B-171643, MAR 23, 1971, 50 COMP GEN 647

B-171643: Mar 23, 1971

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FOR ALTHOUGH A TRUCK-CAMPER IS NOT A TRAILER IT IS A TEMPORARY LIVING UNIT AND MAY. 1971: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 31. IS OF THE OPINION THAT THE CLAIM SHOULD BE PAID IN THE AMOUNT MR. POSTAL SERVICE IS PRESENTLY. INVOLVED IN PRESENTING A SUPERVISORY TRAINING COURSE THAT IS CONDUCTED IN SPECIFIED CITIES THROUGHOUT THE NATION. A MINIMUM STAY IS 13 WEEKS. THIS IS ONLY ONE OF SIX SUCH TEAMS SO OPERATING. LAST YEAR I WAS TEMPORARILY DUTY ASSIGNED IN CLEVELAND. OUR PRESENT BASIS OF "TIME OFF" IS A THREE-DAY WEEK END EVERY OTHER WEEK END WITHOUT PROVISION FOR QUARTERS WHEN AWAY FROM THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. CONTINUAL SITUATION WAS TO INITIALLY RENT A TRUCK-CAMPER FROM ST.

B-171643, MAR 23, 1971, 50 COMP GEN 647

SUBSISTENCE - PER DIEM - TRAVEL BY TRAILER, TRUCK-CAMPER, ETC. A CLAIM FOR PER DIEM BY A POSTAL EMPLOYEE IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF A TRUCK-CAMPER INSTEAD OF A HOTEL OR MOTEL ROOM WHILE ON A FIELD ASSIGNMENT MAY BE PAID PURSUANT TO SECTION 6.2(E) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES FOR A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL BY MEANS OF A PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER, FOR ALTHOUGH A TRUCK-CAMPER IS NOT A TRAILER IT IS A TEMPORARY LIVING UNIT AND MAY, THEREFORE, BE VIEWED AS WITHIN THE REGULATIONS FOR PURPOSES OF APPROVING A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE, AND THE ALLOWANCE NOT HAVING BEEN APPROVED IN ADVANCE MAY UNDER THE REGULATION BE POST APPROVED.

TO THE DIRECTOR, POSTAL SERVICE MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE, MARCH 23, 1971:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER OF DECEMBER 31, 1970, ENCLOSING TWO TRAVEL VOUCHERS COVERING THE PERIODS NOVEMBER 2 TO NOVEMBER 13, 1970, AND NOVEMBER 17 TO NOVEMBER 25, 1970, IN THE TOTAL AMOUNTS OF $495.65 AND $267.70, RESPECTIVELY, IN FAVOR OF MR. JAMES O. FLANAGAN, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE POST OFFICE DEPARTMENT.

THE VOUCHERS INCLUDE A CLAIM FOR PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF A TRUCK CAMPER INSTEAD OF A HOTEL OR MOTEL ROOM WHILE ON FIELD ASSIGNMENT FOR THE FIELD INSTRUCTION DIVISION OF THE POSTAL SERVICE MANAGEMENT INSTITUTE. YOU STATE THAT THE ATLANTA POSTAL DATA CENTER HAS INDICATED THAT IT HAS NEVER PROCESSED A CLAIM OF THIS NATURE; ALSO THAT MR. JAMES L. O'TOOLE, CHIEF, FIELD INSTRUCTION DIVISION, IS OF THE OPINION THAT THE CLAIM SHOULD BE PAID IN THE AMOUNT MR. FLANAGAN WOULD NORMALLY EXPEND FOR LODGINGS IN ANY GIVEN CITY. IN VIEW THEREOF YOU REQUEST A RULING BE MADE ON THE MATTER BY THIS OFFICE.

THE CLAIMANT BY LETTER DATED JANUARY 28, 1971, FURNISHED THIS OFFICE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION. HE ADVISED US SO FAR AS HERE PERTINENT THAT:

THE U.S. POSTAL SERVICE IS PRESENTLY, AND FOR THE PAST YEAR HAS BEEN, INVOLVED IN PRESENTING A SUPERVISORY TRAINING COURSE THAT IS CONDUCTED IN SPECIFIED CITIES THROUGHOUT THE NATION. THIS INSTRUCTION VARIES WITH THE SIZE OF THE CITY (I.E., NUMBER OF SUPERVISORS IN ANY CITY POST OFFICE), BUT A MINIMUM STAY IS 13 WEEKS. I AM A TEAM CHIEF WITH 3-5 TRAINERS, MOVING FROM CITY TO CITY, AS NEEDED. THIS IS ONLY ONE OF SIX SUCH TEAMS SO OPERATING.

SPECIFICALLY, LAST YEAR I WAS TEMPORARILY DUTY ASSIGNED IN CLEVELAND, OHIO, ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, DES MOINES, IOWA, AND MADISON, WISCONSIN, FROM ABOUT APRIL 1ST TO THE END OF NOVEMBER.

OUR PRESENT BASIS OF "TIME OFF" IS A THREE-DAY WEEK END EVERY OTHER WEEK END WITHOUT PROVISION FOR QUARTERS WHEN AWAY FROM THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. THIS IMPLIES THE NECESSITY OF PACKING UP AND STORAGE OF PERSONAL ITEMS, AND MOVING OUT OF A HOTEL ROOM EVERY OTHER WEEK END.

MY RESOLVING THIS ALMOST UNACCEPTABLE, BUT CONTINUAL SITUATION WAS TO INITIALLY RENT A TRUCK-CAMPER FROM ST. LOUIS, TO USE IN MADISON AND OMAHA. IN SO DOING, I AM ABLE TO MAINTAIN A USABLE PERSONAL OFFICE SPACE, IMMEDIATELY ACCESSIBLE TO MY BOOKS AND REFERENCES, GREATLY IMPROVE THE SECURITY OF MY BELONGINGS (EVERY OTHER WEEK END), ENJOY A CONSISTENCY IN MY OWN BED, AND I AM ABLE TO TRANSPORT FRAGILE GOVERNMENT EQUIPMENT FROM CITY TO CITY, AND YET BE FLEXIBLE ENOUGH TO FLY TO OTHER CITIES FOR BRIEF VISITS WITHOUT INCURRING DUPLICATE HOUSING FOR SUCH TIMES.

MY INTENT IS TO SUBMIT ON A VOUCHER ONLY FOR THE NIGHTS I AM SLEEPING IN, I.E., USING, THE CAMPER. FOR THIS USAGE I AM ASKING THE APPROVED HOUSING RATES.

SINCE THE NOVEMBER SUBMISSION OF THE TWO TRAVEL VOUCHERS IN QUESTION, I AM CONVINCED THIS IS AN ALMOST IDEAL SOLUTION, AND I AM PROCEEDING TO PURCHASE, RATHER THAN RENT THE CAMPER THAT I MAY USE SAME IN MY NEXT LOCATION - HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA.

I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN KNOWING IF OWNING A UNIT VS. RENTING WOULD SUBSTANTIALLY ALTER THE SITUATION OR THE DECISION, AS THIS MAY ELIMINATE A SECOND SUBMISSION IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE.

SECTION 6.2(E) OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT PER DIEM ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL BY MEANS OF A PRIVATELY OWNED TRAILER MAY BE AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED. SEE OUR DECISION B 169536, JULY 2, 1970. SEE ALSO 28 COMP. GEN. 341 (1948). A TRUCK CAMPER, WHILE NOT A TRAILER, IS A TEMPORARY LIVING UNIT AND AS SUCH MAY BE VIEWED AS WITHIN THE REGULATIONS FOR PURPOSES OF PER DIEM ALLOWANCE. CF. SECTION 1.2(G) OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, DEFINING "HOUSE TRAILER" AS MEANING ALL TYPES OF MOBILE DWELLINGS CONSTRUCTED FOR USE AS RESIDENCES AND DESIGNED TO BE MOVED OVERLAND, EITHER BY BEING SELF- PROPELLED OR TOWED.

YOU HAVE NOT FURNISHED INFORMATION BY WAY OF A COPY OF THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL ORDER OR OTHERWISE AS TO WHAT RATE OF PER DIEM HE WAS ENTITLED TO HAD HE USED THE USUAL LODGING FACILITIES. HOWEVER, THE REGULATION REFERRED TO ABOVE APPEARS TO CONTEMPLATE THAT WHEN A TRAILER IS USED FOR LODGING WITHOUT BEING AUTHORIZED IN ADVANCE, THE AGENCY MAY POST APPROVE A PROPER PER DIEM ALLOWANCE ON THAT BASIS. B-169536, SUPRA.

THE VOUCHERS ARE RETURNED HEREWITH FOR HANDLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ABOVE.