B-155716, FEB. 2, 1965, 44 COMP. GEN. 443

B-155716: Feb 2, 1965

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IS ENTITLED UPON AGREEING TO A SECOND TOUR OF DUTY TO ROUND TRIP TRAVEL FOR HIMSELF AND ROUND TRIP TRANSPORTATION FOR HIS LAWFUL (SECOND) WIFE. WHILE YOU DID NOT TRANSMIT A VOUCHER WITH YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT THE SOLE REASON FOR THE FAILURE TO DO SO IS THE DOUBT CONCERNING THE PROPER AMOUNT TO BE CLAIMED. THAT YOU DO IN FACT HAVE A REAL AND EXISTING PROBLEM INVOLVING A VOUCHER THAT WILL BE SUBMITTED TO YOU IN THE NEAR FUTURE. WAS CHANGED FROM WASHINGTON. GEYERMAN AND HIS WIFE WERE DIVORCED. WAS REMARRIED IN SAN FRANCISCO. GEYERMAN IS NOW ELIGIBLE FOR HOME LEAVE AND YOU WISH TO KNOW THE EXTENT OF REIMBURSEMENT TO WHICH HE MAY BEEN ENTITLED ON ACCOUNT OF THE RETURN TRAVEL FROM BANGKOK TO THE UNITED STATES OF HIS THREE NATURAL CHILDREN.

B-155716, FEB. 2, 1965, 44 COMP. GEN. 443

TRAVEL EXPENSES - OVERSEAS EMPLOYEES - HOME LEAVE - MINIMUM SERVICE REQUIREMENT - REIMBURSEMENT BASIS AN OVERSEAS EMPLOYEE WHOSE WIFE AND CHILDREN RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES PRIOR TO HIS ELIGIBILITY FOR HOME LEAVE, AND AT THE TIME HE BECAME ELIGIBLE FOR THE HOME LEAVE HE HAD BEEN DIVORCED AND HAD REMARRIED, HIS SECOND WIFE HAVING TRAVELED TO HIS OVERSEAS STATION AT HIS EXPENSE, IS ENTITLED UPON AGREEING TO A SECOND TOUR OF DUTY TO ROUND TRIP TRAVEL FOR HIMSELF AND ROUND TRIP TRANSPORTATION FOR HIS LAWFUL (SECOND) WIFE, BUT HE MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED FOR THE RETURN TRAVEL TO THE UNITED STATES OF HIS FIRST WIFE AND CHILDREN, THE EMPLOYEE NOT HAVING COMPLETED THE AGREED PERIOD OF OVERSEAS SERVICE PRESCRIBED BY SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 73B-3, AT THE TIME OF THEIR RETURN; HOWEVER, ACCORDING TO BUDGET CIRCULAR 56,"IMMEDIATE FAMILY" MEANING THE MEMBERS OF AN EMPLOYEE'S HOUSEHOLD, WHEN TWO OF HIS THREE CHILDREN, WHOSE CUSTODY HE SHARES WITH HIS FORMER WIFE, JOIN HIS OVERSEAS HOUSEHOLD, THE AMOUNT OF THEIR ONE-WAY TRANSPORTATION FROM THE UNITED STATES MAY BE PAID.

TO BETTY F. LEATHERMAN, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, FEBRUARY 2, 1965:

YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 23, 1964, WITH ENCLOSURES, REQUESTS OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE ENTITLEMENT OF MR. JOHN R. GEYERMAN TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION OF DEPENDENTS BETWEEN BANGKOK, THAILAND, AND THE UNITED STATES, UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER SET FORTH. WHILE YOU DID NOT TRANSMIT A VOUCHER WITH YOUR REQUEST FOR DECISION WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT THE SOLE REASON FOR THE FAILURE TO DO SO IS THE DOUBT CONCERNING THE PROPER AMOUNT TO BE CLAIMED, AND THAT YOU DO IN FACT HAVE A REAL AND EXISTING PROBLEM INVOLVING A VOUCHER THAT WILL BE SUBMITTED TO YOU IN THE NEAR FUTURE. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE CONSIDER IT APPROPRIATE TO RENDER THE DECISION AT YOUR REQUEST.

IT APPEARS FROM THE INFORMATION TRANSMITTED HERE THAT IN AUGUST 1962 THE PERMANENT STATION OF MR. GEYERMAN, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, BUREAU OF INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS OPERATION, OFFICE OF TRADE PROMOTION, WAS CHANGED FROM WASHINGTON, D.C. TO BANGKOK, THAILAND. HIS WIFE AND THREE CHILDREN ACCOMPANIED HIM TO BANGKOK. THEREAFTER, PRIOR TO THE TIME THE EMPLOYEE BECAME ELIGIBLE FOR HOME LEAVE TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES AT THE EXPENSE OF THE EMPLOYEE. ON JUNE 3, 1963, MR. GEYERMAN AND HIS WIFE WERE DIVORCED. SUBSEQUENTLY, MR. GEYERMAN RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES AT HIS OWN EXPENSE AND ON JULY 24, 1964, WAS REMARRIED IN SAN FRANCISCO. SEPTEMBER 1964 HIS SECOND WIFE JOINED HIM IN BANGKOK. MR. GEYERMAN'S RETURN TRAVEL TO BANGKOK AS WELL AS THE TRAVEL OF HIS SECOND WIFE FROM THE UNITED STATES TO BANGKOK ALSO OCCURRED AT HIS PERSONAL EXPENSE.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT MR. GEYERMAN IS NOW ELIGIBLE FOR HOME LEAVE AND YOU WISH TO KNOW THE EXTENT OF REIMBURSEMENT TO WHICH HE MAY BEEN ENTITLED ON ACCOUNT OF THE RETURN TRAVEL FROM BANGKOK TO THE UNITED STATES OF HIS THREE NATURAL CHILDREN, HIS FORMER WIFE, AS WELL AS WHETHER HE AND HIS PRESENT WIFE NOW MAY RECEIVE ROUND TRIP TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION FROM BANGKOK TO THE UNITED STATES AND RETURN, INCIDENT TO A PERIOD OF HOME LEAVE TO THE UNITED STATES. ALSO MR. GEYERMAN SEEKS PAYMENT OF THE RETURN TRAVEL COST FROM THE UNITED STATES TO BANGKOK OF TWO OF HIS NATURAL CHILDREN WHICH WE UNDERSTAND ARE IN JOINT CUSTODY OF MR. GEYERMAN AND HIS FORMER WIFE. MR. GEYERMAN SAYS IT IS NOW HIS TURN TO HAVE CUSTODY OF THE TWO CHILDREN AND THAT IT IS CONTEMPLATED THAT HIS DAUGHTER CHERYL WILL RESIDE WITH HIM AS A MEMBER OF HIS HOUSEHOLD IN BANGKOK FOR A PERIOD OF APPROXIMATELY ONE YEAR AND THAT HIS SON LARRY WILL RESIDE IN THAILAND WITH MR. GEYERMAN TO FINISH HIS LAST TWO YEARS OF HIGH SCHOOL AND THEN RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES FOR HIS COLLEGE EDUCATION.

SECTION 7 OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 73B-3, IS IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

* * * PROVIDED FURTHER, THAT EXPENSES OF ROUND TRIP TRAVEL OF EMPLOYEE AND TRANSPORTATION OF IMMEDIATE FAMILY BUT EXCLUDING HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS, FROM THEIR POSTS OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO THE PLACES OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT TIME OF APPOINTMENT OR TRANSFER TO SUCH OVERSEAS POSTS OF DUTY, SHALL BE ALLOWED IN THE CASE OF PERSONS WHO HAVE SATISFACTORILY COMPLETED AN AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE OVERSEAS AND ARE RETURNING TO THEIR ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING LEAVE PRIOR TO SERVING ANOTHER TOUR OF DUTY AT THE SAME OR SOME OTHER OVERSEAS POST, UNDER A NEW WRITTEN AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO BEFORE DEPARTING FROM THE OVERSEAS POST * * * THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE RETURNS HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS TO THE UNITED STATES INCLUDING ITS TERRITORIES AND POSSESSIONS, AT HIS OWN EXPENSE PRIOR TO HIS RETURN AND FOR OTHER THAN REASONS OF PUBLIC INTEREST, THE GOVERNMENT SHALL REIMBURSE HIM FOR PROPER TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES AT SUCH TIME AS HE ACQUIRES ELIGIBILITY THEREFOR.

AT THE TIME THE EMPLOYEE BECAME ELIGIBLE FOR ROUND TRIP TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION INCIDENT TO TAKING LEAVE IN THE UNITED STATES HIS LAWFUL WIFE WAS THE ONE HE MARRIED IN SAN FRANCISCO IN JULY 1964. HENCE, UPON HIS AGREEING TO SIGN FOR ANOTHER SPECIFIED TOUR OF DUTY IN BANGKOK HE WOULD BE ENTITLED TO ROUND TRIP TRAVEL FOR HIMSELF AND ROUND TRIP TRANSPORTATION FOR HIS LAWFUL (SECOND) WIFE FROM BANGKOK TO THE UNITED STATES AND RETURN.

THERE IS NO AUTHORITY UNDER WHICH THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS FIRST WIFE AND THREE NATURAL CHILDREN FROM BANGKOKTO THE UNITED STATES, WHICH TRAVEL OCCURRED IN JUNE 1963, BECAUSE AT THAT TIME HE HAD NOT COMPLETED HIS AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE IN BANGKOK. WHEN HE DID COMPLETE THE AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE HE WAS DIVORCED FROM HIS FIRST WIFE AND THE THREE CHILDREN NO LONGER WERE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD SINCE THEY HAD BEEN RESIDING WITH HIS FORMER WIFE IN THE UNITED STATES FOR MORE THAN A YEAR PRIOR TO THE TIME HE COMPLETED THE NECESSARY WAITING PERIOD. SUCH CONNECTION WE NOTE THAT THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM "IMMEDIATE FAMILY," APPEARING IN BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, LIMITS PERSONS EMBRACED WITHIN THAT TERM TO THOSE WHO ARE MEMBERS OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF THE EMPLOYEE. HENCE, AT NO TIME DID THE EMPLOYEE EVER ACQUIRE ELIGIBILITY FOR THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS FIRST WIFE AND HIS THREE CHILDREN FROM BANGKOK TO THE UNITED STATES.

IF THE TWO NATURAL CHILDREN OF MR. GEYERMAN DO, IN FACT, RETURN TO BANGKOK WITH THE EMPLOYEE TO RESIDE WITH HIM FOR THE LENGTH OF TIME INDICATED IN THE INFORMATION TRANSMITTED HERE--- APPROXIMATELY A YEAR IN THE CASE OF HIS DAUGHTER AND LONGER IN THE CASE OF HIS SON--- IT IS NOT UNREASONABLE TO REGARD SUCH CHILDREN AS BECOMING MEMBERS OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF THE EMPLOYEE AT THE TIME OF THEIR RETURN WITH HIM AND HIS SECOND WIFE TO BANGKOK FROM THE UNITED STATES, AND THE AMOUNT OF THEIR ONE-WAY TRANSPORTATION FROM THE UNITED STATES TO BANGKOK PROPERLY MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

WE NOTE FROM COPIES OF FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL VOUCHER NO. 1980, DATED AUGUST 27, 1962, PAID BY MICHAEL M. CONLIN, THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS REIMBURSED PER DIEM FOR THE TRAVEL OF HIS FIRST WIFE AND THREE CHILDREN FROM THE UNITED STATES TO BANGKOK. SINCE HE WAS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH FOREIGN SERVICE TRAVEL REGULATIONS BUT RATHER UNDER THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS--- THE PER DIEM PAYMENTS WERE IN ERROR AND SHOULD BE WITHHELD FROM THE AMOUNTS OTHERWISE PAYABLE TO HIM.