B-169525, MAY 11, 1970

B-169525: May 11, 1970

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SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT NEW STATION MAY BE REIMBURSABLE EVEN THOUGH EMPLOYEE IS ON ANNUAL LEAVE. ANY SUCH EXPENSE INCURRED AWAY FROM EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION ON PERSONAL BUSINESS IS NOT REIMBURSABLE. FARRALL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 7. THE ESSENTIAL FACTS AS STATED IN YOUR LETTER ARE AS FOLLOWS: "BY PERSONNEL ACTION DATED AUGUST 20. JOHNSTON WAS TRANSFERRED FROM SUGAR LOAF DAMSITE NEAR LEADVILLE. WAS ISSUED TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. HE WAS DETAILED TO MONTROSE. HE IS CLAIMING TEMPORARY LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FROM DECEMBER 8. HE WAS AUTHORIZED A MAXIMUM OF 30 DAYS TEMPORARY LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE. 1970 BECAUSE HE WAS ON ANNUAL LEAVE DURING THIS PERIOD.

B-169525, MAY 11, 1970

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES--TRANSFERS--RELOCATION EXPENSES--TEMPORARY QUARTERS--ABSENCES ALTHOUGH TAKING OF ANNUAL LEAVE TO AVOID FORFEITURE DOES NOT OPERATE TO CHANGE ABSENCE FROM ONE FOR PERSONAL REASONS TO ONE OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY WITHIN MEANING OF SEC. 2.5B (1), BOB CIR. NO. A-56, SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT NEW STATION MAY BE REIMBURSABLE EVEN THOUGH EMPLOYEE IS ON ANNUAL LEAVE. HOWEVER, ABSENCE FROM OFFICIAL STATION FOR PERSONAL REASONS DOES NOT INTERRUPT RUNNING OF ALLOWED PERIOD FOR REIMBURSEMENT, AND ANY SUCH EXPENSE INCURRED AWAY FROM EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION ON PERSONAL BUSINESS IS NOT REIMBURSABLE. SEE COMP. GEN. DECS. CITED.

TO MR. HAROLD J. FARRALL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 7, 1970, WITH ENCLOSURES, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST OUR ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER TEMPORARY LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE AMOUNTING TO $242.65 MAY BE PAID TO MR. THOMAS O. JOHNSTON. YOU STATE THAT THIS AMOUNT REPRESENTS THE SUM SPENT BY HIM AFTER 12 NOON ON JANUARY 7, 1970, TO FEBRUARY 7, 1970.

THE ESSENTIAL FACTS AS STATED IN YOUR LETTER ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"BY PERSONNEL ACTION DATED AUGUST 20, 1969, MR. JOHNSTON WAS TRANSFERRED FROM SUGAR LOAF DAMSITE NEAR LEADVILLE, COLORADO TO PUEBLO, COLORADO. WAS ISSUED TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. FAP-29-70 DATED AUGUST 19, 1969 WHICH AUTHORIZED TRAVEL OF HIMSELF AND FAMILY, A TRIP TO SEARCH FOR HOUSING, TEMPORARY LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE, AND TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS AND PERSONAL EFFECTS UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF PUBLIC LAW 89-516 AND BUREAU OF BUDGET CIRCULAR A-56.

"BEFORE HE COULD MAKE HIS MOVE TO NEW HEADQUARTERS, HE WAS DETAILED TO MONTROSE, COLORADO FOR 3 MONTHS TEMPORARY DUTY. THE TEMPORARY DUTY ENDED NOVEMBER 26, 1969.

"HE MOVED TO PUEBLO, COLORADO, ON DECEMBER 8, 1969. HE IS CLAIMING TEMPORARY LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FROM DECEMBER 8, 1969 THROUGH DECEMBER 18, 1969 AND FROM JANUARY 19, 1970 THROUGH FEBRUARY 7, 1970. DID NOT TAKE AN ADVANCE TRIP TO SEARCH FOR HOUSING. HE WAS AUTHORIZED A MAXIMUM OF 30 DAYS TEMPORARY LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE. THE 30-DAY PERIOD WOULD END JANUARY 7, 1970, IF THERE HAD BEEN NO INTERRUPTIONS IN THE PERIOD. HE HAS NOT CLAIMED EXPENSE FOR THE PERIOD AFTER DECEMBER 19, 1969 THROUGH JANUARY 18, 1970 BECAUSE HE WAS ON ANNUAL LEAVE DURING THIS PERIOD. IN LIEU OF THIS PERIOD, HE HAS CLAIMED TEMPORARY LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 19, 1970 THROUGH FEBRUARY 7, 1970. HE HAS STATED THAT THE REASON FOR THIS IS THAT HE WAS REQUIRED TO TAKE LEAVE IN DECEMBER. HE WOULD HAVE LOST IT OTHERWISE, BECAUSE OF THE ANNUAL LEAVE CEILING PROVISIONS OF THE LEAVE REGULATIONS. HE STATES THAT HE COULD NOT TAKE HIS ANNUAL LEAVE EARLIER IN THE YEAR BECAUSE OF THE WORKLOAD AND BECAUSE OF DETAIL TO MONTROSE, COLORADO.

"HE MOVED INTO PERMANENT RESIDENCE AT 2132 DRIFTWOOD LANE, PUEBLO, COLORADO ON MARCH 2, 1970. * * *"

YOU POINT OUT THAT IN OUR DECISION, B-162601, DECEMBER 6, 1967, PUBLISHED AT 47 COMP. GEN. 322, WE STATED THAT THE DAYS OF TEMPORARY LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE MUST BE CONSECUTIVE DAYS UNLESS INTERRUPTED FOR REASONS OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY. YOUR SPECIFIC QUESTIONS ARE:

"(1) DOES MR. JOHNSTON BEING FORCED INTO TAKING LEAVE IMMEDIATELY AFTER HIS MOVE, QUALIFY AS 'OFFICIAL NECESSITY' AND PERMIT AN EXTENSION OF THE TEMPORARY LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE PERIOD?

"(2) IF IT IS PROPER TO EXTEND THE PERIOD, SHOULD IT BE EXTENDED FROM JANUARY 19, 1970, THE DATE MR. JOHNSTON RETURNED FROM LEAVE, OR MUST IT BE EXTENDED FROM JANUARY 11, 1970, THE DATE THE NEW LEAVE YEAR BEGAN?"

IN OUR DECISION AT 47 COMP. GEN. 322 WE STATED THAT THE LENGTH OF TIME ALLOWED FOR OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS BEGINS TO RUN WHEN THE EMPLOYEE OR MEMBERS OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY START TO OCCUPY TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND TERMINATES WHEN THE EMPLOYEE MOVES INTO PERMANENT QUARTERS OR UPON THE EXPIRATION OF 30 DAYS, WHICHEVER OCCURS FIRST. WE ALSO DETERMINED THAT, AS A GENERAL RULE, THE 30-DAY PERIOD IS TO BE REGARDED AS RUNNING CONTINUOUSLY EXCEPT IN INSTANCES, SUCH AS A PERIOD OF TEMPORARY DUTY, WHEN FOR REASONS OF OFFICIAL NECESSITY THE PERIOD IS INTERRUPTED.

OUR VIEW WAS INCORPORATED INTO SECTION 2.5B (1) OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED, JUNE 26, 1969, WHICH STATES, IN PERTINENT PART, AS FOLLOWS:

"SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES OF THE EMPLOYEE, FOR WHOM A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED, AND EACH MEMBER OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY (DEFINED IN 1.2D), FOR A PERIOD OF NOT MORE THAN 30 CONSECUTIVE DAYS WHILE NECESSARILY OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS WILL BE ALLOWED * * * THE PERIOD OF CONSECUTIVE DAYS MAY BE INTERRUPTED TO TAKE ACCOUNT OF THE TIME THAT IS ALLOWED FOR TRAVEL BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL STATIONS OR WHICH IS DUE TO CIRCUMSTANCES ATTRIBUTABLE TO OFFICIAL NECESSITY, AS FOR EXAMPLE, AN INTERVENING TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT."

YOU STATE THAT MR. JOHNSTON HAS NOT CLAIMED EXPENSE FROM DECEMBER 19, 1969, THROUGH JANUARY 18, 1970, BECAUSE HE WAS ON ANNUAL LEAVE DURING THIS PERIOD. WE HAVE HELD THAT SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED BY AN EMPLOYEE WHILE IN TEMPORARY QUARTERS AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION MAY BE REIMBURSED EVEN THOUGH THE EMPLOYEE IS ON ANNUAL LEAVE. HOWEVER, ABSENCE FROM AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION FOR PERSONAL REASONS DOES NOT INTERRUPT THE RUNNING OF THE PERIOD FOR WHICH SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY LODGINGS MAY BE ALLOWED, AND SUCH EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE EMPLOYEE AWAY FROM HIS OLD AND NEW OFFICIAL DUTY STATIONS ON PERSONAL BUSINESS MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED. SEE OUR DECISIONS B-162641, NOVEMBER 27, 1967; B-164251, JUNE 26, 1968; AND B-166119, MARCH 6, 1969, COPIES OF WHICH ARE ENCLOSED. THE TAKING OF ANNUAL LEAVE TO OBVIATE A FORFEITURE DOES NOT OPERATE TO ALTER THE ABSENCE INVOLVED FROM BEING ONE FOR PERSONAL REASONS TO BEING AN ABSENCE ATTRIBUTABLE TO OFFICIAL NECESSITY.

THEREFORE, THE FIRST QUESTION SET OUT ABOVE IS ANSWERED IN THE NEGATIVE. IN LIGHT OF THE NEGATIVE ANSWER TO THE FIRST QUESTION ANSWER TO THE SECOND IS NOT REQUIRED.

WE WOULD ADD, HOWEVER, THAT THE RECORD FAILS TO ESTABLISH WHERE MR. JOHNSTON AND HIS FAMILY RESIDED DURING THE PERIOD OF ANNUAL LEAVE INVOLVED. HE WOULD, OF COURSE, BE ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES INCURRED ON ANY DAYS WITHIN THE CONSECUTIVE 30-DAY PERIOD HE WAS ON ANNUAL LEAVE AT PUEBLO.

THE VOUCHER, TOGETHER WITH THE SUPPORTING DATA, IS RETURNED FOR ACTION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.