B-138683, FEB 26, 1959

B-138683: Feb 26, 1959

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PARSONS WAS ORDERED TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION. THAT IN EACH INSTANCE HE WAS ABSENT FROM HIS PERMANENT STATION MORE THAN TWO BUT LESS THAN FOUR DAYS FOR WHICH HE SUBSEQUENTLY MADE CLAIM AND WAS PAID A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE AT THE RATE OF $4.80 PER DAY IN COMPLIANCE WITH SUCH TRAVEL ORDERS. THE SUM THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE IF COMPUTED AT THE RATE OF $10 PER DAY. THE AMOUNT THAT WAS PAID TO HIM AS PER DIEM AUTHORIZED AT THE RATE OF $4.80 ON HIS TRAVEL ORDER. PARSONS' CLAIM FOR THE $10 RATE IS BASED UPON REGULATIONS APPEARING IN FEDERAL CIVIL DEFENSE ADMINISTRATION MANUAL H21.1. PERMITS A MAXIMUM PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF NOT TO EXCEED $10 WHILE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS ON TEMPORARY DUTY AWAY FROM HIS PERMANENT STATION WHEN THE STAY IS FOR MORE THAN ONE DAY AND GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE OCCUPIED WITHOUT CHARGE.

B-138683, FEB 26, 1959

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

W. R. WILSON, OFFICE OF CIVIL & DEFENSE MOBILIZATION:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 9, 1959, RECEIVED HERE FEBRUARY 11, TRANSMITTING A SUPPLEMENTAL EXPENSE VOUCHER FOR $44.20 STATED IN FAVOR OF MR. EDGAR A. PARSONS, AN EMPLOYEE OF YOUR AGENCY, AND REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE VOUCHER PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

MR. PARSONS OCCUPIES THE POSITION OF PROGRAM PLANNING OFFICER WITH WASHINGTON, D. C., AS HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON THREE DIFFERENT OCCASIONS SUBSEQUENT TO AUGUST 22, 1957, MR. PARSONS WAS ORDERED TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION, AND THAT IN EACH INSTANCE HE WAS ABSENT FROM HIS PERMANENT STATION MORE THAN TWO BUT LESS THAN FOUR DAYS FOR WHICH HE SUBSEQUENTLY MADE CLAIM AND WAS PAID A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE AT THE RATE OF $4.80 PER DAY IN COMPLIANCE WITH SUCH TRAVEL ORDERS. THE PRESENT CLAIM REPRESENTS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $85, THE SUM THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE IF COMPUTED AT THE RATE OF $10 PER DAY, AND $40.80, THE AMOUNT THAT WAS PAID TO HIM AS PER DIEM AUTHORIZED AT THE RATE OF $4.80 ON HIS TRAVEL ORDER.

YOU SAY THAT MR. PARSONS' CLAIM FOR THE $10 RATE IS BASED UPON REGULATIONS APPEARING IN FEDERAL CIVIL DEFENSE ADMINISTRATION MANUAL H21.1. THAT MANUAL - CHAPTER 5, PARAGRAPH 5.1A(1D, CHANGE 1, REVISED JULY 20, 1956, PERMITS A MAXIMUM PER DIEM ALLOWANCE OF NOT TO EXCEED $10 WHILE AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS ON TEMPORARY DUTY AWAY FROM HIS PERMANENT STATION WHEN THE STAY IS FOR MORE THAN ONE DAY AND GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE OCCUPIED WITHOUT CHARGE, OR AT AN AMOUNT LESS THAN $2 PER DAY. THE ADDITIONAL CLAIM IS NOT ADMINISTRATIVELY APPROVED FOR PAYMENT, AND THERE IS NOTHING IN YOUR LETTER TO DENOTE THAT THE $4.80 RATE PRESCRIBED IN THE ORIGINAL TRAVEL ORDERS WAS FOR AN INCORRECT AMOUNT AND NOT AS INTENDED AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL WAS AUTHORIZED. YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER ARISES BECAUSE OF THE ESTABLISHED RULE THAT A PER DIEM RATE FIXED BY TRAVEL ORDERS MAY NOT BE INCREASED RETROACTIVELY. SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 713; 24 ID. 362; ID. 439; 2D ID. 732; 35 ID. 148. COMPARE 36 COMP. GEN. 487.

SECTION 8.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS VESTS IN EACH DEPARTMENT AND ESTABLISHMENT THE RESPONSIBILITY OF AUTHORIZING ONLY SUCH PER DIEM ALLOWANCES (NOT IN EXCESS OF THE MAXIMUM STATUTORY RATE), AS ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE TRAVEL. ALTHOUGH THE REGULATIONS - IN LINE WITH THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 3 OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, 63 STAT. 5 U.S.C. 886 166, AS AMENDED - PROVIDE THAT A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE COVERING OFFICIAL TRAVEL MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED, THE WELL-ESTABLISHED RULE PRECLUDES THE RETROACTIVE MODIFICATION OF THE PER DIEM RATE ORIGINALLY PRESCRIBED, EXCEPT IN INSTANCES WHEN IT IS CLEARLY AND DEFINITELY SHOWN THAT THROUGH ERROR OR INADVERTENCE SUCH RATE WAS NOT THE AMOUNT CONTEMPLATED OR INTENDED. SUCH EVIDENCE IS LACKING HERE. THERE IS NO STATUTORY OR REGULATORY PROVISION WHICH PRECLUDES THE AUTHORIZATION OF PER DIEM AT LESS THAN THE MAXIMUM RATE.

FOR THE REASONS INDICATED WE FIND NO PROPER BASIS FOR PAYMENT OF THE AMOUNT CLAIMED. CONSEQUENTLY, THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.