B-158729, APR. 22, 1966

B-158729: Apr 22, 1966

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LIPTON WAS ISSUED A TRAVEL ORDER WHICH AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BETWEEN WASHINGTON. THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP WAS TO CONDUCT A HEARING WHICH THE EMPLOYEE SAYS WAS EXPECTED TO LAST TWO OR THREE DAYS. NOVEMBER 8 AND WAS SETTLED AT 5:30 P.M. THE AMOUNT ADMINISTRATIVELY ALLOWED WAS BASED ON A CONSTRUCTIVE DEPARTURE FROM WASHINGTON. THE AMOUNT ALLOWED WAS ONE-HALF DAY AT $8 PER DAY. THE REASON GIVEN ON THE STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE EXCEPTIONS FOR THE DISALLOWANCE WAS THAT "NO NECESSITY SHOWN FOR REMAINING IN NEW YORK OVERNIGHT SINCE HEARINGS WERE CONCLUDED AT AN HOUR WHEN RETURN TRAVEL COULD HAVE BEEN PER PERFORMED.'. LIPTON'S POSITION IS THAT. IS UNREALISTIC CONSIDERING THE TIME NEEDED FOR CLEANING UP.

B-158729, APR. 22, 1966

TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, OFFICE OF GENERAL COUNSEL, NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BOARD:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 14, 1966, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER A RECLAIM VOUCHER FOR $14.75 IN FAVOR OF MR. BENJAMIN B. LIPTON, A HEARING EXAMINER OF YOUR AGENCY, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

ON NOVEMBER 5, 1965, MR. LIPTON WAS ISSUED A TRAVEL ORDER WHICH AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BETWEEN WASHINGTON, D.C., AND BROOKLYN, NEW YORK, BY COMMON CARRIER IN LIEU OF PRIVATELY-OWNED AUTOMOBILE. THE PURPOSE OF THE TRIP WAS TO CONDUCT A HEARING WHICH THE EMPLOYEE SAYS WAS EXPECTED TO LAST TWO OR THREE DAYS.

MR. LIPTON TRAVELED FROM HIS HOME IN VIENNA, VIRGINIA, BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE, FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE, ON SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7, TO BROOKLYN. MR. LIPTON STAYED AT THE HOME OF RELATIVES IN BROOKLYN. THE HEARING BEGAN AT 1 P.M., MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8 AND WAS SETTLED AT 5:30 P.M. THE SAME DAY. MR. LIPTON RETURNED BY CAR TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, LEAVING BROOKLYN AT 8:15 A.M., AND ARRIVING AT HIS HOME IN VIENNA, VIRGINIA, AT 12:30 P.M. HE CLAIMED PER DIEM, BASED ON AIR TRAVEL, FROM 9:50 A.M., NOVEMBER 8, TO 10:07 A.M., NOVEMBER 9, OR 1 1/4 DAYS AT $15 PER DAY, WHICH TOTALS $18.75. THE AMOUNT ADMINISTRATIVELY ALLOWED WAS BASED ON A CONSTRUCTIVE DEPARTURE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., BY PLANE AT 9:50A.M., NOVEMBER 8, AND A RETURN TO WASHINGTON FROM NEW YORK CITY BY PLANE AT 8 P.M., NOVEMBER 8, WITH ARRIVAL IN WASHINGTON AT 9:18 P.M. THE AMOUNT ALLOWED WAS ONE-HALF DAY AT $8 PER DAY, OR $4, THUS DISALLOWING $14.75. THE REASON GIVEN ON THE STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE EXCEPTIONS FOR THE DISALLOWANCE WAS THAT "NO NECESSITY SHOWN FOR REMAINING IN NEW YORK OVERNIGHT SINCE HEARINGS WERE CONCLUDED AT AN HOUR WHEN RETURN TRAVEL COULD HAVE BEEN PER PERFORMED.' ALSO, YOU INDICATE IN YOUR LETTER THAT AGENCY POLICY REQUIRES THE RETURN OF EMPLOYEES TO THEIR OFFICIAL STATION UPON COMPLETION OF OFFICIAL DUTIES WITHOUT DELAY.

MR. LIPTON'S POSITION IS THAT, SINCE THE HEARING ENDED AT 5:30 P.M., A CONSTRUCTIVE DEPARTURE TIME BY PLANE AT 8 P.M. IS UNREALISTIC CONSIDERING THE TIME NEEDED FOR CLEANING UP, DINNER AND OBTAINING A TAXI, IN ADDITION TO ALLOWING APPROXIMATELY ONE HOUR TO GET TO THE AIRPORT. HE SAYS THAT THE EARLIEST REASONABLE TIME HE COULD HAVE DEPARTED LAGUARDIA AIRPORT WAS BY 9 P.M. AND, THEREFORE, THAT HE WOULD NOT HAVE ARRIVED IN WASHINGTON READY TO LEAVE THE AIRPORT UNTIL ABOUT 0:30 P.M. THUS, HE CONCLUDES HE WOULD NOT HAVE ARRIVED AT HIS HOME IN VIENNA, VIRGINIA, UNTIL ABOUT 11:30 P.M. WE NOTE THAT HE HAS APPARENTLY CONCURRED IN THE ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION APPROVING A CONSTRUCTIVE RETURN BY AIR ON THE 8 P.M. PLANE FROM LAGUARDIA ON OCTOBER 11 AFTER A HEARING THAT ENDED AT 4:15 P.M.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS PARTICULAR TRIP, OUR OPINION IS THAT THE REQUIREMENT FOR A PROMPT RETURN WOULD BE SATISFIED BY A RETURN ON THE 9 A.M. FLIGHT TO WASHINGTON ON NOVEMBER 9. THE RECLAIM VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE PROPER.