B-163876, MAY 29, 1968

B-163876: May 29, 1968

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NAVARRE WHICH WAS DISALLOWED ADMINISTRATIVELY ON A PRIOR VOUCHER FOR THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 1 TO OCTOBER 3. RECEIPTS OF LODGING COSTS WILL BE REQUIRED.'. NAVARRE'S ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS EXCEEDED "THE PER DIEM LIMITATIONS AS COMPUTED ON A BASE RATE OF EITHER $12 OR $16" AND THAT THE $12 FIGURE STATED IN ITEM 11 ABOVE WAS INTENDED TO BE THE BASE UPON WHICH THE PERCENTAGE CALCULATIONS ARE MADE UNDER SUBSECTION 2.5D (2) OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. THE OBLIGATION TO SET THE BASE RATE LOWER THAN $16 IF SUCH LOWER RATE IS DEEMED APPROPRIATE. SUBSECTION 2.5D PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS: "/1) REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE ONLY FOR ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED PROVIDED THESE ARE DIRECTLY RELATED TO OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND ARE REASONABLE BOTH AS TO AMOUNT AND DURATION. * * * "/2) THE AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS SHALL BE THE LESSER OF EITHER (A) THE ACTUAL AMOUNT OF ALLOWABLE EXPENSE INCURRED FOR EACH TEN-DAY PERIOD OR (B) THE FOLLOWING: "/A) FOR THE FIRST 10 DAYS "/I) FOR THE EMPLOYEE.

B-163876, MAY 29, 1968

TO MR. J.E. PERRY:

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 22, TOGETHER WITH YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 12, 1968, AND ENCLOSURES, REQUESTS OUR DECISION CONCERNING THE RECLAIM TRAVEL VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $75.75 IN FAVOR OF RICHARD J. NAVARRE, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF SPORT FISHERIES AND WILDLIFE. THE $75.75 REPRESENTS THAT PART OF THE TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE OF MR. NAVARRE WHICH WAS DISALLOWED ADMINISTRATIVELY ON A PRIOR VOUCHER FOR THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 1 TO OCTOBER 3, 1967, INCIDENT TO THE TRANSFER OF MR. NAVARRE'S OFFICIAL STATION FROM PHOENIX, ARIZONA, TO TUMWATER, WASHINGTON, UNDER TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION DATE AUGUST 14, 1967.

ITEM 11 OF THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"11. PER DIEM ALLOWANCE:

NOT TO EXCEED $16.00 WHILE EN ROUTE TO NEW DUTY STATION.

NOT TO EXCEED $12.00 FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS AUTHORIZED FOR NOT TO EXCEED 30 DAYS. RECEIPTS OF LODGING COSTS WILL BE REQUIRED.'

YOU SAY THAT MR. NAVARRE'S ACTUAL EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS EXCEEDED "THE PER DIEM LIMITATIONS AS COMPUTED ON A BASE RATE OF EITHER $12 OR $16" AND THAT THE $12 FIGURE STATED IN ITEM 11 ABOVE WAS INTENDED TO BE THE BASE UPON WHICH THE PERCENTAGE CALCULATIONS ARE MADE UNDER SUBSECTION 2.5D (2) OF THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56. MR. NAVARRE QUESTIONS THE USE OF A BASE RATE OTHER THAN THE $16 FIGURE FOR SUCH CALCULATIONS; WHEREAS, YOU SAY THAT THE AUTHORIZING OFFICIAL OF THE BUREAU OF SPORT FISHERIES AND WILDLIFE CONTENDS THAT HE HAS THE AUTHORITY AND, INDEED, THE OBLIGATION TO SET THE BASE RATE LOWER THAN $16 IF SUCH LOWER RATE IS DEEMED APPROPRIATE. THIS YOU SAY SEEMS TO BE SUPPORTED BY THE LANGUAGE OF SUBSECTION 2.5D (2) OF THE CIRCULAR.

SUBSECTION 2.5D PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART AS FOLLOWS:

"/1) REIMBURSEMENT SHALL BE ONLY FOR ACTUAL SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED PROVIDED THESE ARE DIRECTLY RELATED TO OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND ARE REASONABLE BOTH AS TO AMOUNT AND DURATION. * * *

"/2) THE AMOUNT WHICH MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS SHALL BE THE LESSER OF EITHER (A) THE ACTUAL AMOUNT OF ALLOWABLE EXPENSE INCURRED FOR EACH TEN-DAY PERIOD OR (B) THE FOLLOWING:

"/A) FOR THE FIRST 10 DAYS

"/I) FOR THE EMPLOYEE, 75 PERCENT OF THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATE ALLOWED UNDER SECTION 2.1 FOR THE LOCALITY IN WHICH TEMPORARY QUARTERS ARE LOCATED.

"/II) FOR EACH MEMBER OF THE EMPLOYEE'S IMMEDIATE FAMILY, 50 PERCENT OF THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATE ALLOWED UNDER SECTION 2.1 FOR THE LOCALITY IN WHICH TEMPORARY QUARTERS ARE LOCATED.'

OUR OPINION IS THAT, IN THE ABSENCE OF AN AGENCY REGULATION TO THE CONTRARY, THE AUTHORIZING OFFICIAL MAY PRESCRIBE A LESSER BASE PER DIEM RATE FOR USE UNDER SUBSECTION 2.5D (2) THAN THE MAXIMUM PER DIEM RATE APPLICABLE FOR THE LOCALITY IN WHICH TEMPORARY QUARTERS ARE LOCATED. INDICATED ABOVE, THE AUTHORIZING OFFICIAL SAYS A BASE PER DIEM RATE OF $12 WAS INTENDED BY THE AUTHORIZATION IN MR. NAVARRE'S TRAVEL ORDER. WHILE WE AGREE WITH YOU THAT THE LANGUAGE OF THE TRAVEL ORDER COULD HAVE BEEN CLEARER, WE BELIEVE THE INTENT OF THE AUTHORIZING OFFICIAL SHOULD BE RECOGNIZED IN THIS INSTANCE. WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE $12 FIGURE WAS USED AS THE BASE RATE UPON WHICH THE PERCENTAGE CALCULATIONS IN SUBSECTION 2.5D (2) WERE MADE.

THE VOUCHER TOGETHER WITH THE ENCLOSURES WHICH ACCOMPANIED YOUR LETTERS IS RETURNED HEREWITH BUT, AS INDICATED ABOVE, THE VOUCHER MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.