B-144394, NOV. 25, 1960

B-144394: Nov 25, 1960

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ALTHOUGH A CERTIFYING OR DISBURSING OFFICER IS ENTITLED TO A DECISION ONLY ON QUESTIONS RAISED BY THE VOUCHER PRESENTED FOR DECISION. WE CONSIDER THAT THE PROPRIETY OF THE LEAVE CHARGE IS INSEPARABLY CONNECTED WITH THE CIRCUMSTANCES FROM WHICH THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED ON THE VOUCHER AROSE. WHOSE HEADQUARTERS IS AT WASHINGTON. THE APPROXIMATE PERIOD OF TRAVEL WAS 14 HOURS. YOU SAY THAT THE STOP-OVER WAS NOT AUTHORIZED. HORNBECK'S HOTEL IN HONOLULU TOTALING $3.25 WERE DISALLOWED ON THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER. HORNBECK WAS CHARGED EIGHT HOURS ANNUAL LEAVE FOR FRIDAY. BECAUSE SHE WAS CONSIDERED TO HAVE STAYED IN HONOLULU FOR PERSONAL REASONS. THAT CHARGE WAS UPON THE BASIS THAT SHE COULD HAVE LEFT WASHINGTON AT 8:30 A.M.

B-144394, NOV. 25, 1960

TO MR. M. M. JONES, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:

ON NOVEMBER 3, 1960, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION WHETHER A SUPPLEMENTAL TRAVEL VOUCHER FOR $23.25 IN FAVOR OF MRS. BERNICE M. HORNBECK MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. YOU ALSO ASK WHETHER 12 HOURS ANNUAL LEAVE CHARGED TO MRS. HORNBECK SHOULD BE RESTORED TO HER.

ALTHOUGH A CERTIFYING OR DISBURSING OFFICER IS ENTITLED TO A DECISION ONLY ON QUESTIONS RAISED BY THE VOUCHER PRESENTED FOR DECISION, 24 COMP. GEN. 546, WE CONSIDER THAT THE PROPRIETY OF THE LEAVE CHARGE IS INSEPARABLY CONNECTED WITH THE CIRCUMSTANCES FROM WHICH THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED ON THE VOUCHER AROSE.

MRS. HORNBECK, WHOSE HEADQUARTERS IS AT WASHINGTON, D.C., LEFT HER RESIDENCE AT 6:30 A.M., AND LEFT BALTIMORE'S FRIENDSHIP AIRPORT AT 8:30 A.M., FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 1960, FOR TOKYO, JAPAN, FOR TEMPORARY DUTY. SHE LANDED AT HONOLULU, HAWAII, AT 3:50 P.M., THE SAME DAY, OR 9:50 P.M., WASHINGTON TIME. THUS, THE APPROXIMATE PERIOD OF TRAVEL WAS 14 HOURS. SHE DEPARTED HONOLULU AT :30 A.M., SUNDAY, JUNE 12 AND REACHED TOKYO AT 5:40 A.M., MONDAY, JUNE 13, TOKYO TIME. THE DISTANCE TRAVELED EXCEEDED 8,500 MILES. YOU SAY THAT THE STOP-OVER WAS NOT AUTHORIZED. TAXICAB FARES TO AND FROM MRS. HORNBECK'S HOTEL IN HONOLULU TOTALING $3.25 WERE DISALLOWED ON THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER. MRS. HORNBECK RECLAIMS THAT AMOUNT IN THE SUPPLEMENTAL VOUCHER. SHE ALSO CLAIMS $20 PER DIEM FOR THE PERIOD 6:01 P.M., JUNE 10 TO MID-NIGHT JUNE 11, WHICH SHE DID NOT CLAIM ON THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER. MRS. HORNBECK WAS CHARGED EIGHT HOURS ANNUAL LEAVE FOR FRIDAY, JUNE 10, BECAUSE SHE WAS CONSIDERED TO HAVE STAYED IN HONOLULU FOR PERSONAL REASONS. THAT CHARGE WAS UPON THE BASIS THAT SHE COULD HAVE LEFT WASHINGTON AT 8:30 A.M., SATURDAY, JUNE 11, AND ARRIVED AT TOKYO AT 6:00 A.M., MONDAY, JUNE 13. THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION EVIDENTLY IS PREDICATED UPON ARRIVAL AT HONOLULU AT EITHER 3:50 P.M. OR 8:20 P.M., HAWAIIAN TIME, ON SATURDAY, JUNE 11.

MRS. HORNBECK LEFT TOKYO FOR WASHINGTON, D.C., AT 7:00 P.M., THURSDAY, JULY 7; ARRIVED AT SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, AT 6:20 P.M., THE SAME DAY; DEPARTED SEATTLE AT 11:25 P.M., SATURDAY, JULY 9; AND ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., AT 10:45 A.M., SUNDAY, JULY 10. A BERTH WAS USED BETWEEN TOKYO AND SEATTLE. SINCE THE STOP-OVER AT SEATTLE WAS FOR PERSONAL REASONS, PER DIEM AND TRAVEL EXPENSES WERE ALLOWED ON THE BASIS OF A HYPOTHETICAL SCHEDULE SHOWING DEPARTURE FROM TOKYO AT :00 P.M., THURSDAY, JULY 7, THE TIME SHE ACTUALLY LEFT, AND ARRIVAL AT WASHINGTON, D.C., AT 10:45 A.M., FRIDAY, JULY 8. FOUR HOURS ANNUAL LEAVE WAS CHARGED TO HER FOR FRIDAY, JULY 8.

THE TIME OF THE WEEK AN EMPLOYEE SHOULD TRAVEL IS A MATTER WITHIN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION. ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY SHOULD BE DESIGNED TO PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF THE GOVERNMENT WITHOUT CAUSING UNDUE HARDSHIP TO EMPLOYEES. 31 COMP. GEN. 278.

AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS IS ENTITLED TO REASONABLE HOURS OF REST. THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS DO NOT REQUIRE AN EMPLOYEE TO TRAVEL DURING UNREASONABLE HOURS WHEN SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS ARE NOT AVAILABLE. 33 COMP. GEN. 221; B-128736, AUGUST 3, 1956. MRS. HORNBECK DID NOT HAVE SLEEPING ACCOMMODATIONS ON THE FLIGHTS SHE TOOK TO TOKYO. CONSEQUENTLY, AND IN VIEW OF THE LENGTH OF THE TRIP, SHE WAS ENTITLED TO A REASONABLE PERIOD OF REST ENROUTE. THUS, WE DO NOT VIEW THE DEPARTURE OF FRIDAY, JUNE 11 AS BEING UNREASONABLE. MOREOVER, THE CLAIMANT SAYS RESERVATIONS COULD NOT BE OBTAINED ON THE FLIGHT ARRIVING IN HONOLULU AT 8:30 P.M. THEREFORE, THE TAXI FARES TO AND FROM HER HOTEL IN HONOLULU AND PER DIEM FOR THE TIME CLAIMED MAY BE ALLOWED, AND THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT. THE CHARGE FOR ANNUAL LEAVE ON FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 1960, SHOULD BE REMOVED.

HAVING IN MIND THE LENGTH OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRIP BETWEEN TOKYO AND WASHINGTON, OUR VIEW IS THAT NO CHARGE TO ANNUAL LEAVE IS REQUIRED FOR FRIDAY AFTERNOON, JULY 8. THEREFORE, WE WOULD HAVE NO OBJECTION TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE RECREDITING OF THE FOUR HOURS ANNUAL LEAVE TO THE EMPLOYEE'S LEAVE ACCOUNT.