B-166193, APR. 2, 1969

B-166193: Apr 2, 1969

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WAS AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. OF THE AFOREMENTIONED BUDGET BUREAU CIRCULAR PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT -IN NO CASE WILL THE PERIOD OF THE ADVANCE ROUND TRIP AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BE ALLOWED IN EXCESS OF 6 CALENDAR DAYS. ABEE HAS INDICATED ON HIS VOUCHER THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO COMPLETE OFFICIAL BUSINESS UNTIL AFTER CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON FRIDAY. THE FRST AVAILABLE FLIGHT FOR RETURN TO LOS ALAMOS WAS AT 7:55 A.M. WHICH REQUIRED EMERGENCY HOSPITAL TREATMENT AND WAS RELEASED IN CARE OF PERSONAL PHYSICIAN. IN REGARD TO SUCH TRAVEL THE EMPLOYEE STATES THAT DUE TO THE LEG INJURY SUFFERED BY HIS WIFE IN THE AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO OBTAIN FIRST-CLASS AIR ACCOMMODATIONS AT AN ADDITIONAL COST OF $85.30.

B-166193, APR. 2, 1969

TO MR. LESTER H. THOMPSON:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 12, 1969, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE COMPTROLLER'S DIVISION C - M, REQUESTING OUR DECISION WHETHER CERTAIN ITEMS ON A VOUCHER FOR $683.40 IN FAVOR OF MR. E. DARYL MABEE MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE FOLLOWING REPORTED FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES: ,PURSUANT TO THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516 AS PROMULGATED IN PART BY PARAGRAPH 2.4 OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED, ISSUED BY THE BUREAU OF THE BUDGET UNDER DATE OF OCTOBER 12, 1966, MR. E. DARYL MABEE, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION, WAS AUTHORIZED BY TRAVEL ORDER NO. FAM-579 DATED NOVEMBER 22, 1968 (AND AS REVISED JANUARY 28, 1969) TO PROCEED BY AIR FROM HIS THEN OFFICIAL STATION IN LOS ALAMOS,NEW MEXICO TO HIS NEW OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IN WASHINGTON, D.C. THE TRAVEL ORDER, COPY ATTACHED, TOGETHER WITH THE AMENDMENT THERETO, AUTHORIZED EXPENSES OF PER DIEM ALLOWANCE IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS SPOUSE, TOGETHER WITH THE EXPENSES OF THEIR TRANSPORTATION, TO SEEK PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION. SECTION 2.4 B. OF THE AFOREMENTIONED BUDGET BUREAU CIRCULAR PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART THAT -IN NO CASE WILL THE PERIOD OF THE ADVANCE ROUND TRIP AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE BE ALLOWED IN EXCESS OF 6 CALENDAR DAYS, INCLUDING TRAVEL TIME.- PURSUANT TO THIS LIMITATION THE TRAVEL ORDER PROVIDED FOR A PERIOD OF 6 DAYS FOR THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE TO SEEK PERMANENT RESIDENCE QUARTERS IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

* * * * * * * "ACCORDING TO INFORMATION FURNISHED BY THE TRAVELER ON HIS VOUCHER, THE TRAVELER AND HIS SPOUSE LEFT LOS ALAMOS, NEW MEXICO AT 8:00 A.M. ON DECEMBER 7, 1968, ENROUTE BY AIR TO WASHINGTON, D.C. MR. ABEE HAS INDICATED ON HIS VOUCHER THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO COMPLETE OFFICIAL BUSINESS UNTIL AFTER CLOSE OF BUSINESS ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13, 1968. THE FRST AVAILABLE FLIGHT FOR RETURN TO LOS ALAMOS WAS AT 7:55 A.M. ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1968, FROM FRIENDSHIP AIRPORT, BALTIMORE, MARYLAND. ENROUTE TO FREINDSHIP AIRPORT ON THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 14, 1968, IN THE PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE OF MR. JOSEPH P. SMITH, A FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION EMPLOYEE, AN ACCIDENT OCCURRED AT 7:10 A.M. * * *.'

THE EMPLOYEE'S VOUCHER OF JANUARY 22, 1969, CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION REGARDING THE AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT: "* * * AT 7:10 A.M. ACCIDENT OCCURRED WHICH RESULTED IN SERIOUS INJURIES REQUIRING HOSPITALIZATION OF WIFE. PAYEE SUFFERED BRUISES, ETC. WHICH REQUIRED EMERGENCY HOSPITAL TREATMENT AND WAS RELEASED IN CARE OF PERSONAL PHYSICIAN. THIS REQUIRED 72 HOURS LEAVE (SICK AND ANNUAL IN LIEU OF SICK) FROM DECEMBER 16 THROUGH DECEMBER 27, 1968.'

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT MR. MABEE AND HIS WIFE DEPARTED BALTIMORE, MARYLAND (FRIENDSHIP AIRPORT), AT 1:55 P.M. ON DECEMBER 27, 1968, AND ARRIVED AT LOS ALAMOS, NEW MEXICO, AT 1 A.M. ON DECEMBER 28, 1968. IN REGARD TO SUCH TRAVEL THE EMPLOYEE STATES THAT DUE TO THE LEG INJURY SUFFERED BY HIS WIFE IN THE AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT IT WAS NECESSARY FOR HIM TO OBTAIN FIRST-CLASS AIR ACCOMMODATIONS AT AN ADDITIONAL COST OF $85.30.

ON THE BASIS OF THE FACTS SET FORTH ABOVE THE EMPLOYEE HAS REQUESTED PAYMENT OF PER DIEM AT THE RATE OF $16 FOR HIMSELF AND $12 FOR HIS WIFE COVERING THE ENTIRE PERIOD FROM 8 A.M., DECEMBER 7, TO 1A.M.,DECEMBER 28, 1968 -- A TOTAL OF $588. ALSO, THE EMPLOYEE HAS CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT OF THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSE ($85.30) HE INCURRED FOR FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ON THE RETURN FLIGHT.

WITH RESPECT TO THE EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR PER DIEM YOUR DOUBT IN CERTIFYING SUCH ITEM FOR PAYMENT STEMS FROM THE FACT THAT UNDER SECTION 2.4B OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, THE AUTHORIZED PERIOD OF TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE IS LIMITED TO 6 CALENDAR DAYS.

SECTION 2.4C OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 PROVIDES THAT PER DIEM ALLOWANCES FOR THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS SPOUSE DURING THE AUTHORIZED PERIOD OF TRAVEL FOR SEEKING RESIDENCE QUARTERS WILL BE AS PRESCRIBED IN SECTIONS 2.1, 2.2B AND 2.3A OF THE REGULATIONS. GENERALLY, SECTIONS 2.1 AND 2.2 OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56 PROVIDE THAT THE ALLOWABLE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY SHALL BE GOVERNED BY THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, AND THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. IN THAT REGARD, SECTION 6.5A OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS: "WHENEVER A TRAVELER TAKES LEAVE OF ABSENCE OF ANY KIND BECAUSE OF BEING INCAPACITATED DUE TO HIS ILLNESS OR INJURY, NOT DUE TO HIS OWN MISCONDUCT, THE PRESCRIBED PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE, IF ANY, WILL BE CONTINUED FOR PERIODS NOT TO EXCEED 14 CALENDAR DAYS (INCLUDING FRACTIONAL DAYS) IN ANY ONE PERIOD OF ABSENCE UNLESS, UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN A PARTICULAR CASE, A LONGER PERIOD IS APPROVED.'

THE ABOVE-QUOTED REGULATION WAS ISSUED PURSUANT TO SECTION 3 OF THE TRAVEL EXPENSE ACT OF 1949, AS AMENDED, NOW 5 U.S.C. 5702, WHICH PROVIDES, IN PART, AS FOLLOWS: "/B) UNDER REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED UNDER SECTION 5707 OF THIS TITLE, AN EMPLOYEE WHO, WHILE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY, BECOMES INCAPACITATED BY ILLNESS OR INJURY NOT DUE TO HIS OWN MISCONDUCT IS ENTITLED TO THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCES, AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES TO HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY.'

ASIDE FROM THE QUESTION OF WHETHER THE LIMITATION ON PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE OF 6 CALENDAR DAYS, PREVIOUSLY REFERRED TO, PRECLUDES ANY EXTENSION OF PER DIEM IN A SITUATION SUCH AS HERE INVOLVED EITHER FOR THE HUSBAND OR THE WIFE, IT APPEARS THAT ANY PER DIEM IN EXCESS OF THE 6 DAYS IS NOT ALLOWABLE FOR OTHER REASONS.

WE NOTE THAT THE EMPLOYEE'S ENTITLEMENT TO PER DIEM FOR HIMSELF AND HIS WIFE TERMINATED AT THE END OF THE FIRST QUARTER OF DECEMBER 13, 1968, AS A RESULT OF THE 6-DAY LIMITATION PRESCRIBED IN SECTION 2.4B. WHILE THE EMPLOYEE MAY HAVE BEEN IN AN OFFICIAL TRAVEL STATUS ON DECEMBER 14, 1968, THE DAY THE ACCIDENT OCCURRED, NO PER DIEM WAS AUTHORIZED FOR SUCH TRAVEL.

SECTION 6.5A OF THE TRAVEL REGULATIONS, QUOTED ABOVE, PROVIDES FOR THE CONTINUATION OF THE PRESCRIBED PER DIEM, IF ANY, DURING THE PERIOD OF THE EMPLOYEE'S INCAPACITATION. IN VIEW OF THE LANGUAGE UNDERSCORED ABOVE, WE BELIEVE THAT SECTION 6.5A HAS NO APPLICATION WHERE, AS HERE, THE EMPLOYEE'S ENTITLEMENT TO PER DIEM (FOR HIMSELF AND WIFE) HAS TERMINATED PRIOR TO THE TIME THE ILLNESS OR INJURY IS INCURRED.

THEREFORE, IN THE PRESENT CASE, THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS WIFE MAY NOT BE ALLOWED PER DIEM BEYOND THE FIRST QUARTER OF DECEMBER 13, 1968.

WITH RESPECT TO THE EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF THE ADDITIONAL COST OF FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS ON THE RETURN FLIGHT, SUCH AMOUNT MAY BE ALLOWED, IF OTHERWISE CORRECT, PROVIDED THE APPROPRIATE OFFICIAL OF YOUR AGENCY APPROVES THE USE OF FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SUBSECTION 3.6C (1) (C) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH FOR HANDLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.