B-149084, JUL. 5, 1962

B-149084: Jul 5, 1962

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WAS WITH OTHER PLANES GROUNDED DURING THE FORENOON BECAUSE OF WEATHER CONDITIONS. HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION SUBSEQUENTLY WAS MODIFIED TO AUTHORIZE RETURN TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN LIEU OF COMMON CARRIER. PARKER'S CLAIM IS BASED UPON CONSTRUCTIVE RETURN BY PLANE AT A COST OF $16.99 RATHER THAN MILEAGE AND TOLLS WHICH WOULD HAVE AMOUNTED TO $30.96. LAROCK'S TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION SUBSEQUENTLY WAS SUPPLEMENTED TO COVER THE EXTENSION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY PERIOD THROUGH APRIL 27. LAROCK ALSO CLAIMS ONLY 1 1/2 DAYS PER DIEM THOUGH IT IS NOTED THAT HE APPARENTLY USED FIRST CLASS PLANE ACCOMMODATIONS AT A COST OF $35.90 FOR THE ROUND TRIP COMPARED WITH THE SHUTTLE SERVICE FARE PROCURED BY MR.

B-149084, JUL. 5, 1962

TO MISS BESSIE L. YARBROUGH, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, THE RENEGOTIATION BOARD:

YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 4, 1962, TRANSMITTED TRAVEL VOUCHERS IN FAVOR OF MR. E.C. PARKER AND MR. SALVATORE P. LAROCK, RESPECTIVELY, EMPLOYEES OF THE RENEGOTIATION BOARD STATIONED IN WASHINGTON, D.C., WHO SEPARATELY TRAVELED TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY TOGETHER ON APRIL 26 AND 27, 1962,IN NEW YORK. YOU ASK WHETHER THE VOUCHERS PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION OF EACH EMPLOYEE AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER AND TEMPORARY DUTY IN NEW YORK TO BEGIN AND END ON APRIL 26. MR. PARKER DEPARTED WASHINGTON BY SHUTTLE PLANE VIA NORTHEAST AIRLINES AT 5:45 P.M., ON APRIL 25 AND JOINED MR. LAROCK FOR TEMPORARY DUTY ON THE 26TH. SUCH DUTY EXTENDED THROUGH FRIDAY, THE 27TH. UPON COMPLETION THEREOF MR. PARKER REMAINED IN NEW YORK FOR PERSONAL REASONS UNTIL MONDAY MORNING WHEN HE LEARNED THAT THE PLANE WHICH HE PLANNED TO TAKE TO WASHINGTON, SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE AT THE LATTER POINT AT 8:30 A.M , WAS WITH OTHER PLANES GROUNDED DURING THE FORENOON BECAUSE OF WEATHER CONDITIONS. MR. PARKER THEREUPON RETURNED TO WASHINGTON BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ARRIVING THERE AT 12 NOON. HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION SUBSEQUENTLY WAS MODIFIED TO AUTHORIZE RETURN TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IN LIEU OF COMMON CARRIER, AT A MILEAGE RATE OF 12 CENTER PER MILE. MR. PARKER'S CLAIM IS BASED UPON CONSTRUCTIVE RETURN BY PLANE AT A COST OF $16.99 RATHER THAN MILEAGE AND TOLLS WHICH WOULD HAVE AMOUNTED TO $30.96. ALSO, HE CLAIMS REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ENTIRE TRIP OF ONLY 1 1/2 DAYS PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE.

MR. LAROCK LEFT WASHINGTON AT 7:45 A.M., VIA NORTHEAST AIRLINES, ON APRIL 26, ARRIVING AT NEW YORK AND MEETING WITH MR. PARKER AT 10 A.M. UPON COMPLETION OF TEMPORARY DUTY AT 4:10 P.M., ON THE 27TH, HE RETURNED TO WASHINGTON VIA THE SAME AIRLINE ARRIVING THERE AT 6:55 P.M. MR. LAROCK'S TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION SUBSEQUENTLY WAS SUPPLEMENTED TO COVER THE EXTENSION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY PERIOD THROUGH APRIL 27, AND TO ALLOW 1 ADDITIONAL DAY'S PER DIEM. MR. LAROCK ALSO CLAIMS ONLY 1 1/2 DAYS PER DIEM THOUGH IT IS NOTED THAT HE APPARENTLY USED FIRST CLASS PLANE ACCOMMODATIONS AT A COST OF $35.90 FOR THE ROUND TRIP COMPARED WITH THE SHUTTLE SERVICE FARE PROCURED BY MR. PARKER AT A COST OF $27.28.

ALTHOUGH IT IS NOT EXPRESSLY SO STATED IN YOUR LETTER, WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED INFORMALLY THAT THE VOUCHERS WERE TRANSMITTED HERE BECAUSE OF OUR RULING IN 34 COMP. GEN. 355, THAT TRAVEL VOUCHERS BASED ON A RETROACTIVE MODIFICATION OF TRAVEL ORDERS ARE CONSIDERED TO BE OF DOUBTFUL VALIDITY AND SHOULD BE TRANSMITTED TO THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE FOR SETTLEMENT.

THE BASIS FOR THE RULING IN 34 COMP. GEN. 355, IS THAT THE LEGAL RIGHTS AND LIABILITIES REGARDING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES VEST WHEN TRAVEL IS PERFORMED UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS AND THE RIGHTS AND LIABILITIES SO VESTED UNDER THE APPLICABLE STATUTES AND REGULATIONS MAY NOT BE INCREASED OR DECREASED RETROACTIVELY. 24 COMP. GEN. 439; 23 ID. 713. THUS THE RETROACTIVE AMENDMENT OF MR. PARKER'S AUTHORIZATION WOULD HAVE BEEN INEFFECTIVE TO AUTHORIZE THE PAYMENT OF MILEAGE AT A GREATER COST TO THE GOVERNMENT THAN THE TRAVEL BY PLANE. ALSO, FOR CONSIDERATION IN MR. PARKER'S CASE IS OUR DECISION IN B-141708, A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED, WHEREIN WE RULED THAT AN EMPLOYEE WHO HAS COMPLETED HIS TEMPORARY DUTY MAY NOT FOR PERSONAL REASONS DELAY HIS RETURN TO HIS PERMANENT STATION OVER NONWORKDAYS AND THUS PERFORM HIS RETURN TRAVEL DURING DUTY HOURS OF THE NEXT WORKING DAY. THEREFORE, WHILE MR. PARKER HAD PLANNED TO RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION BEFORE WORKING HOURS ON MONDAY, SUCH DELAY OF RETURN AND THE SUBSEQUENT CHANGE OF MODE OF TRAVEL RAISE A QUESTION WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD ASSUME THE BURDEN OF THE LOSS OF WORKING TIME STEMMING FROM THE NONAVAILABILITY OF PLANE TRANSPORTATION DURING MONDAY FORENOON. HOWEVER, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES PRESENT IN HIS CASE, THE QUESTION OF WHETHER HE SHOULD BE CHARGED WITH ANNUAL LEAVE IS A MATTER FOR ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION. SEE, GENERALLY, 31 COMP. GEN. 278; 39 ID. 250. OTHERWISE, THE VOUCHER, IF PROPER IN OTHER RESPECTS, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

IN MR. LAROCK'S CASE THE SUPPLEMENTAL TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED APRIL 27, 1962, DOES NOT AFFECT RIGHTS AND LIABILITIES VESTED UNDER THE ORIGINAL AUTHORIZATION. IT MERELY EVIDENCES ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL OF THE EXTENSION OF TEMPORARY DUTY AND IS NOT A RETROACTIVE MODIFICATION OF THE PRIOR AUTHORIZATION WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF 34 COMP. GEN. 355. WE ASSUME, IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY, THAT THE USE BY MR. LAROCK OF THE MORE EXPENSIVE AIRPLANE ACCOMMODATIONS HAS BEEN ADMINISTRATIVELY FOUND TO BE IN ACCORD WITH SECTION 3.6C (1) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IF THAT BE THE FACT, HIS VOUCHER, IF CORRECT OTHERWISE, ALSO PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.