B-140359, AUG. 17, 1959

B-140359: Aug 17, 1959

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THE COURSE WAS SCHEDULED TO COMMENCE ON MAY 18. HE WAS PUT ON ANNUAL LEAVE AT 2:01 A.M. AS THE CLASS AT OKLAHOMA CITY WAS COMPLETED ON MAY 29. THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TO ATTEND ANOTHER AIR CONDITIONING COURSE AT OKLAHOMA CITY DURING THE PERIOD JUNE 22 THROUGH JULY 3. REIMBURSEMENT FOR THIS TRAVEL WAS MADE TO THE TRAVELER ON A SEPARATE VOUCHER. THE SITUATION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER IS SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO THAT CONSIDERED BY OUR OFFICE IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 27. WHEREIN IT WAS HELD. ABANDONED HIS OFFICIAL ROUTING AND PROCEEDED AT HIS OWN EXPENSE TO THE HOME OF HIS FATHER AND SUBSEQUENTLY RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BETWEEN HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS AND THE POINT AT WHICH HE ABANDONED HIS OFFICIAL TRIP.

B-140359, AUG. 17, 1959

TO MISS MARY E. SMITH, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER:

ON JULY 30, 1959, THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF AUDIT BRANCH, ACCOUNTING DIVISION, FEDERAL AVIATION AGENCY, FORWARDED HERE YOUR LETTER OF JULY 22, 1959, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION ON THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING A TRANSMITTED VOUCHER IN FAVOR OF WILLIAM A. COLEMAN, JR. FOR $20.25, REPRESENTING REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSE AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL AUTHORIZED ON TRAVEL ORDER NO. FW-9- 2157-2, DATED APRIL 30, 1959.

THE TRAVEL ORDER OF APRIL 30, 1959, AUTHORIZED MR. COLEMAN TO TRAVEL FROM MIAMI, FLORIDA, TO OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA, AND RETURN, FOR THE PURPOSE OF ATTENDING AN AIR CONDITIONING COURSE AT THE AERONAUTICAL CENTER AT OKLAHOMA CITY. THE COURSE WAS SCHEDULED TO COMMENCE ON MAY 18, 1959, AND TO CONCLUDE ON MAY 29, 1959.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT AT 11:25 P.M., MAY 17, 1959, MR. COLEMAN LEFT MIAMI BY COMMERCIAL AIRLINE, SECURING A ROUND-TRIP TICKET IN EXCHANGE FOR GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST NO. AO 475,321. HE ARRIVED IN OKLAHOMA CITY AT 8:34 A.M., MAY 18, AND REPORTED TO CLASS AT 9:00 A.M. AT 11:30 A.M., MR. COLEMAN RECEIVED NOTICE OF THE DEATH OF HIS MOTHER IN MOBILE, ALABAMA. HE STATED THAT HE FELT UNABLE TO CONTINUE HIS CLASS AND AT 3:15 P.M., MAY 18, MR. COLEMAN DEPARTED FROM OKLAHOMA CITY, ARRIVING IN NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA AT 11:30 P.M. HE WAS PUT ON ANNUAL LEAVE AT 2:01 A.M., MAY 19, WHILE EN ROUTE TO MOBILE. THE EMPLOYEE TERMINATED ANNUAL LEAVE AT 5:30 P.M. ON MAY 29, AND AS THE CLASS AT OKLAHOMA CITY WAS COMPLETED ON MAY 29, MR. COLEMAN'S SUPERVISOR ADVISED HIM TO RETURN TO MIAMI FROM MOBILE AT THE EXPIRATION OF HIS ANNUAL LEAVE. MR. COLEMAN DEPARTED FROM MOBILE AT 4:30 P.M., MAY 30, AND ARRIVED IN MIAMI AT 11:10 P.M. BY AIRLINE. HE USED THE RETURN PORTION OF THE TICKET SECURED WITH TRANSPORTATION REQUEST NO. AO 475,321 AND IN ADDITION PAID EACH OF $17.38 FOR THE EXTRA PLANE FARE OCCASIONED BY RETURN VIA MOBILE. THE EMPLOYEE WAS AUTHORIZED TO ATTEND ANOTHER AIR CONDITIONING COURSE AT OKLAHOMA CITY DURING THE PERIOD JUNE 22 THROUGH JULY 3, 1959. REIMBURSEMENT FOR THIS TRAVEL WAS MADE TO THE TRAVELER ON A SEPARATE VOUCHER.

YOU REQUEST ADVICE AS TO WHETHER THE AMOUNT CLAIMED ON THE ATTACHED VOUCHER PLUS THE VALUE OF THE TRANSPORTATION REQUEST USED FOR THE TRAVEL PERFORMED BY THE EMPLOYEE DURING THE PERIOD MAY 17, 1959 THROUGH MAY 30, 1959, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, OR ANY PORTION THEREOF.

THE SITUATION PRESENTED IN YOUR LETTER IS SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR TO THAT CONSIDERED BY OUR OFFICE IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 27, 1943, B 36871, 23 COMP. GEN. 237, WHEREIN IT WAS HELD, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS:

"AN EMPLOYEE WHO, WHILE ENROUTE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FROM HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS TO A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION RECEIVED NOTICE OF THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER, ABANDONED HIS OFFICIAL ROUTING AND PROCEEDED AT HIS OWN EXPENSE TO THE HOME OF HIS FATHER AND SUBSEQUENTLY RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS IS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BETWEEN HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS AND THE POINT AT WHICH HE ABANDONED HIS OFFICIAL TRIP, INCLUDING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE FOR THE TIME NECESSARILY CONSUMED ON THAT PORTION OF THE JOURNEY.'

ALSO, SEE SECTION 1.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND B-137457, DATED OCTOBER 15, 1958. (COPY ENCLOSED).

REGARDING THE TRAVEL FROM MOBILE TO MIAMI, IT IS A GENERAL RULE, APPLICABLE TO THE SITUATION CONSIDERED IN YOUR LETTER, THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO ABSENTS HIMSELF FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS UPON A LEAVE OF ABSENCE IS OBLIGATED TO PLACE HIMSELF BACK AT HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS AT HIS OWN EXPENSE. 19 COMP. GEN. 977.

THEREFORE, MR. COLEMAN WOULD BE ENTITLED BY REASON OF THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION, TO ALL NECESSARY EXPENSES INCURRED, INCLUDING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, UP TO THE POINT OF ABANDONMENT, 32 COMP. GEN. 572, WHICH OCCURRED, ON THE BASIS OF THE RECORD SUBMITTED, AT 11:30 A.M., MAY 18, 1959, WHEN THE EMPLOYEE INTERRUPTED HIS COURSE OF TRAINING UPON NOTICE OF HIS MOTHER'S DEATH.

AS THE EMPLOYEE HAS USED THE RETURN PORTION OF THE ROUND-TRIP TICKET FROM MIAMI TO OKLAHOMA CITY, SECURED IN EXCHANGE FOR GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST NO. AO 475,321, AND SUCH TRAVEL IS PROPERLY CHARGEABLE TO MR. COLEMAN, THE VALUE OF SUCH RETURN TRANSPORTATION PLUS THE FEDERAL TRANSPORTATION TAX SHOULD BE DEDUCTED FROM THAT PORTION OF HIS CLAIM PROPERLY ALLOWABLE SO FAR AS THAT AMOUNT WILL PERMIT, AND THE BALANCE COLLECTED FROM HIM.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING, IT MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN ITS PRESENT FORM.