B-161819, AUG. 4, 1967

B-161819: Aug 4, 1967

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UNDER TEMPORARY DUTY ORDERS WHICH DID NOT SPECIFY A REDUCTION IF QUARTERS OR MEALS WERE FURNISHED. ACTUALLY PERFORMED DUTY ON VESSEL AND OCCUPIED QUARTERS AND WAS FURNISHED MEALS. IS LIABLE FOR EXCESS PER DIEM. THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS UNAWARE OF REGULATIONS REQUIRED REDUCTION WHEN MEALS AND/OR QUARTERS ARE FURNISHED CANNOT OPERATE TO RELIEVE HIM OF LIABILITY. REQUESTING OUR CONSIDERATION OF COPIES OF CERTAIN TRAVEL VOUCHERS WHICH HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED AND PAID IN FAVOR OF MR. GRAY WAS AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL IN CONNECTION WITH OPERATIONS OF THE DERRICKBOAT BD 6634. SINCE NO MEALS OR QUARTERS WERE AVAILABLE ON BOARD DERRICKBOAT BD 6634. GRAY WAS AUTHORIZED THE MAXIMUM RATE OF PER DIEM ALLOWABLE UNDER THE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS.

B-161819, AUG. 4, 1967

PER DIEM - CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - OVERPAYMENTS DECISION TO DISBURSING OFFICER, BUFFALO DISTRICT, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, CONCERNING OVERPAYMENT OF PER DIEM DURING TEMPORARY DUTY. EMPLOYEE WHO, UNDER TEMPORARY DUTY ORDERS WHICH DID NOT SPECIFY A REDUCTION IF QUARTERS OR MEALS WERE FURNISHED, ACTUALLY PERFORMED DUTY ON VESSEL AND OCCUPIED QUARTERS AND WAS FURNISHED MEALS, IS LIABLE FOR EXCESS PER DIEM. THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS UNAWARE OF REGULATIONS REQUIRED REDUCTION WHEN MEALS AND/OR QUARTERS ARE FURNISHED CANNOT OPERATE TO RELIEVE HIM OF LIABILITY.

TO MR. N. C. KELLERMAN, DISBURSING OFFICER, BUFFALO DISTRICT, CORPS OF ENGINEERS, DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 14, 1967, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE NCBDC-F, REQUESTING OUR CONSIDERATION OF COPIES OF CERTAIN TRAVEL VOUCHERS WHICH HAVE BEEN CERTIFIED AND PAID IN FAVOR OF MR. HAROLD M. GRAY, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE U. S. ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS. YOUR DOUBT IN THE MATTER RELATES ONLY TO THE AMOUNT OF PER DIEM PAID TO MR. GRAY ON THE SUBJECT VOUCHERS.

BY TRAVEL ORDERS DATED MAY 17, 1966 (NO. 814), JUNE 20, 1966 (NO. 922) AND JULY 5, 1966, AS AMENDED SEPTEMBER 1, 1966 (NO. 10), MR. GRAY WAS AUTHORIZED TO PERFORM TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL IN CONNECTION WITH OPERATIONS OF THE DERRICKBOAT BD 6634. SINCE NO MEALS OR QUARTERS WERE AVAILABLE ON BOARD DERRICKBOAT BD 6634, MR. GRAY WAS AUTHORIZED THE MAXIMUM RATE OF PER DIEM ALLOWABLE UNDER THE ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATIONS. NO SPECIFIC RATE OF PER DIEM WAS PRESCRIBED IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS AND THE "REMARKS" SECTIONS THEREOF DID NOT CONTAIN THE USUAL STATEMENT REGARDING DEDUCTION FROM PER DIEM FOR GOVERNMENT FURNISHED MEALS AND QUARTERS.

DURING THE PERIOD FROM MAY 17 THROUGH OCTOBER 31, 1966, MR. GRAY SUBMITTED SEVERAL TRAVEL VOUCHERS FOR PAYMENT OF TRANSPORTATION AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES UNDER THE ABOVE-CITED TRAVEL ORDERS. SINCE IT WAS ASSUMED BY ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL THAT MR. GRAY HAD PERFORMED TEMPORARY DUTY ABOARD THE DERRICKBOAT BD 6634 DURING THE PERIODS COVERED BY HIS TRAVEL VOUCHERS, HE WAS PAID PER DIEM AT THE RATE OF $16. HOWEVER, SHORTLY AFTER MR. GRAY SUBMITTED HIS LAST TRAVEL VOUCHER, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE DISCOVERED THAT HE, IN FACT, HAD PERFORMED TEMPORARY DUTY ABOARD THE TUG WASHINGTON DURING THE PERIOD MAY 17 THROUGH NOVEMBER 8, 1966, RATHER THAN ABOARD DERRICKBOAT BD 6634. FURTHER, A REPORT FROM THE MASTER OF THE TUG WASHINGTON DISCLOSED THAT MR. GRAY HAD BEEN FURNISED QUARTERS ABOARD THE TUG WASHINGTON WHILE PERFORMING THE TEMPORARY DUTY IN QUESTION.

ON THE BASIS OF THE MASTER'S REPORT, WHICH HAS BEEN CONFIRMED BY MR. GRAY, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE RECOMPUTED THE EMPLOYEE'S PER DIEM FOR THE PERIOD MAY 17 THROUGH OCTOBER 31, 1966, APPLYING THE $9 PER DIEM RATE PRESCRIBED BY SUBPARAGRAPH C8101-2E OF VOLUME 2, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, AND DETERMINED THAT MR. GRAY HAD BEEN OVERPAID PER DIEM IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,082.

MR. GRAY BELIEVES THAT SINCE HE WAS NOT ADVISED BY HIS TRAVEL ORDERS THAT HIS PER DIEM WOULD BE SUBJECT TO REDUCTION FOR USE OF GOVERNMENT FURNISHED QUARTERS AND SINCE HE OTHERWISE HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE REGULATIONS WHICH REQUIRE SUCH REDUCTION, HE SHOULD NOT BE LIABLE FOR REFUND OF THE EXCESS PER DIEM PAYMENTS. ALSO, MR. GRAY CONTENDS THAT HE SHOULD BE REGARDED AS A "TRANSIENT PERSON" WITHIN THE MEANING OF ENGINEER REGULATIONS 1125-3- 207, PARAGRAPH 4B, WHICH PROVIDES:

"ALL TRANSIENT PERSONS NOT AUTHORIZED TO RECEIVE QUARTERS WITHOUT CHARGE WILL BE CHARGED AT THE RATE OF $1.50 PER NIGHTS LODGING, PROVIDING QUARTERS AVAILABLE ARE DETERMINED BY THE DISTRICT ENGINEER TO BE ADEQUATE.'

IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES RELATED ABOVE, AND THE CONTENTIONS OF MR. GRAY, YOU QUESTION WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD BE REQUIRED TO REFUND THE OVERPAYMENT OF PER DIEM AS DETERMINED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE.

SECTION 6.7 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT A DEDUCTION WILL BE MADE FROM THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM RATE WHERE MEALS AND/OR LODGINGS ARE FURNISHED WITHOUT CHARGE OR AT A NOMINAL COST BY A GOVERNMENT AGENCY AT A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION.

IMPLEMENTING THE ABOVE, SUBPARAGRAPH C8101-2E OF VOLUME 2, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, PROVIDES, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"GOVERNMENT QUARTERS USED. A $9.00 PER DIEM RATE IS PRESCRIBED WHEN GOVERNMENT QUARTERS ARE USED WITH OR WITHOUT A CHARGE TO THE TRAVELER. * * IF THERE IS NO CHARGE FOR THE QUARTERS, $1.00 FOR EACH DAY THE QUARTERS ARE USED WILL BE DEDUCTED FROM THE TOTAL PER DIEM AMOUNT OTHERWISE PAYABLE. WHEN A CHARGE FOR THE QUARTERS IS PAID BY THE TRAVELER, REIMBURSEMENT IS ALLOWED FOR THE AMOUNT PAID IN EXCESS OF $1.00 PER DAY, IF CLAIMED BY THE TRAVELER, NOT IN EXCESS OF THE APPLICABLE MAXIMUM RATE.'

THE FACT THAT MR. GRAY MAY HAVE BEEN UNAWARE OF THE ABOVE-CITED REGULATIONS WHICH REQUIRE A REDUCED RATE OF PER DIEM WHEN MEALS AND/OR QUARTERS ARE FURNISHED BY THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT OPERATE TO RELIEVE HIM OF LIABILITY FOR REFUND OF THE EXCESS PER DIEM. A PER DIEM RATE OF $9 WAS MANDATORY UNDER THE CONDITIONS OF HIS TRAVEL. SEE SUBPARAGRAPH C8101-1 OF VOLUME 2, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. MOREOVER, AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, MR. GRAY IS CHARGEABLE WITH KNOWLEDGE OF SUCH REGULATIONS.

THEREFORE, SINCE MR. GRAY WAS FURNISHED QUARTERS APPARENTLY WITHOUT CHARGE HE WAS ENTITLED TO BE PAID ONLY $8 PER DIEM ($9 LESS $1 DEDUCTION) FOR THE DAYS HE OCCUPIED SUCH QUARTERS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBPARAGRAPH C8101-2E, QUOTED ABOVE. FURTHERMORE, IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF SUBPARAGRAPH C8101-2E REGARDING QUARTERS FURNISHED WITH A CHARGE, IT APPEARS THAT MR. GRAY'S ENTITLEMENT TO PER DIEM WOULD BE THE SAME (I.E. $8) REGARDLESS OF WHETHER HE BE CLASSIFIED AS A ,TRANSIENT PERSON.'

FOR THE REASONS EXPRESSED ABOVE, THE COPIES OF THE VOUCHERS TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER ARE NOT CORRECT AS PAID AND THE EMPLOYEE IS LIABLE FOR REFUND OF THE EXCESS PER DIEM PAYMENTS.