B-136427, AUGUST 20, 1958, 38 COMP. GEN. 134

B-136427: Aug 20, 1958

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CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - MEETINGS - ATTENDANCE AT HEADQUARTERS - TRAVEL EXPENSE APPROPRIATIONS A FEE FOR THE ATTENDANCE OF A GOVERNMENT OFFICER AT AN ANNUAL LUNCHEON MEETING OF AN ASSOCIATION AT THE OFFICER'S HEADQUARTERS MAY BE PAID FROM THE TRAVEL EXPENSE APPROPRIATION MADE SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS DETERMINED TO BE CONCERNED WITH THE FUNCTION OR ACTIVITY FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION IS MADE. NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE OFFICER WAS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS. YOUR LETTER SAYS THAT "ALTHOUGH NO REGISTRATION AS SUCH WAS CHARGED. THE $5.00 COST FOR THE MEAL IS OBVIOUSLY INTENDED AS A FEE INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AND WAS A REQUIREMENT.'. THE MEETING WAS HELD IN WASHINGTON.

B-136427, AUGUST 20, 1958, 38 COMP. GEN. 134

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - MEETINGS - ATTENDANCE AT HEADQUARTERS - TRAVEL EXPENSE APPROPRIATIONS A FEE FOR THE ATTENDANCE OF A GOVERNMENT OFFICER AT AN ANNUAL LUNCHEON MEETING OF AN ASSOCIATION AT THE OFFICER'S HEADQUARTERS MAY BE PAID FROM THE TRAVEL EXPENSE APPROPRIATION MADE SPECIFICALLY AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS DETERMINED TO BE CONCERNED WITH THE FUNCTION OR ACTIVITY FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION IS MADE, NOTWITHSTANDING THAT THE OFFICER WAS NOT IN A TRAVEL STATUS.

TO W. E. FINLEY, NATIONAL CAPITAL PLANNING COMMISSION, AUGUST 20, 1958:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 14, 1958, REQUESTS OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF MR. CHARLES H. CONRAD, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL PLANNING COMMISSION, IN THE AMOUNT OF $5 COVERING THE COST OF ATTENDANCE AT THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE WASHINGTON HOUSING ASSOCIATION ON JUNE 17 OF THIS YEAR. YOUR LETTER SAYS THAT "ALTHOUGH NO REGISTRATION AS SUCH WAS CHARGED, THE $5.00 COST FOR THE MEAL IS OBVIOUSLY INTENDED AS A FEE INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AND WAS A REQUIREMENT.' THE MEETING WAS HELD IN WASHINGTON, D.C., THE OFFICIAL STATION OF MR. CONRAD.

THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS BY PERSONNEL OF THE COMMISSION DURING THE FISCAL YEAR 1958 IS CONTAINED IN SECTION 401 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1958, 71 STAT. 272, WHICH READS AS FOLLOWS:

UNLESS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW, APPROPRIATIONS CONTAINED IN THIS ACT AVAILABLE FOR EXPENSES OF TRAVEL SHALL BE AVAILABLE, WHEN SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZED BY THE HEAD OF THE ACTIVITY OR ESTABLISHMENT CONCERNED, FOR EXPENSES OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS OF ORGANIZATIONS CONCERNED WITH THE FUNCTION OR ACTIVITY FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION CONCERNED IS MADE.

THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION AUTHORIZED THE ATTENDANCE AT THE MEETING AND HAS A DETERMINATION THAT "THE CONFERENCE IS CONCERNED WITH THE FUNCTION OR ACTIVITY FOR WHICH THE APPROPRIATION IS E.'

AS A GENERAL RULE, THE EXPENSE OF SUBSISTENCE AT HEADQUARTERS IS PERSONAL TO THE EMPLOYEE AND MEALS ORDINARILY MAY NOT BE FURNISHED HIM AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WITHIN THE LIMITS OF HIS HEADQUARTERS. HOWEVER, WE HAVE HELD THAT THE PAYMENT OF A REGISTRATION FEE INCIDENT TO ATTENDANCE AT A CONFERENCE HELD AT AN EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS WAS PROPER, EVEN THOUGH MEALS WERE FURNISHED TO PERSONS ATTENDING SUCH CONFERENCE AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE. SEE DECISION OF AUGUST 25, 1947, B 66978. THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR ATTENDANCE AT THE CONFERENCE CONSIDERED IN THAT DECISION IS SIMILAR TO THE AUTHORITY CONTAINED IN SECTION 401 OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATION ACT, 1958, QUOTED ABOVE.

THE ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR SAYS THAT PAYMENT OF THE $5 WAS REQUIRED IN ORDER TO ATTEND THE ANNUAL MEETING AND YOU POINT OUT THAT IT IS DIFFICULT, IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE, TO DETERMINE THE VALUE OF THE MEAL ITSELF.

IN VIEW OF SUCH FACTS AND OF OUR HOLDING IN THE DECISION OF AUGUST 25, 1947, WE ARE OF THE VIEW THAT THE ENTIRE $5 CHARGE IS FOR ALLOWANCE.

THE VOUCHER RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE PROPER.