B-163711, MAY 14, 1968

B-163711: May 14, 1968

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BUTE WAS REIMBURSED ADMINISTRATIVELY FOR TWO DAYS' TEMPORARY QUARTERS EXPENSES. THE MATTER IS FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE LIGHT OF THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN SUBSECTIONS 2.5B AND D OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY" ARE PRESCRIBED IN SUBSECTIONS 2.5B (1). YOU ASK WHETHER THE REFERRED-TO CONDITIONS AND SPECIFICALLY THE TERM "CAN MOVE" IN SUBSECTION (4) MEAN THAT THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD MOVE INTO HIS PERMANENT RESIDENCE WHEN IT IS AVAILABLE OR WHETHER HE MAY MOVE IN WHEN CONVENIENT FOR HIM. WE ARE UNABLE TO GIVE YOU SPECIFIC ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS YOU PRESENT. 1968 WAS BECAUSE I HAD ENROLLED THREE OF MY CHILDREN IN COULEE DAM SCHOOLS WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT LOCAL HOUSING WAS AVAILABLE.

B-163711, MAY 14, 1968

TO MISS SOPHIE G. CYZESKI:

YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 27, 1968, REFERENCE 3622, REQUESTS OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE ENCLOSED TRAVEL VOUCHER IN THE NET AMOUNT OF $138.16 ($172.70 MINUS $34.54 TAX) COVERING TEMPORARY QUARTERS EXPENSES FROM JANUARY 3 TO 8, 1968, RECLAIMED BY ROBERT J. BUTE INCIDENT TO THE TRANSFER OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM DENVER, COLORADO, TO COULEE DAM, WASHINGTON, UNDER TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 68 CBP-37 DATED NOVEMBER 27, 1967.

IT APPEARS THAT MR. BUTE WAS REIMBURSED ADMINISTRATIVELY FOR TWO DAYS' TEMPORARY QUARTERS EXPENSES, $73.98, AS INDICATED ON THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER. THE $172.70 REPRESENTS LODGING, MEALS AND LAUNDRY EXPENSES FOR FIVE ADDITIONAL DAYS.

THE MATTER IS FOR CONSIDERATION IN THE LIGHT OF THE PROVISIONS CONTAINED IN SUBSECTIONS 2.5B AND D OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 REVISED. AS SET OUT IN YOUR LETTER CERTAIN ,CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS OF ELIGIBILITY" ARE PRESCRIBED IN SUBSECTIONS 2.5B (1), (3) AND (4). YOU ASK WHETHER THE REFERRED-TO CONDITIONS AND SPECIFICALLY THE TERM "CAN MOVE" IN SUBSECTION (4) MEAN THAT THE EMPLOYEE SHOULD MOVE INTO HIS PERMANENT RESIDENCE WHEN IT IS AVAILABLE OR WHETHER HE MAY MOVE IN WHEN CONVENIENT FOR HIM, PROVIDED THAT HE OCCUPIES THE PERMANENT RESIDENCE WITHIN THE APPLICABLE TIME LIMIT.

IN OUR DECISION OF JULY 31, 1967 (B-161960), COPY ENCLOSED, WE CONSIDERED THE CASE OF AN EMPLOYEE WHO AT THE TIME OF HIS TRANSFER DID NOT MOVE HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY TO HIS NEW STATION BECAUSE HE WANTED HIS CHILDREN TO FINISH THE SCHOOL SEMESTER AT HIS OLD STATION. THE FOURTH PARAGRAPH THEREOF DISCUSSES THE POINT THAT NEITHER THE LAW, 5 U.S.C. 5724A, NOR THE CIRCULAR NO. A-56 CONTAINS A DEFINITION OF THE TERM "TEMPORARY QUARTERS.' ALSO, WE SAID THAT IN VIEW OF THE MANY DIFFERENT SITUATIONS WHICH MIGHT ARISE UNDER SUBSECTION 5724A (3) AND SECTION 2.5 OF THE CIRCULAR, WE DOUBT THAT A COMPREHENSIVE DEFINITION COULD BE WRITTEN. WE HELD THAT EACH CASE MUST BE TREATED ON THE BASIS OF THE PARTICULAR FACTS INVOLVED. THEREFORE, WE ARE UNABLE TO GIVE YOU SPECIFIC ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS YOU PRESENT.

IN THIS CASE MR. BUTE HAS SUBMITTED THE FOLLOWING IN SUPPORT OF HIS CLAIM: "JUSTIFICATION FOR MAINTAINING TEMPORARY QUARTERS IN THE RIVER BREEZE MOTEL, COULEE DAM, FROM JAN. 4 TO JAN. 7, 1968 WAS BECAUSE I HAD ENROLLED THREE OF MY CHILDREN IN COULEE DAM SCHOOLS WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT LOCAL HOUSING WAS AVAILABLE. HOWEVER, AS ADEQUATE HOUSING WAS NOT AVAILABLE, IT WAS NECESSARY TO RENT A HOUSE IN WILBUR, WASH. AS IT WOULD CAUSE AN UNDUE HARDSHIP BY DISRUPTING THE FAMILY UNNECESSARILY, THE CHILDREN REMAINED IN THE COULEE DAM SCHOOLS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE WEEK. TEMPORARY RESIDENCE WAS CONTINUED THROUGH JAN. 7 WHILE THE FURNITURE WAS SET UP IN THE HOUSE IN WILBUR. (APPROX. 30 MILES FROM COULEE DAM, WN.)"

OUR VIEW IS THAT MR. BUTE'S EXPLANATION OF THE DELAY IN MOVING INTO HIS PERMANENT QUARTERS IS SUFFICIENT TO WARRANT PAYMENT OF THE ADDITIONAL TEMPORARY SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE. HOWEVER, REGARDING THE SUM RECLAIMED AND APPARENTLY IN MR. BUTE'S ORIGINAL CLAIM, THE SAME AMOUNTS ARE LISTED EACH DAY FOR THE FAMILY'S BREAKFAST ($6), LUNCH ($10) AND DINNER ($15). SUBSECTIONS 2.5B (1) AND 2.5D (1) OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 REQUIRE THAT ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR SUBSISTENCE BE SUPPORTED AS PROVIDED IN SECTION 6.12F OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THE LATTER INDICATES THAT EXPENDITURES FOR MEALS SHOULD BE ITEMIZED. THE FIGURES MR. BUTE GIVES FOR EACH MEAL APPEAR TO BE ESTIMATED AVERAGES AND ARE TOO GENERAL TO BE ACCEPTABLE.

THEREFORE, THE RECLAIM VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT FOUND DUE AFTER MR. BUTE FURNISHES AN APPROPRIATE ITEMIZATION WHICH REASONABLY SHOWS THE ACTUAL COSTS OF SUBSISTENCE DAILY FOR HIMSELF AND FOR EACH MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY. SUGGEST THAT IF HE HAS NO RECORD OF THE ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR MEALS THAT HE SUBMIT A DETAILED ESTIMATE COVERING DAILY EXPENDITURES FOR EACH MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY FOR EACH MEAL.