B-137575, JAN 13, 1959

B-137575: Jan 13, 1959

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THE DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED UPON PARAGRAPH D04A01-2B(2) OF THE COAST GUARD TRAVEL MANUAL. WHICH REQUIRES THAT 50 PERCENT OF THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE BE DEDUCTED FOR EACH DAY THAT LODGING IS FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE. THE ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY THAT COAST GUARD EMPLOYEES IN A TRAVEL STATUS SHOULD CONTINUE TO TRAVEL WHEN RETURNING TO HEADQUARTERS IF SUCH TRAVEL WILL PERMIT THEIR ARRIVAL AT A REASONABLE HOUR. AS FOLLOWS: "TEN PERCENTUM OF THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE WILL BE DEDUCTED FOR EACH MEAL FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE. 50% FOR EACH DAY'S LODGING. ***" YOU POINT OUT THAT YOUR CLAIM ACTUALLY IS ONLY FOR $21 PER DIEM. THAT THE FIRST TRAIN YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE WAS SCHEDULED TO LEAVE NEW YORK AT 7:30 P.M.

B-137575, JAN 13, 1959

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

MR. JAMES H. HOLLOY, CHIEF HEARING EXAMINER:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 16, 1958, REQUESTS RECONSIDERATION OF OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF SEPTEMBER 3, 1958, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR ADDITIONAL PER DIEM ALLOWANCE WHILE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FOR THE COAST GUARD. THE DISALLOWANCE WAS BASED UPON PARAGRAPH D04A01-2B(2) OF THE COAST GUARD TRAVEL MANUAL, WHICH REQUIRES THAT 50 PERCENT OF THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE BE DEDUCTED FOR EACH DAY THAT LODGING IS FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE, AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY THAT COAST GUARD EMPLOYEES IN A TRAVEL STATUS SHOULD CONTINUE TO TRAVEL WHEN RETURNING TO HEADQUARTERS IF SUCH TRAVEL WILL PERMIT THEIR ARRIVAL AT A REASONABLE HOUR.

PARAGRAPH D04A01-2B(2) READS, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"TEN PERCENTUM OF THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE WILL BE DEDUCTED FOR EACH MEAL FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE, WITH A MAXIMUM OF 30% FOR ONE DAY, AND 50% FOR EACH DAY'S LODGING. ***"

YOU POINT OUT THAT YOUR CLAIM ACTUALLY IS ONLY FOR $21 PER DIEM, $7.50 FOR EACH OF TWO HALF DAYS, MARCH 21 AND 24, 1958, WHILE AT ST. THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS, PLUS $6 PER DIEM FOR MARCH 27, 1958, BECAUSE YOU DECIDED TO REMAIN IN NEW YORK THE NIGHT OF MARCH 26 RATHER THAN CONTINUE TRAVEL TO YOUR HEADQUARTERS, WASHINGTON, D. C., IMMEDIATELY UPON ARRIVAL IN NEW YORK FROM PUERTO RICO. IN YOUR LETTER YOU QUESTION THE COAST GUARD'S INTERPRETATION OF THEIR REGULATION WHICH ALLOWED YOU ONE-HALF OF THE $30 PER DIEM AUTHORIZED FOR THE VIRGIN ISLANDS ON MARCH 21 AND 24, 1958, OR $15 FOR EACH HALF DAY, AND THEN BY THE APPLICATION OF THE REDUCTION FACTOR THEREIN TO THE RATE IN EFFECT AT MIDNIGHT - $30 - CANCELED OUT THE PER DIEM AUTHORIZED, FOR THOSE TWO HALF DAYS WHILE AT ST. THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS ON TEMPORARY DUTY. CONCERNING THE DISALLOWANCE OF THE $6 PER DIEM FOR MARCH 27, 1958, YOU SAY THAT WHILE YOU ARRIVED AT IDLEWILD AIRPORT, LONG ISLAND, AT APPROXIMATELY 5:00 P.M., MARCH 26, A PROTRACTED NORTHEAST STORM RENDERED AIR TRAVEL TO WASHINGTON, D. C., INADVISABLE, AND THAT THE FIRST TRAIN YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO TAKE WAS SCHEDULED TO LEAVE NEW YORK AT 7:30 P.M. AND ARRIVE IN WASHINGTON, D. C., 11:30 P.M. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, YOU FEEL THAT YOU WERE JUSTIFIED IN REMAINING IN NEW YORK OVER NIGHT AND CONTINUING YOUR RETURN TRAVEL TO YOUR HEADQUARTERS THE FOLLOWING DAY.

UNDER SECTION 6.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS THE RATE OF PER DIEM, SO LONG AS THE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE IS NOT EXCEEDED IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER. SECTION 6.7 OF THOSE REGULATIONS DOES REQUIRE, HOWEVER, THAT WHERE LODGINGS ARE FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE OR AT A NOMINAL COST BY A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY THAT "AN APPROPRIATE DEDUCTION SHALL BE MADE FROM THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE." SINCE THE EXISTING ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION WAS APPLIED SO AS TO DENY YOU ANY PER DIEM WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY AT ST. THOMAS FOR A HALF DAY ON MARCH 21 AND 24, 1958, THE MATTER WAS AGAIN TAKEN UP WITH THE COAST GUARD. WE SUGGESTED THAT THE EXISTING COAST GUARD REGULATION COULD BE APPLIED SO AS TO PERMIT THE PER DIEM AUTHORIZED FOR ONE HALF DAY AT SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO ($9) AND AT ST. THOMAS ($15) TO BE ADDED TOGETHER BEFORE APPLYING THE DEDUCTION OF 50 PERCENT. THE RESULT WOULD BE THE USE OF A $24 PER DIEM RATE FOR THE PURPOSE OF THE REGULATION - IT BEING RECOGNIZED THAT THE REGULATION MAKES NO SPECIFIC PROVISION FOR THE FACT THAT MORE THAN ONE RATE MAY BE IN EFFECT DURING A PARTICULAR DAY - YOU WOULD THUS BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE - AFTER THE 50 PERCENT DEDUCTION - $12 INSTEAD OF THE $9 ACTUALLY PAID TO YOU FOR THE TWO DAYS BASED UPON THE ADMINISTRATIVE INTERPRETATION. YOUR CONTENTION THAT UNDER THE REGULATION YOU WERE ENTITLED TO $15 PER DIEM ON EACH OF THE TWO HALF DAYS MARCH 21 AND 24, 1958, WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY AT ST. THOMAS WITH APPLICATION OF THE REDUCTION FACTOR APPLIED TO EACH $15 PER DIEM FOR THE TWO HALF DAYS INVOLVED, WAS ALSO PRESENTED FOR CONSIDERATION.

AFTER CAREFUL CONSIDERATION OF THE MATTER, WE FEEL THE MORE REASONABLE APPLICATION OF THE EXISTING REGULATION, IN VIEW OF THE LANGUAGE THEREOF, IS THAT WHICH PERMITS THE TOTALING OF THE PER DIEM, FOR EACH HALF DAY WHILE AT SAN JUAN AND ST. THOMAS RESULTING IN A PER DIEM RATE AUTHORIZED FOR EACH FULL DAY OF $24 WHICH, WHEN REDUCED BY THE 50 PERCENT PRESCRIBED IN THE REGULATION, ALLOWS THE PAYMENT OF $12 FOR EACH OF THE TWO DAYS. THAT REGARD EXAMINATION OF THE PER DIEM ALLOWED FOR THE ENTIRE TEMPORARY DUTY PERIOD, PARTICULARLY THE PERIODS 12:01 A.M. TO NOON ON MARCH 22 AND 25 - AS WELL AS THE PERIODS NOON TO MIDNIGHT ON MARCH 21 AND 24 - WOULD APPEAR APPROPRIATE TO ASCERTAIN THE REASONABLENESS OF THE COAST GUARD'S REGULATION.

IN VIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY REQUIRING THAT EMPLOYEES OF THE COAST GUARD RETURN TO THEIR HEADQUARTERS PROMPTLY, WE FIND NO BASIS, UPON THE PRESENT RECORD, FOR ALLOWING THE $6 PER DIEM CLAIMED ON MARCH 27, 1958.

THEREFORE, BASED UPON THE FOREGOING CONSIDERATIONS, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF AN ADDITIONAL $6 PER DIEM, NAMELY, $3 FOR MARCH 21 AND $3 FOR MARCH 24, 1958, COMPUTED AS SET OUT ABOVE. OUR CLAIMS DIVISION IS TODAY BEING INSTRUCTED TO ISSUE A SETTLEMENT IN YOUR FAVOR FOR THAT AMOUNT.