B-153142, SEP. 24, 1964

B-153142: Sep 24, 1964

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WHICH WAS DISALLOWED BY OFFICE SETTLEMENT DATED MARCH 12. THE PERTINENT FACTS ARE AS FOLLOWS. WHILE YOU WERE IN AUSTRALIA AND SHE WAS IN THE UNITED STATES. THAT APPROVAL IS OF NO EFFECT SINCE THE EXPENSE IS NOT WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF EXISTING STATUTORY AUTHORITY. WE POINT OUT THAT YOU MUST HAVE BEEN AWARE OF SOME DOUBT ABOUT PAYMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF LUCILLE ASHLEY'S TRAVEL BECAUSE YOU WERE ADVISED THAT APPROVAL THEREOF WAS SUBJECT TO THE CONDITION THAT THE TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER WOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT. THE VOUCHER WOULD HAVE BEEN PAID BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WITHOUT QUESTION. THE GROUND ON WHICH YOUR CLAIM IS DENIED IS THAT NO STATUTORY AUTHORITY EXISTS FOR AUTHORIZING AND PAYING FOR SUCH TRAVEL.

B-153142, SEP. 24, 1964

TO MR. BURTON E. ASHLEY:

YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 14, 1964, REQUESTS RECONSIDERATION OF YOUR CLAIM FOR $194.60 IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRAVEL OF YOUR PRESENT WIFE, LUCILLE ASHLEY, FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA, IN THE SPRING OF 1963, WHICH WAS DISALLOWED BY OFFICE SETTLEMENT DATED MARCH 12, 1964. THE PERTINENT FACTS ARE AS FOLLOWS.

UNDER TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 1-03947, DATED MARCH 22, 1961, YOU, YOUR WIFE, VIRGINIA, NOW DECEASED, AND YOUR THREE CHILDREN TRAVELED FROM WASHINGTON TO CANBERRA. ON JANUARY 17, 1963, YOU MARRIED LUCILLE RADE BY TELEPHONE, WHILE YOU WERE IN AUSTRALIA AND SHE WAS IN THE UNITED STATES. THE STATE DEPARTMENT ISSUED TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 1 03947-D ON MARCH 1, 1963, AUTHORIZING THE TRAVEL OF LUCILLE ASHLEY FROM WASHINGTON TO CANBERRA.

SECTION 911 OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE ACT OF 1946, 60 STAT. 1026, AS AMENDED, 22 U.S.C. 1136 PROVIDES:

"THE SECRETARY MAY UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS HE SHALL PRESCRIBE, PAY --

"/2) THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF THE MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY OF AN OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE SERVICE WHEN PROCEEDING TO OR RETURNING FROM HIS POST OF DUTY; ACCOMPANYING HIM ON AUTHORIZED HOME LEAVE; OR OTHERWISE TRAVELING IN ACCORDANCE WITH AUTHORITY GRANTED PURSUANT TO THE TERMS OF THIS CHAPTER OR ANY OTHER ACT; "

AS STATED IN OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT, SINCE YOUR WIFE, VIRGINIA, DID TRAVEL UNDER THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED MARCH 22, 1961, AND HER TRAVEL HAS BEEN PAID FOR BY THE STATE DEPARTMENT, NO BASIS EXISTS FOR AGAIN AUTHORIZING AND PAYING FOR THE TRAVEL OF A SECOND SPOUSE IN CONNECTION WITH YOUR TRAVEL TO AUSTRALIA UPON APPOINTMENT TO YOUR POST AT THAT LOCATION. WHILE THE STATE DEPARTMENT'S SPECIAL COMMITTEE FOR WAIVER OF THE FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL REGULATIONS APPROVED THE TRAVEL, THAT APPROVAL IS OF NO EFFECT SINCE THE EXPENSE IS NOT WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF EXISTING STATUTORY AUTHORITY.

IN ORDER TO CLARIFY SOME OF THE MATTERS BROUGHT UP BY YOU IN YOUR LETTER CONCERNING THE BASIS FOR DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM, WE POINT OUT THAT YOU MUST HAVE BEEN AWARE OF SOME DOUBT ABOUT PAYMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF LUCILLE ASHLEY'S TRAVEL BECAUSE YOU WERE ADVISED THAT APPROVAL THEREOF WAS SUBJECT TO THE CONDITION THAT THE TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER WOULD BE SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR DIRECT SETTLEMENT. OTHERWISE, THE VOUCHER WOULD HAVE BEEN PAID BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE WITHOUT QUESTION.

THE ALLOWABILITY OF ANY EXPENSES OF TRAVEL DEPEND, IN THE FIRST INSTANCE, ON WHETHER THE TRAVEL MAY BE AUTHORIZED AS TRAVEL FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT OR PAYMENT OF EXPENSES MAY BE MADE. THE GROUND ON WHICH YOUR CLAIM IS DENIED IS THAT NO STATUTORY AUTHORITY EXISTS FOR AUTHORIZING AND PAYING FOR SUCH TRAVEL. WHATEVER MAY HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE IF YOU HAD TAKEN HOME LEAVE TO BRING YOUR WIFE TO AUSTRALIA RATHER THAN POSTPONING YOUR HOME LEAVE FOR A YEAR IS NOT RELEVANT SINCE YOU DID NOT DO SO. WE NOTE THAT THE TRAVEL OF YOUR WIFE ACTUALLY BEGAN PRIOR TO COMPLETION OF ELIGIBILITY FOR HOME LEAVE. MOREOVER, THE FACT THAT YOU MAY NOT HAVE BEEN COMPLETELY ADVISED PROVIDES NO BASIS FOR ANY CHANGE IN OUR CONCLUSION.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE, THE DISALLOWANCE OF YOUR CLAIM WAS CORRECT, AND IS HEREBY SUSTAINED.