B-156493, JUN. 17, 1965

B-156493: Jun 17, 1965

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WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON. THE LATTER TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. SINCE YOUR DEPENDENT SON HAD SPENT LESS THAN THE REQUIRED TIME OVERSEAS (AFTER YOU REPORTED TO YOUR POST) YOU WERE REQUIRED TO REFUND TO THE GOVERNMENT $344.50 ($321.40 FOR TRANSPORTATION PLUS $23.10 FOR PER DIEM AND OTHER EXPENSES). YOU WERE REQUESTED TO ALSO REFUND THIS AMOUNT SINCE YOUR SON HAD NOT. ONCE EACH WAY FOR EACH TYPE OF EDUCATION.' "284.1 PRIOR RESIDENCE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES "THE FIRST EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL TRIP FOR OBTAINING EACH TYPE OF EDUCATION (SECONDARY OR COLLEGE) MUST ORIGINATE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AND THE CHILD MUST HAVE BEEN OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES FOR AT LEAST 45 CONSECUTIVE CALENDAR DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE ON SUCH TRIP * * *" IT IS APPARENT FROM THE RECORD THAT YOUR SON WAS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES MORE THAN 45 DAYS PRIOR TO AUGUST 30.

B-156493, JUN. 17, 1965

TO MR. THOMAS J. CAROLAN, UNITED STATES INFORMATION AGENCY, OSLO, NORWAY:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 29, 1965, CONCERNING THE AUDIT ACTION TAKEN BY OUR OFFICE ON PAYMENTS MADE TO YOU FOR YOUR SON'S EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL.

THE INFORMATION FURNISHED SHOWS THAT BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATED MAY 24, 1963, AS AMENDED MAY 28, 1963, YOU AND YOUR TWO DEPENDENTS, WIFE AND SON, WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO OSLO, NORWAY. JUNE 1963 YOUR SON, A STUDENT AT THE UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY, LEFT WASHINGTON, D.C., BY MATS FOR A PERIOD OF TRAINING WITH THE 6TH FLEET IN THE MEDITERRANEAN AREA. YOU AND YOUR WIFE ARRIVED IN OSLO ON AUGUST 4, 1963. YOUR SON, APPARENTLY AFTER COMPLETING HIS TRAINING DUTY, VISITED WITH HIS BROTHER IN BEIRUT, LEBANON, AND SUBSEQUENTLY ARRIVED IN OSLO AUGUST 12, 1963. THE LATTER TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. ON AUGUST 30, 1963, YOUR SON DEPARTED OSLO BY AIR AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, ARRIVING IN WASHINGTON, D.C., THE SAME DAY FOR THE PURPOSE OF ATTENDING THE NAVAL ACADEMY. SINCE YOUR DEPENDENT SON HAD SPENT LESS THAN THE REQUIRED TIME OVERSEAS (AFTER YOU REPORTED TO YOUR POST) YOU WERE REQUIRED TO REFUND TO THE GOVERNMENT $344.50 ($321.40 FOR TRANSPORTATION PLUS $23.10 FOR PER DIEM AND OTHER EXPENSES).

SUBSEQUENT TO YOUR SON'S GRADUATION FROM THE UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY IN JUNE 1964 HE TRAVELED TO OSLO ON EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AT A COST OF $327.40 ($312.40 TRANSPORTATION AND $15 PER DIEM). YOU WERE REQUESTED TO ALSO REFUND THIS AMOUNT SINCE YOUR SON HAD NOT, AS INDICATED ABOVE, PREVIOUSLY QUALIFIED FOR EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL. YOU REQUEST REFUND OF THE $344.50 COLLECTED FROM YOU AND THAT WE WAIVE COLLECTION OF THE $327.40.

SECTION 221 OF THE "OVERSEAS DIFFERENTIALS AND ALLOWANCES ACT," 74 STAT. 794, 5 U.S.C. 3037 (4) (B), PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF DEPENDENTS OF AN EMPLOYEE TO AND FROM A SCHOOL IN THE UNITED STATES TO OBTAIN AN AMERICAN SECONDARY OR UNDERGRADUATE COLLEGE EDUCATION, NOT TO EXCEED ONE TRIP EACH WAY FOR EACH DEPENDENT FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING EACH TYPE OF EDUCATION * * *"

THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS (GOVERNMENT CIVILIANS, FOREIGN AREAS) PROMULGATED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE, PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

"283 STANDARDS FOR AUTHORIZATION

"SUBJECT TO THE LIMITATIONS IN SECTION 284, THE HEAD OF AGENCY MAY AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OR REIMBURSEMENT TO THE EMPLOYEE FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR A CHILD TO A SCHOOL IN THE UNITED STATES FROM THE EMPLOYEE'S FOREIGN POST FOR SECONDARY OR COLLEGE EDUCATION * * * AND RETURN TO THE POST, ONCE EACH WAY FOR EACH TYPE OF EDUCATION.'

"284.1 PRIOR RESIDENCE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

"THE FIRST EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL TRIP FOR OBTAINING EACH TYPE OF EDUCATION (SECONDARY OR COLLEGE) MUST ORIGINATE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES AND THE CHILD MUST HAVE BEEN OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES FOR AT LEAST 45 CONSECUTIVE CALENDAR DAYS PRIOR TO DEPARTURE ON SUCH TRIP * * *"

IT IS APPARENT FROM THE RECORD THAT YOUR SON WAS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES MORE THAN 45 DAYS PRIOR TO AUGUST 30, 1963, THE DAY HE LEFT OSLO, YOUR POST OF DUTY, ON EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL. HOWEVER, IT IS NOTED THAT HIS TRAVEL OVERSEAS IN JUNE 1963 WAS UNRELATED TO THE CHANGE OF YOUR POST OF DUTY TO OSLO, NORWAY. MOREOVER, WHILE YOUR SON DID, AFTER COMPLETION OF HIS TRAINING DUTY WITH THE UNITED STATES NAVY, ARRIVE IN OSLO ON AUGUST 12, 1963, VIA BEIRUT, LEBANON, HE WAS UNABLE TO COMPLETE THE NECESSARY STAY OF 45 DAYS BECAUSE OF THE NECESSITY TO LEAVE OSLO ON AUGUST 30, 1963, TO RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY. UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WE CANNOT AGREE THAT THE 45-DAY REQUIREMENT HAD BEEN MET SO AS TO QUALIFY FOR THE TRAVEL OF YOUR SON AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FROM OSLO TO ANNAPOLIS.

WE RECOGNIZE THAT YOUR SON WAS ENTITLED TO TRANSPORTATION COSTS FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO OSLO, AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ON THE BASIS OF YOUR TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AND THE GOVERNMENT'S OBLIGATION REGARDING THIS TRAVEL WAS SATISFIED WHEN YOUR SON TRAVELED TO OSLO VIA BEIRUT DURING THE SUMMER OF 1963 AFTER COMPLETION OF TRAINING DUTY.

REGARDING YOUR SON'S TRAVEL TO OSLO AFTER COMPLETING HIS EDUCATION AT THE UNITED STATES NAVAL ACADEMY IT IS NOTED THAT THE STATUTE QUOTED ABOVE AUTHORIZES THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF A DEPENDENT OF AN EMPLOYEE NOT TO EXCEED ONE TRIP EACH WAY (TO AND FROM A SCHOOL IN THE UNITED STATES) FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING AN EDUCATION AND STATES THAT BEFORE THE DEFENDANT TO "FIRST" EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL TRIP HE MUST HAVE HAD A PRIOR RESIDENCE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES FOR AT LEAST 45 CONSECUTIVE DAYS. HOWEVER, THE REGULATIONS ARE SILENT AS TO THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE FOR THE SECOND PART OF THE EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL TRIP. THEREFORE, AND AS THE STATUTE DOES NOT PRECLUDE TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER THE RELATED CIRCUMSTANCES WE WILL TAKE NO FURTHER COLLECTION ACTION REGARDING THE COST OF YOUR SON'S TRAVEL TO OSLO FROM ANNAPOLIS IN JUNE 1964.

REFERRING AGAIN TO THE DENIAL OF YOUR CLAIM FOR THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF YOUR SON FROM OSLO TO ANNAPOLIS ON AUGUST 30, 1963, AND TO YOUR CONTENTION THAT THE MATTER HAD BEEN DISCUSSED WITH THE AGENCY'S OFFICIALS WHO INFORMED YOU THAT YOUR SON WAS ELIGIBLE FOR EDUCATIONAL TRAVEL, WE DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION TO 6 FAM 115 WHICH SPECIFICALLY PROVIDES THAT THE TRAVELER IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CORRECT PERFORMANCE OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL AND FOR THE PAYMENT OF ANY CHARGES INCURRED THROUGH FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE GOVERNING REGULATIONS, REGARDLESS OF WHO MAY HAVE ASSISTED HIM IN MAKING THE TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS.

TO SUMMARIZE, THERE IS NO LEGAL BASIS FOR ALLOWING YOUR CLAIM FOR THE $344.50 WHICH YOU HAVE REIMBURSED THE GOVERNMENT FOR YOUR SON'S TRAVEL IN RETURNING TO THE UNITED STATES ON AUGUST 30, 1963, BUT THE EXPENSES PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR YOUR SON'S TRAVEL TO OSLO FROM ANNAPOLIS IN JUNE 1964 ARE REGARDED AS PROPER AND NO FURTHER COLLECTION ACTION WILL BE TAKEN WITH RESPECT THERETO.