B-161166, APR. 26, 1967

B-161166: Apr 26, 1967

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MORTON AND THREE DEPENDENTS ARE UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE OCCUPIED TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT HIS PARENTS' RESIDENCE IN NEW YORK CITY FOR TEN DAYS INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER TO THAT CITY FROM MINNEAPOLIS. TIPS AND SOFT DRINKS TOTALING $230.70 WHICH AMOUNT WAS DISALLOWED IN HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER. ARE THE AMOUNTS AS CLAIMED BY THE EMPLOYEE FOR MEALS PLUS TIPS FOR SELF. IS EXPENDITURE FOR OCCASIONAL SOFT DRINKS. SECTION 2.5 IS. FOR WHOM A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED. ALLOWABLE AMOUNT. "/1) REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE ONLY FOR ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED PROVIDED THESE ARE DIRECTLY RELATED TO OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND ARE REASONABLE BOTH AS TO AMOUNT AND DURATION. 75 PERCENT OF THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATE ALLOWED UNDER SECTION 2.1 FOR THE LOCALITY IN WHICH TEMPORARY QUARTERS ARE LOCATED. "/III) FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY.

B-161166, APR. 26, 1967

TO AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 28, 1967, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER FOR $230.70 IN FAVOR OF MR. JOHN J. MORTON, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE FEDERAL MEDIATION AND CONCILIATION SERVICE, COVERING MEALS, TIPS, AND SOFT DRINKS, CLAIMED AS AUTHORIZED ALLOWANCES FOR SUBSISTENCE WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS, MAY PROPERLY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

MR. MORTON AND THREE DEPENDENTS ARE UNDERSTOOD TO HAVE OCCUPIED TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT HIS PARENTS' RESIDENCE IN NEW YORK CITY FOR TEN DAYS INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER TO THAT CITY FROM MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA. DURING THE TEN- DAY PERIOD HE INCURRED EXPENSES FOR MEALS, TIPS AND SOFT DRINKS TOTALING $230.70 WHICH AMOUNT WAS DISALLOWED IN HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER. MR. MORTON NOW RECLAIMS THE AMOUNT DISALLOWED.

YOU SUBMIT THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

"1. ARE THE AMOUNTS AS CLAIMED BY THE EMPLOYEE FOR MEALS PLUS TIPS FOR SELF, WIFE AND TWO CHILDREN (AGES FIVE AND SEVEN) CONSIDERED REASONABLE AND MAY THE FULL AMOUNT BE PAID?

"2. IF NOT CONSIDERED REASONABLE, WHAT PART MAY BE PAID?

"3. IS EXPENDITURE FOR OCCASIONAL SOFT DRINKS, AS CLAIMED, CONSIDERED AN ITEM OF SUBSISTENCE, MAY THIS AMOUNT BE PAID?

BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, SECTION 2.5 IS, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"B. CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS FOR ELIGIBILITY.

"/1) SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE, FOR WHOM A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED, AND EACH MEMBER OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY * * * FOR A PERIOD OF NOT MORE THAN 30 DAYS WHILE NECESSARILY OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS SHALL BE ALLOWED * * *

"D. ALLOWABLE AMOUNT.

"/1) REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE ONLY FOR ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED PROVIDED THESE ARE DIRECTLY RELATED TO OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND ARE REASONABLE BOTH AS TO AMOUNT AND DURATION. ALLOWABLE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCLUDE ONLY CHARGES FOR MEALS, LODGING, FEES AND TIPS INCIDENT TO MEALS AND LODGING, LAUNDRY, CLEANING AND PRESSING OF CLOTHING. * * *

"/2) THE AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS SHALL BE THE LESSER OF EITHER (A) THE ACTUAL AMOUNT OF ALLOWABLE EXPENSES INCURRED FOR EACH TEN-DAY PERIOD OR (B) THE FOLLOWING:

"/A) FOR THE FIRST 10 DAYS

"/I) FOR THE EMPLOYEE, 75 PERCENT OF THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATE ALLOWED UNDER SECTION 2.1 FOR THE LOCALITY IN WHICH TEMPORARY QUARTERS ARE LOCATED.

"/III) FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY, 50 PERCENT OF THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATE ALLOWED UNDER SECTION 2.1 FOR THE LOCALITY IN WHICH TEMPORARY QUARTERS ARE LOCATED.

UNDER THE ABOVE REGULATIONS THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED FOR HIMSELF AND HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY BUT NOT TO EXCEED $36 PER DAY FOR THE FIRST TEN DAYS WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS PROVIDED THE SUBSISTENCE ITEMS CLAIMED ARE OTHERWISE REASONABLE. WHILE PERHAPS THE EMPLOYEE COULD HAVE OBTAINED ADEQUATE MEALS FOR LESS EXPENSE HAD DIFFERENT EATING FACILITIES BEEN PATRONIZED, THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED TO HAVE BEEN EXPENDED DO NOT APPEAR TO BE SO CLEARLY EXCESSIVE AS TO BE UNREASONABLE. IN VIEW THEREOF AND SINCE THE ACTUAL EXPENSES CLAIMED ARE WELL WITHIN THE LIMITATION PRESCRIBED BY THE REGULATIONS THE COST OF THE MEALS, AS ITEMIZED, PLUS THE AMOUNTS CLAIMED FOR TIPS MAY BE ALLOWED. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED IN THE AFFIRMATIVE REQUIRING NO ANSWER TO QUESTION NUMBER TWO.

CONCERNING THE CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SOFT DRINKS WE NOTE THAT THE REGULATIONS SPECIFY THAT "ALLOWABLE SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCLUDE ONLY CHARGES FOR MEALS, LODGING, FEES AND TIPS INCIDENT TO MEALS AND LODGING * * *. ACCORDINGLY, UNLESS SOFT DRINKS ARE PURCHASED AS A PART OF A MEAL, REIMBURSEMENT WOULD NOT BE AUTHORIZED UNDER THE REGULATIONS.

ACTION ON THE VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, SHOULD BE TAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.