B-152216, AUG. 20, 1963

B-152216: Aug 20, 1963

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SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 8. THIS AMOUNT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM MR. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED FOR THE TIME SPENT IN FORT WORTH. WAS OFFICIALLY STATIONED AT FORT WORTH. HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS WERE CHANGED TO SHREVEPORT. THAT INSOFAR AS YOU CAN ASCERTAIN HIS DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARE STILL LOCATED IN FORT WORTH. THE AMENDED TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING LIMITING PROVISION: "NO PER DIEM WILL BE ALLOWED IN FORT WORTH. THIS PROVISION WAS DRAFTED WITH THE INTENTION OF CARRYING INTO EFFECT PARAGRAPH 6.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. WHICH IN PERTINENT PART PROVIDES: "* * * IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EACH DEPARTMENT AND ESTABLISHMENT TO SEE THAT TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZE ONLY SUCH PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AS ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES AFFECTING THE TRAVEL.

B-152216, AUG. 20, 1963

TO MR. C. R. SMITH, AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JULY 8, 1963, REQUESTING OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING THE ATTACHED TRAVEL VOUCHER OF LOUIS V. LEDVINA FOR THE SUM OF $57.50. THIS AMOUNT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DEDUCTED FROM MR. LEDVINA'S TRAVEL VOUCHER AND REPRESENTS PER DIEM FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 11 THROUGH 20, 1963, THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED FOR THE TIME SPENT IN FORT WORTH, TEXAS, ON TEMPORARY DUTY, HAD IT NOT BEEN THE EMPLOYEE'S PLACE OF RESIDENCE.

IN YOUR SUBMISSION YOU INDICATE THAT MR. LEDVINA, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE, WAS OFFICIALLY STATIONED AT FORT WORTH, TEXAS, FROM SEPTEMBER 4, 1941, THROUGH JANUARY 5, 1963, INCLUSIVE; THAT ON JANUARY 6, 1963, HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS WERE CHANGED TO SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA; BUT THAT INSOFAR AS YOU CAN ASCERTAIN HIS DEPENDENTS AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS ARE STILL LOCATED IN FORT WORTH, TEXAS.

DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION MR. LEDVINA PERFORMED TRAVEL UNDER AUTHORITY OF BLANKET TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 101-63 WHICH, AS AMENDED, ALLOWED FOR TRAVEL FROM SHREVEPORT, LOUISIANA, TO VARIOUS POINTS IN TEXAS, ARKANSAS, OKLAHOMA, MISSISSIPPI AND LOUISIANA. THE AMENDED TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION CONTAINED THE FOLLOWING LIMITING PROVISION:

"NO PER DIEM WILL BE ALLOWED IN FORT WORTH, TEXAS, WHILE IT REMAINS YOUR PLACE OF RESIDENCE.'

THIS PROVISION WAS DRAFTED WITH THE INTENTION OF CARRYING INTO EFFECT PARAGRAPH 6.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AS AMENDED AUGUST 14, 1961, WHICH IN PERTINENT PART PROVIDES:

"* * * IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EACH DEPARTMENT AND ESTABLISHMENT TO SEE THAT TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZE ONLY SUCH PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AS ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES AFFECTING THE TRAVEL. TO THIS END, CARE SHOULD BE EXERCISED TO PREVENT THE FIXING OF A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN EXCESS OF THAT REQUIRED TO MEET THE NECESSARY AUTHORIZED EXPENSES.'

THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZING OFFICER STATES THAT IT HAS UNIFORMLY BEEN THE ADMINISTRATIVE PRACTICE OF HIS OFFICE TO DENY AN EMPLOYEE A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE WHILE AT A TEMPORARY DUTY POST IF LIVING WITH HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY IN THE PRINCIPAL FAMILY RESIDENCE, ABSENT A SHOWING OF SPECIAL JUSTIFICATION. WHILE CLAIMANT STATED THAT HIS ABSENCE FROM HEADQUARTERS NECESSITATED AN INCREASE IN ACTUAL EXPENSES OF SUBSISTENCE OVER THOSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED AT HEADQUARTERS, HE OFFERED NO FACTS IN SUPPORT THEREOF, NOR DID HE INDICATE IN HIS RECLAIM VOUCHER THAT HIS MEALS AND LODGINGS DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION WERE OBTAINED ELSEWHERE OTHER THAN WITH HIS FAMILY AT THE FAMILY RESIDENCE.

OUR OFFICE IN 31 COMP. GEN. 264 HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO PER DIEM WHERE HE HAD INCURRED NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE DURING HIS ABSENCE FROM HEADQUARTERS, AND THAT IT IS THE ADMINISTRATIVE RESPONSIBILITY TO PREVENT THE FIXING OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AT A RATE IN EXCESS OF THAT REQUIRED TO MEET NECESSARY AUTHORIZED EXPENSES. IN 35 COMP. GEN. 554, IT STATES THAT THERE IS NO MANDATORY REQUIREMENT THAT TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZE PER DIEM WHILE THE EMPLOYEE LODGES OR SUBSISTS HIMSELF AT HOME, BUT THAT SUCH DECISION IS A MATTER OF ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION WHICH SHOULD BE EXERCISED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

IN THE PRESENT CASE, MR. LEDVINA'S TRAVEL VOUCHER EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED PER DIEM DURING SUCH TIME AS HE WAS STATIONED IN FORT WORTH, TEXAS, AS LONG AS IT REMAINED HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE. THEREFORE, SINCE THERE APPEARS NO EVIDENCE THAT THE PRINCIPAL FAMILY RESIDENCE WAS EVER CHANGED FROM THAT OF FORT WORTH, THE ADMINISTRATIVE PROHIBITION CONTAINED IN TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 100-63 APPEARS WELL FOUNDED AND IS NOT SUBJECT TO QUESTION BY THIS OFFICE. ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. SEE B-148205, APRIL 24, 1962, A COPY OF WHICH IS ENCLOSED.