B-198061, DEC 11, 1980

B-198061: Dec 11, 1980

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WAS DETAILED TO THE ALLEGHENY DISTRICT OF THE C & O CANAL NATIONAL PARK. EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED COST OF COMMUTING TO NEW JOB SINCE RECORD INDICATES THAT ASSIGNMENT WAS TEMPORARY AND FOR AN INDEFINITE PERIOD OF TIME AND MILEAGE ALLOWANCE IS PERMISSIBLE UNDER FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS. THE MAIN ISSUE IN THIS CASE IS WHETHER THE ALLEGHENY DISTRICT OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE. CHESAPEAKE AND OHIO (C & O) NATIONAL PARK WAS HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION DURING THAT TIME. THE C & O CANAL NATIONAL PARK WAS A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AND MR. MCMANN WAS REASSIGNED FROM A PARK RANGER (INSTRUCTION). THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SAYS THAT THE ELKINS DUTY STATION WAS IN ERROR AND CORRECTED MR. MCMANN WAS DETAILED TO THE ALLEGHENY DISTRICT OF THE C & O CANAL NATIONAL PARK BEGINNING IN JULY 1975.

B-198061, DEC 11, 1980

DIGEST: EMPLOYEE WITH OFFICIAL DUTY STATION IN HARPERS FERRY, WEST VIRGINIA, WAS DETAILED TO THE ALLEGHENY DISTRICT OF THE C & O CANAL NATIONAL PARK. EMPLOYEE MAY BE REIMBURSED COST OF COMMUTING TO NEW JOB SINCE RECORD INDICATES THAT ASSIGNMENT WAS TEMPORARY AND FOR AN INDEFINITE PERIOD OF TIME AND MILEAGE ALLOWANCE IS PERMISSIBLE UNDER FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS.

WALTER S. MCMANN - MILEAGE ALLOWANCE:

MR. WALTER S. MCMANN APPEALS OUR CLAIMS DIVISION SETTLEMENT DENYING HIS CLAIM FOR A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE FOR TRAVEL FROM HIS RESIDENCE TO THE ALLEGHENY DISTRICT OF THE C & O CANAL NATIONAL PARK FROM JULY 30, 1975, TO SEPTEMBER 1, 1976. THE MAIN ISSUE IN THIS CASE IS WHETHER THE ALLEGHENY DISTRICT OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, CHESAPEAKE AND OHIO (C & O) NATIONAL PARK WAS HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION DURING THAT TIME. FOR THE REASONS STATED BELOW, THE C & O CANAL NATIONAL PARK WAS A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION AND MR. MCMANN'S MILEAGE CLAIM MAY BE ALLOWED.

ON MARCH 30, 1975, MR. MCMANN WAS REASSIGNED FROM A PARK RANGER (INSTRUCTION), GS-025-11 POSITION, MATHER TRAINING CENTER, HARPERS FERRY, WEST VIRGINIA, FOR THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, TO THE SAME POSITION IN THE RESOURCE STAFF IN THE WASHINGTON OFFICE WITH A DUTY STATION IN ELKINS, WEST VIRGINIA. THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SAYS THAT THE ELKINS DUTY STATION WAS IN ERROR AND CORRECTED MR. MCMANN'S DUTY STATION TO READ HARPERS FERRY, WEST VIRGINIA, EFFECTIVE MARCH 30, 1975. IN ADDITION, THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE STATES THAT MR. MCMANN WAS DETAILED TO THE ALLEGHENY DISTRICT OF THE C & O CANAL NATIONAL PARK BEGINNING IN JULY 1975, UNTIL HE WAS PERMANENTLY ASSIGNED THERE ON SEPTEMBER 26, 1976.

OUR CLAIMS'S DIVISION DENIED MR. MCMANN'S CLAIM FOR MILEAGE BECAUSE THEY HELD THAT HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION WAS THE C & O CANAL NATIONAL PARK SINCE THAT IS WHERE HE PERFORMED THE MAJOR PART OF HIS DUTIES AND WAS EXPECTED TO SPEND THE GREATER PART OF HIS TIME. 32 COMP.GEN. 87 (1952). THEREFORE, MR. MCMANN WAS DENIED TRAVEL EXPENSES BECAUSE OF THE WELL SETTLED RULE THAT AN EMPLOYEE MUST BEAR COMMUTING EXPENSES BETWEEN HIS RESIDENCE AND OFFICIAL DUTY STATION. THOMAS L. SMITH, B-188045, MAY 9, 1977.

THE THRESHOLD QUESTION IN DECIDING MR. MCMANN'S CLAIM IS TO ESTABLISH WHERE HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION WAS LOCATED. WE HAVE HELD THAT THE DETERMINATION AS TO WHETHER AN ASSIGNMENT TO A PARTICULAR LOCATION WOULD BE CONSIDERED TEMPORARY DUTY OR A PERMANENT CHANGE OF STATION IS A QUESTION OF FACT AND IS NOT LIMITED BY THE ADMINISTRATIVE DESIGNATION. CECIL M. HOLCOMB, ET AL., 58 COMP.GEN. 744 (1979); GRETCHEN ERNST, B-192838, MARCH 16, 1979.

THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE STATED THAT MR. MCMANN WAS DETAILED TO THE C & O CANAL, NATIONAL PARK, AND CORRECTED MR. MCMANN'S PERSONNEL RECORD TO INDICATE THAT HIS PERMANENT DUTY STATION WAS HARPERS FERRY, WEST VIRGINIA. FURTHER, TWO LETTERS FROM HIS SUPERVISORS DATED NOVEMBER 12, 1975, AND DECEMBER 12, 1975, REVEAL THAT HIS ASSIGNMENT TO THE C & O CANAL NATIONAL PARK WAS A TEMPORARY DUTY ASSIGNMENT FOR AN INDEFINITE PERIOD OF TIME. DURING THAT PERIOD CONTINUAL EFFORTS WERE MADE TO PLACE MR. MCMANN IN A PERMANENT POSITION. ALL THESE FACTORS LEAD TO THE CONCLUSION THAT MR. MCMANN PERFORMED TEMPORARY DUTY AT THE C & O CANAL NATIONAL PARK.

THE FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS (FTR) PERMIT AN EMPLOYEE TO BE REIMBURSED FOR TRANSPORTATION COSTS BETWEEN THE PLACE OF LODGING AND PLACE OF BUSINESS AT A TEMPORARY DUTY STATION. FTR PARA. 1-2.3A (FPMR 101-7) (MAY 1973). IN THIS REGARD A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE MAY BE PAID IF THE AUTOMOBILE USE IS AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED AS ADVANTAGEOUS TO THE GOVERNMENT, OR AS AN AUTHORIZED OR APPROVED EXERCISE OF THE EMPLOYEE'S PREFERENCE. FTR PARA. 1 -4.1A (FPMR 101-7) (MAY 1973). ALTHOUGH MR. MCMANN WAS NEVER AUTHORIZED A MILEAGE ALLOWANCE, THIS WAS DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE AGENCY MISTAKENLY BELIEVED THAT THE C & O CANAL NATIONAL PARK WAS HIS OFFICIAL DUTY STATION. IN FACT THE AGENCY COULD HAVE AUTHORIZED MILEAGE ALLOWANCE OR AN ALLOWANCE FOR OTHER METHODS OF COMMUTING.

ACCORDINGLY, MR. MCMANN'S CLAIM FOR MILEAGE MAY BE PAID IN ACCORDANCE WITH FEDERAL TRAVEL REGULATIONS PART 1-4.

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