B-140608, SEP. 17, 1959

B-140608: Sep 17, 1959

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FOWLER WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL ON TEMPORARY DUTY FROM DENVER. HIS CLAIM FOR PER DIEM IS BASED ON A CONSTRUCTIVE DEPARTURE FROM BOISE AT 6:35 A.M. ONE-HALF DAY'S PER DIEM WAS DEDUCTED FROM MR. FOWLER'S ORIGINAL VOUCHER BECAUSE HE COULD HAVE CONTINUED TO DENVER THE EVENING OF MAY 27 ARRIVING AT 11:13 P.M. HE HAS SUBMITTED THE VOUCHER YOU TRANSMIT FOR THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED CONTENDING THAT IT WAS UNREASONABLE FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO REQUIRE THAT HE TRAVEL UNTIL 11:13 P.M. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT HE WAS EXPECTED TO BE ON DUTY AT 7:30 A.M. -WHERE FOR TRAVELER'S PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OR THROUGH THE TAKING OF LEAVE THERE IS INTERRUPTION OF TRAVEL OR DEVIATION FROM THE DIRECT ROUTE. THE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWED WILL NOT EXCEED THAT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED ON UNINTERRUPTED TRAVEL BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE.'.

B-140608, SEP. 17, 1959

TO MISS CLARA A. PASTORIUS, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR:

ON AUGUST 27, 1959, THE ACTING CHIEF, DIVISION OF PROGRAM COORDINATION AND FINANCE, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, TRANSMITTED HERE FOR CONSIDERATION YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 14, 1959, REFERENCE D-311A, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER OF R. WALTER FOWLER FOR $6 REPRESENTING ONE-HALF DAY'S PER DIEM INCIDENT TO HIS TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL. MR. FOWLER WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL ON TEMPORARY DUTY FROM DENVER, COLORADO, HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION, TO YAKIMA, WASHINGTON, AND RETURN. ON THE RETURN JOURNEY HE DEPARTED YAKIMA BY AIR AT 8:55 A.M., MAY 27, 1959, ARRIVING IN BOISE, IDAHO, AT 12:30 P.M. HE DEPARTED BOISE AT 6:20 P.M., ARRIVING IN OGDEN, UTAH, AT 8:20 P.M., WHERE, FOR PERSONAL REASONS, HE REMAINED UNTIL MAY 31. AT 8:20 P.M. ON THE 31ST HE LEFT OGDEN ARRIVING IN DENVER AT 11:15 P.M. HIS CLAIM FOR PER DIEM IS BASED ON A CONSTRUCTIVE DEPARTURE FROM BOISE AT 6:35 A.M., MAY 28 AND ARRIVAL IN DENVER AT 10:10 A.M.

ONE-HALF DAY'S PER DIEM WAS DEDUCTED FROM MR. FOWLER'S ORIGINAL VOUCHER BECAUSE HE COULD HAVE CONTINUED TO DENVER THE EVENING OF MAY 27 ARRIVING AT 11:13 P.M. HE HAS SUBMITTED THE VOUCHER YOU TRANSMIT FOR THE AMOUNT DEDUCTED CONTENDING THAT IT WAS UNREASONABLE FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO REQUIRE THAT HE TRAVEL UNTIL 11:13 P.M. IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT HE WAS EXPECTED TO BE ON DUTY AT 7:30 A.M. THE NEXT MORNING.

PARAGRAPH 6.10 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES:

"6.10 INDIRECT-ROUTE OR INTERRUPTED TRAVEL. ---WHERE FOR TRAVELER'S PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OR THROUGH THE TAKING OF LEAVE THERE IS INTERRUPTION OF TRAVEL OR DEVIATION FROM THE DIRECT ROUTE, THE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE ALLOWED WILL NOT EXCEED THAT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED ON UNINTERRUPTED TRAVEL BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE.'

SINCE MR. FOWLER INTERRUPTED HIS TRAVEL AT OGDEN FOR PERSONAL REASONS HE MAY BE PAID PER DIEM ONLY FOR SUCH TIME AS HE WOULD HAVE SPENT TRAVELING HAD HE NOT DONE SO.

THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS ARE NOT TO BE INTERPRETED SO AS TO REQUIRE AN EMPLOYEE TO PERFORM TRAVEL OVER UNUSUALLY LONG PERIODS OR DURING UNREASONABLE HOURS IF SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE, HOWEVER, SECTIONS 1.1 AND 1.2 PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

"* * * EMPLOYEES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS * * * ARE EXPECTED TO EXERCISE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE IF TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS.

"* * * TRAVELING EXPENSES WHICH WILL BE REIMBURSED ARE CONFINED TO THOSE EXPENSES ESSENTIAL TO THE TRANSACTING OF THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS.'

WE UNDERSTAND FROM YOUR LETTER THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY IS THAT AN EMPLOYEE "SHOULD RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS UPON COMPLETION OF HIS FIELD ASSIGNMENT ON THE FIRST AVAILABLE, REASONABLE, AND ADEQUATE TRANSPORTATION.'

WHILE THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS PERMIT A REASONABLE LATITUDE TO THE EMPLOYEE AND THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS, THEIR DETERMINATIONS MUST TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES AS WELL AS THE INTEREST OF THE EMPLOYEE. GENERALLY SPEAKING, WHEN AN EMPLOYEE COMPLETES TEMPORARY DUTY IN TIME TO PERMIT HIS RETURN TO HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION BY A REASONABLE TIME THE GOVERNMENT'S INTERESTS WOULD APPEAR TO REQUIRE THAT THE EMPLOYEE RETURN THAT EVENING. AS TO THE REASONABLENESS OF THE HOUR OF ARRIVAL IN DENVER, WE NOTE THAT MR. FOWLER WHEN RETURNING ON MAY 31 LEFT OGDEN AT 8:20 P.M. AND ARRIVED IN DENVER AT 11:15 P.M. WE ASSUME THAT HE REPORTED FOR WORK ON MONDAY, JUNE 1. THEREFORE, AND IN VIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATION POLICY, WE FIND NO PROPER BASIS, UPON THE PRESENT RECORD, TO AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF THE PER DIEM CLAIMED.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH, TOGETHER WITH RELATED PAPERS, IS RETURNED, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.