B-126392, JAN. 20, 1956

B-126392: Jan 20, 1956

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IT APPEARS THAT A CERTAIN LAWSUIT WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED FOR MAY 4. WEISS WAS SELECTED TO ASSIST THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY. THE TRIAL WAS THEREAFTER POSTPONED AND SET FOR AUGUST 23. ORIGINALLY INTENDED AS THE VACATION POINT TO VISIT HIS AGED PARENTS WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENABLING HIM TO BE READILY AVAILABLE TO THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY. AT THAT TIME HE WAS INFORMED THAT THE TRIAL WAS AGAIN POSTPONED AND THAT HE SHOULD REPORT BACK ON SEPTEMBER 1. THIS WAS DONE BUT MR. WEISS WAS THEN TOLD THAT THE TRIAL WOULD BE ON SEPTEMBER 6. WEISS REPORTED BACK TO THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY ON THE DATE THE TRIAL ACTUALLY BEGAN ON SEPTEMBER 7 AND THE TRIAL WAS COMPLETED ON SEPTEMBER 17. THE RETURN TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND PER DIEM WERE DELETED ADMINISTRATIVELY FROM HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER BEFORE PAYMENT.

B-126392, JAN. 20, 1956

TO MR. E. R. JOHNSON, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, PUBLIC HOUSING ADMINISTRATION:

YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 15, 1955, REQUESTS OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED IN FAVOR OF GEORGE A. WEISS, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE PUBLIC HOUSING ADMINISTRATION, FOR $34.36 AS REIMBURSEMENT FOR TAXICAB AND RAILROAD FARES, AND FOR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE COVERING A RETURN TRIP FROM SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, TO HIS HEADQUARTERS AT SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, IN OCTOBER 1955.

IT APPEARS THAT A CERTAIN LAWSUIT WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED FOR MAY 4, 1955, AT SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AND MR. WEISS WAS SELECTED TO ASSIST THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY. THE TRIAL WAS THEREAFTER POSTPONED AND SET FOR AUGUST 23. IN VIEW OF THE RESCHEDULING OF THE TRIAL MR. WEISS CHANGED HIS VACATION PLANS AND PROCEEDED ON VACATION TO LAKE KI, APPROXIMATELY 42 MILES FROM SEATTLE, FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 15 TO SEPTEMBER 5. THE EMPLOYEE SAYS THAT THE DECISION TO TAKE A VACATION AT LAKE KI AND TO DEFER HIS TRIP TO WISCONSIN, ORIGINALLY INTENDED AS THE VACATION POINT TO VISIT HIS AGED PARENTS WAS FOR THE PURPOSE OF ENABLING HIM TO BE READILY AVAILABLE TO THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY. HE TRAVELED FROM LAKE KI TO SEATTLE ON AUGUST 21 ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AND REMAINED THERE UNTIL AUGUST 23. AT THAT TIME HE WAS INFORMED THAT THE TRIAL WAS AGAIN POSTPONED AND THAT HE SHOULD REPORT BACK ON SEPTEMBER 1. THIS WAS DONE BUT MR. WEISS WAS THEN TOLD THAT THE TRIAL WOULD BE ON SEPTEMBER 6. MR. WEISS REPORTED BACK TO THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY ON THE DATE THE TRIAL ACTUALLY BEGAN ON SEPTEMBER 7 AND THE TRIAL WAS COMPLETED ON SEPTEMBER 17. MR. WEISS RETURNED TO HIS HEADQUARTERS BY THE FIRST AVAILABLE TRAIN THEREAFTER. HE HAS BEEN REIMBURSED FOR THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES BETWEEN LAKE KI AND SEATTLE AND PAID PER DIEM FOR THE DAYS SPENT IN SEATTLE. THE RETURN TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AND PER DIEM WERE DELETED ADMINISTRATIVELY FROM HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER BEFORE PAYMENT. NO CLAIM HAS BEEN MADE FOR THE COST OF TRAVEL FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO LAKE KI.

YOU POINT OUT THAT $196.80 WAS ALLOWED ON THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER AND THAT IF THE RECLAIM OF $34.36 IS ALLOWED THE NET SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT STILL WILL BE APPROXIMATELY $40 SINCE THE COST TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE BEEN $270.60 HAD MR. WEISS BEEN SENT TO SEATTLE SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSES OF THE TRIAL AND THE PREPARATORY WORK WITH THE UNITED STATES ATTORNEY. NO TRAVEL ORDERS WERE ISSUED IN THIS CASE BUT THE FIELD OFFICE DIRECTOR HAS APPROVED THE VOUCHER. YOU SAY THAT THE ONLY REASON A TRAVEL ORDER WAS NOT ISSUED IN ADVANCE WAS THE UNCERTAINTY AS TO WHEN THE TRIAL WOULD ACTUALLY OCCUR.

WHILE WE HAVE HELD GENERALLY THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO ABSENTS HIMSELF FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS UPON A LEAVE OF ABSENCE ASSUMES THE DUTY OF RETURNING THERETO AT HIS OWN EXPENSE NOTWITHSTANDING AN ASSIGNMENT OF TEMPORARY DUTY, WE HAVE RECOGNIZED ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS THAT UNDER THE PARTICULAR FACTS INVOLVED THE RETURN TRAVEL OF AN EMPLOYEE AFTER THE PERFORMANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY FOLLOWING THE PERIOD OF LEAVE MAY BE CONSIDERED AS INCIDENT TO THE TEMPORARY DUTY SO AS TO WARRANT REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES OF SUCH TRAVEL. 24 COMP. GEN. 433; 29 ID. 173; CF. 30 COMP. GEN. 443.

UNDER THE PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE INSTANT CASE, RELATED ABOVE, THE CONCLUSION IS WARRANTED THAT THE RETURN TRAVEL WAS INCIDENT TO THE TEMPORARY DUTY. SEE B-104378, JULY 31, 1951.