B-169667, AUG. 26, 1970

B-169667: Aug 26, 1970

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REID REDFERN: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 22. HE WAS EXPECTED TO REPORT AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION ON MARCH 10. WHICH PRIMARILY IS CONCERNED WITH WHEN AN AGENCY SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT AUTHORIZE A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP AS WELL AS OTHER STEPS THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN TO MINIMIZE EXPENSES. ON ONE OF THE VOUCHERS IT IS INDICATED THAT THE HOUSING MARKET IN NASHVILLE WAS EXTREMELY LIMITED AT THE TIME. THERE MAY HAVE BEEN OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH PREVENTED THE WIFE FROM MAKING A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP UNTIL THE LATTER PART OF JULY. SINCE BOTH A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP AND ALLOWANCE FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS WERE AUTHORIZED IN THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER WE FIND NO BASIS IN THE PRESENT RECORD FOR DENIAL OF REIMBURSEMENT OF OTHERWISE ALLOWABLE EXPENSES CONNECTED THEREWITH.

B-169667, AUG. 26, 1970

TRANSFERRED EMPLOYEES -- HOUSE HUNTING TRIP EXPENSES -- TEMPORARY QUARTERS DECISION AUTHORIZING CERTIFICATION OF VOUCHER FOR EXPENSES OF A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP INCIDENT TO EMPLOYEE'S CHANGE OF STATION FROM ATLANTA, GEORGIA, TO NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, BUT DENYING CERTIFICATION OF VOUCHER FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE. EMPLOYEE WHO DID NOT UNDERTAKE A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP UNTIL FOUR MONTHS AFTER REPORTING TO NEW STATION BECAUSE OF LIMITED HOUSING MARKET AT TIME OF TRANSFER AND CIRCUMSTANCES PREVENTING WIFE FROM ACCOMPANYING EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED FOR TRIP WHICH HAD BEEN AUTHORIZED IN ORIGINAL ORDERS.

TO MR. REID REDFERN:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 22, 1970, AND ENCLOSURES, IN WHICH YOU REQUEST OUR OPINION AS TO THE PROPRIETY OF CERTIFYING FOR PAYMENT TWO VOUCHERS SUBMITTED BY MR. NICK SOTIROPOULOS, COVERING EXPENSES INCURRED DURING A TRIP BY HIS SPOUSE TO LOCATE PERMANENT LIVING QUARTERS AND TEMPORARY LIVING QUARTERS EXPENSES FOR HIMSELF AND HIS FAMILY IN CONNECTION WITH HIS APPROVED CHANGE OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM ATLANTA, GEORGIA, TO NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE.

THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD DISCLOSES THAT MR. SOTIROPOULOS' TRAVEL ORDER DATED MARCH 13, 1969, CONTAINED AUTHORIZATION FOR A LIVING QUARTERS LOCATING TRIP FOR A PERIOD OF 6 DAYS, UTILIZING HIS PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE AND AUTHORITY FOR HIS ENTIRE FAMILY TO OCCUPY AND INCUR EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY LIVING QUARTERS AT HIS NEW STATION FOR A PERIOD OF 30 DAYS. HE WAS EXPECTED TO REPORT AT HIS NEW DUTY STATION ON MARCH 10, 1969. APPARENTLY, THE EMPLOYEE DID REPORT TO HIS NEW STATION EITHER ON MARCH 10, 1969, OR SHORTLY THEREAFTER. IN VIEW THEREOF YOU EXPRESS DOUBT WHETHER EXPENSES OF A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP AND AN ALLOWANCE FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE MAY BE ALLOWED, PRESUMABLY, BECAUSE OF LAPSE OF TIME BETWEEN THE DATE THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED TO HIS NEW STATION (MARCH 10, 1969) AND JULY 22, 1969, WHEN THE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP BEGAN AND JULY 31, 1969, WHEN OCCUPANCY OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS BY HIS ENTIRE FAMILY BEGAN. YOUR LETTER SEEMS TO INDICATE THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAD SUFFICIENT TIME BETWEEN MARCH 10 AND JULY 27, 1969, TO LOCATE PERMANENT QUARTERS AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION AND THUS AVOID INCURRENCE OF THE EXPENSES IN QUESTION. IN THAT CONNECTION YOU REFER TO SECTION 2.4 OF BUREAU OF THE BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED, WHICH PRIMARILY IS CONCERNED WITH WHEN AN AGENCY SHOULD OR SHOULD NOT AUTHORIZE A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP AS WELL AS OTHER STEPS THAT SHOULD BE TAKEN TO MINIMIZE EXPENSES.

ON ONE OF THE VOUCHERS IT IS INDICATED THAT THE HOUSING MARKET IN NASHVILLE WAS EXTREMELY LIMITED AT THE TIME. ALSO, THERE MAY HAVE BEEN OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES WHICH PREVENTED THE WIFE FROM MAKING A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP UNTIL THE LATTER PART OF JULY. SINCE BOTH A HOUSE HUNTING TRIP AND ALLOWANCE FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS WERE AUTHORIZED IN THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER WE FIND NO BASIS IN THE PRESENT RECORD FOR DENIAL OF REIMBURSEMENT OF OTHERWISE ALLOWABLE EXPENSES CONNECTED THEREWITH.

IN LINE WITH THE ABOVE THE VOUCHER COVERING THE HOUSE HUNTING TRIP APPEARS PROPER FOR CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT. HOWEVER, THE VOUCHER COVERING THE TEMPORARY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE HAS NOT BEEN COMPUTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 2.5 OF CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969, AND CONSEQUENTLY MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT. WE NOTE THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS CLAIMING REIMBURSEMENT FOR APARTMENT RENT EXTENDING BEYOND THE 30 DAYS ALLOWABLE FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS. OF COURSE, SUCH RENT COULD BE PRORATED ON A DAILY BASIS FOR THE BALANCE OF THE 30 DAYS AFTER HE MOVED OUT OF THE MOTEL INTO THE APARTMENT IF IT OTHERWISE BE DETERMINED THAT HE WAS OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS AFTER MOVING INTO THE APARTMENT. COMP. GEN. 84 (1967).

THE COPIES OF THE TWO VOUCHERS AND ACCOMPANYING PAPERS ARE RETAINED IN OUR FILES.