B-160366, JAN. 12, 1967

B-160366: Jan 12, 1967

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REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON THE TRAVEL VOUCHER THEREWITH ENCLOSED IN FAVOR OF JAMES S. GRIFFITHS WAS DIRECTED TO TRAVEL BY FIRST CLASS AIR (ECONOMY JET) ON OR ABOUT JULY 14. THE CLAIM FOR $19.57 IN THE TRAVEL VOUCHER IS FOR THAT MOTEL EXPENSE. WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT THE ALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AT THE EMPLOYEE'S PERMANENT STATION THERE ARE INSTANCES. WHERE THE EMPLOYEE WILL BE DEEMED TO HAVE RELINQUISHED HIS RESIDENCE AND BE CONSIDERED IN A TRAVEL STATUS WITHOUT HAVING ACTUALLY BEGUN HIS TRAVEL TO THE NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATION. WHEREIN AN EMPLOYEE HAD VACATED HIS APARTMENT AT HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND WAS PROCEEDING.

B-160366, JAN. 12, 1967

TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER:

YOUR LETTER OF NOVEMBER 3, 1966, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER PAYMENT IS AUTHORIZED ON THE TRAVEL VOUCHER THEREWITH ENCLOSED IN FAVOR OF JAMES S. GRIFFITHS, REPRESENTING PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN CONNECTION WITH TRAVEL UNDER THE FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES STATED BELOW.

TRAVEL ORDER DATED JULY 1, 1966, DIRECTED MR. GRIFFITHS, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES SECRET SERVICE, TO TRAVEL FROM CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, TO PARIS, FRANCE, FOR PERMANENT CHANGE OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION, EFFECTIVE JULY 18, 1966. MR. GRIFFITHS WAS DIRECTED TO TRAVEL BY FIRST CLASS AIR (ECONOMY JET) ON OR ABOUT JULY 14, 1966. PURSUANT TO AN ARRANGEMENT MADE BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, NORTH AMERICAN VAN LINES PICKED UP MR. GRIFFITHS' HOUSEHOLD GOODS FOR SHIPMENT TO FRANCE ON JULY 14, 1966. AS A RESULT OF AN AIRLINE STRIKE WHICH NECESSITATED A CHANGE IN DEPARTURE FROM CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, FROM JULY 13 TO JULY 15, AND AN INABILITY BY THE VAN LINE TO CHANGE THE PICKUP DATE, THE TRAVELER FOUND IT NECESSARY TO STAY IN A MOTEL IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, FOR THE NIGHT OF JULY 14, 1966. THE CLAIM FOR $19.57 IN THE TRAVEL VOUCHER IS FOR THAT MOTEL EXPENSE.

WHILE IT IS TRUE THAT THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT THE ALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AT THE EMPLOYEE'S PERMANENT STATION THERE ARE INSTANCES, SUCH AS THIS CASE, WHERE THE EMPLOYEE WILL BE DEEMED TO HAVE RELINQUISHED HIS RESIDENCE AND BE CONSIDERED IN A TRAVEL STATUS WITHOUT HAVING ACTUALLY BEGUN HIS TRAVEL TO THE NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATION. WE CONSIDERED SUCH A SITUATION IN B- 140423, SEPTEMBER 24, 1959, WHEREIN AN EMPLOYEE HAD VACATED HIS APARTMENT AT HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION AND WAS PROCEEDING,PURSUANT TO COMPETENT TRAVEL ORDERS, TO BOARD AN AIRPLANE TO TRAVEL TO HIS NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATION WHEN THE TRIP WAS CANCELED BECAUSE OF MECHANICAL TROUBLE. THE TRAVELER WAS FORCED TO REMAIN IN A MOTEL FOR THE NIGHT, AFTER WHICH HE BEGAN HIS TRAVEL THE FOLLOWING DAY. IN GRANTING THE ALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM WE STATED:

"WE UNDERSTAND THAT NO FURTHER DUTY AT ANCHORAGE WAS CONTEMPLATED FOR THIS EMPLOYEE AS HIS ASSIGNMENT THERE HAD BEEN FULLY COMPLETED. HIS TRAVEL TO THE AIR TERMINAL ON APRIL 17, AFTER HAVING RELINQUISHED HIS RESIDENCE AND ARRANGED FOR AIR PASSAGE WAS IN GOOD FAITH AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH COMPETENT ORDERS WHICH DIRECTED THAT SUCH TRAVEL BEGIN ON OR ABOUT APRIL 12, 1959. MOREOVER, THE DELAY OF ONE DAY IN HIS DEPARTURE WAS NOT FOR PERSONAL REASONS BUT WAS DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES OVER WHICH HE HAD NO CONTROL. * * *" SEE ALSO B-130522, FEBRUARY 20, 1957; B-135575, MAY 15, 1958.

THE EMPLOYEE HEREIN COMES WITHIN THE ABOVE ENUNCIATED CRITERIA SINCE HE WAS TRAVELING TO A NEW PERMANENT DUTY STATION UNDER COMPETENT ORDERS. HIS DUTY IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, HAD TERMINATED AND THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION HAD MADE ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE PICKUP OF THE HOUSEHOLD GOODS ON JULY 14, 1966, A DATE WHICH COULD NOT BE CHANGED. THE DELAY IN DEPARTURE OF TWO DAYS WAS DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES OVER WHICH HE HAD NO CONTROL NOR COULD ANTICIPATE. ADDITIONALLY, SINCE MR. GRIFFITHS WAS BEING TRANSFERRED TO AN OVERSEAS POST HE WAS NOT IN A SITUATION WHEREIN HE COULD HAVE MADE SUITABLE ARRANGEMENTS TO USE ANOTHER MODE OF TRANSPORTATION.

IT IS REPORTED THAT MR. GRIFFITHS AND HIS FAMILY CHECKED INTO THE MOTEL AT 3:30 P.M., JULY 14, 1966. HE DEPARTED THE FOLLOWING EVENING AT 6 P.M. ALSO, WE UNDERSTAND THAT REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO THE TRAVEL OF SECRET SERVICE AGENTS SPECIFY A PER DIEM RATE OF $16 PER DAY FOR TRAVEL IN THE UNITED STATES. UNDER THE RELATED CIRCUMSTANCES, MR. GRIFFITHS MAY BE REGARDED AS ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE AT THE RATE OF $16 PER DAY FROM THE TIME HE CHECKED INTO THE MOTEL UP TO 6 P.M. ON JULY 15, THE TIME HE ACTUALLY DEPARTED BY PLANE FOR PARIS, FRANCE, OR 1 1/4 DAYS. THE ITEM OF $19.57 ON THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH SHOULD BE RAISED TO $20 AND MAY THEN BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.