B-149515, SEP. 24, 1962

B-149515: Sep 24, 1962

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EFFECTIVE AUGUST 20 THE EMPLOYEES WERE PAID AT THE RATE OF $16 WHICH WAS THE NEW MAXIMUM RATE AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 14. SOME OF THE SUBJECT VOUCHERS WERE AMENDED RETROACTIVELY WHILE OTHERS WERE NEVER AMENDED. THE EXCEPTIONS WERE BASED UPON 35 COMP. IN WHICH WE HELD THAT INCREASES IN PER DIEM AND MILEAGE AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE ARE NOT AUTOMATIC BUT REQUIRE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION BEFORE THE HIGHER RATES ARE EFFECTIVE AND THAT THE RATES SPECIFIED IN TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT THEREOF MAY NOT BE RETROACTIVELY INCREASED. THE MESSAGE SPECIFICALLY STATED THAT THE RATES SHOWN THEREIN WERE THE MAXIMUM AND THAT ONLY REASONABLE AND NECESSARY RATES WERE TO BE AUTHORIZED. FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WAS REQUIRED IN ORDER TO MAKE THE INCREASED RATES EFFECTIVE.

B-149515, SEP. 24, 1962

TO ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION:

ON JULY 23, 1962, YOU FORWARDED FOR OUR REVIEW NOTICES OF EXCEPTIONS NUMBERED 2-00006, 2-00007, AND 2-00008, ISSUED JUNE 14, 1962, BY OUR DENVER AUDIT GROUP IN THE AUDIT OF VOUCHERS CERTIFIED BY INEZ S. BLOUNT, NADYNE M. LEEDOM, AND JACK C. WISE, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICERS OF YOUR AGENCY.

THE VOUCHERS COVER PER DIEM FOR TEMPORARY DUTY RENDERED IN AUGUST AND SEPTEMBER 1961. THE RELATED TRAVEL ORDERS PROVIDED FOR PAYMENT OF PER DIEM AT THE RATE OF $12, BUT EFFECTIVE AUGUST 20 THE EMPLOYEES WERE PAID AT THE RATE OF $16 WHICH WAS THE NEW MAXIMUM RATE AUTHORIZED BY THE ACT OF AUGUST 14, 1961, PUBLIC LAW 87-139, 75 STAT. 339. SOME OF THE SUBJECT VOUCHERS WERE AMENDED RETROACTIVELY WHILE OTHERS WERE NEVER AMENDED. THE EXCEPTIONS WERE BASED UPON 35 COMP. GEN. 148 AND B 130911, APRIL 9, 1957, IN WHICH WE HELD THAT INCREASES IN PER DIEM AND MILEAGE AUTHORIZED BY STATUTE ARE NOT AUTOMATIC BUT REQUIRE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION BEFORE THE HIGHER RATES ARE EFFECTIVE AND THAT THE RATES SPECIFIED IN TRAVEL ORDERS ISSUED PRIOR TO THE ENACTMENT THEREOF MAY NOT BE RETROACTIVELY INCREASED.

IT APPEARS THAT THE DIRECTOR OF ADMINISTRATION, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, ADVISED THE REGIONAL COMMISSIONERS OF THE NEW STATUTE AND THE RESULTING AMENDMENT TO THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS BY TWX ON AUGUST 17, 1961. THE MESSAGE SPECIFICALLY STATED THAT THE RATES SHOWN THEREIN WERE THE MAXIMUM AND THAT ONLY REASONABLE AND NECESSARY RATES WERE TO BE AUTHORIZED. THEREFORE, FURTHER ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION WAS REQUIRED IN ORDER TO MAKE THE INCREASED RATES EFFECTIVE. HOWEVER, IT APPEARS FROM THE INFORMATION FURNISHED BY YOU AND BY OUR ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING DIVISION THAT UPON RECEIPT OF THE MESSAGE THE COMMISSIONER OF THE REGION CONCERNED VERBALLY NOTIFIED HIS STAFF THAT ALL EMPLOYEES IN HIS REGION WERE TO BE REIMBURSED AT THE INCREASED MAXIMUM RATE FOR ALL TRAVEL BEGINNING AUGUST 20, 1961. APPARENTLY, NO WRITTEN INSTRUCTIONS WERE ISSUED AT THE TIME.

THE COMMISSIONER SUBSEQUENTLY RETIRED AND NO CLEAR EXPLANATION NOW IS AVAILABLE WHY HIS INSTRUCTIONS WERE NOT UNIFORMLY IMPLEMENTED THROUGHOUT THE REGION. IT SEEMS APPARENT, HOWEVER, THAT WHILE APPROPRIATE ADMINISTRATIVE INSTRUCTIONS WERE ISSUED IN THE VARIOUS ORGANIZATIONS WITHIN THE REGION, THEY WERE NOT IN ALL INSTANCES PROPERLY IMPLEMENTED AT LOWER LEVELS. THEREFORE, IN THIS INSTANCE, WE WILL REGARD THE FAILURE TO APPROPRIATELY AMEND THE ORDERS AS A CLERICAL FAILURE TO GIVE EFFECT TO ADMINISTRATIVE INTENT. UNDER THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES THE EXCEPTIONS WILL BE REMOVED.