B-169371, MAY 1, 1970

B-169371: May 1, 1970

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GRANTING ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION WHERE EMPLOYEE ATTENDED SEMINAR WITHOUT PRIOR ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL OR DETERMINATION THAT SEMINAR WAS DIRECTLY RELATED TO HIS WORK AND WAS PUT ON ANNUAL LEAVE FOR THE DAY. GAO HAS NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO DENY CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF 8 HOURS OF PAY SINCE EMPLOYEE IS UNABLE TO CONVINCE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS THAT SEMINAR WAS DIRECTLY RELATED TO HIS ASSIGNMENT AND ACTION TAKEN IN CHARGING LEAVE. WHICH IS ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTION. WAS NOT ARBITRARY OR CAPRICIOUS. SHALLER: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 2. YOU ATTENDED A SEMINAR ON OUTPUT INFORMATION FOR PLANNING-PROGRAMMING-BUDGETING WHICH YOU BELIEVED WAS PERTINENT AND BENEFICIAL TO THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR DUTIES SET FORTH IN JOB DESCRIPTION.

B-169371, MAY 1, 1970

LEAVES OF ABSENCE--GRANTING ADMINISTRATIVE DETERMINATION WHERE EMPLOYEE ATTENDED SEMINAR WITHOUT PRIOR ADMINISTRATIVE APPROVAL OR DETERMINATION THAT SEMINAR WAS DIRECTLY RELATED TO HIS WORK AND WAS PUT ON ANNUAL LEAVE FOR THE DAY, GAO HAS NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO DENY CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF 8 HOURS OF PAY SINCE EMPLOYEE IS UNABLE TO CONVINCE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS THAT SEMINAR WAS DIRECTLY RELATED TO HIS ASSIGNMENT AND ACTION TAKEN IN CHARGING LEAVE, WHICH IS ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTION, WAS NOT ARBITRARY OR CAPRICIOUS. SEE COMP. GEN. DEC. CITED.

TO MR. HERMAN I. SHALLER:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 2, 1970, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST A REVIEW OF THE SETTLEMENT OF YOUR CLAIM OF FEBRUARY 6, 1970.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT ON MARCH 24, 1969, YOU ATTENDED A SEMINAR ON OUTPUT INFORMATION FOR PLANNING-PROGRAMMING-BUDGETING WHICH YOU BELIEVED WAS PERTINENT AND BENEFICIAL TO THE PERFORMANCE OF YOUR DUTIES SET FORTH IN JOB DESCRIPTION, JOB NO. 11184, AS CHIEF, PROGRAMS BRANCH AND PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT OF CORPS OF ENGINEERS CIVIL WORKS PLANNING PROGRAMMING-BUDGETING SYSTEM.

THE RECORD CONTAINS A REPORT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS WHICH SHOWS THAT PRIOR TO MARCH 24, 1969, YOU HAD A CONFERENCE WITH YOUR SUPERVISOR, MR. JOSEPH TOFANI, DURING WHICH YOU WERE INFORMED THAT HE WOULD NOT PERMIT YOU TO ATTEND ANY CONFERENCE ON DUTY TIME UNLESS THE CONFERENCE WAS DIRECTLY RELATED TO YOUR ASSIGNMENT AND YOU HAD OBTAINED HIS PRIOR APPROVAL. SINCE YOU HAD NOT OBTAINED PRIOR APPROVAL FOR THE MARCH 24, 1969 SEMINAR, YOU WERE PUT ON AN ANNUAL LEAVE STATUS, AND WHEN YOU REFUSED TO SIGN FOR THE LEAVE YOUR ABSENCE WAS CHARGED TO LEAVE WITHOUT PAY.

YOU APPEALED THE ACTION TO A SECOND LEVEL SUPERVISOR AND A GRIEVANCE EXAMINER WHO REPORTED HIS FINDINGS TO THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS. SEPTEMBER 10, 1969, YOU WERE FURNISHED A COPY OF THE GRIEVANCE EXAMINER'S REPORT OF INQUIRY AND A DECISION BY THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS WHICH UPHELD THE DECISION TO CHARGE YOU AS BEING ABSENT WITHOUT LEAVE ON MARCH 24, 1969.

YOUR CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR 8 HOURS OF PAY FOR MARCH 24, 1969, WAS DENIED BY OUR CLAIMS DIVISION ON THE GROUND THAT "THE GRANTING OF LEAVE IS A MATTER WITHIN THE JURISDICTION AND DISCRETION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE CONCERNED."

WE HAVE RULED CONSISTENTLY THAT THE GRANTING OF ANNUAL LEAVE IS WITHIN ADMINISTRATIVE DISCRETION IN RESPECT OF ANY PERIOD OF TIME, AND IT IS LEGALLY PROPER FOR AN ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE TO CHARGE AN EMPLOYEE ANNUAL LEAVE FOR PERIODS DURING WHICH HE IS VOLUNTARILY ABSENT FROM AN OFFICIAL DUTY STATION. SEE B-166469, SEPTEMBER 25, 1969, COPY ENCLOSED, AND DECISIONS CITED THEREIN. SINCE THE GRANTING OF LEAVE OR THE EXCUSING OF ABSENCE FROM OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IS AN ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTION, THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE ON THE RECORD AVAILABLE TO IT MAY (OT SUBSTITUTE ITS JUDGMENT FOR THAT OF THE DEPARTMENT AND AUTHORIZE PAYMENT OF COMPENSATION FOR DAYS OF ABSENCE.

UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF YOUR HAVING BEEN UNABLE TO CONVINCE THE OFFICE OF THE CHIEF OF ENGINEERS THAT THE SEMINAR WAS DIRECTLY RELATED TO YOUR ASSIGNMENT AND THAT THE ACTION TAKEN IN CHARGING YOU WITH LEAVE WAS ARBITRARY AND CAPRICIOUS, WE HAVE NO ALTERNATIVE BUT TO SUSTAIN THE DENIAL OF YOUR CLAIM.