B-169735, JUN. 26, 1970

B-169735: Jun 26, 1970

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WAS APPOINTED AS A FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER ON MAY 13. HE WAS GRANTED EXTENDED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY TO ATTEND CLAREMONT GRADUATE SCHOOL TO WORK FOR A PH. TRZYNA'S RESIDENCE FOR SERVICE SEPARATION WAS SOUTH PASADENA. HAD HE RESIGNED IN OCTOBER 1967 HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 782.1 OF THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MANUAL. WHO OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO RETURN TRANSPORTATION TO HIS HOME AT THE TERMINATION OF HIS EMPLOYMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. ALREADY IS AT HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE AT THE TIME OF SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE. THAT RULE IS BASED UPON THE FACT THAT THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY PERFORMED WAS UNDERTAKEN FOR PERSONAL REASONS.

B-169735, JUN. 26, 1970

TO MR. MEYER:

BY LETTER OF JUNE 3, 1970, YOU TRANSMITTED A TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT VOUCHER DRAWN IN FAVOR OF MR. THADDEUS C. TRZYNA COVERING TRAVEL AND MOVING EXPENSES IN THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF $1,844.32 INCURRED BY HIM UNDER THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES.

MR. TRZYNA ENTERED ON DUTY AS A FOREIGN SERVICE RESERVE OFFICER ON FEBRUARY 10, 1962, AND WAS APPOINTED AS A FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER ON MAY 13, 1962, WITHOUT A BREAK IN SERVICE. HE SERVED CONTINUOUSLY UNTIL OCTOBER 10, 1967, WHEN, PURSUANT TO HIS REQUEST OF JULY 27, 1967, HE WAS GRANTED EXTENDED LEAVE WITHOUT PAY TO ATTEND CLAREMONT GRADUATE SCHOOL TO WORK FOR A PH. D. IN POLITICAL SCIENCE. IN SEPTEMBER OF 1967 MR. TRZYNA HAD MOVED FROM WASHINGTON, D. C; TO CLAREMONT, CALIFORNIA, AT HIS OWN EXPENSE TO PURSUE HIS STUDIES. EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 15, 1969, HE RESIGNED FROM THE FOREIGN SERVICE WITHOUT HAVING RETURNED TO WASHINGTON.

MR. TRZYNA'S RESIDENCE FOR SERVICE SEPARATION WAS SOUTH PASADENA, CALIFORNIA, IN THE SAME GENERAL METROPOLITAN AREA AS CLAREMONT. HAD HE RESIGNED IN OCTOBER 1967 HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 782.1 OF THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS MANUAL, VOLUME 3, TO REIMBURSEMENT OF HIS TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES IN MOVING TO SOUTH PASADENA. HOWEVER, IN VIEW OF THE LAPSE OF TIME BETWEEN THE DATE OF HIS DEPARTURE FROM WASHINGTON, D. C; FOR LEAVE WITHOUT PAY AND THE DATE OF HIS RESIGNATION, AND REFERRING TO THE PRINCIPLE SET FORTH IN OUR DECISION OF DECEMBER 8, 1947, B-71091, YOU QUESTION WHETHER THE SUBMITTED VOUCHER MAY PROPERLY BE PAID.

THE CITED DECISION CONCERNED AN EMPLOYEE WHO RESIGNED WHILE ON ANNUAL LEAVE AT HER RESIDENCE. IN THE DECISION WE STATED THAT:

"GENERALLY, WHERE AN EMPLOYEE--WHO OTHERWISE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO RETURN TRANSPORTATION TO HIS HOME AT THE TERMINATION OF HIS EMPLOYMENT AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE--ALREADY IS AT HIS PLACE OF RESIDENCE IN THE UNITED STATES ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE AT THE TIME OF SEPARATION FROM THE SERVICE, NO REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF THE RETURN TRANSPORTATION MAY BE AUTHORIZED FROM APPROPRIATED FUNDS. THAT RULE IS BASED UPON THE FACT THAT THE TRAVEL ACTUALLY PERFORMED WAS UNDERTAKEN FOR PERSONAL REASONS, THAT NOTHING FURTHER IS REQUIRED OF THE GOVERNMENT TO ACHIEVE THE RETURN OF THE EMPLOYEE TO THE PLACE OF APPOINTMENT, AND THAT THE EMPLOYEE HAS BEEN SAVED THE ADDITIONAL EXPENSE WHICH HE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO BEAR IN RETURNING TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION AT THE TERMINATION OF HIS PERIOD OF LEAVE OF ABSENCE.

"IN THE INSTANT CASE, IT IS EVIDENT THAT IF THE TRAVELER HAD RETURNED TO WASHINGTON, D. C.--THE POINT WHERE HER OFFICIAL DUTY STATUS TERMINATED AND HER LEAVE STATUS COMMENCED--BEFORE SUBMITTING HER RESIGNATION, SHE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PAY THE EXPENSE OF SUCH TRAVEL AND THEN WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO BE TRANSPORTED BACK TO KANSAS CITY AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE. HOWEVER, BY HER ACTION IN SUBMITTING HER RESIGNATION WITHOUT UNDERTAKING SAID TRIP, SHE SAVED THE GOVERNMENT AND HERSELF AN EQUAL EXPENSE, WHICH SAVINGS ARE FOR OFF SETTING AGAINST EACH OTHER. ADDITION, IT MUST BE BORNE IN MIND THAT THE EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE CLAIMANT FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING ANNUAL LEAVE HAD NO CONNECTION WITH HER RESIGNATION AND THAT THERE IS NO LEGAL AUTHORITY TO REGARD TRAVEL PREVIOUSLY PERFORMED BY AN EMPLOYEE FOR PERSONAL REASONS AS OFFICIAL TRAVEL."

THE CONCLUSION REACHED WAS BASED UPON THE PREMISE THAT THE TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR WHICH REIMBURSEMENT WAS CLAIMED HAD BEEN INCURRED SOLELY FOR PERSONAL REASONS AND COULD NOT BE CONVERTED TO EXPENSES FOR OFFICIAL TRAVEL BY A LATER RESIGNATION. IN MR. TRZYNA'S CASE, HOWEVER, HE STATES THAT HE WENT TO CLAREMONT "UNDER THE FULL AUTHORIZATION OF THE STATE DEPARTMENT, WHICH PERMITTED ME TO TAKE EDUCATIONAL LEAVE AFTER IT DETERMINED (AS REQUIRED BY THE DEPARTMENT'S REGULATIONS IN SUCH CASES) THAT IT WOULD BE IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE SERVICE." SINCE THE LEAVE WITHOUT PAY APPEARS TO HVE BEEN GRANTED IN THE INTEREST OF THE UNITED STATES AND NOT MERELY FOR HIS PERSONAL CONVENIENCE THE DECISION PREVIOUSLY REFERRED TO IS NOT FOR APPLICATION AND THE EXPENSES ARE ALLOWABLE BASED ON HIS RESIGNATION FROM THE SERVICE.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER SUBMITTED, WHICH IS RETURNED, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT ASSUMING OF COURSE THAT SUCH EXPENSES DO NOT EXCEED THOSE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED TO SOUTH PASADENA.

IN RESPONSE TO THE ANCILLARY QUESTION RAISED, YOU ARE ADVISED THAT SINCE THE OBLIGATION TO REIMBURSE MR. TRZYNA AROSE UPON HIS RESIGNATION IN FEBRUARY OF 1969, PAYMENT SHOULD BE MADE FROM FUNDS MADE AVAILABLE FOR FISCAL YEAR 1969.