B-157896, APR. 25, 1966

B-157896: Apr 25, 1966

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YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW IS UNDERSTOOD TO BE PREDICATED UPON CERTAIN STATEMENTS IN THE OFFICE SETTLEMENT WHICH YOU SAY ARE INCONSISTENT AND ALSO UPON AN ADMINISTRATIVE PAYMENT IN JUNE 1964 TO ANOTHER EMPLOYEE WHO WAS ASSIGNED TO DUTY AND QUARTERED AT FORT BROOKE AND WHO WAS ALLOWED THE FULL $18 AUTHORIZED RATE WITHOUT DEDUCTIONS FOR QUARTERS. WE HAVE VERIFIED THAT THE EMPLOYEE TO WHICH YOU REFER WAS IN FACT ALLOWED THE $18. FOR THE REASONS HEREINAFTER SET OUT WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT SUCH PAYMENT WAS IN ERROR. APPROPRIATE ACTION IS BEING TAKEN TO INSURE COLLECTION OF THE EXCESS AMOUNT ALLOWED TO SUCH EMPLOYEE DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED. IS VESTED IN THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10530.

B-157896, APR. 25, 1966

TO MR. FRANK MCCOY:

YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 28, 1965, ASKS THAT WE REVIEW GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF NOVEMBER 10, 1965, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM FOR A SUPPLEMENTAL PAYMENT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE BELIEVED BY YOU BE DUE INCIDENT TO YOUR SERVICE AS A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY AT FORT BROOKE, SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO, DURING DECEMBER 1964.

YOUR REQUEST FOR REVIEW IS UNDERSTOOD TO BE PREDICATED UPON CERTAIN STATEMENTS IN THE OFFICE SETTLEMENT WHICH YOU SAY ARE INCONSISTENT AND ALSO UPON AN ADMINISTRATIVE PAYMENT IN JUNE 1964 TO ANOTHER EMPLOYEE WHO WAS ASSIGNED TO DUTY AND QUARTERED AT FORT BROOKE AND WHO WAS ALLOWED THE FULL $18 AUTHORIZED RATE WITHOUT DEDUCTIONS FOR QUARTERS. WE HAVE VERIFIED THAT THE EMPLOYEE TO WHICH YOU REFER WAS IN FACT ALLOWED THE $18, BUT FOR THE REASONS HEREINAFTER SET OUT WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT SUCH PAYMENT WAS IN ERROR. APPROPRIATE ACTION IS BEING TAKEN TO INSURE COLLECTION OF THE EXCESS AMOUNT ALLOWED TO SUCH EMPLOYEE DURING THE PERIOD INVOLVED.

TO CLARIFY THE SITUATION WE FEEL THAT WE SHOULD POINT OUT THAT THE AUTHORITY TO PRESCRIBE MAXIMUM RATES OF PER DIEM IN NONFOREIGN AREAS, INCLUDING PUERTO RICO, IS VESTED IN THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET BY EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10530, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 2 OF EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 10970, PROMULGATED OCTOBER 30, 1961, UNDER AUTHORITY OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, 5 U.S.C. 835 ET SEQ.

UNDER THAT AUTHORITY THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET BY CIRCULAR NO. A-7, IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF YOUR TRAVEL, PRESCRIBED THAT THE MAXIMUM RATE OF PER DIEM AT SAN JUAN SHOULD BE $24 AND ELSEWHERE IN PUERTO RICO THE MAXIMUM SHOULD BE $18.

SECTION 6.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, EFFECTIVE IN 1964, READ, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"RATES OF PER DIEM.--- A. THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCES PROVIDED IN THESE REGULATIONS REPRESENT THE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE, NOT THE MINIMUM. 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. * * *"

PURSUANT TO THE DIRECTION IN THE QUOTED PROVISION THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY PRESCRIBED A $24 RATE FOR SAN JUAN AND AN $18 RATE FOR FORT BROOKE WHEN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS WERE OCCUPIED. WE ARE NOT AWARE OF THE ELEMENTS ENTERING INTO THE $18 RATE STRUCTURE BUT WE ARE INFORMED THAT THE $18 RATE IS THE AUTHORIZED LOCALITY RATE FOR CIVILIANS QUARTERED AT FORT BROOKE. ALSO, WE WERE ADVISED INFORMALLY THAT OF THE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO DUTY AT FORT BROOKE SOME USE COMMERCIAL LODGINGS IN THE CITY OF SAN JUAN AND OTHERS ARE QUARTERED ON THE POST AT FORT BROOKE. WE FURTHER WERE ADVISED THAT TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE TWO CATEGORIES OF EMPLOYEES, IN VIEW OF THE FACT THAT BOTH WERE ASSIGNED TO DUTY AT FORT BROOKE AND OF THE PROXIMITY OF THAT POST TO SAN JUAN, IT WAS DEEMED ADMINISTRATIVELY DESIRABLE TO PARENTHETICALLY EXPLAIN THE AUTHORIZED RATE OF $18 BY ADDING THE LANGUAGE "/GOVERNMENT QUARTERS OCCUPIED).' THE RATE OF $24 WHICH FORMERLY WAS AUTHORIZED AT FORT BROOKE WHEN QUARTERS AT THE POST WERE OCCUPIED BECAUSE OF ITS PROXIMITY TO SAN JUAN WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY REDUCED TO $18 TO CONFORM WITH RATES AUTHORIZED AT OTHER MILITARY POSTS IN PUERTO RICO RATHER THAN TO CONFORM WITH THE $18 MAXIMUM RATE PRESCRIBED BY THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET FOR LOCALITIES ELSEWHERE THAN SAN JUAN IN PUERTO RICO. IN SUMMARY, THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE $18 RATE AT FORT BROOKE WHEN QUARTERS THERE WERE OCCUPIED BORE NO RELATION TO THE SAN JUAN RATE BUT RATHER WAS TO CREATE UNIFORMITY OF THE RATES AUTHORIZED AT ARMY POSTS. SECTION 6.7 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDED:

"DEDUCTIONS FROM ALLOWANCE.---

WHERE MEALS AND/OR LODGING ARE FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE OR AT A NOMINAL COST BY A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY AT A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION, AN APPROPRIATE DEDUCTION SHALL BE MADE FROM THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE.'

TO COMPLY WITH REQUIREMENTS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY PROMULGATED CPR T3.4-5B/4). THAT REGULATION REQUIRED THAT WHEN QUARTERS ARE FURNISHED AT COST, THE ALLOWABLE PER DIEM WILL NOT BE MORE THAN THREE-FIFTHS OF THE AUTHORIZED OVERSEAS RATE EXCEPT WHEN A CHARGE IN EXCESS OF $1 A DAY FOR QUARTERS IS PAID AND CLAIMED BY A TRAVELER THE AMOUNT IN EXCESS OF $1 PER DAY WILL BE ADDED TO THE PER DIEM AMOUNT OTHERWISE PAYABLE.

THE QUARTERS CHARGE AT FORT BROOKE WAS $1.50 PER DAY. THUS, YOU ARE ENTITLED TO BE PAID IN CONSONANCE WITH THE FOLLOWING FORMULA:

3/5 TIMES $18 PLUS $0.50 EQUALS $11.30

THE RECORDS SHOW THAT YOU WERE ALLOWED AND PAID $11.30 PER DIEM FOR THE DAYS YOU WERE QUARTERED AT FORT BROOKE AND IN THE LIGHT OF THE FOREGOING WE ARE WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO ALLOW A GREATER AMOUNT.

THEREFORE, OUR OFFICE SETTLEMENT OF NOVEMBER 10, 1965, WHICH DISALLOWED YOUR CLAIM MUST BE SUSTAINED.