B-137606, NOV 6, 1958

B-137606: Nov 6, 1958

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CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC PROVISIONS: "SINCE YOUR DAILY DEPARTURE IS PRIOR TO 8:00 A.M. ONE-FOURTH DAY IS AUTHORIZED AT THE RATE OF $6.00.". IN YOUR LETTER YOU SAY THAT THERE WAS NO INTENT TO RESTRICT PAYMENT OF PER DIEM TO ONE-FOURTH DAY. SINCE THE COMMANDING OFFICER WAS DESIROUS THAT SUCH EMPLOYEES RECEIVE THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM ALLOWABLE. EACH OF THE INVOLVED ORDERS WAS AMENDED SO AS TO AUTHORIZE PER DIEM FOR THE TWO SIX-HOUR PERIODS WHERE DAILY TRAVEL BEGAN PRIOR TO 8 A.M. WAS COMPLETED DURING THE THIRD QUARTER. BOTH THE ORIGINAL AND THE AMENDED ORDERS ARE SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN ISSUED "BY DIRECTION OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER" OF THE POST OR STATION. YOU REQUEST THAT THE AMOUNT OF PER DIEM ALLOWABLE BE DETERMINED HERE IN VIEW OF THE ESTABLISHED RULE WHICH PRECLUDES THE RETROACTIVE MODIFICATION OF ORDERS SO AS TO INCREASE OR DECREASE RIGHTS WHICH HAVE ACCRUED TO AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL ALREADY PERFORMED.

B-137606, NOV 6, 1958

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

CAPTAIN C. M. CHRISTENSEN:

YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 3, 1958, FILE NP54, REQUESTS AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER, UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED BELOW, PER DIEM AS CLAIMED ON THE SEVEN VOUCHERS TRANSMITTED THEREWITH, PROPERLY MAY BE PAID TO EMPLOYEES OF THE MILITARY SEA TRANSPORTATION SERVICE, SEATTLE, WASHINGTON.

THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDERS DATED JULY 22 AND 28, 1958, WHICH DIRECTED THESE SEVEN EMPLOYEES TO PERFORM DAILY TRAVEL TO AND FROM BREMERTON, WASHINGTON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY OF AN ESTIMATED DURATION OF FROM 25 TO 30 DAYS AND AUTHORIZED A $6 PER DIEM ALLOWANCE, CONTAIN THE FOLLOWING SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

"SINCE YOUR DAILY DEPARTURE IS PRIOR TO 8:00 A.M., ONE-FOURTH DAY IS AUTHORIZED AT THE RATE OF $6.00."

IN YOUR LETTER YOU SAY THAT THERE WAS NO INTENT TO RESTRICT PAYMENT OF PER DIEM TO ONE-FOURTH DAY, SINCE THE COMMANDING OFFICER WAS DESIROUS THAT SUCH EMPLOYEES RECEIVE THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM ALLOWABLE. CONSEQUENTLY, AFTER THE TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT HAD BEEN COMPLETED, EACH OF THE INVOLVED ORDERS WAS AMENDED SO AS TO AUTHORIZE PER DIEM FOR THE TWO SIX-HOUR PERIODS WHERE DAILY TRAVEL BEGAN PRIOR TO 8 A.M., AND WAS COMPLETED DURING THE THIRD QUARTER. BOTH THE ORIGINAL AND THE AMENDED ORDERS ARE SHOWN TO HAVE BEEN ISSUED "BY DIRECTION OF THE COMMANDING OFFICER" OF THE POST OR STATION. ALTHOUGH THE AMENDED ORDERS EFFECTED NO CHANGE IN THE PRESCRIBED RATE OF PER DIEM, YOU REQUEST THAT THE AMOUNT OF PER DIEM ALLOWABLE BE DETERMINED HERE IN VIEW OF THE ESTABLISHED RULE WHICH PRECLUDES THE RETROACTIVE MODIFICATION OF ORDERS SO AS TO INCREASE OR DECREASE RIGHTS WHICH HAVE ACCRUED TO AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL ALREADY PERFORMED.

SECTION 6 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS VESTS EACH DEPARTMENT AND ESTABLISHMENT WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF AUTHORIZING ONLY SUCH PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AS ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE TRAVEL. THE REGULATIONS (SECTION 6.11) PROVIDE THAT "NO PER DIEM WILL BE ALLOWED WHEN THE DEPARTURE IS AT OR AFTER 8 A.M., AND THE RETURN ON THE SAME DAY IS AT OR PRIOR TO 6 P.M., OR FOR ANY ABSENCE NOT EXCEEDING 3 HOURS." ALSO, IN COMPUTING PER DIEM FOR CONTINUOUS TRAVEL OVER A PERIOD OF 24 HOURS OR LESS, SUCH PERIOD WILL BE REGARDED AS COMMENCING WITH THE BEGINNING OF THE TRAVEL AND ENDING WITH THE COMPLETION THEREOF, AND FOR EACH 6-HOUR PORTION OR FRACTION THEREOF ONE-FOURTH OF THE RATE FOR A CALENDAR DAY WILL BE ALLOWED.

UNDER THE CITED REGULATIONS AN EMPLOYEE WHO OFFICIALLY DEPARTS FROM HIS PERMANENT STATION PRIOR TO 8 A.M., AND CONTINUES IN A TRAVEL-DUTY STATUS FOR MORE THAN SIX BUT LESS THAN TWELVE HOURS, WOULD BE ENTITLED TO PER DIEM FOR TWO FULL SIX-HOUR PERIODS. THE WELL ESTABLISHED RULE AGAINST RETROACTIVE MODIFICATION OF ORDERS, WAS NOT INTENDED TO PRECLUDE THE CORRECTION OF OBVIOUS ERRORS TO SHOW "THE ORIGINAL INTENT." SEE 24 COMP. GEN. 439. SINCE THE AMENDED ORDERS ARE IN ACCORD WITH NORMAL PRACTICE WE WILL REGARD THE CHANGES AS CORRECTIONS OF THE ORIGINAL ORDERS TO CONFORM WITH INTENT. HOWEVER, AN EXAMINATION OF THE VOUCHERS SHOWS THAT PER DIEM IS NOT ALLOWABLE FOR JULY 22, 1958, FOR THE REASON THAT THESE EMPLOYEES WERE NOT ON THAT DAY OFFICIALLY ABSENT FROM THEIR PERMANENT STATION PRIOR TO 8 A.M., OR SUBSEQUENT TO 6 P.M. FOR THE SAME REASON, NO PER DIEM MAY BE PAID TO HAROLD W. FROST FOR JULY 24, 1958.

THE VOUCHERS ARE RETURNED HEREWITH AND IF CORRECTED TO AGREE WITH THE FOREGOING, THEY PROPERLY MAY BE PAID.