B-132036, JUN. 27, 1957

B-132036: Jun 27, 1957

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DIERKS' POST OF DUTY WAS TRANSFERRED TO WILKES- BARRE. THE REQUEST ALSO STATED THAT "NO EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE INVOLVED IN THIS CHANGE IN POST OF DUTY.'. DIERKS' POST OF DUTY WAS CHANGED FROM WILKES-BARRE TO SCHUYLKILL HAVEN. THE REQUEST ALSO STATED THAT "NO EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE INVOLVED IN THIS CHANGE OF STATION.'. THE NOTICE DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENTLY DEFINITE IN THAT REGARD. DIERKS WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM SCHUYLKILL HAVEN IN THE PERFORMANCE OF NECESSARY OFFICIAL DUTIES. WE NOTE THAT WILKES-BARRE IS NOW AND WAS THE HOME OF MR. INDICATE THAT MORE TIME IS SPENT IN WILKES-BARRE THAN IN SCHUYLKILL HAVEN. THE DISTANCE BETWEEN SCHUYLKILL HAVEN AND WILKES-BARRE IS APPROXIMATELY 60 MILES.

B-132036, JUN. 27, 1957

TO MR. J. E. FOWLER, JR., AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR:

YOUR LETTER OF MAY 29, 1957, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE VOUCHER FORWARDED BY YOU, COVERING A RECLAIM BY MR. HENRY A. DIERKS, IN THE AMOUNT OF $654--- REPRESENTING PER DIEM AND MILEAGE ADMINISTRATIVELY SUSPENDED FROM PRIOR TRAVEL VOUCHERS--- MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER RELATED.

THE RECLAIM VOUCHER COVERS TRAVEL PERFORMED BY MR. DIERKS FROM APRIL 4 THROUGH SEPTEMBER 11, 1956. THE RECORDS SHOW THAT EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 5, 1955, MR. DIERKS RECEIVED A REGULAR CAREER APPOINTMENT AS A MINING ENGINEER, WITH HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND POST OF DUTY AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, PENNSYLVANIA. BY STANDARD FORM 52, REQUEST FOR PERSONNEL ACTION, MR. DIERKS' POST OF DUTY WAS TRANSFERRED TO WILKES- BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA, EFFECTIVE JANUARY 24, 1956. THE REQUEST ALSO STATED THAT "NO EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE INVOLVED IN THIS CHANGE IN POST OF DUTY.' BY STANDARD FORM 52, REQUEST FOR PERSONNEL ACTION, EFFECTIVE APRIL 20, 1956, MR. DIERKS' POST OF DUTY WAS CHANGED FROM WILKES-BARRE TO SCHUYLKILL HAVEN. THE REQUEST ALSO STATED THAT "NO EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT WILL BE INVOLVED IN THIS CHANGE OF STATION.' THE RECORD ALSO SHOWS VERBAL NOTIFICATION TO THE CLAIMANT ON APRIL 2 OF THE CHANGE OF HEADQUARTERS TO SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, HOWEVER, THE NOTICE DOES NOT APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN SUFFICIENTLY DEFINITE IN THAT REGARD. BY TRAVEL ORDERS DATED DECEMBER 5, 1955, APRIL 20, 1955, AND JULY 1, 1956, MR. DIERKS WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM SCHUYLKILL HAVEN IN THE PERFORMANCE OF NECESSARY OFFICIAL DUTIES. THE TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER AND PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ON A MILEAGE BASIS OF 10 CENTS PER MILE--- SUCH MODE OF TRANSPORTATION HAVING BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE GOVERNMENT--- AND ALSO AUTHORIZED $12 PER DIEM. WE NOTE THAT WILKES-BARRE IS NOW AND WAS THE HOME OF MR. DIERKS DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION. LIKEWISE, WE NOTE YOUR STATEMENT THAT "CURRENT VOUCHERS, AS WELL AS THE COPIES OF VOUCHERS ATTACHED, INDICATE THAT MORE TIME IS SPENT IN WILKES-BARRE THAN IN SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, AND ALSO THAT MOST OF HIS FIELD TRIPS BEGIN AND TERMINATE IN WILKES-BARRE.' THE DISTANCE BETWEEN SCHUYLKILL HAVEN AND WILKES-BARRE IS APPROXIMATELY 60 MILES. THE RECLAIM VOUCHER FORWARDED WITH YOUR LETTER, IN FAVOR OF MR. HENRY A DIERKS, COVERS RECLAIM OF $6 REPRESENTING MILEAGE ONE WAY BETWEEN WILKES- BARRE AND SCHUYLKILL HAVEN ON APRIL 18, 1956, AND $648 REPRESENTING PER DIEM FOR OFFICIAL DUTY PERFORMED AT WILKES-BARRE ($579) AND SCHUYLKILL HAVEN ($69).

IT APPEARS FROM THE FILE THAT IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES MR. DIERKS SPENT APPROXIMATELY AN EQUAL AMOUNT OF TIME BETWEEN WILKES BARRE AND SCHUYLKILL HAVEN DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION AND PERFORMED DUTIES OUT OF BOTH PLACES. THE RESULT OF THIS WAS THAT REQUEST FOR PERSONNEL ACTION EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 17, 1956, DESIGNATES BOTH WILKES BARRE AND SCHUYLKILL HAVEN AS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS FOR TRAVEL PURPOSES. ALSO LETTER OF APRIL 12, 1957, FROM MR. J. A. CORGAN, CHIEF, DIVISION OF ANTHRACITE STATES IN PART THAT:

"IN THE PERFORMANCE OF HIS DUTIES AS CHIEF OF THE BRANCH OF MINE DRAINAGE, MR HENRY A. DIERKS IS REQUIRED TO SPEND APPROXIMATELY HALF OF HIS WORKING TIME AT WILKES-BARRE, PENNSYLVANIA AND THE OTHER HALF AT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, PENNSYLVANIA. A GOOD PART OF HIS TIME AT BOTH OFFICES IS SPENT IN DAILY FIELD TRIPS TO PROJECT SITES.'

NOTWITHSTANDING THE FACT THAT SCHUYLKILL HAVEN WAS DESIGNATED AS THE EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL DUTY STATION, DURING THE PERIOD APRIL 20 TO SEPTEMBER 11, THE AVAILABLE FACTS ESTABLISH BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAD TWO HEADQUARTERS, AND THAT HE WAS REQUIRED TO DIVIDE HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES BETWEEN THE TWO HEADQUARTERS AT WILKES BARRE AND SCHUYLKILL HAVEN AND WOULD BE ENTITLED TO PER DIEM ONLY WHEN ABSENT FROM BOTH OF THE HEADQUARTERS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. SEE PARAGRAPH 6.9 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IN VIEW OF THE CONFUSION IN THE MATTER, HOWEVER, AND THE OTHER FACTS AS SET FORTH ABOVE, WE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT OF THE PER DIEM AND MILEAGE RECLAIMED ($75) FOR THE PERIOD APRIL 4 TO 19, 1956, IF OTHERWISE PROPER.

ACTION ON THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, SHOULD BE TAKEN ACCORDINGLY.