B-136060, JUN 17, 1958

B-136060: Jun 17, 1958

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HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 5. REGULATIONS ISSUED UNDER THAT AUTHORITY ARE CONTAINED IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. RATES OF PER DIEM FOR VARIOUS GEOGRAPHICAL LOCALITIES ARE FIXED IN APPENDIX B OF THOSE REGULATIONS. A MEMBER NOT FURNISHED GOVERNMENT QUARTERS FOR HIMSELF AND DEPENDENTS AND WHO IS REQUIRED TO SECURE TEMPORARY LODGINGS FOR HIMSELF AND DEPENDENTS FOR ANY PERIOD DURING THE FIRST 45 DAYS AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE NEW STATION SHALL BE ENTITLED TO A STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCE EQUAL TO THE TRAVEL PER DIEM ALLOWANCE PRESCRIBED FOR THAT AREA. THE PURPOSE OF THAT PROVISION WAS TO PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT FOR A LIMITED PERIOD FOR THE MERE THAN NORMAL EXPENSES INCURRED AT HOTELS AND PUBLIC RESTAURANTS PENDING THE MEMBER'S ASSIGNMENT TO GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR WHILE HE MADE ARRANGEMENTS FOR SECURING PERMANENT LIVING ACCOMMODATIONS AT A STATION WHERE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS WERE NOT AVAILABLE. 33 COMP.

B-136060, JUN 17, 1958

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

OVERTON BROOKS, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 5, 1958, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST A REPORT CONCERNING A DEMAN MADE BY THE FINANCE CENTER, U.S. ARMY, OF MR. ROBERT L. DURHAM, JR., FOR PAYMENT TO THE UNITED STATES OF THE SUM OF $339.75, REPRESENTING AN OVERPAYMENT OF STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCE RECEIVED BY HIM INCIDENT TO DUTY PERFORMED DURING THE PERIOD MAY 16 TO JUNE 29, 1955, AS AN OFFICER OF THE U.S. ARMY WHILE STATIONED IN GREAT BRITAIN.

SECTION 303(B) OF THE CAREER COMPENSATION ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 814, PROVIDES THAT THE SECRETARIES OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES MAY AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT TO MEMBERS OF THE UNIFORMED SERVICES ON DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, WHETHER OR NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS, OF A PER DIEM, CONSIDERING ALL ELEMENTS OF COST OF LIVING TO SUCH MEMBERS AND THEIR DEPENDENTS, INCLUDING THE COST OF QUARTERS, SUBSISTENCE, AND OTHER NECESSARY INCIDENTAL EXPENSES. REGULATIONS ISSUED UNDER THAT AUTHORITY ARE CONTAINED IN THE JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND RATES OF PER DIEM FOR VARIOUS GEOGRAPHICAL LOCALITIES ARE FIXED IN APPENDIX B OF THOSE REGULATIONS, A STATION RATE AND A HIGHER TRAVEL RATE BEING PRESCRIBED IN MOST INSTANCES. PARAGRAPH 4303-2A OF THE REGULATIONS PROVIDED DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION THAT UPON INITIAL ASSIGNMENT OR CHANGE OF ASSIGNMENT TO A PERMANENT STATION OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES, REQUIRING A CHANGE IN RESIDENCE, A MEMBER NOT FURNISHED GOVERNMENT QUARTERS FOR HIMSELF AND DEPENDENTS AND WHO IS REQUIRED TO SECURE TEMPORARY LODGINGS FOR HIMSELF AND DEPENDENTS FOR ANY PERIOD DURING THE FIRST 45 DAYS AFTER ARRIVAL AT THE NEW STATION SHALL BE ENTITLED TO A STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCE EQUAL TO THE TRAVEL PER DIEM ALLOWANCE PRESCRIBED FOR THAT AREA. THE PURPOSE OF THAT PROVISION WAS TO PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT FOR A LIMITED PERIOD FOR THE MERE THAN NORMAL EXPENSES INCURRED AT HOTELS AND PUBLIC RESTAURANTS PENDING THE MEMBER'S ASSIGNMENT TO GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OR WHILE HE MADE ARRANGEMENTS FOR SECURING PERMANENT LIVING ACCOMMODATIONS AT A STATION WHERE GOVERNMENT QUARTERS WERE NOT AVAILABLE. 33 COMP. GEN. 451. THE STATUTORY PROVISIONS UNDER WHICH THE REGULATION WAS ISSUED PROVIDED AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCES SPECIFICALLY ON A COST OF LIVING BASIS, AND SUCH REGULATION DID NOT CONTEMPLATE THE PAYMENT OF A HIGHER ALLOWANCE ON ANY OTHER BASIS. IT IS CONSIDERED, THEREFORE, THAT BENEFITS MAY NOT ACCRUE UNDER THE REGULATION UNLESS DURING THE FIRST 45 DAY PERIOD OF SERVICE AT A NEW DUTY STATION THE MEMBER INCURS LIVING EXPENSES EXCEEDING THOSE THAT WOULD BE INCURRED UNDER NORMAL PERMANENT LIVING ARRANGEMENTS BY REASON OF THE FACT THAT THE HOUSING OR QUARTERS OCCUPIED ARE OF THE TEMPORARY NATURE REQUIRING THE PAYMENT OF HIGH TRANSIENT RENTALS AND THE USE OF COMMERCIAL RESTAURANTS. MERE INCONVENIENCE AND DISCOMFORT DO NOT PROVIDE A PROPER BASIS FOR THE PAYMENT OF SUCH BENEFITS.

UPON BEING ORDERED ON PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TO ULLENWOOD CAMP. GLOUCESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND, MR. DURHAM AND HIS WIFE AND INFANT DAUGHTER OCCUPIED QUARTERS DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION WHICH HE DESCRIBED AS BEING FURNISHED ROOMS IN A GUEST HOUSE, MAITLAND HOUSE, CHELTENHAM, ENGLAND, WHERE KITCHEN AND BATHROOMS WERE AVAILABLE ON A SHARED BASIS. INDICATED THAT NO MEALS WERE REQUIRED TO BE EATEN OUT. ALSO, IT WAS STATED THAT A KEROSENE HEATER WAS ACQUIRED BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF HEAT. HE HAS STATED FURTHER THAT AN ENGLISH REFRIGERATOR WAS RENTED AND AN ELECTRIC OVEN PURCHASED BECAUSE THE STOVE IN THE KITCHEN WORKED BUT A FRACTION OF THE TIME, AND THAT THE KEROSENE HEATER WAS ALSO USED FOR COOKING ITEMS SUCH AS SOUP AND COFFEE. LAUNDRY WAS MENTIONED AS AN ADDITIONAL EXPENSE BECAUSE FACILITIES SUFFICIENT TO TAKE CARE OF ALL WASHING NEEDS WERE NOT AVAILABLE DUE TO THE FACT THAT THOSE AVAILABLE HAD TO BE SHARED WITH OTHERS.

NO REPRESENTATIONS WERE MADE BY MR. DURHAM THAT A RENTAL HIGHER THAN THAT REQUIRED FOR PERMANENT TYPE HOUSING IN THE AREA WAS PAID FOR THE QUARTERS OCCUPIED, AND NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE WAS INCURRED BY HIM IN OBTAINING MEALS IN COMMERCIAL RESTAURANTS. THE OTHER ITEMS OF EXPENSE REPRESENTED DO NOT APPEAR TO DIFFER FROM THOSE UNDERSTOOD TO BE COMMONPLACE WITH SERVICE MEMBERS OCCUPYING HOUSING IN ENGLAND ON A PERMANENT BASIS. IT DOES NOT APPEAR, THEREFORE, THAT MR. DURHAM INCURRED EXTRAORDINARY LIVING EXPENSES DUE TO BEING REQUIRED TO SECURE TEMPORARY LODGINGS WITHIN THE CONTEMPLATION OF THE CITED REGULATIONS. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES IT IS NOT CONSIDERED THAT AUTHORITY EXISTED UNDER THE LAW FOR THE PAYMENT TO HIM OF THE ALLOWANCE OF $9 PER DAY RECEIVED - THE TRAVEL PER DIEM RATE PRESCRIBED FOR THE DUTY AREA INVOLVED - DURING THE 45-DAY PERIOD MAY 16 THROUGH JUNE 29, 1955, AND CONSEQUENTLY WE FEEL THAT IT WAS PROPERLY DETERMINED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY THAT HE IS INDEBTED TO THE UNITED STATES FOR THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE AMOUNT SO RECEIVED ($405) AND THE STATION PER DIEM ALLOWANCE TO WHICH HE OTHERWISE WAS ENTITLED AT THE RATE OF $1.45 PER DAY '$65.25), OR $339.75.