B-165242, OCT. 3, 1968

B-165242: Oct 3, 1968

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WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION WERE RECEIVING FIELD TRAINING AND THAT THEIR ONLY LODGING WAS GOVERNMENT-BED ROLLS OR BACK COUNTRY SHELTERS AND THAT IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE MORE FEASIBLE AND ECONOMICAL TO FURNISH SUCH EMPLOYEES WITH SUBSISTENCE. YOUR LETTER POINTS OUT THAT CERTAIN OF THESE EMPLOYEES WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE BECAUSE DURING THE PERIOD OF THE TRAINING THEY WERE AWAY FROM THEIR DUTY STATIONS FOR ONLY SHORT PERIODS OF TIME SO THAT THEY COULD NOT QUALIFY FOR PER DIEM UNDER THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. WOULD HAVE QUALIFIED FOR PER DIEM UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS. YOU QUESTION WHETHER THE EMPLOYEES WHO WERE QUALIFIED FOR PER DIEM SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PLACED IN A PER DIEM STATUS AND HAD THEIR PER DIEM REDUCED ON ACCOUNT OF THE MEALS FURNISHED.

B-165242, OCT. 3, 1968

TO MR. CARL W. GLASS:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 23, 1968, REFERENCE F4215-MWR (ABF), WHEREIN YOU REQUEST ADVICE CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT OF A PURCHASE ORDER-INVOICE-VOUCHER 14-8152 IN FAVOR OF LESTER R. JOHNSON COVERING CATERING SERVICE (MEALS) FURNISHED A NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES OF THE MIDWEST REGION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DURING A PERIOD OF TRAINING (ORIENTATION) OF SUCH EMPLOYEES AWAY FROM THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE EMPLOYEES IN QUESTION WERE RECEIVING FIELD TRAINING AND THAT THEIR ONLY LODGING WAS GOVERNMENT-BED ROLLS OR BACK COUNTRY SHELTERS AND THAT IT WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE MORE FEASIBLE AND ECONOMICAL TO FURNISH SUCH EMPLOYEES WITH SUBSISTENCE, IN KIND, RATHER THAN PAYMENT TO THEM OF A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE. YOUR LETTER POINTS OUT THAT CERTAIN OF THESE EMPLOYEES WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE BECAUSE DURING THE PERIOD OF THE TRAINING THEY WERE AWAY FROM THEIR DUTY STATIONS FOR ONLY SHORT PERIODS OF TIME SO THAT THEY COULD NOT QUALIFY FOR PER DIEM UNDER THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. OTHER OF THE EMPLOYEES, HOWEVER, WOULD HAVE QUALIFIED FOR PER DIEM UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS.

YOU QUESTION WHETHER THE EMPLOYEES WHO WERE QUALIFIED FOR PER DIEM SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PLACED IN A PER DIEM STATUS AND HAD THEIR PER DIEM REDUCED ON ACCOUNT OF THE MEALS FURNISHED. YOU POINT OUT THAT THE OTHER EMPLOYEES WHO COULD NOT QUALIFY FOR PER DIEM WOULD NOT BE ENTITLED TO MEALS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE.

WE ARE AWARE OF NO PROHIBITION AGAINST THE FURNISHING OF SUBSISTENCE, IN KIND, BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO EMPLOYEES PERFORMING DUTY IN THE FIELD WHEN SUCH ACTION IS DETERMINED ADMINISTRATIVELY TO BE FEASIBLE AND ECONOMICAL. IN THE INSTANT CASE SINCE THE FURNISHING OF MEALS, IN KIND, IS LESS COSTLY THAN PAYING PER DIEM THERE IS NO OBJECTION TO FURNISHING THE MEALS AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE TO THE EMPLOYEES WHO OTHERWISE COULD HAVE BEEN PAID PER DIEM. WITH RESPECT TO THOSE EMPLOYEES WHO COULD NOT QUALIFY FOR PER DIEM UNDER THE APPLICABLE TRAVEL REGULATIONS BECAUSE OF THE SHORT PERIODS OF TIME THEY WERE AWAY FROM THEIR OFFICIAL STATIONS, MEALS MAY NOT BE FURNISHED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNLESS THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE TRAINING (ORIENTATION) NECESSITATED THEIR REMAINING WITH THE GROUP DURING MEAL TIME IN ORDER TO FULLY PARTICIPATE IN THE INSTRUCTION OR TRAINING AND THERE WAS NO OTHER PRACTICABLY AVAILABLE SOURCE OF OBTAINING SUBSISTENCE DURING SUCH PERIOD. CF. 39 COMP. GEN. 119. IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT SUCH WAS THE CASE THE FURNISHING OF THE MEALS TO THESE EMPLOYEES REASONABLY MAY BE REGARDED AS A NECESSARY COST OF TRAINING.

IN ANY EVENT THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT OF OTHERWISE CORRECT. SHOULD IT BE DETERMINED ADMINISTRATIVELY THAT CERTAIN OF THE EMPLOYEES WERE NOT ENTITLED TO SUBSISTENCE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE AS A COST OF TRAINING AN APPROPRIATE AMOUNT SHOULD BE COLLECTED FROM THEM.