B-161960, JULY 31, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 84

B-161960: Jul 31, 1967

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UPON TRANSFER TO A NEW DUTY STATION THE APARTMENT AN EMPLOYEE OCCUPIES ALONE FOR 4 MONTHS UNTIL HE MOVES TO PERMANENT QUARTERS WHEN JOINED BY HIS FAMILY AT THE CLOSE OF THE SCHOOL SEMESTER IS CONSIDERED TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO THE COST OF MEALS AND LODGINGS FOR THE FIRST 30 DAYS AT HIS NEW STATION. ALTHOUGH REIMBURSEMENT MAY NOT BE AUTHORIZED FOR THE PERIOD THE EMPLOYEE WAS ABSENT ON TEMPORARY DUTY. WHICH WAS EFFECTIVE JANUARY 29. THE RECLAIM VOUCHER PRESENTED IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COSTS OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS AS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 23/3) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946. CLARKSON CLAIMS REIMBURSEMENT FOR HIS MEALS AND FOR THE COST OF HIS LODGING FOR THE FIRST 30 DAYS HE WAS IN AMARILLO.

B-161960, JULY 31, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 84

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TEMPORARY QUARTERS LACKING A DEFINITION OF THE TERM "TEMPORARY QUARTERS" IN PUBLIC LAW 89- 516, OR BUDGET BUREAU CIRCULAR NO. A-56, EACH CASE MUST BE TREATED INDIVIDUALLY. UPON TRANSFER TO A NEW DUTY STATION THE APARTMENT AN EMPLOYEE OCCUPIES ALONE FOR 4 MONTHS UNTIL HE MOVES TO PERMANENT QUARTERS WHEN JOINED BY HIS FAMILY AT THE CLOSE OF THE SCHOOL SEMESTER IS CONSIDERED TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO THE COST OF MEALS AND LODGINGS FOR THE FIRST 30 DAYS AT HIS NEW STATION, A PREREQUISITE FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNDER SECTION 2.5 OF THE CIRCULAR NOT REQUIRING AN EMPLOYEE TO ACTIVELY ENGAGE IN SEEKING QUARTERS FOR IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY. ALTHOUGH REIMBURSEMENT MAY NOT BE AUTHORIZED FOR THE PERIOD THE EMPLOYEE WAS ABSENT ON TEMPORARY DUTY, THE PERIOD OF ENTITLEMENT TO SUBSISTENCE COSTS MAY BE EXTENDED FOR THE TIME INVOLVED IN THE TEMPORARY DUTY.

TO EDWARD KNEUPER, JR., UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, JULY 31, 1967:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 30, 1967, YOUR REFERENCE 5-630, FORWARDING FOR OUR ADVANCE-DECISION THE RECLAIM TRAVEL VOUCHER OF MR. ORVAL H. CLARKSON, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, TO REIMBURSE HIM CERTAIN EXPENSES HE INCURRED INCIDENT TO HIS PERMANENT CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM PUEBLO, COLORADO, TO AMARILLO, TEXAS, WHICH WAS EFFECTIVE JANUARY 29, 1967.

MR. CLARKSON DID NOT MOVE HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY TO AMARILLO AT THE TIME OF HIS TRANSFER BECAUSE HE WANTED HIS CHILDREN TO FINISH THE SCHOOL SEMESTER IN PUEBLO. THUS, FROM JANUARY 31 TO MAY 30 HE LIVED IN AN APARTMENT IN AMARILLO KNOWING THAT AT THE END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR HIS FAMILY WOULD JOIN HIM AND THAT THEY WOULD AT THAT TIME MOVE INTO PERMANENT QUARTERS.

THE RECLAIM VOUCHER PRESENTED IS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COSTS OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS AS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 23/3) OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES ACT OF 1946, AS ADDED BY THE ACT OF JULY 21, 1966, PUB. L. 89-516, 80 STAT. 323, AND IMPLEMENTED BY SECTION 2.5 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, OCTOBER 12, 1966. MR. CLARKSON CLAIMS REIMBURSEMENT FOR HIS MEALS AND FOR THE COST OF HIS LODGING FOR THE FIRST 30 DAYS HE WAS IN AMARILLO. THE FIRST TWO DAYS OF THAT PERIOD HE STAYED IN A MOTEL BUT ON THE THIRD DAY HE MOVED INTO THE APARTMENT IN WHICH HE LIVED UNTIL HIS FAMILY JOINED HIM IN AMARILLO ON OR ABOUT JUNE 1.

THERE IS NO DEFINITION OF THE TERM TEMPORARY QUARTERS IN THE LAW OR REGULATION HERE INVOLVED AND IN VIEW OF THE MANY DIFFERENT SITUATIONS WHICH MAY ARISE UNDER THAT PROVISION WE DOUBT THAT A COMPREHENSIVE DEFINITION COULD BE WRITTEN. THEREFORE, EACH CASE MUST BE TREATED ON THE BASIS OF THE PARTICULAR FACTS INVOLVED. IN THIS CASE THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE INTENDED TO REMAIN IN THE QUARTERS FOR A SPECIFIC PERIOD--FOUR MONTHS--AND THE FACT THAT HE OCCUPIED SUCH QUARTERS BECAUSE HIS FAMILY COULD NOT MOVE TO THE NEW DUTY STATION UNTIL THE END OF THE SCHOOL SESSION MAY BE CONSIDERED AS REFLECTING THAT HIS STAY IN THE APARTMENT WAS INTENDED TO BE TEMPORARY AND THAT HE WAS, THEREFORE, OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION. WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT IS PREREQUISITE FOR REIMBURSEMENT UNDER SECTION 2.5 THAT THE EMPLOYEE BE ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN SEEKING PERMANENT QUARTERS FOR IMMEDIATE OCCUPANCY ALTHOUGH THE LACK OF SUCH ACTION, TOGETHER WITH THE OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES PRESENT, MAY TEND TO SHOW THAT THE QUARTERS BEING OCCUPIED BY THE EMPLOYEE WERE NOT TEMPORARY QUARTERS. FOR THE REASONS STATED MR. CLARKSON MAY BE PAID THE COSTS OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE HE OCCUPIED THE APARTMENT IN AMARILLO TO THE EXTENT AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 2.5 OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56.

DURING THE PERIOD FROM FEBRUARY 13 THROUGH FEBRUARY 16 MR. CLARKSON WAS ON TEMPORARY DUTY AWAY FROM HIS NEW DUTY STATION. SINCE NEITHER HE NOR HIS FAMILY OCCUPIED TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT THE OLD OR NEW STATIONS DURING THAT PERIOD REIMBURSEMENT UNDER SECTION 2.5 IS NOT AUTHORIZED FOR THOSE DAYS. HOWEVER, THE PERIOD OF ENTITLEMENT TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COSTS OF SUBSISTENCE UNDER THAT SECTION MAY BE EXTENDED BY AN AMOUNT OF TIME EQUAL TO THE TIME INVOLVED IN THE TEMPORARY DUTY, OR THREE DAYS. ASSUME THE EXPENSES DURING SUCH ADDITIONAL DAYS, FEBRUARY 28 THROUGH MARCH 2, 1967, WOULD REMAIN UNCHANGED.

THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.