B-131516, MAY 10, 1957

B-131516: May 10, 1957

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YOU STATE THAT THE TRIP WAS ABANDONED AT THE CONCLUSION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN DENVER ON FRIDAY MARCH 15. THERE WAS ALSO INCLUDED IN THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED FROM HIS VOUCHER 1/2 OF A DAY'S PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AND TAXI FARE FROM DEPOT TO RESIDENCE. THE DEDUCTION IS STATED TO HAVE BEEN BASED ON THE DECISION IN 32 COMP. WHILE IT IS NOT SO STATED IN YOUR SUBMISSION IT APPEARS FROM THE ENCLOSED PAPERS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER THAT THIS EMPLOYEE DID NOT ABANDON OFFICIAL BUSINESS BUT MERELY INTERRUPTED HIS TRAVEL TO RETURN TO HIS HOME STATION. HE COMPLETED HIS OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE SAME TIME IT WOULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETED WITHOUT THE INTERRUPTION. IT IS ASSUMED THAT HE WAS GRANTED ANNUAL LEAVE FOR MONDAY.

B-131516, MAY 10, 1957

TO MR. H. L. WALL, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 9, 1957, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE VOUCHER THEREWITH TRANSMITTED PROPOSING THE PAYMENT OF $29.49 TO WILLIAM J. OWEN. THE VOUCHER REPRESENTS A RECLAIM OF THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED FROM HIS ORIGINAL TRAVEL VOUCHER.

MR. OWEN DEPARTED FROM LINCOLN, NEBRASKA, AT 12:03 A.M. MARCH 14, 1957, ON A ROUND TRIP TO BILLINGS, MONTANA, WITH A STOP AT DENVER, COLORADO, EN ROUTE TO BILLINGS. YOU STATE THAT THE TRIP WAS ABANDONED AT THE CONCLUSION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS IN DENVER ON FRIDAY MARCH 15, AT 4 P.M. THE TRAVELER ISSUED TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR FIRST CLASS FARE FROM DENVER BACK TO LINCOLN, HIS OFFICIAL STATION, PLUS A PARLOR CAR SEAT AT ACOST OF $23.04. THERE WAS ALSO INCLUDED IN THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED FROM HIS VOUCHER 1/2 OF A DAY'S PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AND TAXI FARE FROM DEPOT TO RESIDENCE. THE DEDUCTION IS STATED TO HAVE BEEN BASED ON THE DECISION IN 32 COMP. GEN. 571, HOLDING THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO WHILE EN ROUTE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ABANDONS THE OFFICIAL ROUTING DUE TO ILLNESS OF A RELATIVE OR OTHER GOOD REASON, MAY BE REIMBURSED THE NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED UP TO THE TIME OF THE ABANDONMENT.

WHILE IT IS NOT SO STATED IN YOUR SUBMISSION IT APPEARS FROM THE ENCLOSED PAPERS ATTACHED TO THE VOUCHER THAT THIS EMPLOYEE DID NOT ABANDON OFFICIAL BUSINESS BUT MERELY INTERRUPTED HIS TRAVEL TO RETURN TO HIS HOME STATION, LEAVING DENVER AFTER OFFICE HOURS ON FRIDAY AND RESUMING OFFICIAL BUSINESS AT BILLINGS ON TUESDAY, AND HE COMPLETED HIS OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN THE SAME TIME IT WOULD HAVE BEEN COMPLETED WITHOUT THE INTERRUPTION. IT IS ASSUMED THAT HE WAS GRANTED ANNUAL LEAVE FOR MONDAY, THE 18TH, AND CLAIMS NO PER DIEM FOR THAT DAY. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE FOR APPLICATION PARAGRAPH 6.4 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES:

"* * * IN CASES OF VOLUNTARY RETURN OF A TRAVELER FOR NONWORK DAYS TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, OR HIS PLACE OF ABODE FROM WHICH HE COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, THE MAXIMUM REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWABLE FOR THE ROUND TRIP TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM EN ROUTE SHALL BE THE TRAVEL EXPENSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE HAD THE TRAVELER REMAINED AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION.'

AS THE EXPENSES CLAIMED DO NOT APPEAR TO EXCEED THOSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN PAYABLE HAD HE REMAINED IN A TRAVEL STATUS, THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE ABSENCE OF OTHER OBJECTION.