B-160012, OCT. 27, 1966

B-160012: Oct 27, 1966

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LAWRENCE WAS PAID PER DIEM TOTALING $69.50 COVERING FOUR DAYS (12 NOON MARCH 27 TO 12 NOON MARCH 31) AT THE RATE OF $16 PLUS ONE-HALF DAY (NOON TO MIDNIGHT MARCH 31) AT THE RATE OF $11 IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 190.13 OF THE CUSTOMS ACCOUNTING MANUAL. "WILL BE EFFECTIVE. MEMORANDUM ENTITLED "PERSONNEL CHANGE 172" WAS ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS FROM WASHINGTON. LAWRENCE AS REGIONAL COMMISSIONER AT BALTIMORE) WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE ON APRIL 1. HE WAS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO TRANSPORT HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO BALTIMORE UNTIL MAY 5. LAWRENCE CONTENDS THAT HE WAS REQUIRED UNTIL MAY 5. IS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HIS FORMAL PROMOTION FROM GRADE GS 15.

B-160012, OCT. 27, 1966

TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, BUREAU OF CUSTOMS:

YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 6, 1966, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE FP 143.4, ASKS WHETHER THE ENCLOSED SUPPLEMENTAL TRAVEL VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $528 REPRESENTING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE CLAIMED BY MR. PAUL LAWRENCE FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 31 TO MAY 3, 1966, WHILE ON DUTY AT BALTIMORE, MARYLAND. THIS MATTER CONCERNS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE TRANSFER OF MR. LAWRENCE'S OFFICIAL DUTY STATION FROM CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, TO BALTIMORE.

ON HIS INITIAL TRAVEL VOUCHER DATED MARCH 31, 1966, CITING GENERAL TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS NO. 1 DATED JULY 1, 1965, AND T-558 DATED MARCH 21, 1966, MR. LAWRENCE WAS PAID PER DIEM TOTALING $69.50 COVERING FOUR DAYS (12 NOON MARCH 27 TO 12 NOON MARCH 31) AT THE RATE OF $16 PLUS ONE-HALF DAY (NOON TO MIDNIGHT MARCH 31) AT THE RATE OF $11 IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 190.13 OF THE CUSTOMS ACCOUNTING MANUAL, WHICH CONTAINS PROVISIONS CONSONANT WITH SECTION 6.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE TRANSFER OF MR. LAWRENCE'S OFFICIAL STATION STEMS FROM THE RECENT REORGANIZATION OF THE CUSTOMS SERVICE UNDER REORGANIZATION PLAN NO. 1 OF 1965. ON MARCH 11, 1966, THE PRESS RELEASE OF THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY ANNOUNCED THAT CERTAIN APPOINTMENTS, INCLUDING THAT OF MR. LAWRENCE AS REGIONAL COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS FOR THE NEW BALTIMORE REGION III,"WILL BE EFFECTIVE, FRIDAY, APRIL 1, WITH THE ACTIVATION OF THE BALTIMORE CUSTOMS REGION.' FURTHER, ON MARCH 22, 1966, MEMORANDUM ENTITLED "PERSONNEL CHANGE 172" WAS ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., AS NOTICE TO CUSTOMS EMPLOYEES CONCERNED, STATING IN PERTINENT PART, THAT "PERSONNEL ACTIONS (RELATING TO THE PERSONS NAMED THEREIN, INCLUDING MR. LAWRENCE AS REGIONAL COMMISSIONER AT BALTIMORE) WILL BECOME EFFECTIVE ON APRIL 1,1966.'

NEITHER YOUR LETTER NOR THE EXHIBITS EXPLAIN THE REASONS FOR THE ADMINISTRATIVE DELAY OF THE FORMAL DOCUMENTATION ISSUED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF CUSTOMS ON MAY 5, 1966, REFLECTING CHANGE IN DUTY STATION OF MR. LAWRENCE (AS SUPERVISING CUSTOMS AGENT) FROM CHICAGO TO BALTIMORE EFFECTIVE APRIL 1, 1966. HOWEVER, YOU SUGGEST THAT BECAUSE OF SUCH DELAY AND ALTHOUGH MR. LAWRENCE HAD BEEN FUNCTIONING IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS REGIONAL COMMISSIONER SINCE APRIL 1, 1966, HE WAS WITHOUT AUTHORITY TO TRANSPORT HIS HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO BALTIMORE UNTIL MAY 5, 1966. FURTHER, YOU SAY MR. LAWRENCE CONTENDS THAT HE WAS REQUIRED UNTIL MAY 5, 1966, TO MAINTAIN HIS RESIDENCE IN CHICAGO AND ANOTHER RESIDENCE IN BALTIMORE AND, HENCE, THAT HE SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN CONTINUED OFFICIALLY IN A TEMPORARY DUTY STATUS FOR PURPOSES OF ADDITIONAL PER DIEM DURING THE PERIOD APRIL 1 THROUGH MAY 4, 1966. WE NOTE THAT MAY 4, 1966, IS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF HIS FORMAL PROMOTION FROM GRADE GS 15, SUPERVISING CUSTOMS AGENT, CHICAGO, TO GRADE GS-16, REGIONAL COMMISSIONER, BALTIMORE, AS EVIDENCED BY STANDARD FORM 50 DATED MAY 13, 1966. WE POINT OUT, HOWEVER, THAT IT IS NOT REQUIRED THAT AN EMPLOYEE'S APPOINTMENT OR PROMOTION MUST BECOME EFFECTIVE SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH HIS AUTHORIZED CHANGE OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATION FOR TRAVEL AND PER DIEM PURPOSES. 25 COMP. GEN. 136; 32 ID. 87 AND B 158797 DATED APRIL 8, 1966.

SECTION 6.8 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED AN EMPLOYEE AT HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION. FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES AN EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS IS DEEMED TO HAVE CHANGED UPON HIS ARRIVAL AT THE NEW HEADQUARTERS OR UPON COMMUNICATION TO HIM OF THE CHANGE OF DUTY STATION WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY AT THE NEWLY DESIGNATED HEADQUARTERS. THE NOTICE OF TRANSFER MUST BE COMMUNICATED TO HIM BY PROPER AUTHORITY, BUT SUCH NOTICE IS NOT REQUIRED TO BE A FORMAL OR WRITTEN NOTICE. SEE 23 COMP. GEN. 342; 24 ID. 593; 30 ID. 94.

UNDER THE TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. T-558 IT IS EVIDENT THAT IT WAS CONTEMPLATED THAT PER DIEM WAS AUTHORIZED FOR AN ASSIGNMENT ENDING ON MARCH 31, 1966. THIS IS CONSISTENT WITH THE NOTIFICATION TO HIM THAT HIS NEW DUTIES WERE TO COMMENCE ON APRIL 1, 1966. THERE IS NO INDICATION THAT HE WAS EXPECTED TO RETURN TO CHICAGO FOR FURTHER DUTIES. IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, WE CONCLUDE THAT FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES HIS HEADQUARTERS MUST BE REGARDED AS BALTIMORE NO LATER THAN APRIL 1, 1966.

WE RECOGNIZE THAT THE ADMINISTRATIVE DELAY IN AUTHORIZING THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS FAMILY AND EFFECTS MAY HAVE BEEN THE FACTOR CAUSING HIM ADDITIONAL COSTS; HOWEVER, THAT FACT CANNOT SERVE AS A PROPER BASIS TO CHANGE THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THE CHANGE OF HIS HEADQUARTERS FOR PER DIEM PURPOSES.

THEREFORE, THE ADDITIONAL PER DIEM CLAIMED IS FOR DISALLOWANCE UNDER THE ABOVE-CITED RULES, AND THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.