B-146029, JUL. 24, 1961

B-146029: Jul 24, 1961

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YOU CONTEND THAT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATIONS FOR WHICH PER DIEM WAS CLAIMED WERE ESTABLISHED ON ORDERS FROM DIRECTOR HALL'S OFFICE GIVEN THROUGH ZONE SUPERVISOR OTTO WHO WORKED WITH YOU AND WHO STAYED IN THE SAME HOTELS WHILE AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATIONS. THAT SUCH ARRANGEMENTS WERE PRACTICED AND ACCEPTED FOR ABOUT 2 YEARS. PARAGRAPH 6.2B OF THE REGULATIONS IN FORCE AND EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE TRAVEL HERE INVOLVED) IS ONE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION. WE FIND FROM THE RECORD FURNISHED US THAT YOUR ORDERS WERE BLANKET ORDERS DATED JUNE 1. THAT IT WAS NOT THE ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE OR INTENTION TO AUTHORIZE OR APPROVE PER DIEM FOR TRAVEL ASSIGNMENTS WITHIN COMMUTING DISTANCES OF AN EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE.

B-146029, JUL. 24, 1961

TO MR. GEORGE L. HENDERSON:

YOUR LETTER OF MAY 17, 1961, REQUESTS RECONSIDERATION OF OUR SETTLEMENT OF MAY 1, 1961, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $171, REPRESENTING PER DIEM FOR THE MONTHS OF SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER, AND NOVEMBER 1960.

YOU CONTEND THAT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATIONS FOR WHICH PER DIEM WAS CLAIMED WERE ESTABLISHED ON ORDERS FROM DIRECTOR HALL'S OFFICE GIVEN THROUGH ZONE SUPERVISOR OTTO WHO WORKED WITH YOU AND WHO STAYED IN THE SAME HOTELS WHILE AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATIONS, AND THAT SUCH ARRANGEMENTS WERE PRACTICED AND ACCEPTED FOR ABOUT 2 YEARS. FURTHER, YOU SAY YOU DID INCUR ADDITIONAL EXPENSES BY REASON OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY BECAUSE YOU STAYED, AND PAID FOR LODGING, IN THE HOTELS AT SUCH TEMPORARY DUTY STATIONS.

THE MATTER OF WHETHER TO AUTHORIZE OR APPROVE PER DIEM AND IN WHAT AMOUNT, OR NOT AT ALL, SO LONG AS IT DOES NOT EXCEED THE MAXIMUM RATE PRESCRIBED BY THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATION ($12, PARAGRAPH 6.2B OF THE REGULATIONS IN FORCE AND EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE TRAVEL HERE INVOLVED) IS ONE FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION.

WE FIND FROM THE RECORD FURNISHED US THAT YOUR ORDERS WERE BLANKET ORDERS DATED JUNE 1, 1960, AUTHORIZING YOU TO TRAVEL OUT OF PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA, YOUR HEADQUARTERS, BUT THAT IT WAS NOT THE ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE OR INTENTION TO AUTHORIZE OR APPROVE PER DIEM FOR TRAVEL ASSIGNMENTS WITHIN COMMUTING DISTANCES OF AN EMPLOYEE'S RESIDENCE. THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT SAYS THAT YOU WERE AWARE OF THIS RESTRICTION, AND THAT "IT WAS NOT DIRECTOR HALL'S INTENTION TO APPROVE PER DIEM FOR TRAVEL ASSIGNMENTS WITHIN THE COMMUTING AREA OF MR. HENDERSON'S RESIDENCE.' FURTHER, THE RECORD SHOWS THAT IT IS THE ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE THAT OFFICIAL BUSINESS WITHIN SHORT DISTANCES OF THE EMPLOYEE'S HOME OR OFFICE IS TO BE PERFORMED BY MEANS OF SHORT TRIPS WITHIN ONE WORKING DAY AND THAT UNLESS REASONABLE EXPLANATION IS FURNISHED FOR REMAINING OVERNIGHT PER DIEM IS NOT ALLOWED ADMINISTRATIVELY. IT IS POINTED OUT IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT THAT ALTHOUGH YOU COMMUTE REGULARLY FROM YOUR RESIDENCE IN NEW CASTLE, PENNSYLVANIA, A DISTANCE OF 51 MILES FROM YOUR OFFICIAL STATION, THE TEMPORARY DUTY POINTS IN QUESTION WERE WITHIN 15, 27, AND 39 MILES OF YOUR RESIDENCE.

CONCERNING YOUR REFERENCE TO MR. OTTO, THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT IS AS FOLLOWS:

"AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE OR APPROVE TRAVEL WAS NEVER DELEGATED TO ZONE SUPERVISOR OTTO. FURTHERMORE, TRAVEL VOUCHERS FOR THE MONTHS OF SEPTEMBER, OCTOBER AND NOVEMBER 1960, OF ZONE SUPERVISOR OTTO AND MR. HENDERSON, WERE COMPARED TO VERIFY MR. HENDERSON'S STATEMENT THAT "ZONE SUPERVISOR OTTO, WHO WORKED WITH ME AND STAYED AT THE SAME HOTELS WHILE AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATIONS.' THE COMPARISON DISCLOSED THAT AT NO TIME DURING THE MONTHS OF SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER, DID MR. OTTO AND MR. HENDERSON SHOW IDENTICAL POINTS OF TEMPORARY DUTY. DURING THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER, ONLY ONE IDENTICAL TEMPORARY DUTY STATION (PUNXSUTAWNEY, PENNSYLVANIA) WAS SHOWN, THIS ON NOVEMBER 29, 1960, FOR WHICH MR. HENDERSON CLAIMED AND RECEIVED PER DIEM.'

UPON THE PRESENT RECORD SUFFICIENT BASIS DOES NOT EXIST FOR ALLOWING YOUR CLAIM; HENCE, OUR SETTLEMENT OF MAY 1, 1961, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM IS SUSTAINED.