B-174217, JAN 26, 1972

B-174217: Jan 26, 1972

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ADDITIONAL PER DIEM SINCE THE UTILIZATION OF THE 14-DAY EXCURSION FARE WOULD HAVE REQUIRED THAT THE "CONSTRUCTIVE" TRIP BE EXTENDED THREE DAYS. THE CHARGE FOR REGULAR ECONOMY FARE WAS CAUSED BY THE EXTENSION OF THE TRIP FOR PERSONAL REASONS AND. CLAIMANT IS NOT ENTITLED TO FULL REIMBURSEMENT. THE CLAIM IS RETURNED FOR A FINAL DETERMINATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING. SECRETARY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28. THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER RELATES THE FOLLOWING FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED IN THE CLAIM: "THE ACTUAL DATE OF DEPARTURE FOR THIS TRIP WAS JUNE 26. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO PROCEED ON OR ABOUT JUNE 28. WAS HIS PERSONAL CHOICE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE TRAVELER.

B-174217, JAN 26, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - REIMBURSEMENT CONCERNING A CLAIM OF WALTER A. HAHN FOR PAYMENT OF AIRLINE TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED IN CONNECTION WITH HIS OFFICIAL DUTIES AS SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, NATIONAL GOALS RESEARCH STAFF, THE WHILE HOUSE. CLAIMANT SEEKS REIMBURSEMENT OF THE FULL ECONOMY FARE OR, ALTERNATIVELY, ADDITIONAL PER DIEM SINCE THE UTILIZATION OF THE 14-DAY EXCURSION FARE WOULD HAVE REQUIRED THAT THE "CONSTRUCTIVE" TRIP BE EXTENDED THREE DAYS. THE CHARGE FOR REGULAR ECONOMY FARE WAS CAUSED BY THE EXTENSION OF THE TRIP FOR PERSONAL REASONS AND, THEREFORE, CLAIMANT IS NOT ENTITLED TO FULL REIMBURSEMENT. IF MR. HAHN BELIEVED THAT HE WOULD NOT RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION FOR AT LEAST FOURTEEN DAYS, THEN HE SHOULD BE REIMBURSED FOR THE REGULAR ROUND-TRIP EXCURSION FARE. IF HE DID NOT ANTICIPATE BEING AWAY FOR MORE THAN FOURTEEN DAYS, THEN HE SHOULD BE REIMBURSED AT THE REDUCED ROUND-TRIP ECONOMY FARE RATE. ACCORDINGLY, THE CLAIM IS RETURNED FOR A FINAL DETERMINATION IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.

TO MR. SECRETARY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER OF SEPTEMBER 28, 1971, FROM YOUR ASSISTANT SECRETARY, COMPTROLLER REGARDING THE VALIDITY OF A CLAIM BY MR. WALTER A. HAHN, SENIOR RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, NATIONAL GOALS RESEARCH STAFF, THE WHITE HOUSE, FOR PAYMENT OF CERTAIN AIRLINE TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE PARTICIPATING IN THE JOINT INTERNATIONAL MEETINGS OF THE OPERATIONAL RESEARCH SOCIETY OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE INSTITUTE OF MANAGEMENT SERVICES IN LONDON AND VISITING COUNTERPART NATIONAL GOALS GROUPS IN PARIS, BERLIN, AND AMSTERDAM.

THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY'S LETTER RELATES THE FOLLOWING FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES INVOLVED IN THE CLAIM:

"THE ACTUAL DATE OF DEPARTURE FOR THIS TRIP WAS JUNE 26, 1970, WITH THE ACTUAL RETURN ON JULY 21, 1970, AS OTHER BUSINESS AND PERSONAL ARRANGEMENTS EXTENDED THE DURATION OF MR. HAHN'S TRIP. HE WAS AUTHORIZED TO PROCEED ON OR ABOUT JUNE 28, 1970, AND RETURN ON JULY 10, 1970. THE EXTENSION, OF COURSE, WAS HIS PERSONAL CHOICE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE TRAVELER.

"UPON HIS RETURN, HE SUBMITTED A CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL VOUCHER 'USING MINIMUM AND MOST REASONABLE METHODS OF TRANSPORTATION.' THE ONLY RECEIPTS ATTACHED AS SUPPORT FOR MR. HAHN'S VOUCHER WERE FOR THE RENTAL OF A DINNER DRESS SUIT AND THE CONFERENCE REGISTRATION FEE. WHEN HIS VOUCHER WAS FORWARDED TO US FOR PROCESSING AND PAYMENT, WE HAD NO WAY OF VERIFYING THE ACTUAL DATES OF TRAVEL AND RELIED UPON HIS STATEMENT WITH REGARD TO DATES OF DEPARTURE AND RETURN. AS YOU KNOW, GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS REQUIRE THAT A TRAVELER SHOW ACTUAL VERSUS CONSTRUCTIVE WHEN TRAVELING IN THE ABOVE MANNER. MR. HAHN DID NOT DETAIL HIS ACTUAL TRAVEL TIME. WHEN AUDITING HIS VOUCHER FOR APPROVAL, OUR VOUCHER EXAMINERS CONCLUDED THAT THE GOVERNMENT WAS ENTITLED TO THE BENEFITS OF THE AIRLINE EXCURSION RATE, AS MR. HAHN EXTENDED HIS TIME OVERSEAS FOR PERSONAL REASONS, AND THEREFORE ALLOWED AN AIRLINE FARE OF ONLY $406.00. MR. HAHN HAS REQUESTED AN ADDITIONAL PAYMENT OF $180 WHICH IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE REGULAR ECONOMY FLIGHT, $586, AND THE EXCURSION, $406 FARE. ***

"IF WE DISALLOW THE ABOVE DIFFERENCE IN AIR FARE, MR. HAHN IS OF THE OPINION THAT HE SHOULD AT LEAST RECEIVE ADDITIONAL PER DIEM FOR THE REASON INDICATED BELOW:

"'OPTION B - TRAVELING ON THE 14-DAY EXCURSION TRIP THE $406 AIR FARE WOULD APPLY BUT THE "CONSTRUCTIVE" TRIP WOULD HAVE TO BE EXTENDED 3 DAYS TO 14 DAYS TO MAKE THE TRAVELER ELIGIBLE FOR THE EXCURSION FARE. EXCURSION FLIGHTS DO NOT ALLOW TRAVEL ON FRIDAY, SATURDAY OR SUNDAY. ORDER TO COVER THE DATES OF TRAVEL, DEPARTURE FROM NEW YORK SHOULD HAVE BEEN ON JUNE 25. (THE 3 ADDITIONAL DAYS ARE ADDED ON AT THE BEGINNING OF THE TRIP WITH THE PER DIEM ALLOWANCE BEING $23/DAY.) PER DIEM WOULD THEN BE 14 DAYS AMOUNTING TO $310.25. THE OUTSTANDING BALANCE IS $69.'"

WE NOTE FROM MR. HAHN'S "CONSTRUCTIVE TRAVEL VOUCHER" THAT HE SHOWS A DEPARTURE FROM NATIONAL AIRPORT, WASHINGTON, D.C., ON SUNDAY, JUNE 28, 1970, AND A RETURN ON JULY 8, 1970. HE FURTHER STATES THAT THE ACTUAL DATE OF DEPARTURE WAS JUNE 26, 1970, AND THAT HE ACTUALLY RETURNED ON JULY 21, 1970.

A REVIEW OF THE APPLICABLE AIRLINE TRAVEL FARES DISCLOSES THAT MR. HAHN'S TRAVEL OCCURRED DURING THE PEAK SEASON, MAY 22 THROUGH AUGUST 3, 1970, INCLUSIVE, AND THE REGULAR ECONOMY FARE DURING THIS PERIOD WAS $586 ROUND TRIP, WITH THE EXCEPTION THAT IF THE TRAVELER RETURNED PRIOR TO JULY 17, 1970, HIS ROUND-TRIP FARE WOULD HAVE BEEN $541. SINCE, HOWEVER, MR. HAHN REMAINED IN EUROPE UNTIL JULY 21, 1970, FOR PERSONAL REASONS, HE WAS CHARGED A ROUND-TRIP FARE OF $586. THUS IN NO EVENT COULD THE CLAIMANT BE REGARDED AS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT BASED ON THE ROUND-TRIP FARE OF $586 SINCE SUCH INCREASE WAS CAUSED BY THE EXTENSION OF HIS TRIP FOR PERSONAL REASONS. SEE SECTION 1.2 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, REVISED MARCH 1, 1965.

AS TO THE EXCURSION-RATE FARE, SUCH A TICKET MUST BE PURCHASED IN ADVANCE AND BE OF 14 DAYS DURATION. IF THE EMPLOYEE HAD REASON TO BELIEVE HE MIGHT NOT RETURN TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION FOR AT LEAST 14 DAYS (TEMPORARY DUTY PLUS ANNUAL LEAVE), THEN IT WAS ENCUMBENT UPON HIM TO PURCHASE A ROUND-TRIP EXCURSION TICKET. SEE SECTION 3.9 OF THE ABOVE-CITED REGULATIONS. UNDER SUCH CIRCUMSTANCES, THE MATTER OF ADDITIONAL PER DIEM WOULD NOT BE INVOLVED. WE NOTE THAT THE EXCURSION RATE WOULD HAVE BEEN $406 PLUS $30 ADDITIONAL BECAUSE WE ASSUME HIS ACTUAL DEPARTURE FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., OCCURRED AFTER 7 A.M. ON FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 1970; THAT IS, BETWEEN 7 A.M. FRIDAY AND 7 A.M. MONDAY, DURING WHICH PERIOD THE ADDITIONAL FARE OF $30 APPLIES.

ON THE OTHER HAND, IF MR. HAHN DID NOT ANTICIPATE BEING AWAY FOR MORE THAN 14 DAYS AT THE TIME OF HIS DEPARTURE FOR EUROPE, THEN THE FARE OF $541 WOULD BE APPLICABLE TO DETERMINE HIS ENTITLEMENT AS PREVIOUSLY INDICATED.

ACCORDINGLY, THE MATTER SHOULD BE HANDLED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.