B-162794, JAN. 9, 1968

B-162794: Jan 9, 1968

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

EMPLOYEE WHO WHEN TRAVEL ORDERS WERE ISSUED WAS ADVISED THAT PER DIEM RATE FOR CEYLON WAS $20 AND THAT RATE WAS SHOWN IN MANUAL BUT WHO DURING THE TRAVEL WAS ADVISED THAT THE EMBASSY OF CEYLON HAD RETROACTIVELY LOWERED THE RATES MAY HAVE THE TRAVEL ORDERS WHICH AUTHORIZED THE MAXIMUM RATE GOVERN IN ABSENCE OF ANY LIMITATION AND. EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO HIGHER PER DIEM RATE PAYMENT. COFFEY: THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 29. AMBER'S TRAVEL CLAIM HIS PER DIEM WAS COMPUTED AT $575.75 AND THE BALANCE OF $302. WAS DISALLOWED. AMBER'S TRAVEL IN CEYLON THE FOLLOWING RATES WERE USED: (A) $20 PER DAY FOR COLOMBO (B) $9 PER DAY FOR TRAVEL OUTSIDE COLOMBO PRIOR TO JULY 19. PRIOR TO HIS DEPARTURE FOR CEYLON AND NOTED THAT THE PER DIEM RATE WAS $20.

B-162794, JAN. 9, 1968

PER DIEM - RATES DECISION TO CERTIFYING OFFICER, AID, NEW DELHI, INDIA AUTHORIZING ALLOWANCE OF CLAIM FOR PER DIEM FOR TRAVEL IN CEYLON. EMPLOYEE WHO WHEN TRAVEL ORDERS WERE ISSUED WAS ADVISED THAT PER DIEM RATE FOR CEYLON WAS $20 AND THAT RATE WAS SHOWN IN MANUAL BUT WHO DURING THE TRAVEL WAS ADVISED THAT THE EMBASSY OF CEYLON HAD RETROACTIVELY LOWERED THE RATES MAY HAVE THE TRAVEL ORDERS WHICH AUTHORIZED THE MAXIMUM RATE GOVERN IN ABSENCE OF ANY LIMITATION AND, THEREFORE, EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO HIGHER PER DIEM RATE PAYMENT.

TO MR. FRANK J. COFFEY:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 29, 1967, RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE ON OCTOBER 24, 1967, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A RECLAIM VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $302 SUBMITTED BY MR. WAYNE G. AMBER, AN AUDITOR ASSIGNED TO THE AID MISSION TO INDIA, FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL IN CEYLON FROM JULY 5, 1966 TO AUGUST 17, 1966.

MR. AMBER CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT OF $877.75 FOR PER DIEM IN HIS ORIGINAL VOUCHER BASED UPON A RATE OF $20 PER DAY WHILE IN CEYLON. UPON PROCESSING MR. AMBER'S TRAVEL CLAIM HIS PER DIEM WAS COMPUTED AT $575.75 AND THE BALANCE OF $302, WHICH REPRESENTS THE INSTANT CLAIM, WAS DISALLOWED. COMPUTING THE TOTAL PER DIEM FOR MR. AMBER'S TRAVEL IN CEYLON THE FOLLOWING RATES WERE USED:

(A) $20 PER DAY FOR COLOMBO

(B) $9 PER DAY FOR TRAVEL OUTSIDE COLOMBO PRIOR TO JULY 19, 1966.

(C) $12 PER DAY FOR TRAVEL OUTSIDE COLOMBO ON AND AFTER JULY 19, 1966.

MR. AMBER CONTENDS THAT HE CHECKED THE AID MANUAL ORDER NO. 569.1, APPENDIX II, PRIOR TO HIS DEPARTURE FOR CEYLON AND NOTED THAT THE PER DIEM RATE WAS $20. HE OBSERVED THAT WHEN MORE THAN ONE RATE WAS ESTABLISHED FOR DIFFERENT PARTS OF A COUNTRY IT WAS SO SPECIFIED IN THE MANUAL ORDER. HE ALSO ASSERTS THAT HE CHECKED WITH THE CERTIFYING OFFICER AND WAS TOLD THAT THE PER DIEM RATE WAS $20 THROUGHOUT CEYLON.

MR. AMBER'S AUTHORIZATION FOR TRAVEL DATED JUNE 21, 1966, PROVIDED IN PARAGRAPH 5 AS FOLLOWS: ,APPLICABLE REGULATIONS: TRAVEL AND NECESSARY EXPENSES ARE AUTHORIZED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE AID MANUAL ORDERS 560.2 * * * AND THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM UNDER THESE REGULATIONS IS ALLOWABLE UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED IN ITEM 6.' THERE WAS NO NOTATION IN ITEM 6 LIMITING MAXIMUM PER DIEM. APPRAENTLY MR. AMBER AND THOSE INVOLVED IN ISSUING HIS ORDERS THOUGHT THAT THE PER DIEM RATE IN CEYLON WAS $20.

ON JULY 24, 1966, MR. AMBER WAS NOTIFIED BY DR. VOYCE MACK, AID AFFAIR OFFICER, CEYLON, THAT BASED ON AN EMBASSY NOTICE, THE PER DIEM RATE IN CEYLON OUTSIDE COLOMBO WAS $9 PRIOR TO JULY 19, 1966, AND $12 FROM JULY 19, 1966. IT IS MR. AMBER'S FEELING THAT THE RATE THAT SHOULD GOVERN IS THE ONE PRESCRIBED IN MANUAL ORDER NO. 569, AND THAT HE SHOULD NOT BE PENALIZED WHEN THE EMBASSY IN CEYLON CHANGED THAT RATE RETROACTIVELY.

MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATES IN CEYLON FOR SOME MONTHS PRIOR TO JULY 1, 1966, WERE $17. SEE AID MANUAL ORDER NO. 569.1, APPENDIX II (TL 5:81, MARCH 7, 1966). EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 1966, THIS RATE WAS INCREASED TO $20. IBID. (TL 5:155, AUGUST 17, 1966).

AID MANUAL ORDER NO. 560.2 IN EFFECT AT THE TIME OF THE PER DIEM INVOLVED PROVIDES IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

"117D. AUTHORIZING OFFICER "ANY OFFICER WHO HAS BEEN DELEGATED THE POWER TO AUTHORIZE/D) TRAVEL.

"121.3-3 AID MISSIONS

"A. THE MISSION DIRECTOR OR AID REPRESENTATIVE OR HIS DESIGNEE:

"/4) AUTHORIZES TRAVEL WITHIN OR BETWEEN FOREIGN COUNTRIES WHEN TRAVEL IS FOR TEMPORARY DETAIL CONSULTATION OR REPRESENTATIONAL PURPOSES IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS WHICH HE HAS PRESCRIBED;

"150 PER DIEM

"151 GENERAL "PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IS PAYABLE WHEN A TRAVELER IS AWAY FROM HIS POST ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS. UNLESS THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION SPECIFIES A LOWER PER DIEM RATE, THE MAXIMUM RATE PERMITTED BY LAW OR REGULATION FOR THE LOCALITY AND METHOD OF TRAVEL INVOLVED APPLIES. * * *

"152 CHANGE IN PER DIEM RATE AFTER TRAVEL BEGINS "IF THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATE AUTHORIZED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 153 IS CHANGED AFTER A TRAVELER BEGINS HIS TRAVEL, THE TRAVELER SHALL BE PAID AT THE CHANGED RATE AS OF THE DATE SUCH NEW RATE BECOMES EFFECTIVE, UNLESS A LOWER RATE IS SPECIFIED IN THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION.

"154 REDUCTIONS IN PER DIEM ALLOWANCES

"154.1 AUTHORIZATION OF REDUCED RATES "AUTHORIZING OFFICERS SHALL ASSURE THAT TRAVEL AUTHORIZATIONS PERMIT, WITHIN THE MAXIMUM APPLICABLE RATE, ONLY SUCH PER DIEM ALLOWANCES AS ARE JUSTIFIED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE TRAVEL.'

UNDER THE FOREGOING REGULATIONS THE OFFICIAL HAVING AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE MR. AMBER'S TRAVEL WAS THE AID MISSION DIRECTOR IN INDIA OR HIS DESIGNEE. IT WAS HIS DUTY UNDER SECTION 154 OF THE REGULATIONS ABOVE TO SET SUCH PER DIEM RATES FOR MR. AMBER'S TRAVEL AS WERE JUSTIFIED BY THE CIRCUMSTANCES SURROUNDING THE TRAVEL. THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION ISSUED BY THIS OFFICIAL AUTHORIZED THE MAXIMUM RATE AS DID SECTION 151 OF THE REGULATIONS REFERRED TO IN THE AUTHORIZATION. SECTION 154.1 OF THE ABOVE REGULATIONS MAKES NO PROVISION FOR REDUCTION OF THE PER DIEM BELOW THE MAXIMUM PERMISSIBLE RATE BY ANY OFFICIAL OTHER THAN THE AUTHORIZING OFFICER. SEE 27 COMP. GEN. 556.

THE FACT THAT THE EMBASSY IN CEYLON HAD AUTHORIZED LOWER RATES FOR TRAVEL OF ITS OWN EMPLOYEES OUTSIDE COLOMBO WOULD NOT SERVE TO REDUCE HIGHER PER DIEM RATES ESTABLISHED BY ANOTHER AUTHORIZING OFFICER SO LONG AS THE LATTER RATES WERE WITHIN THE LIMITS PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 925 OF STANDARDIZED REGULATIONS.

IF MR. AMBER'S ORDERS HAD CONTAINED WORDS LIMITING THE RATE TO THAT ESTABLISHED BY THE EMBASSY IN CEYLON FOR TRAVEL IN THAT COUNTRY THEN THE $9 - $12 RATE OUTSIDE COLOMBO WOULD HAVE BEEN APPLICABLE. ABSENT SUCH A LIMITATION THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATE OF $20 MAY BE ALLOWED FOR THE PERIOD IN QUESTION.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING THE ATTACHED RECLAIM VOUCHER, WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.