B-162213, SEP. 20, 1967

B-162213: Sep 20, 1967

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EVEN THOUGH HIS HEADQUARTERS WAS OFFICIALLY DESIGNATED AS WASHINGTON. 1966 FOR TRAVEL FROM RESIDENCE TO WASHINGTON ON BASIS THAT NEW YORK WAS HIS HEADQUARTERS MAY. IF AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IS MADE THAT THE REASSIGNMENT OF JULY 1. IS A TEMPORARY ONE BE ALLOWED THE AMOUNT CLAIMED FOR THE PERIOD SINCE UNDER 25 COMP. SCHRAM'S CLAIM ARE RECITED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS: "EFFECTIVE JULY 23. SCHRAM WAS CHANGED. WAS PLACED ON -DETACHED DUTY- UNDER THE POSTMASTER AT WASHINGTON. A COPY OF THIS ACTION SHOWN ON POD FORM 1547X WAS ISSUED TO MR. SCHRAM WAS NOTIFIED BY A MEMORANDUM. THIS ROSTERING CONCEPT WAS CHANGED TO THE EXTENT THAT YOU ARE NO LONGER ON DETACHED DUTY AT WASHINGTON. YOU ARE AN EMPLOYEE OF THE WASHINGTON.

B-162213, SEP. 20, 1967

POSTAL SERVICE - RAILWAY AND MOBILE SERVICE - HEADQUARTERS FOR TRAVEL, ETC. ALLOWANCE DECISION TO CERTIFYING OFFICER, POSTAL DATA CENTER RE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AND OVERTIME (DEADHEADING) TO FOREMAN ASSIGNED TO ROAD DUTY IN A RAILWAY POST OFFICE. POSTAL SERVICE FOREMAN WHO SERVED ON TRAINS HEADING OUT OF NEW YORK CITY NEAR WHERE HE LIVED, EVEN THOUGH HIS HEADQUARTERS WAS OFFICIALLY DESIGNATED AS WASHINGTON, D.C. AND WHO, IN ACCORDANCE WITH A RE SCHEDULE OF DUTY EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1967, TO THE WASHINGTON AND NEW HAVEN RUN, CLAIMS TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AND OVERTIME FOR PERIOD JULY 10, 1966 THROUGH NOV. 5, 1966 FOR TRAVEL FROM RESIDENCE TO WASHINGTON ON BASIS THAT NEW YORK WAS HIS HEADQUARTERS MAY, IF AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IS MADE THAT THE REASSIGNMENT OF JULY 1, 1966, IS A TEMPORARY ONE BE ALLOWED THE AMOUNT CLAIMED FOR THE PERIOD SINCE UNDER 25 COMP. GEN. 136 REGULAR HEADOUTS COULD BE VIEWED AS SERVICE ON DUTY HEADQUARTERS.

TO MR. J. Q. ALLISON:

YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7, 1967, ENCLOSING A VOUCHER FOR $360.45 IN FAVOR OF MR. JEROME SCHRAM, A FOREMAN ASSIGNED TO ROAD DUTY IN THE RPO, REPRESENTING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AND OVERTIME (DEADHEADING) UNDER PART 755.232 OF THE POSTAL MANUAL, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

THE CIRCUMSTANCES GIVING RISE TO MR. SCHRAM'S CLAIM ARE RECITED IN YOUR LETTER AS FOLLOWS:

"EFFECTIVE JULY 23, 1960, MR. SCHRAM WAS CHANGED, WITHOUT CHANGE OF TITLE OR PAY LEVEL, FROM THE REGIONAL MOBILE SERVICE UNIT, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA TO THE POST OFFICE AT NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, AND WAS PLACED ON -DETACHED DUTY- UNDER THE POSTMASTER AT WASHINGTON, D.C., WITH NO CHANGE IN HEAD OUT. A COPY OF THIS ACTION SHOWN ON POD FORM 1547X WAS ISSUED TO MR. SCHRAM. ON MARCH 14, 1962, MR. SCHRAM WAS NOTIFIED BY A MEMORANDUM, SUBJECT, -MOBILE UNIT EMPLOYEES - REASSIGNMENT-, THAT - EFFECTIVE SEPTEMBER 30, 1961, THIS ROSTERING CONCEPT WAS CHANGED TO THE EXTENT THAT YOU ARE NO LONGER ON DETACHED DUTY AT WASHINGTON, D.C., BUT YOU ARE AN EMPLOYEE OF THE WASHINGTON, D.C. POST OFFICE AND UNDER THE JURISDICTION OF THE POSTMASTER AT WASHINGTON. YOUR HOME POST OFFICE TO WHICH YOU WERE FORMERLY -ROSTERED- HAS BECOME THE OFFICE WHERE YOU WILL BE PLACED IN A NON-MOBILE ASSIGNMENT IF YOU ARE HEREAFTER WITHDRAWN BY REASON OF CURTAILED EMPLOYMENT FROM ANY MOBILE UNIT OR TRANSFER OFFICE.

"ON MARCH 12, 1966, MR. SCHRAM WAS PROMOTED TO FOREMAN, NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON RPO, PFS LEVEL 7 STEP 8, $7845 PER ANNUM. THIS ACTION IS DOCUMENTED ON POD FORM 50 AND THE DUTY STATION IS SHOWN AS WASHINGTON, D.C. THIS EMPLOYEE RECEIVED A COPY OF THIS ACTION.

"ON OR ABOUT JUNE 25, 1966, ON VERY SHORT NOTICE, THE POST OFFICE WAS INFORMED BY THE RAILROAD COMPANY OF CHANGES TO BE MADE IN TRAIN SERVICE ON THE NEW YORK AND WASHINGTON RUN. MOBILE UNIT ORDER NO. 162 WAS ISSUED ON JULY 1, 1966, REARRANGING THE AFFECTED CREWS DUE TO THIS CHANGE AND MR. SCHRAM WAS ASSIGNED TO THE WASHINGTON AND NEW HAVEN RPO WITH A WASHINGTON HEAD OUT. MR. SCHRAM RESIDES IN IRVINGTON, NEW JERSEY, AND IS CLAIMING TRAVEL ALLOWANCE AND OVERTIME FOR THE PERIOD JULY 10, 1966 THROUGH NOVEMBER 5, 1966, FOR TIME HE USED BETWEEN HIS RESIDENCE AND WASHINGTON, C., HIS HEAD OUT.'

NOTWITHSTANDING THE APPARENT ESTABLISHMENT OF THE WASHINGTON, D.C. POST OFFICE AS MR. SCHRAM'S ADMINISTRATIVE HEADQUARTERS ON MARCH 14, 1962, AND THE DESIGNATION OF WASHINGTON, D.C. AS BEING HIS DUTY STATION ON STANDARD FORM 50 PROMOTING HIM TO THE POSITION OF FOREMAN EFFECTIVE MARCH 12, 1966, WE UNDERSTAND THAT MR. SCHRAM CONTINUED UNTIL EARLY JULY 1966, THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF MOBILE UNIT ORDER NO. 162, DATED JULY 1, 1966, TO SERVE ON TRAINS HEADING OUT OF NEW YORK CITY, NEAR WHICH CITY HE RESIDES.

MR. SCHRAM'S CLAIM IS BASED ON HIS CONTENTION THAT NEW YORK, NEW YORK, WAS HIS HEADQUARTERS DURING THE PERIOD OF HIS CLAIM, JULY 10, 1966, THROUGH NOVEMBER 5, 1966.

SECTION 755.232 OF THE POSTAL MANUAL PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO ROAD DUTY IN RPOS AND HPOS AND ON MOTOR VEHICLE RUNS SHALL BE CREDITED WITH FULL TIME WHILE TRAVELING UNDER ORDERS OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT TO AND FROM THEIR DESIGNATED HEADQUARTERS OR TO AND FROM THEIR RESIDENCES TO TAKE UP ASSIGNMENTS INITIATING AT POINTS OTHER THAN THEIR DESIGNATED HEADQUARTERS. WHEN DEADHEADING TO OR FROM THEIR RESIDENCES, TIME CREDIT OR ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL MUST NOT BE GREATER THAN WOULD BE ALLOWED FOR TRAVEL TO OR FROM HEADQUARTERS. IN ADDITION TO OTHER COMPENSATION, THESE EMPLOYEES SHALL BE PAID PER DIEM, NOT TO EXCEED $9 PER DAY, FOR TRAVEL ENTAILED IN TAKING UP SUCH ASSIGNMENTS, DETERMINED IN ACCORDANCE WITH CHAPTER 9 OF HANDBOOK M-9.'

IN OUR DECISION 25 COMP. GEN. 136, WE RULED, QUOTING FROM THE SYLLABUS, AS FOLLOWS:

"IT IS PROPER TO DESIGNATE AS AN EMPLOYEE'S HEADQUARTERS OR POST OF DUTY, FOR PURPOSES OF PAYMENT OF TRAVELING EXPENSES AND PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WHEN ABSENT THEREFROM ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, THE PLACE WHERE THE GREATER PORTION OF HIS DUTIES ARE PERFORMED AND WHERE, NORMALLY, HIS RESIDENCE WOULD BE ESTABLISHED, EVEN THOUGH SUCH PLACE BE AT A LOCATION OTHER THAN THAT OF THE DIVISIONAL HEADQUARTERS OF HIS ACTIVITY ESTABLISHED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE OR FUNCTIONAL PURPOSES.'

THE POSTAL REGULATIONS DO NOT APPEAR TO HAVE CONSIDERED THE RULE EXPRESSED IN 25 COMP. GEN. 136 BUT WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED THAT IN INSTANCES, PARTICULARLY PRIOR TO THE ASSIGNMENT OF THE RPO TO THE SEVERAL POST OFFICES FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES, THAT REGULAR HEAD OUT POINTS FREQUENTLY, AND PERHAPS AS A MATTER OF PRACTICE, HAD BEEN VIEWED AS SERVICE OR DUTY HEADQUARTERS FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE REASSIGNMENT OF PERSONNEL BY ORDER NO. 162 WAS A CRASH PROGRAM NECESSITATED BY LACK OF ADEQUATE NOTICE BY THE RAIL CARRIER OF THE CANCELLATION OF SEVERAL OF ITS TRAIN RUNS. THE FILE ACCOMPANYING YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 7, 1967, SUGGESTS THAT IF THE DEPARTMENT HAD RECEIVED ADEQUATE NOTICE OF THE TRAIN CANCELLATIONS, AN ORDERLY ORGANIZATION OF PERSONNEL REASSIGNMENTS WOULD HAVE BEEN INITIATED UNDER WHICH THE AFFECTED EMPLOYEES WOULD HAVE BEEN AFFORDED OPPORTUNITIES TO BID ON THE REASSIGNMENTS.

MR. SCHRAM'S CLAIM IN THIS CASE ARISES FROM HIS VIEW THAT REASSIGNMENTS SUCH AS THOSE REQUIRED TO BE MADE UNDER MOBILE UNIT ORDER NO. 162 SHOULD BE ADMINISTRATIVELY REGARDED AS TEMPORARY UNTIL THE AFFECTED EMPLOYEES COULD BE ACCORDED THE USUAL PRIVILEGES OF BIDDING OR OTHERWISE EXPRESSING THEIR PREFERENCES. ON THE RECORD BEFORE US THE ADMINISTRATIVE VIEW TO THE CONTRARY APPEARS TO STEM FROM THE CONCLUSION THAT ONLY THE ADMINISTRATIVE HEADQUARTERS MAY BE OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED AND THAT MR. SCHRAM'S ASSIGNMENT TO A HEAD OUT POINT IN WASHINGTON, D.C., WAS NOTHING MORE THAN AN ASSIGNMENT TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS. IN ANY EVENT AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF ORDER NO. 162, DATED JULY 1, 1966, UNLESS THE ASSIGNMENT THEREUNDER BE CONSIDERED AS TEMPORARY, IT WOULD SEEM THAT THE ONLY HEADQUARTERS FOR ADMINISTRATIVE OR HEAD OUT PURPOSES WAS WASHINGTON, D.C.

UPON FURTHER CONSIDERATION IT MAY BE THAT AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION CAN BE MADE THAT THE REASSIGNMENT ACCOMPLISHED IN THIS CASE BY MOBILE UNIT ORDER NO. 162 SHOULD BE REGARDED AS A TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT. IF SUCH AN ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION IS MADE, WE WOULD INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION TO FAVORABLE ACTION ON THE EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM, IF IT OTHERWISE IS PROPER.

THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT ONLY IF THE ADMINISTRATIVE CONCLUSION EVIDENCED BY THE ENCLOSURES WITH YOUR LETTER IS APPROPRIATELY MODIFIED TO REFLECT A TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT DURING THE PERIOD IN QUESTION.