B-129523, JAN. 13, 1958

B-129523: Jan 13, 1958

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THERE IS ALLOWABLE AN AMOUNT OF $506.25. WAS INFORMED OF SUCH RECOMPUTATION OF YOUR PER DIEM CLAIMS. THEREBY YOUR INDEBTEDNESS WAS REDUCED FROM $3. DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR PER DIEM CLAIM WERE BASED UPON THE PREMISE THAT NEW YORK. WAS. THE LIMITS OF WHICH WILL BE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OR TOWN IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS STATIONED * * *.'. ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT THE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE AND DESIGNATE THE POST OF DUTY OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES INCLUDES ONLY THE AUTHORITY TO FIX THE PLACE AT WHICH THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD ACTUALLY ESTABLISH OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS. ORDINARILY IS THE PLACE THE EMPLOYEE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO SPEND MOST OF HIS TIME.

B-129523, JAN. 13, 1958

TO MR. FRANK W. GRAVANTE:

YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 4, 1957, AND PRIOR CORRESPONDENCE, REQUESTS RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF JULY 19, 1957, Z-1685302, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR 33 ONE-HALF DAYS PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE DURING THE PERIOD MAY 16 TO JULY 21, 1955, AT NEW YORK CITY AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY. THE SETTLEMENT OF JULY 19, 1957, ALSO ADVISED YOU THAT ON YOUR VOUCHERS FOR PER DIEM COVERING THE PERIOD JUNE 28, 1951, THROUGH JANUARY 3, 1955, THERE IS ALLOWABLE AN AMOUNT OF $506.25, REPRESENTING PER DIEM FOR THE PERIODS OF TEMPORARY DUTY YOU PERFORMED AT SCHENECTADY. THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, SETTLEMENTS DIVISION, ARMY FINANCE CENTER, INDIANAPOLIS 49, INDIANA, WAS INFORMED OF SUCH RECOMPUTATION OF YOUR PER DIEM CLAIMS. THEREBY YOUR INDEBTEDNESS WAS REDUCED FROM $3,944.25 TO $3,438. YOU REQUEST RECONSIDERATION OF THE MATTER UPON THE BASIS THAT YOU DID NOT PERFORM THE MAJORITY OF YOUR OFFICIAL DUTIES AT YOUR RESIDENCE.

OUR CONCURRENCE WITH THE ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION OF YOUR INDEBTEDNESS, LESS CREDIT FOR PER DIEM AT SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK, AND DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR PER DIEM CLAIM WERE BASED UPON THE PREMISE THAT NEW YORK, NEW YORK, WAS, IN FACT, YOUR HEADQUARTERS FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES.

THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, 5 U.S.C. 836, AUTHORIZES DEPARTMENTS TO PRESCRIBE A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS "AWAY FROM THEIR DESIGNATED POSTS OF DUTY.' THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT THE ,DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY AND OFFICIAL DUTY STATION MEAN ONE AND THE SAME, THE LIMITS OF WHICH WILL BE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OR TOWN IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS STATIONED * * *.'

ACCOUNTING OFFICERS OF THE GOVERNMENT CONSISTENTLY HAVE HELD THAT THE AUTHORITY TO DETERMINE AND DESIGNATE THE POST OF DUTY OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES INCLUDES ONLY THE AUTHORITY TO FIX THE PLACE AT WHICH THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD ACTUALLY ESTABLISH OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS, AND FROM WHICH HE SHOULD IN FACT OPERATE, WHICH, ORDINARILY IS THE PLACE THE EMPLOYEE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO SPEND MOST OF HIS TIME.

THE EVIDENCE BEFORE US, INCLUDING YOUR ORIGINAL TRAVEL VOUCHERS FOR THE PERIOD HERE INVOLVED, SHOWS THAT YOU PERFORMED IN EXCESS OF 400 DAYS' DUTY IN NEW YORK CITY DURING THE QUESTIONED PERIOD, WHICH WAS FAR IN EXCESS OF TIME SPENT AT ANY OTHER LOCATION. ADDITIONALLY, YOUR DUTY AT NEARBY POINTS IN NEW JERSEY IS SHOWN TO BE IN EXCESS OF 300 DAYS, OR A TOTAL FOR THE NEW YORK CITY AND VICINITY OF IN EXCESS OF 700 DAYS OUT OF THE 1286 CALENDAR DAYS INVOLVED. THE BALANCE OF TIME WAS SERVED AT OTHER THAN NEW YORK CITY AND VICINITY AND IS SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN AT VARIOUS PLACES IN NEW YORK, MASSACHUSETTS, AND PENNSYLVANIA. YOUR INDEBTEDNESS WAS COMPUTED ON THE BASIS OF DAILY TRAVEL BEING PERFORMED BETWEEN YOUR RESIDENCE IN NEW YORK CITY AND THE VARIOUS DUTY POINTS IN NEW YORK CITY.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, OUTLINED ABOVE, OUR OFFICE CONCURS WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY THAT YOUR HEADQUARTERS FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES WAS NEW YORK CITY AND, THEREFORE, UNDER THE STATUTE, NO PER DIEM IS ALLOWABLE FOR DUTY PERFORMED IN THAT CITY.

WHILE THE ADMINISTRATIVE DESIGNATION OF YOUR HEADQUARTERS AS SCHENECTADY MAY HAVE BEEN SOMEWHAT MISLEADING THE DETERMINATION EVIDENTLY WAS MADE EVEN THOUGH THERE WAS NO EXPECTATION THAT YOU WOULD PERFORM OTHER THAN A SMALL AMOUNT OF DUTY AT THAT POINT.

UPON THE RECORD BEFORE US, THEREFORE, WE FIND NO PROPER BASIS FOR ALLOWANCE OF CLAIM FOR 33 ONE-HALF DAYS' PER DIEM DURING THE PERIOD MAY 16 TO JULY 21, 1955, OR FOR ADJUSTMENT OF YOUR INDEBTEDNESS OTHER THAN AS SET OUT IN OUR SETTLEMENT OF JULY 19, 1957.

CONCERNING YOUR INDICATION OF A CLAIM FOR TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES INCURRED IN NEW YORK, NEW YORK, DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION, WE NOTE FROM YOUR TRAVEL VOUCHERS THAT YOU PERFORMED THE LOCAL TRAVEL BY GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE. THEREFORE, THE BASIS UPON WHICH A CLAIM COULD BE MADE FOR TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IS NOT APPARENT AT THIS TIME.

WE ASSUME THAT AS THE MATTER OF COLLECTION OF YOUR INDEBTEDNESS IS BEING HANDLED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY APPROPRIATE ADJUSTMENT IN YOUR INDEBTEDNESS FOR TEMPORARY DUTY AT SCHENECTADY FROM JANUARY 4, 1955, TO JULY 3, 1957, WILL BE MADE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DETERMINATION AS SET SET FORTH IN OUR LETTER OF JULY 19, 1957, TO THAT DEPARTMENT.