B-176624, SEP 6, 1972

B-176624: Sep 6, 1972

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WHICH WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 72-22 BY THE PER DIEM. TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE AND WHICH WAS RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE ON JULY 25. OF DSA REGULATION NO. 1430.7 PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART: "WHEN IT IS CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL. PERSONAL INTERVIEWS WILL BE CONDUCTED WITH CANDIDATES QUALIFIED FOR VACANCIES BEING FILLED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF A DOD-WIDE CIVILIAN CAREER PROGRAM CONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS. WHERE EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ARE INVOLVED. THE ACTIVITY FILLING THE VACANCY WILL TAKE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS: "1. PAY THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH TRAVEL AND PER DIEM NECESSARY FOR THE CONDUCT OF THE INTERVIEW DURING WHICH TIME THE EMPLOYEE WILL BE IN A TEMPORARY DUTY STATUS. ***" YOUR DOUBT AS TO WHETHER MR.

B-176624, SEP 6, 1972

CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES - INTERVIEWS FOR TRANSFER OR PROMOTION - TRAVEL EXPENSES DECISION ALLOWING PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES AND PER DIEM OF RONALD M. SCHNIEPP, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY, FOR TRAVEL FROM PHILADELPHIA, PA., TO BOSTON, MASS., AND RETURN FOR THE PURPOSE OF A PERSONAL INTERVIEW FOR THE POSITION OF CHIEF OF THE OPERATION DIVISION, DCASR, BOSTON, IN ACCORDANCE WITH DSA REGULATION NO. 1430.7, DATED SEPTEMBER 30, 1970. THE RULE AGAINST USE OF AGENCY FUNDS TO PAY THE TRAVEL EXPENSES OF JOB APPLICANTS NOT ALREADY EMPLOYEES OF THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT QUALIFIED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION DOES NOT PREVENT AGENCIES FROM AUTHORIZING EMPLOYEES TO TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN IT ESTABLISHES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS WHICH IT CONSIDERS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE SELECTION OF AN EMPLOYEE FOR TRANSFER OR PROMOTION. SEE DECISION OF MAY 31, 1966, B -159089.

TO MAJOR H. W. UTMAN:

WE REFER TO YOUR LETTER OF MAY 12, 1972, WITH ENCLOSURES, REFERENCE DCRB- FA, WHICH WAS ASSIGNED PDTATAC CONTROL NO. 72-22 BY THE PER DIEM, TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION ALLOWANCE COMMITTEE AND WHICH WAS RECEIVED IN OUR OFFICE ON JULY 25, 1972. THE SUBJECT LETTER REQUESTS OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER MR. RONALD M. SCHNIEPP, A CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF THE DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY, MAY BE ALLOWED TRAVEL EXPENSES AND PER DIEM INCIDENT TO TRAVEL FROM PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, TO BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, AND RETURN FOR THE PURPOSE OF A PERSONAL INTERVIEW FOR THE POSITION OF CHIEF OF THE OPERATION DIVISION, DCASR, BOSTON, IN ACCORDANCE WITH DEFENSE SUPPLY AGENCY (DSA) REGULATION NO. 1430.7, DATED SEPTEMBER 30, 1970.

PARAGRAPH II.C. OF DSA REGULATION NO. 1430.7 PROVIDES IN PERTINENT PART:

"WHEN IT IS CONSIDERED ESSENTIAL, PERSONAL INTERVIEWS WILL BE CONDUCTED WITH CANDIDATES QUALIFIED FOR VACANCIES BEING FILLED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF A DOD-WIDE CIVILIAN CAREER PROGRAM CONSISTENT WITH THE PROVISIONS OF JOINT TRAVEL REGULATIONS, VOLUME 2, PARAGRAPH C3000. WHERE EMPLOYEES OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE ARE INVOLVED, THE ACTIVITY FILLING THE VACANCY WILL TAKE ONE OF THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS:

"1. PAY THE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH TRAVEL AND PER DIEM NECESSARY FOR THE CONDUCT OF THE INTERVIEW DURING WHICH TIME THE EMPLOYEE WILL BE IN A TEMPORARY DUTY STATUS. ***"

YOUR DOUBT AS TO WHETHER MR. SCHNIEPP'S TRAVEL EXPENSES MAY BE REIMBURSED IS BASED ON OUR DECISION OF MAY 20, 1971, B-172279. THAT DECISION INTERPRETED THE GENERAL RULE REGARDING PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES TO PRIVATE INDIVIDUALS IN CONNECTION WITH PREEMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS. THE GENERAL RULE WAS STATED IN 31 COMP. GEN. 175 (1951) AS FOLLOWS:

"*** GOVERNMENT AGENCIES MAY NOT PAY OR REIMBURSE AN INDIVIDUAL FOR THE EXPENSES INCURRED IN TRAVELING TO WASHINGTON, D.C. OR TO ANY OTHER POINT FOR DETERMINATION OF THE QUALIFICATIONS TO HOLD A GOVERNMENT POSITION IF THE POSITION IS TO BE FILLED SUBJECT TO THE CIVIL SERVICE LAWS AND REGULATIONS AS THE FUNCTION OF ASCERTAINING THE QUALIFICATIONS OF PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES IS A MATTER WITHIN THE JURISDICTION OF THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION. ***"

BOTH OF THESE DECISIONS CONCERNED PAYMENT OF TRAVEL EXPENSES TO PERSONS WHO WERE NOT GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES AT THE TIME THE TRAVEL WAS UNDERTAKEN. THE GENERAL RULE QUOTED ABOVE WAS APPLIED TO TRAVEL UNDERTAKEN BY A GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE FOR THE PURPOSE OF TAKING A NONCOMPETITIVE CIVIL SERVICE EXAMINATION IN 34 COMP. GEN. 114 (1954); HOWEVER, THAT DECISION WAS RECONSIDERED IN 34 COMP. GEN. 435 (1955), AND THE TRAVEL EXPENSES ALLOWED.

THE SITUATION PRESENTED BY YOUR SUBMISSION APPEARS SIMILAR TO THAT CONSIDERED IN OUR DECISION OF MAY 31, 1966, B-159089, COPY ENCLOSED. FROM THAT DECISION, WE QUOTE THE FOLLOWING DISCUSSION:

"THE RULE AGAINST THE USE OF AGENCY FUNDS TO PAY THE TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED BY PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEES IN CONNECTION WITH PREEMPLOYMENT INTERVIEWS, AS EXPRESSED IN 41 COMP. GEN. 482, AND THE DECISIONS CITED THEREIN, RELATES TO INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED TO DETERMINE WHETHER AN INDIVIDUAL POSSESSES THE NECESSARY QUALIFICATIONS SPECIFIED BY THE CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION FOR APPOINTMENTS OVER WHICH THE COMMISSION HAS JURISDICTION TO DETERMINE THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE PROSPECTIVE EMPLOYEE. THOSE DECISIONS DO NOT PREVENT AGENCIES FROM AUTHORIZING EMPLOYEES TO TRAVEL AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE WHEN AN AGENCY ESTABLISHES ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS WHICH IT CONSIDERS NECESSARY IN CONNECTION WITH THE SELECTION OF AN EMPLOYEE FOR TRANSFER OR PROMOTION. SEE 40 COMP. GEN. 221; 34 ID. 435; B-129496, NOVEMBER 1, 1956."

WE SEE NO OBJECTION TO REIMBURSEMENT OF OTHERWISE ALLOWABLE TRAVEL EXPENSES OR TO PAYMENT OF PER DIEM FOR TRAVEL UNDERTAKEN BY MR. SCHNIEPP FOR THE PURPOSE OF A PERSONAL INTERVIEW AS PROVIDED FOR BY DSA REGULATION NO. 1430.7.

ACCORDINGLY, THE VOUCHER RETURNED HEREWITH MAY BE PROCESSED FOR PAYMENT IF OTHERWISE CORRECT.