B-137457, OCT 15, 1958

B-137457: Oct 15, 1958

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THE ORDER PROVIDED THAT TRAVEL WAS TO BEGIN WITHIN SEVEN DAYS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OR THE ORDER IS NULL AND VOID. HOOPER WAS TO REPORT AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION PRIOR TO 8 A.M. A TELEGRAM WAS SENT BY THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OFFICER OF THE ERIE ORDNANCE DEPOT TO HUNTSVILLE. WAS UNSUCCESSFUL IN LOCATING A PLACE TO LIVE. IT WAS TOO LATE FOR THE EMPLOYEE TO RETURN FOR HIS FATHER'S FUNERAL WHICH WAS BEING HELD THAT MORNING. SINCE THE EMPLOYEE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY OF STAYING AT HUNTSVILLE AND COMPLETING HIS TEMPORARY DUTY AFTER IT WAS DETERMINED THAT HE COULD NOT RETURN TO HIS HOME IN TIME FOR HIS FATHER'S FUNERAL BUT INSTEAD ELECTED TO RETURN HOME FOR PERSONAL REASONS IT IS CLEAR THAT TRAVEL IN RETURNING TO TOLEDO WAS NOT INCIDENT TO THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY.

B-137457, OCT 15, 1958

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

CAPTAIN DEFORREST BROOKE, DISBURSING OFFICER:

ON SEPTEMBER 15, 1958 (FINKE-A 248.7 HOOPER, HERBERT B.), THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF FINANCE, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, FIELD DIVISION, FORWARDED HERE YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 8, 1958 (ORDJH-K), REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION UPON THE PROPRIETY FOR PAYMENT OF A TRANSMITTED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF HERBERT B. HOOPER FOR $83.66, REPRESENTING EXPENSES FOR CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER INCURRED AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE ERIE ORDNANCE DEPOT, FORT CLINTON, OHIO, UNDER ORDERS DATED JUNE 19, 1958.

THE ORDERS OF JUNE 19, 1958, AUTHORIZED MR. HOOPER TO COMMENCE TRAVEL ON OR ABOUT JULY 6, 1958, FOR TEMPORARY DUTY AT REDSTONE ARSENAL, HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA, TO ATTEND A GOVERNMENT SCHOOL FOR APPROXIMATELY 104 DAYS. THE ORDER PROVIDED THAT TRAVEL WAS TO BEGIN WITHIN SEVEN DAYS OF THE EFFECTIVE DATE OR THE ORDER IS NULL AND VOID. MR. HOOPER WAS TO REPORT AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION PRIOR TO 8 A.M., JULY 7, 1958. IT ALSO PROVIDED THAT TRAVEL COULD BE PERFORMED BY PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE WITH REIMBURSEMENT LIMITED TO COST TO THE GOVERNMENT OF TRAVEL BY USUAL COMMON CARRIER. MR. HOOPER APPLIED FOR AND RECEIVED A TRAVEL ADVANCE OF $360 WHICH AMOUNT HAS BEEN REPAID TO THE GOVERNMENT. IN THE LETTER OF AUGUST 1, 1958, FROM THE EMPLOYEE, TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR SUBMISSION, HE SAYS THAT UPON CONFIRMATION OF THE TRAVEL ORDERS HE CONTACTED MUEJIN AND HENSEN REALTY COMPANY, HUNTSVILLE, FOR HOUSING RESERVATIONS FOR THE DURATION OF HIS TEMPORARY DUTY. UPON RECEIVING A NEGATIVE REPLY HE MADE ARRANGEMENTS TO LEAVE EARLY IN ORDER TO ALLOW HIM TIME TO LOCATE A PLACE TO LIVE WHILE IN HUNTSVILLE. HE DEPARTED FROM HIS HOME AT TOLEDO, OHIO, ON JUNE 28, 1958, ON AUTHORIZED ANNUAL LEAVE, PLANNING TO TAKE A VACATION EN ROUTE TO HUNTSVILLE. THE EMPLOYEE'S FATHER DIED JULY 1, 1958, AND THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OFFICER AT THE ERIE ORDNANCE DEPOT MADE UNSUCCESSFUL ATTEMPTS TO LOCATE THE EMPLOYEE. ON JULY 1, 1958, A TELEGRAM WAS SENT BY THE CIVILIAN PERSONNEL OFFICER OF THE ERIE ORDNANCE DEPOT TO HUNTSVILLE, CANCELLING THE EMPLOYEE'S ASSIGNMENT THERE. THE EMPLOYEE ARRIVED IN HUNTSVILLE ON JULY 2, 1958, AND WAS UNSUCCESSFUL IN LOCATING A PLACE TO LIVE. MR. HOOPER NOT BEING AWARE OF THE FACT THAT HIS ASSIGNMENT HAD BEEN CANCELED HE REPORTED FOR TEMPORARY DUTY AT HUNTSVILLE ON JULY 3, 1958, WITH THE IDEA OF HIS ENLISTING THEIR AID IN FINDING A PLACE FOR HIMSELF AND FAMILY TO LIVE. OFFICIALS AT HUNTSVILLE MADE A TELEPHONE CALL TO HIS HEADQUARTERS TO DISCUSS WHAT MR. HOOPER SHOULD DO. IT WAS TOO LATE FOR THE EMPLOYEE TO RETURN FOR HIS FATHER'S FUNERAL WHICH WAS BEING HELD THAT MORNING. DURING THE TELEPHONE CONVERSATION, THE SCHOOL OFFICIALS INDICATED THAT THE SPACE IN THE CLASS ROOM COULD BE REINSTATED IF MR. HOOPER WANTED TO STAY. STATED HE FELT HE SHOULD RETURN HOME TO HELP WITH MATTERS PERTAINING TO HIS FATHER'S ESTATE. THE EMPLOYEE DEPARTED HUNTSVILLE IMMEDIATELY ARRIVING IN TOLEDO THE NEXT DAY, JULY 4, 1958.

SINCE THE EMPLOYEE HAD THE OPPORTUNITY OF STAYING AT HUNTSVILLE AND COMPLETING HIS TEMPORARY DUTY AFTER IT WAS DETERMINED THAT HE COULD NOT RETURN TO HIS HOME IN TIME FOR HIS FATHER'S FUNERAL BUT INSTEAD ELECTED TO RETURN HOME FOR PERSONAL REASONS IT IS CLEAR THAT TRAVEL IN RETURNING TO TOLEDO WAS NOT INCIDENT TO THE PERFORMANCE OF DUTY. THE SITUATION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER IS SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO THAT CONSIDERED BY OUR OFFICE IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 27, 1943, B-36871, 23 COMP. GEN. 237, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

"AN EMPLOYEE WHO, WHILE EN ROUTE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS TO A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION RECEIVED NOTICE OF THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER, ABANDONED HIS OFFICIAL ROUTING AND PROCEEDED AT HIS OWN EXPENSE TO THE HOME OF HIS FATHER AND SUBSEQUENTLY RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BETWEEN HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS AND THE POINT AT WHICH HE ABANDONED HIS OFFICIAL TRIP, INCLUDING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR THE TIME NECESSARILY CONSUMED ON THAT PORTION OF THE JOURNEY."

THEREFORE, MR. HOOPER WOULD BE ENTITLED BY REASON OF THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION TO THE COST OF CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL FOR HIMSELF BY COMMON CARRIER, INCLUDING LOCAL TAXICABS TO AND FROM COMMON CARRIER TERMINALS, FROM TOLEDO TO HUNTSVILLE, PLUS APPLICABLE PER DIEM FOR COMMON CARRIER TRAVEL OR MILEAGE AT AUTHORIZED RATE, PLUS PER DIEM FOR DIRECT AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL TIME AT AUTHORIZED RATE FOR AUTOMOBILE TRAVEL, WHICHEVER IS THE LESSER AMOUNT. SEE, GENERALLY, 26 COMP. GEN. 463, 466.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED WITH RELATED PAPERS, MAY NOT BE PAID IN ITS PRESENT FORM.