B-173226, AUG 2, 1971

B-173226: Aug 2, 1971

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GEN. 119 (1957) THAT EMPLOYEES RESIDENT IN ONE TERRITORY AND STATIONED IN ANOTHER TERRITORY COULD NOT BE PAID HOME LEAVE TRAVEL EXPENSES TO THE UNITED STATES IS OVERRULED DUE TO CHANGE IN GOVERNING LAW AND REGULATIONS. PAYMENT IS NOT TO EXCEED WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED FROM AN EMPLOYEE'S POST TO HIS ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE. WATSON'S OFFICIAL STATION IS BALBOA. HIS RESIDENCE OF RECORD IS THE VIRGIN ISLANDS. HE AND HIS WIFE WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM BALBOA. THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES TO TAKE LEAVE BETWEEN SUCCESSIVE ASSIGNMENTS OVERSEAS IS 5 U.S.C. 5728(A) WHICH PROVIDES: "UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE.

B-173226, AUG 2, 1971

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - HOME LEAVE FOR TERRITORY RESIDENTS DECISION ALLOWING CLAIM OF MR. WALTER C. WATSON, AN FAA EMPLOYEE, REPRESENTING CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HOME LEAVE. THE PREVIOUS RULE ESTABLISHED IN 37 COMP. GEN. 119 (1957) THAT EMPLOYEES RESIDENT IN ONE TERRITORY AND STATIONED IN ANOTHER TERRITORY COULD NOT BE PAID HOME LEAVE TRAVEL EXPENSES TO THE UNITED STATES IS OVERRULED DUE TO CHANGE IN GOVERNING LAW AND REGULATIONS. PAYMENT IS NOT TO EXCEED WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED FROM AN EMPLOYEE'S POST TO HIS ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE.

TO MR. R. J. SCHULLERY:

THIS REFERS TO YOUR LETTER OF JUNE 8, 1971, WITH ENCLOSURES, AS TO WHETHER YOU MAY CERTIFY FOR PAYMENT THE ENCLOSED VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $112.35, IN FAVOR OF MR. WALTER C. WATSON, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION REPRESENTING PARTIAL CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF TRAVEL EXPENSES INCIDENT TO HOME LEAVE.

MR. WATSON'S OFFICIAL STATION IS BALBOA, CANAL ZONE, AND HIS RESIDENCE OF RECORD IS THE VIRGIN ISLANDS. BY TRAVEL ORDER DATED OCTOBER 2, 1970, HE AND HIS WIFE WERE AUTHORIZED TO TRAVEL FROM BALBOA, CANAL ZONE, TO ST. THOMAS, VIRGIN ISLANDS, AND RETURN FOR HOME LEAVE. IN LIEU OF TRAVELING TO THE VIRGIN ISLANDS, MR. WATSON AND HIS WIFE TRAVELED TO THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES (LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, AND MIAMI, FLORIDA).

YOU SAY THAT OUR DECISIONS 37 COMP. GEN. 119 (1957) AND B-160762, FEBRUARY 28, 1967, MAY PROHIBIT PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM BUT THAT SUCH DECISIONS APPEAR TO BE IN CONFLICT WITH SECTION 7.2 OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56.

THE STATUTORY AUTHORITY FOR THE PAYMENT OF TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES OF EMPLOYEES TO TAKE LEAVE BETWEEN SUCCESSIVE ASSIGNMENTS OVERSEAS IS 5 U.S.C. 5728(A) WHICH PROVIDES:

"UNDER SUCH REGULATIONS AS THE PRESIDENT MAY PRESCRIBE, AN AGENCY SHALL PAY FROM ITS APPROPRIATIONS THE EXPENSES OF ROUND-TRIP TRAVEL OF AN EMPLOYEE, AND THE TRANSPORTATION OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY, BUT NOT HOUSEHOLD GOODS, FROM HIS POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES TO THE PLACE OF HIS ACTUAL RESIDENCE AT THE TIME OF APPOINTMENT OR TRANSFER TO THE POST OF DUTY, AFTER HE HAS SATISFACTORILY COMPLETED AND AGREED PERIOD OF SERVICE OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES AND IS RETURNING TO HIS ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE TO TAKE LEAVE BEFORE SERVING ANOTHER TOUR OF DUTY AT THE SAME OR ANOTHER POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES UNDER A NEW WRITTEN AGREEMENT MADE BEFORE DEPARTING FROM THE POST OF DUTY."

THE REGULATIONS IMPLEMENTING THAT AUTHORITY ARE CONTAINED IN SECTION 7 OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56 AND SUBSECTION 7.2 READS IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

" *** IF LEAVE IS TAKEN AT ANOTHER LOCATION WITHIN THE 50 STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, OR IN A UNITED STATES TERRITORY OR POSSESSION, OR THE COMMONWEALTH OF PUERTO RICO, OR IN ANOTHER COUNTRY IN WHICH THE PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE IS LOCATED, THE AMOUNT ALLOWED FOR TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION EXPENSES SHALL NOT EXCEED THAT WHICH WOULD BE ALLOWED FOR TRAVEL OVER A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE FROM THE POST OF DUTY TO THE PLACE OF ACTUAL RESIDENCE AND FOR RETURN TO THE SAME OR A DIFFERENT POST OF DUTY OUTSIDE THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES."

IN OUR DECISION OF FEBRUARY 28, 1967, WE MADE SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO OUR PREVIOUS RULING IN 37 COMP. GEN. 119 (1957). WE POINTED OUT THAT SUCH RULING, TO THE EFFECT THAT AN EMPLOYEE STATIONED IN A TERRITORY WHOSE RESIDENCE WAS IN ANOTHER TERRITORY COULD NOT BE AUTHORIZED HOME LEAVE TRAVEL EXPENSE TO THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, WAS BASED ON THE WORDING OF THE REGULATIONS THEN PREVAILING; ALSO, THAT SINCE THE WORDING OF THE REGULATIONS HAD SUBSEQUENTLY BEEN CHANGED AS QUOTED ABOVE A DIFFERENT VIEW WAS NOT PRECLUDED.

THE LAW AND REGULATIONS APPEAR TO CONTEMPLATE THAT AN EMPLOYEE RESIDING IN A TERRITORY OR POSSESSION WHOSE OFFICIAL STATION IS IN ANOTHER TERRITORY OR POSSESSION SUCH AS HERE MAY HAVE HIS EXPENSES PAID FOR LEAVE TRAVEL TO THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES OR ANY OTHER TERRITORY OR POSSESSION NOT IN EXCESS OF WHAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED FROM HIS POST OF DUTY TO HIS ACTUAL PLACE OF RESIDENCE IN A TERRITORY OR POSSESSION OF THE UNITED STATES.

ACCORDINGLY, ACTION ON THE VOUCHER WHICH IS RETURNED HEREWITH SHOULD BE TAKEN IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.