B-181098, AUG 9, 1974

B-181098: Aug 9, 1974

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UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) IS IN RESPONSE TO HIS REQUEST OF APRIL 17. THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS ASSIGNED BY HIS OFFICE TO BE THE WATER SUPPLY REPRESENTATIVE ON THE STAFF OF BOY SCOUT JAMBOREE-WEST HELD AT FARRAGUT STATE PARK. THE EMPLOYEE PURCHASED A PHS UNIFORM BECAUSE PRICES WERE COMPARABLE AND HE DETERMINED THAT FUTURE USE COULD BE MADE OF THE PHS UNIFORM IN EPA ACTIVITIES. THE EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF THE UNIFORM INCLUDED IN HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER WAS DISALLOWED. THIS AUTHORITY APPLIES IN THOSE INSTANCES WHERE EMPLOYEES ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR UNIFROMS ON A REGULAR BASIS. IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT PURCHASE OF THE (PHS) UNIFORM BY THE EMPLOYEE WAS REQUIRED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL BUSINESS HIS CLAIM MAY BE ALLOWED UNDER THE ABOVE-QUOTED PARAGRAPH OF THE FTR.

B-181098, AUG 9, 1974

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR COST OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE UNIFORM PAYMENT MAY BE ALLOWED AS MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE PURSUANT TO FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

PAYMENT OF UNIFORM EXPENSE:

THIS DECISION TO THE AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER, MR. LARRY L. PETERSEN, UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) IS IN RESPONSE TO HIS REQUEST OF APRIL 17, 1974, FOR AN ADVANCE DECISION AS TO WHETHER OR NOT THE EPA APPROPRIATION ACT ALLOWS PAYMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE (PHS) UNIFORM EXPENSE AS CLAIMED BY EMPLOYEE IN HIS VOUCHER COVERING DUTY AT THE NATIONAL BOY SCOUT JAMBOREE.

THE RECORD SHOWS THAT THE EMPLOYEE WAS ASSIGNED BY HIS OFFICE TO BE THE WATER SUPPLY REPRESENTATIVE ON THE STAFF OF BOY SCOUT JAMBOREE-WEST HELD AT FARRAGUT STATE PARK, IDAHO. THE PERIOD OF ASSIGNMENT EXTENDED FROM JULY 24 TO AUGUST 8, 1973. SINCE BOY SCOUT JAMBOREE DRESS CODES REQUIRE THAT STAFF MEMBERS WEAR A BOY SCOUT OR A PHS UNIFORM AT ALL TIMES, THE EMPLOYEE PURCHASED A PHS UNIFORM BECAUSE PRICES WERE COMPARABLE AND HE DETERMINED THAT FUTURE USE COULD BE MADE OF THE PHS UNIFORM IN EPA ACTIVITIES. HOWEVER, THE EMPLOYEE'S CLAIM FOR REIMBURSEMENT FOR THE COST OF THE UNIFORM INCLUDED IN HIS TRAVEL VOUCHER WAS DISALLOWED.

WHILE THE EPA'S FISCAL YEAR 1974 APPROPRIATION ACT (PUB. L. 93-135, 87 STAT. 482) PROVIDES FUNDS FOR UNIFORM EXPENSES AS AUTHORIZED BY 5 U.S.C. 5901 IN ACCORDANCE WITH REGULATIONS PRESCRIBED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET, THIS AUTHORITY APPLIES IN THOSE INSTANCES WHERE EMPLOYEES ARE REQUIRED TO WEAR UNIFROMS ON A REGULAR BASIS. WE NOTE THAT THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED HERE WORE THE UNIFORM TO CARRY OUT A TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT. THUS, THERE WOULD BE NO BASIS TO REIMBURSE THE EMPLOYEE INVOLVED UNDER THE PROVISIONS OF THE FEDERAL EMPLOYEES UNIFORM ALLOWANCE ACT, 5 U.S.C. 5901.

WE NOTE, HOWEVER, THAT PARAGRAPH 1-9.LD OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS INCORPORATED IN THE FEDERAL PROPERTY MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS (FPMR) 101-7 PROVIDES:

"MISCELLANEOUS EXPENDITURES NOT ENUMERATED HEREIN, WHEN NECESSARILY INCURRED BY THE TRAVELER IN CONNECTION WITH THE TRANSACTION OF OFFICIAL BUSINESS, SHALL BE ALLOWED WHEN APPROVED."

IF IT IS ADMINISTRATIVELY DETERMINED THAT PURCHASE OF THE (PHS) UNIFORM BY THE EMPLOYEE WAS REQUIRED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL BUSINESS HIS CLAIM MAY BE ALLOWED UNDER THE ABOVE-QUOTED PARAGRAPH OF THE FTR. OF COURSE, IF THE EMPLOYEE IS REIMBURSED FOR THE COST OF THE UNIFORM TITLE THERETO WOULD BE IN THE UNITED STATES AND THE UNIFORM WOULD NOT BE THE PROPERTY OF THE EMPLOYEE. CF. 45 COMP. GEN. 215 (1965).