B-129661, DECEMBER 10, 1956, 36 COMP. GEN. 459

B-129661: Dec 10, 1956

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

IS REQUIRED TO OCCUPY GOVERNMENT QUARTERS WHICH ARE ASSIGNED OR OCCUPIED BY OTHER MILITARY OR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL IS REGARDED AS OCCUPYING GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED QUARTERS SO THAT A DEDUCTION IN PER DIEM IS REQUIRED. MILITARY PERSONNEL OR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL WHO ARE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE LODGING IN THEIR GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED QUARTERS AT ISOLATED POSTS TO OTHER MILITARY OR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL WHO ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS MAY NOT CHARGE FOR SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS. THE SITUATIONS SET FORTH IN THE LETTER ARE AS FOLLOWS: IF MILITARY OR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL IN A TRAVEL STATUS OCCUPY GOVERNMENT HOUSEKEEPING QUARTERS ASSIGNED EITHER TO ANOTHER MILITARY PERSON OR ANOTHER CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE. ARE THE QUARTERS TO BE CONSIDERED GOVERNMENT- FURNISHED QUARTERS SO AS TO REQUIRE A REDUCTION IN THE PER DIEM TRAVEL RATE?

B-129661, DECEMBER 10, 1956, 36 COMP. GEN. 459

MILITARY PERSONNEL - OCCUPANCY OF QUARTERS ASSIGNED TO OTHER GOVERNMENT PERSONNEL - PER DIEM REDUCTION A MEMBER OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES WHO, WHILE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AT ISOLATED POSTS, IS REQUIRED TO OCCUPY GOVERNMENT QUARTERS WHICH ARE ASSIGNED OR OCCUPIED BY OTHER MILITARY OR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL IS REGARDED AS OCCUPYING GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED QUARTERS SO THAT A DEDUCTION IN PER DIEM IS REQUIRED. MILITARY PERSONNEL OR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL WHO ARE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE LODGING IN THEIR GOVERNMENT-FURNISHED QUARTERS AT ISOLATED POSTS TO OTHER MILITARY OR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL WHO ARE IN A TRAVEL STATUS MAY NOT CHARGE FOR SUCH ACCOMMODATIONS.

TO THE SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY, DECEMBER 10, 1956:

THE LETTER DATED OCTOBER 25, 1956, FROM THE ACTING SECRETARY, CITES SEVERAL OF OUR DECISIONS WHEREIN WE CONSIDERED THE TERM " GOVERNMENT QUARTERS" SO FAR AS IT APPLIES TO A REDUCTION IN PER DIEM ALLOWANCES FOR MILITARY MEMBERS AND CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES IN A TRAVEL STATUS, BUT WHICH HE SAYS DO NOT FURNISH SUFFICIENT GUIDANCE FOR THE COAST GUARD UPON WHICH TO MAKE A PROPER DETERMINATION OF ENTITLEMENT IN THE SITUATIONS HEREINAFTER RELATED.

THE SITUATIONS SET FORTH IN THE LETTER ARE AS FOLLOWS:

IF MILITARY OR CIVILIAN PERSONNEL IN A TRAVEL STATUS OCCUPY GOVERNMENT HOUSEKEEPING QUARTERS ASSIGNED EITHER TO ANOTHER MILITARY PERSON OR ANOTHER CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE, ARE THE QUARTERS TO BE CONSIDERED GOVERNMENT- FURNISHED QUARTERS SO AS TO REQUIRE A REDUCTION IN THE PER DIEM TRAVEL RATE? WOULD THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION BE DEPENDENT UPON WHETHER THE THE ASSIGNED OCCUPANT

(A) MAKES NO CHARGE TO THE TRAVELER,

(B) MAKES A NOMINAL CHARGE TO THE TRAVELER, OR

(C) MAKES A SUBSTANTIAL CHARGE TO THE TRAVELER?

THE PROBLEM PARTICULARLY ARISES AT STATIONS LOCATED ON ISLANDS OR OTHER ISOLATED STATIONS WHERE IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO OBTAIN LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE BECAUSE, EITHER,

(A) ADVERSE WEATHER AND LANDING CONDITIONS PREVENT ACCESS, OR

(B) COMMERCIAL SOURCES ARE NOT CONVENIENTLY AVAILABLE.

IN SUCH CASES, THE ONLY RECOURSE IS FOR THE MILITARY OR CIVILIAN OCCUPANT TO PROVIDE LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE TO THE TRAVELER IN HIS HOUSEKEEPING QUARTERS. THIS CREATES AN UNDUE HARDSHIP ON THE KEEPER AND HIS FAMILY, AND IN SOME INSTANCES JUSTIFIES THE KEEPER'S MAKING A CHARGE FOR THE ACCOMMODATIONS.

IF THE OCCUPANT DOES MAKE A CHARGE, NOMINAL OR OTHERWISE, WOULD HE BE REQUIRED TO DEPOSIT THE AMOUNT TO THE CREDIT OF THE GOVERNMENT ( MISCELLANEOUS RECEIPTS/?

IN OUR DECISION OF AUGUST 1, 1927, A-19241 (7 COMP. GEN. 85), WE MADE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

WHEN NO OTHER QUARTERS ARE AVAILABLE AT ANY GIVEN PLACE AND THE TRAVELING OFFICIAL IS OBLIGED TO OCCUPY PUBLIC QUARTERS ASSIGNED TO A LOCAL EMPLOYEE FOR HIS PERSONAL USE, THROUGH COURTESY, AND WITHOUT EXPENSE TO THE TRAVELER, NO REASON APPEARS WHY REDUCTION OF THE PER DIEM ON ACCOUNT OF LODGING SHOULD NOT BE MADE THE SAME AS IN CASES WHERE THE GOVERNMENT BUILDING IN WHICH LODGING IS FURNISHED IS NOT OTHERWISE OCCUPIED. THERE IS NOTHING INEQUITABLE IN SUCH REDUCTION INSOFAR AS THE TRAVELER IS CONCERNED.

THE QUARTERS WHICH THE GOVERNMENT FURNISHES TO AN EMPLOYEE PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3 OF THE ACT OF JANUARY 26, 1927, 44 STAT. 1052, ARE FURNISHED SOLELY FOR HIS OCCUPANCY AS QUARTERS AND MAY NOT LEGALLY BE SUBLET BY HIM. THEY DO NOT LOSE THEIR CHARACTER AS GOVERNMENT QUARTERS; AND WHEN SUCH QUARTERS ARE OCCUPIED AS LODGINGS BY ANOTHER EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS, WHETHER THROUGH THE COURTESY OF THE LOCAL EMPLOYEE OR OTHERWISE, THE LODGINGS ARE TO BE REGARDED AS FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT AND REDUCTION IN PER DIEM MADE ACCORDINGLY.

SEE, ALSO, 7 COMP. GEN. 82, AND 24 ID. 458, TO LIKE EFFECT.

SECTION 6.7, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDE, IN EFFECT, THAT WHERE LODGING IS FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE OR AT A NOMINAL COST BY A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY AT A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AN APPROPRIATE DEDUCTION SHALL BE MADE FROM THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE.

JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, CHAPTER 4, PART E, TEMPORARY DUTY ALLOWANCES IN THE UNITED STATES, PARAGRAPH 4205, AUTHORIZING PER DIEM RATES, SUBPARAGRAPH 5 C, PROVIDES A LESSER RATE OF PER DIEM FOR DELAYS INCIDENT TO TRAVEL AND FOR TEMPORARY DUTY WHEN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE AVAILABLE OR UTILIZED AS AGAINST NONAVAILABILITY OR UTILIZATION OF GOVERNMENT QUARTERS. ALSO, CHAPTER 4, PART F, TEMPORARY DUTY ALLOWANCES OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, PARAGRAPH 4254, DEDUCTIONS FROM PER DIEM, PROVIDES IN EFFECT, THAT A DEDUCTION OF 40 PERCENT IN PER DIEM SHALL BE MADE WHEN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE AVAILABLE.

SINCE, AS INDICATED ABOVE, A LESSER PER DIEM IS AUTHORIZED FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL WITHIN THE UNITED STATES WHEN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE AVAILABLE OR UTILIZED AND A PERCENTAGE REDUCTION IN PER DIEM IS PRESCRIBED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES WHEN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE AVAILABLE OR UTILIZED, WE SEE NO GOOD REASON WHY THE PRINCIPLE APPLYING TO CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES WHEREBY A REDUCTION OF THE TRAVELER'S PER DIEM IS AUTHORIZED WHEN HE IS FURNISHED LODGING IN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ASSIGNED OR OCCUPIED BY ANOTHER CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE SHOULD NOT APPLY TO MILITARY PERSONNEL ALSO. ACCORDINGLY, YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

REGARDING THE SECOND QUESTION CONSISTING OF PARTS (A), (B), AND (C), WE DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION TO OUR DECISION OF DECEMBER 15, 1955, B-126578 (35 COMP. GEN. 362), WHEREIN WE POINTED OUT THAT THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION THREE OF THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1874, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 71, PROHIBITS A CIVIL OFFICER OF THE GOVERNMENT FROM RECEIVING ANY COMPENSATION OR PERQUISITES FROM PROPERTY OF THE UNITED STATES BEYOND HIS SALARY ALLOWED BY LAW. IN OUR LETTER OF JULY 6, 1948, TO THE CHAIRMAN, UNITED STATES MARITIME COMMISSION, B-28109, REQUESTING THAT ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATION BE GIVEN TO REVISING THE CHARGES FOR MEALS AND QUARTERS FURNISHED ON A RENTAL BASIS SO THAT THE GOVERNMENT WOULD BE PROPERLY REIMBURSED, WE MADE THE FOLLOWING STATEMENT:

WHEN OFFICERS AND CIVIL EMPLOYEES OF THE UNITED STATES ARE THE RECIPIENTS OF SUCH MEALS AND QUARTERS, THE APPROXIMATE COSTS THEREOF, BOTH DIRECT AND INDIRECT, ARE FOR RECOVERY IN ORDER THAT THERE BE COMPLIANCE WITH SECTION 1765, REVISED STATUTES, AND THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1874, 18 STAT. 109, WITH RESPECT TO EXTRA ALLOWANCES AND PERQUISITES.

IN LIGHT OF THE STATEMENT JUST QUOTED WE SEE NO GOOD REASON WHY THE PROVISIONS OF THE ACT OF JUNE 20, 1874, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 71, SHOULD NOT APPLY ALSO TO MILITARY PERSONNEL UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HERE PRESENT. ACCORDINGLY, WITH THAT IN MIND WE CONCLUDE THAT NO BASIS EXISTS FOR MAKING A CHARGE. THE SECOND QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY, THUS MAKING UNNECESSARY ANY ANSWER TO THE THIRD QUESTION.