B-165854, FEB. 4, 1969

B-165854: Feb 4, 1969

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PAULSEN'S CASE ARE AS FOLLOWS: "MR. THE FARE WAS $166. THE OFFICIAL TRIP WAS TO ALBUQUERQUE ONLY. THE STOPOVER IN DENVER ON THE RETURN WAS FOR PERSONAL REASONS. THE EXCURSION FARE DIRECT TO ALBUQUERQUE AND RETURN WOULD HAVE BEEN $149. REGULAR -Y- CLASS FARE DIRECT TO ALBUQUERQUE AND BACK WOULD HAVE BEEN $198. HAD HE RETURNED DIRECTLY TO WASHINGTON ON FEBRUARY 16 THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE PAID THE -REGULAR- FARE OF $198. PAULSEN FEELS HE IS ENTITLED TO THE EXCURSION FARE BY DENVER INASMUCH AS THIS RESULTED IN A NET SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT. "HERE IS A COMPARISON OF HIS ACTUAL TRAVEL WITH CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL DIRECT BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND ALBUQUERQUE AND RETURN: "A. PAULSEN IS CLAIMING $17.12 ($16.30 PLUS ?82 TAX) WHICH IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $166.

B-165854, FEB. 4, 1969

TO MR. LOUIS B. ANDERSON:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 20, 1968, REFERENCE 6540, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY THE RECLAIM VOUCHERS OF MR. HAROLD A. PAULSEN, JR., IN THE AMOUNT OF $17.12, AND MR. WILLIAM L. MORRIS IN THE AMOUNT OF $32.

THE FACTS IN MR. PAULSEN'S CASE ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"MR. PAULSEN PURCHASED AN EXCURSION ROUND-TRIP TICKET FROM WASHINGTON TO ALBUQUERQUE VIA DENVER. THE FARE WAS $166. THE OFFICIAL TRIP WAS TO ALBUQUERQUE ONLY. THE STOPOVER IN DENVER ON THE RETURN WAS FOR PERSONAL REASONS. THE EXCURSION FARE DIRECT TO ALBUQUERQUE AND RETURN WOULD HAVE BEEN $149. REGULAR -Y- CLASS FARE DIRECT TO ALBUQUERQUE AND BACK WOULD HAVE BEEN $198. MR. PAULSEN LEFT WASHINGTON ON FEBRUARY 11 AND COMPLETED TEMPORARY DUTY IN ALBUQUERQUE ON FEBRUARY 15. HAD HE RETURNED DIRECTLY TO WASHINGTON ON FEBRUARY 16 THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE PAID THE -REGULAR- FARE OF $198. MR. PAULSEN FEELS HE IS ENTITLED TO THE EXCURSION FARE BY DENVER INASMUCH AS THIS RESULTED IN A NET SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT.

"HERE IS A COMPARISON OF HIS ACTUAL TRAVEL WITH CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL DIRECT BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND ALBUQUERQUE AND RETURN:

"A. WASHINGTON TO ALBUQUERQUE VIA DENVER AND RETURN

PERSONAL CAR MILEAGE BETWEEN HOME AND DULLES $5.20

(GOING AND RETURN)

LIMOUSINE, ALBUQUERQUE 1.19

REGISTRATION FEE 5.00

PER DIEM CLAIMED, 5-1/2 DAYS $16.00 88.00

AMOUNT CLAIMED, VOUCHER 5 1169 99.39

EXCURSION FARE 166.00

TOTAL $265.39

"B. WASHINGTON TO ALBUQUERQUE AND RETURN (DIRECT)

2/11 LEAVE DULLES 5:45 P.M., TW 169

2/16 LEAVE ALBUQUERQUE 9:30 A.M., TW 168

ARRIVE FRIENDSHIP 4:13 P.M.

PER DIEM ALLOWANCE, 5 1/4 DAYS $16.00 $84.00

PERSONAL CAR MILEAGE TO DULLES 2.60

LIMOUSINE, ALBUQUERQUE 1.19

REGISTRATION FEE 5.00

ESTIMATED PERSONAL CAR MILEAGE, FRIENDSHIP 4.00

TO HOME

-Y- CLASS FARE 198.00

TOTAL $294.79

SAVINGS REALIZED BY USE OF EXCURSION FARE VIA DENVER $29.40"

MR. PAULSEN IS CLAIMING $17.12 ($16.30 PLUS ?82 TAX) WHICH IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN $166, THE COST OF THE EXCURSION FARE BY THE INDIRECT ROUTE TAKEN AND $149.70 HE WAS ALLOWED WHICH IS THE EXCURSION FARE BY DIRECT ROUTE.

PARAGRAPH 3.3 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES IN PART:

"INDIRECT-ROUTE OR INTERRUPTED TRAVEL.--- IN CASE A PERSON FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE TRAVELS BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE OR INTERRUPTS TRAVEL BY DIRECT ROUTE, THE EXTRA EXPENSE WILL BE BORNE BY HIM. * * *"

THE ABOVE-QUOTED REGULATION LIMITS THE ALLOWABLE TRAVEL EXPENSES NOT TO EXCEED THOSE OVER A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. THE INFORMATION FURNISHED SHOWS THAT IF MR. PAULSEN HAD RETURNED TO WASHINGTON, D.C., HIS HEADQUARTERS, IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE COMPLETION OF HIS TEMPORARY DUTY THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE HAD TO PAY THE REGULAR FARE OF $198. BY THAT STATEMENT WE ASSUME THAT AT THAT TIME THE DIRECT EXCURSION FARE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN AVAILABLE.

SINCE THE EXCURSION FARE PAID BY MR. PAULSEN WAS LESS THAN THE FARE THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HAVE HAD TO PAY IF TRAVEL HAD BEEN PERFORMED AT THE COMPLETION OF THE TEMPORARY DUTY THE VOUCHER MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.

THE FACTS IN MR. MORRIS' CASE ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"MR. MORRIS PURCHASED AN EXCURSION ROUND-TRIP TICKET FROM WASHINGTON TO SAN FRANCISCO. THE FARE WAS $205. REGULAR -Y- CLASS FARE WOULD HAVE BEEN $274. WITH PERSONAL FUNDS HE PAID FOR A STOPOVER AT BOISE ON THE RETURN TRIP. HE LEFT WASHINGTON ON AUGUST 16, ALTHOUGH HIS ORIGINAL CLAIM INCORRECTLY SHOWED AUGUST 18. HE COMPLETED HIS TEMPORARY TOUR OF DUTY IN SAN FRANCISCO ON AUGUST 23 AND ON AUGUST 24 LEFT FOR BOISE WHERE HE WENT ON ANNUAL LEAVE. HE LEFT BOISE ON SEPTEMBER 1 AND RETURNED THAT DAY TO WASHINGTON.

"MR. MORRIS COULD HAVE RETURNED TO WASHINGTON ON AUGUST 24 UNDER THE EXCURSION FARE. MR. MORRIS ADVISES HE LEFT WASHINGTON ON FRIDAY IN ORDER TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE EXCURSION FARE. HOWEVER, HE COULD HAVE LEFT ON SATURDAY UNDER THE EXCURSION FARE. HE PERFORMED NO OFFICIAL DUTY FROM THE TIME HE ARRIVED IN SAN FRANCISCO ON AUGUST 16 UNTIL HE REPORTED FOR TEMPORARY DUTY IN THE REGIONAL OFFICE ON MONDAY MORNING, AUGUST 19.

"HERE IS A COMPARISON OF HIS ACTUAL EXCURSION RATE TRAVEL WITH CONSTRUCTIVE EXCURSION RATE TRAVEL BETWEEN WASHINGTON AND SAN FRANCISCO AND RETURN.

"A. WASHINGTON TO SAN FRANCISCO AND RETURN VIA BOISE FOR PERSONAL REASONS (VOUCHER 5 363 AND RECLAIM VOUCHER DATED 10/1/68 EXCURSION FARE USED)

MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES $13.45

PER DIEM CLAIMED FROM 8/16 TO 9/1/68,

8 3/4 DAYS $16.00 140.00

EXCURSION FARE 205.00

TOTAL $358.45

"B. WASHINGTON TO SAN FRANCISCO AND RETURN, DIRECT (EXCURSION FARE)

MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSES $13.45

PER DIEM BASIS:

8/17 -- 9:00 A.M., LEAVE DULLES, UA 53

8/24 -- 9:00 A.M., LEAVE SAN FRANCISCO, UA 50

4:55 P.M., ARRIVE DULLES

PER DIEM ALLOWANCE 7-1/2 DAYS $16.00 120.00

EXCURSION FARE 205.00

$338.45

DIFFERENCE (1-1/4 DAYS) 20.00"

YOU ARE IN DOUBT AS TO WHETHER THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO PER DIEM FOR FRIDAY, AUGUST 16, THE DAY THE EMPLOYEE ACTUALLY BEGAN HIS TRAVEL IN VIEW OF PUBLIC LAW 89-301 AND PUBLIC LAW 90-206.

SECTION 16 OF PUBLIC LAW 89-301 CONTAINED IN 5 U.S.C. 6101 (B) (2) PROVIDES:

"TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PRACTICABLE, THE HEAD OF AN AGENCY SHALL SCHEDULE THE TIME TO BE SPENT BY AN EMPLOYEE IN A TRAVEL STATUS AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION WITHIN THE REGULARLY SCHEDULED WORKWEEK OF THE EMPLOYEE.'

WE HAVE HELD THAT THE ABOVE PROVISION DOES NOT OPERATE TO PERMIT AN EMPLOYEE TO DELAY HIS RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS OVER A WEEKEND SO AS TO INCREASE HIS ENTITLEMENT TO PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE. COMP. GEN. 425. WE SEE NO REASON WHY THE SAME WOULD NOT BE APPLICABLE TO AN EARLY DEPARTURE SUCH AS HERE WHEN THERE IS NOT INVOLVED THE ADVANTAGE TO THE GOVERNMENT OF A CHEAPER FARE BY REASON OF SUCH EARLY DEPARTURE. MOREOVER, WE DO NOT VIEW THE TRAVEL OVERTIME PROVISIONS OF SECTION 5542 (B) (2) (B) OF TITLE 5, UNITED STATES CODE, AS AMENDED BY SECTION 222 OF PUBLIC LAW 90-206, AS NECESSARILY AFFECTING THAT CONCLUSION. THEREFORE, MR. MORRIS' RECLAIM VOUCHER SHOULD BE REDUCED FROM 2 DAYS ($32) TO 3/4 OF A DAY AS SUGGESTED BY YOU.

ACTION ON THE VOUCHERS, WHICH ARE RETURNED HEREWITH, SHOULD BE TAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.