B-139852, JUL. 24, 1959

B-139852: Jul 24, 1959

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THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON. WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH LESS THAN PER DIEM ALLOWANCE CLAIMED FOR THE NONWORK DAYS AWAY FROM WASHINGTON. YOU WERE ALLOWED $24.32 REPRESENTING FOUR ROUND TRIPS FROM BALTIMORE TO WASHINGTON. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY OUR OFFICE ON THE BASIS OF SECTION 1.1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES THAT EMPLOYEES ARE EXPECTED TO EXERCISE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS. WHO IS NOT REQUIRED TO PERFORM DUTY ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS IS ENTITLED TO HIS FULL PER DIEM ALLOWANCE NOTWITHSTANDING THAT HE MAY BE ABSENT FROM HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION ON SUCH DAYS FOR PERSONAL REASONS. "/3) SECTION 3.

B-139852, JUL. 24, 1959

TO MR. ALFRED G. STELLATO:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1959, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTS RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF JANUARY 30, 1958, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $83.68 ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED ON BUREAU VOUCHER NO. 20, DATED JULY 1, 1957, COVERING TRAVEL AND TEMPORARY DUTY EXPENSES UNDER TRAVEL ORDER NO. R3-143, DATED MAY 28, 1957.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY OF 60 DAYS. THE TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED $12 PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, BUT CONTAINS NO SPECIFIC PROVISION CONCERNING RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS ON WEEK-ENDS. YOU REMAINED AWAY FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., OVER THE WEEK ENDS OF JUNE 8, 15, 22, AND 29, 1957, ALTHOUGH MILEAGE FOR FOUR ROUND TRIPS BETWEEN YOUR HOME IN WASHINGTON, AND YOUR TEMPORARY DUTY STATION IN BALTIMORE, WOULD HAVE BEEN MUCH LESS THAN PER DIEM ALLOWANCE CLAIMED FOR THE NONWORK DAYS AWAY FROM WASHINGTON. BY ADMINISTRATIVE AUDIT STATEMENT DATED JULY 3, 1957, OF THE $108 CLAIMED BY YOU FOR PER DIEM DURING THE WEEK-ENDS IN QUESTION, YOU WERE ALLOWED $24.32 REPRESENTING FOUR ROUND TRIPS FROM BALTIMORE TO WASHINGTON, D.C., 304 MILES AT ?08 PER MILE. YOUR CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED BY OUR OFFICE ON THE BASIS OF SECTION 1.1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES THAT EMPLOYEES ARE EXPECTED TO EXERCISE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS.

IN YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 9, 1957, TO OUR OFFICE, SUBMITTING YOUR ORIGINAL CLAIM YOU SAID IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"IN ARRIVING AT A DECISION, I WISH THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION, SUBSEQUENTLY GLEANED FROM THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION:

"/1) SECTION 3, PARAGRAPH 3.8 (A), P.4, MAY, 1957

AT THE DISCRETION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS, A TRAVELER MAY BE REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR NONWORK DAYS.

"/2) SECTION 3, PARAGRAPH 3.8 (G), P.5, MAY, 1957

AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS ON A PER DIEM BASIS, WHO IS NOT REQUIRED TO PERFORM DUTY ON SUNDAYS AND HOLIDAYS IS ENTITLED TO HIS FULL PER DIEM ALLOWANCE NOTWITHSTANDING THAT HE MAY BE ABSENT FROM HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION ON SUCH DAYS FOR PERSONAL REASONS.

"/3) SECTION 3, PARAGRAPH 3.8 (I), P.5, MAY, 1957

IF AN EMPLOYEE ABSENTS HIMSELF FROM HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AND RETURNS TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS PURSUANT TO PROPER ORDERS, HIS PER DIEM WOULD OF COURSE TERMINATE AS OF THE HOUR OF ARRIVAL AT HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS.'

THE ABOVE QUOTATIONS WHICH WERE CONSIDERED WHEN OUR SETTLEMENT OF JANUARY 30, 1958, WAS ISSUED APPARENTLY ARE FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE HANDBOOK S-806, INSTRUCTIONS ON OFFICIAL TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS. THOSE SECTIONS DO NOT PURPORT TO AUTHORIZE AN EMPLOYEE TO REMAIN AWAY FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS ON NONWORKDAYS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IN CONTRAVENTION OF SECTION 1.1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. FURTHERMORE, IN THE INTRODUCTION TO THE CIVIL SERVICE HANDBOOK S-806, PARAGRAPH 4 STATES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"EACH TRAVELER, * * * SHOULD ACQUAINT HIMSELF THOROUGHLY WITH THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS AS WELL AS THE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS OUTLINED IN THIS HANDBOOK.'

ALSO, SECTION 3, PARAGRAPH 3.8A OF THE CIVIL SERVICE TRAVEL REGULATIONS HAS BEEN AMENDED TO CLARIFY THE NECESSITY FOR THE RETURN OF AN EMPLOYEE TO HIS HEADQUARTERS ON NONWORKDAYS WHEN THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION IS CLOSE BY HIS HEADQUARTERS AND PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"WHEN THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION OF AN EMPLOYEE IS SO NEAR TO THE OFFICIAL STATION, OR THE PLACE OF ABODE FROM WHICH HE COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, THAT THE SAVINGS BY RETURNING THERETO OVER WEEK ENDS AND HOLIDAYS WOULD EXCEED THE COST OF TRAVEL, AND UNLESS OFFICIAL DUTY REQUIRES HIS PRESENCE AT THE TEMPORARY STATION AT SUCH TIMES, HE SHOULD RETURN TO THE OFFICIAL STATION. (SEE 27 C.G. 50).'

SECTION 1.1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS ABOVE INDICATED, PROVIDES THAT EMPLOYEES ARE EXPECTED TO USE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS. WHEN THE TEMPORARY DUTY POST OF AN EMPLOYEE IS SO NEAR TO THE OFFICIAL STATION THAT SUBSTANTIAL EXPENSES WOULD BE SAVED BY RETURNING THERETO OVER WEEK-ENDS, AS IN YOUR CASE, THE PROVISIONS OF SAID SECTION, GENERALLY, WOULD REQUIRE A RETURN TO THE OFFICIAL STATION. THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT IN YOUR CASE, IN PERTINENT PART, READS AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * THE CASE WAS CAREFULLY REVIEWED IN THIS OFFICE AND IT WAS OUR OPINION THAT MR. STELLATO DID NOT ACT AS A PRUDENT PERSON WHEN HE STAYED IN BALTIMORE FOR THE TWO NON-WORK DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS OF EACH WEEKEND. HE IS THE ONLY EMPLOYEE DETAILED TO BALTIMORE WHO DID NOT RETURN TO HIS HOME ON FRIDAY NIGHT AND REMAIN THERE UNTIL MONDAY MORNING. FURTHER, IT IS A WELL KNOWN FACT THAT MANY PEOPLE COMMUTE DAILY BETWEEN THE TWO CITIES. IT WOULD NOT, THEREFORE, SEEM A PROPER EXPENDITURE OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS TO PAY PER DIEM TO AN EMPLOYEE FOR TWO AND ONE-FOURTH NON-WORK DAYS EACH WEEK-END MERELY BECAUSE HE PERSONALLY DESIRED TO REMAIN IN BALTIMORE.'

THEREFORE, AND SINCE THERE IS NOTHING OF RECORD TO SHOW THAT YOUR OFFICIAL DUTIES REQUIRED YOUR PRESENCE AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY POST OVER THE WEEK-ENDS IN QUESTION YOUR ELECTION TO REMAIN THERE FOR THE NONWORKDAYS MUST BE CONSIDERED TO HAVE BEEN FOR PERSONAL REASONS AND WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO SUSTAIN THE ACTION TAKEN IN OUR SETTLEMENT OF JANUARY 30, 1958.