B-165203, SEP. 30, 1968

B-165203: Sep 30, 1968

Additional Materials:

Contact:

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

 

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

MALSBURY: THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 13. ELGH IS CLAIMING MILEAGE IN THE AMOUNT OF $749.20 ON THE BASIS THAT HIS ORAL TRANSFER FROM A QUALITY CONTROL POSITION AT THE DAVID CLARK CO. WAS NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSFER AND. HE WAS ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE MILEAGE BETWEEN WORCESTER AND SOUTHBRIDGE AS THOUGH HE HAD TRAVELED IT EACH DAY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY. WE UNDERSTAND THAT IN EFFECT HE IS ASKING TO BE PAID MILEAGE FOR THE INCREASED COMMUTING DISTANCE BETWEEN HIS HOME IN RUTLAND. HE IS ALSO MAKING CLAIM FOR SEVERAL TRIPS IN MARCH AND APRIL 1967 FROM THE DAVID CLARK CO. ELGH WAS ORALLY ADVISED ON MARCH 13. THAT HE WAS BEING ASSIGNED TO DUTY AT SPEDCOR AT SOUTHBRIDGE FROM HIS POST WITH DAVID CLARK CO.

B-165203, SEP. 30, 1968

TO LIEUTENANT COLONEL ROBERT E. MALSBURY:

THIS IS IN REPLY TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 13, 1968, REFERENCE DCRB FO, IN WHICH YOU REQUESTED AN ADVANCE DECISION ON THE VOUCHERS OF RALPH E. ELGH, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY (DSA), BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, FOR CERTAIN TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR THE PERIOD MARCH 13, 1967, THROUGH DECEMBER 28, 1967.

MR. ELGH IS CLAIMING MILEAGE IN THE AMOUNT OF $749.20 ON THE BASIS THAT HIS ORAL TRANSFER FROM A QUALITY CONTROL POSITION AT THE DAVID CLARK CO., WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS, TO THE SPECIALTY ELECTRONICS DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION (SPEDCOR), SOUTHBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS, WAS NOT AN OFFICIAL TRANSFER AND, THEREFORE, HE WAS ENTITLED TO BE REIMBURSED FOR THE MILEAGE BETWEEN WORCESTER AND SOUTHBRIDGE AS THOUGH HE HAD TRAVELED IT EACH DAY IN THE PERFORMANCE OF TEMPORARY DUTY. WE UNDERSTAND THAT IN EFFECT HE IS ASKING TO BE PAID MILEAGE FOR THE INCREASED COMMUTING DISTANCE BETWEEN HIS HOME IN RUTLAND, MASSACHUSETTS, AND SOUTHBRIDGE AS COMPARED WITH THE DISTANCE BETWEEN HIS HOME AND WORCESTER, ON A CONSTRUCTIVE BASIS AS THOUGH HE HAD PROCEEDED FIRST TO HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION AT WORCESTER EACH DAY AND THEN TRAVELED TO SOUTHBRIDGE. HE IS ALSO MAKING CLAIM FOR SEVERAL TRIPS IN MARCH AND APRIL 1967 FROM THE DAVID CLARK CO., WORCESTER, TO THE UNITED STATES NAVAL RESERVE TRAINING CENTER AT WORCESTER.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT MR. ELGH WAS ORALLY ADVISED ON MARCH 13,1967, THAT HE WAS BEING ASSIGNED TO DUTY AT SPEDCOR AT SOUTHBRIDGE FROM HIS POST WITH DAVID CLARK CO. IN WORCESTER AND THAT HE ASSENTED TO THIS CHANGE. APRIL 14, 1967, HIS SUPERIOR ADVISED HIM IN A MEMORANDUM OF THE CHANGE INDICATING THAT IT WOULD BE EFFECTIVE APRIL 17, 1967. HOWEVER, HE WAS ALREADY PERFORMING DUTY AT SOUTHBRIDGE AT THIS TIME. MEANWHILE, A REQUEST FOR PERSONNEL ACTION IMPLEMENTING THE CHANGE OF DUTY STATION WAS INITIATED BUT THE FORM 50 EFFECTING THE TRANSFER WAS NEVER EXECUTED. THE FIRST FORMAL NOTIFICATION OF PERSONNEL ACTION WAS A STANDARD FORM 50 TRANSFERRING HIM FROM THE DAVID CLARK CO., WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS, TO THE WORCESTER BRANCH OF THE BOSTON REGION HEADQUARTERS, DIRECTORATE OF QUALITY ASSURANCE, OPERATIONS DIVISION, IN JANUARY 1968. IN CONNECTION WITH THE FOREGOING YOU ASK THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

"1. IS A STANDARD FORM 50 THE ONLY MEANS BY WHICH AN EMPLOYEE CAN BE OFFICIALLY TRANSFERRED TO ANOTHER DUTY STATION?

"2. CAN A VERBAL ORDER OF TRANSFER BE BINDING ON AN EMPLOYEE?

"3. CAN THE WRITTEN MEMO BY MR. ELGH'S SUPERVISOR BE REGARDED AS AN OFFICIAL TRANSFER?

PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS RELATING TO OFFICIAL DUTY STATION AND PAYMENT OF MILEAGE PROVIDE AS FOLLOWS:

"1.5. OFFICIAL STATION--- POST OF DUTY.--- DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY AND OFFICIAL STATION MEAN ONE AND THE SAME, THE LIMITS OF WHICH WILL BE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OR TOWN IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS STATIONED, BUT IF NOT STATIONED IN AN INCORPORATED CITY OR TOWN, THE OFFICIAL STATION IS THE RESERVATION, STATION, OR ESTABLISHED AREA, OR, IN THE CASE OF LARGE RESERVATIONS, THE ESTABLISHED SUBDIVISION THEREOF HAVING DEFINITE BOUNDARIES WITHIN WHICH THE DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY IS LOCATED.

"2.1. FORM OF AUTHORITY.--- A. EXCEPT AS OTHERWISE PROVIDED BY LAW ALL TRAVEL WILL BE EITHER AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED BY THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OR BY AN OFFICIAL TO WHOM SUCH AUTHORITY HAS BEEN DELEGATED. THE ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL OF THE VOUCHER WILL CONSTITUTE THE APPROVALS REQUIRED IN SECTIONS 3.5A, 5.2, 6.2, 6.5, 10.1, 10.2, 10.4, 10.5.

"B. IT IS EXPECTED THAT ORDINARILY THE AUTHORIZATION WILL BE ISSUED PRIOR TO THE INCURRENCE OF THE EXPENSES AND WILL SPECIFY THE TRAVEL TO BE PERFORMED AS DEFINITELY AS POSSIBLE UNLESS CIRCUMSTANCES IN A PARTICULAR CASE PREVENT SUCH ACTION.

"3.5C (1) IN SUCH CASES THE MILEAGE RATE AS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED MAY BE PAID FROM WHATEVER POINT THE EMPLOYEE OR OTHER PERSONS RENDERING SERVICE TO THE GOVERNMENT BEGINS HIS JOURNEY. IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF PROPER OFFICIALS OF THE DEPARTMENTS AND ESTABLISHMENTS TO FIX SUCH RATES, WITHIN THE MAXIMUM, AS WILL MOST NEARLY COMPENSATE THE TRAVELER FOR NECESSARY EXPENSES. * * *"

THE OFFICIAL STATION OF AN EMPLOYEE IS A QUESTION OF FACT AND IS NOT LIMITED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE DESIGNATION. IT CONSISTENTLY HAS BEEN HELD BY OUR OFFICE THAT AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IS THE PLACE AT WHICH HE PERFORMS THE MAJOR PART OF HIS DUTIES AND IS EXPECTED TO SPEND THE GREATER PART OF HIS TIME. 32 COMP. GEN. 87. UPON BEING ADVISED THAT SPEDCOR ELECTRONICS AT SOUTHBRIDGE WOULD BE HIS DUTY STATION ON MARCH 13, 1967, AND SINCE, IN FACT, IT WAS THE PLACE AT WHICH HE PERFORMED THE MAJOR PART OF HIS DUTIES AFTER THAT TIME IT BECAME HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR TRAVEL PURPOSES. SEE SECTION 1.5, SGTR. MOREOVER, IT REASONABLY APPEARS THAT THERE WAS NEVER AN ADMINISTRATIVE INTENTION TO REGARD THE DAILY TRAVEL FROM WORCESTER TO SOUTHBRIDGE AS TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT WOULD BE AUTHORIZED. THE RULE IS ALSO WELL ESTABLISHED THAT AN EMPLOYEE MUST BEAR THE COSTS OF COMMUTING FROM HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE TO HIS PLACE OF DUTY. 11 COMP. GEN. 417; 15 ID. 342; 19 ID. 836. SINCE THE CLAIMS FOR REPEATED TRAVEL BETWEEN WORCESTER AND SOUTHBRIDGE IN THE INSTANT CASE ACTUALLY REPRESENT MILEAGE FOR THE INCREASED COMMUTING DISTANCE BETWEEN MR. ELGH'S RESIDENCE IN RUTLAND AND HIS NEW PLACE OF DUTY IN SOUTHBRIDGE OVER THE ORIGINAL COMMUTING DISTANCE BETWEEN RUTLAND AND WORCESTER THEY MAY NOT BE ALLOWED UNDER THE FOREGOING RULE.

HOWEVER, MILEAGE PAYMENTS FOR TRAVEL FROM HIS HOME IN RUTLAND OR FROM HIS PLACE OF DUTY IN SOUTHBRIDGE AS APPROPRIATE TO THE USNR TRAINING CENTER IN WORCESTER FOLLOWING HIS CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION ON MARCH 13, 1967, MAY BE ALLOWED IF OFFICIALLY AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED. SEE SECTION 3.5C (1), SGTR AND 36 COMP. GEN. 795 AT 797. YOUR QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

THE VOUCHERS WHICH ARE RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE PAID ONLY TO THE EXTENT AND SUBJECT TO THE CONDITIONS INDICATED ABOVE.