B-138688, MAR 30, 1959

B-138688: Mar 30, 1959

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WAS SUBMITTED FOR REVIEW TO OUR CIVIL AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING DIVISION BY THE CHIEF FISCAL MANAGEMENT BRANCH. WE ARE REPLYING DIRECT TO YOU. WHERE THEY WERE JOINED BY MARTIN. LAHART CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT FOR HIS SON'S TRAVEL TO NEW YORK IN JUNE 1957 TO THE EXTENT IT WOULD HAVE COST HIM TO TRAVEL TO MINNEAPOLIS. JR.'S TRAVEL WAS NOT PERFORMED PRIMARILY FOR VACATION PURPOSES WOULD PRECLUDE REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE LAW. IS GOVERNED BY THAT PART OF 5 U.S.C. 73B-3(A) RELATING TO EXPENSES OF TRAVEL INCIDENT TO THE HOME LEAVE. PAYMENT OF THE SON'S TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE WAS PROPER UNDER THE STATUTE. THE FILE SUBMITTED IS RETURNED.

B-138688, MAR 30, 1959

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

MR. SECRETARY:

THIS REFERS TO THE HOME LEAVE TRAVEL VOUCHER OF MR. MARTIN J. LAHART, SR., AN EMPLOYEE OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE STATIONED IN HONOLULU, T. H. THE VOUCHER, AFTER PAYMENT, WAS SUBMITTED FOR REVIEW TO OUR CIVIL AUDITING AND ACCOUNTING DIVISION BY THE CHIEF FISCAL MANAGEMENT BRANCH, SAN FRANCISCO REGIONAL OFFICE, FOR ADVICE CONCERNING THE LIABILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT UNDER PUBLIC LAW 737, 5 U.S.C. 73B-3(A) FOR MR. LAHART'S DEPENDENT SON'S TRAVEL UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES DESCRIBED. BECAUSE OF THE GENERAL APPLICATION OF THE QUESTION AND THE REPORTED FACT OF OTHER SIMILAR CASES, WE ARE REPLYING DIRECT TO YOU.

THE FILE SHOWS THAT MR. LAHART BEGAN A TWO-YEAR EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT AT HONOLULU ABOUT JUNE 1956. IN SEPTEMBER 1957, HIS SON, MARTIN, JR., AGE 19, TRAVELED FROM HONOLULU TO NEW YORK CITY AT THE EMPLOYEE'S EXPENSE TO ATTEND COLLEGE. IN JUNE 1958, WHEN HE BECAME ELIGIBLE FOR HOME LEAVE TRAVEL BY SIGNING ANOTHER TWO-YEAR AGREEMENT, MR. LAHART AND HIS OTHER DEPENDENTS TRAVELED TO THEIR PLACE OF RESIDENCE AT MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, WHERE THEY WERE JOINED BY MARTIN, JR. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE WHOLE FAMILY RETURNED TO HONOLULU ON AIRLINE TICKETS PURCHASED WITH GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS.

MR. LAHART CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT FOR HIS SON'S TRAVEL TO NEW YORK IN JUNE 1957 TO THE EXTENT IT WOULD HAVE COST HIM TO TRAVEL TO MINNEAPOLIS, THE PLACE OF RESIDENCE. THE CHIEF, FISCAL MANAGEMENT BRANCH, SAN FRANCISCO, STATES THAT THE QUESTION AROSE IN THE POST AUDIT OF THE VOUCHER WHETHER THE FACT THAT MARTIN, JR.'S TRAVEL WAS NOT PERFORMED PRIMARILY FOR VACATION PURPOSES WOULD PRECLUDE REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE LAW.

TITLE 5 U.S.C. SECTION 73B-3(A) PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

"THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE RETURNS HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THE UNITED STATES, INCLUDING ITS TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS, AT HIS OWN EXPENSE PRIOR TO HIS RETURN AND FOR OTHER THAN REASONS OF PUBLIC INTEREST, THE GOVERNMENT SHALL REIMBURSE HIM FOR PROPER TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AT SUCH TIME AS HE ACQUIRES ELIGIBILITY THEREFOR. THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE FOREIGN SERVICE, STATE DEPARTMENT."

THUS, THE STATUTE CONTAINS NO LIMITATION ON THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH A DEPENDENT MAY RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES PRIOR TO THE EMPLOYEE'S ELIGIBILITY. THEREFORE, UNDER THAT PROVISION OF LAW MR. LAHART BECAME ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR HIS SON'S PRIOR TRAVEL WHEN HE HIMSELF ACQUIRED ELIGIBILITY - THE TIME OF HIS RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES ON HOME LEAVE. THE RETURN TRAVEL OF THE SON TO HONOLULU WITH THE FAMILY, HOWEVER, IS GOVERNED BY THAT PART OF 5 U.S.C. 73B-3(A) RELATING TO EXPENSES OF TRAVEL INCIDENT TO THE HOME LEAVE. THEREFORE, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, PAYMENT OF THE SON'S TRANSPORTATION EXPENSE WAS PROPER UNDER THE STATUTE.

THE FILE SUBMITTED IS RETURNED.