B-158941, MAY 4, 1966

B-158941: May 4, 1966

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O-BRIEN WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM HOUSTON. SAID TRAVEL WAS TO COMMENCE ON OR ABOUT JULY 18. PER DIEM AT THE RATE OF $16 WAS AUTHORIZED. PER DIEM AT THE RATE OF $16 PER DAY WAS ALLOWED. THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE MEETING WERE INFORMED THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES NOT TO EXCEED $30 PER DAY WOULD BE ALLOWED FOR THOSE ATTENDING THE MEETING. WHICH WAS OCCUPIED BY HIM. YOU ASK WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT IS LIABLE FOR: "/A) THAT PORTION OF THE COST EQUAL TO THE AVERAGE PREVAILING RATE IN THE AREA FOR SINGLE OCCUPANCY OF A HOTEL OR MOTEL ACCOMMODATION (SIC/? THE ONLY EXPENSES THE GOVERNMENT IS OBLIGATED TO PAY ARE DR. THE FACT THAT PAYMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES UP TO $30 IS AUTHORIZED MEANS THAT NECESSARY SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HIS OWN TRAVEL MAY BE REIMBURSED UP TO $30.

B-158941, MAY 4, 1966

TO MR. T. C. CRABE:

YOUR LETTER, REFERENCE BFH, RECEIVED APRIL 13, 1966, REQUESTS OUR DECISION AS TO THE AMOUNT FOR WHICH A SUPPLEMENTAL TRAVEL VOUCHER FOR $184 MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN FAVOR OF DR. BRIAN O-BRIEN FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO TRAVEL PERFORMED AS A CONSULTANT, WITH COMPENSATION, OF THE NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION.

YOU INFORM US THAT DR. O-BRIEN WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM HOUSTON, TEXAS, TO WOODS HOLE (FALMOUTH), MASSACHUSETTS, FOR APPROXIMATELY TWO WEEKS TEMPORARY DUTY, FOR THE PURPOSE OF ATTENDING A MANNED SPACE SCIENCE WORKING GROUP MEETING. SAID TRAVEL WAS TO COMMENCE ON OR ABOUT JULY 18, 1965. PER DIEM AT THE RATE OF $16 WAS AUTHORIZED. UPON COMPLETION OF THE TRAVEL DR. O-BRIEN SUBMITTED A CLAIM FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES INCURRED IN THE AMOUNT OF $30 PER DAY. PER DIEM AT THE RATE OF $16 PER DAY WAS ALLOWED; HOWEVER, POST APPROVAL OF REIMBURSEMENT ON AN ACTUAL EXPENSE BASIS HAS BEEN MADE. ALSO, YOU SAY THAT, DUE TO THE HIGH COST OF LIVING IN WOODS HOLE, THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE MEETING WERE INFORMED THAT REIMBURSEMENT FOR ACTUAL EXPENSES NOT TO EXCEED $30 PER DAY WOULD BE ALLOWED FOR THOSE ATTENDING THE MEETING.

YOUR QUESTION AS TO THE EXTENT OF PERMISSIBLE REIMBURSEMENT ARISES BECAUSE DR. O-BRIEN RENTED A COTTAGE AT $25 A DAY, WHICH WAS OCCUPIED BY HIM, HIS WIFE AND TWO CHILDREN. YOU ASK WHETHER THE GOVERNMENT IS LIABLE FOR:

"/A) THAT PORTION OF THE COST EQUAL TO THE AVERAGE PREVAILING RATE IN THE AREA FOR SINGLE OCCUPANCY OF A HOTEL OR MOTEL ACCOMMODATION (SIC/? OR

"/B) THE FULL AMOUNT OF THE RENTAL OF THE COTTAGE?

"/C) THE QUOTIENT OF THE COST OF THE COTTAGE DIVIDED BY THE NUMBER OF OCCUPANTS?

THE ONLY EXPENSES THE GOVERNMENT IS OBLIGATED TO PAY ARE DR. O BRIEN'S EXPENSES. THE FACT THAT PAYMENT OF ACTUAL EXPENSES UP TO $30 IS AUTHORIZED MEANS THAT NECESSARY SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HIS OWN TRAVEL MAY BE REIMBURSED UP TO $30. ANY EXPENSES INCURRED BECAUSE HIS FAMILY ACCOMPANIED HIM ARE PERSONAL EXPENSES TO BE BORNE BY HIM.

TO RENT A COTTAGE FOR $25 FOR ONE PERSON WOULD, IN OUR OPINION, BE AN UNNECESSARY EXPENSE WHEN OTHER SUITABLE ACCOMMODATIONS COULD BE OBTAINED AT LESS EXPENSE, AS IT APPEARS THEY COULD HAVE BEEN, SINCE YOU SAY THAT A SAMPLING OF THE CLAIMS PAID BY YOUR OFFICE IN CONNECTION WITH THE SAME MEETING SHOWS THE DAILY RATES FOR LODGING TO VARY BETWEEN $13.20 AND $19.44.

SINCE THERE APPARENTLY WAS ONLY ONE RATE FOR THIS COTTAGE, REGARDLESS OF THE NUMBER OF OCCUPANTS, REIMBURSEMENT SHOULD BE MADE ON A CONSTRUCTIVE ESTIMATE OF WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST IF HE HAD OBTAINED SINGLE ACCOMMODATIONS IN A HOTEL OR MOTEL FOR HIMSELF ONLY. WE BELIEVE THAT THE AVERAGE PREVAILING RATE IN THE AREA FOR SINGLE OCCUPANCY OF A HOTEL OR MOTEL ACCOMMODATION WOULD BE A REASONABLE MEASURE OF LIABILITY IN THIS SITUATION.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN WHATEVER AMOUNT MAY BE FOUND DUE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE.