B-167918, NOV. 5, 1969

B-167918: Nov 5, 1969

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AUTHORIZATION EMPLOYEE WHO PERFORMED HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP PRIOR TO DATE EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED AND TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED EXPENSES INCIDENT THERETO SINCE BUREAU OF BUDGET CIR. A 56 REQUIRES THAT EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT MUST BE SIGNED AND TRAVEL MUST BE OFFICIALLY AUTHORIZED BEFORE HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP IS TAKEN IF EMPLOYEE IS TO RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED. ISSUED AFTER TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED. SINCE NOTHING IN RECORD SUGGESTS ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL WAS EVER GIVEN. NO BASIS IS FOUND UPON WHICH TO APPROVE REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO TRIP. VLADIMIR OLEYNIK: THIS WILL REFER TO THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 15. A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED FOR MR.

B-167918, NOV. 5, 1969

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES--TRANSFERS--RELOCATION EXPENSES--TRANSPORTATION FOR HOUSE HUNTING--AUTHORIZATION EMPLOYEE WHO PERFORMED HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP PRIOR TO DATE EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED AND TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED EXPENSES INCIDENT THERETO SINCE BUREAU OF BUDGET CIR. NO. A 56 REQUIRES THAT EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT MUST BE SIGNED AND TRAVEL MUST BE OFFICIALLY AUTHORIZED BEFORE HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP IS TAKEN IF EMPLOYEE IS TO RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED. IN PRESENT CASE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION, ISSUED AFTER TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED, DOES NOT INCLUDE AS REIMBURSABLE ITEM EXPENSE OF ADVANCE HOUSE-HUNTING TRIP AND, SINCE NOTHING IN RECORD SUGGESTS ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL WAS EVER GIVEN, NO BASIS IS FOUND UPON WHICH TO APPROVE REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO TRIP.

TO MR. VLADIMIR OLEYNIK:

THIS WILL REFER TO THE LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 15, 1969, FROM MR. NEIL NEWMAN, ACTING CHIEF, ACCOUNTING AND PAYROLL SERVICES, REQUESTING A DECISION AS TO PAYMENT OF A RECLAIM VOUCHER FOR $37.24 SUBMITTED BY MR. JOHN J. CHIVENEY FOR EXPENSES INCIDENT TO AN ADVANCE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION.

THE ORIGINAL VOUCHER AND ATTACHMENTS SHOW THAT ON FEBRUARY 7, 1969, MR. CHIVENEY SIGNED THE EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT REQUIRED BY SUBSECTION 1.3C OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, AS REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, FOR ENTITLEMENT TO RELOCATION ALLOWANCES INCIDENT TO PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION AS PROVIDED BY 5 U.S.C. 5724 AND 5 U.S.C. 5724A. ON FEBRUARY 12, 1969, A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED FOR MR. CHIVENEY'S TRANSFER FROM BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, TO HARTFORD, CONNECTICUT. YOUR DOUBT CONCERNING MR. CHIVENEY'S ENTITLEMENT TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE ADVANCE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP ARISES FROM THE FACT THAT THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION WAS PERFORMED ON JANUARY 25 AND 26, 1969, PRIOR TO THE DATES THE EMPLOYEE SIGNED THE EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT AND A TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED.

SUBSECTION 2.4C (3) OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, TO WHICH YOUR LETTER REFERS, PROVIDES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"C. PROCEDURAL REQUIREMENTS.

"/1) A TRIP FOR FINDING RESIDENCE QUARTERS WILL NOT BE PERMITTED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNTIL AFTER AN EMPLOYEE HAS AGREED TO THE TRANSFER AND THE DATE OF THE TRANSFER HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED, AND SHALL NOT BE AUTHORIZED UNDER CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE A PURPOSE OF THE TRIP IS TO PERMIT THE EMPLOYEE TO DECIDE WHETHER HE WILL ACCEPT THE TRANSFER. * * *

"/3) A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION TRAVEL ORDER SHOULD BE ISSUED WHICH INCLUDES AUTHORIZATION FOR THE ADVANCE ROUND TRIP, MODE OF TRANSPORTATION AND PERIOD OF TIME ALLOWED FOR THE TRIP. THE TRIP SHALL NOT BE MADE AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE UNLESS THE TRAVEL ORDER INCLUDES THE DUTY REPORTING DATE AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION AND INDICATES THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAS SIGNED THE REQUIRED AGREEMENT. * * *"

DECISIONS OF THIS OFFICE HAVE INTERPRETED THESE PROVISIONS OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 AS REQUIRING, WITH RESPECT TO ADVANCE HOUSE HUNTING TRIPS TAKEN SINCE ISSUANCE OF THE CIRCULAR ON OCTOBER 12, 1966, THAT AN EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT MUST BE SIGNED AND THE TRAVEL IN QUESTION MUST BE OFFICIALLY AUTHORIZED BEFORE THE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP IS TAKEN IF THE EMPLOYEE IS TO RECEIVE REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED. B-162955, JANUARY 17, 1968; B-163516, MARCH 5, 1968; B 166977, JUNE 18, 1969.

IN THIS CASE, THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION, IN ADDITION TO HAVING BEEN ISSUED AFTER TRAVEL WAS PERFORMED, DOES NOT INCLUDE, AMONG REIMBURSABLE ITEMS AUTHORIZED, THE EXPENSE OF AN ADVANCE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP. NOTHING IN THE RECORD SUGGESTS THAT ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL WAS EVER GIVEN TO THE TRAVEL PERFORMED ON JANUARY 25 AND JANUARY 26, FORMALLY OR INFORMALLY, BEFORE OR AFTER THE TRAVEL OCCURRED.

ACCORDINGLY, WE FIND NO BASIS UPON WHICH TO APPROVE CERTIFICATION OF THE RECLAIM VOUCHER REPRESENTING A RECLAIM OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO AN ADVANCE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP.

THE PAPERS SUBMITTED HERE--- AND WHICH DID NOT INCLUDE THE RECLAIM VOUCHER FOR $37.24--- ARE RETURNED.