B-136072, JUN. 4, 1958

B-136072: Jun 4, 1958

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POINTS OUT THAT YOU ARE HOLDING TWO UNDELIVERED CHECKS FOR A FORMER EMPLOYEE REPRESENTING HIS FINAL SALARY AND LUMP-SUM PAYMENT FOR ANNUAL LEAVE. YOU SAY THE CHECKS HAVE BEEN WITHHELD IN ACCORDANCE WITH ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 206-15. WHICH ACCOUNTABILITY IS SET OUT HEREINAFTER. YOU SAY THAT THE FORMER EMPLOYEE WAS APPOINTED MAY 13. HE WAS GIVEN A REGULAR TOUR OF DUTY MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY. WAS EFFECTED JUNE 13. WAS PERFORMED IN NEW YORK CITY. MOST OF THE SERVICE WAS ACTUALLY PERFORMED AT WASHINGTON. A CHECK OF THE INFORMATION FURNISHED BY YOU SHOWS THAT DURING THE FOREGOING PERIOD 60 DAYS' SERVICE WAS PERFORMED IN WASHINGTON AND 10 DAYS' SERVICE IN NEW YORK CITY. FURTHER YOU POINT OUT THAT DURING SUCH PERIOD 14 TRIPS WERE MADE BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND NEW YORK ON GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS AND THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY CORROBORATORY INFORMATION YOUR OFFICE DETERMINED THAT SUCH TRAVEL WAS NOT FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

B-136072, JUN. 4, 1958

TO MR. ROBERT A. STRIZZI, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:

YOUR LETTER OF MAY 5, 1958, POINTS OUT THAT YOU ARE HOLDING TWO UNDELIVERED CHECKS FOR A FORMER EMPLOYEE REPRESENTING HIS FINAL SALARY AND LUMP-SUM PAYMENT FOR ANNUAL LEAVE. YOU SAY THE CHECKS HAVE BEEN WITHHELD IN ACCORDANCE WITH ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 206-15, WHICH GIVES YOU SUCH RIGHT PENDING FINAL CLEARANCE AND ACCOUNTABILITY ON ALL EMPLOYEES LEAVING THE EMPLOY OF THE DEPARTMENT, WHICH ACCOUNTABILITY IS SET OUT HEREINAFTER.

YOU SAY THAT THE FORMER EMPLOYEE WAS APPOINTED MAY 13, 1957, AS AN EXPERT AT $60 PER DAY, WHEN ACTUALLY EMPLOYED, WITH HEADQUARTERS AT WASHINGTON, D.C. HE WAS GIVEN A REGULAR TOUR OF DUTY MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY, 8:30 A.M., TO 5:00 P.M., ELIGIBLE TO EARN LEAVE, HOLIDAY PAY, AND PAY FOR EXCUSED ABSENCES. A CHANGE OF HEADQUARTERS FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO NEW YORK, NEW YORK, WAS EFFECTED JUNE 13, 1957, APPARENTLY TO ACCORD WITH THE ORAL UNDERSTANDING ALLEGED TO EXIST UPON APPOINTMENT THAT HEADQUARTERS WOULD BE NEW YORK, NEW YORK, WHERE HE MAINTAINED HIS OWN OFFICE. APPARENTLY, ALL SERVICES RENDERED ON AND AFTER AUGUST 26, 1957, WAS PERFORMED IN NEW YORK CITY. HE RESIGNED AT THE CLOSE OF BUSINESS, NOVEMBER 1, 1957.

YOU FURTHER SAY THAT FOR THE PERIOD MAY 13 TO AUGUST 26, 1957, EVEN AFTER THE CHANGE OF HEADQUARTERS, EFFECTIVE JUNE 13, MOST OF THE SERVICE WAS ACTUALLY PERFORMED AT WASHINGTON, D.C. A CHECK OF THE INFORMATION FURNISHED BY YOU SHOWS THAT DURING THE FOREGOING PERIOD 60 DAYS' SERVICE WAS PERFORMED IN WASHINGTON AND 10 DAYS' SERVICE IN NEW YORK CITY. FURTHER YOU POINT OUT THAT DURING SUCH PERIOD 14 TRIPS WERE MADE BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND NEW YORK ON GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS AND THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF ANY CORROBORATORY INFORMATION YOUR OFFICE DETERMINED THAT SUCH TRAVEL WAS NOT FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS, BUT WAS ESSENTIALLY FOR PERSONAL REASONS. ALSO, YOU SAY THAT YOU REQUESTED THE FORMER EMPLOYEE TO REFUND THE AMOUNT OF SUCH TRAVEL--- $404.80 (TRANSPORTATION CHARGES $368 PLUS 10 PERCENT TAX $36.80/--- AND TO RETURN THE UNUSED TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS OR, IF THEY ARE LOST OR MISPLACED, TO FURNISH A CERTIFICATE TO THAT EFFECT SO THAT THE ITEM MAY BE CLEARED BUT WITHOUT SUCCESS. WE NOTE THAT YOU HAVE NOT PAID PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN CONNECTION WITH ANY SERVICE RENDERED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., UNDER THIS APPOINTMENT.

BASED UPON THE FOREGOING FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU PRESENT FOR OUR CONSIDERATION THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

"/A) WAS THE DETERMINATION BY THIS OFFICE TO DISALLOW THE USE OF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS CORRECT, BASED ON THE PATTERN OF SERVICE SHOWN ON ATTACHMENT A?

"/B) IF YOUR ANSWER TO THIS IS IN THE NEGATIVE, MAY I RELEASE THE TWO CHECKS AS DRAWN WITHOUT FURTHER INVESTIGATION OR ACTION ON THE PART OF THE DEPARTMENT?

"/C) IF YOUR REPLY TO THIS QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, MAY I DEDUCT THE $404.80 DUE THIS OFFICE AND REMIT THE DIFFERENCE TO MR. ANDREWS?

"/D) IF YOUR ANSWER TO EITHER QUESTION IS IN THE AFFIRMATIVE, WHAT ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN RELATIVE TO THE UNUSED TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS STILL IN MR. ANDREWS' POSSESSION?

IN THE ABSENCE OF INFORMATION TO SHOW THAT THE TRAVEL ON ANY OF THE 14 TRIPS HERE INVOLVED WAS AUTHORIZED FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES IN NEW YORK CITY, QUESTION (A) IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.

IT WOULD FOLLOW, THEREFORE, BASED UPON OUR ANSWER TO QUESTION (A) THAT IF THE TRAVEL WAS FOR PERSONAL REASONS RATHER THAN FOR THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTIES, THE COST THEREOF PROPERLY WOULD BE FOR DEDUCTION FROM THE FINAL AMOUNT DUE THE FORMER EMPLOYEE. IT IS A SETTLED RULE THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF STATUTORY AUTHORITY, TRAVELING EXPENSE BETWEEN RESIDENCE OF AN EMPLOYEE AND HIS OFFICIAL STATION IS A PERSONAL EXPENSE NOT CHARGEABLE TO THE GOVERNMENT. 23 COMP. GEN. 352; B-76813, JUNE 29, 1948. QUESTION (C) IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

ANY UNUSED TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS STILL IN THE POSSESSION OF THE FORMER EMPLOYEE SHOULD BE SECURED FROM HIM BY THE OFFICIAL OF THE DEPARTMENT ACCOUNTABLE THEREFOR OR APPROPRIATE SAFEGUARDS TAKEN TO PROTECT AGAINST IMPROPER OR UNAUTHORIZED USE THEREOF. SEE SECTION 2030, TITLE 5, TRANSPORTATION, GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE MANUAL FOR GUIDANCE OF FEDERAL AGENCIES.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING ANSWERS, NO ANSWER TO QUESTION (B) IS REQUIRED.