B-167919, OCT. 29, 1969

B-167919: Oct 29, 1969

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AS TRIP WAS VERBALL AUTHORIZED BY RESPONSIBLE OFFICER BEFORE IT WAS TAKEN. MANNER IN WHICH IT WAS TAKEN WAS IN INTERESTS OF AGENCY. IT WAS THROUGH ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR THAT EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT WAS NOT SIGNED BEFORE TRIP OCCURRED. UNDER COVER OF WHICH WAS SUBMITTED A RECLAIM VOUCHER ON BEHALF OF MR. THE RECLAIM VOUCHER IS FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES IN AN AMOUNT OF $205.60 INCURRED INCIDENT TO AN ADVANCE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP TAKEN BY MR. THE VOUCHER IS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR DECISION BECAUSE THE ADVANCE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP WAS MADE PRIOR TO THE EXECUTION OF THE EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT REQUIRED BY SUBSECTION 1.3C OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED. WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR THAT THE ADVANCE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP IN QUESTION WAS VERBALLY AUTHORIZED BY A RESPONSIBLE OFFICER BEFORE IT WAS TAKEN AND THAT THE MANNER IN WHICH IT WAS TAKEN WAS IN THE INTERESTS OF THE AGENCY.

B-167919, OCT. 29, 1969

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES--TRANSFERS--RELOCATION EXPENSES--TRANSPORTATION FOR HOUSE HUNTING--AUTHORIZATION CONCERNING RECLAIM FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED INCIDENT TO ADVANCE HOUSE -HUNTING TRIP -- TAKEN BY EMPLOYEE AND WIFE IN CONNECTION WITH HIS TRANSFER OF STATION -- MADE PRIOR TO EXECUTION OF EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT REQUIRED BY SUBSEC. 1.3 BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIR. NO. A-56 AND FORMAL AUTHORIZATION OF TRAVEL, CLAIM MAY BE ALLOWED, AS TRIP WAS VERBALL AUTHORIZED BY RESPONSIBLE OFFICER BEFORE IT WAS TAKEN; MANNER IN WHICH IT WAS TAKEN WAS IN INTERESTS OF AGENCY; AND IT WAS THROUGH ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR THAT EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT WAS NOT SIGNED BEFORE TRIP OCCURRED.

TO MR. VLADIMIR OLEYNIK:

THIS REFERS TO A LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 15, 1969, FROM MR. NEIL NEWMAN, ACTING CHIEF, ACCOUNTING AND PAYROLL SERVICES, UNDER COVER OF WHICH WAS SUBMITTED A RECLAIM VOUCHER ON BEHALF OF MR. JOHN J. SHEA. THE RECLAIM VOUCHER IS FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES IN AN AMOUNT OF $205.60 INCURRED INCIDENT TO AN ADVANCE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP TAKEN BY MR. SHEA AND HIS WIFE IN CONNECTION WITH MR. SHEA'S TRANSFER FROM SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, TO LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.

THE VOUCHER IS SUBMITTED TO THIS OFFICE FOR DECISION BECAUSE THE ADVANCE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP WAS MADE PRIOR TO THE EXECUTION OF THE EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT REQUIRED BY SUBSECTION 1.3C OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966, AND FORMAL AUTHORIZATION OF THE TRAVEL. DOUBT EXISTS AS TO WHETHER IT MAY BE PAID IN VIEW OF THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 2.4 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE TRAVEL INVOLVED TOOK PLACE DURING THE PERIOD MARCH 16, 1969, TO MARCH 21, 1969. ON MARCH 24, 1969, MR. SHEA SIGNED THE EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT REQUIRED AND ON MARCH 27, 1969, HIS TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION WAS ISSUED, INCLUDING AUTHORIZATION OF "ROUND-TRIP FOR EMPLOYEE AND WIFE, INCLUDING TEMPORARY SUBSISTENCE TO SEEK RESIDENCE, NOT TO EXCEED 6 DAYS.' A LETTER FROM MR. SHEA IN SUPPORT OF THE RECLAIM VOUCHER EXPLAINS THAT AS EARLY AS FEBRUARY 1 PRELIMINARY ARRANGEMENTS HAD BEEN MADE AND HE AND ALL OFFICIALS OF THE AGENCY CONCERNED FULLY UNDERSTOOD THAT HE WOULD BE TRANSFERRED FROM THE SAN FRANCISCO AREA TO THE LOS ANGELES AREA EFFECTIVE AS OF THE BEGINNING OF THE PAY PERIOD MARCH 31, 1969.

WE HAVE BEEN INFORMALLY ADVISED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR THAT THE ADVANCE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP IN QUESTION WAS VERBALLY AUTHORIZED BY A RESPONSIBLE OFFICER BEFORE IT WAS TAKEN AND THAT THE MANNER IN WHICH IT WAS TAKEN WAS IN THE INTERESTS OF THE AGENCY; ALSO, THE RECORD CONTAINS A STATEMENT FROM THE ASSISTANT DIRECTOR FOR DIVISION OF COMPLIANCE OPERATIONS TO THE EFFECT THAT IT WAS THROUGH ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR THAT MR. SHEA'S EMPLOYMENT AGREEMENT WAS NOT SIGNED BEFORE THE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP OCCURRED. AS IS EXPLAINED IN HIS SUPPORTING LETTER MR. SHEA MADE THE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION OF TEMPORARY DUTY AT FRESNO, WHERE HE COMPLETED PENDING CASES BEFORE FINALLY TERMINATING HIS DUTY AT SAN FRANCISCO, THUS MINIMIZING INTERRUPTION OF OPERATIONS OF THE DEPARTMENT WHICH MIGHT HAVE OTHERWISE BEEN CAUSED BY HIS TRANSFER.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES SET FORTH ABOVE, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THE REGULATIONS PRECLUDE REIMBURSEMENT OF THE EXPENSES OF A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP TO MR. SHEA. THEREFORE, THE RECLAIM VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.