B-160278, DEC. 23, 1966

B-160278: Dec 23, 1966

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CORP WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM SPOKANE. THE ORDER SPECIFIED THAT THE TRAVEL WAS TO BEGIN ON OR ABOUT JUNE 26 AND END ON OR ABOUT JUNE 29. THE APPLICATION WAS APPROVED. NO QUESTION IS PRESENTED WITH RESPECT TO THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL TO PHILADELPHIA. CORP HAD NOT TAKEN ANNUAL LEAVE HE COULD HAVE DEPARTED PHILADELPHIA ON JUNE 29 AT 6:35 P.M. WHILE HE WAS IN AN ANNUAL LEAVE STATUS A STRIKE WAS CALLED BY AIRLINE EMPLOYEES WHICH DISRUPTED NORMAL AIR PASSENGER SERVICE AND RESULTED IN A CHANGE IN THE SCHEDULE FOR THE RETURN TRIP. HE WAS ALLOWED $4 FOR 1/4 DAY PER DIEM NOT PREVIOUSLY CLAIMED FOR JUNE 29 AND $5.90 AS (CONSTRUCTIVE) TAXI FARE FROM THE AIRPORT TO HIS HOME ON THAT DATE. THE DIFFERENCE OF $22.05 WAS DISALLOWED ON HIS ORIGINAL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER AND IS THE SUBJECT OF HIS PRESENT RECLAIM.

B-160278, DEC. 23, 1966

TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, BUREAU OF MINES, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 14, 1966, AND ENCLOSURES, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A VOUCHER FOR $22.05 IN FAVOR OF ERNEST L. CORP, COVERING ADDITIONAL TRAVEL AND PER DIEM INCIDENT TO HIS SERVICE WITH THE BUREAU OF MINES. YOU ALSO ASK WHETHER HE SHOULD BE CHARGED AN ADDITIONAL 8 HOURS OF ANNUAL LEAVE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED.

MR. CORP WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM SPOKANE, WASHINGTON, TO WILMINGTON, DELAWARE, AND DOVER, NEW JERSEY (VIA PHILADELPHIA AIRPORT) AND RETURN FOR THE PURPOSE OF OBTAINING INFORMATION CONCERNING THE USE OF CERTAIN PLASTICS. THE ORDER SPECIFIED THAT THE TRAVEL WAS TO BEGIN ON OR ABOUT JUNE 26 AND END ON OR ABOUT JUNE 29, 1966. HOWEVER, PRIOR TO HIS DEPARTURE FROM SPOKANE THE EMPLOYEE APPLIED FOR ANNUAL LEAVE IN PHILADELPHIA FOR THE PERIOD FROM 8 A.M., JUNE 30, TO 4:30 P.M., JULY 18. THE APPLICATION WAS APPROVED.

NO QUESTION IS PRESENTED WITH RESPECT TO THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL TO PHILADELPHIA, WILMINGTON AND DOVER AND HIS TEMPORARY DUTY IN THAT AREA. HIS VOUCHER SHOWS THAT HE COMPLETED HIS DUTIES ON WEDNESDAY, JUNE 29, AND BEGAN HIS ANNUAL LEAVE.

IF MR. CORP HAD NOT TAKEN ANNUAL LEAVE HE COULD HAVE DEPARTED PHILADELPHIA ON JUNE 29 AT 6:35 P.M. VIA UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT 133 TO CHICAGO AND THENCE BY UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHT 707 TO SPOKANE ARRIVING THERE AT 9:44 P.M. HOWEVER, WHILE HE WAS IN AN ANNUAL LEAVE STATUS A STRIKE WAS CALLED BY AIRLINE EMPLOYEES WHICH DISRUPTED NORMAL AIR PASSENGER SERVICE AND RESULTED IN A CHANGE IN THE SCHEDULE FOR THE RETURN TRIP. AS SHOWN BY THE VOUCHER MR. CORP DEPARTED PHILADELPHIA BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AT 5 P.M. ON MONDAY, JULY 18, AND REACHED OTTAWA AT 3 A.M. (EDT) ON JULY 19. THENCE VIA AIR FROM OTTAWA VIA CALGARY AND TO SPOKANE (WITH STOPS FOR TRANSFERS) ARRIVING THERE AT 7:25 A.M. (PDT) ON WEDNESDAY, JULY 20.

MR. CORP CLAIMED $3.95 FOR ADDITIONAL EXPENSES INCURRED BY REASON OF THE INDIRECT ROUTING HOME AND $28 REPRESENTING 1 3/4 DAYS' ADDITIONAL PER DIEM. HE WAS ALLOWED $4 FOR 1/4 DAY PER DIEM NOT PREVIOUSLY CLAIMED FOR JUNE 29 AND $5.90 AS (CONSTRUCTIVE) TAXI FARE FROM THE AIRPORT TO HIS HOME ON THAT DATE. THE DIFFERENCE OF $22.05 WAS DISALLOWED ON HIS ORIGINAL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER AND IS THE SUBJECT OF HIS PRESENT RECLAIM.

THE EMPLOYEE CONTENDS THAT HIS RETURN TO OFFICIAL DUTY OCCURRED AT 4 P.M., JULY 18, IN PHILADELPHIA, THAT THE INDIRECT RETURN ROUTING WAS NOT FOR HIS PERSONAL CONVENIENCE BUT WAS NECESSARY AND THAT THE CONSTRUCTIVE SCHEDULE USED IN MAKING REIMBURSEMENT COULD NOT BE USED SINCE IT WAS NOT IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE RETURN TRAVEL.

SECTION 6.10 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"INDIRECT-ROUTE OR INTERRUPTED TRAVEL. ---WHERE FOR TRAVELER'S PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OR THROUGH THE TAKING OF LEAVE THERE IS INTERRUPTION OF TRAVEL OR DEVIATION FROM THE DIRECT ROUTE, THE PER DIEM ALLOWED WILL NOT EXCEED THAT WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED ON UNINTERRUPTED TRAVEL BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE.

UPON COMPLETION OF HIS TEMPORARY DUTY ON JUNE 29 THE EMPLOYEE WAS ENTITLED TO RETURN TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM PROPERLY ALLOWABLE FOR A PROMPT AND DIRECT RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION. THE TRANSPORTATION SCHEDULES USED IN MAKING REIMBURSEMENT TO HIM WERE IN EFFECT AT THE TIME HIS DUTY WAS COMPLETED. HENCE, HIS ENTITLEMENT BY REASON OF THE TRAVEL WAS ESTABLISHED AND HE COULD NOT INCREASE THE LIABILITY OF THE GOVERNMENT TO COVER UNANTICIPATED ADDITIONAL EXPENSES WHICH RESULTED FROM HIS ELECTION TO POSTPONE HIS RETURN TRAVEL IN ORDER TO TAKE ANNUAL LEAVE. SEE ALSO SECTION 3.3, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND 41 COMP. GEN. 196.

THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

AS TO YOUR SECOND QUESTION, SINCE THE GOVERNMENT WAS DEPRIVED OF THE EMPLOYEE'S SERVICES ON JULY 19 AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION COULD BE MADE TO CHARGE THE EMPLOYEE ANNUAL LEAVE FOR THAT DAY. HOWEVER, IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THIS CASE, OUR OFFICE WOULD NOT OBJECT TO AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION TO EXCUSE THE EMPLOYEE WITHOUT A CHARGE TO HIS ANNUAL LEAVE ACCOUNT.