B-164875, AUG. 21, 1968

B-164875: Aug 21, 1968

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CAVINESS WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM LITTLE ROCK. CAVINESS RECEIVED NOTICE THAT AN OPERATION WAS TO BE PERFORMED ON HIS DAUGHTER IN DALLAS. HE WAS GRANTED PERMISSION BY OFFICIALS OF THE WASHINGTON. THE SUSPENDED ITEMS WERE: 1 DAY'S PER DIEM ($15). IS MR. IF THE ANSWER TO QUESTION NUMBER 1 IS IN THE NEGATIVE. CAVINESS HAVE HAD TO ATTEND BEFORE ABANDONMENT OF HIS TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT TO BE ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE FOR THE RETURN TRIP TO HIS POST OF DUTY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE? EXCEPTION IS MADE IN CASES WHEREIN THE EMPLOYEE HAS SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETED THE PURPOSE OF THE TRAVEL OR THE DUTIES HE WAS TO PERFORM ARE COMPLETED AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT. WAS PERFORMED FOR THE PURPOSE OF ACCOMPLISHING TWO SEPARATE.

B-164875, AUG. 21, 1968

TO MR. FRANK L. SEITZ:

YOUR LETTER OF JULY 16, 1968, REQUESTS OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT A RECLAIM VOUCHER TRANSMITTED THEREWITH IN FAVOR OF MR. PAT CAVINESS FOR $70.95, REPRESENTING CONSTRUCTIVE PER DIEM AND RELATED TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED BY MR. CAVINESS AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE TREASURY DEPARTMENT, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER SET FORTH.

MR. CAVINESS WAS AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS, TO WASHINGTON, D.C., AND RETURN, COMMENCING NOVEMBER 26 AND TERMINATING NOVEMBER 30, 1967, TO ATTEND THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY SEMINAR PROGRAM ON NOVEMBER 27 AND THE NATIONAL SAVINGS BONDS SALES CONFERENCE ON NOVEMBER 28, 29 AND 30, 1967. ON THE AFTERNOON OF NOVEMBER 27 MR. CAVINESS RECEIVED NOTICE THAT AN OPERATION WAS TO BE PERFORMED ON HIS DAUGHTER IN DALLAS, TEXAS, AT 11 A.M. ON NOVEMBER 30. HE WAS GRANTED PERMISSION BY OFFICIALS OF THE WASHINGTON, D.C., OFFICE TO CUT SHORT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY IN ORDER TO BE PRESENT AT HIS DAUGHTER'S OPERATION. THE EMPLOYEE DEPARTED WASHINGTON AT 6 A.M. ON NOVEMBER 28 WITHOUT ATTENDING ANY OF THE NATIONAL SALES CONFERENCE MEETINGS AND TRAVELED BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE ARRIVING IN LITTLE ROCK AT 4 P.M. ON NOVEMBER 29. SHORTLY THEREAFTER HE LEFT FOR DALLAS.

ON THE EMPLOYEE'S ORIGINAL VOUCHER THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE DISALLOWED THE EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO HIS RETURN TO LITTLE ROCK PRIOR TO COMPLETING HIS DUTY ASSIGNMENT. THE SUSPENDED ITEMS WERE: 1 DAY'S PER DIEM ($15), AND CONSTRUCTIVE AIR COACH FARE, WASHINGTON TO LITTLE ROCK ($55.95). IN VIEW OF THE INTERRUPTION OF THE EMPLOYEE'S DUTY, YOU PRESENT THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS PERTAINING TO HIS RIGHT TO TRAVEL AND RELATED EXPENSES FOR THE RETURN TRIP:

"1. IS MR. CAVINESS ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE FOR THE RETURN TRIP TO HIS POST OF DUTY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BY REASON OF HAVING ATTENDED THE FULL SESSION OF THE EEO SEMINAR AND IF SO, MAY THE VOUCHER BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT?

"2. IF THE ANSWER TO QUESTION NUMBER 1 IS IN THE NEGATIVE, WHAT PORTION IN TERMS OF DAYS OR PERCENTAGE OF TOTAL CONFERENCE TIME WOULD MR. CAVINESS HAVE HAD TO ATTEND BEFORE ABANDONMENT OF HIS TEMPORARY ASSIGNMENT TO BE ENTITLED TO TRAVEL AND SUBSISTENCE FOR THE RETURN TRIP TO HIS POST OF DUTY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE?

GENERALLY, AN EMPLOYEE WHO ABANDONS OFFICIAL TRAVEL BECAUSE OF THE DEATH OR ILLNESS OF A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY THE COST OF HIS TRAVEL TO THE POINT OF ABANDONMENT. 23 COMP. GEN. 237. HOWEVER, EXCEPTION IS MADE IN CASES WHEREIN THE EMPLOYEE HAS SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETED THE PURPOSE OF THE TRAVEL OR THE DUTIES HE WAS TO PERFORM ARE COMPLETED AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT.

IN THE INSTANT CASE THE TRAVEL TO WASHINGTON, D.C., WAS PERFORMED FOR THE PURPOSE OF ACCOMPLISHING TWO SEPARATE, DISTINCT AND APPARENTLY UNRELATED OBJECTIVES. THE INFORMATION FURNISHED SHOWS THAT THE EMPLOYEE FULLY COMPLETED ONE SUCH OBJECTIVE BUT DID NOT EVEN PARTIALLY COMPLETE THE SECOND INTENDED OBJECTIVE.

IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT THE EMPLOYEE WOULD HAVE BEEN SENT ON TEMPORARY DUTY AT WASHINGTON, D.C., TO ATTEND THE EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY SEMINAR IRRESPECTIVE OF THE FACT THAT THE NATIONAL SAVINGS BONDS SALES CONFERENCE WAS BEING HELD IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING THE END OF SUCH SEMINAR, THEN WE WOULD INTERPOSE NO OBJECTION TO THE EMPLOYEE BEING REIMBURSED RETURN TRAVEL EXPENSES TO LITTLE ROCK. SIMILARLY, IF THE EMPLOYING AGENCY WAS ABLE BY SOME ALTERNATIVE MEANS TO ACCOMPLISH THE PURPOSES OF THE SECOND OBJECTIVE WITHOUT INCURRING ANY ADDITIONAL COST OR OTHER TANGIBLE LOSS BY REASON OF THE FAILURE OF THE EMPLOYEE TO ACCOMPLISH THE SECOND OBJECTIVE WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY IN WASHINGTON, D.C., IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE EMPLOYEE MAY BE REGARDED AS REMAINING IN A TRAVEL STATUS UNTIL HIS RETURN TO HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION. IN THE ABSENCE OF EITHER OF THE FOREGOING DETERMINATIONS, THE TRAVEL STATUS OF THE EMPLOYEE MUST BE REGARDED AS HAVING TERMINATED AT THE TIME OF HIS DEPARTURE FROM WASHINGTON AND HE WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO THE RETURN TRANSPORTATION NOR PER DIEM FOR ANY PERIOD FOLLOWING THE END OF THE QUARTER IN WHICH HE DEPARTED.

IN THE EVENT YOU FIND FAVORABLE CONSIDERATION MAY BE ACCORDED THE CLAIM, THE PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE SHOULD BE COMPUTED ON THE CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL TIME BY AIR.

ACTION ON THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH SHOULD BE TAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.