B-179339, JUL 5, 1974, 54 COMP GEN 13

B-179339: Jul 5, 1974

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HE IS ENTITLED TO TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES UNDER SECTION 8.2E OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. 1974: THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO LETTER DATED JULY 12. THE REQUEST WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY LETTER FROM THE BUDGET AND FINANCE DIVISION. CHURCH WAS AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM ST. WAS SPENT ON ANNUAL LEAVE AND HOLIDAY LEAVE. CLAIMED FOR THIS PERIOD WAS DISALLOWED BY THE NATIONAL FINANCE CENTER. THE QUESTION FOR DETERMINATION IS WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE WHO OCCUPIED TEMPORARY QUARTERS BEGINNING MORE THAN 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE HE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION. IS ENTITLED TO TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES.

B-179339, JUL 5, 1974, 54 COMP GEN 13

OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES - TRANSFERS - RELOCATION EXPENSES - TEMPORARY QUARTERS - BEGINNING OF OCCUPANCY WHERE AN EMPLOYEE OCCUPIED TEMPORARY QUARTERS BEGINNING MORE THAN 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE HE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION, BUT PRIOR TO THE DATE HIS FAMILY VACATED THE RESIDENCE AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION, HE IS ENTITLED TO TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES UNDER SECTION 8.2E OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED, AUGUST 17, 1971.

IN THE MATTER OF SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES, JULY 5, 1974:

THIS ACTION IS IN RESPONSE TO LETTER DATED JULY 12, 1973, FROM HARVEY P. WILEY, CERTIFYING OFFICER, SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN, REQUESTING AN ADVANCE DECISION REGARDING PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM OF RONALD P. CHURCH, IN THE AMOUNT OF $373.95, FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES INCURRED WHILE OCCUPYING TEMPORARY QUARTERS IN CONNECTION WITH A TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION. THE REQUEST WAS FORWARDED TO THIS OFFICE BY LETTER FROM THE BUDGET AND FINANCE DIVISION, SOIL CONSERVATION SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, WASHINGTON, D.C., DATED JULY 31, 1973.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT BY TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION NO. 89-73 DATED NOVEMBER 6, 1972, AS AMENDED, RONALD P. CHURCH WAS AUTHORIZED REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCIDENT TO TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION FROM ST. JOSEPH, MICHIGAN, TO GRAYLING, MICHIGAN. IN ADDITION TO TRANSPORTATION OF THE EMPLOYEE AND HIS FAMILY, TRANSPORTATION OF HOUSEHOLD GOODS, AND PER DIEM ALLOWANCES, THE TRAVEL AUTHORIZATION ALLOWED SUCH OTHER EXPENSES "AS CAN BE JUSTIFIED UNDER BUDGET BUREAU CIRCULAR A-56, REVISED OCTOBER 12, 1966."

MR. CHURCH REPORTED FOR DUTY AT HIS NEW STATION ON DECEMBER 3, 1972. MARKET CONDITIONS PREVENTED THE SALE OF HIS HOME BEFORE DEPARTURE FROM HIS OLD STATION. A PART OF THE PERIOD FROM DECEMBER 3, 1972, TO JANUARY 6, 1973, WAS SPENT ON ANNUAL LEAVE AND HOLIDAY LEAVE, WHEN HE RETURNED TO HIS HOME AT HIS OLD DUTY STATION. HE COMPLETED THE SALE OF HIS HOME AT HIS OLD DUTY STATION ON FEBRUARY 24, 1973. HIS FAMILY VACATED THE FORMER RESIDENCE ON MARCH 11, 1973, AND MOVED INTO PERMANENT QUARTERS UPON ARRIVAL AT THE NEW DUTY STATION ON THE SAME DAY.

MR. CHURCH FILED A CLAIM FOR 30 DAYS TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE FOR THE PERIOD JANUARY 8, 1973, THROUGH FEBRUARY 7, 1973. THE AMOUNT OF $373.95, CLAIMED FOR THIS PERIOD WAS DISALLOWED BY THE NATIONAL FINANCE CENTER, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, BASED UPON THE DEPARTMENT'S INTERPRETATION OF OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, SECTION 8.2E AS REQUIRING THE PERIOD OF USE OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS TO BEGIN NOT LATER THAN 30 DAYS AFTER THE EMPLOYEE REPORTS FOR DUTY OR WITHIN 30 DAYS OF THE DATE THE FAMILY VACATES THE RESIDENCE AT THE OLD STATION.

THE QUESTION FOR DETERMINATION IS WHETHER AN EMPLOYEE WHO OCCUPIED TEMPORARY QUARTERS BEGINNING MORE THAN 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE HE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION, BUT PRIOR TO THE DATE HIS FAMILY VACATES THE RESIDENCE AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION, IS ENTITLED TO TEMPORARY QUARTERS SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES. IN THIS REGARD SECTION 8.2E OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET CIRCULAR NO. A-56, REVISED, AUGUST 17, 1971, PROVIDES:

*** THE USE OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSE PURPOSES UNDER THESE PROVISIONS MAY BEGIN AS SOON AS THE EMPLOYEE'S TRANSFER HAS BEEN AUTHORIZED AND THE WRITTEN AGREEMENT REQUIRED IN 1.5A HAS BEEN SIGNED. ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR THE TEMPORARY QUARTERS ALLOWANCE, THE PERIOD OF USE OF SUCH QUARTERS FOR WHICH A CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT IS MADE MUST BEGIN NOT LATER THAN 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE THE EMPLOYEE REPORTED FOR DUTY AT HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION, OR IF NOT BEGUN DURING THIS PERIOD, THEN NOT LATER THAN 30 DAYS FROM THE DATE THE FAMILY VACATES THE RESIDENCE AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION BUT NOT BEYOND THE MAXIMUM TIME FOR BEGINNING ALLOWABLE TRAVEL AND TRANSPORTATION.

IT IS OUR VIEW THAT THIS SECTION PROVIDES A PERIOD OF LIMITATION AFTER REPORTING FOR DUTY AT A NEW OFFICIAL STATION WITHIN WHICH THE USE OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS MUST BEGIN; AND, IF NOT BEGUN DURING THIS PERIOD, PROVIDES A MAXIMUM PERIOD AFTER THE FAMILY VACATES THE RESIDENCE AT THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION WITHIN WHICH THE USE OF TEMPORARY QUARTERS MUST BEGIN. THE SECTION DELINEATES THE LATEST POINT IN TIME AT WHICH AN EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR SUBSISTENCE EXPENSES MAY COMMENCE FOR REIMBURSEMENT PURPOSES. IT IS NOT VIEWED AS PROHIBITING REIMBURSEMENT FOR SUCH EXPENSES FOR CLAIMS COMMENCING BETWEEN THE PERIOD ENDING 30 DAYS AFTER THE EMPLOYEE REPORTS TO THE NEW DUTY STATION AND THE 30-DAY PERIOD BEGINNING WHEN HIS FAMILY VACATES THEIR RESIDENCE AT THE OLD DUTY STATION.

SINCE IT IS SHOWN THAT DURING THE PERIOD BETWEEN JANUARY 8, 1973, THROUGH FEBRUARY 7, 1973, THE EMPLOYEE INCURRED EXPENSES FOR TEMPORARY QUARTERS, PAYMENT OF THE CLAIM WOULD BE PROPER.