B-166414, APR. 9, 1969

B-166414: Apr 9, 1969

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NOBLES WAS AUTHORIZED A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP IN CONNECTION WITH HIS TRANSFER FROM ALTURAS. WHICH WAS EFFECTIVE ON AUGUST 13. NOBLES WAS RECALLED TO ALTURAS BECAUSE OF A FIRE EMERGENCY (OFFICIAL BUSINESS). NOBLES PERFORMED ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN ALTURAS AND REDDING FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPLETING THE HOUSE HUNTING WHICH WAS ABANDONED BECAUSE OF MR. THE VOUCHER PRESENTED IS FOR MILEAGE AT 6 CENTS PER MILE INCIDENT TO THAT SECOND HOUSE HUNTING TRIP AND PER DIEM FOR 2-3/4 DAYS AT $16. NOBLES' RETURN TO HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION ON AUGUST 8 WAS REQUIRED ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS. NO REASON IS GIVEN FOR THE NECESSITY OF MRS. IT IS NOTED THAT MR. NOBLES WAS NOT OFFICIALLY REQUIRED TO CUT SHORT HER HOUSE HUNTING TRIP ON AUGUST 8.

B-166414, APR. 9, 1969

TO MR. L. P. WILSEY:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF FEBRUARY 6, 1969, YOUR REFERENCE 6540, RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE MARCH 12, 1969, BY WHICH YOU REQUEST OUR ADVANCE DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY PROPERLY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE ATTACHED TRAVEL VOUCHER OF MR. SIDNEY L. NOBLES, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREST SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, TO REIMBURSE HIM AT APPROPRIATE PER DIEM AND MILEAGE RATES FOR A SECOND HOUSE HUNTING TRIP PERFORMED BY HIS WIFE INCIDENT TO HIS CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION IN AUGUST 1968.

MR. NOBLES WAS AUTHORIZED A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP IN CONNECTION WITH HIS TRANSFER FROM ALTURAS, CALIFORNIA, TO REDDING, CALIFORNIA, WHICH WAS EFFECTIVE ON AUGUST 13, 1968. HE AND HIS WIFE TRAVELED TO REDDING ON AUGUST 6 FOR THE PURPOSE OF HOUSE HUNTING BUT ON AUGUST 8, BEFORE A HOUSE HAD BEEN LOCATED, MR. NOBLES WAS RECALLED TO ALTURAS BECAUSE OF A FIRE EMERGENCY (OFFICIAL BUSINESS). MRS. NOBLES ALSO RETURNED TO ALTURAS ON THAT DAY. THE EMPLOYEE'S FAMILY REMAINED IN ALTURAS AFTER THE DATE OF HIS TRANSFER UNTIL AUGUST 29. HOWEVER, BETWEEN AUGUST 21 AND 23, MRS. NOBLES PERFORMED ROUND TRIP TRAVEL BETWEEN ALTURAS AND REDDING FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPLETING THE HOUSE HUNTING WHICH WAS ABANDONED BECAUSE OF MR. NOBLES' RETURN TO DUTY.

THE VOUCHER PRESENTED IS FOR MILEAGE AT 6 CENTS PER MILE INCIDENT TO THAT SECOND HOUSE HUNTING TRIP AND PER DIEM FOR 2-3/4 DAYS AT $16.

THE PROVISION OF LAW WHICH AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT TO A TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEE FOR EXPENSES CONNECTED WITH SEEKING A PERMANENT RESIDENCE AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION PROVIDES THAT SUCH EXPENSES MAY BE ALLOWED "ONLY FOR ONE ROUND TRIP IN CONNECTION WITH EACH CHANGE OF STATION OF THE EMPLOYEE.' 5 U.S.C. 5724A (A) (2). FURTHER, IT HAS BEEN HELD THAT PER DIEM INCIDENT TO HOUSE HUNTING MAY NOT BE PAID FOR TIME SPENT AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION AFTER COMPLETION OF THE SINGLE AUTHORIZED TRIP. 47 COMP. GEN. 189. ALTHOUGH MR. NOBLES' RETURN TO HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION ON AUGUST 8 WAS REQUIRED ON GOVERNMENT BUSINESS, NO REASON IS GIVEN FOR THE NECESSITY OF MRS. NOBLES' RETURN ON THE SAME DAY. FURTHER, IT IS NOTED THAT MR. NOBLES DID NOT RETURN TO HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION TO COMPLETE HOUSE HUNTING PRIOR TO HIS TRAVEL FOR CHANGE OF STATION PURPOSES.

IN VIEW OF THE SPECIFIC RESTRICTION IN THE AUTHORIZING PROVISION OF LAW AND SINCE MRS. NOBLES WAS NOT OFFICIALLY REQUIRED TO CUT SHORT HER HOUSE HUNTING TRIP ON AUGUST 8, WE CANNOT AUTHORIZE PAYMENT TO MR. NOBLES FOR EXPENSES INVOLVED IN THE SECOND HOUSE HUNTING TRIP SHE PERFORMED. ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH TOGETHER WITH SUPPORTING PAPERS MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.