B-141152, NOV. 27, 1959

B-141152: Nov 27, 1959

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THE HEAD OF EACH DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED. TO PAY OR REIMBURSE SUCH EMPLOYEE (WHO IS SELECTED OR ASSIGNED FOR TRAILING BY. THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES STATED IN YOUR LETTER ARE AS FOLLOWS: "PRIOR TO AUGUST 8. IT APPEARS THAT THIS LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO THE NEW ENGLAND STATES WAS MADE ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT HIS REQUEST WOULD BE APPROVED AND THAT HE WOULD COMMENCE SCHOOLING AT THE TERMINATION OF ANNUAL LEAVE. ARE SUBMITTED TO SHOW ANNUAL AND "OTHER" LEAVE TAKEN DURING THE TRAVEL PERIOD. "DURING THIS PERIOD OF ABSENCE THE TRAVELER WAS CONTACTED AT SCOTIA. THE COURSE OF THE CONVERSATION IT WAS DECIDED THAT THE TRAVELER WOULD COMPLETE HIS VACATION AND REPORT TO CAMBRIDGE. THE TRAVELER WAS TO ASSUME THAT HIS APPLICATION HAD BEEN APPROVED.

B-141152, NOV. 27, 1959

TO MR. ROBERT B. KUDLACEK, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 27, 1959, SUBMITS FOR OUR CONSIDERATION THE ENCLOSED VOUCHERS IN FAVOR OF MR. ROLAND B. PHILLIPS, REPRESENTING HIS CLAIMS FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES ($354.35) AND FOR TUITION ($275) COSTS INCURRED PURSUANT TO THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES TRAINING ACT, PUBLIC LAW 85-507, APPROVED JULY 7, 1958, 72 STAT. 327, 5 U.S.C. 2301 ET SEQ.

UNDER SECTION 10 OF THE ACT, 72 STAT. 332, 5 U.S.C. 2309, AND THE REGULATIONS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, FPM T-1-22, 5 C.F.R. 39.401, THE HEAD OF EACH DEPARTMENT IS AUTHORIZED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, TO PAY OR REIMBURSE SUCH EMPLOYEE (WHO IS SELECTED OR ASSIGNED FOR TRAILING BY, IN, OR THROUGH GOVERNMENT FACILITIES OR NON-GOVERNMENT FACILITIES PROCURED UNDER THE ACT) FOR ALL OR PART OF THE NECESSARY EXPENSES OF SUCH TRAINING (WITHOUT REGARD TO THE PROHIBITION AGAINST ADVANCE PAYMENTS OF PUBLIC MONEY, R.S. 3648, 31 U.S.C. 529), INCLUDING AMONG SUCH EXPENSES "THE NECESSARY COSTS OF (A) TRAVEL AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, * * * (C) TUITION AND MATRICULATION FEES * * * DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE TRAINING OF SUCH EMPLOYEE.'

THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES STATED IN YOUR LETTER ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"PRIOR TO AUGUST 8, 1959, THE TRAVELER SUBMITTED A FORM AD-281, REQUEST AND AUTHORIZATION FOR TRAINING UNDER P.L. 85-507, FOR TRAINING AT THE MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, FOR THE PERIOD AUGUST 31 TO SEPTEMBER 11, 1959. ON AUGUST 8, 1959, PRIOR TO APPROVAL OF THIS REQUEST, THE TRAVELER DEPARTED OFFICIAL STATION ON ANNUAL LEAVE ARRIVING AT CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, AUGUST 30, 1959, AT 6:00 P.M., E.D.T. ON THE BASIS OF THE TRAVELER'S VOUCHER AND SUPPORTING STATEMENT, IT APPEARS THAT THIS LEAVE OF ABSENCE TO THE NEW ENGLAND STATES WAS MADE ON THE ASSUMPTION THAT HIS REQUEST WOULD BE APPROVED AND THAT HE WOULD COMMENCE SCHOOLING AT THE TERMINATION OF ANNUAL LEAVE. CERTIFIED TRUE COPIES OF SF-1130, TIME AND ATTENDANCE REPORT, ARE SUBMITTED TO SHOW ANNUAL AND "OTHER" LEAVE TAKEN DURING THE TRAVEL PERIOD.

"DURING THIS PERIOD OF ABSENCE THE TRAVELER WAS CONTACTED AT SCOTIA, NEW YORK, ON AUGUST 15, 1959, BY TELEPHONE BY HIS SUPERVISOR, REY S. DECKER, AND ADVISED THAT NO FORMAL APPROVAL FOR TRAINING HAD BEEN RECEIVED. THE COURSE OF THE CONVERSATION IT WAS DECIDED THAT THE TRAVELER WOULD COMPLETE HIS VACATION AND REPORT TO CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, IN TIME FOR COMMENCEMENT OF THE SCHOOLING. UNLESS ADVISED BY HIS SUPERVISOR TO THE CONTRARY AT CAMBRIDGE, THE TRAVELER WAS TO ASSUME THAT HIS APPLICATION HAD BEEN APPROVED. SINCE THE TRAVELER RECEIVED NO WORD FROM HIS SUPERVISOR AFTER ARRIVING IN CAMBRIDGE ON AUGUST 30, 1959, HE ASSUMED THAT THE TRAINING HAD BEEN APPROVED.'

ALTHOUGH THE REQUEST FOR TRAINING (FORM AD-281), SHOWING ESTIMATED TUITION AND TRAVEL COSTS, WAS APPROVED AUGUST 17, 1959, YOU SAY THAT, BECAUSE THE EMPLOYEE WAS TRAVELING ON VACATION LEAVE AND COULD NOT BE REACHED, HE WAS NEVER OFFICIALLY NOTIFIED OF SUCH APPROVAL OF TRAINING, EITHER VERBALLY OR IN WRITING. HOWEVER, ON AUGUST 24, 1959, A REQUEST FOR TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION (FORM AD-200) WAS FORWARDED AND GENERAL TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. NB-173-60 WAS ISSUED AUGUST 25, 1959, FOR THE TRAVEL PERIOD TO BEGIN ON OR ABOUT AUGUST 26, 1959, ENDING ON JUNE 30, 1960, WITH ,ITINERARY-FROM LINCOLN, NEBRASKA TO POINTS WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, AS MAY BE NECESSARY, AND RETURN" ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE. SUCH TRAVEL AUTHORITY, YOU SAY, WAS INTENDED TO COVER THE "REMAINING PORTION OF THE TRAINING PLUS OTHER REQUIRED TRAVEL FOR THE REMAINDER OF FISCAL YEAR 1960.' AS THE TRAVELER HAD DEPARTED HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS ON ANNUAL LEAVE AND REPORTED TO THE ANTICIPATED TEMPORARY DUTY STATION WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL OF THE TRAINING REQUEST (AD- 281), YOU REQUEST OUR DECISION WHETHER PART OR ALL OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSES AS CLAIMED--- CONSTRUCTIVE DIRECT TRAVEL TO CAMBRIDGE AND ACTUAL DIRECT RETURN TO LINCOLN--- MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

GENERALLY, THE AUTHORITY TO PERFORM TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS ISSUED PRIOR TO INCURRENCE OF TRAVEL EXPENSES AND SHOULD SPECIFY THE TRAVEL TO BE PERFORMED AS DEFINITELY AS POSSIBLE UNLESS CIRCUMSTANCES IN A PARTICULAR CASE PREVENT SUCH ACTION. SEE PARAGRAPH 2.1B SGTR AND 7 AR 539A, 549A. HOWEVER, IN THE LIGHT OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED IN YOUR LETTER AND IN CLAIMANT'S STATEMENT ATTACHED TO THE TRAVEL VOUCHER, THAT HIS SUPERIOR REQUESTED THAT HE REVISE HIS VACATION PLANS SO AS TO BE "FURTHER EAST" AND TO COMMUNICATE WITH HIS HEADQUARTERS ON OR ABOUT AUGUST 14 OR 15 "BEFORE STARTING BACK, IN HOPES THE AUTHORIZATION MIGHT BE FORTHCOMING," THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION OF AUGUST 25, 1959, NB-173-60, WILL BE CONSIDERED AS YOU SAY, AS INTENDED TO COVER THE PERIOD OF ACTUAL TRAINING, AS WELL AS OTHER REQUIRED TRAVEL THEREAFTER DURING FISCAL YEAR 1960.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT CLAIMANT HAD A VALID REASON TO ASSUME--- PRIOR TO HIS DEPARTURE AN ANNUAL LEAVE AND AT THE TIME (AUGUST 30) OF HIS ARRIVAL AT THE ANTICIPATED DUTY POINT (CAMBRIDGE, MASS., M.I.T./--- THAT HE WAS OBLIGED TO PERFORM THE TEMPORARY DUTY (TRAINING) WHICH, IN FACT, WAS OFFICIALLY SCHEDULED AND BUDGETED ON THE FORM AD-281 APPROVED AUGUST 17, 1959. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN THIS CASE SATISFY THE RULES STATED IN PARAGRAPHS 3.3 AND 6.10 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND IN OUR DECISION AT 24 COMP. GEN. 443. ALSO SEE 30 COMP. GEN. 56; 29 ID. 173; AND B-104378 DATED JULY 31, 1951; COMPARE 30 ID. 443.

THEREFORE, THE TRAVEL VOUCHER, RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT. ALSO, THE VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF CLAIMANT'S TUITION COSTS ($275), WHICH APPEARS TO BE OTHERWISE IN ORDER, IS RETURNED AND MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.