B-170655(2), DEC. 15, 1970

B-170655(2): Dec 15, 1970

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TEMPORARY DUTY ABOARD VESSELS - QUARTERS ADVICE THAT CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO TEMPORARY DUTY ON SURVEY VESSELS MAY NOT BE REQUIRED TO OCCUPY QUARTERS ABOARD THE VESSEL OR HAVE THEIR PER DIEM REDUCED BECAUSE OF SUCH QUARTERS FOR EXTENDED STOP OVER PERIODS. ADEQUACY OF QUARTERS IS MATTER FOR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE. TRANSMITTED HEREWITH IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY (B-170655) TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY HOLDING THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A DETERMINATION BY PROPER AUTHORITY. CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO TEMPORARY DUTY ABOARD A GOVERNMENT SURVEY VESSEL MAY NOT BE REQUIRED TO OCCUPY QUARTERS ABOARD THE VESSEL OR HAVE THEIR PER DIEM REDUCED BECAUSE OF THE AVAILABILITY OF SUCH QUARTERS DURING PERIODS EXCEEDING 3 DAYS IN PORT.

B-170655(2), DEC. 15, 1970

TEMPORARY DUTY ABOARD VESSELS - QUARTERS ADVICE THAT CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO TEMPORARY DUTY ON SURVEY VESSELS MAY NOT BE REQUIRED TO OCCUPY QUARTERS ABOARD THE VESSEL OR HAVE THEIR PER DIEM REDUCED BECAUSE OF SUCH QUARTERS FOR EXTENDED STOP OVER PERIODS. ADEQUACY OF QUARTERS IS MATTER FOR ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE.

TO MRS. GENEVA M. BARNES:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER RECEIVED HERE ON MAY 19, 1970, CONCERNING PER DIEM RATES PAID TO EMPLOYEES OF THE U.S. NAVAL OCEANOGRAPHIC OFFICE.

TRANSMITTED HEREWITH IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY (B-170655) TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY HOLDING THAT IN THE ABSENCE OF A DETERMINATION BY PROPER AUTHORITY, AS SPECIFIED IN PARAGRAPH C1057-3 OF VOLUME 2, JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES ASSIGNED TO TEMPORARY DUTY ABOARD A GOVERNMENT SURVEY VESSEL MAY NOT BE REQUIRED TO OCCUPY QUARTERS ABOARD THE VESSEL OR HAVE THEIR PER DIEM REDUCED BECAUSE OF THE AVAILABILITY OF SUCH QUARTERS DURING PERIODS EXCEEDING 3 DAYS IN PORT.

WITH RESPECT TO EMPLOYEE COMPLAINTS CONCERNING LIVING CONDITIONS ABOARD SURVEY SHIPS, THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY REPORTS:

"MOST OF THE SURVEY SHIPS ARE OPERATED BY THE MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND ON A REIMBURSABLE BASIS FOR THE OCEANOGRAPHIC OFFICE. LIVING QUARTERS ABOARD THE SHIPS, QUALITY OF MEALS, AND RECREATIONAL AND LOUNGE FACILITIES VARY FROM SHIP TO SHIP. THE COMMANDER OF THE OCEANOGRAPHIC OFFICE PERSONALLY VISITS EACH SURVEY SHIP WHEN POSSIBLE AND HAS ESTABLISHED A POLICY OF PERSONALLY DEBRIEFING THE SENIOR NAVAL OCEANOGRAPHIC OFFICE REPRESENTATIVE AT THE END OF EACH SURVEY CRUISE. HE RECENTLY CONDUCTED A MEETING WITH ALL COGNIZANT MANAGEMENT OFFICIALS AND A LARGE NUMBER OF SEAGOING SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNICAL PERSONNEL. THE PURPOSE OF THE MEETING WAS TO GAIN FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE OF THE FINANCIAL AND PHYSICAL PROBLEMS OF THE FIELD SURVEY EMPLOYEES AND TO OPEN A CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION FOR EXPLAINING COMMAND POLICY ON PAY AND OTHER MATTERS, AS WELL AS RECEIVING EMPLOYEE COMPLAINTS CONCERNING SPECIFIC UNSATISFACTORY CONDITIONS ABOARD SHIPS. IN ADDITION, SENIOR SCIENTISTS HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED TO REPORT IMMEDIATELY BY MESSAGE TO THE OCEANOGRAPHIC OFFICE SIGNIFICANT HABITABILITY OR WORK CONDITION PROBLEMS WHICH ARISE WHILE ON FIELD SURVEY OPERATIONS. THE SPECIFIC COMPLAINTS NOTED BY EMPLOYEES CONCERNING FOOD AND LODGING ARE NOW BEING DOCUMENTED, AND WILL BE THE SUBJECT OF FURTHER DISCUSSION WITH THE MILITARY SEALIFT COMMAND. CONTINUING CLOSE COMMAND ATTENTION WILL INSURE THAT ANY FUTURE COMPLAINTS SUCH AS THOSE MENTIONED WILL BE MORE PROMPTLY INVESTIGATED AND, IF SUBSTANTIATED, RESOLVED."

THE ADEQUACY OF LIVING QUARTERS FOR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES IS A MATTER PRIMARILY FOR THE CONSIDERATION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE CONCERNED RATHER THAN THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE. IT APPEARS HERE THAT THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY IS TAKING APPROPRIATE ACTION TO ALLEVIATE THE PROBLEMS EXISTING ABOARD THE SURVEY VESSELS.