B-162505, NOV. 8, 1967

B-162505: Nov 8, 1967

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EMPLOYEE WHOSE CLAIM FOR EXPENSES OF A HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP TO NEW STATION WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE TRIP WAS NOT EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS MAY HAVE TRAVEL EXPENSE CLAIM ALLOWED IF THE TRIP IS APPROVED SINCE TRIP WAS MADE IN GOOD FAITH AND INITIAL TRAVEL VOUCHER INDICATED THAT TRIP DID RESULT IN EMPLOYEES OBTAINING PERMANENT RESIDENCE. TUCHEK'S INITIAL VOUCHER WHEREON THE ABOVE SUM WAS DISALLOWED BY YOUR OFFICE FOR THE REASON THAT A HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP TO LOCATE PERMANENT LIVING QUARTERS WAS NOT EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED IN HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. THAT AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED IN CONNECTION WITH THE CHANGE OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM REDDING. SEE ATTACHED PERSONNEL ACTION WHICH IS MADE A PART OF THIS AUTHORIZATION.

B-162505, NOV. 8, 1967

EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - PUBLIC LAW 89-516 - TRAVEL TO LOCATE RESIDENCE DECISION TO CERTIFYING OFFICER BUREAU OF MINES, DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR, CONCERNING RECLAIM FOR HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP INCIDENT TO CHANGE OF STATION OF EMPLOYEE FROM REDDING, CALIFORNIA TO TIBURON, CALIFORNIA. EMPLOYEE WHOSE CLAIM FOR EXPENSES OF A HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP TO NEW STATION WAS DISALLOWED BECAUSE THE TRIP WAS NOT EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS MAY HAVE TRAVEL EXPENSE CLAIM ALLOWED IF THE TRIP IS APPROVED SINCE TRIP WAS MADE IN GOOD FAITH AND INITIAL TRAVEL VOUCHER INDICATED THAT TRIP DID RESULT IN EMPLOYEES OBTAINING PERMANENT RESIDENCE.

TO MRS. JEANNETTE B. WILBANKS:

ON SEPTEMBER 14, 1967, YOU REQUESTED OUR DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT OF THE SUM OF $98.52 RECLAIMED ON THE ENCLOSED TRAVEL VOUCHER BY MR. ERNEST T. TUCHEK. ALSO, WITH YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1967, YOU FURNISHED US COPIES OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AND OTHER PAPERS RELATIVE TO MR. TUCHEK'S INITIAL VOUCHER WHEREON THE ABOVE SUM WAS DISALLOWED BY YOUR OFFICE FOR THE REASON THAT A HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP TO LOCATE PERMANENT LIVING QUARTERS WAS NOT EXPRESSLY AUTHORIZED IN HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. DEN-T-25 67 DATED SEPTEMBER 28, 1966. THAT AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED IN CONNECTION WITH THE CHANGE OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM REDDING, CALIFORNIA, TO THE MARINE MINERALS TECHNOLOGY CENTER, TIBURON, CALIFORNIA. THE SAID TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AS SIGNED BY THE CHIEF, BRANCH OF PERSONNEL, WESTERN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS: "10. PURPOSE AND REMARKS:

"TO ACCEPT REASSIGNMENT AND CHANGE OF DUTY STATION TO MARINE MINERALS TECHNOLOGY CENTER, TIBURON, CALIFORNIA. SEE ATTACHED PERSONNEL ACTION WHICH IS MADE A PART OF THIS AUTHORIZATION.

"PROVISIONS OF P.L. 89-516, APPROVED 7-21-66 WILL APPLY TO THIS TRANSFER. "11. PER DIEM ALLOWANCE:

"TRAVEL TIME INVOLVES LESS THAN 6 HOURS. NO PER DIEM ALLOWED, EXCEPT DURING OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS. "12. PERIOD OF TRAVEL: BEGINNING ON OR ABOUT OCT. 4, 1966--- ENDING ON OR ABOUT OCT. 9, 1966.'

AS TO YOUR QUESTION ABOUT "POST-APPROVAL" , WE NOTE THAT BOTH THE INITIAL AND THE RECLAIM VOUCHERS WERE "APPROVED" BY THE RESEARCH DIRECTOR, APPARENTLY IN HIS SUPERVISORY CAPACITY, AT THE TECHNOLOGY CENTER. IN THAT RESPECT THE PROVISION IN THE SECOND SENTENCE OF SUBSECTION 2.1A OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, RELATIVE TO "ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL OF THE VOUCHER" IN CERTAIN INSTANCES, HAS NO APPLICATION IN THIS CASE IF THE OFFICIAL WHO IS EMPOWERED TO ISSUE ORDERS FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION INCIDENT TO CHANGES OF OFFICIAL STATIONS INTENDED TO TAKE NO ACTION REGARDING SUBSECTION 23 (2) OF PUB.L. 89-516 IN MR. TUCHEK'S CASE.

SECTION 3 OF PUB.L. 89-516, ENACTED JULY 21, 1966, AUTHORIZED REGULATIONS THEREUNDER TO BE PRESCRIBED WITHIN NINETY DAYS FOLLOWING THAT DATE AND TO BE RETROACTIVE TO SUCH DATE. THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET ON JULY 26, 1966, ISSUED APPENDIX B TO TRANSMITTAL MEMORANDUM NO. 6 (CIRCULAR NO. A-56) CONTAINING INTERIM INFORMATION FOR GUIDANCE OF AGENCIES WITH RESPECT TO THE PROVISIONS OF PUB.L. 89-516. THE AUTHORIZED REGULATIONS WERE FULLY ISSUED OCTOBER 12, 1966, ATTACHMENT A, CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED. THEREIN SECTION 214 AS A WHOLE WOULD BE FOR CONSIDERATION GENERALLY IN APPLICABLE CASES. HOWEVER, WE SHOULD NOT OVERLOOK THAT THE LEGISLATIVE HISTORY OF SECTION 3 OF PUB.L. 89 516 (PAGE 7 OF HOUSE REPORT NO. 1199, 89TH CONGRESS, ACCOMPANYING H.R. 10607) EXPLAINS ITS PURPOSE WAS TO---

"*** PROVIDE TIME FOR NECESSARY CHANGES IN TRAVEL REGULATIONS TO BE MADE. EMPLOYEES WHO INCUR EXPENSES COVERED UNDER THIS BILL DURING THE 90 DAYS ALLOWED FOR ISSUANCE OF REGULATIONS WOULD BE REIMBURSED.'

IN THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE OTHERWISE, WE ASSUME MR. TUCHEK DID SIGN THE REQUIRED SERVICE AGREEMENT AND THAT THE TRIP WAS MADE IN GOOD FAITH BASED UPON ADMINISTRATIVE ADVICE OR OTHER DEPENDABLE KNOWLEDGE THAT ADEQUATE HOUSING MIGHT BE DIFFICULT TO FIND AT THE NEW DUTY STATION. THE INITIAL TRAVEL VOUCHER INDICATES THAT THE TRIP DID RESULT IN THE OBTAINING OF A PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN THE VICINITY OF THE NEW STATION. APPARENTLY, NO EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS--AS CONTEMPLATED IN ITEM 10 OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION--WERE INCURRED OR WILL BE CLAIMED BY MR. TUCHEK.

IN THIS CASE, WE WOULD NOT OBJECT IF THE CHIEF, BRANCH OF PERSONNEL, WESTERN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE, SHOULD NOW APPROVE THE TRIP.

IN THAT EVENT, THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.