B-153563, MAR. 24, 1964

B-153563: Mar 24, 1964

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IT WAS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION FOR THE RETURN TO HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION. RETURN TRANSPORTATION WOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED BY GOVERNMENT VEHICLE IF HE HAD NOT DEPARTED PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY. HIS PRESENT CLAIM IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE PLANE FARE. WHICH WAS COMPLETED BY THE REST OF THE TEAM WITHOUT ASSIGNMENT OF ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL FOR THE CONCLUSION OF THE PROGRAM. THE FACTS HERE ARE SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO THOSE IN B-152030. WHICH WAS COMPLETED BY THE GROUP WITHOUT ASSIGNMENT OF A REPLACEMENT FOR THE EMPLOYEE AND WITHOUT ADDITIONAL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S DEPARTURE OR BECAUSE OF THE MEANS BY WHICH HE RETURNED HOME. IN THIS CASE WHILE THERE WAS NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY SITE.

B-153563, MAR. 24, 1964

TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL J. W. MOHER:

YOUR LETTER OF JANUARY 20, 1964, FORWARDED TO US BY THE FINANCE CENTER, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER MR. WILLIAM T. STAUFFER, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE, MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR TRANSPORTATION AND TRAVEL EXPENSES FROM HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION TO HIS PERMANENT STATION.

MR. STAUFFER LEFT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, LAKEHURST, NEW JERSEY, ON JANUARY 18, 1963, PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF HIS ASSIGNMENT, AFTER BEING INFORMED OF THE SERIOUS ILLNESS OF HIS WIFE IN LES CRUCES, NEW MEXICO. THE EMPLOYEE HAD TRAVELED TO THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION BY DRIVING A GOVERNMENT VEHICLE. SINCE THE TEMPORARY DUTY MISSION, WHICH INVOLVED SEVERAL EMPLOYEES, HAD NOT BEEN COMPLETED, IT WAS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN COMMERCIAL TRANSPORTATION FOR THE RETURN TO HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION. RETURN TRANSPORTATION WOULD HAVE BEEN FURNISHED BY GOVERNMENT VEHICLE IF HE HAD NOT DEPARTED PRIOR TO THE COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY. MR. STAUFFER DROVE HIS PRIVATELY-OWNED VEHICLE FROM LAKEHURST TO PHILADELPHIA. HE FLEW FROM PHILADELPHIA TO EL PASO, TEXAS, AND THEN DROVE TO LAS CRUCES. HIS PRESENT CLAIM IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE PLANE FARE, EXCESS BAGGAGE CHARGES, AND PER DIEM COVERING THE RETURN TRAVEL. HIS TRAVEL ORDER AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BY COMMON CARRIER, AIR OR SURFACE, AS WELL AS BY GOVERNMENT-OWNED VEHICLE OR AIRCRAFT.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. STAUFFER HAD SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETED HIS TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT BEFORE HIS DEPARTURE, AND THAT HIS EARLY DEPARTURE DID NOT ADVERSELY AFFECT THE PROJECT, WHICH WAS COMPLETED BY THE REST OF THE TEAM WITHOUT ASSIGNMENT OF ADDITIONAL PERSONNEL FOR THE CONCLUSION OF THE PROGRAM. THEREFORE, THE FACTS IN THIS CASE DIFFER FROM THOSE IN 41 COMP. GEN. 573, WHERE THE EMPLOYEE, WHILE EN ROUTE TO HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, RETURNED TO HEADQUARTERS BEFORE PERFORMING TEMPORARY DUTY. INSTEAD, THE FACTS HERE ARE SOMEWHAT SIMILAR TO THOSE IN B-152030, AUGUST 15, 1963, COPY ENCLOSED, WHERE THE EMPLOYEE, ONE OF A GROUP, HAD ACCOMPLISHED A MAJOR PORTION OF HIS PART OF THE MISSION, WHICH WAS COMPLETED BY THE GROUP WITHOUT ASSIGNMENT OF A REPLACEMENT FOR THE EMPLOYEE AND WITHOUT ADDITIONAL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT BECAUSE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S DEPARTURE OR BECAUSE OF THE MEANS BY WHICH HE RETURNED HOME. HOWEVER, IN THIS CASE WHILE THERE WAS NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY SITE, THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. STAUFFER COULD HAVE RETURNED BY GOVERNMENT VEHICLE PRESUMABLY AT LESS EXPENSE THAN BY HIS ACTUAL METHOD OF TRAVEL IF HE HAD NOT LEFT EARLY. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, HE MAY ONLY BE ALLOWED AN AMOUNT EQUIVALENT TO THE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE TO WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED HAD THE RETURN TRAVEL BEEN PERFORMED BY GOVERNMENT AUTOMOBILE ASSUMING, OF COURSE, THAT SUCH AMOUNT IS LESS THAN THE EXPENSES CLAIMED BY THE MODES OF TRANSPORTATION ACTUALLY USED.