B-20372, SEPTEMBER 16, 1941, 21 COMP. GEN. 224

B-20372: Sep 16, 1941

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TRAVELING EXPENSES - TRANSFERS - TRAVEL FROM PLACE OF LEAVE IF AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION IS CHANGED WHILE HE IS IN A LEAVE STATUS. THIS IS SO EVEN THOUGH THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELS NO GREATER DISTANCE FROM THE PLACE OF LEAVE TO HIS NEW STATION THAN WOULD BE REQUIRED SHOULD HE TRAVEL FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW STATION. THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT WHILE THE EMPLOYEE WAS ON LEAVE AT JACKSONVILLE. ORDERS WERE ISSUED UNDER DATES OF JANUARY 3 AND 8. THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON LEAVE. ARE NOT APPLICABLE TO THE INSTANT VOUCHER FOR THE REASON THAT THE CASES CONSIDERED IN THOSE DECISIONS INVOLVED A RETURN TO OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS RATHER THAN A TRANSFER FROM OFFICIAL STATION WHILE ABSENT ON LEAVE. THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO THE PAYMENT AS MADE FOR THE REASON THAT THE DISTANCE FROM JACKSONVILLE.

B-20372, SEPTEMBER 16, 1941, 21 COMP. GEN. 224

TRAVELING EXPENSES - TRANSFERS - TRAVEL FROM PLACE OF LEAVE IF AN EMPLOYEE'S OFFICIAL STATION IS CHANGED WHILE HE IS IN A LEAVE STATUS, AND, INSTEAD OF RETURNING TO HIS OLD STATION, HE ELECTS TO REPORT DIRECTLY TO THE NEW STATION, HE MUST BEAR THE EXPENSE THEREOF EQUIVALENT TO THE COST OF RETURNING TO HIS OLD STATION, AND THIS IS SO EVEN THOUGH THE EMPLOYEE TRAVELS NO GREATER DISTANCE FROM THE PLACE OF LEAVE TO HIS NEW STATION THAN WOULD BE REQUIRED SHOULD HE TRAVEL FROM THE OLD TO THE NEW STATION.

ACTING COMPTROLLER GENERAL ELLIOTT TO W. M. DIXON, UNITED STATES ARMY, SEPTEMBER 16, 1941:

THERE HAS BEEN CONSIDERED YOUR LETTER OF AUGUST 8, 1941, REQUESTING REVIEW OF THE ACTION OF THIS OFFICE IN SUSPENDING CREDIT IN THE AMOUNT OF $27.20 IN YOUR FEBRUARY 1940 ACCOUNTS, VOUCHER NO. 2277, COVERING REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAVEL EXPENSES INCURRED BY THEODORE G. WAALE, ASSISTANT ENGINEER, ON TRANSFER OF OFFICIAL STATION WHILE ABSENT ON LEAVE.

THE RECORD DISCLOSES THAT WHILE THE EMPLOYEE WAS ON LEAVE AT JACKSONVILLE, FLA., ORDERS WERE ISSUED UNDER DATES OF JANUARY 3 AND 8, 1940, CHANGING HIS OFFICIAL STATION FROM VICKSBURG, MISS., TO WASHINGTON, D.C. INSTEAD OF RETURNING TO VICKSBURG, HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION, HE WENT DIRECTLY TO WASHINGTON, HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION, FROM JACKSONVILLE, THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON LEAVE. THE CLAIMANT PERFORMED THE TRAVEL IN HIS PERSONALLY OWNED AUTOMOBILE AND CLAIMED REIMBURSEMENT THEREFOR ON A MILEAGE BASIS IN ACCORDANCE WITH AUTHORIZATION CONTAINED IN THE TRANSFER ORDERS.

YOUR CONTENTIONS IN LETTER DATED AUGUST 8, 1941, THAT THE DECISIONS CITED IN NOTICES OF EXCEPTION, FORMS 1100, 7 COMP. DEC. 78; 11 COMP. GEN. 336; AND 16 ID. 164, 481, ARE NOT APPLICABLE TO THE INSTANT VOUCHER FOR THE REASON THAT THE CASES CONSIDERED IN THOSE DECISIONS INVOLVED A RETURN TO OFFICIAL HEADQUARTERS RATHER THAN A TRANSFER FROM OFFICIAL STATION WHILE ABSENT ON LEAVE, AND THAT THE EMPLOYEE IS ENTITLED TO THE PAYMENT AS MADE FOR THE REASON THAT THE DISTANCE FROM JACKSONVILLE, POINT AT WHICH THE EMPLOYEE WAS ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE AND AT WHICH PLACE HE RECEIVED HIS ORDERS DIRECTING CHANGE OF STATION TO WASHINGTON, IS NOT IN EXCESS OF THAT FROM HIS OLD STATION, VICKSBURG, TO HIS NEW STATION, WASHINGTON, ARE WITHOUT MERIT.

THE RULE THAT THE TRANSFER OF THE OFFICIAL STATION OF AN EMPLOYEE ON LEAVE AND AWAY FROM HIS OFFICIAL STATION DOES NOT OPERATE TO RELIEVE SUCH EMPLOYEE FROM BEARING SO MUCH OF THE COST OF REPORTING TO THE NEW STATION AS HE WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO BEAR IN RETURNING TO THE OLD STATION IS OF LONG STANDING. 8 COMP. DEC. 190; ALSO 11 COMP. GEN. 336; 16 ID. 481.

IN DECISION DATED NOVEMBER 9, 1939, B-6444, IT WAS STATED IN PART:

IT IS WELL SETTLED THAT WHEN A PERSON ABSENTS HIMSELF FROM HIS HEADQUARTERS ON A LEAVE OF ABSENCE, IT IS INCUMBENT UPON HIM TO RETURN TO HIS HEADQUARTERS AT HIS OWN EXPENSE AT THE EXPIRATION OF SUCH LEAVE; AND IF HIS REGULAR STATION IS CHANGED WHILE HE IS IN A LEAVE STATUS AND, INSTEAD OF RETURNING TO HIS OLD STATION BEFORE THE EXPIRATION OF HIS LEAVE, HE ELECTS TO REPORT DIRECTLY TO THE NEW STATION HE MUST BEAR THE EXPENSE THEREOF NOT TO EXCEED WHAT IT WOULD HAVE COST HIM TO RETURN TO THE OFFICIAL STATION FROM WHICH HE WENT ON LEAVE. * * *

SEE A-45433, NOVEMBER 15, 1932; A-46199, JANUARY 4, 1933; AND B-57, JANUARY 16, 1939.

FURTHERMORE, THERE APPEARS NO SOUND BASIS FOR THE VIEW THAT BECAUSE AN EMPLOYEE TRAVELED AT GOVERNMENT EXPENSE A SHORTER DISTANCE FROM THE PLACE HE WAS ON LEAVE TO HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION THAN WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED HAD HE BEEN ORDERED TO RETURN TO HIS OLD OFFICIAL STATION PRIOR TO BEING ORDERED TO HIS NEW STATION, HE SHOULD BE RELIEVED OF THE PORTION OF THE EXPENSE INCURRED EQUIVALENT TO THE COST OF RETURNING TO HIS FORMER STATION OR THAT SUCH EXPENSE SHOULD BE ASSUMED BY THE GOVERNMENT. SEE A-59457, SEPTEMBER 3, 1935, AND B-6444, JUNE 20, 1940.

THEREFORE, THE FACT THAT THE EMPLOYEE IN THE CASE HERE UNDER CONSIDERATION TRAVELED NO GREATER DISTANCE FROM THE PLACE WHERE HE WAS ON LEAVE TO HIS NEW OFFICIAL STATION THAN WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED HAD HE TRAVELED FROM THE OLD OFFICIAL STATION TO THE NEW STATION CANNOT OPERATE TO RELIEVE HIM OF THAT PORTION OF THE EXPENSE INCURRED EQUIVALENT TO THE COST OF RETURNING TO HIS FORMER STATION. ACCORDINGLY, THE ACTION TAKEN IN THE AUDIT IN WITHHOLDING CREDIT FOR $27.20 PAID ON THE VOUCHER HERE IN QUESTION WAS CORRECT AND IS HEREBY SUSTAINED.