B-131880, JUN. 21, 1957

B-131880: Jun 21, 1957

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ASKS WHETHER HE MAY BE ALLOWED THE COST OF AIR FARE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED IN RETURNING TO HIS PLACE OF LEAVE. IF SUCH AMOUNT IS NOT ALLOWABLE YOU ASK WHAT PORTION OF THE AMOUNT CLAIMED ON THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. WHERE HE WAS IN AN ANNUAL LEAVE STATUS. THE EMPLOYEE WAS REQUESTED TO COME TO WASHINGTON. WAS ISSUED SHOWING HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM WEVER. WAS ON OFFICIAL TEMPORARY DUTY AT THAT POINT UNTIL HIS DEPARTURE ON MAY 1. WHICH HE IS CLAIMING ON THE THEORY THAT HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED THERETO HAD HE RESUMED HIS LEAVE STATUS AFTER THE TEMPORARY DUTY. IT IS INFORMALLY UNDERSTOOD THAT THE STATEMENT ON THE VOUCHER "CASH PAID FOR TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON TO MEXICO CITY" MEANS THAT THE EMPLOYEE PAID HIS FARE FROM PERSONAL FUNDS.

B-131880, JUN. 21, 1957

TO MR. A. M. FLATEQUAL:

YOUR LETTER OF MAY 15, 1957, TRANSMITTING A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $145.65 IN FAVOR OF MR. WILLIAM G. LODWICK, AGRICULTURAL ATTACHE, MEXICO CITY, MEXICO, ASKS WHETHER HE MAY BE ALLOWED THE COST OF AIR FARE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED IN RETURNING TO HIS PLACE OF LEAVE, AFTER TEMPORARY DUTY IN WASHINGTON, D.C., EVEN THOUGH HE ACTUALLY DID NOT TRAVEL TO THAT PLACE IN RETURNING TO HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION. IF SUCH AMOUNT IS NOT ALLOWABLE YOU ASK WHAT PORTION OF THE AMOUNT CLAIMED ON THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. LODWICK HAD TRAVELED AT NO EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT FROM MEXICO CITY TO WEVER, IOWA, WHERE HE WAS IN AN ANNUAL LEAVE STATUS. THE EMPLOYEE WAS REQUESTED TO COME TO WASHINGTON, PRIOR TO HIS RETURNING TO MEXICO CITY, TO CONFER WITH OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENT AND FOREIGN AGRICULTURAL SERVICE REGARDING AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS IN MEXICO. TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 599-57, DATED APRIL 23, 1957, WAS ISSUED SHOWING HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM WEVER, IOWA, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., AND RETURN TO MEXICO CITY. HE ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON ON APRIL 25, 1957, AND WAS ON OFFICIAL TEMPORARY DUTY AT THAT POINT UNTIL HIS DEPARTURE ON MAY 1, 1957, FOR MEXICO CITY, HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION.

THE VOUCHER HERE INVOLVED COVERED MR. LODWICK'S EXPENSES INCURRED IN PERFORMING THE AUTHORIZED TEMPORARY DUTY IN WASHINGTON, D.C., EXCEPT FOR TAXI FARE ON ARRIVAL IN MEXICO CITY, $1.20, AND THE SUM OF $51, WHICH AMOUNT REPRESENTS THE AIR FARE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO BURLINGTON, IOWA, NEAREST AIRPORT TO WEVER, WHICH HE IS CLAIMING ON THE THEORY THAT HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED THERETO HAD HE RESUMED HIS LEAVE STATUS AFTER THE TEMPORARY DUTY. IT IS INFORMALLY UNDERSTOOD THAT THE STATEMENT ON THE VOUCHER "CASH PAID FOR TRANSPORTATION WASHINGTON TO MEXICO CITY" MEANS THAT THE EMPLOYEE PAID HIS FARE FROM PERSONAL FUNDS. THE AIR FARE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO MEXICO CITY HAS BEEN ASCERTAINED TO BE $132.

WE HELD IN 16 COMP. GEN. 481, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

"* * * AN EMPLOYEE DIRECTED, WHILE ON LEAVE, TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY AT A PLACE OTHER THAN HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION AND PERMITTED TO RETURN TO THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON LEAVE AND RESUME HIS VACATION, IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AUTHORIZED EXPENSES OF THE TRAVEL INVOLVED, BUT IF HIS LEAVE STATUS IS TERMINATED AT THE COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY AND HE IS REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION, HE MAY BE ALLOWED ONLY SUCH TRAVEL EXPENSES AS REPRESENT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COST OF RETURN TO OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS VIA TEMPORARY PLACE OF DUTY AND COST OF DIRECT RETURN FROM PLACE WHERE ON LEAVE.

"AN EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE * * * WHO, WHILE ON LEAVE, PERFORMS TEMPORARY DUTY EN ROUTE TO HIS REGULAR DUTY STATION, IS ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR THE PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY BUT NOT TO TRANSPORTATION FROM PLACE OF TEMPORARY DUTY TO OFFICIAL STATION.'

UNDER THAT DECISION WHICH IS APPLICABLE TO THE MATTER HERE PRESENTED THERE IS NO QUESTION BUT THAT MR. LODWICK IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE AUTHORIZED EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE PERFORMANCE OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY. HAD HE RETURNED TO HIS PLACE OF LEAVE THE RETURN EXPENSE TO THAT POINT WOULD WOULD HAVE BEEN AUTHORIZED TOO. HOWEVER, HE DID NOT SO RETURN AND UNDER THE FOREGOING DECISION HE IS ENTITLED ONLY TO THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., $132, AND THE COST OF DIRECT RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM PLACE OF LEAVE, $113.55 BY AIR OR, IN THIS CASE, $18.45, INSTEAD OF $51 CLAIMED. SINCE THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO ABSENTS HIMSELF FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE ASSUMES THE OBLIGATION OF RETURNING HIMSELF THERETO AT HIS OWN EXPENSE, NO BASIS EXISTS FOR PAYMENT OF THE TAXI FARE AT MEXICO CITY. 11 COMP. GEN. 336 AND CITED CASES.

YOUR QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY. THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY, UPON ADJUSTMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING, BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.