B-159599, JUL. 29, 1966

B-159599: Jul 29, 1966

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

PERRICONE SUBMITTED A RECLAIM TRAVEL VOUCHER FOR THE AMOUNTS DISALLOWED AND YOU HAVE FORWARDED THAT VOUCHER TO US REQUESTING OUR DECISION WHETHER IT MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. THE MAXIMUM REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWABLE FOR THE ROUND-TRIP TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM EN ROUTE WILL BE THE TRAVEL EXPENSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE HAD THE TRAVELER REMAINED AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION.'. WE HAVE ASCERTAINED THAT IT WOULD HAVE COST MR. THAT AMOUNT INCLUDES AIR FARES AND $9 IN TAXI FARES WHICH HE WOULD HAVE INCURRED FOR TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE AIRPORT IN ALBANY AND HIS RESIDENCE. PERRICONE CLAIMED AND WAS REIMBURSED TAXI FARES IN A SIMILAR AMOUNT UNDER HIS VOUCHER OF MARCH 18. WE HAVE ALSO ASCERTAINED THAT THE AIR FARE FROM WASHINGTON TO HARTFORD TO ALBANY WOULD HAVE BEEN APPROXIMATELY $30.70.

B-159599, JUL. 29, 1966

TO CERTIFYING OFFICER, REGION ONE, BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 29, 1966, YOUR REFERENCE 01-00.1, REQUESTING OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE ENCLOSED RECLAIM TRAVEL VOUCHER OF MR. JOSEPH A. PERRICONE, AN EMPLOYEE OF REGION ONE, BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, DELMAR,NEW YORK.

THE FACTS AS CONTAINED IN YOUR LETTER AND THE ENCLOSURES THERETO SHOW THAT MR. PERRICONE, UNDER GENERAL TRAVEL ORDERS AUTHORIZING HIM TO TRAVEL THROUGHOUT REGION ONE OF THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS AND TO WASHINGTON, D.C., DURING THE MONTH OF FEBRUARY 1966, TRAVELED FROM DELMAR (NEAR ALBANY) TO WASHINGTON ON WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, THAT HE PROCEEDED TO NEW YORK CITY ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4, TO HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT, ON MONDAY, FEBRUARY 7, AND THAT HE RETURNED TO DELMAR ON FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 11. IN HIS VOUCHER FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES INCURRED ON THAT TRIP MR. PERRICONE CLAIMED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, 9 1/4 DAYS PER DIEM AT $16 AND THE COST OF AIR FARE FROM NEW YORK CITY TO ALBANY, NEW YORK, VIA HARTFORD, IN THE AMOUNT OF $18.95. YOU REDUCED THE AMOUNT OF HIS VOUCHER PRIOR TO PAYMENT BY $36.95. OF THAT TOTAL, $36 REPRESENTED 2 1/4 DAYS PER DIEM FOR THE WEEKEND OF FEBRUARY 5 AND 6 WHICH HE SPENT IN NEW YORK CITY WHERE HE PERFORMED NO OFFICIAL DUTIES AND 95 CENTS REPRESENTED THE TAX HE PAID ON THE AIR TRANSPORTATION FROM NEW YORK TO HARTFORD AND ALBANY WHICH HE PURCHASED FOR CASH. ON MARCH 28 MR. PERRICONE SUBMITTED A RECLAIM TRAVEL VOUCHER FOR THE AMOUNTS DISALLOWED AND YOU HAVE FORWARDED THAT VOUCHER TO US REQUESTING OUR DECISION WHETHER IT MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

SECTION 6.4 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES:

"RETURN TO OFFICIAL STATION.--- AT THE DISCRETION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS A TRAVELER MAY BE REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR NONWORK DAYS. IN CASES OF VOLUNTARY RETURN OF A TRAVELER FOR NONWORK DAYS TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, OR HIS PLACE OF ABODE FROM WHICH HE COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, THE MAXIMUM REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWABLE FOR THE ROUND-TRIP TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM EN ROUTE WILL BE THE TRAVEL EXPENSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE HAD THE TRAVELER REMAINED AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION.'

THAT REGULATION APPEARS TO BE FOR CONSIDERATION IN THIS CASE EVEN THOUGH MR. PERRICONE PERFORMED DUTY AT A DIFFERENT PLACE AFTER THE NONWORKDAYS IN QUESTION.

WE HAVE ASCERTAINED THAT IT WOULD HAVE COST MR. PERRICONE APPROXIMATELY $57.45 FOR TRANSPORTATION FROM WASHINGTON TO ALBANY AND FROM ALBANY TO HARTFORD AND RETURN. THAT AMOUNT INCLUDES AIR FARES AND $9 IN TAXI FARES WHICH HE WOULD HAVE INCURRED FOR TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN THE AIRPORT IN ALBANY AND HIS RESIDENCE. MR. PERRICONE CLAIMED AND WAS REIMBURSED TAXI FARES IN A SIMILAR AMOUNT UNDER HIS VOUCHER OF MARCH 18, 1966. WE HAVE ALSO ASCERTAINED THAT THE AIR FARE FROM WASHINGTON TO HARTFORD TO ALBANY WOULD HAVE BEEN APPROXIMATELY $30.70. THUS, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE COST OF TRAVEL VIA ALBANY AND THE COST OF DIRECT TRAVEL WOULD HAVE BEEN APPROXIMATELY $26.75, OR ABOUT $9.25 LESS THAN THE $36 MR. PERRICONE CLAIMED FOR PER DIEM ON THE WEEKEND IN QUESTION.

YOU SAY THAT IT IS THE POLICY OF REGION ONE TO REQUIRE EMPLOYEES TO RETURN TO THEIR HEADQUARTERS ON WEEKENDS IF THE COST OF TRAVEL FOR SUCH PURPOSE DOES NOT EXCEED THE PER DIEM WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED HAD HE REMAINED AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. NO SPECIFIC NOTATION TO THAT EFFECT WAS INCLUDED ON MR. PERRICONE'S TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AND APPARENTLY THERE IS NO WRITTEN DIRECTIVE OF REGION ONE OR OF THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS WHICH REQUIRES SUCH RETURN TO HEADQUARTERS. UNDER SECTION 1.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS AN EMPLOYEE IS REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS HEADQUARTERS ONNONWORKDAYS IF A SUBSTANTIAL AMOUNT OF TRAVEL EXPENSE WOULD BE SAVED THEREBY. WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT THE AMOUNT OF SAVINGS HERE INVOLVED WOULD JUSTIFY THE CONCLUSION THAT A PRUDENT MAN TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS WOULD NECESSARILY HAVE RETURNED TO HIS HEADQUARTERS.

SINCE, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, MR. PERRICONE WAS NOT REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS HEADQUARTERS BY A SPECIFIC PROVISION OF REGULATION OR OF HIS TRAVEL ORDER WE BELIEVE THAT HE IS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF THE PER DIEM CLAIMED. WE NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT THE COST OF AIR TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON TO HARTFORD VIA NEW YORK CITY EXCEEDS THE COST OF AIR TRAVEL DIRECT FROM WASHINGTON TO HARTFORD. SINCE MR. PERRICONE DID NOT TRAVEL TO NEW YORK CITY ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS THE AMOUNT ALLOWED FOR TRAVEL FROM WASHINGTON TO HARTFORD SHOULD NOT EXCEED THE DIRECT FARE. IN THAT CONNECTION WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT AIR FARE FROM WASHINGTON TO HARTFORD IS $21.70 BY COACH AND IS ALSO $21.70 FIRST CLASS BY WAY OF ALLEGHENY AIRLINES IF TRANSPORTATION IS SECURED BY U.S. GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST.

UNITED STATES TRANSPORTATION TAX WHICH IS PAID BY AN EMPLOYEE WHO PURCHASES TRANSPORTATION FOR CASH RATHER THAN BY THE USE OF A U.S. GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST MAY PROPERLY BE REIMBURSED HIM IF TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS WERE NOT REASONABLY AVAILABLE AT THE TIME HE WAS REQUIRED TO PURCHASE TRANSPORTATION. REIMBURSEMENT OF SUCH TAX MAY BE DENIED ONLY IF THE EMPLOYEE USES CASH RATHER THAN A TRANSPORTATION REQUEST BECAUSE OF HIS OWN NEGLIGENCE. SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 484; 34 ID. 639; B- 121628, MARCH 28, 1955, COPY ENCLOSED. THEREFORE, IF YOU DETERMINE THAT MR. PERRICONE PURCHASED TRANSPORTATION FOR CASH BECAUSE HE WAS NOT ISSUED THE NECESSARY TRANSPORTATION REQUESTS HE MAY BE REIMBURSED THE TAX WHICH HE PAID WHEN OBTAINING SUCH TRANSPORTATION.

THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT ONLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE.