B-166977, JUN. 18, 1969

B-166977: Jun 18, 1969

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SMALL WAS DEFINITELY ADVISED THAT HE WOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO ATLANTA ON FEBRUARY 10. THAT REQUEST WAS NOT APPROVED BY AN OFFICER HAVING DELEGATED AUTHORITY TO APPROVE TRAVEL. SMALL TO TAKE SUCH A TRIP PRIOR TO THE TIME IT WAS TAKEN. A-56 REQUIRES PRIOR AUTHORIZATION OF HOUSE HUNTING TRIPS IN ORDER TO INSURE THAT SUCH TRIPS ARE TAKEN AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ONLY WHEN THEY ARE REASONABLY NECESSARY AS DETERMINED BY A RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED. SMALL'S REQUEST PRIOR TO THE TIME IT WAS ACCOMPLISHED. HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2.4 OF CIRCULAR NO. THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH TOGETHER WITH SUPPORTING PAPERS MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.

B-166977, JUN. 18, 1969

TO MR. E. W. MILOT:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 8, 1969, YOUR REFERENCE 6540, BY WHICH YOU REQUEST OUR DECISION WHETHER YOU MAY PROPERLY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER OF MR. GORDON H. SMALL, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREST SERVICE, UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES HE INCURRED FOR A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP INCIDENT TO HIS TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM MANCHESTER, KENTUCKY, TO ATLANTA, GEORGIA, EFFECTIVE MARCH 10, 1969.

THE FILE SHOWS THAT MR. SMALL WAS DEFINITELY ADVISED THAT HE WOULD BE TRANSFERRED TO ATLANTA ON FEBRUARY 10, 1969. ON FEBRUARY 18, HE SUBMITTED A REQUEST FOR TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH AGENCY PROCEDURES WHICH INCLUDED A REQUEST FOR A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP TO BE PERFORMED DURING THE PERIOD FEBRUARY 19-23. HOWEVER, THAT REQUEST WAS NOT APPROVED BY AN OFFICER HAVING DELEGATED AUTHORITY TO APPROVE TRAVEL, INCLUDING HOUSE HUNTING TRIPS, UNTIL AFTER MR. SMALL HAD PERFORMED THE TRIP IN QUESTION.

THE INFORMATION FURNISHED DOES NOT SHOW THAT AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FOREST SERVICE WHO HAD DELEGATED AUTHORITY TO AUTHORIZE A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP HAD VERBALLY OR IN WRITING AUTHORIZED MR. SMALL TO TAKE SUCH A TRIP PRIOR TO THE TIME IT WAS TAKEN.

SECTION 2.4 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 REQUIRES PRIOR AUTHORIZATION OF HOUSE HUNTING TRIPS IN ORDER TO INSURE THAT SUCH TRIPS ARE TAKEN AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE ONLY WHEN THEY ARE REASONABLY NECESSARY AS DETERMINED BY A RESPONSIBLE OFFICIAL OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED. SINCE, IN THIS CASE NO OFFICIAL HAVING DELEGATED AUTHORITY TO APPROVE A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP HAD CONSIDERED MR. SMALL'S REQUEST PRIOR TO THE TIME IT WAS ACCOMPLISHED, HE IS NOT ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2.4 OF CIRCULAR NO. A 56. FURTHER, WE DO NOT REGARD THE FAILURE OF THE OFFICIALS CONCERNED TO TIMELY PROCESS THE EMPLOYEE'S REQUEST FOR A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR.

FOR THE REASONS STATED, THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH TOGETHER WITH SUPPORTING PAPERS MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.