B-144174, OCTOBER 19, 1960, 40 COMP. GEN. 221

B-144174: Oct 19, 1960

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

INCLUDING TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR PERSONAL INTERVIEWS OF APPLICANTS SO AS TO BRING THE MATTER WITHIN THE GENERAL RULE WHICH PRECLUDES A GOVERNMENT AGENCY FROM PAYING AN INDIVIDUAL'S EXPENSES INCIDENT TO PREEMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS BECAUSE THE FUNCTION IS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE COMMISSION. THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S POSITION IS ALLOCATED TO GRADE 16. THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT A GOVERNMENT AGENCY MAY NOT PAY OR REIMBURSE AN INDIVIDUAL FOR THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN TRAVELING TO A PLACE OF INTERVIEW FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING HIS QUALIFICATIONS FOR APPOINTMENT TO A POSITION SUBJECT TO THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND REGULATIONS. SINCE THE FUNCTION OF ASCERTAINING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES IN SUCH POSITIONS IS A MATTER WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. 31 COMP.

B-144174, OCTOBER 19, 1960, 40 COMP. GEN. 221

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - TRAVEL EXPENSES - INTERVIEWS - CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION APPROVAL - EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL CAPITAL HOUSING AUTHORITY THE LEGAL REQUIREMENT THAT THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION APPROVE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE PROPOSED APPOINTEE FOR THE POSITION OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL HOUSING AUTHORITY--- WHICH AUTHORITY HAS THE DUTY UNDER EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 6868 OF SELECTING AND APPOINTING AN INDIVIDUAL TO THE POSITION--- DOES NOT AFFECT THE AGENCY'S AUTHORITY TO INCUR NECESSARY EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH THE SELECTION OF THE APPOINTEE, INCLUDING TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR PERSONAL INTERVIEWS OF APPLICANTS SO AS TO BRING THE MATTER WITHIN THE GENERAL RULE WHICH PRECLUDES A GOVERNMENT AGENCY FROM PAYING AN INDIVIDUAL'S EXPENSES INCIDENT TO PREEMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS BECAUSE THE FUNCTION IS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE COMMISSION; THEREFORE, THE AUTHORITY MAY PAY FROM FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF APPLICANTS ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS, THERE BEING NO AUTHORITY FOR PAYMENT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE.

TO THE DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CAPITAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, OCTOBER 19, 1960:

ON OCTOBER 5, 1960, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE AUTHORITY TO PAY THE TRAVELING EXPENSES OF A LIMITED NUMBER OF APPLICANTS FOR THE POSITION OF EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL CAPITAL HOUSING AUTHORITY, WHO MAY BE CALLED INTO WASHINGTON FOR PERSONAL INTERVIEW BY THE MEMBERS OF THE AUTHORITY.

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 6868, DATED OCTOBER 9, 1934, DIRECTS THE AUTHORITY (NOW COMPOSED OF SIX MEMBERS) TO APPOINT AN EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR WHOSE APPOINTMENT MAY BE MADE WITHOUT REGARD TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE ACT AND RULES. THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR'S POSITION IS ALLOCATED TO GRADE 16. SECTION 505 OF THE CLASSIFICATION ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 1105 (I), PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT APPOINTMENTS TO POSITIONS IN GRADES 16, 17, AND 18 OF THE GENERAL SCHEDULE SHALL BE MADE ONLY UPON APPROVAL BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION OF THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE PROPOSED APPOINTEES.

THE GENERAL RULE IS THAT A GOVERNMENT AGENCY MAY NOT PAY OR REIMBURSE AN INDIVIDUAL FOR THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN TRAVELING TO A PLACE OF INTERVIEW FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING HIS QUALIFICATIONS FOR APPOINTMENT TO A POSITION SUBJECT TO THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND REGULATIONS, SINCE THE FUNCTION OF ASCERTAINING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES IN SUCH POSITIONS IS A MATTER WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. 31 COMP. GEN. 175. ON THE OTHER HAND, WE HAVE HELD THAT IF THE POSITION IS EXCEPTED FROM THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND REGULATIONS, THE EXPENSES OF TRAVEL INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH A PREEMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW MAY BE PAID BY THE EMPLOYING AGENCY. 31 COMP. GEN. 480; 38 ID. 483.

HERE, THE DUTY OF SELECTING AND PROPOSING AN APPOINTEE FROM THE FIELD OF APPLICANTS IS IMPOSED BY EXECUTIVE ORDER UPON THE AUTHORITY; OUR OPINION IS THAT THE EXPENSES, INCLUDING TRAVELING EXPENSES OF DETERMINED BY THE AUTHORITY TO BE NECESSARY FOR THE FULFILLMENT OF THAT DUTY PROPERLY ARE CHARGEABLE TO FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES. WE DO NOT REGARD THE LEGAL REQUIREMENT THAT THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION APPROVE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE PROPOSED APPOINTEE AS AFFECTING THE AUTHORITY TO INCUR NECESSARY EXPENSES IN CONNECTION WITH SELECTING THE PROPOSED APPOINTEE.

WE POINT OUT THAT THERE IS NO STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE TO PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HERE INVOLVED. IN THE ABSENCE OF SUCH AUTHORITY, PAYMENT MAY BE MADE ONLY UPON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS (15 COMP. GEN. 206); HOWEVER, WE SUGGEST THAT THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS PLACE A LIMIT OF $12 PER DAY (THE CURRENT MAXIMUM PER DIEM FOR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES GENERALLY) ON THE AMOUNT OF ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES, AS DEFINED IN SECTION 6.1 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, WHICH WILL BE REIMBURSED.