B-176367, AUG 4, 1972

B-176367: Aug 4, 1972

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DURING THE PERIOD FOR WHICH TEMPORARY QUARTERS HAVE BEEN CLAIMED. NORWOOD: REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 22. WHICH WILL BE VIEWED AS CONSTITUTING A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE ENCLOSED RECLAIM VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $1. HARRIS WAS AUTHORIZED A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATIONS FROM COLUMBIA. IT WAS FURTHER INDICATED THAT THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY ENCOUNTERED DIFFICULTY IN OBTAINING SUITABLE HOUSING AT THE RALEIGH. HARRIS WAS OBLIGED TO PURCHASE THE LYNHURST HOUSE IF HE WAS TO MAINTAIN ANY PERMANENT RESIDENCE AT THE NEW STATION.". HARRIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WAS DENIED BY THE DIVISION OF VOUCHER PAYMENTS OF YOUR AGENCY APPARENTLY ON THE BASIS THAT NO SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS IS ALLOWABLE WHEN A PERMANENT RESIDENCE IS OCCUPIED BY AN EMPLOYEE.

B-176367, AUG 4, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE - SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE - TEMPORARY RESIDENCE DECISION ALLOWING CERTIFICATION FOR PAYMENT OF A RECLAIM VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,537.90 IN FAVOR OF GEORGE A. HARRIS, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, MANPOWER ADMINISTRATION, REPRESENTING SUBSISTENCE ALLOWANCE FOR THE PERIOD CLAIMANT OCCUPIED, ON A MONTH-BY MONTH BASIS, A RESIDENCE WHICH HE SUBSEQUENTLY PURCHASED AT A NEW DUTY STATION. THE RECORD ESTABLISHES THAT, DURING THE PERIOD FOR WHICH TEMPORARY QUARTERS HAVE BEEN CLAIMED, MR. HARRIS AND HIS FAMILY HAD NEVER INTENDED TO USE THE DWELLING IN QUESTION EXCEPT ON A TEMPORARY BASIS. ACCORDINGLY, REIMBURSEMENT OF THE CLAIM WOULD BE PROPER. B-162531, APRIL 27, 1970.

TO MR. WILLIAM U. NORWOOD:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR LETTER DATED JUNE 22, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE 4MGB-4, WHICH WILL BE VIEWED AS CONSTITUTING A REQUEST FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER THE ENCLOSED RECLAIM VOUCHER IN THE AMOUNT OF $1,537.90, IN FAVOR OF MR. GEORGE A. HARRIS, AN EMPLOYEE OF THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF LABOR, MANPOWER ADMINISTRATION, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES HEREINAFTER RELATED IN VIEW OF SECTION 2.5B(3) OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET (OMB) CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED JUNE 26, 1969.

YOUR LETTER STATED THAT IN MARCH 1970 MR. HARRIS WAS AUTHORIZED A CHANGE OF OFFICIAL DUTY STATIONS FROM COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TO RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA. IT WAS FURTHER INDICATED THAT THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY ENCOUNTERED DIFFICULTY IN OBTAINING SUITABLE HOUSING AT THE RALEIGH, NORTH CAROLINA, DUTY STATION APPARENTLY BECAUSE OF THEIR RACE.

IN VIEW OF SUCH DIFFICULTY YOU STATED THAT:

"*** FINALLY, MR. HARRIS PREVAILED UPON A RALEIGH BUILDER TO LET HE AND HIS FAMILY MOVE INTO A NEW HOUSE ON A MONTH TO MONTH BASIS WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THE HOUSE WOULD REMAIN ON THE MARKET. AT THAT TIME, THE HOUSE HAD BEEN ON THE MARKET FOR MORE THAN A YEAR. AFTER SIX MORE MONTHS OF LOOKING FOR A PERMANENT RESIDENCE WITHOUT SUCCESS, MR. HARRIS WAS OBLIGED TO PURCHASE THE LYNHURST HOUSE IF HE WAS TO MAINTAIN ANY PERMANENT RESIDENCE AT THE NEW STATION."

THE INITIAL REQUEST BY MR. HARRIS FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES WAS DENIED BY THE DIVISION OF VOUCHER PAYMENTS OF YOUR AGENCY APPARENTLY ON THE BASIS THAT NO SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS IS ALLOWABLE WHEN A PERMANENT RESIDENCE IS OCCUPIED BY AN EMPLOYEE, CITING B-163043, JANUARY 12, 1968. A COPY OF THAT DECISION IS ENCLOSED IN VIEW OF YOUR STATEMENT THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE ONE AVAILABLE.

SECTION 2.5B(3) OF OMB CIRCULAR NO. A-56 STATES:

"(3) TEMPORARY QUARTERS REFERS TO LODGING OBTAINED TEMPORARILY BY THE EMPLOYEE AND/OR MEMBERS OF HIS IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHO HAVE VACATED THE RESIDENCE QUARTERS IN WHICH THEY WERE RESIDING AT THE TIME THE TRANSFER WAS AUTHORIZED."

IN 46 COMP. GEN. 709 (1967), WE STATED THAT:

"*** PUBLIC LAW 89-516 AUTHORIZES REIMBURSEMENT OF CERTAIN SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES ONLY WHEN TEMPORARY QUARTERS ARE OCCUPIED AT THE NEW OFFICIAL STATION. ***"

UNDER THE ABOVE-CITED SECTION OF OMB CIRCULAR, WE HAVE CONSISTENTLY HELD THAT AN EMPLOYEE MAY NOT BE REIMBURSED SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES AFTER HE OCCUPIES THE RESIDENCE IN WHICH HE INTENDS TO REMAIN.

IN B-162531, APRIL 27, 1970; B-168649, JANUARY 20, 1970; AND B 175913, JUNE 19, 1972, COPIES ENCLOSED, WE RULED THAT SINCE THERE WAS EVIDENCE IN THE RECORD THAT THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED HAD REASONABLY DEMONSTRATED HIS INTENT TO USE THE QUARTERS ONLY ON A TEMPORARY BASIS, THAT REIMBURSEMENT COULD BE MADE FOR THE TEMPORARY QUARTERS AND SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES CLAIMED.

IT IS OUR VIEW IN THE PRESENT CASE THAT THE RECORD ESTABLISHES THAT, DURING THE PERIOD FOR WHICH TEMPORARY QUARTERS HAVE BEEN CLAIMED, MR. HARRIS AND HIS FAMILY HAD NEVER INTENDED TO USE THE DWELLING IN QUESTION EXCEPT ON A TEMPORARY BASIS. ACCORDINGLY, THE DECISIONS CITED SUPRA WOULD BE FOR APPLICATION AND REIMBURSEMENT OF THE CLAIM WOULD BE PROPER.

THE VOUCHER, WITH ACCOMPANYING PAPERS, IS RETURNED HEREWITH AND MAY BE PROCESSED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE PROPER.