B-128718, AUG. 30, 1956

B-128718: Aug 30, 1956

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DONNELLY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 9. YOU REQUESTED 160 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE BUT THAT YOUR REQUEST WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DISAPPROVED DUE TO THE HEAVY WORKLOAD AT THE TIME. IT IS SUFFICIENT TO POINT OUT THAT CLAIMS PRESENTED TO OUR OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT NECESSARILY MUST BE SETTLED UPON THE BASIS OF THE WRITTEN RECORD WHICH. IT IS THE ESTABLISHED RULE OF OUR OFFICE TO ACCEPT AS CORRECT THE REPORT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS UPON DISPUTED QUESTIONS OF FACT IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF THE CORRECTNESS THEREOF. 3 COMP. THE RULE IS WELL SETTLED THAT EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT WHO ABSENT THEMSELVES WITHOUT AUTHORIZED LEAVE ARE CONSIDERED TO BE IN A NONPAY STATUS FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD DURING WHICH THEY ARE ABSENT AND ARE NOT ENTITLED TO PAY OR TRAVEL TIME FOR THE PERIOD.

B-128718, AUG. 30, 1956

TO MR. JOHN O. DONNELLY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF JULY 9, 1956, REQUESTING REVIEW OF OUR SETTLEMENT DATED MAY 29, 1956, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES AND PER DIEM INCIDENT TO YOUR RETURN TRAVEL FROM FORT RICHARDSON, ALASKA, TO BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY.

SO FAR AS MATERIAL, THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU ENTERED INTO AN EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY FOR NOT LESS THAN 24 MONTHS OF CIVILIAN EMPLOYMENT OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES FOR DUTY AT FORT RICHARDSON, ALASKA, EFFECTIVE APRIL 8, 1954. IT FURTHER APPEARS FROM THE RECORDS THAT ON MARCH 16, 1955, YOU REQUESTED 160 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE BUT THAT YOUR REQUEST WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DISAPPROVED DUE TO THE HEAVY WORKLOAD AT THE TIME. NEVERTHELESS, YOU DEPARTED FROM YOUR OFFICIAL STATION FOR RETURN TRAVEL TO THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES ON MARCH 28, 1955. WITH RESPECT TO THE STATEMENTS IN YOUR LETTER OF JULY 9, 1956, AND TO YOUR PREVIOUS STATEMENTS RELATIVE TO THE REPORTED MEDICAL NEEDS FOR DEPARTURE FROM YOUR OFFICIAL STATION, IT IS SUFFICIENT TO POINT OUT THAT CLAIMS PRESENTED TO OUR OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT NECESSARILY MUST BE SETTLED UPON THE BASIS OF THE WRITTEN RECORD WHICH, OF COURSE, INCLUDES THE ADMINISTRATIVELY RECORDED FACTS OF THE CASE AS WELL AS THE FACTS REPORTED BY THE CLAIMANT. IN THAT REGARD, IT IS THE ESTABLISHED RULE OF OUR OFFICE TO ACCEPT AS CORRECT THE REPORT OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICERS UPON DISPUTED QUESTIONS OF FACT IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE SUFFICIENT TO OVERCOME THE PRESUMPTION OF THE CORRECTNESS THEREOF. 3 COMP. GEN. 51; 20 ID. 573, 578.

THE RULE IS WELL SETTLED THAT EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT WHO ABSENT THEMSELVES WITHOUT AUTHORIZED LEAVE ARE CONSIDERED TO BE IN A NONPAY STATUS FOR THE ENTIRE PERIOD DURING WHICH THEY ARE ABSENT AND ARE NOT ENTITLED TO PAY OR TRAVEL TIME FOR THE PERIOD.

IT APPEARS TO BE YOUR CONTENTION THAT YOU SHOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR THE TRAVEL EXPENSES ON THE BASIS THAT YOUR RETURN TO BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, WAS DUE TO CLIMATIC CONDITIONS AFFECTING YOUR HEALTH. THE FACT REMAINS, HOWEVER, THAT THERE HAS BEEN NO DETERMINATION BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS THAT YOUR RETURN WAS CONSIDERED AS FOR "REASONS BEYOND HIS (YOUR) CONTROL" WITHIN THE MEANING OF THAT TERM AS USED IN THE ACT OF AUGUST 2, 1946, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 73B, A CONDITION PRECEDENT TO THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM.

ON THE FACTS AS REPORTED, COUPLED WITH THE APPLICABLE REGULATIONS, AND SINCE IT APPEARS THAT YOUR DEPARTURE FROM ALASKA WAS FOR REASONS NOT ACCEPTABLE TO YOUR HEADQUARTERS AND OCCURRED PRIOR TO THE DATE THE GOVERNMENT AGREED TO ASSUME THE TRAVEL COSTS INVOLVED, THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR THE PAYMENT OF YOUR CLAIM UPON THE PRESENT STATE OF THE RECORD.

ACCORDINGLY, UPON REVIEW, THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM MUST BE SUSTAINED.