B-176440, AUG 10, 1972

B-176440: Aug 10, 1972

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WHOSE OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IS ROCKVILLE. ROCKVILLE IS THE OFFICIAL DUTY STATION OF THESE EMPLOYEES FOR RECORDS PURPOSES ONLY. OF WHICH THE WORK IN WASHINGTON IS A SEGMENT. AS IT IS EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN BY SECTION 6.6 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. SECRETARY: REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JUNE 30. THE SURVEYS ARE CONDUCTED BY TRAVELING MEDICAL TEAMS AND SUPPORTING PERSONNEL WHO ARE REQUIRED TO BE IN THE FIELD CONTINUOUSLY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR MOVING FROM ONE SURVEY SITE TO ANOTHER EVERY 15 TO 45 DAYS. WE FURTHER UNDERSTAND THAT A SURVEY TEAM OF ABOUT 20 OF THESE EMPLOYEES WILL BE TRAVELING TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE TO CONDUCT THE REQUIRED EXAMINATIONS FOR 6 TO 7 WEEKS WORKING OUT OF A MOBILE EXAMINATION CENTER WITHOUT REPORTING OR PERFORMING ANY DUTY AT THE HEADQUARTERS BUILDING IN ROCKVILLE.

B-176440, AUG 10, 1972

CIVILIAN PERSONNEL - PER DIEM - ENTITLEMENT CONCERNING THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM TO CERTAIN EMPLOYEES OF HEW, WHOSE OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IS ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, WHILE PERFORMING DUTY IN THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA. ROCKVILLE IS THE OFFICIAL DUTY STATION OF THESE EMPLOYEES FOR RECORDS PURPOSES ONLY; THEY IN FACT PERFORM CYCLICAL DUTY THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE UNITED STATES, OF WHICH THE WORK IN WASHINGTON IS A SEGMENT. THOSE EMPLOYEES THAT DO NOT MAINTAIN RESIDENCES IN OR AROUND WASHINGTON MAY BE PAID PER DIEM WHILE IN WASHINGTON, BUT THOSE THAT DO MAINTAIN SUCH RESIDENCES MAY NOT BE PAID, AS IT IS EXPRESSLY FORBIDDEN BY SECTION 6.6 OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

TO MR. SECRETARY:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO LETTER DATED JUNE 30, 1972, FROM MR. JAMES B. CARDWELL, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, COMPTROLLER, WHEREIN HE ASKS FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION FROM OUR OFFICE CONCERNING THE PAYMENT OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE TO CERTAIN EMPLOYEES PERFORMING DUTY IN THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA WHOSE OFFICIAL STATION HAS BEEN DESIGNATED AS ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND.

WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE DIVISION OF HEALTH EXAMINATION STATISTICS, NATIONAL CENTER FOR HEALTH STATISTICS, HEALTH SERVICES AND MENTAL HEALTH ADMINISTRATION, CONDUCTS A BROAD HEALTH EXAMINATION PROGRAM WHICH REQUIRES CYCLICAL SURVEYS LASTING FROM 2 TO 4 YEARS AND MAKES USE OF MEDICAL EXAMINATIONS OF A POPULATION SAMPLE. THE SURVEYS ARE CONDUCTED BY TRAVELING MEDICAL TEAMS AND SUPPORTING PERSONNEL WHO ARE REQUIRED TO BE IN THE FIELD CONTINUOUSLY THROUGHOUT THE YEAR MOVING FROM ONE SURVEY SITE TO ANOTHER EVERY 15 TO 45 DAYS. FOR ADMINISTRATIVE PURPOSES, THE RECORDS SHOW ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND, AS THE OFFICIAL STATION OF ALL THESE EMPLOYEES, SOME OF WHOM ALSO MAINTAIN RESIDENCES IN THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA.

WE FURTHER UNDERSTAND THAT A SURVEY TEAM OF ABOUT 20 OF THESE EMPLOYEES WILL BE TRAVELING TO THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA IN THE IMMEDIATE FUTURE TO CONDUCT THE REQUIRED EXAMINATIONS FOR 6 TO 7 WEEKS WORKING OUT OF A MOBILE EXAMINATION CENTER WITHOUT REPORTING OR PERFORMING ANY DUTY AT THE HEADQUARTERS BUILDING IN ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND.

UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES WE ARE ASKED THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS:

"(1) WOULD THE HEALTH AND NUTRITION EXAMINATION SURVEY IN THE WASHINGTON METROPOLITAN AREA BE CONSIDERED AN EXTENSION OF THE CONTINUING FIELD PROJECT?

"(2) IF YOUR ANSWER TO THE FIRST QUESTION IS AFFIRMATIVE, MAY PER DIEM BE PROPERLY PAID TO MEMBERS OF THE SURVEY TEAMS WHILE ON TEMPORARY DUTY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA FOR:

"A. NONE OF THE EMPLOYEES

"B. ALL OF THE EMPLOYEES

"C. ONLY THOSE WHO MAINTAIN RESIDENCE OUTSIDE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF ROCKVILLE, MARYLAND AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

"D. ONLY THOSE WHO MAINTAIN RESIDENCE OUTSIDE THE WASHINGTON, D.C. METROPOLITAN AREA."

THE PROVISIONS OF 5 U.S.C. 5702 ARE TO THE EFFECT THAT AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELING ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS AWAY FROM HIS DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY IS ENTITLED TO A PER DIEM ALLOWANCE PRESCRIBED BY THE AGENCY CONCERNED. THERE IS ALSO FOR CONSIDERATION THE FOLLOWING PROVISIONS OF THE STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATION (SGTR):

"1.4 OFFICIAL STATION - POST OF DUTY. DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY AND OFFICIAL STATION MEAN ONE AND THE SAME, THE LIMITS OF WHICH WILL BE THE CORPORATE LIMITS OF THE CITY OR TOWN IN WHICH THE OFFICER OR EMPLOYEE IS STATIONED, BUT IF NOT STATIONED IN AN INCORPORATED CITY OR TOWN, THE OFFICIAL STATION IS THE RESERVATION, STATION, OR ESTABLISHED AREA, OR, IN THE CASE OF LARGE RESERVATIONS, THE ESTABLISHED SUBDIVISION THEREOF HAVING DEFINITE BOUNDARIES WITHIN WHICH THE DESIGNATED POST OF DUTY IS LOCATED."

"6.6 PER DIEM COMPUTATION RULES. A. NO ALLOWANCE AT PERMANENT DUTY STATION. PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED AN EMPLOYEE EITHER AT HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION OR AT HIS PLACE OF ABODE FROM WHICH HE COMMUTES DAILY TO HIS OFFICIAL STATION. ***"

WHILE IT IS NECESSARY TO DESIGNATE SOME PLACE AS THE OFFICIAL STATION OF ITINERANT EMPLOYEES FOR TRAVEL PURPOSES, NEVERTHELESS, THE FACT THAT SUCH EMPLOYEES ARE ITINERANT DOES NOT PERMIT AN EXCEPTION TO THE PROVISIONS OF LAW AND REGULATIONS PERTAINING TO THE ALLOWANCE OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE. 23 COMP. GEN. 162 (1943).

ACCORDINGLY ANY EMPLOYEE WHO PERFORMS DUTY AT HIS HEADQUARTERS OR PLACE OF RESIDENCE FROM WHICH HE WOULD NORMALLY COMMUTE DAILY TO HIS HEADQUARTERS WOULD NOT QUALIFY FOR PER DIEM UNDER SECTION 6.6 OF THE SGTR, QUOTED ABOVE. BY REASON OF THAT ANSWER NO SPECIFIC ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS PRESENTED ARE DEEMED NECESSARY.

WE CALL TO YOUR ATTENTION THE PROVISIONS OF SECTION 6.3 OF SGTR WHICH CONTEMPLATES THAT PER DIEM SHOULD ONLY BE AUTHORIZED IN AN AMOUNT NECESSARY TO COVER AN EMPLOYEE'S SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES. IT WOULD SEEM TO US THAT EMPLOYEES UTILIZING THEIR HOMES FOR LODGING AND SUBSISTENCE WOULD NOT NORMALLY INCUR ADDITIONAL EXPENSES SO AS TO SUPPORT THE AUTHORIZATION OF THE MAXIMUM RATE OF PER DIEM IN LIEU OF SUBSISTENCE.