B-195218(2), OCT 3, 1979

B-195218(2): Oct 3, 1979

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IS ENCLOSED ON THE QUESTION OF THE REQUIREMENT OF A RECEIPT FOR AN AIRLINE TICKET USED FOR TRAVEL DURING A RECESS IN THE TEMPORARY DUTY. THE LANGUAGE IS DISCRETIONARY AS TO WHETHER AN AGENCY GRANTS OR DENIES AN ADVANCE. THE ESTIMATE IS REQUIRED BECAUSE YOUR TRAVEL EXPENSE REIMBURSED BY THE BOARD MAY NOT EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF REMAINING AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY LOCATION. WE HAVE CONTACTED MARY CATHERINE PRICCI. IN ONE CASE SHE DEDUCTED $42 FOR TAXI FARES WHICH YOU BELIEVE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL DUTIES HAD YOU REMAINED AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION RATHER THAN RETURNING HOME. IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS MUST BE RESTRICTED TO THOSE COSTS THAT CAN BE SHOWN WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD CERTAIN AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BEEN UNDERTAKEN. 46 COMP.GEN. 221 (1966).

B-195218(2), OCT 3, 1979

PRECIS-UNAVAILABLE

MAURICE A. PARKER:

THIS LETTER RESPONDS TO YOUR QUESTIONS OF JUNE 5 AND JUNE 15, 1979, CONCERNING TRAVEL ALLOWANCES AUTHORIZED TO YOU BY THE NATIONAL MEDIATION BOARD, YOUR EMPLOYING AGENCY.

A COPY OF THE DECISION OF THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL, ISSUED AT THE REQUEST OF AN AUTHORIZED CERTIFYING OFFICER OF THE BOARD, IS ENCLOSED ON THE QUESTION OF THE REQUIREMENT OF A RECEIPT FOR AN AIRLINE TICKET USED FOR TRAVEL DURING A RECESS IN THE TEMPORARY DUTY.

CONCERNING ENTITLEMENT TO TRAVEL ADVANCES, PARA. 1-10.3 OF THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS STATES THAT THE HEAD OF EACH AGENCY OR HIS REPRESENTATIVE "MAY ADVANCE" FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES "ANY SUMS AS MAY BE DEEMED ADVISABLE ***." THIS PROVISION CONCLUDES THAT ORDINARILY ADVANCES "SHALL BE HELD TO A MINIMUM AND ALLOWED ONLY WHEN *** WARRANTED." THE LANGUAGE IS DISCRETIONARY AS TO WHETHER AN AGENCY GRANTS OR DENIES AN ADVANCE.

YOUR NEXT TWO QUESTIONS DEAL WITH ESTIMATED COSTS OF REMAINING AT YOUR TEMPORARY DUTY STATION DURING A RECESS OF A LABOR RELATIONS ACTIVITY AS COMPARED TO THE ACTUAL COST OF VOLUNTARILY RETURNING HOME DURING THE RECESS. THE ESTIMATE IS REQUIRED BECAUSE YOUR TRAVEL EXPENSE REIMBURSED BY THE BOARD MAY NOT EXCEED THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST OF REMAINING AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY LOCATION. WE HAVE CONTACTED MARY CATHERINE PRICCI, THE EMPLOYEE OF THE BOARD RESPONSIBLE FOR MAKING DEDUCTIONS FROM YOUR ESTIMATE. IN ONE CASE SHE DEDUCTED $42 FOR TAXI FARES WHICH YOU BELIEVE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO PERFORM OFFICIAL DUTIES HAD YOU REMAINED AT THE TEMPORARY DUTY STATION RATHER THAN RETURNING HOME. IN A SECOND CASE MS. PRICCI DEDUCTED FROM YOUR ESTIMATE THE CONSTRUCTIVE PER DIEM RATE OF $43 IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN. SHE REPLACED IT WITH THE NEARBY PER DIEM RATE OF $35 IN THE ANN ARBOR YPSILANTI AREA. SHE STATES THAT WHEN YOU SUBMITTED YOUR CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS YOU DID NOT PROVIDE PROOF TO SUPPORT YOUR COST ESTIMATES FOR EITHER THE TAXI FARES OR HIGHER PER DIEM RATE.

IT IS WELL ESTABLISHED THAT CONSTRUCTIVE COSTS MUST BE RESTRICTED TO THOSE COSTS THAT CAN BE SHOWN WOULD HAVE BEEN INCURRED HAD CERTAIN AUTHORIZED TRAVEL BEEN UNDERTAKEN. 46 COMP.GEN. 221 (1966). FURTHER, THERE MUST BE SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE TO SUPPORT THE VALIDITY OF A CLAIM BEFORE IT CAN BE PAID. 18 COMP.GEN. 980 (1939); B-187713, FEBRUARY 14, 1978. WITHOUT ADEQUATE PROOF OF THE CONSTRUCTIVE COST ITEMS IN QUESTION, THE CERTIFYING OFFICER WOULD BE REQUIRED TO MAKE DEDUCTIONS FROM YOUR COST ESTIMATES. HOWEVER, AN EMPLOYEE SHOULD BE ADVISED WHAT RELEVANT PROOF IS NEEDED.

YOUR FINAL QUESTION ASKS THAT WE SUPPLY YOU WITH THE CITATIONS ON ENTITLEMENT TO TRAVEL EXPENSES FOR AN EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW PRIOR TO APPOINTMENT AS A FEDERAL EMPLOYEE. DECISION 54 COMP.GEN. 554 (1975) HOLDS THAT AN AGENCY "MAY" PAY TRAVEL EXPENSES IF THE U. S. CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION, NOW THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT, DETERMINES THAT A PARTICULAR POSITION IS OF SUCH HIGH LEVEL OR HAD SUCH PECULIAR CHARACTERISTICS THAT AN EMPLOYING AGENCY IS BETTER SUITED TO DETERMINE THROUGH INTERVIEWS THE APPLICANTS' QUALIFICATIONS. HOWEVER, THE AUTHORIZATION OF SUCH TRAVEL EXPENSES IS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE EMPLOYING AGENCY. SEE ALSO 38 COMP.GEN. 483 (1959) AND 40 ID. 221 (1960) GIVING AGENCIES SUCH DISCRETION IN FILLING POSITIONS EXCEPTED FROM THE COMPETITIVE SERVICE.

COPIES OF THE DECISIONS CITED ARE ENCLOSED. IF, AFTER READING THEM, YOU BELIEVE YOU ARE ENTITLED TO TRAVEL EXPENSES, YOU MAY FILE A CLAIM WITH THE CLAIMS DIVISION OF THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE (GAO). ACTION WILL GENERALLY BE EXPEDITED IF A CLAIM IS FILED INITIALLY WITH THE EMPLOYEE'S AGENCY FOR FORWARDING TO THE GAO WITH AN ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT. SEE 4 C.F.R. SEC. 31.4.