B-178535, JUN 21, 1973

B-178535: Jun 21, 1973

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SAMPSON: REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER FROM MR. REQUESTING A DECISION ON WHETHER COLLECTION ACTION IS REQUIRED WITH RESPECT TO INDIRECT TRAVEL FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE PAID FOR BY THE GOVERNMENT AND INCLUDED IN AN AIRLINE EXCURSION FARE. WAS AUTHORIZED OFFICIAL TRAVEL. THE NORMAL COST FOR THIS TRANSPORTATION TO THE GOVERNMENT IS $837.40. THE COST OF THE EXCURSION TICKET WAS $639.20 WHICH MR. WHICH VOUCHER WAS PAID. IS CONTROLLING IN THIS CASE. THE EXTRA EXPENSE WILL BE BORNE BY HIM. REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES WILL BE BASED ONLY ON SUCH CHARGES AS WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. THE ABOVE REGULATION LIMITS ALLOWABLE TRANSPORTATION AND TRAVEL EXPENSES TO AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO OR LESS THAN COSTS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY THE EMPLOYEE ON THE USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE.

B-178535, JUN 21, 1973

NO COLLECTION ACTION FOUND TO BE REQUIRED FROM MR. ALVIN L. ALM, STAFF DIRECTOR FOR PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, WITH RESPECT TO INDIRECT TRAVEL FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE PAID FOR BY THE GOVERNMENT AND INCLUDED IN AN AIRLINE EXCURSION FARE.

TO MR. ARTHUR F. SAMPSON:

REFERENCE IS MADE TO A LETTER FROM MR. JEROME D. FALLON, CHIEF, EXTERNAL SERVICES BRANCH, FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT DIVISION, OFFICE OF ADMINISTRATION, GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, DATED APRIL 24, 1973, REQUESTING A DECISION ON WHETHER COLLECTION ACTION IS REQUIRED WITH RESPECT TO INDIRECT TRAVEL FOR PERSONAL CONVENIENCE OF THE EMPLOYEE PAID FOR BY THE GOVERNMENT AND INCLUDED IN AN AIRLINE EXCURSION FARE. THE FACTUAL CIRCUMSTANCES CAN BE BRIEFLY STATED.

MR. ALVIN L. ALM, STAFF DIRECTOR FOR PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT, COUNCIL ON ENVIROMENTAL QUALITY, WAS AUTHORIZED OFFICIAL TRAVEL, UNDER TRAVEL ORDERS NUMBER EQ3AT065, DATED SEPTEMBER 14, 1972, FROM WASHINGTON, D.C., TO MOSCOW AND LENINGRAD, USSR, AND RETURN, DURING THE PERIOD SEPTEMBER 15 THROUGH 27, 1972, FOR THE PURPOSE OF PARTICIPATING IN BILATERAL DISCUSSIONS ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION ISSUES AND PROGRAMS. THE NORMAL COST FOR THIS TRANSPORTATION TO THE GOVERNMENT IS $837.40. HOWEVER, MR. ALM DESIRED TO TAKE LEAVE IN EUROPE AT THE CONCLUSION OF HIS BUSINESS AND PURCHASED A 14 - 21 DAY AIRLINE EXCURSION TICKET THAT INCLUDED TRAVEL TO CITIES ADDITIONAL TO THOSE STATED ON HIS TRAVEL ORDERS. THE COST OF THE EXCURSION TICKET WAS $639.20 WHICH MR. ALM PAID WITH A GOVERNMENT TRANSPORTATION REQUEST FOR $456.70, REPRESENTING THE PRICE OF A 14 - 21 DAY EXCURSION FARE TO MOSCOW AND PERSONAL FUNDS IN THE AMOUNT OF $182.50, REPRESENTING THE ADDITIONAL EXCURSION FARE FROM LENINGRAD TO COPENHAGEN, HAMBURG, BERLIN AND AMSTERDAM.

UPON RETURN TO WASHINGTON, D.C., MR. ALM SUBMITTED A TRAVEL VOUCHER FOR $713.75 INCLUDING A CLAIM FOR THAT PORTION OF THE EXCURSION FARE ATTRIBUTABLE TO THE INDIRECT TRAVEL, $182.50, WHICH VOUCHER WAS PAID. SUBSEQUENTLY, THE DIRECTOR, FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT DIVISION, YOUR OFFICE, RELYING ON SECTIONS 1.3 AND 2.5B, STANDARDIZED GOVERNMENT TRAVEL REGULATIONS (SGTR), CIRCULAR NO. A-7, AS REVISED, QUESTIONED THE ALLOWANCE OF $182.50 EXCURSION FARE FOR CITIES NOT INCLUDED IN THE TRAVEL ORDERS AND REQUESTED MR. ALM TO REMIT THAT AMOUNT. IN RESPONSE MR. ALM REQUESTED REVIEW AND RECONSIDERATION OF THE REQUEST AND FURTHER ASKED THAT THE QUESTION BE REFERRED TO THIS OFFICE IN THE EVENT OF AN UNFAVORABLE DECISION.

WE THINK THE PROVISIONS OF SUBSECTION 2.5B, SGTR, CIRCULAR NO. A-7, AS REVISED, IS CONTROLLING IN THIS CASE. THIS SUBSECTION PROVIDES:

B. INDIRECT-ROUTE OR INTERRUPTED TRAVEL. IN CASE A PERSON FOR HIS OWN CONVENIENCE TRAVELS BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE OR INTERRUPTS TRAVEL BY DIRECT ROUTE, THE EXTRA EXPENSE WILL BE BORNE BY HIM. REIMBURSEMENT FOR EXPENSES WILL BE BASED ONLY ON SUCH CHARGES AS WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY A USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE.

THE ABOVE REGULATION LIMITS ALLOWABLE TRANSPORTATION AND TRAVEL EXPENSES TO AN AMOUNT EQUAL TO OR LESS THAN COSTS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED BY THE EMPLOYEE ON THE USUALLY TRAVELED ROUTE. WE HAVE ESTABLISHED THE PRINCIPLE THAT WHEN AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELS BY AN INDIRECT ROUTE, HE IS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT BY INDIRECT ROUTE IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED THE COST BY THE DIRECT ROUTE AND NOT TO EXCEED THE TOTAL ACTUAL COST, WHICHEVER IS LOWER. WITH REGARD TO PRORATING ANY SAVINGS THAT MAY ACCRUE FROM AN EMPLOYEE TAKING AN INDIRECT ROUTE FOR PERSONAL REASONS, OUR POSITION IS THAT THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT CLAIM A PRO RATA SHARE OF TRANSPORTATION COST SAVINGS WHICH RESULT SOLELY FROM THE FACT THE EMPLOYEE PERFORMS SOME PERSONAL TRAVEL IN ADDITION TO THE OFFICIAL TRAVEL REQUIRED. SEE B-165854, FEBRUARY 4, 1969, AND B 167183, DECEMBER 19, 1969, COPIES ENCLOSED.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT HAD MR. ALM RETURNED TO WASHINGTON, D.C., UPON COMPLETION OF HIS OFFICIAL TRAVEL ON SEPTEMBER 27, 1972, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PAY THE NORMAL AIRLINE COACH FARE OF $837.40 SINCE HE WOULD NOT HAVE QUALIFIED FOR THE 14 - 21 DAY DIRECT EXCURSION FARE RATE. INASMUCH AS THE EXCURSION FARE OF $639.20 IS LESS THAN THE USUAL DIRECT ROUTE FARE OF $837.40 IF RETURN TRAVEL HAD BEEN PERFORMED AT THE COMPLETION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS, WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT MR. ALM WAS ENTITLED TO REIMBURSEMENT OF THE $182.50. HENCE, NO COLLECTION ACTION IS REQUIRED.

THE PAPERS ACCOMPANYING YOUR LETTER ARE RETURNED HEREWITH AS REQUESTED.