B-175511, APR 25, 1972

B-175511: Apr 25, 1972

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AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE MAY BE ALLOWED IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT MR. BLACKWELL: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 13. SNYDER WAS ORDERED TO ATTEND THE OPERATOR TRAINING SCHOOL AT DENVER. WAS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL AND PER DIEM ALLOWANCES INCIDENT THERETO. HE WAS NOTIFIED OF THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER WHICH NECESSITATED THE ABANDONING OF THIS TRAINING ASSIGNMENT. THE INSTANT CLAIM IS FOR THOSE RETURN TRAVEL EXPENSES MR. SNYDER'S PER DIEM WAS DISCONTINUED AT NOON ON DECEMBER 3. HE WAS BILLED FOR RETURN TRAVEL TO HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION. THE COST OF HIS RETURN TRAVEL IS WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE LONGSTANDING RULE THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE ABANDONS HIS OFFICIAL TRAVEL STATUS BECAUSE OF DEATH OR ILLNESS OF A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY HE MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY THE COST OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO THE POINT OF ABANDONMENT.'.

B-175511, APR 25, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - ABANDONMENT OF TEMPORARY DUTY - PER DIEM AND TRAVEL ALLOWANCES - ENTITLEMENT CONCERNING THE PROPRIETY OF PAYMENT TO WALLACE R. SNYDER FOR TRAVEL AND PER DIEM ALLOWANCES INCIDENT TO HIS ABANDONMENT OF TEMPORARY DUTY AS AN EMPLOYEE OF THE BUREAU OF RECLAMATION. AS A GENERAL RULE, AN EMPLOYEE WHO ABANDONS HIS OFFICIAL TRAVEL STATUS FOR PERSONAL REASONS MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY THE COST OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO THE POINT OF ABANDONMENT. HOWEVER, AN EXCEPTION TO THE RULE MAY BE ALLOWED IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT MR. SNYDER SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETED THE PURPOSE OF HIS TRAVEL. B-172048, MARCH 29, 1971.

TO MS. NEDRA A. BLACKWELL:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED MARCH 13, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE 360 155.4, REQUESTING OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER A VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $99.70 IN FAVOR OF MR. WALLACE R. SNYDER, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BUREAU OF RECLAMATION, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN VIEW OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER DESCRIBED.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT UNDER TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. HH-8-72, DATED NOVEMBER 3, 1971, MR. SNYDER WAS ORDERED TO ATTEND THE OPERATOR TRAINING SCHOOL AT DENVER, COLORADO, FOR THE PERIOD NOVEMBER 30 THROUGH DECEMBER 9, 1971, AND WAS AUTHORIZED TRAVEL AND PER DIEM ALLOWANCES INCIDENT THERETO.

YOUR LETTER OF MARCH 13, 1972, STATES THAT:

" *** ON THE MORNING OF DECEMBER 3, 1971, HE WAS NOTIFIED OF THE DEATH OF HIS FATHER WHICH NECESSITATED THE ABANDONING OF THIS TRAINING ASSIGNMENT. AT THE TIME OF ABANDONMENT, HE HAD COMPLETED THREE DAYS AND TWO HOURS OF TRAINING AND HAD FOUR MORE DAYS AND SIX HOURS BEFORE THE TRAINING ASSIGNMENT WOULD BE COMPLETED."

THE INSTANT CLAIM IS FOR THOSE RETURN TRAVEL EXPENSES MR. SNYDER INCURRED WHEN HE RETURNED FROM THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AT DENVER, COLORADO, TO HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION AT HUNGRY HORSE PROJECT, MONTANA.

WITH REGARD TO MR. SNYDER'S CLAIM, YOU STATED IN YOUR LETTER THAT:

"BASED ON 470G59, DECISION B-161873, JULY 18, 1967, MR. SNYDER'S PER DIEM WAS DISCONTINUED AT NOON ON DECEMBER 3, 1971, AND SINCE HE USED A TICKET ISSUED AGAINST A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST, HE WAS BILLED FOR RETURN TRAVEL TO HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION. THIS DECISION STATES IN PART:

"' ... THE COST OF HIS RETURN TRAVEL IS WITHIN THE SCOPE OF THE LONGSTANDING RULE THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE ABANDONS HIS OFFICIAL TRAVEL STATUS BECAUSE OF DEATH OR ILLNESS OF A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY HE MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY THE COST OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO THE POINT OF ABANDONMENT.'

"MR. SNYDER IS NOW RECLAIMING PER DIEM AND RETURN TRAVEL SINCE HE DID PERFORM PART OF THE TRAINING ASSIGNMENT. BASED ON DOCUMENTATION PROVIDED IN RECLAIM VOUCHER, IS IT PERMISSIBLE TO CERTIFY THIS VOUCHER OR MUST THE ABOVE-CITED DECISION BE FOLLOWED IN ALL INSTANCES? YOUR ADVICE ON THIS CLAIM WILL BE GREATLY APPRECIATED."

THE CITED DECISION STATES THE GENERAL RULE THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE ABANDONS HIS OFFICIAL TRAVEL STATUS BECAUSE OF DEATH OR ILLNESS OF A MEMBER OF HIS FAMILY HE MAY BE REIMBURSED ONLY THE COST OF OFFICIAL TRAVEL TO THE POINT OF ABANDONMENT. HOWEVER, AN EXCEPTION IS MADE IN CASES WHERE THE EMPLOYEE HAS SUBSTANTIALLY COMPLETED THE PURPOSE OF THE TRAVEL OR THE DUTIES HE WAS TO PERFORM ARE COMPLETED AT NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSE TO THE GOVERNMENT. SEE B-166301, APRIL 15, 1969; B-155977, FEBRUARY 18, 1965; B-144865, FEBRUARY 16, 1961; B-172048, MARCH 29, 1971, COPIES ENCLOSED.

WE NOTE MR. SNYDER'S STATEMENT THAT:

"I DO NOT THINK MY CASE CAN BE COMPARED TO THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL'S DECISION ON ANY OTHER CASE, SINCE I COMPLETED 1/2 OF THE REQUIRED TIME ON THE ASSIGNMENT AND POSSIBLY GAINED 75% OF THE COURSE. I AM TOLD THE SECOND WEEK IS MOSTLY A REPETITION OF THE 1ST WEEK. *** "

WE FIND NO INDICATION IN THE RECORD THAT ADMINISTRATIVE CONSIDERATION HAS BEEN GIVEN AS TO WHETHER MR. SNYDER'S CASE WOULD QUALIFY FOR EXCEPTION TO THE GENERAL RULE ON THE BASIS OF COMPLETION OF THE ESSENTIAL PURPOSES OF THE TRAVEL OR THAT THE DUTIES HE WAS TO PERFORM WERE COMPLETED AT NO ADDITIONAL COST TO THE GOVERNMENT. IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT HIS CASE FALLS WITHIN THE EXCEPTION, NO OBJECTION WILL BE RAISED BY OUR OFFICE TO CERTIFICATION OF THE TRAVEL VOUCHER PRESENTED BY MR. SNYDER.

THE VOUCHER IS RETURNED HEREWITH FOR HANDLING IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE FOREGOING.