B-150661, FEB. 8, 1963

B-150661: Feb 8, 1963

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ALTHOUGH TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIR WAS AUTHORIZED YOU TRAVELED ON AN AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT FLIGHT. YOU WERE NOTIFIED THAT YOUR FATHER WAS SERIOUSLY ILL AND YOU WERE ADVISED TO RETURN TO SAN BERNARDINO IN ORDER TO BE WITH HIM. SINCE NO GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT WAS AVAILABLE FOR YOUR RETURN AT THAT TIME YOU SECURED COMMERCIAL ACCOMMODATIONS WITH A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST AND RETURNED TO SAN BERNARDINO WITHOUT HAVING PERFORMED ANY DUTY AT WRIGHT- PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE. YOU WERE REQUIRED TO REFUND THE COST OF THE ACCOMMODATIONS YOU SECURED BY TRANSPORTATION REQUEST. ARE NOW RECLAIMING THAT AMOUNT. GEN. 237 WE HELD THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE ABANDONS TRAVEL ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS BECAUSE OF PERSONAL REASONS SUCH AS THE ILLNESS OR DEATH OF A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY THE GOVERNMENT WILL PAY THE COST OF TRAVEL UP TO THE POINT OF ABANDONMENT.

B-150661, FEB. 8, 1963

TO MR. J. WARREN HULTBERG:

ON DECEMBER 27, 1962, YOU REQUESTED THAT WE REVIEW OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF NOVEMBER 26, 1962, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COST OF YOUR TRAVEL FROM DAYTON, OHIO, TO SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA, ON OCTOBER 1, 1961, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE AIR FORCE, NORTON AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA.

YOU TRAVELED TO WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, DAYTON, OHIO, FROM SAN BERNARDINO ON SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 1961, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PERFORMING ABOUT SIX DAYS OF TEMPORARY DUTY THERE. ALTHOUGH TRAVEL BY COMMERCIAL AIR WAS AUTHORIZED YOU TRAVELED ON AN AVAILABLE GOVERNMENT FLIGHT. ON OCTOBER 1, YOU WERE NOTIFIED THAT YOUR FATHER WAS SERIOUSLY ILL AND YOU WERE ADVISED TO RETURN TO SAN BERNARDINO IN ORDER TO BE WITH HIM. SINCE NO GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT WAS AVAILABLE FOR YOUR RETURN AT THAT TIME YOU SECURED COMMERCIAL ACCOMMODATIONS WITH A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST AND RETURNED TO SAN BERNARDINO WITHOUT HAVING PERFORMED ANY DUTY AT WRIGHT- PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE. YOU WERE REQUIRED TO REFUND THE COST OF THE ACCOMMODATIONS YOU SECURED BY TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, $116.50, AND ARE NOW RECLAIMING THAT AMOUNT.

IN 23 COMP. GEN. 237 WE HELD THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE ABANDONS TRAVEL ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS BECAUSE OF PERSONAL REASONS SUCH AS THE ILLNESS OR DEATH OF A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY THE GOVERNMENT WILL PAY THE COST OF TRAVEL UP TO THE POINT OF ABANDONMENT. THE RULE IN THAT AND OTHER SIMILAR CASES IS BASED UPON THE FACT THAT THE TRAVEL BACK TO THE EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS BEING PERFORMED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE UNITED STATES. COMPARE THE PROVISION OF THE ACT OF JUNE 9, 1949, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 836, WHICH SPECIFICALLY AUTHORIZES THE PAYMENT OF THE TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF AN EMPLOYEE BACK TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS WHEN HE BECOMES INCAPACITATED DUE TO ILLNESS OR INJURY NOT RESULTING FROM HIS OWN MISCONDUCT.

YOU PRESENT 3 REASONS TO JUSTIFY PAYMENT IN YOUR CASE, FIRST THAT YOU TRAVELED TO DAYTON BY GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT RATHER THAN BY COMMERCIAL MEANS THEREBY SAVING THE GOVERNMENT MONEY; SECOND, THAT YOU ATTEMPTED TO NOTIFY YOUR SUPERIOR BEFORE YOU LEFT DAYTON; AND THIRD, THAT YOU INQUIRED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF RETURN ON GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT BUT FOUND THAT NONE WAS AVAILABLE. SINCE WE DO NOT REGARD YOUR RETURN TRAVEL UNDER THE RELATED CIRCUMSTANCES AS HAVING BEEN PERFORMED ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS OF THE UNITED STATES, THE MATTER OF WHETHER YOU TRAVELED BY GOVERNMENT AIRCRAFT OR OTHERWISE IS IMMATERIAL. MOREOVER, THE ISSUANCE OR NONISSUANCE OF INSTRUCTIONS OR ORDERS BY YOUR REGULAR SUPERVISOR WOULD NOT BE CONTROLLING. SEE 41 COMP. GEN. 573 (COPY ENCLOSED).

THEREFORE, OUR SETTLEMENT OF NOVEMBER 26, 1962, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR $116.50, WAS CORRECT AND IS SUSTAINED.