B-138556, FEB 20, 1959

B-138556: Feb 20, 1959

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BARTHOLOMEW IS A PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTEE AND RECEIVES NO COMPENSATION FOR HIS SERVICES. HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IS WASHINGTON. HE WAS IN SAN FRANCISCO WHEN LETTER ORDERS DATED DECEMBER 11. HE IS SHOWN TO HAVE DEPARTED FROM WASHINGTON AT NOON AND TRAVELED DIRECT TO SAN FRANCISCO ARRIVING THERE AT 10:40 P.M. IT NOW APPEARS THAT THE PER DIEM CLAIMED IS BASED UPON THE ACTUAL AIR TRAVEL TIME REQUIRED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED (DIRECT) ROUTE. HE CONTENDS THAT THE STOPOVERS EN ROUTE WERE NECESSARY. IT WAS LESS EXPENSIVE FOR HIM TO LEAVE HIS WIFE WITH RELATIVES IN PHOENIX THAN TO PAY HER TRAVEL EXPENSES TO WASHINGTON. THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT TRAVELING EXPENSES WHICH ARE REIMBURSEABLE SHALL BE CONFINED TO THOSE EXPENSES ESSENTIAL TO THE TRANSACTING OF THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS.

B-138556, FEB 20, 1959

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

MR. W. E. FINLEY:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 27, 1959, TRANSMITTING A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $434.53 STATED IN FAVOR OF MR. HARLAND BARTHOLOMEW, CHAIRMAN, NATIONAL CAPITAL PLANNING COMMISSION, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, TO WASHINGTON, D. C., AND RETURN, BETWEEN DECEMBER 28, 1958, AND JANUARY 13, 1959, AND REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

YOU SAY THAT MR. BARTHOLOMEW IS A PRESIDENTIAL APPOINTEE AND RECEIVES NO COMPENSATION FOR HIS SERVICES. HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IS WASHINGTON, BUT HE WAS IN SAN FRANCISCO WHEN LETTER ORDERS DATED DECEMBER 11, 1958, REQUIRED HIM TO RETURN TO HIS STATION ON OR ABOUT DECEMBER 28, 1958, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERFORMING OFFICIAL DUTY FOR THE COMMISSION. THESE ORDERS PRESCRIBED A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE AT THE MAXIMUM STATUTORY RATE WHILE EN ROUTE TO AND FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION, AND THEY SPECIFICALLY PROVIDED THAT EXPENSES FOR TRAVEL WOULD BE ALLOWED BY THE MOST DIRECT ROUTE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER INDICATES THAT THE TRAVELER, WHO PURCHASED A ROUND TRIP AIRPLANE TICKET WITH PERSONAL FUNDS, DEPARTED FROM SAN FRANCISCO AT 9:30 A.M., DECEMBER 28, 1958, AND PROCEEDED TO WASHINGTON VIA AN INDIRECT ROUTE ARRIVING THERE AT 6:10 P.M., JANUARY 3, 1959. AFTER HAVING COMPLETED THE DUTIES SO ASSIGNED, HE IS SHOWN TO HAVE DEPARTED FROM WASHINGTON AT NOON AND TRAVELED DIRECT TO SAN FRANCISCO ARRIVING THERE AT 10:40 P.M., JANUARY 13, 1959. ALTHOUGH THE INDIRECT TRAVEL TO WASHINGTON INVOLVED LAYOVERS IN BOTH PHOENIX, ARIZONA, AND ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, IT NOW APPEARS THAT THE PER DIEM CLAIMED IS BASED UPON THE ACTUAL AIR TRAVEL TIME REQUIRED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED (DIRECT) ROUTE. THAT PORTION OF THE TRIP TO WASHINGTON VIA PHOENIX AND ST. LOUIS RESULTED IN EXCESS COSTS TO THE TRAVELER; HOWEVER, HE CONTENDS THAT THE STOPOVERS EN ROUTE WERE NECESSARY, AND SINCE THE ORDERS REQUIRING HIS RETURN TO WASHINGTON INTERFERED WITH PERSONAL BUSINESS, AND IT WAS LESS EXPENSIVE FOR HIM TO LEAVE HIS WIFE WITH RELATIVES IN PHOENIX THAN TO PAY HER TRAVEL EXPENSES TO WASHINGTON, HE SHOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR THE EXTRA EXPENSE RESULTING FROM INDIRECT TRAVEL.

THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDE THAT TRAVELING EXPENSES WHICH ARE REIMBURSEABLE SHALL BE CONFINED TO THOSE EXPENSES ESSENTIAL TO THE TRANSACTING OF THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS. DEVIATIONS FROM DIRECT ROUTES WHICH ARE NO AUTHORIZED FOR OFFICIAL BUSINESS, AND ARE NOT OCCASIONED BY THE PERFORMANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY, OR CAUSED BY CIRCUMSTANCES BEYOND THE CONTROL OF THE TRAVELER, LONG HAVE BEEN CONSIDERED AS BEING FOR THE CONVENIENCE OF THE TRAVELER. SEE SECTIONS 3.2 AND 3.3 OF THE ABOVE-CITED REGULATIONS.

IN THE LIGHT OF THE RELATED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES, IT FOLLOWS THAT THAT PORTION OF EXCESS CHARGES CLAIMED FOR TRAVEL VIA THE INDIRECT ROUTE MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. THE SUM CLAIMED FOR BUS AND TAXICAB FARES APPEARS PROPER FOR CERTIFICATION BUT THAT PORTION OF THE CLAIM REPRESENTING ACCESS BAGGAGE CHARGES FOR DIRECT TRAVEL FROM AND TO SAN FRANCISCO IS GOVERNED BY SECTION 5.2 OF THE STANDARDISED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND THE AMOUNT ALLOWABLE THEREFOR IF ADMINISTRATIVELY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED-MUST NOT EXCEED THE COSTS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED FOR TRANSPORTATION VIA THE DIRECT, USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED.