Moreover, the language of section 710(c) does not restrict the allowable travel expenses to those incurred between points within the continental United States,. Accordingly, I am of the opinion that where, as here, a consultant's personal business outside the United States is interrupted for the performance of duty in the United States for the Government, the travel expenses incident thereto are within the purview of section 710(c) of the statute.

The voucher, returned herewith, may be certified for payment, if otherwise correct.

Enclosure