B-172565, AUG 3, 1971

B-172565: Aug 3, 1971

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CLAIMANT IS THUS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF THE MILEAGE PROVIDING IT DOES NOT EXCEED THE PER DIEM HE WOULD HAVE DRAWN BY REMAINING AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. RAND: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 2. WAS DIRECTED TO ACT AS INSTRUCTOR IN A TECHNICAL TRAINING COURSE AT BOSTON. YOU SAY THAT THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A SAVING OF $33.15 FOR EACH OF THE WEEKENDS OCCURRING IN THE TRAVEL PERIOD HAD THE EMPLOYEE RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION. THE PER DIEM CLAIMED FOR NONWORK DAYS DURING THE TRAVEL PERIOD WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY SUSPENDED AND THE TRAVELER PRESENTED CLAIM FOR MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE DISTANCE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN TRAVELED HAD HE RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION (HOME) ON THE WEEKENDS INVOLVED.

B-172565, AUG 3, 1971

TEMPORARY DUTY WITHIN COMMUTING DISTANCE - NON-WORKDAYS RETURNING VOUCHER FOR PAYMENT OF CLAIM OF MR. DONALD ARON FOR MILEAGE ALLOWANCE INCIDENT TO TEMPORARY DUTY. SUBSECTION 6.4 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES THAT A TRAVELER MAY BE REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON NON- WORKDAYS IF IT WOULD RESULT IN A SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT. CLAIMANT IS THUS ENTITLED TO PAYMENT OF THE MILEAGE PROVIDING IT DOES NOT EXCEED THE PER DIEM HE WOULD HAVE DRAWN BY REMAINING AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION.

TO MR. JACK H. RAND:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED APRIL 2, 1971 (AD:FF), CONCERNING THE CLAIM OF MR. DONALD ARON FOR MILEAGE ALLOWANCE INCIDENT TO TEMPORARY DUTY PERFORMED AT BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, DURING THE PERIOD FROM NOVEMBER 29 THROUGH DECEMBER 18, 1970.

MR. ARON, WITH RESIDENCE AND OFFICIAL STATION AT PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND, WAS DIRECTED TO ACT AS INSTRUCTOR IN A TECHNICAL TRAINING COURSE AT BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS. YOU SAY THAT THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN A SAVING OF $33.15 FOR EACH OF THE WEEKENDS OCCURRING IN THE TRAVEL PERIOD HAD THE EMPLOYEE RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION. HOWEVER, HE ELECTED TO REMAIN IN BOSTON OVER THE WEEKENDS OF DECEMBER 5 AND 12, 1970, AND CLAIMED PER DIEM. THE PER DIEM CLAIMED FOR NONWORK DAYS DURING THE TRAVEL PERIOD WAS ADMINISTRATIVELY SUSPENDED AND THE TRAVELER PRESENTED CLAIM FOR MILEAGE AT THE RATE OF 10 CENTS PER MILE FOR THE DISTANCE THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN TRAVELED HAD HE RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION (HOME) ON THE WEEKENDS INVOLVED. HIS CLAIM WAS DISALLOWED FOR THE REASON THAT TRAVEL EXPENSES WHICH WERE NOT ACTUALLY INCURRED CANNOT BE REIMBURSED. THE TRAVEL VOUCHER FORWARDED WITH YOUR LETTER REPRESENTS A RECLAIM OF THE MILEAGE FOR CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL THAT WAS PREVIOUSLY DISALLOWED.

YOU SUBMITTED THE MATTER FOR OUR DECISION AND REQUESTED OUR ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

"1. IF WE ARE TO REIMBURSE THE TRAVELER ON A COMPARATIVE BASIS FOR TRAVEL WHICH HE DID NOT PERFORM, WHAT MODE OF TRANSPORTATION (AIR, TRAIN, PRIVATE AUTO) WOULD BE USED IN COMPUTING THE AMOUNT TO BE REIMBURSED?

"2. IF AN EMPLOYEE WERE TO INCUR LODGING EXPENSE DURING WORKDAYS AT A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION WHICH IS LATER ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED TO BE WITHIN THE COMMUTING AREA OF HIS OFFICIAL STATION, AND HIS PER DIEM CLAIM IS DENIED, MAY HE CLAIM DAILY COMMUTING EXPENSES IN LIEU OF THE NONREIMBURSABLE PER DIEM, EVEN THOUGH SUCH COMMUTATION EXPENSE WAS NOT INCURRED BY HIM."

SUBSECTION 6.4 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS PROVIDES AS FOLLOWS:

"6.4 RETURN TO OFFICIAL STATION. - AT THE DISCRETION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICIALS A TRAVELER MAY BE REQUIRED TO RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR NONWORK DAYS. IN CASES OF VOLUNTARY RETURN OF A TRAVELER FOR NONWORK DAYS TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, OR HIS PLACE OF ABODE FROM WHICH HE COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION, THE MAXIMUM REIMBURSEMENT ALLOWABLE FOR THE ROUND-TRIP TRANSPORTATION AND PER DIEM EN ROUTE WILL BE THE TRAVEL EXPENSE WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWABLE HAD THE TRAVELER REMAINED AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION."

ON THE BASIS OF SUBSECTION 1.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS WHICH PROVIDES THAT EMPLOYEES TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS ARE EXPECTED TO EXERCISE THE SAME CARE IN INCURRING EXPENSES THAT A PRUDENT PERSON WOULD EXERCISE FOR TRAVELING ON PERSONAL BUSINESS, WE HAVE HELD THAT A TRAVELER MUST RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON NONWORK DAYS IF HIS PRESENCE AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION IS NOT REQUIRED AND A SUBSTANTIAL SAVINGS TO THE GOVERNMENT WOULD RESULT FROM SUCH RETURN. SEE B-139852, JULY 24, 1959, COPY HEREWITH.

WHILE SUBSECTION 6.4 DEFINITELY LIMITS THE TRAVEL COSTS INCURRED IN THE VOLUNTARY RETURN OF THE TRAVELER TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON NONWORK DAYS NO STANDARD IS PROVIDED FOR USE IN DETERMINING THE ALLOWABLE ROUND TRIP COSTS. HOWEVER, IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THE PER DIEM RATE AUTHORIZED AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AND MILEAGE RATES, OR COMMON CARRIER COSTS SPECIFIED IN THE TRAVEL ORDER PLUS OTHER REIMBURSABLE TRAVEL COSTS WHEN A PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE IS USED SUCH AS BRIDGE AND HIGHWAY TOLLS, TAXICAB FARES, ETC., CONSTITUTE A REASONABLE STANDARD TO MEASURE THE EMPLOYEE'S TRAVEL COSTS FOR VOLUNTARY RETURN TO HIS HEADQUARTERS ON NONWORK DAYS.

IF IT IS DETERMINED ADMINISTRATIVELY THAT THE TRAVELER SHOULD HAVE RETURNED TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION ON NONWORK DAYS HE IS ENTITLED TO THE TRAVEL COSTS THAT WOULD NECESSARILY HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY HIM FOR SUCH RETURN TRAVEL NOT IN EXCESS OF THE AUTHORIZED PER DIEM HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ENTITLED TO AT HIS TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. B-171583, MARCH 23, 1971, COPY ENCLOSED. YOUR FIRST QUESTION IS ANSWERED ACCORDINGLY.

IN REGARD TO YOUR SECOND QUESTION WE MAY NOT UNDERTAKE AN ANSWER THERETO AT THIS TIME SINCE SUCH QUESTION APPARENTLY DOES NOT ARISE OUT OF THE VOUCHER CURRENTLY BEFORE YOU FOR CERTIFICATION. HOWEVER, WE REFER YOU TO OUR DECISION IN 32 COMP. GEN. 235 (1952), AND ENCLOSE COPIES OF OUR DECISIONS (B-164189, JUNE 25, 1968, AND B-169998, JULY 20, 1970), WHICH MAY BE HELPFUL TO YOU IN THE MATTER.

THE VOUCHER TRANSMITTED WITH YOUR LETTER OF APRIL 2, 1971, IS RETURNED FOR HANDLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.