B-181002, AUG 20, 1974

B-181002: Aug 20, 1974

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WAS ERRONEOUSLY ADVISED BY AGENCY PERSONNEL THAT HE COULD USE A COMMERCIALLY RENTED VEHICLE WHILE SEEKING A PERMANENT RESIDENCE. HIS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF COSTS INCURRED IN SEEKING A RESIDENCE AND COMMUTING TO AND FROM HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION MAY NOT BE ALLOWED SINCE FPMR 101-7 DOES NOT AUTHORIZE SUCH EXPENSES AND THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT BOUND BY THE UNAUTHORIZED ACTS OR REPRESENTATIONS OF ITS AGENTS. MARAM WAS TRANSFERRED FROM ST. TO USE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FOR THE AGENCY AND WAS INFORMED. THE AGENCY ALSO STATES THAT LOCAL TRANSPORTATION WOULD HAVE BEEN INADEQUATE FOR MR. WE ARE UNAWARE OF ANY PROVISION IN FPMR 101-7. IT IS A WELL ESTABLISHED RULE THAT AN EMPLOYEE MUST BEAR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN HIS RESIDENCE AND HIS PLACE OF DUTY AT HIS PERMANENT OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS. 19 COMP.

B-181002, AUG 20, 1974

WHILE CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE OF NLRB, TRANSFERRED FROM ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, TO HATO REY, PUERTO RICO, WAS ERRONEOUSLY ADVISED BY AGENCY PERSONNEL THAT HE COULD USE A COMMERCIALLY RENTED VEHICLE WHILE SEEKING A PERMANENT RESIDENCE, COMMUTING TO AND FROM HIS DUTY STATION, AS WELL AS ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS, HIS CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF COSTS INCURRED IN SEEKING A RESIDENCE AND COMMUTING TO AND FROM HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION MAY NOT BE ALLOWED SINCE FPMR 101-7 DOES NOT AUTHORIZE SUCH EXPENSES AND THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT BOUND BY THE UNAUTHORIZED ACTS OR REPRESENTATIONS OF ITS AGENTS.

MICHAEL S. MARAM - TRAVEL EXPENSES:

MR. JAMES A STEPIEN, AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER OF THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS BORARD (NLRG), HAS REQUESTED OUR DECISION AS TO WHETHER A TRAVEL VOURCHER ADMITTED BY MR. MICHAEL S MARAM, A CAREER ATTORNEY WITH THE NLRB, MAY BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT IN THE AMOUNT OF $800.03 FOR REIMBUSEMENT OF THE AMOUNT OF MILEAGE AND USE CHARGES INCURRED WHILE SEEKING A PERMANANT RESIDENCE AND COMMUTING TO AND FROM THE OFFICE UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES STATED BELOW.

THE RECORD INDICATES THAT MR. MARAM WAS TRANSFERRED FROM ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI, TO HATO REY, PURETO RICO, EFFECTIVE JUNE 22, 1973. UPON ARRIVAL IN HATO REY, MR. MARAM, IN GOOD FAITH AND RELIEANCE ON INSTRUCTIONS, USED AN AGENCY CREDIT CARD FOR THE RENTAL OF AN AUTOMOBILE. MR. MARAM USED THE RENTAL CAR TO DO CASE WORK FOR THE AGENCY, TO SEEK A PERMANENT RESIDENCE, AND TO COMMUTE TO AND FROM THE OFFICE. IN THIS CONNECTION THE RECORD INDICATES THAT DUE TO AN ERROR BY THE SHIPPER, MR. MARAM'S CAR AND HOUSEHOLD GOODS DID NOT ARRIVE IN PUERTO RICO UNTIL AUGUST 29, 1973. MR. MARAM INQUIRED ABOUT THE MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION TO SEEK A PERMANENT RESIDENCE, TO COMMUTE TO AND FROM WORK, AND TO USE ON OFFICIAL BUSINESS FOR THE AGENCY AND WAS INFORMED, THROUGH AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR, THAT HE COULD USE A COMMERCIALLY RENTED AUTOMOBILE AND BILL THE AGENCY FOR THE TOTAL COST. THE AGENCY ALSO STATES THAT LOCAL TRANSPORTATION WOULD HAVE BEEN INADEQUATE FOR MR. MARAM'S NEEDS. HOWEVER, WHEN MR. MARAM PRESENTED TRAVEL VOUCHERS FOR JULY AND AUGUST 1973 THE AGENCY TOOK EXCEPTION TO $820.03 OF THE ITEMS CLAIMED ON THE GROUND THAT SUCH ITEMS COVERED TRANSPORTATON UTILIZED FOR SEEKING A PERMANENT RESIDENCE AND COMMUTING TO AND FROM WORK. MR. MARAM RECLAIMS $800.03 OF THE ITEMS DISALLOWED AND DOES NOT RECLAIM THE DIFFERENCE OF $10.

WE ARE UNAWARE OF ANY PROVISION IN FPMR 101-7, FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS, THAT PERMIT REIMBURSEMENT FOR LOCAL TRANSPORTATION INCURRED AFTER REPORTING TO A NEW OFFICIAL STATION UPON TRANSFER FOR THE PURPOSE OF SEEKING A PERMANENT RESIDENCE. AS TO MR. MARAM'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT OF EXPENSES INCURRED IN COMMUTING TO AND FROM HIS OFFICE, IT IS A WELL ESTABLISHED RULE THAT AN EMPLOYEE MUST BEAR THE COST OF TRANSPORTATION BETWEEN HIS RESIDENCE AND HIS PLACE OF DUTY AT HIS PERMANENT OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS. 19 COMP. GEN. 836 (1940); 27 COMP. GEN. 1 (1947). ALTHOUGH AN ADMINISTRATIVE ERROR WAS MADE, THIS FACT WOULD NOT ENLARGE MR. MARAM'S RIGHTS TO REIMBURSEMENT SINCE IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT ANYONE ENTERING INTO AN ARRANGEMENT WITH THE GOVERNMENT TAKES THE RISK OF HAVING ACERTAINED THAT THE AGENT WITH WHOM HE DEALS AND WHO PURPORTS TO ACT FOR THE GOVERNMENT STAYS WITHIN THE LIMITS OF HIS AUTHORITY. B-176982, DECEMBER 14, 1972, AND COURT CASES CITED THEREIN.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE THERE IS NO BASIS FOR THE ALLOWANCE OF MR. MARAM'S CLAIM AND HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER MAY NOT BE CERTIFIED FOR PAYMENT.