B-149317, JUL. 25, 1962

B-149317: Jul 25, 1962

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THE MATTER WAS PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION AND OF THE $131.60 CLAIMED YOU WERE ALLOWED THE SUM OF $33. YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN WASHINGTON. WHILE YOU WERE EN ROUTE THE WASHINGTON OFFICE WIRED YOU ON NOVEMBER 11 THAT YOUR DAUGHTER WAS SERIOUSLY ILL AND THAT YOUR WIFE REQUESTED THAT YOU CALL HER. YOU HAVE BEEN REIMBURSED FOR EXPENSES INCURRED UP TO THE TIME OF YOUR ARRIVAL IN CHEYENNE BUT YOUR CLAIM FOR THE RETURN TRIP WAS DENIED FOR THE REASON THAT YOU ABANDONED OFFICIAL TRAVEL AT THAT POINT. YOU CONTEND THAT YOUR PRESENCE IN CHEYENNE WAS DUE TO YOUR HAVING BEEN ORDERED TO TEMPORARY DUTY AWAY FROM YOUR PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND THAT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY FOR YOUR RETURN WAS GRANTED.

B-149317, JUL. 25, 1962

TO MR. ROBERT L. WHITE:

ON APRIL 4, 1962, YOU REQUESTED FURTHER CONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM FOR PER DIEM AND REIMBURSEMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO YOUR SERVICES WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY. THE MATTER WAS PREVIOUSLY CONSIDERED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION AND OF THE $131.60 CLAIMED YOU WERE ALLOWED THE SUM OF $33.

BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. T145-62 DATED NOVEMBER 1, 1961, YOU WERE AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN WASHINGTON, D.C. (YOUR PERMANENT DUTY STATION) AND SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, TO ATTEND REGIONAL SAFETY CONFERENCE. YOU DEPARTED WASHINGTON ON NOVEMBER 9 BY TRAIN. WHILE YOU WERE EN ROUTE THE WASHINGTON OFFICE WIRED YOU ON NOVEMBER 11 THAT YOUR DAUGHTER WAS SERIOUSLY ILL AND THAT YOUR WIFE REQUESTED THAT YOU CALL HER. THE MESSAGE ALSO SUGGESTED THAT YOU "ALTER TRIP AS NECESSARY.'

YOU LEFT THE TRAIN AT CHEYENNE, WYOMING, AND AFTER COMMUNICATING WITH YOUR WIFE YOU CONTACTED THE WASHINGTON OFFICE AND OBTAINED PERMISSION TO RETURN HOME. YOU HAVE BEEN REIMBURSED FOR EXPENSES INCURRED UP TO THE TIME OF YOUR ARRIVAL IN CHEYENNE BUT YOUR CLAIM FOR THE RETURN TRIP WAS DENIED FOR THE REASON THAT YOU ABANDONED OFFICIAL TRAVEL AT THAT POINT.

YOU CONTEND THAT YOUR PRESENCE IN CHEYENNE WAS DUE TO YOUR HAVING BEEN ORDERED TO TEMPORARY DUTY AWAY FROM YOUR PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND THAT ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY FOR YOUR RETURN WAS GRANTED. YOU ALSO CONTEND THAT YOUR ORDERS PROVIDED FOR YOUR RETURN AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AND THAT THE COSTS OF YOUR TRAVEL "WERE OBLIGATED BEFORE THE ISSUANCE OF TRAVEL ORDERS.'

THE TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEES AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS GOVERNED BY LAW AND REGULATIONS HAVING THE FORCE OF LAW. PARAGRAPH 1.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES:

"1.2 REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES.--- TRAVELING EXPENSES WHICH WILL BE REIMBURSED ARE CONFINED TO THOSE EXPENSES ESSENTIAL TO THE TRANSACTING OF THE OFFICIAL BUSINESS.'

REGARDING ILLNESS OF AN EMPLOYEE WHILE IN A TRAVEL STATUS PARAGRAPH 6.5 (B), SGTR, PROVIDES:

"B. TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES TO EMPLOYEE'S DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY AND PER DIEM EN ROUTE SHALL BE ALLOWED WHENEVER THE EMPLOYEE BECOMES INCAPACITATED DUE TO ILLNESS OR INJURY, NOT DUE TO HIS OWN MISCONDUCT, WHILE EN ROUTE TO OR WHILE AT TEMPORARY DUTY STATION PRIOR TO COMPLETION OF TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT WHEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED.'

IT IS CLEAR THAT YOUR TRAVEL IN RETURNING TO WASHINGTON FROM CHEYENNE PRIOR TO PERFORMING THE TEMPORARY DUTY WAS FOR A PERSONAL REASON OTHER THAN INCAPACITY DUE TO ILLNESS OR INJURY. ON THE FACTS PRESENTED WE KNOW OF NO STATUTE OR REGULATION UNDER WHICH THE GOVERNMENT MAY BE CHARGED WITH THE EXPENSES SO INCURRED.

THE PERMISSION OR AUTHORITY TO ABANDON YOUR TRAVEL TO SAN DIEGO AND RETURN TO WASHINGTON WAS GRANTED UPON YOUR REQUEST BASED UPON A VALID BUT PERSONAL REASON. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES THE SUPERVISOR REASONABLY COULD NOT HAVE DONE OTHERWISE. ALSO, CONCERNING THE PROVISION IN YOUR ORDER FOR YOUR RETURN FROM SAN DIEGO TO WASHINGTON, SUCH ORDER CONTEMPLATED THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL DUTY AND THE TRAVEL NECESSARY TO ACCOMPLISH IT AND WHILE WE FULLY UNDERSTAND THE FACTS WHICH MADE IT NECESSARY FOR YOU TO SUSPEND THE OFFICIAL TRAVEL AND ARE IN SYMPATHY THEREWITH, THE FACT REMAINS THAT THE RETURN TRAVEL TO YOUR HOME WAS NOT IN THE PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS FOR THE GOVERNMENT.

AS TO YOUR SPECIFIC QUESTIONS, YOU WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO RETURN TRANSPORTATION AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UPON COMPLETION OF YOUR ASSIGNMENT, OR UPON RECEIPT OF ORDERS DIRECTING YOUR EARLIER RETURN TO WASHINGTON FOR OFFICIAL REASONS OR UPON BECOMING INCAPACITATED UNDER THE CONDITIONS SET FORTH IN SECTION 6.5 (B), QUOTED HEREIN.

UPON REVIEW THE ACTION OF JANUARY 22, 1962, WHICH DENIED YOUR CLAIM, MUST BE SUSTAINED.