B-162601, DECEMBER 6, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 322

B-162601: Dec 6, 1967

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A-56 FOR THE OCCUPANCY AT A NEW DUTY STATION OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MEANS CONSECUTIVE DAYS UNLESS THE OCCUPANCY IS INTERRUPTED FOR REASONS OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY AND. AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE FAMILY REMAINS AT HIS OLD DUTY STATION IS NOT ENTITLED TO AN EXTENSION OF THE ALLOWABLE 30-DAY PERIOD OF OCCUPANCY FOR ABSENCES FROM HIS TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR PERSONAL REASONS. REIMBURSEMENT IS NOT LIMITED TO THOSE DAYS THE EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY INCURRED EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS DURING THE ALLOWABLE PERIOD. THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO THE AMOUNT ACTUALLY EXPENDED FOR LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE. WHICH WAS SUSPENDED FROM A PREVIOUS TRAVEL VOUCHER. PROFFITT WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM NASHVILLE.

B-162601, DECEMBER 6, 1967, 47 COMP. GEN. 322

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TEMPORARY QUARTERS - ABSENCES THE "PERIOD OF NOT MORE THAN 30 DAYS" PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 2.5B (1) OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 FOR THE OCCUPANCY AT A NEW DUTY STATION OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE MEANS CONSECUTIVE DAYS UNLESS THE OCCUPANCY IS INTERRUPTED FOR REASONS OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY AND, THEREFORE, AN EMPLOYEE WHOSE FAMILY REMAINS AT HIS OLD DUTY STATION IS NOT ENTITLED TO AN EXTENSION OF THE ALLOWABLE 30-DAY PERIOD OF OCCUPANCY FOR ABSENCES FROM HIS TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR PERSONAL REASONS, AND IN COMPUTING PER DIEM UNDER SECTION 2.5D (2) OF THE CIRCULAR, REIMBURSEMENT IS NOT LIMITED TO THOSE DAYS THE EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY INCURRED EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS DURING THE ALLOWABLE PERIOD, BUT THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO THE AMOUNT ACTUALLY EXPENDED FOR LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE, NOT TO EXCEED THE PRESCRIBED PER DIEM, AND THE AMOUNTS EXPENDED FOR MEALS MUST BE ITEMIZED PURSUANT TO SECTION 6.12F OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

TO MARGUERITE B. CASEY, INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION, DECEMBER 6, 1967:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1967, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE MDB, REQUESTING OUR ADVANCE DECISION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT AN ITEM FOR $72.40 INCLUDED IN A TRAVEL VOUCHER SUBMITTED BY MR. J. PRESTON PROFFITT, JR., AN EMPLOYEE OF THE INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION. THE ABOVE-STATED AMOUNT, WHICH WAS SUSPENDED FROM A PREVIOUS TRAVEL VOUCHER, REPRESENTS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT A NEW OFFICIAL DUTY STATION.

BY TRAVEL ORDER DATED MAY 9, 1967, MR. PROFFITT WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, TO ATLANTA, GEORGIA, INCIDENT TO A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION. UPON REPORTING TO HIS NEW DUTY STATION AT ATLANTA HE MOVED INTO TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT THE PEACHTREE MANOR HOTEL. APPARENTLY, MR. PROFFITT'S FAMILY REMAINED IN THEIR PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS AT THE OLD DUTY STATION.

ON HIS TRAVEL VOUCHERS DATED JULY 7 AND 31, 1967, MR. PROFFITT CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT OF THE COSTS OF SUBSISTENCE WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR 18 DAYS IN JUNE AND 12 DAYS IN JULY COVERING THE PERIOD JUNE 1 THROUGH JULY 20, 1967. EXCEPT FOR A 1-3/4-DAY PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION IN JUNE, NO EXPLANATION IS FURNISHED AS TO WHY MR. PROFFITT DID NOT INCUR EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY LODGING IN ATLANTA ON THE OTHER 10 DAYS IN JUNE. HOWEVER, THE VOUCHERS SUGGEST THAT HE MAY HAVE RETURNED TO HIS FAMILY IN NASHVILLE ON THE WEEKENDS.

MR. PROFFITT'S EXPENSES (SUPPORTED BY RECEIPTS) FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT THE PEACHTREE MANOR HOTEL FOR THE 18 DAYS IN JUNE AND 12 DAYS IN JULY TOTALED $241.17. IN ADDITION, HE CLAIMED ACTUAL EXPENSES OF $4 A DAY FOR MEALS. SUCH EXPENSES WERE NOT ITEMIZED. THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE ALLOWED MR. PROFFITT REIMBURSEMENT FOR TEMPORARY SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES UNDER SECTION 2.5 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, IN THE AMOUNT OF $139.50, COMPUTED AS FOLLOWS: JUNE 1 THROUGH JUNE 10 (5 DAYS $12 PER DAY) $60.00 JUNE 11 THROUGH JUNE 20 (6 DAYS $8 PER DAY) 48.00 JUNE 21 THROUGH JUNE 30 (5-1/4 DAYS $6 PER DAY) 31.50

EVIDENTLY, THE NUMBER OF DAYS FOR WHICH PER DIEM WAS ALLOWED WITHIN EACH 10-DAY PERIOD (I.E., 5, 6, AND 5-1/4) REPRESENTS ONLY THE DAYS ON WHICH MR. PROFFITT ACTUALLY INCURRED EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS IN ATLANTA.

IN DETERMINING THE LENGTH OF TIME FOR WHICH MR. PROFFITT WOULD BE ALLOWED OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE INTERPRETED THE PHRASE "PERIOD OF NOT MORE THAN 30 DAYS" APPEARING IN SECTION 2.5B (1) OF CIRCULAR A-56 TO MEAN A PERIOD OF 30 CONSECUTIVE DAYS WHICH MAY BE EXTENDED ONLY IF INTERRUPTED BY A TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT. THUS, MR. PROFFITT'S MAXIMUM 30-DAY PERIOD WAS CONSIDERED TO HAVE RUN FROM JUNE 1, THE DATE HE BEGAN TO OCCUPY TEMPORARY QUARTERS WITHIN THE PURVIEW OF THE REGULATION IN ATLANTA, THROUGH JULY 2, 1967 (EXTENDED 1-3/4 DAYS BECAUSE OF TEMPORARY DUTY).

MR. PROFFITT BELIEVES THAT HE IS ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR EACH OF THE 30 DAYS ON WHICH HE INCURRED EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS IN ATLANTA REGARDLESS OF THE FACT THAT SUCH DAYS WERE NOT CONSECUTIVE. POINTS OUT THAT THE WORD "CONSECUTIVE" DOES NOT APPEAR IN THE REGULATIONS.

SECTION 2.5 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR A-56 PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT 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 (DEFINED IN SUBSECTION 1.2D) FOR A PERIOD OF NOT MORE THAN 30 DAYS WHILE NECESSARILY OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS SHALL BE ALLOWED * * *

"/3) TEMPORARY QUARTERS REFER TO LODGING OBTAINED TEMPORARILY, AFTER A TRANSFER HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AND AFTER THE EMPLOYEE AND/OR MEMBERS OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY VACATE THE RESIDENCE QUARTERS IN WHICH THEY WERE RESIDING AT THE TIME OF THE TRANSFER, UNTIL THE EMPLOYEE MOVES, WITHIN THE ALLOWABLE 30 OR 60 DAYS' TIME LIMIT, INTO PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS.

"/4) THE SPECIFIED TIME LIMITS ARE MAXIMUM PERIODS AND THE NORMAL LENGTH OF NECESSARY OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS IS EXPECTED TO AVERAGE MUCH LESS. TEMPORARY QUARTERS SHOULD BE REGARDED AS AN EXPEDIENT, TO BE USED ONLY IF, OR FOR AS LONG AS, NECESSARY UNTIL THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED CAN MOVE INTO RESIDENCE QUARTERS OF A PERMANENT TYPE.

"/5) IN COMPUTING THE LENGTH OF TIME ALLOWED FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNDER THE 30 TO 60 DAY LIMITATIONS SPECIFIED HEREIN, SUCH TIME SHALL BEGIN TO RUN FOR THE EMPLOYEE, SPOUSE, AND ALL MEMBERS OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHEN EITHER THE EMPLOYEE, THE SPOUSE, OR ANY MEMBER OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY STARTS TO OCCUPY SUCH QUARTERS AND THE TIME SHALL RUN CONCURRENTLY. IF THE EMPLOYEE OCCUPIES TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT ONE LOCATION WHILE THE SPOUSE AND/OR MEMBERS OF THE IMMEDIATE FAMILY OCCUPY QUARTERS AT ANOTHER LOCATION THE TIME SHALL TERMINATE WHEN THE EMPLOYEE CONCERNED MOVES INTO PERMANENT TYPE RESIDENCE QUARTERS OR THE ALLOWABLE TIME LIMIT EXPIRES, WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST.'

UNDER THE PROVISIONS QUOTED ABOVE THE LENGTH OF TIME ALLOWED FOR OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS BEGINS TO RUN WHEN THE EMPLOYEE OR MEMBERS OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY START TO OCCUPY TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND TERMINATES WHEN THE EMPLOYEE MOVES INTO PERMANENT QUARTERS OR UPON THE EXPIRATION OF 30 DAYS, WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST. IT IS OUR VIEW THAT AS A GENERAL RULE THE 30-DAY PERIOD IS TO BE REGARDED AS RUNNING CONTINUOUSLY EXCEPT IN INSTANCES, SUCH AS A PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY, WHEN FOR REASONS OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY THE PERIOD IS INTERRUPTED. IN THE PRESENT CASE, EXCEPT FOR THE 1-3/4-DAY TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT, THE 30-DAY PERIOD WAS NOT INTERRUPTED FOR REASONS OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY. THEREFORE, THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE DID NOT PHYSICALLY OCCUPY THE QUARTERS ON EVERY DAY OF THE 30 -DAY PERIOD IS IMMATERIAL. WE REGARD HIM AS HAVING OCCUPIED SUCH TEMPORARY QUARTERS DURING THE PERIOD JUNE 1 THROUGH THE FIRST 3 QUARTERS OF JULY 2, 1967, WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE REGULATIONS. IT FOLLOWS THAT THERE IS NO BASIS FOR EXTENDING THE ALLOWABLE PERIOD OF OCCUPANCY BEYOND THE END OF THE 3RD QUARTER ON JULY 2.

WE NOTE THAT IN COMPUTING THE AMOUNT OF PER DIEM FOR EACH 10-DAY PERIOD UNDER SECTION 2.5D (2) OF CIRCULAR A-56, THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE ALLOWED MR. PROFFITT PER DIEM ONLY FOR THOSE DAYS ON WHICH HE ACTUALLY INCURRED EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS IN ATLANTA. THIS WAS IN ERROR. SINCE THE 30-DAY TEMPORARY QUARTERS PERIOD RAN FROM JUNE 1 THROUGH JULY 2, 1967 (3RD QUARTER), MR. PROFFITT SHOULD BE ALLOWED THE AMOUNT ACTUALLY EXPENDED FOR LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE DURING SUCH PERIOD BUT NOT TO EXCEED $120 FOR THE FIRST 10 DAYS, $80 FOR THE SECOND 10 DAYS AND $60 FOR THE THIRD 10 DAYS, RESPECTIVELY.

WE NOTE, ALSO, THAT MR. PROFFITT DID NOT ITEMIZE AMOUNTS EXPENDED FOR MEALS. IN THE ABSENCE OF AN ITEMIZATION TO THE EXTENT REQUIRED BY SUBSECTION 6.12F OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR MAY NOT BE ALLOWED. SEE SECTION 2.5D (1) OF CIRCULAR A-56.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH FOR RECOMPUTATION OF THE AMOUNT DUE MR. PROFFITT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INSTRUCTIONS ABOVE. THEREAFTER THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.