B-138020, JANUARY 7, 1959, 38 COMP. GEN. 483

B-138020: Jan 7, 1959

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WHICH HAVE BEEN GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY FOR DETERMINATION OF THE QUALIFICATIONS OF APPLICATIONS FOR SUCH POSITIONS. IS NOT TRAVEL WITHIN THE GENERAL RULE WHIC WHICH PRECLUDES PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO INTERVIEWS. ARE THAT MR. WHICH IS WITHIN COMMUTING DISTANCE OF SAN FRANCISCO. WAS GIVEN AN EXCEPTED APPOINTMENT ( SCHEDULE A) WITH THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION EFFECTIVE AUGUST 12. MINTO WAS SWORN IN AT WASHINGTON. SINCE SAN FRANCISCO WAS HIS FIRST PERMANENT DUTY STATION THE EMPLOYEE WAS REQUIRED UNDER THE FIRST DUTY STATION RULE TO BEAR ONLY THE EXPENSE OF REPORTING TO SAN FRANCISCO FROM SAN MATEO. GEN. 480 REFERS TO THE GENERAL RULE PROHIBITING ALLOWANCE OF TRAVELING EXPENSES IN REPORTING FOR PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS EXCEPT IN CASES "WHERE PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES ARE TO BE APPOINTED TO POSITIONS EXCEPTED FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND THE CLASSIFICATION ACT.'.

B-138020, JANUARY 7, 1959, 38 COMP. GEN. 483

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - TRAVEL EXPENSES - INTERVIEWS, ETC. - APPLICANTS FOR EXCEPTED POSITIONS - AGENCY HAVING DETERMINATION AUTHORITY TRAVEL INCIDENT TO PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS OF APPLICATIONS FOR POSITIONS SUBJECT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, BUT EXCEPTED FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS, CONDUCTED BY DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES, WHICH HAVE BEEN GIVEN RESPONSIBILITY FOR DETERMINATION OF THE QUALIFICATIONS OF APPLICATIONS FOR SUCH POSITIONS, IS NOT TRAVEL WITHIN THE GENERAL RULE WHIC WHICH PRECLUDES PAYMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO INTERVIEWS; THEREFORE, THE COST OF SUCH TRAVEL MAY BE PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT.

TO LESTER H. THOMPSON, FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION, JANUARY 7, 1959:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 24, 1958, YOUR REFERENCE FB:HS, REQUESTING OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF MR. D. G. MINTO FOR $168.35. THE VOUCHER REPRESENTS AN AMOUNT ADMINISTRATIVELY SUSPENDED TO COVER THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.

THE FACTS, AS STATED IN YOUR LETTER AND RELATED PAPERS, ARE THAT MR. MINTO, WHO RESIDED IN SAN MATEO, CALIFORNIA, WHICH IS WITHIN COMMUTING DISTANCE OF SAN FRANCISCO, WAS GIVEN AN EXCEPTED APPOINTMENT ( SCHEDULE A) WITH THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION EFFECTIVE AUGUST 12, 1958, WITH HEADQUARTERS DESIGNATED AS SAN FRANCISCO. HE REPORTED TO WASHINGTON, D.C., PRIOR TO THIS APPOINTMENT, AS REQUESTED BY THE COMMISSIONER, FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION, AT NO EXPENSE TO THE ADMINISTRATION. UNDERSTAND HE TOOK HIS OATH OF OFFICE AND RECEIVED INSTRUCTIONS AND POLICY DEFINITIONS AT WASHINGTON, D.C., CONCERNING THE DUTIES HE WOULD BE REQUIRED TO PERFORM AT HIS HEADQUARTERS IN SAN FRANCISCO. MR. MINTO WAS SWORN IN AT WASHINGTON, D.C., ON AUGUST 12, 1958 AND LEFT THE SAME DAY FOR HIS HEADQUARTERS.

IN YOUR LETTER YOU REFER TO THE GENERAL RULE WHICH PROHIBITS THE PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES TO FIRST DUTY STATION IN THE UNITED STATES. YOU POINT OUT, HOWEVER, THAT PRIOR TO THE DATE OF HIS APPOINTMENT MR. MINTO TRAVELED FROM HIS RESIDENCE IN SAN MATEO TO SAN FRANCISCO, AS WELL AS FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO WASHINGTON AT HIS OWN EXPENSE. SINCE SAN FRANCISCO WAS HIS FIRST PERMANENT DUTY STATION THE EMPLOYEE WAS REQUIRED UNDER THE FIRST DUTY STATION RULE TO BEAR ONLY THE EXPENSE OF REPORTING TO SAN FRANCISCO FROM SAN MATEO. ADDITIONAL TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR PURPOSE OF TRAINING OR TEMPORARY DUTY EN ROUTE TO THE FIRST PERMANENT DUTY STATION WOULD BE FOR ALLOWANCE. CF. 30 COMP. GEN. 373.

WHILE THE RECORD DOES NOT SO STATE, THE QUESTION ARISES FROM THE FACT OF THE BRIEF STAY OF MR. MINTO IN WASHINGTON AFTER TAKING THE OATH OF OFFICE AS TO THE PRIMARY REASON FOR THE TRIP TO THAT POINT. THE POSITION TO WHICH APPOINTED, DIRECTOR OF THE SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE, WOULD SUGGEST THE PRIMARY PURPOSE AS BEING A PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW. OUR DECISION, 31 COMP. GEN. 480 REFERS TO THE GENERAL RULE PROHIBITING ALLOWANCE OF TRAVELING EXPENSES IN REPORTING FOR PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS EXCEPT IN CASES "WHERE PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES ARE TO BE APPOINTED TO POSITIONS EXCEPTED FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND THE CLASSIFICATION ACT.' THAT DECISION, HOWEVER, CONCERNED PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES EXCEPTED FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND CLASSIFICATION ACT, 5 U.S.C. 1071 NOTE, AND AUTHORIZED ALLOWANCE OF TRAVELING EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED AS "ESSENTIAL IN ASCERTAINING AN INDIVIDUAL'S QUALIFICATIONS AND ADAPTABILITY FOR EMPLOYMENT IN A PARTICULAR AREA.' HERE, WE ARE CONCERNED WITH A POSITION EXCEPTED FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS, SO FAR AS IT INVOLVES QUALIFICATIONS, BUT SUBJECT TO THE CLASSIFICATION ACT. THE RULE THAT GOVERNMENT AGENCIES MAY NOT PAY OR REIMBURSE AN INDIVIDUAL FOR TRAVELING EXPENSES INCIDENT TO DETERMINATION OF HIS QUALIFICATIONS TO HOLD A GOVERNMENT POSITION SUBJECT TO THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS IS BASED UPON THE FACT THAT THE FUNCTION OF ASCERTAINING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES FOR SUCH POSITIONS IS VESTED IN THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. AS INDICATED ABOVE, WE UNDERSTAND THAT THAT FUNCTION IS VESTED IN YOUR AGENCY IN THE CASE OF YOUR SCHEDULE A APPOINTMENTS, SUBJECT ONLY TO THE LIMITATIONS SPECIFIED IN THE FEDERAL PERSONNEL MANUAL, CHAPTERS A-7 AND Z1-295.

IT FOLLOWS, THEREFORE, THAT IN EXCEPTED POSITIONS, WHEN, AS HERE, THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR DETERMINING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF APPLICANTS FOR SUCH POSITIONS IS VESTED IN THE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES, THE PAYMENT BY THEM OF ANY NECESSARY EXPENSES INCIDENT TO THE DETERMINATION IS PROPER IF FUNDS OTHERWISE ARE AVAILABLE THEREFOR. CF. 31 COMP. GEN. 175.

THUS, EVEN ASSUMING THE TRAVELING EXPENSES FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, RESULTED FROM A PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW, WE SEE NO OBJECTION TO ALLOWANCE OF THE CLAIM ON THAT BASIS, PROVIDED THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS DECISION CONCERNING PRE-EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW TRAVEL ARE SATISFIED.

ACTION ON THE VOUCHER SHOULD BE TAKEN ACCORDINGLY.